Query Optimisations Team Blog

For some time now I have subscribed to Craig Freedmans blog. The guy really knows his stuff and if you want to understand some of the gubbins(?) of the SQL query executions, plans  and processing, this is really worth a looksee.

In a post I saw today, There is a link to the SQL Query Optimization Team blog. I had not encountered this before but it looks like another goldmine of query optimisation  and execution tips – “providing tips, tricks, advice and answers to freqeuently-asked questions in a continued effort to make your queries run faster and smoother in SQL Server”

PIE Rulez

Well kind of.

I currently work for a small financial institution in New Zealand and we are currently developing systems for a new investment type, the PIE (Portfolio Investment Entity).

Now I seriously doubt that anyone else in the office was ever a big Weebl and Bob fan as no-one, but no-one , seems to have a problem with this. Every time I hear someone talk about distributions of PIE I think we start talking at cross purposes. How rare.

That time of schooling year

Jordan got her school report last week, and after an extremely hectic weekend, we finally got a chance to read it. On the whole her report was excellent with mostly “Acheived with Merit” and a number of “Acheived with Excellence” gradings which was well received. There were a couple of areas which may need attention including programming in ICT 😮 but otherwise, good job Jordan.

Oh and the overriding tone of the report seemed to be, Jordan is a lively and enthusiastic class participant but needs to focus more on the task at hand. Don’t know where she gets it from at all. 😉

Bornefield Labradors now online

Some close friends up in Auckland kindly asked me to do a website for their breeding and competition labradors. They are all gorgeous and friendly dogs, and becoming incredibly successful too 🙂 and I was thrilled at the prospect. I am not a designer of sites but thought I would have a go, and also it would give me a chance to flex some (very) underused design muscles.

Anyway, as my first paying website clients (:0) I figured I should tell the world. The site is available at www.bornefieldlabradors.co.nz and is continually evolving so worth checking back periodically.

Currently on the 2nd page in the world and the 1st page for NZ only “labradors” searches in google and trying to get up the ranks in MSN. We will have to see how that develops.

Official Kiwi Drivers

We, Jen and I, are now the proud holders of NZ Land Transport Temporary Drivers licences having just sat down and taken the written conversion test.

Jen reminded me last night that the day we were no longer officially allowed to drive in NZ was today! 😮 So one evening of hectic cramming later (ahem 1:15AM finish) and a frought lunch hour and we have it. And to top it all off, it was all done in about 10 minutes, although I was still paniced until Jen finished hers.

So panic over – heh.

Oh yeah, favourite bit from the road code has to be from http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/roadcode/about-driving/tips-for-handling-driving-emergencies.html:

Earthquake

In a severe earthquake driving can be very difficult because the road may be shaking or moving up and down beneath you.

If you think that an earthquake is happening while you’re driving, you should:

  • pull over and stop
  • stay inside your vehicle until the shaking stops. Your vehicle will provide you with some protection against falling objects.

After the earthquake:

  • if power lines have fallen onto your vehicle, stay inside it until help arrives
  • if you continue driving straight after the earthquake, be on the lookout for slips or other road damage and obstacles
  • turn on your radio and listen for news about possible road closures and other information.

Submerged vehicle

New Zealand has a high number of coastal and riverside roads and sometimes vehicles can end up underwater.

Knowing what to do if you’re ever in this situation can mean the difference between life and death.

  • If possible, get out of the vehicle while it’s still afloat. It will normally sink within a matter of minutes.
  • Escape by winding down the window. The weight of water against doors will usually make them too hard to open.
  • Once submerged, water will gradually seep into the vehicle. Escape through the windows. If this isn’t possible, wait until the vehicle is filled almost to head height with water. The doors will be easier to open then as the pressure inside the vehicle will be almost the same as it is outside.
  • Before leaving the vehicle, turn the lights on so rescuers can find it more easily.
  • Form a human chain with any other passengers as you leave the vehicle. This will make sure you all stay together.

Air Powered Car

Finally, after years of drolling over stories of the Lee Rogers air powered car and screaming at the politicians that solutions already exist concerning the environmental impact of transport, a story came to my attention via an ex work colleague (thanks Tony).

A car is due to be released in India in August 2008, just 1 year away, which is run entirely on air!!! http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4217016.html

YAY!!! /

/me starts looking for a New Zealand distributor

Sorry Freddy

This weekend saw the end of term party for the Wellington Community Choir. T’was a great night all told and was good to see people in a different light. Turns out the event was a Karaoke night. Jordan was in heaven. She must have done 5 or 6 songs, and held her own in the most part (I guess that only has relevance if you know the standard of everyone else there :p).

I too can now no longer say I am a Karaoke virgin. Three others and myself (no names, no pack drill) did a successfull slaughtering of *ahem* “Bohemian Raphsody”. I am so sorry Freddy. In fairness we did alright. With a few “awesome”s and a fair few cheers and rounds of applause throughout and at the end. All told, good fun really.

SQL Server and Trade Me

I went along to the Wellington SQL Server Users Group this evening, where we heard a great talk by a guy named Paul Gold.
Paul was the technology and database architect for www.trademe.co.nz, New Zealand’s equivalent of E-Bay, from 2001 to 2007, so he has seen the business basically from start up to its current position in the top 5 sites in Australasia, Alexa rates this site 436 in the world!
He had some very interesting things to say about performance issues, from both a SQL and an IIS perspective, when you get into high volume transactions as well as database structures and server farms / clusters.
I would say that my eyes have opened a little to the different requirements in database design when you need to do serious performance without doling out serious investment to do it – and how much denormalisation and removing expensive SQL commands can impact it (for expensive commands see OR and IN clauses and aggregates as given examples).

A most informative speech well worth the time. And hey – we got pizza too.

Anyway – the group meets every 3rd Thursday of the month. Last months talk was a very good talk on the new SQL Spatial enhancements for SQL 2008. So there looks to be a good variety of speakers. Watch this space for more updates.

More Hoarse-manship

Well, the choirs performance at the Commonwealth Day Observance Ceremony went really well.

Jordan and I both leant our voices to the ensemble (about 60-ish voices in all) and the sounds from within the Cathedral were again, really quite stirring. A great place to sing and as much fun as could be had at one of these events was had by all I am sure ;).

Currently reading:

Priestess of the White (Trudi Canavan)

Oh we do like to be beside the sea side

What a lovely time we had yesterday. It was a bright sunny day so we grabbed a bunch of picnic stuff, one of Jordan’s mates and we all headed off down to Day’s Bay beach in Eastbourne (the other side of Wellington Harbour). The kids had great fun jumping off things into the ocean or otherwise lolling about on boogie boards, I got to finish the Black Magician Trilogy (by Trudi Canavan – it definately warmed on me) and Jen went for a lovely beach stroll. Nice one.

Tonight we get to sing in front of a bunch of diplomats and MPs at a NZ state occasion at Wellington Anglican Cathedral. I am quite looking forwards to it. Will update on that one soon.