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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.

A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.
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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.




Laptop Recommendations for 2019

Every few years I upgrade my laptop. I try to get through three years with them, and I've had some good success. At the same time, I've also had some wear out sooner, especially with the amount of travel that I do some years. I had one laptop last just a year before it started to constantly crash on me. That one was just out of warranty, which was a shame. Since then I've usually paid extra for a warranty to get a couple years of service out of each machine.It's not quite that time for me,...


More Network Restrictions

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Experiment First

Not too long ago, I had a sales engineer contact me about a script that a customer needed. It was similar to others we have for various Redgate tools, but also different enough that the customer needed help. In fact, I also needed some help. I asked a question on Twitter, mostly because I was busy and wanted to know if someone had solved the (partial) problem that I had. I got a number of responses, none of which were direct solutions, but many of them contained some hints. At the time, I...


Fragmented or Centralized Data

I read a piece recently that talks about the hassles of copying data multiple times for different applications. In my experience, I haven't seen this to be the main problem with data. It's not often that we might replicate, in a general sense, data across different data stores to support different applications. Certainly lots of ETL jobs exist to copy data to new stores for different purposes, which perhaps is what the author is implying. The idea of protecting data is one that is becoming...


Aging in Technology

Every winter my wife flirts with the idea of returning to a corporate job and making more money. Winter is a slow time for horse training, and she gets bored and antsy. Horse training is physically hard, and as we talked about it last year, I said she should continue with horses for a few more years and then go back to a career later if she wanted. Her response was that it would be much harder at 60 than 50. Perhaps, but I think her success in the business world and a strong set of skills...


Feedback and Change

Recently I heard from a number of people that they received an email from the PASS organization asking them for some feedback on why they weren't registered for this year's Summit. I didn't get the email, which is both good and bad. I'm teaching two precons, but not attending the Summit, so it might be good to actually have my feedback.I think the email is a good idea, though since it comes directly from Grant, I hope someone is triaging his email. Rather, I hope that there actually is a...


Priorities and Productivity

Time is a resource for all of us, both at work and in our lives. As I get older, I think time might be the most valuable resource I have, the same amount each day, but an ever decreasing set in my life. As a result, I try to avoid wasting time and taking advantage of what I have when I can. At work, we often have more tasks than we can complete in any point in time. I have rarely been without work, though certainly there are slower times when deadlines aren't providing pressure to get...


Very Hot Patches

"At best it would crash" is not a phrase I'd like to have to use as a data professional. That's a quote from an article that the Azure team wrote about hot patching SQL Server. While this sounds very scary, it's actually something being used now to patch the SQL Server code running Azure SQL Database. Years ago I read a book where the hero was a programmer that had to alter and hack into live code on a mainframe, making changes to thwart the villains. It was a neat concept, and certainly...


T-SQL Context Switching

Studies have shown that reading someone else's code can be both stressful and time consuming. Developers that pick up unfamiliar code find themselves spending much more time comprehending the code than with more familiar projects. I think this might be one of the reasons that so many developers want to build things themselves from scratch, or in least build new things in their team. They find their own code easier to understand. This might be less of an issue with SQL code, which is often...


Live and Learn

I love this quote from Randolph West: " Listen to people. Have strong opinions, but loosely held. If you are wrong, admit it and move on. Learn from those around you." This is from his blog on diversity, which I support and agree with. He has some great thoughts and the post is worth reading. Maybe you appreciate diversity, maybe you don't, maybe advocate for or against it, but in all those cases, I think his message is worth reading. Read the rest of Live and Learn


Searching for Answers Inside

How easy is it for you to search your codebase, especially across projects, and find out if there are dependencies, similar code solutions, or even other incidents of similar problems? Do you feel comfortable that you can find out what you need to know across and throughout your organization? Or is it cumbersome for you and others? Read the rest of Searching for Answers Inside


It's Natural to Avoid Problems

The hardest part of transforming to a lean, efficient process is the culture change necessary to get a team to work together. It doesn't matter if the team builds software or vehicles, the change to working in a new way, into disclosing problems, admitting issues, working without blame to fix them, these are very, very difficult changes to make. Dr. Edward Deming and his work with the Japanese have been the source of many ideas on how to improve a manufacturing process and increase quality....


Unreliable Data Sensors

I like data, and I like cars. I think there have been some really creative and useful integrations between the two. I also think there have been a lot of gimmicks and poorly architect-ed systems, including those that insecurely allow access to vehicular systems. I even worry (very slightly) about the integrations of networks in airplanes. The US NTSA has said no to cameras and displays in place of side view mirrors. These are on the new Audi e-tron SUV, and would use a camera and a display...


Is Data the Future of the Vibrant Web?

Data privacy is a fascinating subject. Since the GDPR was passed, I've had a lot of conversations with people about the GDPR and the way different people feel varies dramatically. Moreover, the way an individual feels often varies depending on the situation. I know plenty of people that want their own data completely private, but they also want no restrictions on what they do with data inside their organization. Others feel the exact opposite. One type of data that many people don't think...


Working in Smaller Teams

I don't know what the average size of a team is, but I know I've worked in all sizes in my career. I've had teams of 1-3, which is common in database work, but I've also been on a 20 person Ops team. I've been in 2 person development teams, 25 person teams, and everything in between. At Redgate, it seems most of our development teams are less than 10 people, but I'm sure we've exceeded that at times. I do think smaller teams are better, and they are certainly easier to keep track of what...


A Good Reason to use a VCS

Imagine that you have some important year end procedures in your SQL Server database. Or maybe you have some important, but rarely run code. No matter what the circumstance, if this is a large amount of code, it might be difficult to remember how it's structured or even how it works on different sets of data. Now, imagine that you have a malicious individual that thinks like Andy Mallon talks about in this post. They run an ALTER PROCEDURE and replace the entire procedure body with "RETURN...


Beware, More Ransomware is Coming

Criminals seem to take advantage of anything that will allow them to gain more money, power, or notoriety. It seems in the last year that ransomware has become more prevalent and widespread in all sorts of organizations, though a number of governments have had high profile attacks. They've often paid the ransom, with the help of insurers. While that might seem like the most expedient way to get back to working, it can be a problem, as this article points out. It can often be more...


What You Should Know About Coding

What are the important things you should know about writing T-SQL code for an organization or on a team? I'm sure that many of you have ideas, and please, feel free to share them with us with a comment. As you think about your answers, think about this as well: what do you wish you'd have known when you started writing code? I went through university quite some time ago, over 30 years ago, and some things have changed in this industry. Not so much in the way we structure the code we write,...


The Crazy Time of Year

Do you have busy times of the year that recur regularly? In some positions I've held, we had certain events or processes that always caused additional stress and headaches for employees. As a bartender, certain holidays (New Years, Halloween) were extra crazy. In one company, every quarter was an adventure involving a late, or a complete, night of work. Different industries and organizations seem to have different schedules that regularly stress employees. Are there times that are tough for...


Staying Focused

Most of us know when we've been working in the flow. Time ceases to exist, and often seems to have flown by when we stop working. We may not eat or take a break, just focusing on a problem and tackling it in a very single minded fashion. Whether this is a development task or some infrastructure effort, we can achieve flow. At the same time, many of us struggle to find the flow in a busy workday of meetings, interruptions, music, slack messages, and more. Attention is a commodity, and one...