May 2005 - Posts
I spent about an hour that I can never get back today tracking down a problem with a stored procedure I was writing. The SP was a simple SAVE SP, with a test for existance of a row, and then an INSERT or UPDATE. The error message (in all the tools I have) was an unhelpful SQL Syntax Error or Access Violation (Error 42000).
In the end, the error was not the screwy column and table names (some with spaces and very long). I had used curly braces rather than parentheses in the INSERT statement. This slight difference resulted in this error message. Sigh.
This week, Wally McClure is the Database Geek of the Week on www.simple-talk.com. You can see the full interview here. Wally has just completed a new book on ADO.NET 2.0. You can see the cover (though not order it just yet) here.
I have known Wally for a number of years, and while of course his technical expertise stands out (he is of course a Microsoft MVP and an ASP Insider), what distinguishes Wally from lots of other geeks is the way he makes you feel welcome in a group. Ani DiFranco has a song that I enjoy named Little Plastic Castles. Some of the lyrics are:
they say goldfish have no memory
i guess their lives are much like mine
the little plastic castle
is a surprise every time
This is, unfortunately, true for me as well. I have a terrible memory, and even when I demonstrably should remember someone's face and name, I do not. Often, in business and in my personal life, that inability to tie names with faces makes people think perhaps I am distant or unapproachable.
At an MVP Summit I attended, Wally greeted me warmly when I arrived. Of course, I knew that I should know who Wally was, and of course, I did not. However, Wally's warm welcome that day caused me to completely link the name with the face, and a later event (described in the article) cemented my friendship. Wally explains in the interview how we first met, and once reminded I felt even more like a complete dork, as we had a lengthy conversation at an earlier event, and I probably even still have his business card from that long ago conversation!
Hilary is an expert in SQL Server replication, and he has written an entire book on the topic. This is an area that I wish I was better at managing, and an area I am certain will continue to grow quite a bit, as data needs to be everywhere, and that will require solid replication. As I write this, I am at the Microsoft Mobile and Embedded Developers Conference, and SQL Server Mobile will give mobile developers new and better ways to maintain databases on mobile devices, and that will mean replication will become even more important.
I have been at a conference this week, and so have been placing my laptop on standby rather than shutting down each time. I also have 2 clients with incompatible VPN software. The software is so incompatible that they cannot be installed on the same OS and actually work.
So, I needed to get to the other client's VPN, so I put the laptop on standby, swapped the disks, powered up the laptop, and boom, a Blue Screen. I presumed that no memory of being on standby was anywhere but the hard disk. Apparently the hardware is aware that it was on standby (which makes sense in retrospect).
I do not know Euan Garden personally, however he clearly fits the requirements of being a Database Geek of the Week. He works for Microsoft on SQL Tools (he is a Microsoft Group Program Manager for SQL Server), and has some really great insights into the changes to the tools in SQL Server 2005 here in an interview I did with him recently. In addition to the SQL Server we are all aware of, Euan also mentions the changes that make what will be called SQL Server Mobile Edition work and play well with developers, a huge change in how you administer it vs. the current version, SQL Server CE.
I have been using an old clickety IBM keyboard for at least a dozen years. I believe it has survived through perhaps 4 or 5 PCs. Suddenly, the other day, it just stopped working. When I powered off the machine, reset the connector, and powered it back on, I got nothing but beeping. I had to admit that this was the end of the road.
I had no idea how much I had enjoyed using that keyboard, writing 3 or 4 books on it, in addition to using it for programming and writing articles day in and day out. I had to use one of the new Dell black keyboards for a week or so, and I hated it. It was clear early on I needed to do something other than just run down to Best Buy or similar to pick up any old keyboard. I got the CVT Avante Prime. It costs about $150.00, and was recommended by a number of people on their blogs and in reviews. It is said to be very close to the Northgate Omnipro keyboard, which had a feel similar to the old IBM keyboards.
It is nice to have the Windows keys on the keyboard, but I would still be much happier to have my old IBM keyboard. Perhaps I will go to some computer fair (is the Trenton State Computer Fair still around?) and see if I can pick up a working, old IBM keyboard.