Monthly Archives: December 2011

Spouting tripe! or, Why do I blog? #meme15

A great man once said “If nobody said anything unless he knew what he was talking about, a ghastly hush would descend upon the earth.”
That great man was Sir Alan Patrick Herbert and he CERTAINLY knew what he was talking about.

There are many, many, many, many brilliant blogs out there and I don’t want to just add to the “noise”. One of the things that I hope to accomplish, in general, is to be more of a Producer than a Consumer.
The Western way of life is all about product consumption – information, food, money, oil, goods. Mostly food, though. I mean money. I mean information, mostly information … Definitely information.

It’s not surprising that THE most important product (in my opinion) of recent times is the i – the Internet. The i has 2 things going for it: It’s BIG and it’s TOO big. You can find just about anything on the i. Well, actually, you CAN find anything and everything on the i. That is good and bad. On one hand, the i is good for finding help when you are at a loss. However, you can get lost down a rabbit hole of time-suck if you’re not careful. There are also some very, very, bad corners of the i that you should never, ever go. But, the basis of the i is the information.

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas ...

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas ...

One of the main reasons I blog is to share information that is different. One of the key characteristics that I want to foster for my blog is that of uniqueness. I don’t just want to rehash the same old thing that everybody else is saying. I hope to be fresh, new, exotic and exciting. Like a good toothpaste.

I have always considered myself a warm and friendly person. (I hope others do too, or I’m in trouble). Another reason I blog is to help people in a hospitable, yet fun way. I know that I have searched for help when I have been stuck on something and I hope that my blog will help somebody (maybe only many, many years down the road).

One of the most amazing things about Pragmatic Works is the commitment to the SQL Community. This is not just a cursory “Oh, Hai. How r U? Have a doughnut …”. This is a deep rooted commitment that is entrenched in the very culture of our workplace. It is actually in our job description to blog, speak and be involved in the community as much as possible (without interfering with our normal consulting duties). I count it a privilege to be a part of that.

So, let’s be careful out there in the unpredictable world of the i.
The main thing to remember is to “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.” – Benjamin Franklin.

What #SQLFamily means to me

I have a brilliant story I would like to share with you. Go ahead, grab a seat.

Two very insightful database professionals, Thomas LaRock ( Blog | Twitter ) and Karen Lopez ( Blog | Twitter ) started the #SQLFamily meme on Twitter and Tom made #SQLFamily the subject of the most recent “Meme Monday” series. The SQL Server Team, moved by the outpouring of support for and by the community, has decided to contribute and keep the meme alive ’til the end of December. In order to keep with the theme of giving and sharing, they have pledged to donate $50 for each of 400 #SQLFamily stories that are submitted. This money is being donated to an extremely worthy cause – The Pragmatic Works Foundation, which is a non-profit that provides free technical training to veterans, the jobless, and underemployed. This is an awesome gift for the Foundation and for the people that are assisted by it. Thank you very much to the SQL Server Team.

On to my part in this story.

I took over the SQL Server administration duties at a previous company when the active DBA relocated (I’m looking at you, Brent !! ( Blog | Twitter )). When he left, I asked him where I could get some training and assistance for some of the SQL issues that I would encounter and he turned me on to SQL Saturday and Twitter.

I am not alone

I had been using Twitter infrequently at the time and only to follow certain people or companies that I thought were interesting. I started interacting more on Twitter and attending SQL Saturdays. I met some great #SQLPeople and soon realised that I was not alone – We all loved working with the data and databases, nobody knew everything, we all wanted to share something and we could all learn from each other.

It was when I went to Orlando SQL Saturday #49 that I realised that this was more than just a community of people who work near, on, with and, sometimes, under the same software. This was a family of people who cared about each other on a much deeper level.

I, personally, had welcomed 25+ “strangers” to my home for the first ever SQLBBQ before the SQLCruise in August 2010 and loved every minute of it. A few weeks later, my wife and I suffered the loss of a pregnancy in it’s 10th week. Here is the blog post about that. The outpouring of support from the SQL community was amazing !! We received messages of support and prayer from people across the globe. Most of whom we had never met. But that didn’t detract from the overwhelming feeling of love that we felt. You see, I have very little “real” family here in the US. I came over from South Africa in 2001 and my immediate family (parents and siblings) are still over there. My wife’s family is awesome and they help as much as they can. I’m extremely thankful that there is a huge multi-thousand strong SQLFamily to help each other through anything that is going on. During that SQL Saturday in Orlando, I was honoured to meet many people, like Mike Walsh ( Blog | Twitter ), that had been so supportive during that trying time.

Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending – I am ecstatic to be able to announce that my wife & I are expecting again. She is 30 weeks along now and we are preparing to welcome a new baby girl into our home on or about the 4th March.

I am extremely grateful to be a part of such a great community that is so caring. I am also happy that we can contribute to bringing new members into the fold through the great work of such places as The Pragmatic Works Foundation & the support of the SQL Server Team.

Disclaimer: I do work for Pragmatic Works Consulting but still would think that the Foundation is doing excellent work even if I didn’t.