New England Data Camp v2/SQL Saturdy #34 Update

January 11, 2010 at 8:04 am (SNESSUG) (, , , )

The second annual New England Data Camp is shaping up to one excellent event. We’ve put together a great set of sponsors. Thanks to them we’re providing much better food than last year and the chance at a bit of swag, again, better than last year. But, most importantly, we have an excellent selection of speakers. The schedule has been posted so you can go and check it out and start laying out which ones you can hit. Some of the people speaking are known internationally (Adam Machanic, Aaron Bertrand), some are local luminaries, some are up and coming, and several are probably on the fast track to being MVP’s. In other words, this is the place to go to learn something about SQL Server in New England.

It’s not too late to register, and of course you can register at the door. It’s a free event and, as you can see, it’s going to be very educational and useful.

And don’t forget your local user groups. Southern New England SQL Server Users Group has Adam Machanic speaking this Wednesday, and on a different topic than he’s presenting at the Data Camp, so it’ll be worth visiting both.

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PASS Summit Evaluations

January 6, 2010 at 8:43 am (PASS) (, , )

The big day has arrived and all the speakers are poring over their PASS Summit 2009 evaluations, me included. These things are always a mixed bag. On the one hand you get nice positive reinforcement. On the other, you wonder how you may have fallen short to not get even higher marks. I’d say I take them as guides and move on, but I don’t. I really sweat them and worry about lower marks and ways I could improve… makes me a bit crazy. Be that as it may, here are the evals from my two sessions.

Best Practices for Working With Execution Plans (AD-419-S), 59 evaluations

Usefulness of Session
Poor:0
Average:2
Good:19
Excellent:38

Speaker’s Presentation Skills
Poor:0
Average:2
Good:18
Excellent:39

Speakers’s Knowledge
Poor:0
Average:1
Good:12
Excellent:45

Accuracy of Session Description, etc.
Poor:0
Average:3
Good:10
Excellent:45

Amount of Time for Session
Poor: 2
Average: 7
Good: 22
Excellent: 28

Quality of Materials
Poor: 0
Average: 8
Good: 14
Excellent: 36

I didn’t get any comments about this session. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the rating. I think I need to improve the quality of my slides somewhat and it shows. I’m very happy that my knowledge level was rated high. I’m assuming the Poor ratings on time for the session are because people wanted more (well, that’s my reason for putting down Poor on time for a session).

DMV’s as a Shortcut to Procedure Tuning (AD-393)  88 evaluations

Usefulness of Session
Poor:0
Average:3
Good:25
Excellent:60

Speaker’s Presentation Skills
Poor:0
Average:5
Good:19
Excellent:64

Speakers’s Knowledge
Poor:0
Average:1
Good:23
Excellent:64

Accuracy of Session Description, etc.
Poor:0
Average:3
Good:22
Excellent:63

Amount of Time for Session
Poor: 1
Average:5
Good: 36
Excellent: 46

Quality of Materials
Poor: 0
Average: 7
Good: 29
Excellent: 52

Comments:

AWESOME!! [that’s as it was written, promise]

Wish we had some explanation of stats

It would be nice if PASS let the presenters put up their sample code online before the session. Many of us take laptops. It’s easier for me to take notes around the code itself.

If Tony Robbins were a DBA he might be as enthusiastic and energetic as Grant Fritchey! This guy had his own cheering section in the audience!

Again, I’m pretty happy with this session, especially because I didn’t get to rehearse it at all before the conference. I thought I was a little bit short on material, but it seems to have worked out OK. I’m assuming the Tony Robbins thing is a compliment since I don’t know who he is. I could have put my sample code up before the session, but didn’t. That’s one on me, not on the PASS organization. As far as the statistics goes, I didn’t spend tons of time talking about the things we were measuring as I did ways to measure them. An area for improvement.

From all this I have a few ideas for places to improve. I wish more people put down comments and that they were more constructively critical. I truly appreciate the nice things, but to improve I need the critical stuff.

Hopefully I can get invited back next year.

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SQL Server Standard Article Abstracts

January 4, 2010 at 11:09 am (sql server standard) (, , , )

I’d really like to publish your article in SQL Server Standard. All I need from you is an abstract, a description of what the article will be. I’ve posted this before, but I’ve never provided examples. So, to get people started, here are a few examples of articles that have been accepted and will be published (shortly I hope).

Here’s a great example from Andy Leonard. It includes a great amount of detail, more than I need to make my decision, but with this much detail, the decision is much easier because I know exactly what this article is likely to look like:

   I’m interested in writing an article on SSIS for SQL Server Standard. I’d like to cover ways packages can exchange information at run-time. There are a couple obscure ways parent-child packages interact that make for some interesting design opportunities and architectures – especially when combined. For example, most SSIS developers realize Events “bubble” up through EventHandlers; so that if a Control Flow contains a Sequence Container which contains an Execute SQL Task, an error generated at the Execute SQL Task will raise the tasks’ OnError EventHandler, then the Sequence Container’s OnError EventHandler, and finally the OnError EventHandler of the package. What’s not so well know is: If a package calls another package via the Execute Package Task, the calling package is said to be the parent (or master) package; the called package is the child. In this scenario, events raised in the child at the package level will bubble to the parent package.
   The second obscure behavior is variables in the parent package are inherited in the child package. The cool thing is: they’re inherited ByRef – unlike parent package configurations, which pass variable values ByVal from parent to child. ByVal is one-way communication; ByRef is bi-directional, which means I can make a change to a variable in the child package and that change will persist in the parent after the child package has completed executing.
Here’s one from Sam Bendayan. It’s sharp and clear and defines the article in a way that I can understand what will be covered. It’s shorter than Andy’s, but it’s still enough:
It is common knowledge that Application Programmers and DBAs don’t get along in many cases, and the root of this is that the two technologies are fundamentally different.  It is also common knowledge that many Application Programmers write SQL as part of their job.  However, often their familiarity with loop-based programming is their undoing, taking them down strange SQL paths that produce bad SQL code and make their relationship with the DBAs even worse.  This article will show how difficult the transition is, even if it doesn’t seem to be at first, and how you have to adjust your thinking in order to successfully program in T-SQL.
And finally, one from Michelle Ufford. This is the most concise example and I would be less likely to accept it if I didn’t already have a good working knowledge of Michelle, her abilities and skill set. But still, this is enough:
In this article, I will give you a practical overview of how to design effective partitioning schemes.  I will cover good partitioning design, the differences between aligned and non-aligned indexes, and some examples of when to use each.  I’ll also discuss some issues to be aware of when designing partitioning schemes, including performance, replication, and sliding-window considerations. 
If you’re waiting because you think putting together the abstract will be as much work as the article itself, it won’t be. Four or five sentences that clearly define a topic that can obviously fill out 3000+ words is all that’s needed. At this time we’re only accepting articles from writers with some experience, but nothing extensive (previous articles in a technical reviewed publication or three articles in a peer-reviewed publication or a book). Send the abstracts to grant.fritchey@sqlpass.org.
 
 
 

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Plagiarism

January 1, 2010 at 9:36 am (Misc) (, , , , )

UPDATE: Lulu has removed, not just my stolen material, but all offending material. That means some of the links in this post will no longer work. Back to the post…

And really bad plagiarism at that.

I received an email from someone suggesting I check out a book on Lulu.com, that it might be a copy of my book. Sure enough, this other guy, William Miller, had posted my book, with the original cover (that had my name on it) and the original description on his own “author” page. He also offered a decent little discount on the price. Nice guy. I tried to get an image of his copy of my book, but I can’t find anything on any of the internet archives, which is just as well. His work does show up in a Google search and you can see the cached page from a Bing search.

I contacted Lulu.com and they promptly took my book down. Thanks guys.

But, as I type this, Mr. Miller still has an account. Further, works published under his name are copies of older works, although again, he offers a discount. At least he took the extra effort to provide a different cover graphic. I’ve been in touch with other authors that were on his page (one of them was the original contact that got this started) and it appears that some of them have had their work removed. I appreciate Lulu’s fast response to this issue, but from what I can see, at this point, they’ve only done about a 1/4 of what they need to do. They should pull down all of Mr. Miller’s work and shut down his access to the system. Then, they need to do at least a little bit of oversight to ensure that people can’t do this in the future.

Just so we’re clear, Simple-Talk and Red Gate set up that Lulu page. I wrote the book on spec for them (and thanks, again) and they have publishing rights (although I have copyright). I’m not fighting over this for money because I won’t make a dime if an extra book sells on Lulu, or anywhere else for that matter. I just really and truly hate being ripped off, even though, in this case, money is not involved. I’m especially peeved because of the amount of work that goes into writing a book, even an obscure technical manual that’s only 200 pages long.

I also want to emphasize another point. I think Lulu is providing a great service and they seem to be doing things in an above the board, if somewhat inadequate, fashion. Based on the experiences that I’ve had to date, I’d recommend them for people who wanted to self-publish. I don’t mean for this to be a hit piece on Lulu. I want to get the guy who did this smacked around a bit more and make sure he, or others of his ilk, can’t do it again.

And one other point, kind of a side point, I started posting about this when I found out about it on Twitter. My first response from Lulu was through Twitter. I’m actually wondering if they first saw my complaint on Twitter instead of in the email I sent. I’m going to chalk it up tot he power of Twitter.

If you do want a print copy of the book in question, you can get it on Lulu, or a slightly newer version on Amazon.

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