# Sunday, July 20, 2003

NDA, What NDA?

All I can say is that I finally installed the official beta1 of a certain database product. Holy Crap is it cool. This changes everything. Look for my feature article on it in MSDN Magazine soon.

posted on Sunday, July 20, 2003 2:00:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback
# Saturday, July 19, 2003

A Serious Brick, but we are no Jan Ullrich..


I did a serious brick today with my Teammate Tom Halligan. We did a 20.2 km bike time trial on a very hilly course and I came in at 39:49, then we ran 8.5km in about 45 minutes. While my bike pace was almost 20 mph, just remember that Jan Ullrich did his 60 km time trial yesterday at over a 30 mph pace in the Tour de France yesterday.

posted on Saturday, July 19, 2003 8:25:28 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [6] Trackback
# Friday, July 18, 2003

BillG is $600, 000 Poorer, in only 22 minutes


The legendary Carl Franklin spoke at the NYC .NET Developers User Group last night in front of a packed house. It was a night to remember. He did a fabulous job talking about sockets programming and was a real comedian on stage. Carl rocks. Speaking of rocks, Carl and I are going to do a show of .NET ROCKS over lunch one day. How cool is that?


After Carl was done, we gave out to all in attendance (150 people) a free copy of Windows 2003 Server, Enterprise Edition, courtesy of Microsoft. Real deal Win 2003 Server. How is that as a benefit of being a member of the User Group?

posted on Friday, July 18, 2003 11:55:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [5] Trackback
# Thursday, July 17, 2003

Toy Boy in the House Tonight...


Tonight the legendary Carl Franklin will be speaking at the NYC .NET Developers User Group. In addition to the free Pizza, we will also have some full blown copies of Windows 2003 Server to give away, courtesy of Microsoft. Sniff sniff, this is our last meeting in the 8th Avenue Microsoft location (we have been meeting there for 7 years or longer), Microsoft NYC is moving a few blocks East next month.


Besides being the RD for CT, Carl also hosts .NET ROCKS a very cool radio show (I have been both a guest and a call in before). Carl also loves to jam and makes great audio. My personal favorite is a tune called Toy Boy. You can download the MP3 of Toy Boy from Carl's site. Toy Boy is also the theme song for .NET ROCKS.

posted on Thursday, July 17, 2003 10:26:57 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [15] Trackback
# Wednesday, July 16, 2003

So many ways, so little time


Currently working on my VSLive all day .NET Data Access: Soup to Nuts workshop.  Andrew Brust and I will be presenting this on July 31st at the VSLive Conference in New York.


It got me thinking. With .NET, Microsoft gives you so many ways to work with transactions.  You can:

  • Program against DTC yourself (and you have to be crazy to do this)
  • Use Enterprise Services
  • Use ADO .NET Transactions
  • Use TSQL Transactions


So many transactions, so little time. Well you would never want to use DTC. Period, there is just way too much pluming to deal with. Working with Enterprise Services and creating Serviced Components is quite compelling. There is a fair amount of work involved, so it is only really good when you need a two-phased commit across multiple data sources.


Then there is ADO .NET. Not sure why you would ever want to do this either. The SQLClient transaction object is worthwhile, but you would be better of (even if you want to deal with isolation levels) doing your transaction in TSQL. Maybe I am biased against lots of logical code in ADO .NET and rather place the transaction processing inside the TSQL for performance and maintenance reasons. I think that lots of transaction code in ADO .NET leads to very fat code that is also very verbose for no reason. Your middle tier should be thin and fast. Your database is better equipped to handle the transaction. Since ADO .NET limits to one connection, the two are almost the same thing. Now there is always an exception. There are times when ADO .NET is appropriate, I am just searching for it. :)

posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 3:56:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [6] Trackback
# Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Keep the Cars Out...


I used to think that cars and athletes could share Central Park. Over the last few weeks, topped off by an incident this morning, I have changed my mind.


First some background. I live on W. 57th Street a block off Central Park South- the 6th Avenue entrance. I have lived there for like 7 or 8 years and use the park all the time for biking, jogging and skating. There has been an ongoing campaign to keep the cars out of the park. I have never signed up for this campaign since I always figured that it would add more traffic to the already overcrowded streets of Manhattan.


This triathlon season, I moved started biking and running in the park much more than on the course on the West Side Bike Path I used last year. So I basically am exercising in the park 6 days a week. I don’t see enough cars! The amount of cars on Park Drive is pretty light, and I exercise at different times each day, sometimes a run or bike ride in the early morning, sometimes an afternoon rollerblade, sometimes a bike ride in the evenings. At all times of day, and at times considered to be “rush hour” I don’t see enough vehicular traffic in the park to warrant allowing traffic in the park. On the other hand there are just massive amounts of people exercising, even on cold and rainy days.


So my solution? Start charging the cars to use Park Drive. Make it a toll road. To avoid backups, just require an EZ-Pass for entry. Mayor Mike, are you reading this?

posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 11:32:13 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [4] Trackback
# Monday, July 14, 2003

Efficient Data Retrieval?

Is that a good title for an MSDN WebCast? Who knows? But then again, when have I ever did anything normal?

For those of you who did not see this popular session in Dallas at TechEd or can't make it on out to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for TechEd in late August, you can catch this session Thursday at 2pm EST via an MSDN WebCast.

When Microsoft asked me to put together this session back in February for TechEd Dallas, I had no idea how to approach it. Target the DBA, TSQL Programmer, or VB/C# programmer? I am not a DBA, not even close. I also don’t think that I am a full time “TSQL Programmer”, even though I spend hours each day writing TSQL. I use to be a full time VB/C# developer, but now as “CTO” of my company, I spend more time architecting and managing than coding, but I still do write a fair amount of C# code each day. (Epically when my developer calls in sick and we have deadlines!)

So I took a radical approach (or what I call the Bill Clinton approach) and tried to be all things to all people. Most small firms in this economic downturn don’t have a full time DBA, SQL Programmer and VB/C# developers on staff. Some times the DBA is the TSQL Programmer and sometimes the VB/C# developer is the TSQL Developer. When I polled the over 700 people who attended this session at TechED, only a handful of the crowd was only one of these jobs, a vast number were all three. This is bad, I am a firm believer in splitting the role of DBA and TSQL programmer as full time positions. But I understand the economic times so this session was born.

So the WebCast? We start with some TSQL code to make data retrieval from SQL Server easier and smarter. (We will talk about the obscure but totally powerful The Rozenshtein Method that my pal Richard Campbell showed me and like being unplugged from the Matrix for the first time I had an epiphany about my relationship with TSQL). After we talk about TSQL we will hit some classic DBA issues, l mostly about indexes and file groups. Then we will move on into taking advantage of this stuff from ADO .NET, all the tips and tricks that the VB/C# developer will enjoy. So there is something for everyone, hope to see you there. You can sign up for it here.

Here is the abstract:

Take a look at how to optimize using Stored Procedures for efficient and secure data retrieval in the middle tier of your Web, Windows, mobile and Web services applications. Learn how to do crosstab queries for reporting that take seconds to execute instead of hours, exploiting sub-queries and taking advantage of self-joining. Explore performance tuning from the perspective of stored procedures used for data retrieval. Look at how to get a higher cache-hit ratio, efficient index creation and utilization and how to guarantee that ADO.NET takes advantage of these optimizations. Focus on squeezing the last bit of performance out of ADO.NET. Look at how to best architect your application to take advantage how ADO.NET was designed to work with data in a disconnected. Look at comparisons between the DataSet and the DataReader, and an explanation of the best use for each of these objects. Look at techniques for using multiple result sets in one DataReader or DataSet for efficient client databinding, using stored procedures for dynamic sorting, proper connection pooling, optimizing connections with the DataAdapter, and ExecuteScalar vs. ExecuteNonQuery comparisons.  

posted on Monday, July 14, 2003 11:53:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [15] Trackback
# Sunday, July 13, 2003

The USS Ronald Reagan (CNV 76)

On Saturday I watched the with some friends the commissioning of the USS Ronald Reagan. The USS RONALD REAGAN was built by Northrop Grumman Newport News in Newport News, Virginia, the only company in the United States with the unique ability to build nuclear powered aircraft carriers. RONALD REAGAN is the ninth Nimitz class aircraft carrier. Being nuclear powered, it can operate for more than 20 years without refueling.

I did feel old when my friend's daughter asked us: "Who was Ronald Reagan?"

posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 8:30:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, July 11, 2003

Who Needs No Stinkin’ Transaction Log (Well Sometimes)


I have a problem. I have to transform 33 million rows from one table to another in my staging SQL Server. The problem is that my Insert Into statement is getting logged and it takes over 10 hours to run due to File I/O. I want it to run faster since the data is not 100% ready and I will have to make some changes to the raw data then retransform in. I called my teammate and pal Andy Catlin (who claims that 1.1 million people read this blog daily) for some advice on how to have the insert statement without getting logged to the transaction log. So here is my insert statement that takes 10+ hours:


Insert into dbo.RPT_ADNPMP12

Select CCODE as County_ID, SICGP as SIC_Code, Rpt_Year, Rpt_Quarter, SpendOrig, SpendDest, 10 as MediaType_ID, 'Other Publications' as MediaType, 11 as Sort_Order,

0 as PercentOfTotal,(ONLNAT+ONLDIR) + ONLLOC  as TotalSpending_AMT,

ONLLOC as Local_AMT,  ONLNAT+ONLDIR  as National_AMT

From dbo.PreptoUpload


Andy said to use with caution the following, setting the recovery mode (using alter database) before and after the insert statement. Not logging made the 33 million rows run in less than 2 hours from the 10 it took with logging. Here is the same code not logged:


Alter Database TestStageToProduction SET Recovery Simple


Insert into dbo.RPT_ADNPMP12

Select CCODE as County_ID, SICGP as SIC_Code, Rpt_Year, Rpt_Quarter, SpendOrig, SpendDest, 10 as MediaType_ID, 'Other Publications' as MediaType, 11 as Sort_Order,

0 as PercentOfTotal,(ONLNAT+ONLDIR) + ONLLOC  as TotalSpending_AMT,

ONLLOC as Local_AMT,  ONLNAT+ONLDIR  as National_AMT

From dbo.PreptoUpload


Alter Database TestStageToProduction SET Recovery Full


So my advice to you is to use this with CAUTION, the transaction log is a GOOD THING, but in a rare case like this when we are just transforming data from one table to another life is good without the log.

posted on Friday, July 11, 2003 6:30:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [18] Trackback