Dec 092014
 

Earlier this year I did a post on a new method I stumbled up on for copying and pasting file paths. I thought it was a huge timesaver, and I use it multiple times daily. Judging from the reactions I got, I’d say plenty of others have found it useful as well.

A few weeks ago, the folks at Webucator reached out to me, asking if they could make a quick video demonstrating what I show in that post as part of their free series called SQL Server Solutions from the Web. I was very happy to let them do so; here’s their finished product:

Thanks, Webucator! If you like what you see here, be sure to check out the other videos on their YouTube channel. Webucator also offers a wide variety of SQL Server training courses if you’re looking to go even more in-depth.

Dec 052014
 

Two weeks ago I decided to kick off the holiday season by asking people to write about what they were thankful for. I was very fortunate to get three great responses, which I am happy to share in no particular order (which just so happens to be the order I received them in).

Chris Yates (@YatesSQL) says that after attending PASS Summit 2014 he had the epiphany that the people make all the difference in our community, and encourages us all to take a moment and thank someone who has helped us along the way. I couldn’t agree more, Chris. We all have at least one person (probably many more!) who has mentored us in some way – we should let them know how grateful we are!

Mickey Stuewe (@SQLMickey) starts off by saying “I’m thankful for a lot and not appreciative of enough.” Not only is she thankful for her nutritionist, her husband, and the SQL Community, but also for how fortunate she has been. Mickey mentions that she’s heard many sobering stories of how some of us got to where we are today the hard way, and I know I have as well. She also writes that she is going to thank some specific people privately, and encourages the rest of us to do the same. That actually sounds like a really good idea – I just may do that myself!

Cathrine Wilhelmsen (@cathrinew) is thankful for her family, friends, coworkers, and her SQL family. She’s also thankful that she’s in a position to be able to help others, has good health, an excellent job, and many other things. She sums it up perfectly by saying “I’m thankful I have so many things to be thankful for.” Cathrine does an excellent job of pointing out that a lot of our blessings are things we probably take for granted a little more than we should.

And then there’s my post, which you’re free to read either by scrolling down or clicking here. I’m grateful for a lot of things, but one thing I forgot to mention is that I’m thankful for Chris, Mickey, and Cathrine taking the time out of their busy schedules to participate in this post. Thanks a bunch! And I hope all my readers enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

Nov 262014
 
Gravy

I’m also grateful for my grandma’s homemade gravy

Back in the early days of this blog, I wrote about what I was thankful for in response to Jason Strate’s post asking about it. Now, 4 years later, I am hosting a redux, and your contributions are very welcome!

In looking back on the past year, I feel like I have an incredible amount of blessings in my life. While there are far too many to count, here are some that really stand out:

Michelle: Everyone deserves to have someone in their life who loves and supports them no matter what. To be able to marry that person is the icing on the cake. Michelle encourages me to follow my dreams, no matter how crazy they are. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime, or in life.

My Health: When people (such as my grandmother) make comments like “at least you have your health” I used to snicker on the inside. Now, at my ripe old age, I’m starting to understand what that really means. Not only is being ill miserable, but it can get incredibly expensive, especially here in the U.S. I’m very glad that I and my family still have our health.

My Job and My Team: Sure I’ve griped in the past, but it’s still called “work” for a reason, no matter how pleasant it can be. All in all I have a wonderful work environment that’s full of amazing, intelligent people. On top of that, my employer sees the value in training and conferences, and supports the fact that I enjoy presenting and sharing my knowledge with others. I really feel like I’ve hit the job jackpot.

The SQL Community: The old saying goes that if you want to get better at something, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. I like to make the addendum that those people who are smarter you should also be willing to share their knowledge. At this point, I’m describing the SQL community, and I’ve benefited tremendously in terms of knowledge, contacts, and friendships over the past few years. I’m afraid to think what my career would be like right now if not for all you wonderful people.

This Blog: I’m grateful for the fact that I can write and that others out there are willing to read it and provide feedback. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing 4 1/2 years and 149 posts ago (this one is my 150th!) but a huge thanks to all of you who have been along for the ride!

My Home: We have a nice house in a decent location, and on top of that we also have indoor plumbing and sewers. Lots of people in the World don’t have this. Sometimes the little things make a huge difference (especially when a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom doesn’t involve shoes or a flashlight.) What’s not to be grateful for here?

My Parents: I’m extremely fortunate to have grown up in a home with both of my parents, who gave up absolutely every iota of their pre-kid lives to make sure my brother and I never went without anything. They encouraged us, taught us, and gave us a kick in the pants (or two!) when necessary. I’d like to think we’ve both made them proud.

So that’s what I’m thankful for this year. If you’d like to contribute to my blog party, post something by Sunday 30 November and link back to the original post. (If you could post a link in the comments section that would be even better!) I’ll write a summary of all them and get them posted next week.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers who celebrate it!

 

 

Nov 172014
 

Freedom_From_WantIt’s almost Thanksgiving time here in the United States – that wonderful holiday where families and friends gather to share a meal and give thanks for all our many immaterial blessings. (And then for maximum irony, we head out the following day to battle each other in stores for heavily-discounted electronics while avoiding being trampled to death.)

One common tradition is to go around the table on Thanksgiving and have each person say what they’re thankful for. To gather all our #sqlfamily and friends around a dinner table would be an immense undertaking (and the buffet line would be super long). Instead, let’s do it blog-style. Jason Strate did this a few years ago with great results, and the community has changed a lot since then. I think it’s time for a reboot, and I’m happy to host.

So what are you thankful for? Your family? The wonderful people in your life? Your sweet new smartphone? The fact that you deep fried a turkey last year and didn’t burn your house down? There are no wrong answers. Whatever you’d like to share, write a blog post about it and link back to this one, much like T-SQL Tuesday. (And if you want to help me out even more, please leave a link to it in the comments!) Whatever I see by Sunday 30 November I’ll cover in a recap post.

 

Nov 132014
 

My marathon week of #SQLFamily is through, and that means it’s time to start writing about it! First up is Red Gate’s SQL in the City in Seattle. Having been an attendee when they came to Chicago back in 2012, I was especially honored to be able to return as a presenter!

SQL in the City was held at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, a cavernous performing arts hall and the home of the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. It’s located at Seattle Center, which conveniently happens to be the terminus of the Seattle Monorail. Even more conveniently, my hotel was only a block from the other terminus of the Seattle Monorail. Me, ride a train? Yes, please!

Built along with the Space Needle (and many other structures at Seattle Center) for the Century 21 Exposition (AKA the 1962 World’s Fair), both original monorail trainsets are still in service from the line’s opening in March of 1962. They very much look the part of what I’d consider a 52-year-old vision of the future to be. Even more impressively, they both have over 1 million miles on them – no small feat when the track is only a mile long! Only thing that could have made it cooler was if they warned you to please stand clear of the doors….

The trip there aside, the venue had all kinds of interesting spaces in varying sizes and shapes, and I’m sure I didn’t even see half of it! The massive tiered foyer provided an excellent space for networking and demonstration of Red Gate’s products, while the meeting rooms were the perfect fit for presentations.

The first session of the day was the keynote, “Ship Often, Ship Safe”, highlighting the capabilities of Red Gate’s Data Lifecycle Management (DLM) tools. After that, I headed to a talk entitled “You Did WHAT To My Transaction Log?” by Gail Shaw and Tony Davis. This was a hilarious look at ways you can make a problem so much worse by using *helpful tips* found on internet forums. Of course in the end they showed how to fix the problem the correct way. From there it was break time and some networking, and then off to Matt Slocum’s talk on 101 stupid things your colleagues do when setting up SQL Server.

After that it was time for lunch, and then I retreated to the ready room to make sure my slides and demos were ready for my presentation on Passive Security for Hostile Environments. I had a wonderful audience that asked a ton of questions both during and after. All the feedback I’ve seen to date has been positive, so I’ll go ahead and declare my session a success!

With my session all done, I headed over to Ed Leighton-Dick’s case study on SQL source control adoption. He delivered an excellent summary of his experiences with source control to a packed room – I ended up sitting on the floor!

Following that was happy hour, with drinks, snacks, and plenty of conversation. Every attendee also got their choice of a Red Gate book to take home.

All in all it was a wonderful day. A huge thanks to Red Gate for all their efforts in putting together such an amazing – and free – event that not only offers some excellent knowledge but also provides plenty of opportunity for interaction with presenters, Red Gate experts, and other attendees. I hope I can find myself at another one in the future!