Learning R: Foundations

Azure, DevOps, Professional Development, SQL Server 2016
Learning a programming language is largely an act of using that language to do stuff. Done. However, the big thing about R is the mathematical and statistical analyses that can be easily run against your data sets. This means, part of learning this language is learning another, that of data science. I'll be posting about how I'm learning R, but I also should tell you how I'm picking up on Data Science. First and foremost, madman he may be, but one of the few sources of information that I simply trust is Buck Woody. He's been running a series on Data Science. Here's an excellent example on how to pick a particular algorithm. These are must reads. Next, I'm starting a book called Data Science for Business: What you need to…
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It’s Not Too Late

Azure, Professional Development, Red Gate Software, SQL Server 2016
You know you want to go on the SQL Cruise. You can. You just have to convince the boss that it's worth doing. It is. I've said it before and I'll repeat it as necessary, SQL Cruise changes peoples lives. I've watched people go on the cruise with a job and come back with a career. People don't just learn on the Cruise. They get energized. They get engaged with the data professional community. How do I profit by promoting SQL Cruise? I don't. Tim Ford is a friend and I'm supporting him. My company, Redgate Software, is a sponsor of the cruise, so I'm supporting them. I could just be doing the bare minimum in support of these parties. However, I'm not getting paid anything special by anyone for doing more.…
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Getting Started With DocumentDB

Azure, DocumentDB
I've put this off for too long. It's time to get my feet wet with some new tech. Step 1 is easy. Go to the Azure portal and start the process for creating a DocumentDB: While that's running, let's see what's on the interwebs about getting started in DocumentDB... Nice. I know I'm going to have write a little code to exercise this thing. Here's a great run-through on exactly how to do it. Actually, the first hit when I searched on "Getting Started With DocumentDB." Microsoft has a start page on DocumentDB, but it was clearly put together by someone from marketing. Scroll down to the bottom. There are a couple of interesting links including SQL Query Within DocumentDB. Now we're talking. Here's a Curah! or Docs.com (which is…
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Leadership Training Possibility

Professional Development
I know a few people in the SQL Server community who have been involved in Scouting. A couple of them have taken or helped lead Scoutings leadership training program known as Wood Badge. It's an amazing program. I won't even attempt to tell you what Wood Badge has done for me and what it does for Scouting. Suffice to say, Wood Badge helped to make me a better person and in return, I helped make Scouting better. What's this have to do with SQL Server? Not much really. But, what does it have to do with you and your career? Tons. It was pointed out to me that there's an Oracle users group that actually runs a leadership program. You can read about it here. It strikes me that, maybe this…
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Azure SQL Database v12 and SQL Magazine

Azure
I spend many of my evenings researching and writing. Sometimes it's writing new books. Sometimes it's fixing and rewriting old books. Occasionally it's a blog post like this one. Lately, it's been a series of articles for SQL Magazine that are all about the new functionality available in Azure SQL Database v12 that was released in February for most data centers in Azure. It's a whole new ball game. Check out my introductory article for v12 and the one on DMVs in Azure. I have more coming up on CLR in Azure, getting started, PowerShell, DBCC, T-SQL enhancements, Premium Tier and more. I'll also get into "old" functionality like backup and restore. I'll also explore new functionality, Azure is nothing if not dynamic, as becomes widely available. I know a…
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Query Tuning Near You

SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, TSQL
It really is so much easier to just throw hardware at badly performing databases. Just buy a bigger, faster server with more and faster disks and you can put off doing tuning work for another 6-9 months, easily. But, for most of us, sooner or later, our performance problems get so big or, we just don't have any more money to spend, and we're stuck. We have to tune the queries. And frankly, query tuning is a pain in the nether regions. But, after you've tuned queries 20 or 30 times, you start to recognize the patterns and it gets easier (never easy, just not as hard). But, if you haven't done it 20 or 30 times, what do you do? My suggestion, talk to someone who has done it…
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SQL Intersection, Spring 2014

Azure, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014
I am terribly jazzed to be involved with this amazing event, SQL Intersection. It's featuring some truly amazing speakers presenting on important topics. It's being held here on the East Coast, right near the Mouse, the Duck and Dog. This is one of those conferences you need to get to. Check out the lineup. That is some of the smartest, most capable people I know. I'm quite humbled to be on the list with them, so I'll do my level best to deliver good content. Look at the sessions. While I don't know precisely when SQL Server 2014 is coming out, I'm sure it's real soon, so this will be a great place to get a leg-up on understanding what this new set of technology offers, or just learn more…
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SQL in the City, US Tour 2013, Recap

Professional Development, Red Gate Software
Red Gate visited three cities this year with our SQL in the City event; Pasadena, Atlanta and Charlotte. I just wanted to give you a quick assessment of how the events went from my point of view. Overall, each and every one of these events was awesome. I can safely say that because each and every one of these events provided something special, the opportunity to network with our peers and with the developers and project managers at Red Gate (who are also our peers, but not usually available to us). I both took part in the networking and stood back and watched it happen. I love seeing a bunch of data pro's sitting (or standing) in a circle exchanging war stories, ideas, questions, thoughts or suggestions. It means you…
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New Windows Azure Virtual Labs

Azure
Getting started with new technologies can be a pain. That makes all the new labs that Microsoft just posted extremely useful. There are several that are going to be immediately applicable to your average data pro; Introduction to SQL Database, Connecting a PaaS Application to an IaaS Application with a Virtual Network, Web Sites and Virtual Machines using ASP.NET and SQL Server. The beauty of these things is that you don't need to do anything to get started. These are virtual machines hosted out on the cloud that you get access to. Further, you'll get a lesson plan to follow so you're not left floundering. You will have to either connect your MSDN account to set up an Azure account or, if you don't have MSDN, sign up for an Azure…
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Get Started with Windows Azure SQL Database

Azure
Learning new things can be daunting. First, you have to come up with the spare time. Then you have track down resources. For computers, computing and programming, this is both extremely easy and extremely difficult. That difficulty is especially true when it comes to gathering resources for learning things that, while you learn, are potentially going to cost you money. It's a difficult decision to make to risk cash on exploring a new technology. Here's the good news, for several reasons, you don't need to sweat this to get going with Windows Azure SQL Database (WASD). A couple of years ago Jamie Thompson (b|t) set up an account on Azure, all on his own, that allowed people to connect up to it and play with a copy of the AdventureWorks…
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