Help with Learning Powershell

February 26, 2010 at 9:22 am (PowerShell) (, )

If you’re not reading Buck Woody’s blog, why not? Today he posted a helpful hint for getting performance counters directly out of PowerShell v2. I’ll add a little bit to the hint, don’t try running this on your XP boxes. It doesn’t hurt anything, but you get a helpful little message “Get-Counter : This cmdlet can only run on Vista and above.”

Advertisements

Permalink 2 Comments

So You Want to Write a Book?

February 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm (sql server standard, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , )

What the heck is wrong with you?

Still interested? Fine. I’ll tell you my take on this whole business. I’m only an expert on this if you take the adage that the expert is the guy that’s a page head of you in reading a book. To date I have published two full books and three chapters in a third. I can easily think of enough people who all have more experience than that with book writing that I’d have to take off both shoes to count them all.

Is anyone still reading? Cool. So you have the desire to write a book? Let me pop your first bubble. You will make very little money. This bears repeating. You will make very little money. If you were to figure out your hourly rate for writing this book, something I’ve never had the guts to do, you’ll cry yourself to sleep at night for being such a total fool to agree to write a book.

Still here? Let me pop your second bubble. Your home life/free time/family time/sleep cycle/excercise will suffer. Yes, that’s right. You’re getting paid pennies and you’re suffering for it.

Glutton for punishment? OK. Here’s how you do it. Do you have an idea for a book? If not, stop here and go and think of one. I’m assuming a technical readership since this is a geek blog about geek topics by a geek. Do you think you know everything there is to know about… oh, I don’t know, SQL Server 2008 hierarchy data, and you’re convinced you can fill 200+ pages talking about it? Great! You’re on your way. Pick a publisher. I’m not providing links or suggestions here. If you don’t know any book publishers that means you’re not reading books. If you don’t read them, I don’t think you should write them. Stop here and go read a technical book, preferably one of mine.

Have a publisher in mind? Go to their web site. Every one I’ve looked at has a “write for us” web page. Follow the directions there and submit your idea. You’re now on your way. I’m sure things are different for the big name authors or authors outside the technical sphere, but since you don’t have a name and you’re writing technical books, that’s pretty much all you need to do. You don’t need an agent or a lawyer. You’re going to get a non-negotiable contract from the publisher and you’re going to sign it because you want to write a book. Assuming they like your idea. Ah, but you’re not done with simply submitting the idea. You need to do two other things, and these won’t be easy. You need to define your market. Are there more than 20 people interested in reading a book on the hierarchy data type? Sound easy? It is a bit. Here’s a more challenging one for you. You also need to define how your book will stand out from the rest. If Itzik or Kalen has written 50 pages on hierarchy data types… ready for it… how will your 50 pages be better than theirs?

Stopped crying? Other options are to write articles for publication in places like SQL Server Central or Simple-Talk or SQL Server Standard (and I know the editor from SQL Server Standard most intimately, he needs articles). A few articles about the hierarchy data type and you’ll be a recognized expert. Now, if one of the publishers decides, “Hey, we could really use a book on the hiearchy data type,” and they happen to notice your article, you might get invited to write for them. Or, someone else writing a book needs a chapter on the hiearchy data type, they may contact you to help out. Or, if you’re constantly hanging out on one of the online discussion sites answering detailed questions about the hiearchy data type, the publisher or another author may find you and ask you to write a chapter.

Anyone still here? Of the two approaches, I’d suggest writing articles first. That’s going to do two things for you. First, it gets your name out there and you’ll get noticed. That’s how I did it. Second, it’ll let you decide if you like writing. The first time you get an article back that’s gone through a serious technical edit and it looks like someone has questioned every other word you wrote and the comments, while kind, bash through your arguments and ideas like a wrecking ball… you get to decide how much you like writing. A book is 50 times worse.

Want more? That’s about all there is. There are lots of details when it comes to the act of writing the book, how versions are managed, the writing schedule, promotion (if you get any), how you split the oodles of cash with your co-authors, if any (authors I mean, there will be very little cash), that sort of thing.  Networking is a useful tool. I wrote my second book because I happened to be at a publishing party for an author and I ran into his editor. A short conversation and a couple of emails later… I’m losing sleep and skipping exercise for very little money. Having friends and contacts will lead toward getting partnered up for a book. That’s how you can get tapped to write a chapter or three.

Still reading or have you all long ago stopped reading because this book writing thing is way too much of a pain?

Would I do it again? In a heart beat.

Permalink 9 Comments

Buck Woody on Code Writing Code

February 16, 2010 at 10:33 am (nHibernate) (, , )

I realize I’m prejudiced, being one of those evil DBA’s & all, but I can’t help but agree with him. It’s a short post, but worth the read.

Permalink Leave a Comment

nHibernate Database, First Look

February 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm (nHibernate, SQL Server 2008) (, , , )

I’m getting my first look at a full-fledged nHibernate database developed by consultants for our company. I thought I’d share my initial impressions. I’ll be capturing trace events from the database over the next couple of weeks, so I’ll be following up on the behavior of nHibernate within this database as well.

The first thing I saw & thought was, “Foreign key constraints. Thank the gods.” That really is good news. I was frankly concerned that they might go with the “let the code handle it” approach. There are quite a few null columns. I’m also seeing tons & tons of nvarchar(255) which must the default string size. Lots of bit fields too. They also used bigint in a lot of places too. None of this is definitively good or bad, just observations.

There are tables that lack a primary key. That raises a bit of a concern. The primary keys I’ve looked at have all been clustered, which isn’t too problematic since that’s probably the primary access path. There are a few unique constraints on some of the tables too.

Overall though, I don’t see anything that, at first glance, makes me want to run screaming from the room (or pick up a big stick & start looking for developers).  The devil is no doubt in the details. Time to get started looking at the trace events.

Permalink 4 Comments

SQL Saturday #34 Wrap-up

February 1, 2010 at 11:35 am (PASS) (, , )

Whew!

It’s over. New England Data Camp v2, aka, SQL Saturday #34, was completed on Saturday. Going in we had maxed out our online registrations at 500, an accomplishment by itself. During registration on the day of the event, we  shut down registration and just started waving people through the door at 300. Our best guess at the total attendance was 340 (not the 375 I tweeted during the delirium of the day). There were a couple of minor glitches and one major one. The major glitch was not enough vegetarian food. We just ran out. Everyone else seemed to get a meal. We had just a few, read that 3 or 4, sandwhiches at the end of the day.

I want to personally thank Adam Machanic for all the hard work he did putting the thing together. It wouldn’t have happened at all without him and it was as good as it was because of him. Just as much thanks goes out to Jim O’Neil of Microsoft for all his assistance putting things together. We also had a lot of help from Chris Bowen, also of Microsoft. Thanks guys.

Our sponsors were excellent people. In no particular order, Confio, Expressor, Microsoft, PASS, Idera and Quest all stepped up and helped us out. I want to thank them personally, and if you attended the event and got anything useful out of it, you should thank them as well. Around the same time next year guys, please.

We also got some support from O’Reilly who sent us some swag. Same goes for Processor Magazine. We gave away everything they sent us and could have used more.

I also want to thank the speakers. We had industry heavy weights and people speaking for the first time and everything else in between. I didn’t see all the speakers or all the rooms, but I made a point of getting around and sitting through sessions when I could. I learned stuff. I saw great presentations and I saw full rooms. You guys rocked and rocked hard. Good job and thank you for all your time and effort.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who came. It was a great community event and everyone I spoke with seemed to have managed to pull something out of it, networking, learning, or teaching.

Permalink 4 Comments