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…and other neat SQL Server tricks

T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!

Welcome everyone to T-SQL Tuesday Episode 34!  When last we tuned in, Mike Fal (b|t) hosted Trick Shots.  These highlighted techniques or tricks that you figured out on your own which helped you understand SQL Server better.

This month, I'm asking you to look back this past week, year, century, or a time when you COULDN'T figure it out.  When you were stuck on a SQL Server problem and you had to seek help.

In the beginning...

SQL Server has changed a lot since I started with it.  <Cranky Old Guy> Back in my day, Books Online was neither.  There were no blogs. Google was the third-place search site. There were perhaps two or three community forums where you could ask questions.  (Besides the Microsoft newsgroups...which you had to access with Usenet.  And endure the wrath of...Celko.)  Your "training" was reading a book, made from real dead trees, that you bought from your choice of brick-and-mortar bookstore. And except for your local user groups, there were no conferences, seminars, SQL Saturdays, or any online video hookups where you could interact with a person. You'd have to call Microsoft Support...on the phone...a LANDLINE phone.  And none of this "SQL Family" business!</Cranky Old Guy>

Even now, with all these excellent resources available, it's still daunting for a beginner to seek help for SQL Server.  The product is roughly 1247.4523 times larger than it was 15 years ago, and it's simply impossible to know everything about it.*  So whether you are a beginner, or a seasoned pro of over a decade's experience, what do you do when you need help on SQL Server?

That's so meta...

In the spirit of offering help, here are some suggestions for your topic:

  1. Tell us about a person or SQL Server community who have been helpful to you.  It can be about a technical problem, or not, e.g. someone who volunteered for your local SQL Saturday.  Sing their praises!  Let the world know who they are!
  2. Do you have any tricks for using Books Online?  Do you use the locally installed product, or are you completely online with BOL/MSDN/Technet, and why?
  3. If you've been using SQL Server for over 10 years, how has your help-seeking changed? Are you using Twitter, StackOverflow, MSDN Forums, or another resource that didn't exist when you started? What made you switch?
  4. Do you spend more time helping others than seeking help? What motivates you to help, and how do you contribute?
  5. Structure your post along the lyrics to The Beatles song Help! Audio or video renditions are particularly welcome! Lyrics must include reference to SQL Server terminology or community, and performances must be in your voice or include you playing an instrument.

These are just suggestions, you are free to write whatever you like.  Bonus points if you can incorporate ALL of these into a single post.  (Or you can do multiple posts, we're flexible like that.)  Help us help others by showing how others helped you!

Legalese, Your Rights, Yada yada...

If you would like to participate in T-SQL Tuesday please be sure to follow the rules below:

  • Your blog post must be published between Tuesday, September 11, 2012 00:00:00 GMT and Wednesday, September 12, 2012 00:00:00 GMT.
  • Include the T-SQL Tuesday logo (above) and hyperlink it back to this post.
  • If you don’t see your post in trackbacks, add the link to the comments below.

If you are on Twitter please tweet your blog using the #TSQL2sDay hashtag.  I can be contacted there as @sql_r, in case you have questions or problems with comments/trackback.  I'll have a follow-up post listing all the contributions as soon as I can.

Thank you all for participating, and special thanks to Adam Machanic (b|t) for all his help and for continuing this series!

Legacy Comments

re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Just a note: If you do submit a link please be sure to include your name so I can properly credit you.

Rob Farley
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Thanks for hosting, of course. :)

Allen White
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Here's my post:

Thanks, Rob!

Nick Haslam
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Hi Rob,
Thanks for hosting. Here's my submission. :-)


Rick Krueger
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Thanks for hosting, and picking a great topic!

Matt Velic
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Here's my post for the round-up:

Oliver Asmus
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Thanks for hosting!

Merrill Aldrich
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Great topic this month!

Nigel Peter Sammy
re: T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!
Great topic ... hope you like the post!
Trying to kill two birds with one stone :)