Blog

This year we started publishing a weekly email newsletter (subscribe) – nothing deep, just each of us writing our 3-4 favorite links from the week.  We read a lot, and we thought you might like some of the same things we liked.  It’s not technology-specific, just interesting stuff.

To finish up 2011, here’s the most popular links from each of us:

Jeremiah’s Link History

Why how is boring and how why is awesome

Benjamin Pollack reveals the secret of great communication: focus on the why. People can figure out how to do something for themselves, telling the audience why your ideas can solve their problems will enage them and give them a reason to learn more. Read it!

Indexing for ORs

Most people write about indexing strategy for single predicate or multiple predicates with AND conditions, but very few people write about a bigger problem: indexing for OR. A lot of time and effort goes into developing great queries and indexing strategies that make most of your code run fast. Shouldn’t the rest of your code get the same treatment? Gail Shaw tackles the difficult problem of indexing for OR.

Get Your Learn On!

When I have to learn something fast, I don’t try to memorize as much as possible. Instead I form links between the concepts I’m learning and link them to analogs in other areas of expertise. I’ve found that I catch on faster when I’ve been able to do this vs memorizing detail.

Database Architect Cat Fight!

Mike Stonebraker is a polarizing guy in the world of databases. He worked on INGRES, POSTGRES, Vertica, and now VoltDB. In this article, Dr. Stonebraker and one Facebook’s database architects square off about the future of databases.

Leveling Up

Figuring out how to get to the next level in your career can be tricky. Jason Rudolph puts a different spin on the idea by saying “What experiences has a master benefited from that a novice has not?” The trick, of course, is to link that experience to concrete goals, like merit badges.

Database Anti-Pattern: The Queue

You can make a relational database do some crazy things. Some of those crazy things are incredibly cool. Some of them are incredibly bad. Using your database as a queue is not so smart. The article talks about MySQL, but the ideas apply everywhere.

Lock the doors!

Here’s a quick primer for when you need to start looking into security problems in databases. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a great start into combining application and database security.

Partitioning vs Federation vs Sharding

Sharding isn’t magic, it’s traumatic.

How Long Will an Identity Last?

Ever wonder how long your identity column will last? Wonder no more. You can cut this number in half for SQL Server since there’s no way to use an unsigned integer, but it’s a good calculation to have.

Build a Better Index

Use these examples from history to build a better index.

Brent’s 2011 Highlights

“I will jiggle things randomly until they unbreak”

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, bashes a programmer for a bad bug fix. We love this line, and it motivates us to do a better job of root cause analysis.

How to Troubleshoot Locking

Michael J. Swart brings you a simple, easy-to-use flow chart showing how to figure out if you’ve got locking – and how to react. Don’t just print it out and hang it on your wall – the flow chart is linkified to make your life even easier. This must be locking week, because Kendra Little also covered three ways to diagnose locking issues too.

Find Your Lost T-SQL Code

Ever accidentally closed a tab in SSMS without saving the T-SQL first? Or even worse, closed SSMS entirely? Grant Fritchey shows you how to get it back.

8-CPU, 2TB SQL Servers

You’re probably never going to need to configure one of these big, bad HP DL980 8-CPU servers with up to 2TB of memory, but just to be safe, you should read about how Microsoft says to configure it for SQL Server. The special notes about SSD configuration are especially amusing.

The FBI Might Take Your Servers

If you’re using a colo facility and your next-door-neighbor is doing something illegal, the FBI might just grab all the nearby servers to be safe. It happened to Instapaper. Does your DR plan cover that?

20 Movies Every Hacker Should See

I’m embarrassed to say I’ve only seen 9 of these movies.

Why Is My Query Faster in SSMS?

When you’ve got a query that runs slow in production, but fast in SSMS, this monster article from Erland Sommerskog will teach you everything you need to know. Query plans, caching, dynamic SQL, parameter sniffing – it’s all here.

Why MS Won’t Build SQL Server for Linux

Hal Berenson recently retired from Microsoft, and he takes a moment to look back at why the SQL Server 7.0 team didn’t build a version for *nix. They’re still valid today.

The Jobless Future

It’s amazing to think about the kinds of jobs that have disappeared as I’ve grown up. Whole categories are disappearing, and in the future, I really believe that in order to be successful, you’re going to have to be an entrepreneur, period.

Move Rows with One Statement

Need to move rows from a live table to an archive table with as little work as possible? Check out this cool trick by Merrill Aldrich.

When Does Join Order Matter?

Conor Cunningham, Microsoft’s query guru, explains in this oldie but goodie.

Make SSMS Awesome

Jes Borland shares her favorite Management Studio tweaks to script objects better, save changes easier, and filter large numbers of objects.

Convert Yourself Into a Designer

No matter what you’re doing for a living, Penelope Trunk says you need better visual communication skills if you’re going to take your career to the next level. I wholeheartedly agree.

Signs You Suck at Programming

This programmer’s equivalent of a Cosmo quiz asks tough questions about your code and your habits. Storing passwords in plaintext? Not validating your SQL strings? Uh oh…

SQL Indexing Strategies

Gail Shaw sums up everything you need to know about indexing with lots of links.

The Best Windows Utilities

Every year, Scott Hanselman puts out his Developer and Power Tools List and it’s always amazing. He knows all the good stuff. New tools are in green.

Be All the TempDB You Can Be

Aaron Bertrand brings you a list of user suggestions for improvements to SQL Server’s TempDB. This list a great read – it points out some super-sneaky gotchas.

Be Careful With Those Temp Tables

Temp Tables and stored procedures can be a great combination. There are some gotchas worth remembering— Jack Li shows you how altering temp tables in a stored procedure has important side effects to be aware of.

A Cheat Sheet for All the *{_(%#$] PowerShell Punctuation

Jes Shultz Borland brings you a handy PowerShell cheatsheet.

Shorter Transactions Aren’t Always Better

It’s easy to think that keeping individual statements in their own transaction is best for concurrent workloads. Amit Banerjee gives you a simple and compelling demo to show this isn’t always the case.

What Should I Learn Next?

Technology is fascinating because there’s always something new to learn. What should you learn next? Buck Woody gives you a menu of options.

The Past and Future of Famous Logos

Wow, these are right on. And that original Apple logo from 1976? It’s real.

Syntax Errors Ahead;

Do you terminate each of your TSQL statements with a semi-colon? You’ve got a good reason to start.

Extreme Negotiating

How do you negotiate when you are under stress? Here are some practical tips we can all apply.

Can You Peel a Head of Garlic in Less than 10 Seconds?

Yes, you can. Be a garlic genius.

Does the Optimizer Care about SQL Server’s Max Memory?

It cares a lot! This short blog gives interesting insights into memory settings and optimizer costing. Read on!

Break Out of All Those Ands and Ors

Many situations call for dynamic criteria. Instead of writing a giant query, make your queries faster by using dynamic search conditions.

Like These? Subscribe to the Newsletter

Every Monday morning, we send out our favorite links from last week.  We keep you up to date on tech news, SQL Server, and just interesting stuff.  We don’t spam you, and we don’t give your email address to others.  Come join us – subscribe now.

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  1. Just a comment on “How Long Will an Identity Last”…

    You mentioned in SQL to cut the number in half since there is no way to us an unsigned integer. Just thought I’d mention that in SQL you could use a decimal (numeric) data type for identity fields. Signed it can handle ((-(10^38)) + 1) through ((10^38) – 1). Using Gary Chambers’ figure of 1000 inserts per second, it would take 3,170,979,198,376,458,650,431,253 (three septillion plus) years (I think) to fill it. Not sure you would want to use a decimal data type for an identity field, but you also probably wouldn’t want that many rows in one table either.

    CREATE TABLE [#IdentityTest]
    (
    [IdentityTestId] [decimal](38, 0) NOT NULL IDENTITY (-99999999999999999999999999999999999999, 1),
    [Data] [varchar](1) NOT NULL
    )

    ((10^38) – 1) …in other words… ninety-nine undecillion nine hundred ninety-nine decillion nine hundred ninety-nine nonillion nine hundred ninety-nine octillion nine hundred ninety-nine septillion nine hundred ninety-nine sextillion nine hundred ninety-nine quintillion nine hundred ninety-nine quadrillion nine hundred ninety-nine trillion nine hundred ninety-nine billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine

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