The Start of the Virtual PASS Summit Conference
Normally, I would be in a conference this week, somewhere other than North Carolina. Last year I was in Orlando. The two years previous, I was in Seattle. This year, I was supposed to be in Houston. But the pandemic came and stayed and travel isn't encouraged. The conference is virtual instead, and the sessions are viewable to attendees 12 months after the conference ends, which is a nice treat. I also found another advantage to the online sessions not really being time-based except for the chat portion (and I didn't normally interact with others at the conference in person, so interacting with people online isn't going to be a pull for me, either.) If a session talks about "Monitoring and Tuning Your Databases as a Service Performance", something I'm interested in but have little experience in, I can just wait until another session is available, "A Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Performance Tuner", watch that, then go back to watch the first video with a little more education and possibly experience behind me.
I also am happy in the fact that I can attend multiple sessions that run at the same time by watching the session later - something I'd just have to miss when I'm in person. Previously, the conference offered a USB drive with all the session loaded, at the end of the conference - but for an additional $300, after having already paid the $1,200 for the conference ticket to just get into the door! I'm also more interested in tangential sessions that I can just leave in case the topic isn't really what I'm interested in, something I would feel rude for doing in person.
While it's not quite the same as being able to be in a hotel and have fewer distractions because there's not much to do beyond attend the conference when you're not in your home town, it's still nice to have time away from work to immerse yourself in training. Maybe I'll be able to go to Houston next year.