SQLShare Progress

In December I shared a post about how I was going to use SQLShare to do some continuous learning.It’s so cool to get an email every morning showing how well I’m tracking to my goal. As you can see below I have been tracking pretty good in January. I did adjust my goal down a bit to 60 minutes per month and as of today I’m at 35 minutes out of 60. Another neat thing is that I’m starting to see some videos done by folks I follow on Twitter it’s nice to hear a voice to go along with the profile pics and tweets.

Check it out can’t hurt to give it a try.

SQLShare Progress

More than half way to my goal!

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2010 Recap

It’s the start of a new year. Time to reflect on what I did accomplish last year and think about what this year will hold. Last January I documented my goals for 2010. I felt that by writing them out and posting them my likelihood of success would be greater. For the most part this worked so I’m doing it again.

Looking Back

  • Blog once a month – I was able to do this, started off the year strong and struggled in Q4 to keep going. Topics are still a bit all over the board but I feel good about writing 24 posts in 2010.
  • Beat my 1/2 Marathon time by 5 minutes – I actually beat it by 9 minutes for a time of 2:21:51 as I wrote about in April.
  • SQL Community involvement – Started off the year great and tapered in the fall and winter. Still keeping involved loosely but other priorities took over such as my football coaching.
  • Looking back I feel good about all these things. As expected things changed mid year and I had to re-focus some of my attention to other things. This is natural when looking out a year ahead. I have read a lot of posts lately around people in the SQL community changing jobs and deciding to focus on different technologies. Things change and in my mind the only way to fail is to not plan for it or expect it.

    Looking Forward

    So with it being a new year I need some new goals. Not feeling as inspired as I was this time last year it’s been a bit more difficult. Here is what I’m going with.

  • I signed up for the 1/2 Marathon in Nashville for April again and I’m currently in a friendly weigh loss contest. So my first goal is to shave off another 5 minutes from my 1/2 time. To that end I have set a goal to run/workout 3 times a week.
  • Another thing I’m planning on doing is getting more involved in the youth football program I coached last year. I’m looking to get myself more integrated into the organization and help out more from a volunteer standpoint above just the coaching I have been doing.
  • This last one is hard to measure but its something I really want to focus on. I am looking for ways to play more with my kids and enjoy more family time. It’s scary how fast they are growing up and as they do they seem to need me less and less. I want to make sure that I stay involved with each of my 3 kids and can relate to what’s happening in their lives.
  • Nothing earth shattering here but documenting and posting this out there will hopefully keep me focused.

    Learn Something Every Day

    Something I’m always trying to drive others towards is continuing to learn. I’m all about career development and taking control of my future via continued learning. To a fault it’s sort of a passion of mine. There are so many ways to do this it’s mind boggling. Reading books, blogs, online training, classroom training, #sqlhelp on twitter, etc. It makes me wonder why some folks don’t do anything at all.

    I was in a meeting the other day and was told by someone that they simply don’t have time to learn anything new or time to get better at what they do today, they are simply too busy. This totally shocked me and I really tried to reach out and help guide this person to look inward and focus on themselves. One of my points was how will you ever get more time unless you optimize how you are working today. Sure, the we need more help argument, is always there but that is not in your control most of the time. So how can you get more time, well how about learning how to do something better.

    And that’s what I’m going to share today.

    Zero! Better get learning

    One learning opportunity that I have been tracking on lately is SQL Share I get an email every day with a 1-5 minute short training video. If the content interests me I watch it, learn something new. If not I just delete the email and move on. What is great is it keeps track for me so every day I get a reminder of how much time I have spent. It’s totaled by month and there is a nice track record on the site for me to review what I have watched. My kids have reading logs at home they need to complete each month for school. They are crazy about beating there total hours one month to the next. Well this is my log. It drives me nuts when I start to lag behind. When I watched less one month to the next it irritates me and I’ll hammer off 3 or 4 in a row and get that number back up. This type of daily learning via short videos really appeals to me and my way of learning.

    I’m not a big on reading technical manuals or books. I like blogs but if a blog post get’s too long and detailed I quickly move on to something else. When reading a BOL like Jen McCown is planning to do as described in her blog my eyes to to go blurry after about 2 minutes. That’s just not my style. Everyone has there own way of learning. I am really looking forward to following along as Jen reads BOL and blogs on it as I hope to let her do all the hard work and get what I need from her posts.

    In summary I have found something here that works for me and I wanted to share. So if you are interested check it out, let me know if it works for you.

    Thanks Andy Warren, Brian Knight, and Steve Jones for yet another great learning opportunity.
    About SQL Share

    SQL Denali

    I have been tuned in to both keynotes this week at the SQLPass Summit really wishing I was there. I just was in Seattle 2 week ago as a Microsoft customer visiting and learning about some neat new things coming, some of which is being discussed in these keynotes. Seattle is a great place and I can’t wait to get back and have more time to explore.

    There are a lot of new things being presented as being in the next release of SQL code named Denali. Some of it looks promising on many aspects. Here are the things I am very interested in exploring more over the next 6-12 months.

    Columnstore Indexes
    This is what I’m most excited about. Mainly because I come from a BI backgrounnd and have spent years trying to make DW queries run faster. It’s almost a passion of mine so I’m exicted to take this for a test drive in a real situation. There is a very nice whitepaper that is linked on Simons SQL Blog that explains this way better than I ever could.

    SSIS Integration within SSMS or as it would be Visual Studio
    The current way that SSIS is supported in SSMS is clunky. Some questions I have right of the bat are. Can you manage SSIS packages stored on the file system or only within MSDB? Can you manage packages across versions which is a problem now? I have SSIS 2005 running and can’t manage from my SSMS 2008. I will be interested to see how this is all going to work.

    SSIS Enhancements
    The undo seemed to be what most folks in attendance were excited about the demo I saw. What I’m more interested in is the performance gains if any that this version will bring. I don’t recall hearing that mentioned or at least it was not a focus of the demo. The data cleansing piece seemed promising but I have a feeling that the setup and maintenance of the rules etc will make that a feature not well adopted. Every version of this has been a vast improvement so I’m sure this will just be more solid than the last. SSIS Junkie has some great links to explore more of whats in store.

    Visual Studio vs SSMS
    I’m excited to see the movement towards integrating the DBA’s and the developers tool sets. However I still struggle with how this will all work and the adoption rate. I still have folks using Query Analyzer, old habits are hard to break and yes we still have SQL 2000 instances running production apps. The big win here for me is source control integration with TFS and working in a common tool set. A rough spot at our shop is moving code from Dev/Test/Prod and hope this will improve that process over what we have today. The new features in the demo seemed pretty good and much of what you would could get with add on tools from major vendors built in which was nice to see. I’ll be going there but not sure how this will change the daily lives of the team. Brent Ozar did a nice write-up on some of the features here.

    Let’s Go
    So at this point I’m excited to get a system up with this on there and touch and feel for myself. In the meantime I’ll keep reading and learning from everyone out there rapidly blogging and documenting what they are finding. Enjoy and let me know what features interest you the most.

    Head in the Clouds

    My last post was quite some time ago. I explained that I’d be away for a while as I had committed my self to what ended up being almost another full time job. It was a great experience and is now winding to a close. Last game is this Saturday. I have one more film night and practice and then the game. We will have some post season parties etc but I should have some more time on my hands.

    My Other Team

    Me mentoring my other Team!

    So what’s next… Well I just returned from a 3 day trip to Redmond to visit the Microsoft campus and learn about the technical road maps of some very interesting technologies. Being currently in a role where SQL is my blood I was excited about what is coming. The thing that really stuck with me however is this idea of the cloud. I have been hearing about it but not quite grasping what it really means. I have seen demos on SQL Azure at SQL Saturday’s and such but I couldn’t correlate it to my day to day activities. Seeing it explained by the people that are paid to explain it shed some light on it and really made the idea sink in.

    Essentially the cloud ends up being different for everyone. There are probably pieces of it in your infrastructure today and you probably don’t even realize it. I drew some tangents to our talent acquisition and performance management solution we use at my company. We are using this as a cloud app. Essentially its is saas or Software As A Service. We don’t have servers running apps here in our data center. I’m not supporting this tools SQL Database. It’s simply a website that is the app and it’s all hosted off site. This is essentially an application running on the cloud that is critical to the management of our talent.

    Additionally we have been doing more and more integration with virtual servers via various technologies. We often look to go virtual first on new installations as the flexibility and built in support and recoverability are such a win. In essence this becomes a mini private cloud that our internal IT staff is supporting.

    So those are 2 small real examples of what the cloud is to me at this time. I hope to keep researching and learning more about how others are using this. Additionally I have a personal goal to find a real project here that I can implement on the cloud.

    It’s starting to make sense and I see the road ahead and I’m excited to jump on the puffy white clouds!

    Turning 9

    Time Flies
    Wow it will be September in 2 days. It is simply amazing how fast time can go by when you are busy and how at one point you can be so focused on one thing and life can quickly take a left turn. I started out the year with some goals in mind that I posted on this blog back in January. I’m a checklist, goal kind of guy. I like to set goals or have a list for everything in my life. My wife asks me to do something I have to write it down or I will forget. Too much going on in my melon to remember anything these days.

    Check Point
    I have been able to do a good job completing most of the goals. I have blogged at least once a month and often more that than. The topics have varied a bit and not as technical as I planned at the start of the year. There are reason for this as my role is one of leading and managing and less on the technical side of things so it was hard to bridge that gap.  I was able to re-dedicate my self to health and fitness and beat my 1/2 marathon goal. I have run a few more races than I planned actually and hope to keep doing some this fall. I have not trained since early August but have some reasons behind that below. As for my SQL Community involvement I started off the year really good but have slowed down  lately. I need to see how this is going to fit in my future but am keeping my finger loosely on pulse at this point. I was a daily twitter user for much of the first half of the year but now rarely open it as my focus is elsewhere. I do continually encourage my team to take advantage of what there is to offer and drive them to these great resources so consider me an advocate.

    So with all that success I need to understand what the rest of the year holds. It’s just past 1/2 way point we have 4 months to go in 2010 and I need to have a list or some goals to keep me focused.

    The Left Turn
    Not sure if I promote it much but I am pretty avid sports fan. By biggest passion being football. Fall is football time and in August football began for me. This year I am head coaching a 9-10 year old tackle football team which was much more of a commitment than I could ever imagine. To be honest I am probably putting more into it than I need to but my passion for this has driven me to go that extra mile. This has been my undocumented goal for the 2nd half of 2010. To really put forth the time and effort to make a great football experience for the players, coaches, and parents that I work with on pretty much a daily basis. This has involved everything from organizing the league draft info, to setting up my teams practice plans and playbook. Countless meetings with other coaches, emails to parents, learning about new drills and player safety. I even was able to go to a mentoring night sponsored by our league the TCYFL where Tony Dungy was the guest speaker. Now that we playing games it’s reviewing film, working on coaching fundamentals, and working with team parents to ensure the boys are having fun.

    It’s amazing the tangents that I’m able to draw from the football field to the boardroom so to speak. I was recently involved in a management training class from my employer around communicating with impact. As I sat in this day long session learning how to speak on my feat, resolve conflict, and motive people through words I could not have imagined how useful these skills could be outside of the office as well.
    New Goal
    So my goal for the rest of the year is to really focus my efforts on good communication and team development both on and off the field. I hope to leverage the learnings on the football field to helping coach my team at the office and really drive a fun and productive team of SQL DBA’s. In additional I’ll continue to use my mentoring and management skills learned at work on the football field to hopefully help my team drive to some victories. If nothing else I hope that my efforts in both of these areas of my live will result in a fun and positive experience for all of those around me.

    Muddy Buddy 2010

    Time is at a Premium

    Wow, hard to find time to write anything down these days. Life is flying by since football started. I’m coaching a 9-10 year old tackle football team and 5 nights a week practice is rough. I did find time to squeeze in a race and actually have Joggin for the Noggin coming up this weekend.

    Completing My Goals

    Way back in Feb I wrote about signing up for the Muddy Buddy (Officially called the Columbia Muddy Buddy, gotta love sponsorship!) and my experience with this in 2009. You can read about that here . Well the day finally came this past weekend to do it again.

    Veteran of the Mud

    I must say that 2nd time was much easier. I think partly because the course was easier but also knowing what to expect I was mentally prepared. Neither my buddy nor me did much training going into this race. We are both pretty active as it is anyway, but we did much better than previous and it was not nearly as hard (355 out of 2000). I was a bit sore on Monday and Tuesday from the biking portion but was really glad we were able to compete for a second time.

    Last year all I could remember was how much every step hurt and the entire race seemed like a blur. This year I was totally in control of every aspect of the race, I was very aware of my pace and breathing and really soaked in each leg. It was nice to actually be passing other people in the run portion as well as the bike and having the stamina to go hard all the way to the end. Exercising and competing is like anything in life the more you do it, the easier it becomes. There is a big experience factor at play in most personal and professional situations that cannot be denied.

    The Finish Line

    The Finish Line