Latest news on 70-431 simulation questions

I got some news this week about the core SQL Server 2005 exam. A bit of an update from someone who has recently tried 70-431. He sent it to me having read my previous post on the matter. “I took the exam last week and got all the M/C questions right, but did horribly on the simulations. I figured out couple of them, but I couldn’t do the others. Ended up with a score of 220. This is the first certification test I’ve encountered that used such a large set of simulations (15 on the test I took). “Good job! … Continue reading Latest news on 70-431 simulation questions

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 … Continue reading My favourite thing about SQL Server 2008

Virtual Server 2005 R2 giving 500.0 errors under Vista

I finally got it sorted. I had all the IIS6-compatibility options enabled under ‘Programs and Features’. I was running Internet Explorer as an administrator. But still I was getting a 500.0 error when I tried to go to the Virtual Server 2005 R2 admin page. Tonight I decided I wasn’t going to let this one rest. Eventually I got it fixed by setting the virtual directory to use Basic Authentication instead of Windows Authentication. Go figure.

Indentation in a SQL query

I was asked about providing some results in a format that would suit a particular custom grid control. A Report Viewer control could achieve very similar functionality with an appropriate report, but I think there were other factors involved. The control allowed a form of drill-down, but required a field to be provided giving the amount of indentation. The idea being that if the indent amount on a particular row was 2, then this could be expanded to reveal all the rows that had an indent of 3. The person asking wanted a query that would provide all the information in … Continue reading Indentation in a SQL query

Web 2.0 definition

At the Bloggers’ Lunch at TechEd, the panel was asked how they would define “Web 2.0”. They largely talked about new tools such as Silverlight and AJAX, and about the interaction of consumers and sites (particularly in relation to blogs). But none of them touched on what I think Web 2.0 is about. I think Web 2.0 is simply the second dot-com bubble. In the late 1990s, companies threw massive amounts of money into web-based ventures. Confidence in the internet was very high. Of course, this all changed in late 2000 – the bubble burst, and people saw the web (and IT … Continue reading Web 2.0 definition

Sidebar monitoring of SQL databases

A while back I discussed using the Windows Vista Sidebar to display useful information about applications. This led to other conversations, including one with fellow SQL MVP (and Leeds United fan – sorry to hear about the 15 points, mate) Jamie Thomson about monitoring important SQL database statistics using sidebar gadgets. I didn’t give it much thought, because I still had my PowerGadgets solution in place, monitoring all kinds of things based on my own queries. (Personally, I like using ‘union all’ queries. This lets me get a nice collection of numbers for showing in a graph. But I also find that … Continue reading Sidebar monitoring of SQL databases

Thoughts on TechEd

I enjoy TechEd. It’s always good fun. Last week was my fourth TechEd, having attended for the past three years, plus in ’99. The last three years have seen my involvement increase each time. Last year I proctored with the Hands-On Labs, and this year I presented both a session and an Instructor-Led Lab. I’m a big believer in giving back to the community, and I see this as part of it. I do find that the more I’m involved, the fewer sessions I actually get to attend. But I don’t feel like I’m missing out, because it’s not why I … Continue reading Thoughts on TechEd

Only 71 people have MCITP:BI

Mitch Wheat sent me this. According to, there are only 71 people in the world (well, at the end of June) who have achieved MCITP:BI. This means passing the two exams 70-445 and 70-446. You could be one if you use SSIS, SSAS, SSRS and do a bit of Data Mining. Doing some of the courses like the ones offered by Solid Quality Learning might help too, of course.

Bloggers’ Lunch at TechEd AU

TechEd is always a great event. Today I’ve helped with an Instructor-Led Lab on Report Builder, attended a few sessions, helped plenty of people with questions, and participated in the Bloggers’ Lunch. This was a panel that Frank Arrigo hosted, involving five people from the blogging space. It was interesting, but I had to leave early. I did get to ask a question about what they saw as the difference between ‘proper’ journalism and blogging. The panelists generally agreed with my thoughts that the main difference was the responsibility that journalists have. Bloggers (including me) have no responsibility over what … Continue reading Bloggers’ Lunch at TechEd AU

July CTP for SQL Server 2008 – includes date & time

This is excellent news. I’ve been looking forward to these features for ages. Because I live in a place that’s on the half hour (Adelaide is GMT+0930) and has daylight savings opposite to the northern hemisphere (spending Christmas ahead an hour, not July), I’ve been particularly keen on the new datetimeoffset type. There is a great page showing which features have been added to this CTP, at And you can download the latest CTP from Considering that the product release date is set to February 27, 2008 – less than 7 months away, I want all the features to … Continue reading July CTP for SQL Server 2008 – includes date & time