Friends of Red Gate Project

A few weeks ago I received the official confirmation that I’ll be a part of the Friends of Red Gate 2014 program. This program allows the participants to directly communicate with the product teams, provide feedback to teams, and try out beta-builds of tools.

 


 
The Red Gate tools are easy to use, and give you the upper hand on administering servers and databases. So together with other Friends of Red Gate, we decided to write a series of blog posts about the tools. The first one will be posted tomorrow. In these blog posts, we will try to show you why you should use their tools, and what problems they can solve for you.

 
The group that will write posts just like me consists of 3 other people:

 
Mickey Stuewe (Blog | @SQLMickey) from Orange County, USA
Chris Yates (Blog | @YatesSQL) from Kentucky, USA
Julie Koesmarno (Blog | @MsSQLGirl) from Canberra, Australia

 
So when you’re interested in reading about the tools from Red Gate, or you want to see how people use the same tools in different jobs, you should definitely check out this series!

Building an empire, but how and where?

As you might have read in my previous post, I set myself some goals this year. One of these goals is to move my blog to a more permanent location. I started out on Geekswithblogs.net, but after a few months I’ve moved to this location. But now I want to move to a more permanent location, including my own domain name(s).

All I really need at this moment is a WordPress host. No need for extra storage (I use Dropbox and SkyDrive for file-storage), or any other stuff (as far as I know). I’m only looking for a WordPress host, with 2 or 3 domain names attached. But what are the options?

 
Azure
One of the options is Azure, where you can rent a virtual machine, or just host your website. One of the advantages of having a virtual machine is that you can manage your own machine. You can use your own machine as file storage, and maybe even to host more services in the future.

One of the disadvantages is the cost of a whole package. If you want to rent a small virtual machine and some storage, your looking at a monthly cost of about € 25,- (around $ 33,-). That’s a lot of money. But on the other hand, they’ll move your website and storage on hardware failure. So your website will have an almost guarantied up-time.

 
Web hosting package
Another option is buying a web hosting pack at for example GoDaddy. There you get a WordPress host, unlimited websites, unlimited space and bandwith (a pretty good deal if you ask me), and they also add a free domain name. This looks like the deal I want, except for all the bad stories I heard about GoDaddy…

 
Just domain name(s)
It’s also possible to buy a domain name, and point it to your WordPress.com blog. This can be purchased via WordPress.com. Then your blog is still hosted by WordPress.com, and you still can’t use the full potential of a WordPress.org install. On the other hand, WordPress.com is a big player in the market, and how often will it be offline?

 
That’s where YOU come in!
To be honest, I need your help. I’m not that into hosting plans, hosting providers, etc. So if you can help me out, I would greatly appreciate it! You can leave a comment below, or you can Tweet or mail me.

T-SQL Tuesday #33 – Trick Shot

T-SQL Tuesday is a recurring blog party, that is started by Adam Machanic (Blog | @AdamMachanic). Each month a blog will host the party, and everyone that want’s to can write a blog about a specific subject.

This month the subject is trick shot. If you want to read the opening post, please click the image below to go to the party-starter: Mike Fal (Blog | @Mike_Fal).



The topic of this month is trick shots. Thinking about this subject, I decided to search for the literal translation on Wikipedia:

“A trick shot (also trickshot or trick-shot) is a shot played on a billiards table (most often a pool table, though snooker tables are also used), which seems unlikely or impossible or requires significant skill.”

So a trick shot is a trick that’s unlikely or impossible. Isn’t that something we hear everyday? I know I do! A few quotes I overheard last week:

“No, this can’t be done differently”

“No, this cursor is set-based”

“I have this query (500 lines of code), and it doesn’t do what I want/what I build. Can you fix it?”

In at least 2 cases it ended up with me being right (unfortunately for them, and our company). But fixing the issues took some time, a lot of talking (or, as a manager would call it, coaching), and a fair deal of patience. But then came the hard part: rewriting the code. How do you rewrite a query, based on a cursor, into a set-based operation? There’s your trick shot! :)

Another example of a “trick shots” was creating a solution for a spatial data problem. My colleagues created an application that saves polygons into the database. But unfortunately, it we didn’t use the .MakeValid() function. That meant that some polygons were invalid, and some objects actually contained more then 1 polygon (which should have been stored as multi-polygon). When querying this data, the execution of the query retrieving the geography object failed because of the invalid objects. Finding these objects it the biggest issue.

Well, surprise, a cursor was the solution! For every string of coordinates retrieved, I entered a TRY-CATCH block. There I tried to convert the array of coordinates int a valid polygon. And if it failed, I added it to a memory table of invalid polygons that I declared in the query. The results from the table were printed at the end of the script, so the developer that ran the script could fix them. Normally I’m against the usage of cursors, but sometimes a cursor is usefull to find a problem, as you just saw.

What I’m actually trying to say, it that is that a trick shot isn’t unlikely or impossible, as long as you know what you’re doing. It takes a lot of practice, trial and error, and patience to master a certain skill. And, like in most cases, the only thing that’s holding you back is your own mind and imagination. So try to search for new things, keep challenging yourself to learn new things!

Welcome #1000!!!

I never thought that I would get a chance to say this, but I’m proud to announce that on the 31st of May, I could welcome my 1000th visitors on this blog. And only in just a few months!

It all started on the 21st of September 2011, when I finally decided to create an online brain-dump for myself. Posting things I needed to remember, or (possibly) going to use again in the future. The more articles I wrote, the more visitors started reading my articles. This came as a surprise to me!

Then I decided to create a WordPress blog, to get a better layout of my blog, and more functionality in the back-end CMS.

So on the 3rd of November 2011 I copied all my previously written posts to my WordPress blog, and thereby finished my blog-move. From that date, I only posted new articles posts on this blog you’re reading now.

Since that time, a lot has changed. I started to monitor Twitter feeds (#SQLHelp and #SQLServer) for interesting subjects to write on, and try to write about (at least I think so) interesting subjects and problems.

Just last week I published my 25th article. And I hope to double this number in 2012.

From this place I want to thank you for reading and/or following my blog, and I hope I can provide you with more interesting stuff in the future. So if you have any subjects for me, or questions you want answered, please contact me and I’ll try to create a interesting article for you! ;)

First post

As most of you know, only two months ago started blogging. At first I was like: okay, this will be fun for two, max three posts. But then I got the hang of it, and blogging started to be fun. The more reactions I got regarding my blog, the more fun it got!

After working with my previous blog service (GeeksWithBlogs) for 2 months, I started to notice some flaws in that service. Yes there are stats, but only Views are shown. And those statistics are the only ones you get. So I decided to switch blog service.

The main reason I chose WordPress is the extensive dashboard, and the majority of fancy options. And above all, it supports Live Writer. Live Writer is a tool recommended to me by a colleague: Pascal (blog | @pdejonge). He used it before and had no complaints about it. Live Writer was another reason I kept on blogging. Now I could work on a blog, store it locally, do something else, and finish it another day without re-doing al of the HTML work.

In the upcoming weeks I will try to transfer all of my old blog posts to this service. What ever happens to my GeeksWithBlogs account, we will see. Maybe I’ll let it live because it supported my baby steps. Maybe I’ll kill it to undo my youth sins.

So whatever you do, keep an eye on this blog!

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