November 2008 Blog Posts

More Performance Notes from PASS

As I was reviewing my notes from the PASS Community Summit, a couple more things from Greg Low's talk on Avoiding Recompiles stood out as worth repeating here. First, was his comment that using single-part names when referencing your objects causes a performance hit because they cannot be resolved until execution time.  SQL Server does not know, when you refer to the table MyTable which one you mean.  You may know that there is only one, for example, if all your objects are owned by DBO (in SQL 2000 and earlier) or are in the DBO schema (SQL 2005...

PASS 2008: Days 2 & 3

Thursday and Friday of the PASS Community Summit blurred together a bit for me.  Not because of the parties Thursday night which apparently left many people bleary-eyed, but the cold medicine I was taking sure didn't help things.  But primarily because I bounced in and out of a few sessions and had some work stuff mixed in.  And on top of that, my 5-month old waking up every couple of hours throughout the night did not make for very restful nights.  Oh well, the things I endure for personal development.  ;-) Here are a few of the miscellaneous lessons...

PASS GO 500

And you thought that you only got $200 for passing GO, didn't you?  Well, this isn't Monopoly, my friends, this is SQL Server.  And while attending the PASS Community Summit this year, I saw Joe Webb do this trick.  I wasn't the only one in the crowd who went, "Wha???" when they saw it. Most of you readers already know that GO is not a SQL command, but rather it is the commonly used word to separate batches.  In other words, the client tool (Query Analyzer, SQL Management Studio, OSQL.exe, etc.) parse whatever commands you execute, separating them into...

PASS 2008: Women in Technology

I went to the Women in Technology lunch yesterday.  Yes, some of you will be quick to realize that I am not a woman, but the lunch is not exclusive to women.  Rather, it is about women who have achieved success in technology sharing tips and suggestions on how to do likewise.  Maybe as a guy it never really occurred to you that A) Technology is a very male-dominated career field and B) there are issues that professional women have to deal with that men just never (or rarely) even think about. The luncheon was a huge success, with...

PASS 2008: D-Day (a.k.a. Main Conference Day 1)

Things got off to a great start with PASS President Wayne Snyder coming on stage to the tune Born to Be Wild with appropriate video clip and real motorcycle (and don't forget the shades!).  Lots of awesome things coming soon to a database server near you.  Joe Webb has a great summary of this morning's Keynote. Given my current work situation, I play a lot of different roles, so I fully expected to be bouncing around between the four different tracks that we have here (DBA, Application Development, BI, and Professional Development).  But today turned out to be a...

Conferences are Expensive!

Rushabh Mehta, current Executive Vice President for Finance and Technology for PASS, gave a quiz today to see if any of the volunteers had any idea how expensive it is to put on a conference like the PASS Community Summit.  I'll have to admit that I was way off-base with my guesses.  For example, how much do you think those little bottles of water cost?  Yeah, they're "free" to you, or more accurately, included in the price of admission, but they cost PASS something.  When Rushabh first asked, I was thinking in terms of production costs and wholesale, so I'm...

PASS 2008: D-1

Spent the day today in the PASS Volunteer Training session.  It covered a variety of things from the History of PASS (started in 1999 in Chicago) to updates from each member of the Board of Directors about what is happening in their areas.  For those who do not know, each member of the Board has a specific area of responsibility.  For example, Graz is the VP of Marketing this year so he was involved in working with the folks from Microsoft to get PASS and the Summit prominent mention on the SQL home page.  Lynda Rab is the Director of...

Checkout the PASS Web Site

Have you seen the PASS web site lately?  I'll have to admit that before today I had not looked at it in a long time.  To be honest, I was not all that impressed with it in the past.  But NOW.... WOW!  MUCH Improved! As of this writing, it is still in "Beta" which I guess is the new, hip way to say "under construction".  I've noticed that the official Dilbert web site has been in Beta for months.  Wonder when they're going to consider it "Live".  But I digress.  If I understood correctly in the Volunteer session today,...

Twitter Test

If it's good enough for Joe...  I just setup my own Twitter account to give this a test run.  Looks like a good option for quick comments from the PASS conference that may later lead to broader blog entries.  Anyone else playing along?

Last Minute Presentation Tips

By now (we hope) you have fine-tuned your slides and demos, and are feeling very comfortable and confident in the material you are going to present at PASS this week.  There are a lot of things that go into preparing for a live presentation, and there are a lot of bad examples out there.  One of my favorite blogs on presentation skills is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.  Absolutely fabulous tips for any type of presentation (technical or otherwise).  But it's probably too late to radically overhaul your slides and incorporate all of his recommendations, so here are a few...

FREE Parking

Although, officially, the posted parking rates said 0-1 Hour: $5.00, apparently the Washington State Trade and Convention Center has some minimum amount of time that you can park there for free.  I don't know what the time limit is, but I just ran up there on my lunch break to pick up my PASS registration materials and when I came out to the machine to pay it told me that no payment was necessary.  I was probably in and out within 15 minutes (no line in the middle of the day on pre-con Monday, yippee!).  So, if you find yourself...

It's Time for PASS

Well, here we are on the eve of another PASS Community Summit in Seattle.  Last year it was in Denver, then two years ago it was here in Seattle.  I'm looking forward to another great event! The main conference doesn't really start until Wednesday.  On Monday and Tuesday there are day-long pre-con events which are always popular.  Tuesday night is the kickoff Welcome Reception where you can reconnect with friends from past events, and meet new ones.  And then we hit the ground running Wednesday morning with the first Keynote by Ted Kummert, Corporate Vice President, Data and Storage...

Why I Hate DISTINCT

You know... that "handy" keyword that eliminates duplicates from your result set.  Yeah, that DISTINCT.  I Hate it!  My team thought I was crazy (maybe I am, but this is not proof of it).  I am frequently railing against the use of DISTINCT by any of my developers.  "It's a sign of weakness!", I would say.  Or, "It just shows you don't know how to write SQL!" Okay, maybe hate is too strong of a word.  But I certainly dislike its use within my applications.  Actually, today I slowed down long enough to put into coherent terms what my...

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