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SQL Sins and Powershell scripts, from another lovely #SQLSatOKC

August 25, 2014 sql server 2 Comments

Hi-ho there, Jen the DBA here. We spent a lovely weekend in balmy (99F and 30% humidity) Moore, Oklahoma for SQL Saturday #309.

On Friday, Sean and I gave our “Become an Enterprise DBA” precon, and had dinner with the natives. Thanks again, OKC UG, for the dinner and beer! Friday night we had our regular DBAs@Midnight, titled “3 Rants”, where we talked about the new Coke* campaign, and the darn SQL whippersnappers these days, and that companies and orgs really need to STOP REBRANDING CONSTANTLY BECAUSE THAT’S A REALLY BAD IDEA. I’m looking at you, “SQLPASS-not-SQL Server“.

Ahem.

T-SQL ThrowDOWN

Saturday, we attended our very first T-SQL Throwdown, hosted as always by its creator, Hakim Ali. I had been recruited as an “Expert for Hire”, though no one wound up “hiring” me…and this was so much fun! Hakim tells the attendees to form groups of 2-4, with at least one laptop (with SQL installed) among them. Some people choose not to participate, but that’s fine, as it turns out that coding actually IS a good spectator sport.

He passed out USB sticks with the password-protected questions, and began. He revealed the password for the first question, and the teams got right to work. As a team figured out the answer, they’d come up to the front to type it in on the display. If they got it wrong, the next team in line – if there was a team in line at all – could try. The points, and the difficulty, ramped up question by question.

It was great. Some teams would get most of the way there, and fail on a typo. Others would get the answer NEARLY right, but leave out one crucial detail. Nobody was requesting expert help (it costs half the question’s points for an expert), so he made the experts free for teams that hadn’t scored yet.

After 10 questions, the winning team just barely took the lead, and took home the prizes. I was really pleased with how entertaining and engaging the whole event was. (I’m going to push him for a Celebrity Throwdown sometime…)

okcposhOur Sessions

Sean presented his RegEx for DBAs session (here’s the code) to fill in for a last minute cancellation, and then presented DIY Performance Reporting (demo code) as the last session of the day.

I presented both Code sins, and my new Powershell Cmdlets for DBAs session (download the code file here), which seemed well received.

Thanks very much, OKC, for a fantastic SQL Saturday!

Happy days,
Jen McCown

http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

 

*I don’t mean New Coke. That’s just not okay.

The Big Idea is: Nobody likes team building

In our Season 6 opener of DBAs@Midnight, we talked about (among other things) the giant pain that is company-mandated team building.  I’m writing here from my experiences as an IT professional, with many years of work, and many hours wasted in “building teams”.

Team building assumes that you are part of a working team – fair enough so far – and that non-work activities can help strengthen and improve the relationships within those teams, with the end goal of better productivity for the company. It really does seem like a fine idea, as far as that goes, and I applaud managers and brass for realizing that workers are more than cogs in a machine.

The thing is, a great many people hate-hate-HATE team building.

I’ve been to team building events that included silly games, dancing, picnics or bowling, pointless (and endless) motivational speeches COMPLETE WITH LOTS AND LOTS OF POWERPOINT, and on and on. The active stuff was generally embarrassing. The picnics and bowling were nice I suppose, but afterward measured little to no impact on working conditions; it was effectively a company party. The speeches were…not good for anyone’s enjoyment of life, to say nothing of productivity. Never has so much minesweeper been played by so many people, in such a small, sweaty room.

One of the big problems is that team building is rarely done for teams – it’s done across departments, and so you have groups of people mixed up together, doing things that at least half of them despise.  It’s hard to plan even a party for a large group of people, much less a goal-focused set of activities. Too many personality types. The introverts won’t want to sing, the extroverts will get bossy about the logic puzzles, the lazy ones will spend all their time on Plants vs Zombies 7, The Reaping, and now you’re not so much team building as you are shoring up existing roles.

And the really great thing is, it’s always mandatory. You never get asked whether you’d like to participate in team building, or what might interest you, or how you think these things might be run well.  In short, team building tends to be a funnel that transforms perfectly useful time into long, awkward uselessness.

I’d like to hear from people who’ve had good team building experiences. I’d like to hear from those of you with bad. And, can team building be done “right”?

Happy days,
Jen McCown

 

Tune in to DBAs@Midnight, the only live webshow for DBAs, by DBAs, Fridays at 11pm Central on http://webshow.MidnightDBA.com for the next Big Idea. When you watch and chat live, you’re part of the discussion! (Show is NSFW for language.)

This Week in Awesome – Running at PASS, Cookie Jail, SQL Sats, Breakfast

Kitchen-Safe-locking-cookie-jar-blue_inIf you’re in Seattle the week of November 2 – say, for example, you’re attending the PASS Summit that week - consider signing up for the #SQLLongRun:  “We’ll do a minimum of 11 miles. Why? Because we can.”

There is now a locking, time-release cookie jar. I should….I should probably buy one. Or four.  We’re big fans of cookies here at Chez McCown.

You very much need to sign up for SQL Saturday Baton Rouge this weekend, August 2; and/or SQL Saturday Oklahoma City August 23 – be sure to catch our Enterprise DBA precon! – and/or SQL Saturday Kansas City on September 13. We’ll be teaching at all three. Can’t make those? Pick your own SQL Saturday.

Over at SQLMag.com, Tim Ford shows us which DMVs to look at to find info on cluster nodes and ownership.

Today I Learned (TIL) that there are keyboard shortcuts for Twitter. KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS FOR TWITTER, CARL!!

And remember you eat your breakfast. You need that protein. Helps your brain.

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