Category Archives: Random helpfulness

The Public Speaking Roadmap

So you look around, and all the cool kids are speaking at SQL Saturdays and PASS Summit and the like. You want to be the cool kids too, so how do you start public speaking?

Step 1: Know things

While you absolutely don’t have to be a 30 year veteran and world-renowned expert, it does help if you’ve got some experience with something. In other words, teach what you know.

Maybe what you know is TSQL, or Powershell, or R. Maybe it’s performance, maybe reporting. If you know a topic, talk on that topic. I hear you saying, “But plenty of people are already talking about my topic!” Well sure, just like plenty of people are already writing rock music…it doesn’t mean we’re all done making it!

So, develop your session. Say what you want to say. It’s your unique experiences and expression that will make your teaching valuable. Speaking of which, it’s time to develop your material and your personal style.

Step 2: Practice

Oh my dear word, you need to practice. Once you’ve developed your session, practice it out loud.

Practice your session to your dog.

Practice your session on video, and watch it back. (Yes, you have to listen to yourself speak.)

Practice to your significant other, or a friend, or some co workers.

Set up a webinar, and practice to a live audience online, even if only 2 people show up.

You absolutely must practice your session, out loud, many times. It’s going to suck at first. Practice is how you make it not suck, how you work out the kinks and figure out how it should sound.

Step 3: Try the local circuit

Quite a few people skip this step, and they really do pay for it. Before you go submitting your session to conferences, speak at your local user group. Speak for a PASS virtual chapter. Present for your team at work. Get some live performances under your belt! The responses and feedback – you’re going to ask for feedback, right? – will further refine your session.

Step 4: Level up your public speaking

Okay, you’ve done steps 1 through 3, yeah? Good job, you. Go ahead and submit to a larger event, like a SQL Saturday, or a Code Camp.

If you’re feeling really froggy, then sure…submit to one of the big conferences. I do recommend that you get a couple of smaller events done first…it’ll up the odds of being accepted, and of presenting a good session, in the big leagues.

Bonus: Ask questions!

Throughout this process, make sure you’re asking advice from at least one other experienced speaker. The input from someone who has already been there and done that will make things a great deal easier. Experienced speakers can point you to speaking resources, help you with abstracts, recommend events, and so on and on.

That’s the very high level path, my friend. Now, what do you want to talk about?

Happy days,
Jen

Announcement: Backup(n.) vs Back Up(v.)

Let it be known that the word “backup” is a noun (it refers to a thing), and “back up” is a verb (it refers to an action.

  • I’m going to back up the database.
  • It will produce a backup.
  • I’ll save that backup until we back up the database three more times.

This is how the terms are used throughout Books Online. I don’t really care if you use it wrong. I just thought you should know.

dongill
He was head of Books Online for half of forever. So, yeah.

Improved #MinionBackup and #MinionReindex – new versions!

We released Minion Backup 1.1 and Minion Reindex 1.2 this week! We’ve got a some great new features, and a number of bug fixes.

New features in brief: Minion Backup can now back up to NUL. Minion Reindex has improved error trapping and logging, and new statement prefix and suffix options!

minion backupMinion Backup 1.1

The one page MB Highlights PDF is a good place to start, if you haven’t laid hands on our backup solution yet. That’s just

New feature: You can now take NUL backups, so you can kick start your backup tuning scenario.  For more information, see the section titled “About: Backing up to NUL”in the official product documentation on www.MinionWare.net/Backup/

 Issues resolved:

  • Fixed mixed collation issues.
  • Fixed issue where Verify was being called regardless of whether there were files that needed verifying.
  • Data Waiter port wasn’t being configured correctly so there were circumstances where the data wasn’t being shipped to the other servers.
  • Greatly enhanced Data Waiter performance. Originally, if a server were down, the rows would be errored out and saved to try for the next execution.  Each row would have to timeout.  If the server stayed offline for an extended period you could accumulate a lot of error rows waiting to be pushed and since they all timed out, the job time began to increase exponentially.  Now, the server connection is tried once, and if the server is still down then all of the rows are instantly errored out.  Therefore, there is only one timeout incurred for each server that’s down, instead of one timeout for each row.  This greatly stabilizes your job times when you have sync servers that are offline.
  • Fixed an issue where the ‘Missing’ parameter wasn’t being handled properly in some circumstances.
  • Fixed issue where Master was discarding differential backups in simple mode.
  • Fixed issue where Master wasn’t displaying DBs in proper order. They were being run in the proper order, but the query that shows what ran wasn’t sorting.
  • Master SP wasn’t handling Daily schedules properly.
  • Reduce DNS lookups by using ‘.’ when connecting to the local box instead of the machine name which causes a DNS lookup and could overload a DNS server.
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 service consideration. The DMV sys.dm_server_services didn’t show up until R2 SP1.  The Master SP only checked for 10.5 when querying this DMV.  If a server is 10.5 under SP1, then this fails because the DMV isn’t there.  Now we check the full version number so this shouldn’t happen again.
  • Master SP not logging error when a schedule can’t be chosen.
  • Situation where differentials will be errored out if they don’t have a base backup. Now they’ll just be removed from the list.
  • HeaderOnly data not getting populated on 2014 CU1 and above. MS added 3 columns to the result set so we had to update for this.
  • Increased shrinkLog variable sizes to accommodate a large number of files.
  • Fixed international language issue with decimals.
  • Push to Minion error handling improved. There were some errors being generated that ended SP execution, but those errors weren’t being pushed to the Minion repository.

More resources:

Minion Reindex 1.2minion reindex-02

If you’re new to Minion Reindex, take a look at the one page MR Highlights PDF to get an idea of what we’ve done with a “simple little index maintenance routine”.

New features:

  • Error trapping and logging is improved. Minion Reindex is able to capture many more error situations now, and they all appear in the log table (Minion.IndexMaintLog).
  • Statement Prefix – All of the Settings tables (Minion.IndexSettingsDB, Minion.IndexSettingsTable) now have a StmtPrefix column. See the documentation on www.MinionWare.net/Reindex/ for details. Note: To ensure that your statements run properly, you must end the code in this column with a semicolon.
  • Statement Suffix – All of the Settings tables (Minion.IndexSettingsDB, Minion.IndexSettingsTable) now have a StmtSuffix column.  See the documentation on www.MinionWare.net/Reindex/ for details. Note: To ensure that your statements run properly, you must end the code in this column with a semicolon.

Issues resolved:

  • Fix: Minion Reindex failed when running on BIN collation.
  • Fix: Help didn’t install if Minion Backup was installed.
  • Fix: Minion Reindex didn’t handle XML and reorganize properly.
  • Fix: ONLINE/OFFLINE modes were not being handled properly.
  • Fix: XML indexes were put into ONLINE mode instead of OFFLINE mode.
  • Fix: Situation where indexes could be processed more than once.
  • Update: Increased Status column in log tables to varchar(max).
  • Fix: Status variable in stored procedures had different sizes.
  • Fix: Wrong syntax created for Wait_at_low_priority option.
  • Fix: Reports that offline indexes were failing when it’s set to online instead of doing it offline.

More resources: