Monthly Archives: January 2012

Saturday SQL Schoolhouse

In our third installment of the Saturday SQL Schoolhouse, I wanted to share with you a neat little beginner’s resource for learning ANSI SQL.

The site is called SQLCourse.com, Interactive Online SQL Training.

There is also a “sequel” to this course which is a little more advanced called SQLCourse2.com.  Give them a try, and enjoy!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Timex Sinclair 1000 (courtesy of OldComputers.net)On the drive in this morning, a precarious thought struck me: I have been working in the IT field now for 17 years! I have been using a computer for three fourths of my life. All I can say is, wow time flies!

My first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000 with its programs loaded via cassette tape and attached thermal printer. If I remember correctly I had a 128 KB memory module plugged in for performance! Oh the joys of starting a chess game and then going outside and playing for the 30 minutes it took to load assuming I didn’t have to flip the cassette over. The freakishly small and flat keypad was difficult to type on but it was mine!  Those were the days!

My first real computer was an IBM PCjr which was a great little machine for my high school days.  For my birthday one year, I remember getting a laser mouse that sat on a metal mouse pad with grid lines painted on it.  My Dad thought that the mouse was the future (at least that is what the IBM sales guy at the computer store told him).  The mouse came with solitaire and he bought me a paint program because it would be so easy with the mouse, it was not.  So yes I have been wasting time on solitaire since the mid 1980s, way before everyone else! In college I bought a 386 then began building my own machines.  The love affair had begun.

To Be Continued….

Microsoft RAP, Not Just Clever Lyrics

We scheduled a Microsoft RAP, or Risk and Health Assessment Program, with our Premier Support representative to occur this week.  This is an excellent program where a Microsoft Premier Field Engineer comes on site and assesses the risk and health of your SQL servers.  We installed some new hardware and began a migration process moving from 2005 to 2008R2, so we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to assess our new environment as well to look at our best practices.  Additionally, one of my goals for the assessment has been to put some weight behind my best practice ideas as well as some weight in order to change some practices by our developers.  This is also an excellent opportunity for some of junior staff members to talk one on one with the field engineer to discuss some issues we have been working through as well as some of our pain points.

I will blog next week about some of our more interesting findings.  Enjoy!

SOPA on the ROPA?

There will be no blog post today in support of the Anti-SOPA movement.  Enjoy!

Winds of Change

In today’s marketplace we are constantly bombarded with the word change. We hear on a daily basis that we must be flexible to change as the marketplace evolves. The workplace changes daily, yet we are told to prepare for change. There is one thing that never changes: people never stop talking about change!

My life changes daily and as much as I enjoy a good routine, I also relish a good change. No one wants baked chicken every night. We need a change!

A previous manager once told me that change is the new order of business and if you were not on board the train was passing you by. I do not think people are afraid of change in as much as they are afraid of the company changing without them. People want some semblance of security, some semblance of hope. The talk of change disrupts the status quo and says that there is no stability to be found here for we are a purveyor of change and that means be prepared because one day the reaper will come for you too!  Random musings, enjoy!

Martin Luther King, Jr Day 2012

In honor of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, I thought I would pass on some of his wisdom since I am at home enjoying my last holiday until Memorial Day.  Enjoy!

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
 
“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
 
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
 
“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

Sunday Funday

Sunday is a great day for SQL funday, so every Sunday I will post some fun, SQL related links for your enjoyment….

Everyone has seen some form of a mathematical Mandelbrot set, but have you seen it on your SQL Server in T-SQL?  Check this out!

Enjoy this #SQLAwesomeness!

Saturday SQL Schoolhouse

SQL Schoolhouse!

In our second installment of the Saturday SQL Schoolhouse, I wanted to share with you one of the most amazing resources I have ever discovered thanks to the fine folks at SQL Skills: the SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) Readiness Videos.  These videos are amazing and contain such SQL superstars as Brent Ozar (blog : twitter), Paul Randal (blog : twitter), and Kimberly L. Tripp (blog : twitter).  Enjoy!

MCITP: The Long Road Ahead…Step Two

As you may already know from my blog, I have started down the path moving towards my MCITP for SQL Server 2008. Now I have some logistical quandaries and maybe some of my #SQLFamily can provide some insight or opinions.

The first item I was looking at, was which class to take. Obviously, there is a Global Knowledgeboot camp entitled: MCITP: Database Administrator, SQL Server 2008 Boot Camp. This class covers the 70-432 and 70-450 Microsoft exams needed to obtain the MCITP. I have alreadypassed the 70-432, but they are rolled into one course which is fine by me because you can never receive too much SQL knowledge.  Other than that course, I have not really seen any other MCITP specific courses in my area.  However, someone had mentioned to me that taking one or more of the SQLskills immersion courses would be great in this case.  I asked this question a couple of times on twitter yesterday and did not receive any response. Any ideas?

Next up….test prep. I have never really been a big proponent of the test prep software.  I have always bought books and taken classes and studied that material. Is that a good idea with the MCITP or does this particular exam need test preparation software?

Finally, are there any MCITP books that are better at preparing you for this exam?  I have heard that the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Bible and the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Unleashed books are excellent sources for study information.  Amazon has a book specifically for the MCITP, called Real World Skill for MCITP Certification and Beyond.  Anyone used it?

This journey is starting to come together, I just need a few more tools. Enjoy!

Downsizing

Imagine my surprise when starting my current position seven months ago only to find out two months later that they would be downsizing. To give you some background, I have just survived two agencies’ downsizing with the last one trying four times over a three year period before they finally managed to outsource everyone. It is not a joyous occasion for anyone involved and I don’t recommend it if you have never experienced the joy.

After seven months, I can now say that I have survived two rounds of layoffs. IT is starting to feel like tours of combat with everyone just hoping to survive. To be honest, the hardest part is seeing colleagues leave, voluntarily or involuntarily, especially when there was great chemistry on your team. Morale suffers, productivity suffers, and you wonder who will jump ship next.  Hopefully this is just another phase like Y2K, the Dot Com frenzy and subsequent bubble crash. I have survived them all and I will survive this too. Through it all, my databases remain, DBA to the very end!

Enjoy!

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