70-113, the Virtual Lab exam, gives Microsoft Certification new hope

We all know what’s wrong with Microsoft certifications. The multiple-choice format means that people can cheat too easily, and over the years, the questions have often felt too specific, asking the kinds of questions that proper IT professionals just look up in Help systems like SQL Books Online. To help address this problem, Microsoft started to come up with simulation questions. They were used in some Windows NT exams, and most notably for me (as I helped write them), in the core SQL Server exam 70-431. These were Flash-style applications designed to look and feel like the real applications. This … Continue reading 70-113, the Virtual Lab exam, gives Microsoft Certification new hope

Useful Wacom tablet

A couple of years I got a Wacom tablet. It was a gift – not really the type of thing I think I would’ve bought, but it was definitely nice to get. Since then, I’ve found it incredibly useful, and it’s become almost a permanent fixture in my bag. For a start, it’s a great way of being able to ink up documents in ways that I can’t do with my regular laptop (I don’t own a Tablet PC, but inking is still useful from time to time). But I also find that it’s really useful when I’m teaching or … Continue reading Useful Wacom tablet

GO – repeating batches

GO is very cool. More so than you might think, and in a couple of interesting ways. This is the 6th tip from my TechEd Australia talk, from which you can see my slides and scripts in other posts. In SQL Server, GO is the traditional batch separator. But what many people don’t know (but has been mentioned around the blogosphere several times over the past year or so), is that you can put a number after GO to make the batch run repeatedly. I often use this method to populate lots of sample data into a table. INSERT dbo.someTable … Continue reading GO – repeating batches