Eleven days and counting to the biggest SQL Server release of all time. Are you going to one of the official Microsoft launch events? Microsoft does launch events all the time. I've known for months and months that Microsoft would sponsor multiple launch events for SQL Server 2005. But it wasn't until recently that I had a good sense of how BIG Microsoft was trying to make these events. Many of the larger events expect more than 3000 attendees, and I've heard that some events are expecting as many as 5000 people. I guess there's plenty of money in the party budget when you haven't shipped for a while.

The events are free, but will feature some great content. Many of the events will also include speakers from the SQL Server development team. And every event has been stocked with top-notch speakers and a large number of people at "Ask the Experts" booths to field questions about the new release.

3000+ attendees at an event might sound like a lot of open spaces, but you might have to hurry to get a spot. The first launch event, scheduled for November 7 in San Francisco, is already full. Detroit is full too. But the last time I checked, the other cites still had availability.

Perhaps you're somewhat new to SQL Server land? I've been waiting for SQL Server 2005 for quite a while, and I'm excited that launch time has finally arrived. Of course, it's just my luck to live outside of Washington DC, which is where the very LAST launch event is scheduled, so I'm stuck waiting until January 11 to attend the big party.

Don't live near one of the 15 major launch events? Don't fret--there are almost 40 smaller events scattered around the United States (I'll update you on international events as I learn about them), and you can find information about them at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=17C8E:285886 .

BTW, everyone who attends will receive a free copy of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Free event, free software--and yes, lunch is included. Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch?

Microsoft has published plenty of information about its major launch events at
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=17C87:285886