Blog Archives

Milestones, Keeping Them in Perspective

Today is my daughter’s last high school marching band competition.  Being my youngest daughter, her senior year has been filled with “lasts” and she has been nostalgic to say the least, probably more so than my other children because she is the youngest.  For me this is bittersweet as we will never experience these moments again in our lives but we also know that next year will bring many new “firsts” for her.

In life we have to keep milestones in perspective.  I am more excited about her “firsts” than her “lasts” but cannot help but be a little sad at the same time because I know she will leave the nest in a few months and our nest will be empty for the first time in over twenty years.  That will be a new “first” for us.  A challenge to be sure.  Enjoy!

Talk the Talk? Then, Walk the Walk!

If you follow my blog regularly, you will no doubt have seen many messages like this one.  The clichés sound great and motivational, but there comes a time when you have to put or shut up.

Part of the reason that I blog about these subjects is to hold myself accountable.  I find it quite easy to crawl back into my introverted shell and stay in my comfort zone.  But as more and more people read the blog and follow me on twitter, I find it harder to procrastinate and avoid taking chances.  I have spent years cultivating a plan of caution and self-conservation.  This year I have broken those chains, have you?  Why not?

Enjoy!

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

“Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone.”  ~ Neale Walsh

For years people told me to get outside of my comfort zone, to which I replied no thanks.  Besides, I like it in here, they all know my name.  For years I did not venture outside of the zone.  At the same time I was bored and found little excitement in life.  That all changed in 1998 when I was 27.  I had no intentions of traveling outside of the United States for fear of the unknown.  I rarely did new things because the change may be uncomfortable.

The company I was working for at the time sent me to Italy for a month to finish off and deliver our software and ensure that it was implemented properly for our client when it went into production.  I was skeptical and scared to leave the country but thought at least they have a vested interest in my safety and ensuring that I return home.  I had a prime opportunity to explore Italy being there for a month and I rarely ventured out more than a couple of blocks from my hotel.  Looking back, I wasted an opportunity of a lifetime staying in my comfort zone.

A year later I was a consultant traveling around North America.  Having realized the opportunity that I missed in Italy, I ventured out a little more but not nearly as much as I should have.  Two golden opportunities to see the world down the drain.  Over the last couple of years, I have stepped further outside the zone to begin networking and meeting new people as well as traveling.  In that time frame, my life has been more fulfilled, so much so that I look for new opportunities to step out of the circle.   Don’t get me wrong, I am not all the way there yet.  I still have to coax myself away from my iPad and force myself to talk to people and step away from the introversion.  But I can see with each step brings new opportunities and new adventures and my life has been forever changed.  Enjoy!

Goals Updated, End of Third Quarter

With today being the first day of the last quarter of 2012, I thought it would be good to review my goals for the year and see where I stand in my progress.  I will italicize the updates at the end of each of the original items.

  1. I will post daily to this blog in order to give back to the SQL community that has helped me so much over the years.  So far so good on this one!
  2. I will spend time daily helping people on twitter, SQL blogs, and various SQL-related websites such as SQL Server Central. I have tried to do this regularly, but it is harder than blogging daily. I thought this one would have been easier.
  3. I am setting a goal of 300 followers on Twitter which would double my existing followers for 2011. I am at 377 followers today, thanks everyone!
  4. I will attend at least ten of the twelve Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meetings. Thus far I have not missed a single one!
  5. I will atend three to five other SQL User group meetings, such as the Tampa BI group or Orlando’s MagicPASS. There has been a new Hillsborough SQL Users Group that I have attended three sessions.
  6. I will attend every Tampa VMWare User Group meetings which occur quarterly. I am 100 percent on this one (mainly because there hasn’t been a meeting since December!
  7. I will attend other events that interface with SQL Server or VMWare such as the Orlando IT Pro Camp scheduled for January 21, 2012. Missed the IT Pro Camp, I need to try to find one before the end of the year.
  8. I will attend one Microsoft SQL training course this year, but I cannot say at this time what that course will be as that will depend upon my employer ;-) .  I would like to attend Course 2778a (Writing Queries Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Transact-SQL) and Course 6234 (Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services. I did even better than that, I attended a SQLskills.com class and I am also going to the PASS Summit in November.
  9. I will attend every SQL Saturday offered in the Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas.  I would also like to attend some others, if possible, within driving distance.  I am already registered for SQL Saturday #110 in Tampa on March 10, 2012. I missed the Jacksonville SQL Saturday but made up for it with Pensacola. I did the March one in Tampa
  10. I will volunteer to help with at least one SQL Saturday this year. I volunteered in March and spoke in June and September.
  11. I would like to attend SQL Rally in Dallas this year and I would definitely like to attend the SQL PASS Summit, but with one child in college this year and two more entering over the next two years, I may have to pass on this one for a couple of years until they are situated and my bank account returns to normal. I did not get to go to Rally, but I am going to the Summit.
  12. I will continue to take at least one to two classes a semester online in order to complete my degree in Business Administration.  All those Engineering and Computer Science classes I took 20 years ago are not relevant today and I would like  to possibly return to consulting in five or ten years and that degree would be more beneficial in that long-term goal. I am still on track here.
  13. I will continue SQLAndy’s recommendation to meet at least three people at every SQL event.  This is a great recommendation for networking.  It is hard sometimes to break out of our introverted ways. I have been working hard to do this every time and it pays off.
  14. I will attain my VMWare Certified Professional 4 certificate this year for VMWare. This did not happen as VMWare came out with a new version before my window closed to take the exam. Now I will have to take a version 5 class in order to take the exam.
  15. I would like to speak somewhere this year, my local SSUG, VMUG, or even a training session at work.  I need to get over my fear of public speaking. 2012 is the year to step it up and take it to another level. I have spoken at my user group and SQL Saturday and it is addictive.

This has been a great year for me, and I hope it has been for you too.  Enjoy.

SQL Saturday Submission Completed

My first full-length session submission for SQL Saturday has been input.  Even if I do not get selected, I am moving forward in the right direction towards the completion of my goals for 2012.  The topic, Best Practices Are Not Just Hypothetical, explores the best practice settings available during the installation that will set your server off on the right foot from the very beginning.

Stay tuned to see if my topic is selected for SQL Saturday Orlando to be held in Lake Mary, Florida, on September 29, 2012.  Come on out and hopefully at the very least I can entertain you.  Wish me luck!  Enjoy!

Presentation Ponderings

After my first presentation at SQL Saturday Pensacola, I am ready to do another and need to submit for SQL Saturday Orlando later this month.  All of that is not a problem, I just don’t know if I should do what I did in Pensacola and expand on it because the audience seemed to enjoy it or forge a new path.  I have good arguments for both, maybe I will submit both and see which one gets picked, if they get picked, of course.  I have three weeks to decide, but I should not wait until the last minute.

The presentation that I did in Pensacola was the Seven Deadly Sins of the SQL Server DBA.  The other one I am thinking about doing is just a straight up best practices install guide.  I am very passionate about best practices and there are so many people who I’ve spoken with said that they wish they had known some of the best practices at the time of their install instead of correcting them after the fact.  It also may help that I was asked to give the Seven Deadly Sins at the next Tampa Bay user group meeting this month, so we will see how that goes, maybe it was a one-hit wonder and the decision will be made for me?  What do you think?

Personal Development Plan…Midway Status

Six months for 2012 are now in the books and I thought it would be a good time to revisit my original goals for the year and see what needs to still be done.  My updates will be highlighted in bold.

  1. I will post daily to this blog in order to give back to the SQL community that has helped me so much over the years.  So far so good here!
  2. I will spend time daily helping people on twitter, SQL blogs, and various SQL-related websites such as SQL Server CentralSo far I have only been able to help on twitter and blogs.
  3. I am setting a goal of 300 followers on Twitter which would double my existing followers for 2011. I now have 315 followers, that is awesome, thank you everyone!
  4. I will attend at least ten of the twelve Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meetingsSo far I have not missed a monthly meeting.
  5. I will attend three to five other SQL User group meetings, such as the Tampa BI group or Orlando’s MagicPASSI need to get going on this one as I have not made one of these yet, bad boy.
  6. I will attend every Tampa VMWare User Group meetings which occur quarterly.  This is spot on, since the Tampa VMUG has not had a meeting since Dec 2011, I have not missed one yet.
  7. I will attend other events that interface with SQL Server or VMWare such as the Orlando IT Pro Camp scheduled for January 21, 2012. Missed the Pro Camp, will look for others.
  8. I will attend one Microsoft SQL training course this year, but I cannot say at this time what that course will be as that will depend upon my employer ;-).  I would like to attend Course 2778a (Writing Queries Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Transact-SQL) and Course 6234 (Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services. Even better, I got to attend a SQLskills.com training!
  9. I will attend every SQL Saturday offered in the Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas.  I would also like to attend some others, if possible, within driving distance.  I am already registered for SQL Saturday #110 in Tampa on March 10, 2012.  Had to miss Jacksonville because of a final in one of my college courses, but made up for it by going to Pensacola. 
  10. I will volunteer to help with at least one SQL Saturday this year.  Volunteered at Tampa, will do others later in the year as well.
  11. I would like to attend SQL Rally in Dallas this year and I would definitely like to attend the SQL PASS Summit, but with one child in college this year and two more entering over the next two years, I may have to pass on this one for a couple of years until they are situated and my bank account returns to normal.  Rally was a no go, still hopeful for Summit.
  12. I will continue to take at least one to two classes a semester online in order to complete my degree in Business Administration.  All those Engineering and Computer Science classes I took 20 years ago are not relevant today and I would like  to possibly return to consulting in five or ten years and that degree would be more beneficial in that long term goal.  Still attending classes regularly.
  13. I will continue SQLAndy’s recommendation to meet at least three people at every SQL event.  This is a great recommendation for networking.  It is hard sometimes to break out of our introverted ways.  So far so good.
  14. I will attain my VMWare Certified Professional 4 certificate this year for VMWare.  Not going to happen as VMWare retired the exam before my one year was completed, and I have not focused on VMWare as much as SQL Server.
  15. I would like to speak somewhere this year, my local SSUG, VMUG, or even a training session at work.  I need to get over my fear of public speaking. 2012 is the year to step it up and take it to another level.  Presented at Pensacola SQL Saturday and now will do my local user group. 

Wow, I am well on track this year!

Excellent Article Entitled – Why I Blog – The Atlantic

Today marks the completion of six months of daily blogging.  I am half way through my goal of 365 days of blogging.  It has definitely become a habit that I do not want to break, although I think next year I will reduce the goal to 5-7 blogs per week so that I am not a slave to the blog.  I think some days the posts are forced out of necessity to meet a goal.  This will allow some flexibility if I am just not feeling like I have anything to say that day.

I found this excellent article entitled Why I Blog in The Atlantic magazine.  The quote that spoke to me was:

Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.”

Enjoy!

Leaving Today for SQL Saturday #132, Pensacola

SQL Saturday LogoThe day has finally arrived:  travel day!  I am leaving today after work for the six-hour drive to Pensacola for SQL Saturday #132.  We have a new John Grisham audiobook, Calico  Joe, ready for the ride.  This one sounds like a great book:  “A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…”

Having experienced heavy rains all week in central Florida, I am a little concerned that we may not have a beautifully sunny weekend at the beach.  However, the hotel does have an indoor pool so my wife is not too worried because we do live in Florida after all and this is a common summer time event.

Last night I was invited to the speaker’s dinner, thanks to the coordinator Mark Holmes (twitter|blog) for including me.  In the past I have attended these speaker dinners as a volunteer, so I am moving up in the world.  Thanks again Mark, I really do appreciate it and the event sounds amazing.  I also want to thank Karla Kay (twitter|blog) for convincing me to take the leap and present as well as everything she does for the SQL community.  She really is wonder woman as represented in her avatar.

Tomorrow is also my first pre-con training: “Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices” presented by Microsoft Certified Masters Robert Davis (twitter|blog) and Argenis Fernandez (twitter|blog).  Some of my coworkers think that I am crazy for paying for this training and attending SQL Saturday’s out of my own pocket.  They have obviously never been and met the #SQLFamily.  Do yourself a favor and attend one of these event, you will not regret it.  Enjoy!

SQL Saturday #132, Pensacola

Wow, another SQL Saturday is coming up and I am über excited!  For this one I will travel up the panhandle to beautiful Pensacola with my lovely bride who will enjoy the sun and fun with me as we turn this into a four-day getaway.  After our daughter’s graduation a couple of weeks ago, we could use a break.

This SQL Saturday is different for me in a few ways.  First of all, I am going to the Pre-Con!  This will be my first ever pre-con training as I never could get the schedule right in coordination with my work schedule.  The stars aligned just right for this one, though.  This pre-con will be “Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices” presented by Microsoft Certified Masters Robert Davis (twitter|blog) and Argenis Fernandez (twitter|blog).  Being passionate about best practices, I am excited about this session as well as meeting two fellow tweeps.

The second difference is that I will be presenting for the first time ever!  Going old school MTV style:  This Saturday live at 1 pm come see the world-premiere video (er, I mean) presentation from SQLGator.  It is a lightning talk presentation which will be great for my first time to help me get over my stage fright and conquer my goal of speaking.  I am still considering submitting for SQL Saturday #151 Orlando and this will be a good test of whether or not I can do this.  I am confident I can do this, but I am having some serious nervousness.

Hanging out with #SQLFamily will be amazing and I am looking forward to meeting some new people especially some of the bigger names in the SQL Server community.  Come on out and enjoy the free learning.  See you there!

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