Category Archives: Podcasts

Podcast Junkie Week – SQL Server

OK, I admit it! I am a complete and total Podcast Junkie. I listen or watch hours upon hours of podcasts each week. In large part they are how I keep up with what is going on in the industry, but they are also a great way to relax. I use my Zune and either listen or watch, or hook up my Zune 120 to the big TV and watch there. I have mentioned podcasts before, but it’s been quite a long time so I thought it was time to give an update on my current list of favorites. Hopefully you will find some good ones too.

We’ll start the week out with SQL Server related podcasts. There aren’t many, but they do exist.

SQL Down Under – Hosted by MVP Greg Low, each episode is an interview with someone interesting in the SQL Community. While the show is not regular, the past episodes are well worth listening to.

SQLServerpedia – This is a cornucopia of topics, they vary in length and frequency but are very useful, practical how to videos on a wide variety of SQL Server topics.

Voice of the DBA – Each day MVP Steve Jones brings you an interesting and informative editorial on subjects in the SQL Server world.

RunAs Radio – Strictly speaking this is not a SQL Server show, however Richard Campbell and Greg Hughes do bring SQL Server related episodes on a fairly regular basis. In addition many of the topics covered are of interest to SQL Server DBAs and thus is well worth the listen.

JumpstartTV.com – In the strictest sense the videos at JumpstartTV are not podcasts, since you must view them on their site and cannot download them to a portable media device. However their content is just too good not to pass along. There are a wide variety of short, focused videos, 3 to 5 minutes in length on average. Each video shows how to do one and only one thing, and most focus on the SQL Server realm. (Disclaimer, there is some video content on the site I produced.)

That’s all for today. If you have some suggestions on podcasts related to this subject, please leave a link in the comments below.

Tomorrow we’ll look at some of my favorite podcasts related to .Net development. On Wednesday we’ll look at podcasts about the computer industry in general. Then we’ll take a break and look at podcasts that are simply just for fun. Finally we’ll wrap Podcast Junkie week up with what is not only my favorite podcast but probably the most important one you’ll ever listen to.

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We interrupt this blog to get Ramped Up!

I promise to wrap up the FILESTREAM series shortly, I just want to ensure all of the code samples are complete and properly documented. Meanwhile I have a cool website I want to pass along.

Last week my friend Doug Turnure of Microsoft was on Dot Net Rocks! He and his co-worker Johanna White were talking about a new training site, Ramp Up! Available at http://myrampup.com this is a very full featured training site. There are a series of topics to train on, and each topic is actually a complete training course. Each course is a series of lessons in a variety of formats.

Doug and Johannna have taken a unique approach to this site. For example, there are three different courses available to learn ASP.NET. One is for people coming from an ASP background, another for experienced JAVA developers, and a third for people with no web experience. What a great idea!

In addition they have retained or recycled material for developers who may not be working on the cutting edge. There is a course for people coming from VS2002/2003 to VS2005, for example. This is great, I meet a lot of developers who are just now shifting to the .Net 2.0 platform and are looking for good training material.

Congrats to Doug, Johanna and everyone involved in creating this site. It’s  a great idea, totally free, and make sure to visit it frequently as they will be adding more material as time goes by.

Stop That Annoying Auto Reboot After Patch Tuesday Updates

More than any day of the month, I always dread the Wednesday morning after Patch Tuesday. Sure, I like the fact that Windows automatically keeps my system as secure as possible by automatically downloading updates during the night and applying them. But I get so frustrated the morning after. My system has restarted, and I have to go through the entire login and reload all my apps just to check my e-mail and grab my latest podcasts via the Zune software. Not a pleasant thing to go through before your first cup of coffee. But thanks to todays Tekzilla tip, no more!!!

Today’s Tekzilla tip of the day discloses just how to set your system to no longer automatically reboot, but instead wait for you. It was so good I’m going to pass it along. First, you need to open the Group Policy Editor. In XP do a Start, Run, and type GPEDIT. In Vista you can also run GPEDIT from the command line.

When Local Group Policy Editor opens, navigate to Local Computer Policy, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, then finally Windows Update.

StopWindowsReboot

The row you are looking for is “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations”. Double click on it, then change it’s state to enabled, then click OK.

StopWindowsReboot2

You will have to reboot your computer for this to take effect. Then the horror of waking up Wednesday mornings, dreading the overnight reboot will be a thing of the past.

While you are here, you may also wish to change the “Delay restart for scheduled installations” setting. By default this is set to 5 minutes. This is the screen that pops up and says ‘hey I just installed some stuff, I need to reboot to finish’ and your two choices are ‘Restart Now’ and ‘Restart Later’. But if you hit ‘Restart Later’ you are annoyed again a mere five minutes later. Well this is where you can adjust this. Open up the dialog, click Enabled, then you can change the time from the default of 5 minutes up to 30 minutes.

As with any time you go mucking around in your registry or policy settings, you do so at your own risk. Make sure you understand what is going on before you go changing things.

All I know is I’ll be sleeping a whole lot more soundly on Tuesday nights now.

Deep Fried Debugging

I was listening to the current episode of Deep Fried Bytes and was reminded of an important lesson. In case you haven’t heard of it, Deep Fried Bytes is a relatively new but very good development podcast. I highly recommend the podcast, it’s become a favorite on my Zune.

The hosts, Keith and Woody were interviewing members of the Microsoft.com support team. Yes, the guys who keep the actual Microsoft.com website up and running. Keith Woody asked them about a really challenging problem they hand, and one of the team recounted the tale of a site that had been in production about a year, when performance suddenly tanked. Naturally they went through the standard debugging questions, including “has anything changed in the code?” Since nothing had, they said “oh, well can’t possibly be the code” and went on to look at other things.

They went on to look at other things before finally, in desperation, coming back to the code. It turned out there was a scalability bug that had been there since day one, buried deep in a stored procedure. The select statement inside the stored proc caused a table scan. Not so bad when there were few records but after being up for a year the number of records was bogging down the stored proc.

I have been on many projects where a developer insisted the bug couldn’t possibly be in the code as it’s been running “perfect” and no recent changes have been made. The lesson to learn is never to rule out anything when looking for bugs. True, you should start with the most likely suspects, if no changes have been made to code then the probabilities of it being code are low as compared to say a hardware issue, but don’t rule it out completely. Get the entire team working in parallel. Let the developers look at the code, the DBAs at the database, admins at the server and network, and so on. Through teamwork, and being open to all possibilities you can achieve some deep fried debugging.

Boy Howdy Those Deep Fried Bytes Are Yummy

Long time readers of my blog or Twitter posts will know I am a big fan of podcasts. There’s a new one worth taking a listen to:

Deep Fried Bytes

Deep Fried Bytes is a new podcast hosted by Mississippi MVP Keith Elder and Chris “Woody” Woodruff. I listened to their inaugural episode on the way to the office this morning and quite enjoyed it. While they will cover all aspects of technology, they will have a heavy focus on .Net development.

The audio quality was superb, it may have been a first episode but their production quality and format made it sound like they’d been podcasting for years. I’ve already added the show to my Zune as a subscription, and recommended it to the Zune Marketplace. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next episode!

A Change of Pace

I got to do something today I rarely get to enjoy, telecommute. It was sort of forced on me, I pulled / tore a muscle in my back, and when exercise didn’t work the doctor gave me some meds. So until I was sure what the meds would do, I needed to avoid driving, and thus got to telecommute today.

The weather was so nice, I decided to sit out here on my screened in back porch all day. I used my main laptop to remote in to the office and take care of work. Most of it was downloading, testing, and fxiing my Virtual PCs all day. Necessary but time consuming tasks that don’t require a lot of brain power. So on a second laptop I tuned in to http://twitlive.tv . It was pretty cool to watch Leo live as recorded Security Now, Net@Nite, and a whole weeks worth of The Giz Wiz.

During lunch my family (we home school) joined me on the deck for some lunch. Now, as darkness has fallen my wife has brought me some home made sugar cookies, fresh and hot from the oven. Just perfect, with the stiff outer part but the gooey hot centers. Mmmm.

There’s nothing like a little change of pace to make your work day enjoyable. What kinds of things do you do for a change of pace?

The Developer Experience

In case you’re wondering why the slowdown in the blog this week, I’ve been spending all my free time getting ready for Alabama Code Camp 6. My first presentation of the day is “The Developer Experience”. It’s chock full of practical, low cost (or even free!) ways to make your life as a programmer more productive.

As promised in the session, here’s the complete PDF of my slides:  The Developer Experience