I’m sitting in a fog and rain-shrouded airport in Québec City following the user group meeting…. and I can’t help but feel like the weather is in some way reflective of the world of SAS at times. It can be difficult to see the way through the mist: there can be surprises ahead which are unseen and unanticipated, and a clear mind and sharp vision are needed to help guide one through. However, through the fog of uncertainty burns the light of knowledge and collaboration, in this over-wrought metaphor, the Club SAS. Although a little contrived it’s certainly true that it does feel as if the presentations and networking act much like a sunbeam burning away the fog and lighting the way to understanding and the correct path. Today’s meeting certainly achieved this in spades.
The talks today principally revolved around traditional SAS programming concerns and tips/tricks. We had a great presentation on ODBC and how SAS accesses it as well as a very in-depth dive around hash objects and an open, frank discussion of the type of errors one might receive… and some solutions around solving them. Each of these talks offered some value to the attendees. Whether helping guide their way through a problematic SAS programming endeavour or helping them to optimize their time spent, each was well-received in its own right.
I should mention of course that the group almost topped out at 100 attendees today: no small feat to be sure! Québec consistently flirts with this milestone, one of only 4 groups across the country with attendance this strong. I feel that this is really one of the most powerful drawing points of the meeting; the ability to connect and collaborate with SAS professionals is a strong enough pull to entice nearly 100 individuals away from their desks early in the week… and in the pouring rain no less!
I’m keeping this entry short because I’m afraid I’m going to spill poutine all over my keyboard… and it’s much better served in my stomach than making a mess on my technology. Suffice it to say that once again Québec City has impressed.
Before signing off, I would like to thank a few of the Executive Committee members who are going to be stepping down. Patrice Bourdages has been a long-time, stalwart member of the group. His responsibilities have taken him elsewhere and his energy and passion will be sorely missed. The same can be said of Ismael Coulibaly, another phenomenal member of the committee. Thank you both for all of your tremendous work.
My next few weeks are going to be spent preparing and attending SAS Global Forum. Every year I promise myself that I will find time to blog about my experiences there… and every year, those same experiences keep me away from doing just that. So this year I’m going to promise nothing and we’ll see how it turns out!
The month of May will be an absolute cyclone of activity for me so you’ll certainly hear a lot from me as time moves forward.