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December 23, 2004
2. News and Views
4. Peer to Peer
5. New and Improved
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by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
As 2004 draws to a close, I thought you'd enjoy a retrospective-a recount of important Microsoft news from 2004. Microsoft made this task easy for me by summarizing the achievements it felt were most significant in a 15-page PressPass released last week (see http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2004/dec04/12-14YearReview.asp).
Some of the most interesting news has almost nothing to do with SQL Server--at least not at first glance. Microsoft has made numerous advancements in consumer fields associated with entertainment and digital media. Not the least of these is the general acceptance of digital media. Microsoft points out that more than 10 billion music tracks now exist on user hard drives, more than 40,000,000 US households now have digital cameras, and more than 100 million digital video recorders (not counting PC devices) are installed in homes around the world.
By now, you've probably heard about Windows XP Media Edition 2005, Microsoft's push to make a Windows-based PC the integrated brain and hub of your entire home-entertainment system. Research from the Yankee Group says that by 2007, 25 percent of all PCs sold will be Media Center PCs. Think about that for a moment. Managing your home budget and Christmas card list on the family PC is one thing--trusting it to serve up "The Sopranos" or "Survivor" is a whole new level of technology integration in the home. Windows Media Connect and Portable Media Centers extend the reach of a central Media Center PC to every room in the house and give you nearly seamless portability. Of course, it will take a few releases for Microsoft to solve the functionality and feature problems that keep Media Center from being the truly seamless experience that Microsoft wants it to be. Windows Media Center is now in its third major iteration, and it's starting to look and feel like a viable solution for managing your home-entertainment experience.
Another important accomplishment for Microsoft in 2004 was increased acceptance of the Xbox, including Xbox Live, Microsoft's online Xbox gaming service. Microsoft says that Xbox Live reached a subscriber base of more than 1,000,000 within 2 years of its launch, which is half the time it took for AOL, HBO, and TiVO to reach the same subscriber levels.
I think database technology is fun, but most people probably don't think databases are as entertaining as giant plasma TVs serving up the latest movies or your family vacation videos. But as Microsoft creates more touch points in the house, I see the need and opportunity for larger amounts of home data storage and manipulation. The technologies Microsoft is touting in its press release don't rely heavily on SQL Server in their current incarnations, but future versions of Windows (e.g., Longhorn) will rely on core SQL Server technology. So it makes sense to assume that future versions of Windows home-media-oriented technologies will most likely begin to leverage SQL Server technology for various storage needs as well. Protecting the sa password will always be important; perhaps in a few years, you'll need to keep it under lock and key so that your kids won't order too many pay-per-view movies.
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2. News & Views
Microsoft has released an article that describes the 32-bit SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0 hotfix installer. The installer's used to apply hotfixes to stand-alone or clustered instances of SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 7.0. And the hotfix installer only runs on computers that are running Microsoft Windows 2000 or later version of the Windows OS. You can't use the installer for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE) or 64-bit SQL Server 2000. Hotfixes for SQL Server are packaged and delivered as self-extracting executable files. The hotfix installer helps you install hotfixes by using a GUI-based setup program. The installer can also run unattended to automate the hotfix installation process for your entire organization. To learn more about the hotfix installer, read the Microsoft article "Description of the 32-bit SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000 hotfix installer" at
Microsoft has released a hotfix for an error that you may receive when running a SET IDENTITY_INSERT ON statement on a table. In SQL Server 2000, when you run a SET IDENTITY_INSERT ON statement on a table, then try to run a query to insert a row into the table that contains an identity column, you might receive an error message that looks like: "Cannot insert explicit value for identity column in table 'TableName' when IDENTITY_INSERT is set to OFF." This problem occurs when the client-cached cursor query isn't invalidated and the query uses the prior setting of SET IDENTITY_INSERT OFF when it tries to insert the row. To find out more about this problem and the supported hotfix, read the Microsoft article "FIX: You may receive an error message when you run a SET IDENTITY_INSERT ON statement on a table and then try to insert a row into the table in SQL Server 2000" at
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4. Peer to Peer
Q. When I execute the sp_helplogins 'login name' procedure, it displays the value MemberOf in the UserOrAlias column. What does this value mean?
Read the answer to this question today at
Books about coding techniques rarely make it to the top of my reading list. Steve McConnell's original Code Complete (Microsoft Press, 1993), a book that presented the definitive set of code-construction guidelines, was a notable exception. However, the book's Pascal and C coding example make it long and outdated. McConnell's follow-up, Code Complete, Second Edition (Microsoft Press, 2004), tackles modern-day code construction problems and provides all-new code examples written in C++, Visual Basic (VB), and Java. This book should be on every programmer's desk--read it and you'll write better code. In his December SELECT TOP(X) column, "Techniques from Code Complete, Second Edition," Michael Otey shares five code-writing concepts from Code Complete, Second Edition. Read this article today at
In this week's blog, "Kumar on Monitoring Multiple Server Event Logs," Kevin Kline talks about an article written by Muthusamy Anantha Kumar (aka "The MAK") about how to monitor the Event Logs of one or more Windows servers. Kevin thinks the article is a great discussion of two techniques that can help you manage and monitor many resources. What do you think?
Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
T-SQL: System Tables and Dynamic SQL
Administration: Insufficient Disk Space Error When Restoring
Development: SQL Injection and Stored Procedures
Database Design: What's Xref Used For?
Performance: Query Performance in SQL Server 2000 vs. SQL Server 7.0
Security: Granting Permission
5. New & Improved
by Dawn Cyr, email@example.com
Sonasoft announced SonaSafe Point-Click Recovery suite for SQL Server, a data-protection management console. The solution is a centralized management-based software suite that provides automated disk-to-disk backup and recovery through a point-and-click GUI. Administrators can manage multiple target servers through one console. When you need to perform a recovery, the product automatically determines which files need to be restored and performs the recovery from backup data on internal hard disks. You can back up and recover one database, multiple databases, one SQL Server instance, or an entire SQL Server. The product's features include a template-driven automated backup plan; support for SQL Server 2000 and 7.0; point-of-failure or point-in-time recovery; a Web-based interface that you can access from anywhere in the world; an automated policy-based purging functionality; and diagnostic capability. SonaSafe Point-Click Recovery suite for SQL Server supports SQL Server 2000 and 7.0. For pricing and other information, contact Sonasoft at 408-927-6200.
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