SQLAuthority News – Happy New Year 2014 – Resolution of the New Years

First of all, happy New Year to all of you – 2014 has started!

Every year I make at least one resolution, some I do for the public on my blog.  The reason is simple – if I declare something in front of all of you, there is a good chance I will be held accountable to it.  Without my readers, no one will check up on me and it will be easy to fall off the wagon.  But this year I am making more than resolutions, I am making commitments to myself, and I want to follow them.  In fact, I want to finish them in six months, not a whole year.  A few of my 2014 commitments are professional, and some are in my personal life.  I want to see how I progress over the year.

However, before I go to year 2014 resolutions, let us check how did I do with my SQL 2013’s resolution.

  • Write more books – Done. I wrote total 10 books before the end of year 2013.
  • Go beyond SQL – Done. I learned a lot about Big Data (wrote a series on it) and MySQL (build courses on it).
  • Attend SQL training – Done. I learned that in Feb 2013.
  • Reduce my weight – Failed. I gained a few pounds.

Well, I am disappointed that I failed in taking care of my health in 2013. Now in year 2014, I must focus on my health – there should not be any excuse. Without further ado here are my year 2014’s resolutions.

Reduce My Weight

I failed this last year so I must keep this one as a priority. This is a very difficult one for me personally. I travel a lot – internationally and domestic. I have a sweet tooth and I love anything sweet. I love fast food and we all know what this one does to people. Anyway, I am still going to reduce my weight in the year 2014. I am going to eat healthy and every day going to spend 30-45 minutes of exercise. My wife is going to come up with the plan so I will have someone always watching my progress. I did not want to talk about this any more as last year I failed with this goal. Let us talk about this next year.

Learn More on Big Data / NOSQL

I did a pretty good job in the year 2013 with this subject. I pretty much walked into my non-comfort zone and learned a lot about Big Data. I wrote a month long series on Big Data on this blog and did presentations as well on this topic. I feel I have overcome initial obstacles and I can now handle Big Data subject pretty easily. However, the subject of Big Data is indeed very wide and deep. I think there are lots of different things to learn from me and I have a long way to go before I even call myself a moderate expert on this subject. I am going to come up with one or two different series on NoSQL and Big Data in year 2014 and learn more about them.

More Video Training Courses

In year 2013 I have done 7 of Pluralsight video courses on various subjects. You can see the list over here. I am planning to do a minimum of 4 (one per quarter) video course for Pluralsight on various subjects. I like to do a mix of database and social media courses. I have built a list of the courses with me and I am hoping that I will be able to accomplish my goal for Video Courses in the year 2014. Trust me sharing the knowledge with the medium of video is very satisfying.

Well, that’s it. I have three simple goals and I hope that next year when I write this blog post, I have completed all of my goals.

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

SQL – A Career in Database Forensics

A growing field in the information security domain – Database Forensics offers a comprehensive and highly sophisticated skill set that allows professionals to uncover and trace data security breaches of the highest order and complexity. Many enterprises are looking to hire such professionals nowadays. Critical data needs to be guarded and organizations are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that their confidential records are safely stored and accessed. But how do you become a forensics expert without getting lost in the maze of security programs and products. Koenig India shows you the way:

Why are databases critical assets?

  • They hold crucial information
  • Database servers contain sensitive information which can be used as well as misused
  • Data security regulations mandate all security breaches to be reported

Therefore, Using analysis and  investigative tools and techniques, professionals gather evidence from the database which is suitable for presenting legally in a court of law.

Some Benefits

  • Identify pre and post transaction data
  • Retrace user DDL & DML operations
  • Recover deleted data rows
  • Prove/dismiss a data security breach
  • Determine the scope and extent of database intrusion

Apart from these technical skills, individuals must possess analytical abilities and a problem solving attitude. Uncovering hidden patterns, unexpected correlations, and sorting through data to extract meaning out of it – are some of the essential skills required of a forensic expert.

Another crucial skill is the knowledge of cyber laws. An understanding of the legal procedures and law enforcement agencies’ requirements is of great importance if you are to conduct digital investigations.

SQL Server Forensics Analysis course offers the foundation required to become a forensic expert in the online world. Also learn other associative skills such as cryptography, e-discovery and incident response in this latest training program.  A relatively new field of study, the course offers a great opportunity for those who wish to gain credibility in this stream.

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

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)

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)