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Book Review – "Propose, Prepare, Present" by Alistair Croll, O’Reilly Media, Inc.

I still hope to present someday at PASS, so my second book review for the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program is of:

"Propose, Prepare, Present How to become a successful, effective, and popular speaker at industry conferences" by Alistair Croll, O’Reilly Media, Inc.

This book summarizes a fairly standard way conferences are created, organized and run.  It puts a framework around some of the standard things  that organizers and audience members are looking for in an event.  It also offers some tips to help get your submission accepted and some things to avoid.

This book would help a person, who has never been behind the scenes at a conference, understand what goes on.  I have been there, so I found the book mostly a review.  The best part of it was the tips for getting your submission approved, my favorite being "An Understanding of Macroscopic Trends without a Macroscopic Presentation".  I didn’t get what I had hoped for, perhaps my expectations were too high, but it did deliver what it’s title promised.

SQLQuill – Where have you been?

Dearest SimageQLFamily,

I miss you.  I have not forgotten you and I will be back, active in the community and trying to help where I can.  The reason I’ve been quite, in “SQL survival mode” and tweeting about my workouts is that I’ve been given an opportunity to attempt Ironman Wisconsin.  You can read all about it on  Training for this has been taking up most of my spare time.  In fact, when this post goes live, I will be on vacation – training.

A couple of interesting items to note:
  • I’m am raising money for the American Cancer Society – I copied the sponsorship levels we used for SQL Saturdays – if you’d like to be a blog sponsor for a $10 donation to the cause, spots are still available – here are the details.


  • I still have dreams of presenting at PASS and my career is still very important to me.  This is a life opportunity that I’ve dreamed about for years…sometimes when life gives you sweet, sweet honey, you have to enjoy it and simply deal with some bees along the way.
  • Perhaps the SQL PASS conference needs a motivational speaker – if not, I also do a good Tina Turner impersonation.

See you soon,



Book Review – "Windows Powershell 3.0 Step By Step" by Ed Wilson, O’Reilly Media, Inc.

I’ve as I’ve mentioned many times on twitter, I’ve become quite obsessed with Powershell over the last year and a half.  I recently joined the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program and here is my first review.

Book Summary

Microsoft Certified Trainer, Ed Wilson, covers all of the facets of Powershell 3.0.  Not only does he teach the reader how to use Powershell, he also teaches them to teach themselves Powershell.  The book starts with the basics and builds to expert levels on many topics in Powershell.  There is a section in the introduction on what chapters to read based on your background and ability and hopes/wants/needs for Powershell.  This helped me pick and choose what to read and focus on.  At the end of each chapter, there are exercises that really test your knowledge and drill the information into your brain.  Also, throughout the book, there are Tips and Notes that help find the important information quickly.  Finally, each chapter has a Quick Reference at the end that summarizes the main points which is extremely helpful in getting the information you need.

My Reactions

Since I got this book, I have used it as a reference everyday.  In fact, I added a snippet to my $profile to open it when I open Powershell.  I’ve seen a few videos and demonstrations of the Get-Command and Get-Member functions, but having the hands on exercises along with the the full explanations helped me finally understand how to use these – and that was in the first chapter!  I love the "Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog" and this book uses a similar approach.  It keeps things simple and builds upon the simple things.  Due to the fact that this book uses a straightforward approach and makes the finding of information very easy, I recommend it to anyone interested in learning and/or improving their Powershell skills.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

May 2013 PASSMN Meeting

Sponsor: C2IT Consulting

C2IT Logo

Date: May 21st, 2013

Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location: 3601 West 76th Street, Suite 600 Edina, MN  55437

Live Meeting:


  • 4:00-4:15 : Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 4:15-4:30 : SSMS 2012 – Tips, Tricks and New Features, by Rizwan Hassan
  • 4:30-5:30 : SQL Server Security and Data Security, by Ross McNeely
  • 5:30-6:00 : Announcements and prize giveaways

Click here for all the details and to RSVP


SQL Server Security and Data Security, by Ross McNeely

The presentation will walk through the requirements to secure SQL Server, and how to implement data security requirements. Ross decided to discuss both SQL Server Security and Data Security due to the amount of confusion that often occurs during the security phase of a project. Some of the topics included are SQL Server configuration, table/execution permissions, OLAP security, and using a security data model. The presentation will cover a large amount of material in a short time span, but hopefully you will find it informative.

Ross McNeely is a BI Practice Manager at C2 IT Solutions. As a Business Intelligence consultant Ross have installed and secured SQL Server instances for various customers. Ross has presented at several SQL Saturday in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Regardless if you have a beginner, intermediate, or advanced skill set, Ross will provide a solid foundation for each topic. Please join Ross McNeely for a fun and informative meeting.


SSMS 2012 – Tips, Tricks and New Features, by Rizwan Hassan

There are certain features in SSMS 2012 that we are unaware of and new features that learned while using SSMS 2012. I would like to share those features with you!!!

Rizwan Hassan started as System Administrator and evolved into SQL DBA Administrator. Rizwan have worked at Virteva and Kroll Ontrack. He is currently working at General Mills as SQL DBA. Responsible for 600 SQL instances with 3000 databases

March PASSMN Meeting

The official details of this meeting are located here – (old habits die hard).  I’m no longer on the PASSMN board, but they are doing a top notch job and this promises to be be a great free training session.

Sponsor: True Source

Date: March 19th, 2013

Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location: 3601 West 76th Street, Suite 600 Edina, MN  55437

Live Meeting:


  • 4:00-4:15 : Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 4:15-4:45 : Problematic Restore Scenarios, by Jeff Joy
  • 4:45-5:45 : An Optimistic Approach, Snapshot Isolation in SQL by Paul Timmerman
  • 5:45-6:00 : Announcements and prize giveaways


Problematic Restore Scenarios, by Jeff Joy

Jeff Joy, UnitedHealth Group

You know the drill – Restore the last full backup, last differential backup and all subsequent transaction log backups up until the desired point in time of recovery…..but not always! There are situations many DBAs are unaware of that can confuse, complicate, and even prevent a successful point-in-time restore.

Jeff Joy is a Sr. Database Consultant performing SQL Server Engineering at UnitedHealth Group. He has been working with SQL Server for eleven years and has a varied background including – 9 years as a Cryptologic Linguist (Russian) for the USAF, 13 long years in Retail Management that inspired a career change, 5 years as a Software Developer and 6 years as a SQL Server DBA.


An Optimistic Approach, Snapshot Isolation in SQL

Paul Timmerman, Hennepin County Medical Center

Until 2005, SQL Server was a very pessimistic RDBMS. However with the introduction of the Read Committed Snapshot database option and the new Snapshot Isolation level, that is no longer the case. After a high level look at all SQL Server isolation levels, we’ll spend the majority of this session discussing the implementation of optimistic concurrency control in SQL Server. We’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of using an optimistic isolation level and discuss use cases where it may or may not be appropriate. Come learn how to put one of the more powerful, but least understood, aspects of SQL Server to work for you!

Paul Timmerman is the lead SQL Server DBA at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Paul has over a decade of experience in enterprise database administration and is currently the Chapter Leader of the Minnesota SQL Server User Group,PASSMN.

January 2013 PASSMN Meeting

Note – this is my first meeting for the new PASSMN board – I was a board member for the last two years.  It was a heckuva a run, I met and worked with some great people.  I’d like to continue to be active with our local SQL groups….for the next 8 months though, I’m focusing on something different….something that the only computer is mounted on my handlebars or on my watch….Ironman Wisconsin.  More details to come later, but for now – the meeting:

Sponsor: TEKSystems


Date: January 15th, 2013

Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location: 3601 West 76th Street, Suite 600 Edina, MN  55437 

Live Meeting:


  • 4:00-4:30 : Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 4:30-5:30 : Understanding Disk I/O
  • 5:30-6:00 : Closing comments/prize giveaways


Understanding Disk I/O

Mike Matthews, Dell Compellent

SQL Server is an I/O intensive application. Overall performance is greatly impacted by the underlying disk subsystem. In this presentation, we’ll discuss the characteristics of disk I/O, how SQL Server interacts with the disk subsystem, and how to measure and monitor the performance of your storage.

Mike Matthews is a SQL Server Product Specialist for Dell Compellent, focused on helping customers use Microsoft SQL Server on Dell Compellent storage. He has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, including 15 years as a SQL Server DBA and database developer.

December PASSMN Meeting–Today!!!

Meeting Details

Please click here for meeting details and to RSVP

Extended Events:  Work Smarter Not Harder

Jason Straight, Pragmatic Works

Of the many ways to monitor your SQL Server environment, Extended Events is one of the newer platforms that can help you investigate and resolve performance problems. In this special 90-minute session, we’ll review Extended Events and learn the ins and outs of how to get and analyze detailed information on the errors and events that occur within SQL Server. With a few T-SQL statements, you can research in minutes issues that used to take weeks to investigate.

Jason Strate, Pragmatic Works, is a SQL Server database architect and Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He has over 15 years of experience developing, architecting, and managing data platforms. He is a highly-skilled database administrator with a strong background in database/data warehouse architecture and best practices, business analysis, mentoring and leadership. He works with clients to review and analyze their SQL Server environments and make recommendations related to performance improvement and reliability in their data platforms.

SQLQuill – Link Round Up – December 2012 Edition

Here’s the links I’ve tweeted in the last month – hope it is useful/entertaining/etc.



  • Good reading from Google Reader – Use the “Embarrassment Test” to Help Make Difficult Decisions



Sports Humor

  • Good reading from Google Reader – We found the clipboard Mark Sanchez was drawing on
  • Good reading from Google Reader – Friday Funny 433: Who’s Beating You In Your Marathon?


December Special PASSMN Meeting

Sponsor: Microsoft Technical Communities

Date: December 5th, 2012

Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Location: 3601 West 76th Street, Suite 600 Edina, MN  55437

Live Meeting:

Please click here for meeting details and to RSVP


  • 5:30-5:45 : Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 5:45-6:45 : Jim Walker talks Hadoop, Big Data and Microsoft Tools
  • 6:45-7:00 : Closing comments/prize giveaways


Jim Walker talks Hadoop, Big Data and Microsoft Tools

Jim Walker, Hortonworks, is a recovering developer, professional marketer and amateur photographer with nearly twenty years experience building products and developing emerging technologies. During his career, he has brought multiple products to market in a variety of fields, including data loss prevention, master data management and now big data. At Hortonworks, Jim is focused on accelerating the development and adoption of Apache Hadoop.

SQLQuill – Link Round Up – November 2012 Edition

Here’s the links I’ve tweeted in the last month – hope it is useful/entertaining/etc.

  • November PASSMN Meeting
  • SQLQuill – Link Round Up – October 2012 Edition
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  • The big list of 100 tools, tips and tricks to work more efficiently online | The Buffer blog:
Sports Humor