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The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

Clarifying a Campaign Rule

The nomination process to run for the PASS Board is off and running. I sincerely hope that if you’re qualified, and you think you can make a difference, you consider running for the board. We could use your help in these challenging times.

Some of the people who are already looking into running were reading through the rules and guidance, available here, when they spotted the following:

“All campaigning must promote PASS in a positive manner.”

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Compete. Learn. Win. Sign Up for the Azure SQL Championship Today!

The last six months have seen an unprecedented acceleration in digital transformation. There has never been a more important time for DBAs and developers to prepare for an increasingly cloud-centric future. But there’s no need to pour over stale technical manuals or tedious training videos when learning can be fun! That’s why we’ve partnered with PASS, a worldwide community of over 300,000 data professionals, to create an interactive learning experience that allows you to test your talent and build your skill set for the future, all while earning to chance to win prizes. Sign up now for the Azure SQL Championship, starting October 12th.

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Announcing the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Virtual Group

Today I’m thrilled to announce the start of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Virtual Group. The purpose of this group is to help understand and address the issues around DEI. It will also provide a platform for members of our community with underrepresented identities by highlighting their contributions and creating a space to come together for discussions and support. Additionally, this provides an opportunity for our community members who haven’t experienced issues surrounding DEI firsthand to help understand what is currently happening and how to become better allies.

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Board Spotlight: The Importance of Running for a Seat on the PASS Board

PASS is looking for new leaders to join the Board. Shape the future of PASS while furthering your skills as a leader and influencer. Be the voice of the community in the strategic advancement of a global organization.

Benefits of Joining the Board:
  • Strengthen your professional credibility
  • Expand your professional network
  • Sharpen your professional skills
  • Gain exposure and insight
  • Reinvigorate your career
  • Increased visibility and grow your personal brand
  • Support initiatives that resonate with you

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Confounding Variables from Historical Bias

The following blog post was co-authored by Christine Assaf and William Assaf.

Historical data analysis that is naïve to past discrimination is doomed to parrot bias. How do we combat bias in our data analytics? 

First, we already know that complex, multi-talented teams are best-suited to face complex, multi-faceted problems. A more diverse group of researchers and engineers is more likely to recognize and think harder about bias problems that may impact them personally. “It’s difficult to build technology that serves the world without first building a team that reflects the diversity of the world,” wrote Microsoft President Brad Smith in Tools and Weapons (2019). 

Second, data collection is often provided to us through real-world interactions, subject to real-world bias. No real-world data exists in a vacuum. We should understand that bias in data collection and analysis may be inevitable but is not acceptable. It is not your responsibility to end bias (though that’s a worthy cause), but rather to be proactively informed and transparent.  

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Always On Availability Group – Executive Summary

The ‘Always On Availability Group’ feature is a high-availability and disaster-recovery solution. Since the launch with SQL Server 2012, data professionals have adopted this solution widely. Before implementing ‘Always On Availability Group’, data professionals need to make decisions about availability and failover mode. These decisions will involve discussion with business owners of the applications that will be supported by the databases. While engaging in these discussions, I often get the same questions from business owners who do not have a technical background about the solution.

In this article, I have listed those common questions with answers. I hope this will help in your next Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) discussions with business owners while implementing ‘Always On Availability Group’.

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A Thank You to Our Volunteers

Hello everyone, 

This PASS (blog or news) is one that hits home to me in many ways. Having lived and breathed volunteer work as you have I come before you today not to talk about what is in the pipeline or on the horizon. Nor am I speaking on issues, problems, or things that need to be fixed or addressed.

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Introducing the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Keynote

Every year that I’ve attended the PASS Summit, I’ve gone to the Women In Technology (WIT) Luncheon.  This luncheon provided a voice for women to express the roadblocks and issues that they’ve faced in the workplace and, specifically, within the tech industry.  It provided a way to help men understand issues they might not be aware of, and discuss steps they can take to help and behaviors that need to be changed.  It also provided a community for women to come together and share their stories.

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My Thoughts on the PASS Pro Membership

I’d like to start out by saying thank you to the many community members who took part in focus groups and those of you who completed the membership survey, which contained key direction to support both the value that was built, and the price point for PASS Pro Membership. Comparing prices outside of ourselves to comparable organizations was key, and without our peers in the community who helped shape the end result; well, I can’t say thank you enough.

You may notice that in the months to follow, a price increase will occur in October. The initial introductory price was launched to give experienced PASS members the opportunity to become early adopters of the PASS Pro Membership at a reduced cost. The idea behind that is to take advantage of the new features PASS Pro Membership has to offer and help support the evolution of our organization. The future will hold exciting new features and will be introduced as soon as they are available; including the PASS Educational Series and Training Record.

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Measure Ethical Data Analysis by Outcomes, Not Intent

The following blog post was co-authored by Christine Assaf and William Assaf.

In January 2020, Robert Williams was arrested on his front lawn in a suburb of Detroit, Mich., after police scanned state driver’s license photos and matched his face to grainy surveillance camera footage. He was held for 30 hours in police custody on suspicion of theft of 5 luxury watches, months earlier. He was innocent. In the resulting lawsuit and public scrutiny, the Detroit Chief of Police admitted in a public meeting in June 2020 that their facial recognition software would misidentify suspects 95-97% of the time.

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