SnowCrash for SQL Server

Years ago I read Snow Crash and really enjoyed the novel. In it, a virtual reality world exists, where many people connect to and roam about in a virtual world, experiencing various 3D type views of applications, systems, and data. There are numerous other novels that enjoy similar worlds, like Ready Player One and Warstrider. It’s an idea that many people look forward to as virtual reality systems grow in power and capability.

With Microsoft’s HoloLens, there’s a project underway to bring more virtual reality to our everyday world, including the management of IT systems. There are various people at Microsoft Research looking to allow us to navigate the complexity of our IT installations, including SQL Server instances, to better understand the relationships between our servers.

This is exciting in some sense. Can you imagine being able to “move” through space to a Production SQL Server, viewing the real time access of queries, users, and data. We would be able to grab a query and pause it, cancel it, even follow chains of blocking to find the sources of issues in a way that is likely to be more natural for many of the people that will enter the technology field in the next 20 years.

It’s April 1, and I’m somewhat joking and somewhat not. I’m not sure if there is any project underway specifically for managing IT systems, but I could see this as a way of better visualizing and working with large amounts of data. Certainly there might be visual analysis of Big Data that makes sense, but I could see large amount of security data, logging, auditing data that is better dealt with in some sort of virtual reality interface.

I know this might seem strange to some of us. I’ve tried the Oculus hardware and Samsung VR systems, and they have a long way to go before I’d want one, but I have dreams of being able to more easily navigate the complexity of our systems in a way that might feel more natural and intuitive than the ever growing list of folders and dialogs in Management Studio.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 2.8MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and LibSyn.

#SQLFamily Feud

I’ve started a new project. Actually, I started this well over a year ago, but I lost track of it and last week, despite the craziness, I was reminded of the effort and decided to get it going.

What is the Game?

A few of us were chatting about fun things at events and someone came up with the idea of Family Feud.  I thought it was great and started collecting questions. I then began organizing them, thinking I’d send out the list to 1000 people and get lots of responses.

We would have the data available, and distribute it to someone at an event, such as SQL Saturday, and allow them to run a game. A game typically is two teams competing against each other, trying to give the top answers to a particular questions. Sometimes there are 4 answers, sometimes 6 or 7, but the idea is to get three of the answers for a team to win points. The first team to buzz in, or in this case, maybe signal the moderator gets to answer, each person in turn.

Three wrong answers and the other team gets one chance to answer and win the round.

I envision that we’d allow each group to collect points in maybe two rounds, and then we’d have a final round. The final round is one person from each team answering a set of questions. I’d say we do 5 to keep it quick. The second person doesn’t hear the first person’s answers, and together they need 200 points, with the count of survey answers matching their answers being added to each sum. Duplicates are not allowed.

It’s a little cumbersome to explain, but watch the show on YouTube to get an idea how it works.

Delays and Distractions

However, I wanted to narrow the field, and didn’t want to send this in the SSC newsletter to everyone. Perhaps that was a mistake, but in compiling my list of people, I got distracted. Building a large group to email to is tedious, and despite some OCD on my part, I also have a little Short-Attention-Span-Syndrome.

I had a soft launch last week, posting the first survey on Twitter and getting 100 responses in a few hours. That was kind of cool.

I’ve got 6 surveys, which is a good start. I’m thinking if this works, that I’ll look to run additional surveys and collect more data that can be used in the future.

What’s Coming?

I am planning to randomly announce surveys on the @SQLServerCentrl and @way0utwest Twitter accounts this week to try and get more responses, but distribute them around the entire #sqlfamily.

If you want to participate, watch out for the #sqlfamilyfeud hashtag later this week and send your answers in quick.

If you’re an event organizer and want a copy of the datasets, feel free to ping me.

Costumes at the PASS Summit

tl,dr; We’re raising money for Doctors without Borders. Donate and a few of us will dress up at the Summit. You don’t have to attend the Summit to have some fun here.

Last year a bunch of us agreed to get silly to raise money. We ended up getting over $13,000 for Doctors without Borders and it was fun. Quite a few people had laughs along at the Summit.


This year we’re doing it again, with Argenis Without Borders v2. Donate money and Argenis will be in a Ted suit at the Summit. I haven’t decided, but I’ll pick out something entertaining, and colorful.

It’s a great cause, and it if speaks to you, donate.

Halloween at PASS–Donate for some fun

This year’s PASS Summit will end on Oct 30, which is just before Halloween in the US. I’m sure lots of people will have some fun on Friday, though I also suspect we’ll see no shortage of people leaving early to get home to spend the holiday with families.

A few of us in the #SQLFamily community are going to have fun with this. There’s a campaign to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, and it’s been named Argenis Without Borders 2.0. We did this last year and raised over $13,000. This year we’ve already gotten $2k in donations are are looking for more.

Argenis is on the hook for a TED costume, and I’ve asked for ideas. So far the Goldmember one looks like the most fun, though I may go Austin Powers instead. However feel free to continue to suggest things to me.

This is a great cause, and it should be fun again. Who knows, maybe you’ll get yourself a great picture with me if you’re there, like one of these.

Photo Nov 06, 1 50 47 PM

I’ll probably have some hat, so I might even convince you to wear one and pose with me.

Photo Nov 05, 8 48 00 AM

And if you dress up, I’m more than happy to snap a shot with you.

Photo Nov 06, 1 52 26 PM

This is all in fun, and for a good cause, so I’ll likely be costumed just for those reasons. The goal for me is to raise some awareness and some money, so I’d ask you to donate if you agree.

Donate to Argenis Without Borders 2.0



Microsoft Exercise

Have we got a deal for you! Microsoft is concerned about the health of your company and is doing something about it.

There’s a trend in modern society of obesity, complacency, and general laziness. Not only does is this bad for society in general, but it also affects your health. So we have a new solution for you, designed specifically to combat this degenerative lifestyle in an easy way.

The Upgrade Treadmill!

Designed by the engineers up in Redmond, this highly engineered device ensures that you won’t sit around getting stagnant on those junky-technologies and deep-fried solutions. Instead we’ve built a system of carefully selected products released on a regular cycle that ensures you’ll be running for the rest of your career.

And it’s easy to get started. Just call 1-800-SHARE-PRICE and enroll now in our assurance program. With a short lifetime and quick expiration, our automated reminders to your boss will ensure that you never slack off and slow down your pace of upgrades.

It’s all in fun, but there’s some seriousness here. I originally wrote this awhile back when it seemed Microsoft was pressing for upgrades to SQL Server 2008 R2 after a relatively short development cycle post SQL Server 2008. However the piece got lost in the shuffle. I found it recently and was reminded of the sentiment when I saw a post to upgrade away from SQL Server 2005 with support ending.

There are good reasons to upgrade; just be sure the reasons are valid for your instance and environment.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 1.8MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and LibSyn.

The Geek Costume

It’s Halloween, and while many of you are too old to dress up in a costume, some of you may be planning on joining your kids for trick or treating, or even attending a party of some sort. It can be fun, though I have to admit that I’ve rarely dressed up as an adult. However if my kid asked me to, as Patton Oswalt’s did, I’d probably join in on the fun.

There are not shortage of fictional heroes available for us as geeks. Many of us have admired characters from the science fiction, comic, fantasy, and other worlds. The various SQL Bits conferences have included some great themes, with steampunk this year and the medieval theme last year. There was even a Jedi sighting on Pass TV last year.

This week, with the holiday in full swing tonight, I wanted to ask you a question on which costume you’d pick. Whether you have one ready or not for tonight answer this:

Which costume would you choose to dress up in for an event?

It could be a character from fiction, or even a device of some sort. Maybe you want to use technology to build an awesome costume? While I’d be tempted by the Indiana Jones look, I think I might choose something in the Batman genre if I had to.

Let us know this week what you’d pick, have a safe holiday tonight, and have a great weekend.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 1.9MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and LibSyn. 

We’re On

We crossed the $10k mark for the Argenis Without Borders campaign, meaning that Brent, Grant, Adam, Gail, and myself will join Argenis in dressing up in colorful costumes at the PASS Summit. I’ve already purchased a few things, and I’m ready.

I’d like to thank everyone that donated, as this is a great cause, and one that can make a real difference in the world.

Please consider donating if this is a cause that speaks to you. Maybe we can even get a few people their SQL Server tattoos if we can cross $25k.

The DBA Team Wants You!

We’re looking for a few good DBAs. Actually, we’re looking for a few DBAs that wouldn’t mind sharing some of their human frailty and submitting the worst day they had as a DBA. Grant and I will be judging the entries and we’ll pick one to be the theme for our Christmas edition of the DBA Team.

Don’t worry, we won’t make you ride a horse, but we’d like to feature you by name as we “enhance” your story with a few small additions. Perhaps you’ll be driving a fancy car, or be dressed to the nines. We might even have you performing a stunt or two.

It won’t be pretty, probably not too flattering, but it should be fun. I haven’t heard if we will give out prizes to the top entries, but the winner will be relaxing Not Only SQL style in the sun, with a free ticket to SQL Cruise 2015.

This contest should be some fun, and all it takes to enter is a little humility, a recognition of your mistakes, and a good sense of humor. If you’ve had a bad day, enter your submission and cross your fingers. And if you haven’t clicked through any of the links, you might want to. They make this editorial much more interesting.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 1.7MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and LibSyn. feed

The Voice of the DBA podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music.