Phil Factor

Phil Factor (real name withheld to protect the guilty), aka Database Mole, has 30 years of experience with database-intensive applications. Despite having once been shouted at by a furious Bill Gates at an exhibition in the early 1980s, he has remained resolutely anonymous throughout his career. See also :

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13 April 2006
13 April 2006

Selling Oneself Short

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A long time ago, I was transformed from resolute geek into a salesman. I’d written an application, commissioned by an international software publisher that subsequently disappeared in a spectacular way. It was an MSDOS program for managing serial communications for people who didn’t like computers much, but had to use them. It was good. Suddenly, … Read more
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26 March 2006
26 March 2006

Avoiding the TSQL ‘Convert’ styles.

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A recent blog was extolling the advantages of being able to use the CLR routines in SQL Server 2005 to do Microsoft-style date formats, instead of having the fuss and bother of remembering the CAST or CONVERT styles for the various representations of dates It is actually quite easy to do these date formats  in SQL … Read more
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20 March 2006
20 March 2006

The Incident of ‘The Two Johns’ -an IT Manager confesses.

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…in which Phil Factor takes advantage of the cloak of anonymity to confess to an embarassing mistake As an IT Manager, I used to love doing staff appraisals. These rituals come by different names in different companies, ‘performance reviews’, ‘annual reports’, ‘staff assessments’ and so on. There are periodic crazes for pinning a different name … Read more
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13 March 2006
13 March 2006

Spoofing Popularity-A warning to Webmasters

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In which Phil tries to warn you of the dangers of over-valuing Website-traffic Stats. A friend who runs a local history website in a rural area of England surprised me by saying that he values a single letter of interest or appreciation more highly than any amount of increased web-traffic on his site. He gave … Read more
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01 March 2006
01 March 2006

Palindromic Transact SQL

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Palindromes are words or phrases that read the same backwards and forwards. By the same token, Palindromic SQL executes just as well backwards and forwards A phrase such as … “Did I do, O God, did I as I said I’d do? Good, I did” “Marge lets Norah see Sharon’s telegram” “No, son, onanism’s a … Read more
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23 February 2006
23 February 2006

I could do it in my sleep

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Like many other programmers, I have adapted to a rather cat-like lifestyle of intense activity followed by relative languor. This coincides with the cyclic nature of the industry: Either there is too much work or too little. At the moment, there’s too much work, so I’m tending to work around twelve-hour days, often more. Of … Read more
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09 February 2006
09 February 2006

Sir! My dog ate my database.

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In asking various colleagues about the disasters or near disasters they have had with databases, I find to my astonishment that I am the only one who has ever, in a moment when my attention wandered, deleted a live database. It is odd, though, how products geared solely to mopping up from database disasters sell … Read more
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20 January 2006
20 January 2006

Getting Stuff Into SQL Server

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Often, Newbies to SQL Server are left feeling puzzled by the difficulty of ‘Getting stuff in and out’ of data tables. At first it does seem daunting, and I have to admit that I’m still a bit vague on some aspects myself. How, (or why) would one get image data in or out of a … Read more
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13 January 2006
13 January 2006

A SQL Limerick

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It wasn’t my idea at all. However someone set me the challenge of writing executable code that rhymed and scanned in the form of a limerick. Obviously, the easy trick is to just to write the limerick, assign it to a string and then do text substitution on that striing to convert it into SQL … Read more
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04 January 2006
04 January 2006

Unreadable code

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Producing unreadable Transact SQL is something of an art form. We all know that the best Transact SQL Style is to make everything elegant and obvious, with explanatory identifiers, liberal comments and deft formatting. It doesn’t always happen, for a number of reasons. One of the more subtle effects of acute caffein poisoning is to … Read more
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