Monthly Archives: September 2012

What a Great SQL Weekend

My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful weekend in Lake Mary, Florida at SQL Saturday #151.   We enjoy getting away for the weekend and staying in our beloved Marriott chains.  This time fortunately, we had earned two free nights from previous stays this year and being a gold member we were able to score an upgrade to a fabulous room.  My wife met with some of her friends for a day of shopping while I enjoyed a great day of SQL Learning thanks to the great user groups in Orlando, OPASS and MagicPASS.

We enjoyed a great breakfast at the hotel and a couple of hours in the pool before checking out and heading home.  These little weekend getaways are a great break from our every day routines.   It was also great spending time with my #SQLFamily and seeing so many of them for the first time and so many of them again.  Until you have experienced the #SQLFamily, you have no idea what you are missing.

I Survived!

Well my first SQL Saturday presentation has been completed. No one was injured, I didn’t respond to my flight (as in fight or flight) instincts, and no one heckled me. It didn’t go as well as I imagined but it was a learning experience. I will get better, so if you attended my session today, I apologize, but thank you for being my guinea pigs.

To be honest, I think I did better than my lightning round presentation last June. I understand that it is an evolutionary process, but I was confident that I was more evolved than I really am.

If you’ve never presented a topic, I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

Airline Travel Booking Is Ridiculous

Admittedly, I do not pay much attention to the travel commercials on a daily basis as I have not flown in a little over a year.  I know who they are and I pulled them out this week looking for a flight to Seattle.  Here is what I have found, they are a joke.  The only one I would recommend is hipmunk.com, which I heard about through my friend Kendal Van Dyke (blog | twitter).  It is useful for seeing the flights visually across the times along with their price and a feature they call agony (as in how long you are travelling in addition to price).

Another thing that I have learned is that Priceline.com is cheaper at the cost of airline mileage.  If you do not care about frequent flyer miles, then Priceline.com is probably your best option.  All of the other major sites seemed to have to same prices as the airlines for the same flight.  AAA, was the exception, they would charge me $25 for booking through them at the same cost.  So, they would cost me more money to book the same flight.

Maybe it is because I live in the land of Mickey Mouse that flights from here and to here rarely discounted.  Other people have told me that they have had success with some of these sites, so maybe it is just my limited window that is not flexible.  I will try again next time.  Enjoy your weekend and see you tomorrow at SQL Saturday 151.

PASS Summit 2012 Information

Rob Farley (blog | twitter) and LobsterPot Solutions  put together a nifty HTML 5 PivotViewer to view the details for all of the sessions for the PASS Summit 2012 conference with pictures of the presenters as well as all of the necessary details.  It is amazing to see this in action and to be able to compare session topics visually.  Kudos to Rob.

  • PASS also released yesterday the PDF format for the schedule.
  • Check out all of the After Hours events and I will see you at #SQLKaraoke.
  • If you are a First Timer like me then check out the First Timers Program.

Enjoy and I will see you there!

SQL Saturday #151, T minus 3 Days and Counting

SQL Sat 151It’s Wednesday and the 6th annual SQL Saturday for Orlando is around the corner.  This is where it all started, it is also home to the first SQL Saturday that I went to.  You know you want to get some free learning and eat some great barbecue.

There is still time for you to register and come see some of SQL Server’s greatest speakers.  Then when you finish their sessions, stop in for mine so that you can fully appreciate how great they really are.  There are also two excellent Pre-Cons by Kevin Kline (twitter | blog) and Stacia Misner (twitter | blog).  If you have never attended a Pre-Con, then do yourself a favor and try it, it is worth the $99.  Enjoy and see you there!

Keeping Track of Details

After creating a few new SQL accounts this morning, I thought I would share how I keep track of minor details like this.  We use SharePoint for our department to track documents, procedures, processes, etc.  This is a great place to track minute SQL Server details like accounts and databases.  For example, we have over 280 databases across 32 servers.  Some of the applications may have five or ten databases and I cannot keep 280 databases in my head as far as where they are, what application they are used for, who the business owner is, and if they are production, acceptance, or development.

I setup a SharePoint spreadsheet (ok its called a datasheet, but it is just a spreadsheet), for tracking SQL user name and passwords and of course I limit the access on this sheet, in case you were thinking about that.  This is handy so that we do not have to reset them when the application administrator forgets it and wants to reset it and throw the application into turmoil.  I also setup a datasheet to track the name, server and the business owner so I know who to contact when a server goes down, who to contact when I need to do maintenance, in addition to knowing where the database is when a user reports an issue.  This is a great organizational tool, I hope it helps you.

Do you do this differently?  Enjoy!

SQL Saturday #168, Tampa BI Edition

Yesterday I received some terrific news, I was selected to speak at the Tampa BI Edition of SQL Saturday on November 17, 2012.  I will be giving my “Best Practices Are Not Just Hypothetical” presentation at 2pm.  I would like to thank the Tampa Business Intelligence SQL Server User Group; I am humbled by their selection.

Register for a great day of free SQL Server learning highlighting Business Intelligence but also featuring database administration and professional development.  It will be located again this year at KForce Professional Staffing in beautiful Yboy City.  Check out the two excellent pre-con trainings provided as well.  I cannot wait to see you there.  Enjoy!

Sunday Funday

Today’s installment of Sunday Funday brings you some fun with T-SQL by Nick Jacobsen, the classic 99 Bottles of Beer T-SQL style.   Enjoy!

Setting Your Sights

Today I went to a local gun range to try to sight my 7mm-08 Savage hunting rifle.  After missing several shots, I became somewhat agitated to not be hitting my target, not even hitting the paper.  While trying to bore sight it at 25 yards, I realized that my nice scope was not working.  The adjustment knobs were stripped and unable to readjust the scope.

This is like life, we get frustrated when we don’t hit our targets only to find that our sights are not set on the target.  We must be able to readjust and zero in on our targets and goals.  Enjoy!

Using the Right Tool

My week has been spent deep diving with the OpNet AppInternals Xpert and AppResponse console to learn some more valuable troubleshooting skills for our servers and applications that we administer including SQL Server and Oracle.

Using OpNet, I have been able to resolve three major headaches for my team this week working with their engineer. I am reminded of the simple fact that sometimes the ability to do your job well consists of having the proper tools to perform the job. With the cost of these tools sometimes you have to be able to justify the need but this one pays for itself many times over and that says a lot because it is pricey.

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