27 February 2008
27 February 2008

How should you layout code?

It is strange to see the heat generated over arguments about how code should be formatted. With Visual Studio, of course, it isn’t much of an issue, as it is done for you, but the closer you get to the ‘live free and die’ communities of the LAMP platforms, the more contentious it gets. Likewise, … Read more
12 February 2008
12 February 2008

SQL Server Diagnostics

SQL Server diagnostics are a mess. To monitor the well-being of a server, you need to be able to inspect all logged errors, have a whole raft of performance information, WMI data, and be able to study the history of backups and scheduled jobs. You have to monitor server downtime, low disk space, low physical … Read more
08 January 2008
08 January 2008

TSQL and the Tower of Babel

It is always a bit of a strain to program in several languages at once. A simple task like writing a database-driven website will involve you in at least three, maybe more. The experience of diving into JavaScript, VB.NET, and TSQL, all at once, is one that most human brains aren’t, in evolutionary terms, designed … Read more
15 November 2007
15 November 2007

LINQ and vNext

The history of IT is littered with the corpses of software companies that assumed that a solution that worked well in particular circumstances would necessarily become a generic panacea. Who, for example, now remembers the past giants of the Workflow industry? The Orcas chrysalis is now hatching into the Visual Studio 2008 butterfly. Well, most … Read more
31 October 2007
31 October 2007

What are the most innovative .NET tools?

We all have our favourite websites. Not the ones we read as part of our job, but the ones we scan whilst munching sandwiches at the desk or, surreptitiously, during an application build process. I’m hooked on giveawayoftheday.com at the moment. It is a site that gives away licensed software. It features a different product … Read more
18 September 2007
18 September 2007

Registering for PASS: the deadly game

MONDAY, 17 September 2007 On a slightly overcast Denver Monday morning, I strolled into the Colorado Convention Centre, intent on registering for the PASS conference. I stared in wonderment at the distinctive blue bear, entered the building, and followed the sign for “PASS registration”. I duly approached the registration desk. “Hi, I’m here to register” … Read more
06 November 2006
06 November 2006

Simple Talk at SQL PASS

I just wanted to provide everyone with a “heads-up” on Simple-Talk’s plans for SQL PASS in Seattle. If you’re at the show and are interested in talking – maybe about writing an article, doing a short interview, to tell me how great Simple-Talk is, or just to give me a good slap, then drop me … Read more
19 September 2006
19 September 2006

The Joy of Simple Talk Editorial Meetings

Phil Factor’s recent blog on The Joy of IT Meetings contains a lot of good advice, but if you really want your meetings to be productive, I can only suggest you adopt the Simple-Talk approach. All you need are some good people, a traditional local hostelry, some lovingly-brewed real ale and about 2 hours. Here’s … Read more
16 August 2006
16 August 2006

Developer vs. Tester vs. PM

In a recent blog, Todd Bishop highlighted the fact that Microsoft had hired “more than 10,000 people worldwide in the fiscal year ended June 30, bringing the total to 71,553 (… the biggest annual increase in the company’s history)”. Subsequently, the anonymous Mini-Microsoft blogger duly wondered what exactly these 10K people actually did AT Microsoft – … Read more
12 July 2006
12 July 2006

Beer and victory celebrations

During the recent World Cup a couple of my friends in the US sent me this clip from an English newspaper claiming (boasting, more like) that English fans were “drinking Germany dry”: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=17302491&method=full&siteid=94762&headline=beer-we-go–name_page.html English people seem to have this strange, unfounded reputation as large beer drinkers. The reality is, in fact, that most of us … Read more
07 July 2006
07 July 2006

Good beer in unexpected places

As part of an occasional series on odd places to get good beer, on Friday last week Red Gate sent me on a fact-finding mission to Cornwall to investigate “The Watering Hole” pub at Perranporth. Now this pub is actually on the beach – not near it, or overlooking it, but actually on it. The … Read more
14 June 2006
14 June 2006

Tech Ed 2006 Snippets: FoxPro lives

In the press room, Mary Jo Foley (from Microsoft Watch) was expounding on how hard it was to predict which articles would really take off and which would bomb. She would write controversial pieces on the latest hot topics, such as SharePoint, expecting a whirlwind response and getting barely a breeze. She then punts out … Read more
11 June 2006
11 June 2006

Tech Ed 20006: pre-match warm up

As an Englishman I’m well used to the experience of leaving some gloriously sun-kissed location and returning home to greyness and drizzle. But rarely the opposite. However, so it was on Friday as we swapped a sweltering, blue-skied London for the rain-drenched streets of Boston. Our hotel (the Onyx) is one of those seemingly ubiquitous … Read more
07 June 2006
07 June 2006

Simple Talk, Live from Tech Ed Boston

Tech Ed in Boston is just around the corner and the Red Gate offices are a feverish hive of activity (carefully coordinated around numerous swag boxes). I will be at the event, trying to dig out the latest news and views and hopefully, scratching a little beneath the shiny surface of the MS hype machine. … Read more
26 May 2006
26 May 2006

Beer, SQL Server and .NET

There is a line in the book “London Fields” where the main character is asked why he only drinks lager when playing darts and not real ale. His answer is (I’m paraphrasing and omitting a lot of swear words — this is Martin Amis after all): “It’s kegged. You know what you are getting every … Read more