Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Code Camps vs. SQL Saturday

I had a good conversation with our developer evangalist (Joe Healy) the other day, and he mentioned that SQL content is way down at code camps due to the pull of SQL Saturday. As I was preparing my latest presentation for this weekend, I felt a little excited. I then began to wonder why I was excited to prepare slide decks, and realized that I hadn't given a talk since May, and I've only done four this whole year (February, March, May, and October.). Feb. was in Miami, and May in Jacksonville, and March and October in Orlando.  . In 2006 and 2007 I did 7-8 talks per year, so either people are getting tired of hearing me talk, or I am not getting out as much as I used to.

After a few minutes of thought, it dawned on me that Tampa code camp was moved to December, and I missed Jacksonville and Tallahassee due to traveling to client sites. So the problem is not that I'm doing less, it's just that I'm doing different things. I would definately rather work and make money than give talks for free, but I do get a great return of satisfaction having passed on some knowledge at these events.

Going back to Joe's comment, he is correct that as the events have pretty much split in two, there is less database content at Code camps. I begged and pleaded with Keith to give me a SQL track at Tampa code camp a few years ago, and while we had a good representation, there was never the content flow that I think would be an awesome winner. I'm hoping to keep some sort of presence for the code campers who want to know database stuff but don't know or aren't interested in it enough to go to a SQL Saturday.

As I learned when I was a kid, if you can't find a road, make one.    Keep your eyes tuned to the upcoming 'Day of Data' event.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Installing SQL Server 2008

I recently installed my first version of SQL Server 2008. I used the Enterprise edition and installed on on Windows Server 2003 running in a VPC. This is certainly not the ideal setup for any kind of benchmark analysis, but it was a good experience.

The installation proceeded very easily. I first had to install the .NET 3.5 Framework, reboot the machine, and start the full installation. I chose to do Windows authentication and set everything to be default and the same user accounts. This is not a good practice for production environment, but if my laptop is considered a full-scale production center, consider me guilty.

Having done a 'select all' on the components, it took just over 1 hour for the full software to load, but I was very pleased to see all the services come up without so much as a reboot. I've been playing around all night with Change data capture (CDC for short) so I hope to write about it soon.

We're up an running, and that's a start.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

SQL Saturday - Orlando

I'll be attending the 2nd annual Orlando SQL Saturday event on October 25. Andy Warren and the OPass crew host this event and they did a heckuva job last year and I'm sure this year will be even better.

My session is all new: "Building a Data Warehouse using SQL Server 2008". This session is all new with a great new data warehouse example. I have been using the airline example, but we'll step it up a notch and look at not only how a major airline can use SSIS, but also how a major manufacturer can as well. I'm really excited about this presentation, as I believe SSIS 2008 will be the version that finally gets the respect it deserves in the marketplace.

I already have the slide deck done and posted on the website (wow, that's a record for me) so if you want to print it off beforehand you can get it at http://durableimpact.com/resources.aspx

Hope to see you there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Complete System Reformat

I have written before about my desire to replace my Dell laptop that I use for business with a newer model. After months of fruitless searching, I found the only suitable replacement - an Apple MacBook Pro 17. The steep price tag of the Apple had me reconsider exactly why I needed a new laptop, and I came up with the following reason. My Dell is slow. Slow is hard to quantify, but the hard drive is constantly seeking, and then I had an ah-ha moment. I remember this Dell was quite snappy under Windows XP Pro but seemed to labor under Vista. What if I took it back to XP Pro? Would the speed be acceptable to get another years' life from this machine which has served me well?

Today I found the answer. I just spent 6 hours of my life reinstalling everything from Windows XP Pro to Office 2007 to SQL Server. I was able to save my virtual machines, and VPC is running 10x faster now than it did before. The only negative I have seen is that the Windows Mobile Device center is no longer and it's back to Active Sync for the cellphone.

Why do so many people have problems with Vista? I think the software itself is not too bad, but it is definately a bloated O/S. My Dell is maxed out at 2 GB ram, and with Vista and VPC I would fill it all up. Doing the same on XP Pro I am still at 1.2 GB with everything running. I think I will be very happy with this reformat, and thus be able to squeeze another year out of this machine.

Aside from dealing with a slow Vista system, I have had some problems with WM 6.1 on my Sprint Mogul. This version of software seems to have memory leaks such that the memory fills up and necessitates a reboot every 3-4 days to keep everything running OK. I'm slightly surprised and disappointed that Microsoft has not yet fixed these errors. The 6.1 software is 10x better than the old 5.0 that I had on my last phone, but I am definately looking forward to Windows 7 for both the laptop and phone. Let's just hope that MSFT puts a lot of work into slimming down both systems to make them run better.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

IE 8.0 Review

Hello readers. It's been a while since I posted and I apologize about that. Let me start with a comment about Internet Explorer 8, which I have installed on my Dell laptop. Yeah, this is my main computer since I still have not found anything on the market to satisfy my needs (See earlier post about Laptops). Apple is coming out with a new line this week which might be promising.

Anyways, I installed IE 8.0 which is supposed to be more stable and quicker than IE7. Let me say that I use IE for everything so I can't compare it to Firefox. IE8 does have some nice right click menus (called Accelerators) which allow different functions (Blog with Windows Live is one). The concept of accelerators holds a lot of promise. With regards to websites, I've had no issue with about 95% of the pages, some of them work best in compatibility mode, which is a great mode inclusion for the browser. It does seem quicker with less overhead, and the 3 or 4 times that it's crashed, it pulls itself right back up where it left off, which is nice cleanup work. The one complaint I do have is how much the brower slows down with Flash pages, and Adobe PDF files. I'm not sure why that is, but let's hope it gets fixed for the final release.

All in all, a nice upgrade from IE7.