Time Off

Time is a precious commodity, and so much of our time is dedicated to working. IT professionals often have jobs with good benefits, including generous paid time off. It’s very important to get away from work to relax and recharge, but, sometimes, it’s difficult to take those days that belong to us. Even when we … Read more

Self-improvement: Uniquely Human

There are many things that separate humans from other animals. One of those things is our interest in improving ourselves. Many of us are motivated, especially this time of year, to learn languages, better our health, develop leadership qualities, or increase wealth. There is an entire genre of literature dedicated to self-improvement, also known as … Read more

Follow Your Passion…Or Not

Depending on what you read, you will find advice to ‘follow your passion’ and, alternatively, ‘don’t follow your passion’. The former assumes you will be able to turn an interest into a career if you just love it enough to do what it takes to make it happen. The latter recommends that you should find … Read more

Don’t Stop Learning

A few years ago, I found myself teaching an in-depth SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) class at a local tech center. I had some great students in the class, who were engaged and excited about the material. During the breaks, they talked about their careers, and how what they learned would help them do their … Read more

SQL Server Coming in on Another Platform

Why release SQL Server as a Linux, as well as Windows, application? It baffled many DBAs when it was announced, though most shrugged and decided that it must be part of Microsoft’s long-term wrestling match with Oracle. When Microsoft previewed an early version of the Linux SQL Server on Ubuntu and Red-Hat, with ‘core relational … Read more

Conversations with Gran about Databases

So, what’s going on in your databases world this week, young man? I paused, as always, a little unsure of what I was getting myself into. I’d been having these little “technical chats” with Gran ever since her ‘computer incident’, when a blue screen informing her of a “Fatal error: catastrophic failure“, had thrown her … Read more

The Wrong Way to Clean Up the Internet

Having successfully fought several privacy battles, granting people the right to have themselves taken off Google search, and to have their records deleted from databases, it looks as if the European Union may soon want to regulate and license what you can watch on YouTube or other video content sites, and the audio-visual content you … Read more

When is the Data Deleted?

Imagine that your business is providing a service to individuals, and you charge by the amount of usage. You are trading your service internationally and need to keep a record of who among your customers does what. You then produce invoices and keep accounts. Your customers pay via a third-party service. So far so good. … Read more

IT Aphorisms for Developers

Developers enter their trade fizzing with untamed creative energy. They envision spending their days dashing out intricate algorithms that compile first time, developing creative applications that dazzle colleagues and users alike, before leaving the office each evening, with a swagger in their step, to work their new GitHub ‘side project’, which will one day soon … Read more

Who was that masked man anyway?

Whenever you require a visit to the doctor, or hospital, a lot of personal data will likely be recorded, alongside details of your condition, the treatment you required, drugs prescribed and so on. At some point, you might have signed a consent form, one of the clauses of which allowed your data to be analyzed … Read more

Morphing the Monolith

Microservices can certainly be made to work well for particular types of applications, but is it relevant to the mainstream? Can it replace the traditional architectures of database-driven applications? Microservice architecture is a type of service-oriented architecture that was developed from the concept of Domain-Driven design (DDD) and consists of loosely-coupled services that are network-based. … Read more

Working From Home

The idea that one can do nothing useful as a developer unless you are in an open plan office is rather retro. Although we all get that knowing wink when we announce that we are “Working from Home”, the truth is more complicated, I think. Some people are more productive when they work from home, … Read more

To Fly, To Serve, To Fry Your Servers

So, the story goes that an Ops engineer walked into a data center with the necessary pass, a cheery wave and a ‘good morning’. Shortly afterwards, he made history. At around 8.30AM, British Airway’s entire communications systems went down at the height of the May holiday, forcing them to cancel flights from the UK’s two … Read more

WannaCry Over Spilled Data

The WannaCry ransomware attack has highlighted a serious problem. If there is negligence in your IT strategy, you are increasingly risking the functioning of your organisation, and the privacy of your customers. If you are being careless with data you don’t own, and of which you are legally only the custodian, if you are storing … Read more

The Need for Database DevTest

The first and overriding thought of the experienced developer given any new development task is, or should be, ‘How the heck am I going to test this?’. I wonder, though, how often developers neglect to ask this question. Nowadays, with Visual Studio, the debugging facilities are so good you can muddle along happily for a … Read more

Python in SQL Server

Anyone using R in SQL Server employs the procedure sp_execute_external_script, the first parameter of this being the language to use. The documentation rather obliquely says that “the script must be written in a supported and registered language“. Until recently, the only language was R, but now a second supported language, Python, has appeared. Yes, at … Read more