# Monday, July 21, 2003

Ich Bein Ein Aushlander


I love the city of Munich (Sorry Clemens, I know you don’t like that part of Germany). I go there usually twice a year. My good friend Nicole and her awesome hubby Chris live there. Being the History Major, etc I love the history all over Munich, even though it is bad history since the Hofbrahaus was the scene of one of the most important events leading up to Nazism and World War II.


I love the UBhan and SBhan. I love the surfer chicks (I can't resist them!!). I love the proximity to the Alps. Five hours by train to Venice. I love the 1/2 beer 1/2 Lemonade drink in the beer garden. Ok, I will stop now on how cool it is there.


What I don’t love about Munich is the bad business decisions.  On May 28, 2003, the city of Munich, Germany, voted to migrate its Windows desktops to Linux. (Sheer coincidence- I happened to be there on vacation that day.) Microsoft came in before this decision and offered Windows at a deep discount. Munich wanted to make a statement and threw common sense out the window. Before you Linux people revive stephenforteFUD.com, remember I am not a religious fanatic on this issue. I make my techie decisions based on finances and TCO. So here is why Munich’s decision is a poor one (from the RD alias):


From: Vinod Unny

Sent: Monday, July 21, 2003 12:58 AM
To: MSDN RD List
Subject: [msdnrd] RE: USA Today Article about the largest Linux desktop deployment


Just some new news I saw regarding this. Extremely funny and interesting:

From: http://www.wininformant.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=39614


Fun Fact About Those Linux PCs in Munich
And speaking about Linux stories you don't hear much from the Linux-loving mainstream press, consider the following. Remember that story about the city of Munich choosing Linux to power 14,000 desktop computers? One aspect of this story that most people don't know about is that up to 80 percent of those Linux desktops will be equipped with VMWare, a virtual machine emulator, under which they will run Windows and Windows applications. That's right, folks: The majority of those "Linux desktops" will be used to run … Windows. I'm not a big fan of Gartner, but they've issued a report, correctly titled, "Munich's Choice Doesn't Prove Linux OK for General Desktop Use," that raises some interesting issues. First, many of the Windows desktops they're migrated are very old Windows versions like Windows 3.1, making the switch to Linux less painful (it would be equally painful to switch to XP). Gartner says the cost of switching to Linux will cost 30 million Euros, or 3 million Euros more than it would cost to switch to XP, not including any steep discounts Microsoft would have no doubt provided. And finally, because most of the Linux machines will use VMWare to run Windows anyway, Linux is really being used as a hosting environment, and not as a replacement. In other words, this isn't exactly a good business case on which other companies can base a decision to migrate to Windows desktops. And, not coincidentally, that's why we're not reading about a lot of other high-profile Linux switchers.


Also, this seems to be the Garner report he is referring to: http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=115336

With Regards,


Vinod Unny
Enterprise InfoTech
Microsoft Regional Director, North India


posted on Monday, July 21, 2003 8:32:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# 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