Keeping up with technology — revisited (again!)

A while back, I referred to Eugene Meidinger‘s SQL Saturday presentation about keeping up with technology.  I came across his ‘blog article where he talks about exactly that.  It’s a very good read, and he gives an excellent presentation.

Eugene will be giving this presentation in Rochester on March 24, which happens to be the same SQL Saturday where I’ll be speaking! </plug>

Hope to see people there!

Advertisements

Document maintenance is critical

I had two appointments this past week.  The first was one for my car to get my oil change and to make sure everything was in good working order (it was).  A couple of days later, I had a dentist appointment.  It was a routine cleaning (I also had a procedure done — one that I’d been putting off for a while).  While the two appointments were for different reasons, they both served the same purpose: to perform maintenance.

Just about everything, especially anything mechanical, is going to break down over time.  Maintenance ensures that things remain in good working order.  But when we think about maintenance, we usually think about car repair, roadwork, furnaces, and water heaters.

I’m sure many people in tech industries consider periodic hardware and software maintenance.  Hardware can break down.  Drives crash occasionally.  CPUs are upgraded to keep pace with emerging technology and to support software.  Speaking of software, bug fixes are constantly made.  There’s also the matter of security; virus software definitions are constantly updated, and operating system patches are distributed to ensure computers are safe.

But here’s another question: when was the last time you maintained your documentation?  Does your documentation, which was written for, say, Version 1.0, reflect what is in Version 2.0?

The trouble with documentation, even the best-written documentation, is that it can become obsolete over time.  Processes and systems change.  Interfaces are redesigned.  Steps become more efficient, or in some cases, even eliminated.  Change happens.  It’s one of the sure things in life.  Documentation should also change as well.  How often has your help desk received calls from frustrated customers saying things like, “your instructions say ‘press the red button,’ but there’s no red button on the interface!”

If your product changes — and it inevitably will — your instructions should change with it.  It’s important that systems are maintained.  Your documentation should be maintained as well.

SQL Saturday #723, Rochester, NY

My next SQL Saturday is scheduled!  I will be speaking at Rochester, NY on March 24!

I’ll be giving the following two presentations:

Hope to see you there!

My first podcast interview!

About a week ago, I received an email from Carlos Chacon of SQL Data Partners inviting me to take part in a podcast.  This was my first such request, and I jumped on the opportunity.

The podcast recording took place last night.  My topic was along the lines of “writing and communication: why it matters to data professionals.”  It was a lot of fun, and I very much enjoyed talking to Carlos and his partner, Steve.

The podcast should air sometime in March.  It will be posted on their ‘blog.  When it does, I’ll make sure that I post a link to it!

The Streisand Effect

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

This is a post from my friend, Greg Moore, with whom I share an alma mater in common (in my case, a graduate alma mater). There is currently a looming crisis there, and I’m reblogging Greg’s post to 1) voice my disgust and displeasure at the school, 2) let the world know about what’s going on, and 3) serve as a warning.

greenmountainsoftware

I had originally planned on a slightly different topic for this week’s blog, but an email I received from my alma mater last night changed my mind.  First, a little background. I’m a 1990 graduate of RPI in Troy NY, a fact I’m quite proud of. Second, lately there has been a growing controversy over the shape and direction of the school administration, led by Dr. Shirley Jackson.  Let me say that I find Dr. Jackson’s credentials impressive and many of her initiatives have led RPI into the right direction for the 21st Century.

But (and you knew that was coming), all is not rosy in Troy (especially today as I write, it’s a dreary, cloudy day).

So let’s back up a bit though and discuss the Streisand Effect. Originally and mainly the effect refers to bringing unwanted attention to something by trying to suppress access to information in…

View original post 743 more words

Are You Patched?

Reblogging this from my friend Steve Jones. This is too important to not share.

Voice of the DBA

It’s been a few weeks since the Spectre/Meltdown bugs were announced for most CPUs. Microsoft has been working hard to build patches, and they’ve provided fixes for Windows and SQL Server. Other manufacturers have released fixes for other platforms, though I wouldn’t be surprised if more patches are coming. We put together a page at SQLServerCentral with information and links, and if you haven’t checked it out, you should.

If you haven’t patched systems, patch them ASAP.

This is a bad bug, affecting many CPUs, across multiple architectures, and includes potential issues with virtual machines. The guidance and conversations I’ve heard from various vendors is that many of them aren’t completely sure of all the potential risks or attack vectors, but they are worried that customers will leave this vulnerabilities open in the future. Since this affects hardware, it’s entirely possible that an exploit could read memory from other applications…

View original post 235 more words

What are effective communication skills?

I cam across this article on Grammarly, and I thought it spoke volumes — enough that I’m sharing it in this ‘blog article.  Read and enjoy!