Presentation skills - do you have them?

A large part of my work as a consultant is giving presentations and teaching stuff. I’ve been doing presenting and teaching since 2000 and I feel fairly good at it. When I started out I was young and inexperienced, something I compensated for with a huge ego instead. Needless to say, I had … mixed results. Thankfully I’m a quick learner and dialed back the ego and increased the use of my ears to a level where I consistently managed to get both my points across and get good scores. I had my own company in parallel with my normal job at the University and taught for a company called Learning Tree.

Blog developments

Things are slowly getting back to normal after the sudden passing a few weeks ago. Sure, it was “only” a cat, but as me and my wife don’t have any kids (and have no intention of getting any either), the cats are our kids. Anyhow, I’ve updated the blog a bit to make it more useful to myself. I’m using Feedly on my iPad for RSS aggregation, and I had the bright idea the other day to do the same on the blog as I don’t always carry my iPad around. Said and done, and there is a new link at the top for the aggregation page.

A eulogy in a technical blog

I’ve been absent from the blog for a while. This has several reasons, ranging from work, to lots of things to do outside work and what I’d like to take a moment to talk about today – the death of one of my cats. I got Salsa, as she was called, back in May of 2001 when she was about 8-9 weeks old. She and her sister Tesla (along with a couple of other kittens) were born on March 15th, 2001. Straight from the get-go it was obvious that they were very different from each other – most likely due to different fathers.

Three amigos screw up a cluster

Three amigos joined me for a cluster installation the other day. Neither of them was very friendly, so I decided to call them all out in one place in order for others to steer clear. The opinionated folder Using mount point folders is a great idea for neatness and to avoid having a gazillion drive letters in play. It is also a great idea to review the best practices for SQL Server clusters on mount point folders, as there are a few gotchas. This blog post lays it all out. If you fail to set up the correct permissions, funky stuff will ensue.

Finding the culprit

I had a case the other day where the customer called and told me that he had a bit of a performance problem. Well, I’ve heard that a few times over the years, and asked him to elaborate. He sent me a screenshot of SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer and, well, it kind of points the finger to one thing: Um. Yeah. The ASYNC_NETWORK_IO thing. It kind of … sticks out. Okay, so how to tackle this then? We know what waits are happening, but where do we go from here? Well, It’s time to find out exactly what is generating said waits.

PASS Summit 2015 - a quick reflection

PASS Summit 2015 is winding down and I am strolling through increasingly deserted hallways. This was my second PASS Summit, and I already know it will not be my last. I’ve been to Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco six times and compared to that conference this one is downright tiny. But the thing with the PASS community in relation to the Oracle community is like night and day. A quick background: I started out with Oracle back in ‘97 and SQL Server shortly thereafter, and let’s face it - SQL Server was not a serious contender back then. Both SQL Server and Oracle has come a good ways since then, and Oracle is ahead in many respects.

Azure Automation and index maintenance gotchas

I decided to write up a blog post about index maintenance in SQL Azure databases (yes, I’m gravitating towards Azure just like everyone else these days). I had everything planned, what research to do, the case I was going to use, the whole nine yards. It would have been epic, had it not been for Pieter Vanhove, who’s already done it. Worse still, he did it way better than what I had planned. http://pietervanhove.azurewebsites.net/?p=14137 Somewhat miffed, I decided to play with it anyway (just not write a blog post about it, no, I’m not bitter :P ). Turns out there’s quite a gotcha with this:

Back in the saddle - index time

Well, I’m back in the saddle. Four weeks of vacation, of which three resembled some kind of monsoon. The last was great, and ofcourse the weather became great as soon as I returned to work. I decided to get me a new script to show me unused indexes, and started looking at Stack Overflow to see if someone already had taken care of it (someone usually has). Turns out that there was a blog post by John Pasquet of folioTek here, and a very interesting addition to said blog post (and scripts) by user HAL9000 of Stack Overflow here. It just became my go to script for finding unused indexes.