I know this'll sound dumb, but I thought I'd tell you about one of my Christmas traditions and how I'm trying to break out of the cycle.

I purchase a new universal remote control every year as a stocking stuffer.  I've been doing it every year for, oh, the last five or six years.  Why a new one every year?  Well, it seems that we're always upgrading at least one AV gadget per year - a new DVD, VCR, DVD/VCR combo, a new TV, or whatever.  And because I could never find the factory manual with all of the codes, I'd throw away the old remote and simply buy a new one.  I figured that the $10 cost of the new remote was well worth not having to mess with the darned thing.

Any way, a light bulb went off in my head this year. <insert fanfare here>  The Internet probably has those codes somewhere!  A quick search on Google revealed several sites and I know what to share my favorite with you - http://www.xdiv.com/remotes/.  It's got all of the major remote control products on-site or at least linked from the manufacturer's web site.  It's well worth the time.

Now to something a bit more on topic for the SQL Server user -

Don Demsak, an XML MVP, is starting a new SQL Server user group in northern New Jersey.  In Don's own words:

It has been a long time coming, but NJ will finally see the return of a SQL Server User Group. I've been trying to get this group going for about a year now, and the biggest hang-ups has been trying to get a location, and finding volunteers to help run the group. Well, we solved both issues with the help of the great folks at SetFocus (who run the Northern NJ .Net User Group N3UG). My wife, Melissa (aka SQL Diva), is going to run the user group, and SetFocus will let us hold the meetings in their facility in Parsippany, NJ (which is very close to where I live, and makes it possible for Melissa to run the group).

The meeting will be held the 3rd Tues. of the month (a week after the .Net User Group), and will start on Jan. 17th.  Informal networking begins at 6PM and the presentation starts at 6:30 (until about 8PM).

This SQL group will not be like most other SQL groups, as it is dedicated to the Data Tier Developer (sprocs, integration services (aka DTS), Analysis Services (aka OLAP), Reporting Service, etc.), and will not contain presentations relavent \[sic\] to the Support DBA (back-up, recovery, etc.). The user group will join both PASS, and INETA, and we plan on taking advantage of the INETA Speaker's Bureau.

I'm going to be doing the first presentation, Intro SQL Server 2005. If you are interested in presenting, please contact Melissa, via the website www.njsql.org or her website, www.sqldiva.com. The NJ SQL site isn't 100% complete. I've still got a lot of skinning of CommunityServer to do, and we have a lot more content to put up, but we wanted to let everyone know about the group, ASAP.

So if you're looking for a local community to grow with and to support you, and you live in northern Jersey, I definitely recommend you give this new group your time and attendance.

Best regards,

-Kevin