Sequels for SQL: Dec 17, 2009

In the Sequels for SQL series, I point you to sites where you can go beyond the nose-to-the-grindstone resources that we see every day as SQL Server professionals.  (My favorite resource for pan-SQL Server pointers is Steve Jone’s Database Weekly email newsletter.)  These are the story that comes after and outside (the sequels) of our daily working lives (the other SQL).  Let’s broaden our horizons together.  If you hit on an interesting but overlooked topic, I’d like to hear from you.

SQL Server: We live it.  We love it.

When Jimmy May talks, I listen.  Not just because he’s a personal friend, but also because he knows what’s what, if you’ll pardon the expression.  So when Jimmy says “I believe xPerf will fundamentally change the way I do my job”, then I want to know what the heck this free xPerf management tool is and how I can best leverage it.  Check out Jimmy’s blog entry on xPerf here.

Devices & Gadgets: Usually making our lives better, sometimes not so much.

Ever wonder what’s inside one of those tiny USB hard drives?  No?  Not even a little bit?!?  When I started in IT, hard drives where as big as washing machines and cost $60,000 running at speeds in the 100’s of RPMs.  My how times have changed.  Here’s a fun hack of a USB hard drive –

Futurewatch: Important issues just over the horizon.

There are a lot of standard elements of society being rebranded as the “2.0” version of itself.  The 2.0 moniker was first put forward by visionary Tim O’Reilly (blog | twitter), of the eponymous media company. Whenever you see the 2.0 moniker added to the end of something, most famously Web 2.0, then you know that it will include the characteristics of collaboration, interoperability, and user-centered designs.  So, whereas the first go at the web in the mid- to late-1990’s was about enabling information retrieval such as transforming printed catalogs into on-line catalogs, Web 2.0 enables all of its participants to comment on, review, rate, and otherwise participating with each other in the use of such a catalog.  In the last FutureWatch blurb, I pointed out work on Grid 2.0, centered on efforts to update the USA’s electricity grid.  I’m going to do a much more detailed post in the near future about emerging 2.0 efforts, but one to point out now is Gov 2.0.  Under this broad set of initiatives, governments from the lowest to highest levels of responsibility are opening up their public databases for consumption by the public.  An example of Gov 2.0 in action comes with the President’s SAVE Award, in which the public is invited to vote on their pick for the best money saving tip put forward by federal government workers.  Read all about this year’s SAVE Award here.

Humor: I haz da funny.

Weird products in Japan have their own name – chindogu.  Most of these are crackpot inventions that everyone knows will never see the light of day, such as these these featured here.  However, some of these products DO get marketed and, more amazingly, purchased.  Check out the product reviews of this totally bizarro chindogu here at

Professional Development: Because there are two words in “database professional”.

There are mountains of great websites with tips on how to be a better speaker.  Some day, I’ll write a long blog post about my favorite sites for learning how to improve your oration.  But if you’re in a hurry, and who isn’t these days, then this blog post at TechRepublic succinctly sums up the advice you’ll find from many other web sites, articles, and blogs.

Society: Important issues to discuss with your friends and family.

One of the most remarkable things about the USA, as a rather biased citizen, is our ability to suck up our pride, admit a mistake, and try to prevent it from happening again.  One way that the USA tries to prevent future occurrences is to convene a commission of some kind.  I found this analysis by David Leinweber, a Haas Fellow in Finance and Founding Director of the Center for Innovative Financial Technology at UC Berkeley, on the commission studying banking market reform in the USA to be quite intriguing and, frankly, upsetting.

WorldView: If James Bond knows that the world is not enough, then so should I.

I’m always on the lookout for issues related to safe and clean water.  If you think people can be grumpy when oil is in short supply, imagine what it’s like when there’s not enough drinking water for everyone.  See how India is dealing with enormous water issues in this revealing article from the Economist.  And I’d be interested to hear what our Indian blogger friends thoughts are on this topic, folks like Rushabh Mehta, Jacob Sebastian, and Pinal Dave.  (Water issues have remained one of my passions ever since my years working for NASA developing the water recycling systems for the International Space Station, in which we made water of the H20 that passes through the human body re-drinkable.  And it tastes good.  Incidentally, all of the technology we developed for this project, as with all non-classified government projects, became public domain.  ECLSS technology is now used in hundreds of commercial products ranging from household detergents to commercial solvents to filtration systems.)



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