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SQL Server Magazine Monthly Pass = Quick Answers!
July 28, 2005
2. News and Views
3. Events and Resources
4. Featured White Paper
5. Peer to Peer
7. New and Improved
Sponsor: SQL Server Magazine Monthly Pass = Quick Answers!
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by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a firm believer in the age-old adage "Read the fine manual" (that's RTFM for short). I want to be a supportive and sensitive mentor when working with new SQL Server folks, but IT people who don't at least try to find an answer on their own always annoy me--it's a pet peeve. SQL Server professionals are especially fortunate because SQL Server Books Online (BOL) is excellent compared to other online technical-documentation resources. Too many times, I've provided SQL Server support on newsgroups and other forums when the questioner could have found the exact solution with a quick BOL search using obvious keywords. Finding your own answer is always the best way to learn; you'll remember the answer better and longer than if a colleague simply feeds you the information.
That said, there will of course be times when novices and experts alike need to ask questions. I've written many editorials about the best places to find answers. This week, I want to recommend an article that will help you ask the right question when you need to. Microsoft MVP Daniel Petri wrote the excellent article "How to Ask a Question (or How do I ask a question on a professional forum/newsgroup without getting flamed?)" which is available at Petri's website. He says, "When posting questions to a professional forum or newsgroup, it is vital to format the question and it's content in a proper way in order to greatly increase the possibility for quickly receiving a good answer, thus saving you time and frustration." The article is also posted in the Microsoft Knowledge Base as "How to ask a question."
You'll either laugh out loud or be a tad offended by the article, depending on how much and how well you post questions in public forums. But the author's tongue-in-cheek approach to an important problem does provide some great advice about how to be heard when a vast number of question askers are seeking help from a limited supply of question answerers. If you're offended by some of the comments in the article, keep in mind that you're not likely to find good help on a newsgroup unless you take these suggestions to heart. Thanks, Daniel. I don't normally get to laugh so much when I review technical articles.
2. News & Views
If so, you qualify to enter this awards program. SQL Server Magazine is organizing its 4th annual Innovator Awards Program. An awards committee, designated by SQL Server Magazine, will review all entries and select one grand-prize winner, 3 runners up, and honorable mentions if appropriate. The grand-prize winner will win a free trip to the 2005 SQL Server Magazine Connections Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 7-10, a special trophy, and a writeup in the January 2006 issue. Contest ends August 31, so fill out an entry form today to get the recognition you deserve for your innovative solution.
"What is your favorite part of the SQL Server Magazine Web site?" Here are the results from the 31 votes:
"What resource do you use first when you have a SQL Server question?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page and submit your vote for:
- SQL Server Magazine forums
- SQL Server Books Online (BOL)
- Microsoft articles or Web pages
- Newsgroups or other forums
3. Events and Resources
In this free Web seminar, you'll get the tools you need to fully manage the care and feeding of your production databases. Sign up today to learn all about the views and functions now available in SQL Server 2005 for the DBA. This is the one Web seminar you won't want to miss!
Databases have assumed a role of primary importance in many businesses. This highly visible role is complete with multiple responsibilities and demands. In Chapter 8 of this free eBook, you'll discover the availability- and scalability-related features of SQL Server and Oracle and the requirements and features that can help you increase availability and scalability. Plus, you'll learn three key backup and recovery features related to availability and scalability.
In this free Web seminar, get the tips you've been looking for to save time and money in achieving IT security and regulatory compliance. Find out how you can simplify these manually intensive, compliance-related tasks that reduce IT efficiency. Turn these mandates into automated and cost-effective solutions. Register now!
Discover the issues involved with integrating your compliance system with backup and recovery, including backup schedules, pros and cons of outsourcing backup media storage and management, the DR implications of backing up compliance data, the possibility of using alternative backup methods to provide backup and compliance in a single system, and more. You'll learn what to watch out for when combining the two functions and how to assess whether your backup/restore mechanisms are equal to the challenge.
Choosing an appropriate availability technology means balancing the system cost, the skill set and knowledge level required, the complexity added to your existing environment, and how much availability each technology gives you. In this free Web seminar, you'll learn the factors for each technology and how Ed Heinemann's famous dictum for aircraft design, "simplicate and add lightness," applies to availability design and deployment.
See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.
4. Featured White Paper
Discover how to improve your bottom line and make your business more productive with easier ways for users to communicate and carry out mission-critical business processes. Download this free white paper to learn how to integrate fax with Microsoft Office and Exchange/Outlook applications. Get usage examples of Office-to-Fax integration, learn the benefits, and how fax works with Microsoft Office to deliver clear and substantial benefits to users.
5. Peer to Peer
by Brian Moran
SQL Server has always had nifty undocumented functions that are tempting to use. However, Microsoft has always urged users not to use those functions because they can change in future releases. For the most part, Microsoft hasn't changed undocumented behavior in a way that would cause problems if you had been sneaky and used some of the hidden features. SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4), however, will add limitations on what you can do with the undocumented extended stored procedures xp_regread and xp_regwrite.
SQL Server 2005 delivers entirely new sets of management tools for both DBAs and developers. With the addition of some new services in SQL Server 2005, service management is becoming a more important area of DBA concern. The new SQL Server Management Studio replaces both SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer. You need to be aware of two supporting tools: the SQL Server Configuration Manager and the Surface Area Configuration tool. In their August focus article "SQL Server 2005 Management Tools," Kalen Delaney and Ron Talmage take a look at each in turn before turning to the SQL Server Management Studio.
Back in the old days when people actually had to do research by going to the library and picking up a book off of a shelf, people were given training for how to logically approach research. Now, because it's so easy, many researchers are just plain scatterbrained and their research techniques lack any thought about methodology. This phenomenon gives rise to blog entries like the one at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=FB7C:7B3DB called "Are (newsgroup) users getting more stupid?" So I'm curious to hear what you think. Have you seen newsgroup entries that say something like "My professor wants us to apply a style sheet to a Web page. Can you please give me the exact code to make this happen?" Or maybe you've seen questions on newsgroups that have been answered a couple dozen times in the last few weeks alone. Does this make you feel that people, in general, are getting dumber and/or lazier?
Administration: SQL Server Clustering
T-SQL: Updating Records in Table
Performance: SQL Server 7.0 Thinks Table Scan Is Faster Than Index
Development: FOR XML EXPLICIT Error
Replication: DMZ Replication Help
Data Access: Linked Servers From 64-Bit to 32-Bit Server
Get SQL Server Magazine and get answers! Act now to get an entire year for just $39.95—that's 44 percent off the cover price! You'll also gain exclusive access to the entire SQL Server Magazine article database (more than 2300 articles). Bonus: The Top SQL Tips handbook (more than 60 helpful tips). This is a limited-time, risk-free offer/
This year's competition is calling for a cutting-edge SQL Server solution that solves a real-world problem and/or improves performance. Our grand-prize winner will win a free trip to the 2005 SQL Server Magazine Connections conference in Las Vegas. Fill out an entry form today and get the recognition you deserve! Deadline to enter is August 31st.
7. New & Improved
by Dawn Cyr
Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Tell us your product-success story, and if we print your submission in the Hands On department, we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your product suggestion with information about how the product helped you to email@example.com.
Dataday Solutions announced DataMonkey Generic Data Hub (GDH), a database administration and ETL application that works with ODBC-compliant data providers including SQL Server, Oracle, Siebel, and MySQL. The application lets you quickly execute SQL statements, transform data between various sources, and extract data into Microsoft Excel, XML, or text files. When you need more power, you can create your own .NET ETL functions in Visual Basic .NET or C#. The extensible programming environment lets you access your own .NET code and embed global parameters that call SQL, Visual Basic, or Java script directly into your SQL statements. The product also lets you call custom actions from within a job, send email messages with soft-coded attachments, use trigger files, and run DataMonkey jobs from within SQL Server DTS. A free trial version of the application is available for download. For pricing and other information, contact Dataday Solutions at 44(0) 7956-523-775 or sales @datadaysolutions.com.
Red Earth Technologies announced Superior SQL Builder 2.0, a tool that lets you build complete SQL scripts without typing any code. The product's latest release supports multi-database SQL development, which gives DBAs, developers, and other database professionals a quick, easy method to develop substantial SQL scripts. Other new features include support for multiple database connections, simplification of the script-template development process, and explicit support for MySQL 5.0. Standard features of the product include the ability to eliminate syntax, logic, and typographical errors during SQL development. The product supports SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, and MySQL and runs on Windows 98 and above. Superior SQL Builder registration costs $249, and a fully functional evaluation version of the product is available at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=FB83:7B3DB . For more information, contact Red Earth Technologies at 61-7-5534-6551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SQL Farms Solutions announced the launch of its SQL Education Center, a free online service that lets users communicate with SQL experts, request and download custom SQL scripts, and search a knowledge base for resources such as articles, white papers, and SQL user groups. Experts write and test all custom scripts, and all scripts follow the highest quality standards and best SQL coding practices. All scripts are well documented and commented, only Microsoft documented procedures are used whenever possible, cursors are never included in the code, and code uses only secure procedures and coding techniques. Visit the SQL Education Center or contact SQL Farms Solutions at email@example.com.
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