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Top 10 Technological Time Savers to Keep in Touch

Social media these days can be a full time job – at least I could easily kill many hours per week in this area.  My job doesn’t allot any time for twitter, blogging, reading blogs, etc.  Therefore if I want to network, read blogs, blog, keep an eye on what’s happening in the SQL world in general, I’ve got to be smart about it, stay organized and make some shortcuts.  Here’s a list of my top 10 time savers to keep my finger on the pulse and interact with the SQL Community.  Note, all of these apps/services are free – at least at the basic level, which works fine for me.


  1. Google Reader – Anytime I’m on a computer, Google Reader is usually up.  Anytime I am browsing the web, I’m looking for feeds.  My three Google Reader tips:
    1. Learn the keyboard shortcuts
    2. Use folders to organize your feeds
    3. If you don’t know how Google Reader works, watch this video, or here’s a slightly deeper explanation.
  2. Google Chrome – every browser has it’s strong and weak points – I’ve learned the ins and outs of Google Chrome and it works for well me.  I know the keyboard shortcuts and I love the fact that the address bar is a built in Google search box with instant results.
  3. – This creates a daily paper from the shared links on Twitter.  I try to set aside 5 minutes a day to read up on what’s happened in the last 24 hours.  I’d recommend these two papers:
    1. The PASS MN Paper
    2. The SQLQuill Daily
  4. Tweetdeck – newest version has a better ability to manage columns, list management and I like the chrome app.
  5. ifttt – “Put the internet to work for you” – this site/service is amazingly simple.  It allows you to create custom tasks from things that happen.  Here’s a good explanation of how it works from
  6. Buffer – This site allows you to schedule tweets (and facebook updates), but the really cool thing it provides is the analytics of the links you send via twitter.  I was quite surprised – a few things I thought people loved, nobody clicked on.  A few things I thought was no big deal, tons of people clicked on.
  7. Dropbox – Is a simple, easy to use file synchronization tool.  I install it in the same location on all of my computers for consistency sake.  This also allows me to make bookmarks in chrome to dropbox files, sync my chrome bookmarks and have them work.  It also works well for tasks in ifttt.
  8. Keepass – Password manager – works great, I keep it in my dropbox folder and thus it’s on all my computers.
  9. TrueCrypt – Creates encrypted volumes, which looks just like a file.  Anything in my Dropbox folder that I want extra security on, I mount an encrypted volume in my Dropbox folder and add the files there.  Okay, I know on the surface it doesn’t look like it has much to do with Social Media, but I can use this to secure files for presentations, upcoming blog posts, presentations, etc – plus I also have created drives using truecrypt for data files on my local machine to mimic the drive layout of a server.
  10. Windows Live Writer – My blog editor of choice because it’s fast, free and easy to use.  It’s just like MSWord.  You can also customize it and add plugins to it.

I hope this has helped – I know they help me all the time.  In fact, I started this post on a different computer, put the notes in my dropbox folder and posted via Live Writer on a different computer.  Hopefully it will at least introduce you to one tool that will help you get organized, be more productive or interact with the SQL Community.


SQLQuill – Link Round Up – March 2012 Edition

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




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March PASSMN Meeting – Choose Your Own Adventure: Performance Tuning

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Please click here for meeting details and to RSVP

Choose Your Own Adventure: Performance Tuning

Jason Strate, Digineer and Thomas LaRock, Confio Software

Life is all about choices, and when it comes to SQL Server it is no different. If you don’t have a methodology for researching questions and resolving issues then you need to get one, and soon. Join Microsoft MVPs Jason Strate from Digineer and Thomas LaRock from Confio Software as they help guide you while YOU make the choices in this interactive performance tuning adventure.

Jason Strate (B/T), Digineer Inc, is a DBA with over fifteen years of experience. Thomas LaRock (B/T) is a seasoned IT professional with over a decade of technical and management experience.