T-SQL Tuesday #53 – Work Hard, Play Hard, Joke Hard

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: April 8, 2014

TSQL2sDay150x150

It is April and April Fools has only just begun.  Well, or so Matt Velic (blog | twitter) would have us believe.

Matt decided that this month for TSQL Tuesday, he would pull out all stops to help us break out the inner prankster in ourselves.

You can read all about it from his invitation here.

Reading the invitation made me immediately flash to a couple of recent possibilities or things that maybe others had done.

For instance, I thought about the April Fools post I did about Backups in SQL 2014.  Mix a little truth and a splash of fun and you have a believable April Fools blog post.  You can read that post here.

Then I thought momentarily on a great post by Paul Randal for April Fools.  Paul talked about a great prank that could be pulled on some co-workers and it would really get them in a frenzy.  You could read about his Day 0 checksum issue here.

Then I flashed to something a friend tried to pull on me.  He sent me a script to the following tune.

[codesyntax lang="tsql"]

[/codesyntax]

For the seasoned DBA, the joke in this one is easy to spot.  But it will still catch some people and it could provide a good laugh.

But my favorite piece of seriousness to parley in the workplace comes from this gem.

ae83_phantom_keystroker_v2

This gem from our friends at ThinkGeek®, can provide several minutes of hard laughter.  You plug this into an USB port that is not very visible and then camp out and watch for the fun to begin.  If they are typing in SSMS, you could end up with some real fun (random key strokes inserted into keywords etc).

Whatever you do, please do not attempt this with somebody who will be connecting to a Production instance.

SQLSaturday Vegas Style

Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 3, 2014

sqlsat295_web

We are mere moments from the inaugural SQL Saturday (announced a few short months ago) event in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.  Can you feel the excitement building?

The SQLSat 295 team has been working hard to bring together what we think will be a great event.  From the volunteers, to the speakers, to the vendors, and most importantly to the attendees.

las-vegas-nv2

If you are in Vegas or nearby, we welcome you to come down and check out what we have for you.

This event will be held Apr 5 2014 at The InNEVation Center, 6795 Edmond St., Las Vegas, NV 89118.

Where else do you get an open invitation to learn about SQL Server for free combined with what Vegas has to offer for entertainment?

Just remember, what is learned in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.  But what happens in Vegas is up to your discretion.

sqlsat295_tokes

12 Days of Christmas 2013 Day 2

Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: December 26, 2013

This is the second installment in the 12 day series for SQL tidbits during this holiday season.

Previous articles in this mini-series on quick tidbits:

  1. SQL Sat LV announcement

burningtime

Recently I was able to observe an interesting exchange between a couple of key people at a client.  That exchange gave me a bit to ponder.  I wanted to recount a bit of that exchange here.  All names have been, well you know how that goes.

Accountant Joe came in early one wintry morning.  He was gung-ho and ready for the day ahead.  Joe had huge plans to finish counting all of the beans and get his task list done for the day.  You see, taskmaster Judy had been harping on him significantly over the past week to get his beans counted.

On this frosty morning, Joe was zipping along.  As more and more people filed into the office from the various departments, Joe was still contentedly counting his beans.  That only lasted for a few fleeting moments with everybody in the office though.

Suddenly Joe could no longer count the beans.  The beans Joe was counting were served up via the backend database.  And since the beans were running too sow, Joe called the helpdesk to have them fix the database.  A few moments later, Sally called the helpdesk too.  Sally was complaining about things being horribly slow too.  Sally was trying to open the company calendar (Sally is the executive secretary).

More and more calls were coming in to the helpdesk from various departments and every user-base in the company.  The helpdesk was busy fighting this fire or that fire.  Finally news of the slowness is escalated to the DBA Dillon so he could investigate why the beans were so slow on this frosty day.  As Dillon investigated, he noticed that IO stalls were off the charts.  He was seeing IO stalls in the hundred second range instead of the milli-second range like normal.

Like a dilligent DBA, Dillon immediately escalated the issue to the sysops team who was responsible for the SAN (yeah he notified his manager too).  Bill from sysops promptly responded.  Sadly the response was “I am too busy at the moment.

After much pestering, Bill finally became available and was ready to help – 4 hours later.

As it turns out, the SAN that housed all company shares, applications, databases and even Exchange was down to about 30GB free space.  Due to the lack of free space, the SAN degraded performance automatically to try and prevent it from filling up entirely.  Bill knew about this pending failure and had ordered extra storage – which sat on his desk for 2+ weeks.

The entire company was essentially down because Bill ended up being too busy (in a meeting).  Though the issue was eventually resolved – the sting has yet to fade.

When faced with an outage situation, let this story be your gift to remind you of how not to treat the outage.

Professional Communications

Categories: News, Professional
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: January 10, 2010

This past week I had the opportunity to have lunch with a vendor at his clients’ site.  As a part of the lunch there is the usual dog and pony show.  Vendors are trying to get you to buy their product after-all.

After this rendez-vous, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the lunch and the product demonstration as well as the entire meeting at the client site.  Part of this reflection was to determine the roles that each party plays in such a meeting (client, potential client and vendor).  Also part of this reflection was the discussions I have held with co-workers both present and not at this meeting.

It is not uncommon to speak of local area events or other things not business related to help bridge the gaps when the discussion lulls a little or you are at a wait point.  In my area there were two major conventions coming up and thus for some circles that would make sense.  One of the conventions was CES and the other was the Adult Entertainment one.  In a business meeting that revolves around technology, I would be stunned if CES did not come up in the conversation at some point.  During our meeting it did – only as a flighting thought though.  That, in retrospect is somewhat astonishing.

Without the decision makers present in the meeting, the demo took a back seat and I was trying to find a way out there tactfully and professionally.  I probably should have been less tactful and more forceful – but I was the guest.  I found myself being somewhat ignored, surrounded in sailor language and hearing my hosts go on and on about the Adult Entertainment convention just down the street.  Talk about a business meeting gone awkward and weird.

Thus I came to the realization of some things that really should be happening during business meetings.

  1. Know your audience.  In a business meeting, you are there for more mature conversation that should be centrally focused on the agenda at hand.  If you get off subject, it should be a safe subject.  An appropriate vernacular should be used.  It is a professional meeting and dropping constant “F” bombs does not impress anybody.  It may take a little restraint for some, but think if the language choice would be offensive to the opposite sex, bystanders or would you say it around a child?
  2. It is an Interview.  You may be at somebody else’s site and not even thinking of changing jobs.  That is ok, this does not mean a job interview.  However, treat it as such.  You will gain valuable insight into your vendor as well as the local businesses.  Should you need to change jobs in the future, you will have this information at hand to help you decide to pursue them or not.  Also, you will take back information on how best to portray your company if ever in a similar opportunity.
  3. Be Professional.  You should speak and act no differently when management is present than when they are not.  You are a representative of your employer.  Your behavior reflects not only on you but on your employer as well.  This combines quite nicely with #2 above.  When attending these kinds of meetings, you are also interviewing the professional attitude of the staff.  What if they find themselves displaced, the stars align and you are hiring.  You now have excellent insight into their behaviors – did they speak or act in such a manner that would prevent you from hiring them?
  4. Check your Title at the door.  This is one that I picked up from a college course.  Leave predispositions and arrogance behind.  You may have a certain title somewhere, but in a meeting everybody should be treated equally.  Opinions and input from all should be welcome without ostracization.

Language and behavior that I experienced as an outsider to this company only begs the question – Where is the filter?  Would they behave the same around other staff and staff of a different gender.  What about the corporate harassment policies?  Let’s extend that to business ethics and morality – how does it mesh with the corporate image?  Like it or not, people will judge you and your corporation by your actions and words.

When I recounted the behaviors I encountered to my co-workers, they were stunned.  When I recounted it to my wife, she was abhored.  I was a little too lenient when they started off slowly.  I figured, I was a visitor and a slip of the tongue here or there might be acceptable in their business.  Don’t hesitate to request a change in vernacular or behavior if you find it insulting.

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