Canberra, The Capital of Australia

I had the pleasure of flying in to the rather quiet and small of capital, Canberra, on a sunny and warm spring day. (Don't forget that the seasons are reversed south of the equator. That means spring is in October and fall starts in April.) Upon arriving, I got to see a one person protest that Australia hadn't yet signed the Kyoto Accord for global warming as well as the buildings of state. The following morning (today), I spoke to a a crowd of about 50 about SQL Server performance tuning, benchmarking, and best practices. I really enjoyed the folks there and met many interesting people. My … [Read more...]

Off to Australia

Tomorrow, I leave for almost two weeks of business in Australia, the land Down Under. I be delivering a series of seminars about SQL Server in most of the major cities around the country.After about 20 hours of travel, I arrive in Melbourne and then make subsequent stops in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Wagga Wagga, and then back to Melbourne. After these stops, I visit Singapore for two days and then return home via Tokyo, Japan. Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it. If you're looking for a sense of scale, the country is very nearly as large as the lower 48 states of the USA. Cheers, -Kev … [Read more...]


Cologne was one of my favorite cities in Germany. Cologne has a reputation in Germany as being the place where people live it up to the fullest, laugh the loudest and longest, and generally have a greater joy for life. It's somewhat the San Francisco of Germany because it also has the country's largest and most active gay community, plus a free and legal sex trade.Cologne also has its own beer and style of drinking beer (called "kolsch") that is unique and very different from the Bavaria style that most Americans are used to. Most Americans think of Germany beer coming in the big, lidded … [Read more...]

Munich and Hamburg

After a more leisurely time in Frankfurt and Berlin, I had a lot of rushing about to make it to Munich and then Hamburg on time. There wasn't much time for site seeing, unfortunately. But the people were as friendly and helpful as ever.In Munich, I joined my Quest colleagues Fabian Fulle and Dirk Muller. Then we headed out to BMW for a sales call. After that, we went to a suburb to the Microsoft offices to speak to the Bavarian SQL Server user group. We also had the pleasure of being misdirected 4 or 5 times by the navigation system in our rented BMW. (I'll never use that one, I'll tell you … [Read more...]


The Brandenburg Gate is perhaps one of the best known architectural monuments in all of German. It's a beautiful 19th century stone structure that was built to commemorate Prussian victories over their enemies and was originally named, ironically, the Peace Gate. It was incorporated into the infamous Berlin Wall during the years of the Cold War, but is now a stand-alone structure again.Berlin was a surprisingly easy town to navigate on foot. A brief walk from the Brandenburg Gate took us to the Reichstag, Germany's new Parliament building, moved from Bonn after the Reunification of East and … [Read more...]

A Day in Frankfurt

I wish I could say that this has been an easy trip. It started off badly last Friday with my flight from Nashville to Newark circling for about 1.5 hrs before diverting to Norfolk, Virginia to get more fuel. We were only supposed to land for 20 minutes, but ended up staying almost 2 hours. Once back in the air, we circled some more and finally landed about 3 hours late. For some reason, I wasn't terribly worried about missing my flight especially since the flight attendant mentioned that everything else out of Newark was running equally late. (Pictured on the right are the Deutch Bank … [Read more...]

A day in Windsor…

I come to enjoy travel less and less over the years. But at least I'm managing to go to more enjoyable places. Today, I'm in England as I will be throughout the week. Quest Software keeps a beautiful office in Maidenhead, which is just a short car ride away from the majestic Windsor Castle, part-time home of Queen Elizabeth II of England.The picture at right is taken inside the castle and shows the mote & bailey that surrounds the inner keep in the background. It's decorated with lush gardens and tinkling waterfalls.Windsor is also home to Eton College, the all-boys prep school for the creme … [Read more...]

Like Greeks at the Gates of Troy

Odysseus is one of my heroes. He was a mighty warrior and a brave leader, but he was most famous among the Greeks for being their smartest warrior. Odysseus was the epitome of arete, the Greek honor code of excellence (of the same ilk as chivalry to the knights of late medieval Europe or bushido to the samurai of the Shogunate era) because he embodied not just the coarser aspects of warrior excellence but also the quieter virtues such as intelligence, self-restraint, creativity, loyalty, and wisdom.It was Odysseus who came up with the idea of the Trojan Horse. It was he alone who lived to hear … [Read more...]

Another TechEd

TechEd is Microsoft's largest conference of the year. This year it's in Orlando and has about 13,000 attendees. I'll be speaking on Wednesday afternoon on "SQL Server Performance Benchmarking & Monitoring". Doesn't that sound like the most interesting thing you've ever heard of? One of the things that I do indeed enjoy about TechEd is that I get to catch up with a number of friends who I only seem to see at the big conferences.There are times when I'm really excited about travel. It had better be, since it's such a big part of my job. Lately, though, it's all I can do to keep up the pace. I'm … [Read more...]

Anglo-Irish Slang

The Irish have lots of unique words that have no meaning in our American dialect. They also have a lot of words that mean something very different than what I, as an American, initially thought. Here are a list of words that I ran into that gave me some trouble:Bespoke - "custom" or "boutique", as in Harold's Bespoke Tailor ShopBanger - a breakfast sausage. Beware - they look like but do not taste anything like our sausage.Bogger - a redneck, an uncouth, backwoods personBraces - suspendersBusker - a street performer. Dublin, especially, has oodles of buskers on their busy pedestrian shopping … [Read more...]