Category Archives: 2658

A Tripp to Melbourne?

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been to Melbourne (although I did pass through the airport there on my way back from Wagga). I don’t know when I’ll be there next, but I have felt tempted to try to get there this week.

Partly it’s because my mum is about to turn sixty, but also because my friends Kimberly Tripp and Paul Randal are in Australia this week, and speaking at the Melbourne SQL Server User Group tomorrow night.

I won’t be there, but if you’re going to be in Melbourne, then make sure you register and get yourself there. It’s bound to be quite packed, as these guys are the world experts in their areas – so be early and tell them hi from me!

Big events every month this quarter

A new Financial Year in Australia, and a bunch of technical events coming up.

Of course there’s the usual monthly user groups, but there’s more – particularly if you’re in Adelaide.

July sees CodeCampSA in Adelaide on the weekend of July 18/19. I’ve put my name into the hat for speakers, and will try to be there for a chunk of Saturday (Sundays are too busy for me). I’m sure at least one of my sons will want to come along as well, which will be fun. Big thanks to David Gardiner for putting the website together.

Map picture

August sees SharePoint Saturday come to Sydney (8th) and Adelaide (15th). You may not agree with Aaron about what SharePoint is, but if you’re into SharePoint, I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of these events.

September brings Australian geeks to the Gold Coast again for the Microsoft’s annual TechEd Australia, this year with the added incentive of an HP Mini for attendees (conditions apply of course). It’s the 2140, which is a discontinued line, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive a machine. I’m sure this will help persuade people to get themselves over to Queensland.


Map picture

And in case you hadn’t realised, I’ve recently discovered how easy it is to put maps into blogs using Windows Live Writer… just so that you can all see the beach, and understand how poorly attended the sessions would be if they ran TechEd Australia in the summer.

Seriously cheap exams in Australia

If you’re an MCP in Australia and you haven’t passed any exams over the past couple of years (since July 1, 2007), then Microsoft has an offer at the moment to let you do an exam for only US$25 (until June 30, 2009). Ok, so that means the price really depends on the value of the Aussie dollar, but either way, it’s not a bad opportunity.

The offer is only on for a very short time, but why not check out and see what you can do? I’m thinking it’s a nice opportunity to knock over one of those Upgrade exams to get yourself from MCITP:SQL2005 to MCITP:SQL2008. You don’t get a second shot with this one, and you can only get one voucher – but it’s so cheap you may as well try it.

Time zone limbo

Australia is currently in an interesting week for time zones.

Up until a couple of years ago, Daylight Savings finished on the last Sunday in March. That’s when the clocks got put back to Standard Time, as the Australian summer ended. Last year though, this got extended by a week, until the first Sunday in April. A similar change was made in October, changing the start of Daylight Savings from the last weekend of October to the first weekend of October. We now have six months of summer instead of five (although weather-wise, it’s a lot more…)

That’s fine – most people have patched their machines happily, and don’t have a problem. My mobile phone is an old O2 XDA, running Windows Mobile 2003 (I once upgraded to a newer device, but a washing machine had an argument with it and won). Unfortunately, i don’t think there’s a patch for WM2003, and so this week my phone (and hence, my alarms) thinks that I’m an hour out.

It’s fine when I’m in Melbourne or Sydney – I can set the time zone to be Magadan (which is in Russia), and the problem goes away. All good – I don’t really care where my phone thinks I am, just so long as the time is right.

The problem is when I’m in Adelaide… Adelaide which is normally in GMT+0930 (yes, on the half-hour), but this week is still in GMT+1030. According to my mobile device, there is nowhere in the world that is GMT+1030 this week. So instead I’ve had to change my alarms to wake me up half an hour later, whilst I pretend I’m in Siberia. I recently learned that the Russian for “Bless You” (ie, that thing you say when someone sneezes) is “Bud Zdorov” (literally "Be Healthy”, and I apologise for the spelling. ‘Bud’ rhymes with ‘Good’). I’m not sure it’s quite enough to get me through though.

One day I plan to visit Kathmandu, where the time zone is on the quarter-hour. Then I can return to the normality of Adelaide’s half-hour time zone.

I’ve written about the pain of daylight savings before, particularly around the pain of storing datetime fields in a database. Today i read a post from Bart Duncan, recommending the use of datetimeoffset. I thoroughly agree with him, although I wonder how long it will be before people make this a priority.

Presenting at ADNUG this week

I haven’t been to ADNUG for a while. I love that the group is there, but over the past year or more, I haven’t prioritised getting to the meetings. I’ve been to meetings of equivalent groups in Melbourne and Sydney, but not to the Adelaide .Net Group for a while.

But this week I will! I’ve offered to be a stand-in presenter, and will present a few tips around T-SQL. I’m presenting a similar talk in Wagga this coming weekend, so it’ll give me a chance to work out my talk in advance. I regularly present and teach T-SQL things, so I’ll be picking a few of the more useful suggestions (particularly those that get a good response from the audience), and showing some of them. People who at one of my recent presentations may have heard bits before, but definitely not all of them.

Congratulations, Mitch

A good friend of mine from Perth got awarded MVP status this past week. Mitch Wheat runs the .Net User Group over there, and does a terrific job. He does a lot for the community, and is incredibly smart. I’m really pleased for him.

PS: There are a bunch of other new MVPs this October as well (plus I got rewarded) – I’m just mentioning Mitch because he’s a good friend and I’m so pleased for him!

Improving Your T-SQL Arsenal – slides

I’ve given this presentation a couple of times at user-groups now – last week in Adelaide, and this week in Melbourne. I posted the scripts to my blog recently, making them available to people who heard this talk at TechEd Australia at the start of the month, so now I’ve got around to uploading the slide deck as well.

I actually plan to blog about many of the tips too, so watch for that over the next month or so. I’ll try to do at least one a week for a while, if not more. Obviously some will become longer articles, while some will be quite short. Much of the material gets covered my Advanced T-SQL Querying and Reporting course too – so feel free to check that out some time if you can.


TechEd AU this week. I’m giving a talk on “T-SQL Tips n Techniques: Improving Your T-SQL Arsenal” on Friday morning. The slides are available from CommNet for people registered, but the scripts are here as well. Come along to the talk to see how I use the scripts, but do grab these if you want to be trying them out on your data while I present. They all work on SQL Server 2005, and they use the AdventureWorks database.

I’ll also try to do a series of blog posts about some of the tips, but as well as that, many of them are part of the Advanced T-SQL course that I put together earlier in the year.

UNICEF Australia project at TechEd

It was unfortunate news when I heard that the UNICEF Australia site was hacked a little while ago. An old colleague of mine called me to let me know, and to ask if I knew anyone who could help them out. I used to work at a hosting company with this guy, and had seen quite a few websites get hacked one way or another (the typical methods being SQL Injection or Cookie Poisoning).

UNICEF is one of my favourite charities. They work to promote and protect the rights of children all over the world. As a kid I remember a book called “I Like This Poem” on my mother’s bookshelf – a UNICEF publication containing poems that were nominated by children (like Alfred Noyes’ “When Daddy Fell Into The Pond”) that I can’t seem to find any reference of online. So I was more than happy to help them get back online. I got in touch with their hosting provider, who could not have done anything to prevent the attack but were very helpful in trying to help resolve the problem. I also contacted the MVP community and got some help from a few friends in fixing up code.

They got back online, and I hope are relatively secure, but I also had a chat to some people at Microsoft about what they could do, and they’ve come to the party!

A couple of years ago, there was a community project at TechEd Australia to help the Smith Family (in the DevGarten). This year, UNICEF are getting helped.

If you’re going to be at TechEd Australia this year, please try to find some time to get involved in the UNICEF project. The idea will be to make sure that they have a great new (secure) website, that will encourage people to visit, donate, find out what’s happening with this great charity. I’m sure everyone who donates some time will learn a lot from the experience, and also enjoy the chance to work for the children of the world.