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  • Blog Post: I can't hear you over the sound of how small your fonts are

    I've had it. I sat through *another* presentation where the screen fonts and icons were so small I couldn't tell what was going on. No, it wasn't a Microsoft presentation, it was on a Linux box. But presenters from colleges to conferences routinely get poor marks because THEY DON'T MAKE THE SCREEN...
  • Blog Post: Help Me Help You Fix That

    If you've been redirected here because you posted on a forum, or asked a question in an e-mail, the person wanted you to know how to get help quickly from a group of folks who are willing to do so - but whose time is valuable. You need to put a little effort into the question first to get others to assist...
  • Blog Post: Conducting Effective Web Meetings

    There are several forms of corporate communication. From immediate, rich communications like phones and IM messaging to historical transactions like e-mail, there are a lot of ways to get information to one or more people. From time to time, it's even useful to have a meeting. (This is where a witty...
  • Blog Post: Bonus Rant: Conference Speakers and the Golden Rule

    Fair warning: This isn’t a technical post. This is my opinion, and not Microsoft’s. I’ve been a public speaker at events since 1980. Interestingly, even though I’ve done this, it’s never been my paid job. I’ve spoken on technical topics at groups as small as 5 people...
  • Blog Post: Session Evaluations

    I do a lot of public speaking. I write, teach, present and communicate at many levels. I love to do those things. And I love to get better at them. And one of the ways you get better at something is to get feedback on how you did. That being said, I have to confess that I really despise the “evaluations”...
  • Blog Post: Computer books are dead. Well, some of them, anyway.

    I read a lot. I mean a LOT. It seems that computer professionals have much in common with medical professionals – we have to read in order to stay on top of our game. For me, this used to mean web sites, magazines, and other print medium, and of course lots of books. I’ve even written several computer...
  • Blog Post: iPad Update and Answering Ray Ozzie

    This is an odd post – I’ll say that from the outset. It really combines two topics, and both have to do with the cloud, at least a little. Some time ago I posted that I bought an iPad to demonstrate a cloud application. True, anything that runs a web browser is “cloud-ready”...
  • Blog Post: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice

    I’ve been a little “preachy” lately, telling you that you should let people finish their sentences, and always check a problem out before you tell a user that their issue is “impossible”. Well, I’ll round that out with one more tip today. Keep in mind that all of these things are actions I’ve been guilty...
  • Blog Post: I think I’ve finally made it in life. I have a Bobblehead.

    I have no idea why the Marketing group at Microsoft made me into a Bobblehead. Other than this is awesome! I think I’ll call him “Lil Buck”.    
  • Blog Post: What 5 things should SQL Server get rid of?

    I’ve been “tagged” by my friend Paul Randal. It’s a high-tech way of making someone else do what you want, but since it’s Paul, well, I guess I’m OK with that. He’s asked in his recent blog entry “What five things would you get rid of in SQL Server if you were in charge?” This is, of course, a delicate...
  • Blog Post: Agile isn’t always Agile

    I want to make a disclaimer before I dive into this topic – At Microsoft we use all kinds of development methodologies, and I’ve worked in lots of other shops using lots of methodologies. This is one of those “religious” topics like which programming language or database is best, and is bound to generate...
  • Blog Post: Geek it Up

    I’ve run into a couple of kinds of folks in IT. Some really like technology a lot – a whole lot –and others treat it more as a job. For those of you in the second camp, you can go back to your drab, meaningless jobs – this post is for the first group. I’m a geek. Not a little bit of a geek, a really...
  • Blog Post: Code that Writes Code - A Good Idea or Not?

    I’m a big fan of code that writes code – most of the time. For instance, whenever you use the “templates” feature in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or the Maintenance Wizard, you’re using code that writes other code. There’s even a trick of writing Transact-SQL (T-SQL) code that in turn creates...
  • Blog Post: Make it Easy for People to Help You

    OK, there are probably a dozen or more of these kinds of posts, but I’ll dive in anyway. From time to time, people send me e-mails or comments on this blog asking for help. Sometimes it’s on the topic at hand, and other times the topic just jogs their memory about something else. Often I’m happy to help...
  • Blog Post: Spit it out already!

    You’ve probably seen that commercial where the chewing-gum company van stalks the guy who has been chewing the same piece of gum too long, and they attack him and make him chew another piece. I feel like that with SQL Server 2000. Almost every shop I go into has at least one primary application running...
  • Blog Post: Aren’t DBA’s Just System Admins for Databases?

    Last week I ran into an argument I’ve had since I left the mainframe space decades ago. A developer told me “DBA’s don’t design databases.” The inference was that DBA’s (i.e., Database Administrators) only worry about hardware, security, OS, database backups, things like that. He seemed amazed that a...
  • Blog Post: New Business Metric: DBOM

    With all of the travelling, writing, speaking and working I’ve been doing lately, I’ve come across a new trend. My schedule is so fragmented that I communicate primarily through e-mail, and I’ve noticed that I respond to, and hear back from, various people in various tiem increments. Because of the flights...
  • Blog Post: T-SQL Prettifiers

    OK, I don't think that's even a word, but the synonyms (can a non-word have a synonym?) are code beautifiers, sql formatters, etc. The basic idea is that it's a program that re-formats the text in a Transact-SQL statement using a standard set of rules. They do things like capitalizing keywords or breaking...
  • Blog Post: Guessing Gets Worse the Smarter You Are

    I've been in some classes recently and one of the lessons we learned about communication was: "don't guess". As technical professionals, we often think we know the answer to the problem someone is describing about halfway through the person's description, and we're quickly moving to the solution. If...
  • Blog Post: DBA's are from Mars; Developers are from Venus

    They say that DBA's are those who put people into two categories: People who put others into two categories, and people who don't. Perhaps we're not quite THAT bad, but we do tend to see order in our world. But we see it in a particular way. I was reading a blog recently from my friend Ed Wilson ...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server R2's Killer Feature

    Donald Farmer and I are headed for a smackdown. If you don't know who Donald Farmer is, you probably haven't been to any technical conferences where BI was discussed. He's simply one of the finest minds on the topic that there is. Hius demos are flawless, he is engaging, interesting, and an all around...
  • Blog Post: The Mythical Silver Bullet

    Have you ever sat in a meeting where you either got the distinct impression, or were told directly that you should just use product X or Feature Y to solve a problem?  Sure, we have a lot of features in SQL Server, but I don't think any of them is a complete solution by themselves. Let's take a...
  • Blog Post: Commenting your Code

    You should always add descriptive comments to any code that will live longer than a single event. It's useful not only for the other unfortunate souls blessed with your code, but for yourself, years later, when you say "what was I thinking here?" I've recently had to debug some code and it...
  • Blog Post: It Is The Wise Technologist That Makes Complicated Things Simple

    They say that DBA's are people who put other people into two categories: People who put people into two categories, and people who don't.   I think lots of us put people into categories, not just DBA's.   I've run into a couple of "types" of DBA's - or any other IT profession for...
  • Blog Post: Non-Technical - Memorial Day

    I'm technically "off" today, but I wanted to dedicate this blog to the Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S. It's a time when we honor those who gave their lives in service to our country. I served, as did my wife, in the U.S. Air Force at bases around the world. This isn't about veterans,...
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