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Babies and Bathwater

I just watched Doug Lane’s video on why he is quitting twitter and I wanted to share my reaction. I thought about recording a video, but it felt too much like I would be mocking Doug (twitter|blog) and I’m more of a writer anyway.

I am not a big presence in the SQL Community, but I have been a member for some time. Being a part of this #sqlfamily and getting involved with PASSMN has changed my career, which as a result has changed my life. I will not be quitting Twitter. I’m going to concede that Twitter isn’t the completely fun place it was when I joined years ago, but I still find value in it. It helps me stay connected to the SQL community (even if they are squabbling over the PASS bylaws issue du jour) and, for me, it is still a source of joy and information.

I wanted to give the perspective of what I think is most of the SQL community. Of course the fact that I have an opinion on this means I am already different from the majority of people I meet in the community. I think most people view PASS and the SQL Community as a place to learn and network. If you told them that such a thing as SQL Celebrities existed they would laugh or maybe just shrug. If you further explained that these celebrities sometimes argue about the finer points of the PASS Bylaws or have heated arguments about things other than commas before or commas after (FYI – it’s before) they would be mystified. I think these discussions can actually be helpful and when I see others arguing things like what swag can be handed out after presentations I simultaneously think, “Wow, this is silly.” and “I’m glad someone is thinking about that issue.” I don’t envy that someone their job, but hopefully they’ll do the job we elected them for and figure out what needs to be done. Maybe even with some useful community input. No system is perfect, but I like to think the SQL community is better than most. It’s good to have people who care. Even if I don’t always agree with them.

The next paragraph is going to sound like I am picking on Doug, and I guess I am, but I hope he doesn’t see it as too caustic or mean. He was brave enough to put his views out there and now we get to debate them.

In the video Doug says he doesn’t like the drama, but rather than just quit twitter silently he created some drama around it. Huh, I guess it got me thinking about things didn’t it? So maybe all drama isn’t a bad thing. At the beginning Doug also stated that he isn’t sure that Twitter and PASS and being a Speaker is a good thing anymore. To this I reply a pretty emphatic, “That’s easy for him to say.” He goes on to point out at the end that he now has his dream job where he gets to teach people about SQL and have fun while he is doing it. If twitter isn’t fun for him anymore than he can just drop out, but to discourage others from doing the same networking and teaching he has done to get where he is feels like a disservice to those starting out. I don’t think he intended it that way, but I do see it that way and others might as well.

Where does all of this lead me? Even though I think Doug has every right to quit Twitter it I think the fun for me will be less without him there, so –

Let’s get Doug back on Twitter

I like Doug. I’ve hung out with him a few times at PASS events and always end up laughing. A lot. I think he is a good example of how people in our community should act and a mentor to follow so we can reach our dream jobs as well. To lose his voice in one of the places we have been encouraging people to engage for so long is a failure on the part of the community. My plan is simple and if enough others join me it might work. And even if it is doesn’t it might make twitter a little more fun for the next month.

Step 1: Tweet something positive about SQL Server every day in June (or technology in general, or coffee – just something positive). This should be easy with the launch of SQL Server 2016. Short plug – on June 13th in MN there will be a SQL Server 2016 Launch Discovery Day , which should give us something to talk about.

Step 2: Don’t feed the trolls.

Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter at @SQLMD



Heading off into the Sunrise

I have some news I have been wanting to blog about for some time – I’m moving to Tokyo.

Shinjuku At Night

This may seem like an odd space for this blog post, but I decided that this news affects my SQL Life as much as anything else. The short story is that my brilliant wife has been offered a job in Tokyo and we decided we couldn’t pass it up. I’ve shared the news with several people already, but after talking with my current employer I feel I can “go public.” We leave in about two months and the list of things we still need to accomplish is long, but will be worth it. If you know anyone in the SQL world or just IT in general that lives in Tokyo I am looking to make some connections.

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T-SQL Tuesday #065 – Teach Something New (Roundup)

With Ed’s #sqlnewblogger going on and lots of regular #tsql2sday folks there was a big turn out this month for the topic of teaching something new. In no particular order:

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T-SQL Tuesday #065 – Teach Something New

 I’ve been writing T-SQL Tuesday posts for years and it is pretty cool to be hosting this month. I don’t make it every month, but that is one of the great things about T-SQL Tuesday – if you miss it there is another one coming up quickly. I debated what the topic should be for some time and I was really leaning towards something on the cloud or PowerShell, maybe PowerShell in the Cloud, or perhaps some Cloudy PowerShell, but after Ed Leighton-Dick (B|T) announced his new blogger challenge I didn’t want to limit the options for all of these new contributors. The topic this month is straight forward, but very open ended. Read more…

PASSMN December 2014 Meeting


Next Tuesday (12/16) is the December meeting for the Minnesota chapter of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASSMN). We are doing something different this month. Instead of doing a single presentation by one person we are going to have several local SQL people debate some SQL-related topics. the catch is none of us will know what the topics are ahead of time. We are calling it, SQL Improv: Who’s Line is it anyway? Or at least I am calling it that. Come watch me think on my feet along with Jason Strate, Mark Vaillancourt, Paul TimmermanDave Valentine, Ben Thul, and Jim Dorame. It is sure to be fun and if we do it right you might even learn something along the way.

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Winds in the East (T-SQL Tuesday #61)

This month’s host for T-SQL Tuesday is Wayne Sheffield (blog|twitter). Since it is the season of giving he has asked the #sqlfamily to write about how we plan to give back to the SQL community in the coming year.

Because my term on the PASSMN board is ending I may actually end up giving a little less of my time to the SQL Community next year, but there is at least one new development I am excited to share.

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PASSMN November 2014 Meeting


Today (11/18) is the November meeting for the Minnesota chapter of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASSMN). Our presenter this month is Microsoft SQL Server MVP Paul Timmerman (T). Paul is presenting on how SQL Server Database Snapshots will make our lives easier. I learned a ton when he presented on Read Committed Snapshot Isolation level last year so I expect to gain some knowledge tonight (evidently Paul only presents sessions with the word snapshot in them).

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International Man of SQL

sqlsat350_webI can’t remember when I first started hearing about SQL Saturday Winnipeg – it may have been last year at the PASS Summit 2013. I work at the same company as Mark Vaillancourt (B|T) who is the PASS Regional mentor for Canada and he asked if I would be up for a trip north at some point to share some SQL knowledge with Canadians. I’ve never been to Canada which is hard to believe when it is just a short 8 hour drive to Winnipeg (or possibly 2 days depending on weather). I said yes and I even agreed to help with the planning. I may have over extended myself on that second part because I have found it difficult to contribute much from 500 miles away – perhaps it is the language barrier. Read more…


There are some T-SQL best practices that I have been hearing about for so long that it surprises me when I run into people who don’t know about them. Then I remember “every single person in the world starts out with absolutely zero knowledge about SQL Server“. With that in mind I have decided to document some of the things I have been seeing a lot of recently. I have been working on a project refactoring T-SQL for the past several months and one of the patterns I replace without thinking about it is


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Lets Hear it for the Board (T-SQL Tuesday #59)

This month’s host for T-SQL Tuesday is the Real SQL Guy, Tracy McKibben (blog|twitter). In honor of Ada Lovelace Day Tracy has asked us to write about our heroes. I think Ada Lovelace is a great example of a hero and an inspiration as the first computer programmer, but I’ve decided to make my focus a little more local.

A little over two years ago I was starting to get more involved in PASSMN. The people on the PASSMN Board inspired me with their commitment and willingness to donate their time and knowledge to the Minnesota SQL Server community. At the time I didn’t know the board members as people. I viewed them with a certain amount of awe and nervously volunteered to speak and to help with events like SQL Saturday. It was easy to see them as heroes and they inspired me to push myself.

Maybe it is all of the activity these days around planning the current SQL Saturday, but I realized that I am now working side by side with some of these amazing people. My heroes are my fellow board PASSMN board members. They all do work that no one ever knows about and put in hours of volunteer time to help create the great SQL Server community we have here in Minnesota. I can’t begin to list all of the work these people do, but I want everyone to know how great they are. In no particular order here are the PASSMN Board heroes:

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