Category Archives: 2710

Four speaking engagements coming up

I’m just going to list them…

This Saturday (July 18th), at Code Camp SA. I’m going to be talking about functions in SQL, particularly those that involve BEGIN and END.

At the end of the month, at the ACS Branch Conference. I’m going to be part of a panel discussing Open Source v Closed Source.

In August, I’m going to be speaking at SharePoint Saturday (Adelaide), about the integration of Reporting Services and SharePoint.

In September, I’m going to be a presenting at TechEd Australia, about SQL Azure.

Be nice if there was more of an overlap in topics…

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.

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.

SQL Code Camp concludes, plus poor Catherine Eibner

The SQL Down Under Code Camp finished this afternoon after a successful couple of days, but was marred by the news that Catherine Eibner, whose company sponsored the Influencers Party at TechEd AU this year, had shattered her wrist and was in hospital having surgery.

Catherine is becoming a big supporter of the SQL Server community in Australia, and even has a couple of user-group presentations coming up. Why not pop along to her blog and wish her well – I’m sure she’d appreciate it.

User Group meeting with Christine Bishop

Yesterday we had Christine Bishop come to Adelaide. She’s the Product Marketing Manager for SQL Server and BI for Microsoft Australia. That makes her handy to know if you’re in the SQL space, and we had a nice crowd come along to the user group to meet her.

One thing that made this meeting different to the usual is that Christine isn’t overly technical. She’s not bad, but compared to the people in the crowd listening to her, she would’ve been in the less technical half. Normally we’d have some in depth technical session, showing people how to do particular things, but this time we looked more at the business side of things.

Feedback was good, and for those people looking for something a little more technical I demonstrated a quick point about SSIS and one about the use of row_number() to make sure that only the three most recent records for each category were stored in a table. I might post about these more another time.

My favourite thing about SQL Server 2008

A few people have asked me what my favourite thing is in SQL Server 2008 (“Katmai”). But my favourite thing isn’t actually a feature at all, it’s a mindset that Microsoft are taking with it.

This mindset is “We will only put features into the CTPs once they are basically complete – including the documentation.” And this makes me say “Wow!”.

One of the problems with all beta software is the stuff that’s in there that just isn’t finished yet. You try to use some feature, and it doesn’t work. Or worse, something dies because you tried it. It’s these scenarios that stop people trying out betas, and seeing people using the previous version still nearly two years after release (It’s now over 21 months since SQL 2005 was released).

Not the case with SQL Server 2008 though. Functionality may be limited, but hopefully new features should be both stable and documented when they appear. So now because this is the case, people should be able to port their systems over before release, confident that features won’t be changing significantly between that time and RTM.

This week at my user-group I’m giving a talk on MERGE & TVPs. Two essentially different topics, but ones that compliment each other nicely. I think people will be leaving this meeting picturing places in their code where they want to refactor it to take advantage of these new features.

Darren Gosbell in Adelaide on July 12th

What a great week for Adelaide having Australian SQL MVPs presenting! Code Camp SA on the weekend of July 7th and 8th features the Gregs (Linwood and Low), and BI expert Darren Gosbell will be coming to speak to the Adelaide SQL Server User Group the following Thursday. He’ll be presenting about MDX, which is a topic that a few people have asked about in recent months. It should be great, and I only wish I could be there myself. I will put the event on the website just as soon as I have an abstract from him. Many thanks to his employer, James and Monroe, for sending him across for this.

If you’re reading this and wondering how to find out more, go to the site, register, and say you’re from Adelaide. Then you’ll be on my mailing list and will find out all about our upcoming events. Our meetings are on the second Thursday of the month (although in August we’ll pick a different day, that doesn’t clash with TechEd), in the building that used to be called the Santos Building.

An Adelaide icon waves goodbye

The State Bank building was built in Adelaide in 1988, and remains the tallest building in Adelaide. When the bank (not the building) collapsed in the early 90s, it became Santos House, and got branded with the Santos logo. It was like this when I first got introduced to Adelaide in 1994. It’s the building where Microsoft have their Adelaide office, and Level 2 hosts the user-group meetings that I run. At Christmas there are green lights in the shape of a tree, and it displays a cross at Easter time.

In the last few weeks, the word Santos has disappeared. It now shows the red W of Westpac. I suppose it makes little difference to most things. I’m happy enough to refer to it as Westpac House, or whatever its new name is supposed to be. But I’m saddened. Santos is a South Australian brand. The ‘Sa’ at the start of the word is “South Australia” (and interestingly, the NT is Northern Territory, like the NT in Qantas). It’s very disappointing that the branding associated with this important Adelaide building no longer reflects Adelaide. Something’s been lost.

I have similar emotions about the branding of the Arsenal stadium at Ashburton Grove. I appreciate that Emirates Airline have paid a fortune for the naming brand. But it’s a shame that this fantastic stadium, the third largest stadium in London (after Wembley and Twickenham) should have its branding rights sold, but to a company who doesn’t reflect London at all. At least Wigan Athletic’s JJB Stadium is named for a shop owned by the chairman of the club, a company which is based in Wigan.