Mar 222016
 

This post took me a little longer to put together than it should have, but seeing as how I now have a two week old son at home, time is a little harder to come by these days! My T-SQL Tuesday topic ended up attracting 4 excellent responses, which I’m very happy to recap.

The first post was from Rob Farley (@rob_farley). Rob has some great insights into text search, but not full-text search. (That’s perfectly fine, I left the topic open on purpose and never intended for it to be limited to full-text search.) He tells us all about how collation can affect text searches and can greatly influence your results. Collation matters, folks! If you don’t believe me, try Rob’s example and you’ll see that he’s not joking. Rob finishes up talking about how indexes and collation can affect columns included in the GROUP BY clause, and includes a great tidbit on how collation can necessitate transformation of text when calculating hash values.

Next was Kenneth Fisher (@sqlstudent144). He walks us through the query in the header of his blog, which does a bit of text manipulation to create a hidden subtitle. I’ll admit I’ve never tried running that query myself, but the results sure are nifty. Good work, Sir!

Anders Pedersen (@arrowdriverolled his own full-text search back in the days before SQL Server supported it. Sounds simple and effective, and if it worked for the business, that’s all that matters, right?

Last, but certainly not least, is Jon Morisi. Jon tells us about his experiences with full-text search in terms of migration, and how recent developments in Azure sound most interesting to him. He is hopeful for the future.

So that’s T-SQL Tuesday for this month. Thanks to Rob, Kenneth, Anders, and Jon for posting, and to everyone else for reading our work. Thank you to Adam Machanic for dreaming up the idea for this a mere 76 months ago. If you’d like a complete listing of all 76 (and counting!) T-SQL Tuesday topics, Steve Jones has been kind enough to compile one.

See you next month!

Mar 112016
 

Recently, PASS Immediate Past President Tom LaRock posted on the PASS blog about changes to the process by which members of the PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom) are chosen.

Previously, NomCom membership has been an elected position, which has necessitated another election each year prior to the PASS Board of Directors election. I very much agree that this generates “additional noise” in the PASS election cycle, and could also contribute to lower voter turnout during the Board of Directors election. There apparently is also a perception that the NomCom is seen as “a private club”. I can’t say I’ve ever felt that way myself, but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

As a result, Tom has proposed the following changes:

  • Replacing the NomCom election with appointments by the Board of Directors; anyone can apply for consideration
  • New guidelines for the composition of the NomCom
  • Term limits: No NomCom member can serve more than three consecutive years

Personally, I agree with these changes. The NomCom serves an important purpose, but I’m not sure it warrants its own election. I think these changes will help PASS in the future, especially if voter turnout increases for the board election.

For more details, check out the blog post. Tom says these proposed changes are up for a board vote at the March 10 meeting, and there will be a town hall meeting on March 17 to discuss these changes as well as the upcoming 2016 elections.

UPDATE (16 March 2016): The proposed changes have been approved. Those wishing to be considered for the 2016 NomCom can submit letters of interest until Wednesday, 23 March 2016.

 

Feb 292016
 

I’m so happy to once again be hosting T-SQL Tuesday. If you’re not familiar, T-SQL Tuesday is a blogging party hosted by a different person each month. It’s a creation of Adam Machanic, and it’s been going on for over 6 years now! Basically the host selects a topic, defines the rules, and then everyone else blogs about it. Once everyone’s done, I’ll summarize each of the submitted posts here on my site.

The Topic

This month, I’d like to talk about text, particularly searching and processing it. Many systems contain large amounts of text in one way or another. Often, that text ends up being stored in a database, and SQL Server has offered Full-Text Search for quite a while now to handle such usage cases. But that’s only a small part of the story.

If you’re using SQL Server Full-Text Search, I’d love to hear from you. But I’d also love to hear from anyone using any other kind of text searching or processing methods. Maybe your organization previously used SQL Server Full-Text Search but you’ve since moved to a different application. Maybe you have a tale of success or woe from a previous job. Maybe you don’t let any of your text search operations touch a relational database with a 10-foot pole. Whatever your story is, I hope you’ll please consider sharing it with us all on Tuesday, March 8.

The Rules

There’s only a few rules for T-SQL Tuesday:

  • Your post must be published between 00:00 GMT Tuesday March 8 2016 and 00:00 GMT Wednesday March 9 2016.
  • Your post must contain the T-SQL Tuesday logo (see above) at the top and the image must link back to this blog post.
  • Trackbacks should work, but if they don’t, please put a link to your post in the comments section so I (and everyone else) can see your contribution!

There’s also a few optional you can do that might help:

  • Include “T-SQL Tuesday #76” in your blog post’s title.
  • Tweet about your post using the #tsql2sday hashtag
  • Contact Adam Machanic and tell him you’d like to host a T-SQL Tuesday from your blog.

And that’s all there is to it! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone writes about!

Feb 292016
 

Thank you so much to the wonderful organizing committee of SQL Saturday Madison 2016 for selecting me to present!

I’m a huge fan of Madison – it’s a great city that’s not-too-terribly far from my house. I’ve had amazing times at their previous SQL Saturdays in 2012, 2013, and 2015, and I can only assume it will be just as awesome this year. They’ve put together a wonderful schedule with amazing presenters both local and from afar.

The presentation I’ll be giving is an introduction to SQL Server Encryption. Security is only getting more important as time goes on, and encryption continues to play an increasing role across the board. While it was once seen as necessary only at the client level, the calls for databases to be encrypted as well are becoming more and more frequent. This session will cover SQL Server’s encryption capabilities and what they have to offer, including certificates, encryption algorithms, backup encryption, transparent database encryption, and column-level encryption.

Registration for SQL Saturday Madison is still open right now, so if you’d like to see a day’s worth of amazing presenters cover Microsoft’s Data Platform technologies, sign up today!

Jan 202016
 

We’re proud to announce our lineup of speakers and sessions for SQL Saturday Chicago, taking place on Saturday, March 5, 2016!

Building a schedule for an event like this is never easy, especially given the number and variety of submissions. Thank you to all who submitted! We received a total of 148 abstracts from 66 different speakers representing 4 different countries and 23 U.S. states. While it would be amazing to include them all, there are neither enough hours in the day nor enough rooms at our venue to do so. The schedule contains 51 sessions from 51 different speakers representing 4 countries and 19 states.

Registration is open and filling quickly, but there’s still spots left as of when this post went live. Register now and get a day of free training, career development, and networking. (Onsite lunch is provided for $15.) Hope to see you there March 5th!

One more thing – we’ve also got pre-cons! We’re offering 4 amazing full-day pre-conference sessions on Friday, March 4. These in-depth workshops provide an amazing opportunity to study with top experts. Lunch, snacks, and coffee are provided with your pre-conference registration fee. See the event page for more details.