Nov 242010

Thanksgiving PlateWith Thanksgiving coming up here in the US, I was planning on doing a post like this anyway, but then Jason Strate (blog | twitter) decided to ask everyone, so I’m happy to join in!

Thanksgiving is my 2nd favorite holiday (yes, Christmas does take the cake for me). Though it’s an American holiday, I like to think that anyone from any nation can appreciate the thought of sharing a meal with family and friends and pausing to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Here’s my list:

Michelle – First and foremost, I’m thankful for my beautiful fiancĂ©e, Michelle, and the fact that even after knowing me for 4 years she still agreed to spend the rest of her life with me.

Family – I’m grateful for my wonderful and supportive family and all they’ve done for me.

Friends – I have an amazing circle of friends who I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!

Those who Teach – I can’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t learned anything, and most of that was taught to me by someone else. This isn’t just directed at schoolteachers, but anyone who has taken the time to explain something. I do all I can to learn things on my own, but very much appreciate the help I get from others.

My Job – Even on the “not-so-great” days I’m still grateful for my job. Having the means to keep a roof over my head and put food on the table is a privilege, especially these days.

SQL Server – I have no clue what I’d be doing if this product didn’t exist. I can’t imagine what other platform I would have a passion for. My SQL Server skills have kept me employed for the past few years and I hope they can continue to do so for a long time!

The Community – I really wish I had found the SQL Server Community sooner, but I’m glad that I did regardless. It’s helped me learn a lot and brought me in touch with some amazing people.

So that’s what I’ve got on my list. What’s on yours? Feel free to join in!

Nov 172010

Every Sunday, Michelle and I sit down to brainstorm what we’ll be eating for the week ahead. From there, we come up with a shopping list for our weekly grocery shopping that afternoon as well as a menu which goes on the refrigerator. This may seem like overkill, but we’ve found that not having a menu planned out in advance can lead to lots of indecision when we get home from work:

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t care, what do you want for dinner?”

If we’re lucky there will be leftovers in the fridge, otherwise we’ll probably just end up eating sandwiches or pulling a soup and hot dogs night.

As we were discussing the food for this week I got to thinking that planning ahead isn’t much different then the planning that good DBAs carry out, even when there isn’t any bacon on the menu.

Being a DBA typically means lots of different types of planning including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Disaster Recovery planning (bleach, stain remover)
  • Capacity Planning (how much awesomesauce can the pantry hold?)
  • Regular Maintenance Planning (fiber)
Security Planning Fail

Security Planning FAIL

Things like that aren’t just limited to DBA roles either – a lot of IT work is related to planning ahead. Sometimes spending some more time upfront can save you a lot of headaches later on down the road. Inadequate planning can lead to critical tasks not being performed regularly, or at all. If you aren’t taking the time to do things like those listed above, you could eventually find yourself in a whole heap of trouble – and perhaps out of a job. Your employer might not care now – in fact they may think that planning ahead is a complete waste of time (non-technical managers are great for this) but they’ll sure care when the system is down and they can’t conduct business. Winston Churchill’s saying that “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” is very appropriate for DBAs.

On top of that, there’s all the other types of planning more related to professional development. If you’re really looking to stay on top of your game, you’ll want to spend some time doing this as well. For me these are things like:

  • Upcoming blog topics
  • Upcoming presentation topics
  • What certification(s) to take the exam for next
  • How can I pass the MCM now that the new requirements make it much more possible for the rest of us?

In planning ahead as a DBA, as with life, I’ve found that many of the more important goals are the long-term ones. Stuff you think about months or years ahead of time is probably going to be way more important than what’s for dinner, but as the old saying goes: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably won’t get there.”

Here’s to planning ahead!

Nov 122010

Seattle Highway SignAlright, the title of this post is a big fat lie. I would have given my left join to experience the PASS Summit firsthand in Seattle, but it wasn’t meant to be this year. Luckily thanks to the magic of teh internetz, I was able to feel like I was there. I’d like to thank two groups of people for making this possible:

First of all, a big thank you to everyone at PASS that was responsible for streaming the keynotes and women in tech lunch for everyone to see. I know it took a lot of people to make this happen: whoever decided streaming it was a good idea, those who set up the streaming from the IT side, the people who filmed it, etc.

Second, an equal amount of thanks to all of you who were actually at the summit and were tweeting and blogging your experiences. It’s through your actions that folks like me who are stuck at our desks this week can live vicariously through the constant stream of information flowing from the conference.

Being able to watch the keynotes live and tweet back-and-forth with those in attendance and others at home made the experience very real to me. In some ways it might almost be better than actually attending, as I can be multiple places at once with Twitter and I wouldn’t have to figure out where to go or what I’d have to miss in order to be somewhere else. That being said, there are so many wonderful people at the Summit I’d love to meet in person that no amount of tweeting or other online correspondence could ever make up for actually being there.

As for next year, I promise to do my best to join you all in the flesh, as opposed to just in spirit and tweets. I may have to hitchhike to Seattle, sleep on a park bench, and sneak in back doors to do it, but if there’s a will there’s a way!

Nov 102010

In my previous post I asked for your votes in the SQLServerPedia Awards, and now I’m happy to say that I won the award in the internals category. I’m so honored – thank you to all who voted! Also thank you to SQLServerPedia for making it all possible and to editors Iain Kick (blog | twitter), Kevin Kline (blog | twitter), and Jeremiah Peschka (blog | twitter) for all their work in reviewing posts and making nominations.

I felt extremely fortunate to even be nominated, but winning is the icing on the cake. It’s so gratifying to know that people read this and apparently think highly of it as well.

Be sure to check out the results page for the complete list of winners in all categories. Thanks again and congratulations to all!

Nov 042010

If this were an actual campaign commercial (in the U.S. at least…) I would now proceed to not say anything about myself and simply bash other people with comments like:

  • So-and-so uses Microsoft Access and likes it
  • My Opponent sets their databases to auto-shrink
  • They somehow get their job done without ever leaving their house
  • The incumbent doesn’t like to wear pants! What kind of example does this set for our children? They’re simply TOO RADICAL for [Insert State Here].

I won’t do any of that, but I will ask for your vote. I have been nominated for the first-ever awards, and I’m up against a lot of excellent candidates. I could really use your help!

Voting is really simple. There’s no logging in or signing up for anything. Starting at the main page you’ll see a whole list of categories. I’m very fortunate to have been nominated for two: Internals and New to SQLServerPedia. The post I wrote that was nominated for the internals category was Two Myths About ‘Lock Pages In Memory’ for last month’s T-SQL Tuesday. Other nominated posts are linked to from the voting pages.

So if you find yourself with a few free minutes to kill, please consider taking the time to vote. Polls are open until Monday, November 8th.