Finally, Compression in SQL.

Here's a good overview of the compression in SQL 2008 and why it's a good thing.  Though I don't quite get the point on memory, don't you have to decompress the data at some point?  Surely this will end up using more memory resources, say you have a 50% compressed piece of data in memory, to store the uncompressed data would require another 100% on top of that, effectively using 150% more then if you just had the uncompressed data in memory to begin with.  Or am I missing something?  Regardless, if you've ever zipped up a SQL Backup (I have, more times then I can count) then this seems like an obvious piece of "low hanging fruit" for the SQL 2008 team.  I've always wondered why they didn't at least include built in compression for database backup and restore...

What's New In The Microsoft C# Community?

Charlie Calvert's Community Convergence posts are a great way to catch up with the Microsoft C# team.  Be sure to check out the latest edition!

My personal Highlights:

Microsoft Gets Transparent on Wikipedia

Or at least one employee does.  Peter Torr, a program manager at Microsoft, admits to editing Wikipedia articles on HD-DVD in order to "[keep] the pages interesting, up-to-date, and accurate".  He also comes clean about doing a bit of anonymous editing in the past and states he created a Wikipedia account so noone can "stumble" on his edits and accuse Microsoft of astroturfing or such.  Which of course people will.  I personally applaud Peter for being upfront with his editing, it will be up to the users of Wikipedia to decide if his comments are biased or not.  I would encourage Microsoft to make a standard corporate Wikipedia account that their employees should use if they want to edit Wikipedia.  Or establish a policy that they must create a MSFT* user or some-such.  Though most companies are becoming transparent wither they want to or not, thanks to WikiScanner.   Regardless,  another sign that Microsoft is more open then people give them credit for.

Query Analyzer, Resurrected.

Carpe Datum over at MSDN talks about people wanting Query Analyzer back over Management Studio.  I admit, the lack of Query Analyzer has been a source of ire for me as well.  I like the default Management Studio for editing databases and what not, but if I want to whip up a quick query or something I miss query analyzer.  Unfortunately the solution he provides causes Management Studio to always assume you want to run a query.  After a bit of fooling around, I came up with a batch routine that seems to mimic Query Analyzer pretty well.  I present to you isqlw.bat :)


@echo off
if '%1'=='' goto nofile
goto file
echo. > %TEMP%\Untitled.sql
start sqlwb -nosplash %TEMP%\Untitled.sql
goto end
start sqlwb -nosplash %1


This works well for me, YMMV of course, but I hope you might find it useful.

Are You Just In It For The Money?

Peter Van Ooijen made a post today that ended up being Kicked and generated some discussion.  Basically he's saying that a Software Architect should code.  I agree.  A Software Architect should be someone who is passionate about technology and development.  Some people say they were never given time to code.  I say that's bullshit.  Are you a developer for the pay, or because it's something you love

If you are not passionate about what we do, get out.  Seriously.  I don't want you in my industry, make room for those developers who ARE passionate about what they do.  Make room for those developers who spend at least some of their free time putting around with languages they don't know, technology that's just coming out.  If all you want is a paycheck there are plenty of other places you can go.

I want the kid who hacks on vBulletin in his spare time for his World of Warcraft guild.  I want the father who waits until his kids go to sleep and then spends a few hours hacking in XNA.  Where are those people? 

Why does the guy who simply got in this business because it was "hot" get promoted, while the people who Live To Code are left at the bottom rungs?    Part of it is choice I'm sure, I've done the managerial bit, it's less "fun" for sure.  But those in the trenches are frequently ignored, while those who read "Buzzword Weekly" make all the important decisions.

Fortunately, it seems Peter has a good architect who at least knows what he doesn't know, and that's a good start.

Microsofties Aren't Robots? Perish The Thought...

Glenn Bock over at Microsoft recently blogged that he was not a robot because he uses the following non-Microsoft technologies: A Mac Mini (which really doesn't count, Microsoft doesn't make computers and as far as I am aware they still write software for the Mac),  an iPod, Yahoo, Google, NUnit (MS tech related), Firefox, OpenSource, Resharper (MS tech related), Ruby on Rails, and Linux.  That's all well and good, but would he still follow the Programming Promises? I bet he at least tries, though I'd also guess he's a tad biased. :)  Regardless he's also right in he wouldn't be doing a good job if he wasn't examining and using alternatives, especially when they were better then the items he could dogfood.  It's a reminder that we all need to continually be exploring and expanding our exposure to technology from all fronts.

Microsoft: Cool or Stuffy?

Janelle at Microsoft had an interesting post asking if Microsoft was cool or not.  She argues that since Microsoft launched Halo 3 and is rumored to be talking to Facebook that there should be some coolness points awarded.  My personal take?  Microsoft has cool people, that do cool things.  But the two examples she gives are both things that Microsoft did not internally develop.  Halo 3 is a Bungie product, and they're specifically talking about buying Facebook, not creating it.  This tells me that Microsoft knows cool when they see it, but are they able to produce coolness themselves?  Sure somethings they have are cool, Tafiti, CodeToLive is cool, alot of the stuff out of Microsoft Research is too.  But is SharePoint cool?  Is BizTalk?  Do they need to be?  Should they be?  Coolness doesn't sell to CIOs, cool does play well with the people actually having to work with the products though.  These are the people that will ask for or recommend things to the CIO.  So by necessity I think Microsoft has to be Cool on the one side and Suit on the other.  What do you think?  Does Microsoft need to be cooler?  Or is it hip to be square?

ArcReady, CodeToLive, and Sidewalks 2.0

Attended the Microsoft ArcReady event yesterday. Got a chance to see Brian H. Prince and Josh Holmes again. I always look forward to try to absorb what I can from these two, very very bright guys.

Josh made a point to show me his new 2007 Road King, hinting that it was somehow relevant to his job. It seems that Josh is doing what looks like is going to be an awesome show, called CodeToLive. He is taking the bike across America with Steve Loethen and interviewing developers. Based on the trailer (which he showed during the presentation) and the first episode, it looks like this is going to be a blast to follow. CodeToLive is definitely a mantra I live by, developing isn't what I do, it is who I am. I'm hoping to see many more episodes from those two.

Due to an administrative error (specifically an admin confusing Kansas City and Cleveland), there was a surprisingly small turnout. That did not prevent a few spirited exchanges though, it was interesting to hear how some could not fathom how Twitter and Twittervision applied to the concept of Platforms being better products then Applications. One of the real benefits of these events is getting a chance to interact with fellow professionals in different areas with different background. Getting those unique perspectives and having a chance to articulate your own positions really helps put things into focus. So regardless of the turn out it was a worth while and lively crowd in my opinion.

Josh's presentation was enjoyable as always, interspersed with personal stories and anecdotes that help illustrate situations we may find in our day to day jobs. The first story he relayed was his treacherous experiencing trusting a single data provider, namely NavTeq. The second related to utilizing your users to drive design. His alum Franciscan University of Stubenville, had installed some new sidewalks and were dismayed to see none of the students using them. They had elected, rather, to cut through the grass along a shorter and more direct route. When the university expanded and added new buildings, the initially did not put any sidewalks in. Instead the planted grass. They then waited until the students had worn trails in the grass along their preferred routes and paved those. It's really quite a good story about the importance of user-centric and user-driven design.

Brian talked next and demonstrated how some of the concepts are used at QuickSolutions. You'd think it'd be incredibly boring, but Brian's skill as a presenter is such that you really don't notice. He demoed a bit with the BizTalk Labs site, specifically the Connectivity Service and went over some of the procedures QS uses. A joy to listen to as always.

Josh also gave us a brief overview of Tafiti (which I had seen before, but it's always good when the MS guys start doing new demos ;) ). And things wrapped up then with the usual giveaways. A few books, a copy of Expression and Office 2007. Though my chances were good I walked away empty handed, yet not empty headed :) I am definitely looking forward to the next ArcReady!

Don't forget to checkout CodeToLive, and a reminder that CodeMash registration will be opening soon!

My Nerd Score 2.0

Still a Nerd God it seems... says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!