Saturday, November 20, 2010

SQL Saturday #59 – SQL Azure Follow Up

I had a great time talking with all the guys from Australia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  It was one of the best groups ever.  I had so many questions and such great conversation I didn’t get to show a lot of benefits.  I hope that I did get to share my real world knowledge and advice.  I think that SQL Azure is a great service and can be a great tool to help lots of apps have good performance and uptime.


Please check out my recorded talk on the PASS AppDev Virtual Chapter.  I didn’t have the great conversations that I did when I met you all, but in this canned form, you’ll get what you missed.


Again, I’m sorry that I ran over on my time.  There was code that I wanted to share.  This code shows you how to build an ASP.NET MVC 3 App using both Razor and ASP.NET pages to mix the great dynamic data form layout tools and the nice reporting features of hosting rdlc files in the cloud on Azure.



Here’s the deck download -

Here’s the code download -


In order to use it you need to download and install the following:


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two more speaking engagements in November

SQL Saturday #53 – New York, New York – November 20th – 9am


I just wanted to remind my fans (both of them) that I’ll be speaking at two more events this month.  First off is this Saturday the 20th in the Big Apple.  I’ll be covering SQL Azure to the attendees of SQL Saturday 53.  I’m first up, at 9am.  I’ll be covering the reasons why to use SQL Azure, reasons why not to use SQL Azure and how to use SQL Azure.  I’m also showing attendees how to do a little reporting on Windows Azure before SQL Azure Reporting comes out in CTP.  I think it’s a good thing to cover.


Evansville .NET Users Group – Evansville, Indiana – November 30th – 11:30am


The great guys down in Evansville asked me to come cover ASP.NET MVC.  Since I’ve been using it in production almost since its inception, I jumped at the chance to share.  I’ll be covering the basics and then I’ll jump into MVC 3 RC.  There is a lot of great stuff that used to be in MVC Contrib that is now built in.  The new way to change view engines is awesome.  I’ll also cover how to port over some of that special code that only seems to work with viewstate enabled, like the Report Viewer control.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

IndyGiveCamp 2010 Pictures

IndyGiveCamp is this weekend from Friday at 4pm until Sunday.  It’s going to be a great time so I already have set up a photo album on my SkyDrive.  The Live Group is also up at
Check out the pics from the first ever Indy GiveCamp.

I also put the same album on Flickr, just in case users like Flash more than Silverlight, Why would you do that, gosh.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Biggest SQL Saturday yet, and I’m speaking.

I’m really excited about the upcoming SQL Saturday events.  SQL Saturday is one of the best, if not the best ever, conference circuits around.  It’s like a traveling roadshow except its put on by local coordinators not the same national speakers each time.  It’s so popular though that it brings in the really best speakers.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able spread the good word about SQL Azure many times. 


My latest speaking trip takes me to Midtown Manhattan.  To speak to so many, in such a great town is going to be a thrill.  I’ve mostly spoken in the Midwest.  DBAs and developers in the Midwest are a little different than the guys and gals in the Big Apple.  But a lot is the same.  I hope I can start a good two-way conversation about the benefits of SQL Azure and maybe show off some good uses of running SQL Server in the Cloud.


I recently got interviewed by Robert Pearl.  He’s one of the coordinators of the SQL Saturday #59 in New York City.  The full interview can be found on SQL Server Central at


There is still time to sign up to attend SQL Saturday #59.  The list of sessions is awesome and there are already over 400 attendees signed up.  It’s going to be an awesome event.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Go to a GiveCamp, get a cool sticker.


I’m posting this picture of my old laptop.  It was my wife’s first but then she wanted a netbook.  So I was handed down this 32bit Toshiba.  It is actually pretty good hardware.  Both Windows 7 and Linux installed with ease.  I use it for demo and cross platform game programming.  Since I use it in demos I started with the stickers.  I acquired several from all the conferences I attend and speak at.


It is now full.  It is also now too slow for my everyday work.  It gets too hot and the battery doesn’t last very long.  I am very proud of one sticker though.  I got it from Dreams for Kids for writing code at the Midwest GiveCamp.  If you haven’t attended a GiveCamp, the Indy GiveCamp is Nov 5th.  Be there or be square.


Monday, September 27, 2010

PCI Compliance - resistance is futile.

The PCI Compliance talk at PTI’s Back to School event was given by Kyle Neier.  He’s a very experienced database administrator and also a leader at IndyPASS.  He’s a cool guy.  Unfortunately his PCI expert didn’t make it.  That was perfectly ok because I wanted to focus on the SQL Server 2008 R2’s feature called SQL Audit.
The good ole days?  Seriously? Back before SQL Audit it was a pain in the rear to audit at the database level.  Kyle went into this and reminded us all the pains of what we had to architect in the past decades.  I remember them well,  SQL Audit is much better than those old hacks.
I don’t have to be PCI compliant in my current function but HIPAA is similar in terms of SQL Server and SQL Audit.  The things I took from this is that any column that contains PHI I could audit, if I used Enterprise or DataCenter edition of SQL.  It’s on the list for SQL Azure features but only has 17 votes.  If you think that Audit would be useful in your SQL Azure instances like I do.  Go to the SQL Azure Feature Voting website and vote now.

A Directed and Guided Discussion with Dave Leininger

I sat in on Dave Leininger’s talk about Business Intelligence Architecture. He covered a lot of the soft skills that you need or at least should look into obtaining.  I think that out of all those skills communication and documentation were what I focus on and will continue to focus on.  Dave reminded me that talking is the best form of communication.  As a developer (some people call me an architect) I would rather code than talk about coding.  I do appreciate good communications.  I would say that half of my unproductive hours are due to being unsure about what direction to go next.  The other half of my unproductive hours are due to thrashing.  Getting stuck trying to make some piece of code, framework, or sdk do something I want it to but it resists doing.  Dave was right communication is a great asset to an organization.
What is Business Intelligence?  Dave was a bit like a preacher talking to the choir about what BI is.  I did enjoy all the real world stories.  The crowd was very diverse, filled with developers, database administrators, project managers, and business analysts.
How do we not fail?  Dave brought up some great slides about all the failed BI projects.  I was the butt of a few jokes on this subject.  Deservedly so.  I’ve failed delivering better business intelligence to several organizations in the past.  It wasn’t because I didn’t know the how.  I didn’t figure out the what. 
Today I focus more on getting iterations in front of the users. I don’t even want the iterations accepted.  I want feedback.  I want to know what is wrong as much as what is right.  Because after all those iterations a successful solution will just happen.  I’ll be done and successful with out even knowing.  It’s just like falling in love.  You can’t push a successful relationship between BI and your organization.  The relationship just happens. 
Those are just my opinions, I welcome yours.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Microsoft WebMatrix - not that movie with Keanu Reeves

I thought this yesterday when ScottGu brought it out into the open, but didn't say anything.  I didn't want to make myself sound old.  Alan Stevens brought up the topic of the old Web Matrix.  Funny how the same product at Microsoft can be redone over and over again.  Hello kids, check out this new technology, it's a web editor for designers who don't want to use the word programmer.  I think it's another fine way to market ASP.NET to guys and gals who aren't using it.  But for those who do, Visual Studio is probably fine, thanks.  But I'm not in marketing, I'm in development.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Impressions of Windows Phone 7

I attended a hands-on lab session presented by Dave Bost and Bill Steele at Indianapolis Microsoft offices today.  The topic of the day was Windows Phone 7.  I've watched several demos from Mix and TechEd, IndyNDA meetings and IndyTechFest.  I have been more impressed with the idea of Windows Phone 7 than the development environment.  Today I was pushed deeper into the SDKs than I've been before.

I was first frustrated with installation of the bits.  Dave and Bill were using the April Refresh.  I seemed to have something else installed.  The SDK's installer wouldn't let me get very far.  I had to go through several (8) product un-installs.  Then one just wouldn't un-install.  I found that the XNA Cleanup tool did the trick.

On my system things seemed to work better than Bill's.  I think that the resources needed to run both Visual Studio 2010 and the Windows Phone 7 emulator are a bit more than a netbook should run to be productive.  That's not saying it can't run, but the full powered duel core Dell I was running was doing better than the netbook Bill was using.

The Windows Phone 7 is a big shift is security.  A developer can't just post a cab file up on the net and let a user open the link.  With only Silverlight and XNA applications running, all those old apps I love to install on my phone will have to be ported over.

I'm going to try my hand at a few ideas I have for some apps though.  I wouldn't say I was turned on to the environment but I wasn't turned off.  The barrier isn't as high as the iPhone barrier is to me, I don't have to buy a Mac, but it's still a barrier.

What I really want to see is a mobile Internet Explorer and other mobile browsers supporting Silverlight. Then I can give some truly rich user experience to all my users with one build.  I don't think that is going to happen this year, or next.

My three screens and a cloud are more like 6 or 7 screens and 3 or 4 different clouds.  Way too many to be productive and bug free.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Benefits of SQL Azure - CBusPASS

I had a great time talking about SQL Azure and it's benefits.  I did have one snafu though.  When I tried logging in to I kept getting errors and blank pages.  It was a javascript error in Live Login.  Note to the wise, double check that javascript debugging is turned off when doing your demo.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Feedback Encouraged!

If you've been to one of my many talks on the topics of SQL or XNA please provide some feedback at SpeakerRate. I'd enjoy anything you have to say.  Don't like my slides, don't like my demos.  Should I explain things more in depth, or am I too detailed.  I'm trying to get better and your help is greatly appreciated.

Sql Azure - Sql Saturday Chicago

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dating a consultant.

Hiring a consultant is a lot like dating in those TV sitcoms. Your dating this guy and it's promising but he just won't commit. When your dating a consultant you probably should keep your options open. Just in case he really isn't as into you as you are into him. In the end, just remember, you don't have to marry the guy.