SQLAuthority News – Notes from SQLLive 360 – Orlando, Nov 2013 – A Great Experience

Earlier I wrote about my 3 technical session at SQL Live in the event at Orlando, Florida in Nov19-20, 2013. I had a great time presenting at the SQL Live event. I presented following three sessions at the event Presenting 3 Session at SQL Server Live, Orlando, Florida.

  • SQT10 “What Did I Do?” T-SQL Worst Practices
  • SQW12 Ancient Problems and Modern Solutions – Troubleshooting CPU
  • SQW04 Database Performance Tricks Every SharePoint Admin Must Know

I have been to Florida before but it was my first time visiting Orlando and I enjoyed every bit of it. The event was very well organized and attendees were extremely energetic. Every session was very well received. The best part was every session was about 1 hour & 15 minutes and there was enough time between two of the sessions. The break between session provided ample time for attendees and speaker to network among themselves.

Here are the few photos from the event.

Pinal at SQLLive

Great Audience at SQLLive

Pinal at SQLLive

Round Table of Performance Tuning

I had a great time with Aaron Blackner at Pluralsight booth

Pinal presenting at SQLLive

Pinal presenting at SQLLive sporting Pluralsight Vision

Audience gathered for Pluralsight Giveaway

Hard Rock Cafe at Orlando, Florida

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

About these ads

Personal Technology – How to do Exercise and Stay Relaxed while in Office – Tips for Developers

While the modern day worker is usually no longer subjected to 10, 12, or 20 hour shifts, and can look forward to much more pleasant working conditions, modern office life has its own fair share of health and safety concerns.  For example, sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen all day, as most developers do, is not as back-breaking as hauling heavy loads or working in a factory, but the human body was not built to sit and stare at awkward angles all day.  Our wrists are poorly designed for the angles forced on them by keyboards, and carpal tunnel develops.  Computer screens cause eyestrain and dryness.  Computer chairs cause back and neck pain.  Is it any surprise that many developers go home and feel as if they were working in a factory?

Because modern employers recognize that happy, healthy employees are productive employees, there are a wide range of exercises you can do to keep you loose, limber, and energized.  Many of them you can easily accomplish without leaving your chair or requiring a lot to space to jump and lunge, and best of all you won’t be disturbing any nearby co-workers.

Stretching

Stretching is an easy way to take a quick break from work and pause to recognize any sore or tense spots.  When you get really absorbed in a task, it can be easy to ignore the fact your neck hurts, you’re staring at your screen at an awkward angle, and that you’re slouching.  Stretching helps you readjust and better yet, gives you the kind of 30 second pause you might need to break through writer’s block or a logical problem.

Stretch 1: intertwine your fingers and reach your arms towards the ceiling, palms up.  Roll your neck.  When you release, check your posture.  I bet you’re sitting up straight now!

Stretch 2: Lift your legs out straight in front of you, flexing your feet and ankles.

Stretch 3: Lean left and right, hinging at the waist (as if you were trying to bring your head to your hip).  Stretch your left hand above you as you lean right, and your right hand above you as you lean left  – as long as you don’t feel like you’ll fall out of your chair.

Stretch 4: Keeping your lower body as still as possible, twist your upper body as far to the left as possible, then as far to the right as possible.  Do not over-twist or force your upper body further than is comfortable using the table or arm of the chair.  These stretches should energize, not hurt!

Avoiding Carpal Tunnel

As mentioned before, keyboards and computer mice hold our wrists at an awkward, upward angle, pinching important nerves and tendons between the bones of the hand.  Symptoms start with numbness and tingling, and quickly move on to pain and the loss of mobility.  Ergonomic keyboards and mice can only do so much – we have to stop and stretch periodically as well.

Stretch 1: Stop typing and give yourself a little hand massage.  Whatever feels good – the moving your wrists out of the typing position is what is key.

Stretch 2: Roll your wrists clockwise and counterclockwise for a few revolutions.

Stretch 3: Go for a walk. This isn’t going to directly impact your wrists, but the break from typing is most important.

Other solutions: wrist braces to hold your wrist in a neutral position are helpful when breaks are impossible or you already have some nerve damage.  A better chair or back brace to help posture will also help your wrists, believe it or not.  If at all possible, trade tasks with another employee every week or two, to help the both of you avoid repetitive motion injuries.

Eyestrain

Staring at a computer screen causes eye strain.  This is a simple fact.  No matter what kind of anti-glare coating, eye shade, or LED screen you have, eye strain will happen.  The most common culprit – not blinking!  Blinking is an involuntary reaction, on par with breathing or digestion.  But something happens to human physiology when we are confronted with a shining monitor, and studies show our blinking rates can drop by half when staring at a screen!  It is no wonder our eyes get tired and dry.

Exercise 1: This one is easy.  Stick a bright post-it note on your screen, somewhere where you will be forced to see it all the time, and write “BLINK” on it in large, bold letters.  Believe it or not, this will help.

Exercise 2: Clean your screen.  A smudge-free screen will help your eyes, and the movement will help your sore muscles.

Exercise 3: Keep your monitor at eye level (even if this means propping it up on books or lowering your chair), at most a few inches below eye level.  This will help your posture, too.

Exercise 4: Take a walk.  That’s right!  It’s good for your wrists and good for your eyes.  Even if you just go get a sip of water once an hour, your eyes (and wrists, and back, and legs…) will thank you.

Get Up and Move!

Perhaps you have a hard time sitting still, or you would just like to get a little more exercise.  Either way, there are certainly exercises you can do, even in a cubicle, to get you up and moving during the day.

Exercise 1: Get out of your chair and stretch.  Interlacing your fingers and stretching your hands above your head (palms up), stretch up on your tip-toes, and then bend down to touch your toes.  It gets the blood flowing.

Exercise 2: If you have the room, do some lunges.  Place your hands on your hips and lunge forward with your right leg, bending your left leg 90°.  Do not extend your knee past your ankle, as this can cause damage to your joints.  In one swift motion, return to standing and repeat on the left side.

Exercise 3: This one requires less room.  Stand up out of your chair and be sure to move it out of your way.  Then slowly bend your knees and lower down, as if you were sitting in an invisible chair (remember, move your real chair, no cheating!).  Again, be sure to keep your knee in line with your ankle to avoid injury.  To make it harder, raise your arms over your head and try these squats.

Exercise 4:  If you are blessed with a lot of office space, get down on the floor for some push ups and crunches.  To avoid getting too sweaty work in sets of 10 or 20 a couple times a day.

Exercise 5: If you don’t want to wrinkle your work clothes, try working your abs with a “plank.”  Support the weight of your body in a push-up position (knees up or down, with arms fully extended or on your elbows).  Aim for holding a plank for 30 seconds (work up to it in 10 second intervals if needed), and work up to a minute or two.  A yoga mat can store neatly in your office, in a drawer or closet, if you are really dedicated to office fitness!

The Easiest Exercise

If you don’t have the space for some of these moves, of if your office is very open and you feel embarrassed about sitting in an invisible chair in front of all your co-workers, there is one sure-fire way to help eye-strain, wrist fatigue, boredom, and writer’s block.  Take a walk!  Walk around the perimeter of the cubicles, walk around the building outside.  Walk to get your lunch a block further away than usual.  Walk down the stairs to use a further away printer.  You don’t need any more equipment than just your two legs and comfortable shoes.  Even if you can only leave your desk for quick 30-second bursts, it will add up over the course of the day.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Personal Technology – A Quick Note on Good Elevator Etiquette

I have been traveling a lot for different conferences and meetings lately, and that means a lot of air flights, taxi drives, and elevator rides!  There are plenty of rules out there, both written and unwritten, for air flights and taxis, and we all more or less follow these rules for our safety and for the safety of those around us.  However, I have noticed lately that there seems to be some confusion about the rules for elevators, and that it often leads to awkward and embarrassing moments.  So let me tell you a few of the rules I follow and always hope to see when I am riding in an elevator!

First, be Courteous

Let those on the elevator off before trying to load, and be aware of those around you when you are on the elevator – just because you are not getting off on this floor, doesn’t mean the person behind you isn’t.  Don’t stand in their way and be the reason they miss their floor!  Also, don’t cut in line if there is a line for the elevators, and don’t boss others around when you are in the elevator, demanding they press your floor button – especially if you are within reaching distance yourself!  The golden rule applies here – do unto others on the elevator as you would have them do unto you.

Second, be Practical

You are essentially trapped in a very tiny room, standing much closer than normal to perfect strangers.  This has “awkward situation” written all over it.  To loosen up the atmosphere, make eye contact and smile at those around you – no need for extended conversations, but standing silently, staring at the ceiling will make you seem strange and a little rude.  If you find complete silence too oppressive, make small talk about easy topics, like the weather, how people’s day are going, traffic, etc.  Avoid any “loaded” topics, or you might find yourself trapped in and argument as well as an elevator!  If all else fails, pretend that you have a very important text message you must read and reply to right now, which is probably what everyone else on the elevator is doing, too.

Third, be Funny and Creative

As funny as it might be to try standing facing the wall of an elevator or staring at one spot on the ceiling just to see if you can make everyone else do the same thing, try to avoid purposefully bizarre behavior, as you never know who you might be hurting or offending.  What if your boss’s boss is in that elevator, and now you have to explain your productivity numbers to someone you just scared two minutes ago?

In Elevator – on the Way to Interview

This brings me to another good topic – how to act in an elevator if you are on your way to an interview.  You don’t know anyone at the company, and that person in the corner might actually be the recruiter or your potential future boss.  Again, being polite and courteous is a must, and stick to simple topics like the weather or asking about vacation plans if conversation is necessary.  This is a situation where silence is a good thing, it will make you appear confident and well-prepared, even if you are just silently repeating in your head “don’t be a weirdo, don’t be a weirdo.”

In Elevator – in your Office

This kind of etiquette is important in any environment that is enclosed and somewhat cut off.  For example, your office.  You are forced to spend the majority of your day with people you didn’t choose to surround yourself with.  Sometimes it can be hard to act 100% professional 100% of the time.  However, if the need to go out and socialize is overwhelming during the work day, here are some ground rules.  First, avoid the “big three” off-limits conversation topics – religion, politics, and money.  These topics are often emotionally loaded and highly personal, and have no place in a work environment.  Try to turn your socializing into a networking opportunity – ask people about their work plans, how projects are going, and if there are any ways they need help or know of areas that could use improvement.  You will get social interaction and kudos at work for being a good employee.

Five Best Practices

  • Hold the door with the help open door button only if you are one one to get in (in that case from outside) or the last one to get out (in that case from the inside).
  • Once entered the elevator, press your floor button and move to back of the elevator.
  • Avoid using a Cellphone in the elevator.
  • Make sure that you use words – Sorry, Please and Execuse Me appropriately.
  • Keep calm if you miss to get in or get out when it is your turn. It is just elevator, it will come around in few moments.

Final Words

Finally, conferences or other work-related events can be almost as confined and socially awkward as an elevator!  You will be surrounded by highly influential people in your field, and the opportunities to make a mistake are everywhere.  So, in this situation, stick with the golden rule again – treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Make simple small talk, and be as polite as possible, especially if you don’t know who someone is.  You don’t want to offend anyone, whether that person is the CEO of your dream employer or works in the mail room at a company you’ve never heard of.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL – Everything about Data Magazine – FREE to Subscribe

Print media is gradually fading out as we are moving to the new exciting world of digital gadgets. I have seen quite a lot of friends who used to tell me that they will never buy kindle or ebook reader as they do not like reading electronically. However, the same set of people I have seen now a days sporting kindle or flipping electronics magazine in their smart phones.

I have been blogging for almost 7 years and I have been enjoying every bit of the blogging. I have written so far 10 books and I am quite happy with the amount of the writing I have done in the recent times. One of the very popular request, I often encounter why not build a magazine from all the writing I have been doing. I have been avoiding this idea for a quite a long time as I wanted to focus on blogging and quality writing. I also believed that users want to read quality fun articles from every good resource and not only from me. I really wanted to make sure that I get the best articles out there in the world and include in my magazine as well. Now due to copyright issues, it is not possible at all. This was the major issue, why I stayed away from magazines.

I wanted following qualities in my magazine:

  • FREE
  • Responsive web design
  • Easy to read on any device (Mobile, Web, eReader, older browsers)
  • Flexibility to change cover page and content any time
  • Support for any kind of web element (video, blog, articles, images, sound or anything you can think of)
  • Easy to include a antibodies article without violating their copy-writes
  • Social media enabled

Finally, I have found the solution and I am incredibly proud to present you the SQL Authority magazine.

The link to the magazine is http://mag.SQLAuthority.com (please bookmark it). You can also download the clipboard app and read this on your mobile devices. I am eagerly waiting for your experience with the magazine. Please leave a comment with your suggestions and feedback.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQLAuthority News – 7th Anniversary of Blog – A Personal Note

Special Day

Today is a very special day – seven years ago I blogged for the very first time.  Seven years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t know how to blog, or even what a blog was or what to write.  I was working as a DBA, and I was trying to solve a problem – at my job, there were a few issues I had to fix again and again and again.  There were days when I was rewriting the same solution over and over, and there were times when I would get very frustrated because I could not write the same elegant solution that I had written before.  I came up with a solution to this problem – posting these solutions online, where I could access them whenever I needed them.  At that point, I had no idea what a blog was, or even how the internet worked, I had no idea that a blog would be visible to others.  Can you believe it?

Google it on Yahoo!

After a few posts on this “blog,” there was a surprise for me – an e-mail saying that someone had left me a comment.  I was surprised, because I didn’t even know you could comment on a blog!  I logged on and read my comment.  It said: “I like your script,but there is a small bug.  If you could fix it, it will run on multiple other versions of SQL Server.”  I was like, “wow, someone figured out how to find my blog, and they figured out how to fix my script!”  I found the bug, I fixed the script, and a wrote a thank you note to the guy.  My first question for him was: how did you figure it out – not the script, but how to find my blog?  He said he found it from Yahoo Search (this was in the time before Google, believe it or not).

From that day, my life changed.  I wrote a few more posts, I got a few more comments, and I started to watch my traffic.  People were reading, commenting, and giving feedback.  At the end of the day, people enjoyed what I was writing.  This was a fantastic feeling!  I never thought I would be writing for others.  Even today, I don’t feel like I am writing for others, but that I am simply posting what I am learning every day.  From that very first day, I decided that I would not change my intent or my blog’s purpose.

72 Million Views – 2600 Posts – 57000 comments – 10 books – 9 courses

Today, this blog is my habit, my addiction, my baby.  Every day I try to learn something new, and that lesson gets posted on the blog.  Lately there have been days where I am traveling for a full 24 hours, but even on those days I try to learn something new, and later when I have free time, I will still post it to the blog.  Because of this habit, this blog has over 72 millions views, I have written more than 2600 posts, and there are 57,000 comments and counting.  I have also written 10 books, 9 courses, and learned so many things.  This blog has given me back so much more than I ever put it into it.  It gave me an education, a reason to learn something new every day, and a way to connect to people.  I like to think of it as a learning chain, a relay where we all pass knowledge from one to another.

Never Ending Journey

When I started the blog, I thought I would write for a few days and stop, but now after seven years I haven’t stopped and I have no intention of stopping!  However, change happens, and for this blog it will start today.  This blog started as a single resource for SQL Server, but now it has grown beyond, to Sharepoint, Personal Development, Developer Training, MySQL, Big Data, and lots of other things.  Truly speaking, this blog is more than just SQL Server, and that was always my intention.  I named it “SQL Authority,” not “SQL Server Authority”!  Loudly and clearly, I would like to announce that I am going to go back to my roots and start writing more about SQL, more about big data, and more about the other technology like relational databases, MySQL, Oracle, and others.  My goal is not to become a comprehensive resource for every technology, my goal is to learn something new every day – and now it can be so much more than just SQL Server.  I will learn it, and post it here for you.

I have written a very long post on this anniversary, but here is the summary: Thank You.  You all have been wonderful.  Seven years is a long journey, and it makes me emotional.  I have been “with” this blog before I met my wife, before we had our daughter.  This blog is like a fourth member of the family.  Keep reading, keep commenting, keep supporting.  Thank you all.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Professional Development – Difference Between Bio, CV and Resume

Applying for work can be very stressful – you want to put your best foot forward, and it can be very hard to sell yourself to a potential employer while highlighting your best characteristics and answering questions.  On top of that, some jobs require different application materials – a biography (or bio), a curriculum vitae (or CV), or a resume.  These things seem so interchangeable, so what is the difference?

Let’s start with the one most of us have heard of – the resume.  A resume is a summary of your job and education history.  If you have ever applied for a job, you will have used a resume.  The ability to write a good resume that highlights your best characteristics and emphasizes your qualifications for a specific job is a skill that will take you a long way in the world.  For such an essential skill, unfortunately it is one that many people struggle with.

RESUME

So let’s discuss what makes a great resume.  First, make sure that your name and contact information are at the top, in large print (slightly larger font than the rest of the text, size 14 or 16 if the rest is size 12, for example).  You need to make sure that if you catch the recruiter’s attention and they know how to get a hold of you.

As for qualifications, be quick and to the point.  Make your job title and the company the headline, and include your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications as bullet points.  Use good action verbs, like “finished,” “arranged,” “solved,” and “completed.”  Include hard numbers – don’t just say you “changed the filing system,” say that you “revolutionized the storage of over 250 files in less than five days.”  Doesn’t that sentence sound much more powerful?

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Now let’s talk about curriculum vitae, or “CVs”.  A CV is more like an expanded resume.  The same rules are still true: put your name front and center, keep your contact info up to date, and summarize your skills with bullet points.  However, CVs are often required in more technical fields – like science, engineering, and computer science.  This means that you need to really highlight your education and technical skills.

Difference between Resume and CV

Resumes are expected to be one or two pages long – CVs can be as many pages as necessary.  If you are one of those people lucky enough to feel limited by the size constraint of resumes, a CV is for you!  On a CV you can expand on your projects, highlight really exciting accomplishments, and include more educational experience – including GPA and test scores from the GRE or MCAT (as applicable).  You can also include awards, associations, teaching and research experience, and certifications.  A CV is a place to really expand on all your experience and how great you will be in this particular position.

Biography (Bio)

Chances are, you already know what a bio is, and you have even read a few of them.  Think about the one or two paragraphs that every author includes in the back flap of a book.  Think about the sentences under a blogger’s photo on every “About Me” page.  That is a bio.  It is a way to quickly highlight your life experiences.  It is essentially the way you would introduce yourself at a party.

Where a bio is required for a job, chances are they won’t want to know about where you were born and how many pets you have, though.  This is a way to summarize your entire job history in quick-to-read format – and sometimes during a job hunt, being able to get to the point and grab the recruiter’s interest is the best way to get your foot in the door.  Think of a bio as your entire resume put into words.

Most bios have a standard format.  In paragraph one, talk about your most recent position and accomplishments there, specifically how they relate to the job you are applying for.  If you have teaching or research experience, training experience, certifications, or management experience, talk about them in paragraph two.  Paragraph three and four are for highlighting publications, education, certifications, associations, etc.  To wrap up your bio, provide your contact info and availability (dates and times).

Where to use What?

For most positions, you will know exactly what kind of application to use, because the job announcement will state what materials are needed – resume, CV, bio, cover letter, skill set, etc.  If there is any confusion, choose whatever the industry standard is (CV for technical fields, resume for everything else) or choose which of your documents is the strongest.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQLAuthority News – Presented Technical Session at DevReach 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria – Oct 1, 2013

Earlier this month, I had a fantastic time presenting at DevReach 2013, in Sofia, Bulgaria on Oct 1, 2013. DevReach strives to be the premier developer conference in Central and Eastern Europe. It is organized annually in Sofia, Bulgaria. The 8th edition of the conference is moving to a new and bigger venue: Sofia Event Center.

In my career, I have presented over 9 different countries (India, USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand), this was the first time for me to present in Europe. DevReach was perfect places to start my journey in Europe as an evangelist. The event was one of the most organized event I have ever come across in my life. The DevRech organization team had perfected every minute detail of the event to perfection. After the event was over I had the opportunity to see Sofia for one day.

I presented with one of my most favorite Database Worst Practices Session.

Pinal presenting at DevReach 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria

DevReach 2013

DevReach 2013

DevReach 2013

Pinal presenting at DevReach 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal presenting at DevReach 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal Dave and Stephen Forte at Pluralsight Booth at DevReach 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal on City Tour of Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal on City Tour of Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal on City Tour of Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal on City Tour of Sofia, Bulgaria

Pinal on City Tour of Sofia, Bulgaria

Session Title: Secrets of SQL Server: Database Worst Practices

Abstract: “Oh my God! What did I do?” Chances are you have heard, or even uttered, this expression. This demo-oriented session will show many examples where database professionals were dumbfounded by their own mistakes, and could even bring back memories of your own early DBA days. The goal of this session is to expose the small details that can be dangerous to the production environment and SQL Server as a whole, as well as talk about worst practices and how to avoid them. Shedding light on some of these perils and the tricks to avoid them may even save your current job.

Thanks to Team Telerik for making this one of the best event in my life.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)