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Showing posts from January, 2012

Blogging: Starting a Blog

Following on from the first post in my blogging series Building a Blog I’m just going to take a  quick look at some of the blogging platforms you can choose to manage your blog. The most common platform that I have come across if WordPress. I haven’t really used WordPress to managing any of my blogs. I have installed it and downloaded it but I plumped for Google’s blogger mainly because of how easy it was to setup and how little I had to do to start blogging.WordPress definitely has a lot of advantages you can download it for free from here http://wordpress.org/ You can also find some useful documentation for installing and configuring and some links to potential hosts for you blog. There will be a cost for the hosting.There are lots of plugin and themes that you can download for free and there some that you can pay for depending on your preference.These can all be used to improve the functionality and services that your blog provides. As I said WordPress is the most popular blog plat…

Blogging: Building a Blog

I took an interest in building  a blog/website several years ago when I first started my company and working for myself. Over the years I have tried many different approaches and over the last few years I have settled on using my blog to build my brand. More recently a monthly MeMe has started in the SQL Server blogger community that talks about blogging or meta blogging as it is known. This Meme has got me thinking about blogging and how to go about building a successful blog. This MeMe was started by Jason Strate (Blog) and is now approaching its third monthly run.To coincide with this my good friend Matthew Bird (Blog|Twitter) and I had a discussion over lunch a few weeks back about the benefits of blogging and how it can help build your business. Matt was a little negative about bogging initially, he struggled to see the benefits in giving something away for free. Lets be clear Matt is a very successful business man in his own right, he has interests in many different businesses a…

Rename an Analysis Services Instance

This is just a short post for Friday. I have been working a fair amount with SSAS and the rest of the BI stack and recently  I was asked to install a default instance of SSAS on server that already had a named instance installed. I didn’t think this would take me a long time I had a quick look at Configuration Manager saw the named SSAS instance mounted up the ISO and off I went.Click click click click done. Oh an Error…”The instance ID needs to be unique please ”  on further investigation it seemed that the existing named instance had the default instance ID. How could that be I thought?It turns out that the current named instance was initially installed as the default instance then got renamed. SSAS instances are far more easily renamed than  Database Engine instances. The recommended way to change a database engine default instance to a named instance is to uninstall and re-install the server. Fortunately with SSAS the process is much more straight forward.SSAS actually ships with …

Help JHD Help MND

My good friend Justin Hostettler-Davies (JHD) aka @JHDAVIES , the same JHD who recently scaled Kilimanjaro, is on the fund raising trail again.  I hope you can help him.Justin with his mountain climbing experience behind him is continuing with his endurance events, he is running the London Marathon this year in support of the MND Association. Rather than ask you to help myself,  I think I’ll let Justin tell you his sad story:“Early in 2011, a life-long (over 20 years) friend of mine was cruelly diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. He is only 35 years old and a father of two.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones. Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. Life expectancy is between six months and three years from onset of symptoms.My friend should be enjoying his youn…

Twitter, John, Building a Blog and #MEME15

I saw an interesting post this morning care of the micro-blogging/social networking site twitter that really got me thinking about blogging.John Sansom (Blog|@JohnSansom) wrote a very interesting post participating I believe in the second assignment of meme15. Meme15 is a monthly blogging event created by Jason Strate  (Blog|Twitter) that is designed to encourage SQL bloggers to write about blogging, a topic known as meta blogging. The blogging event ensures that several bloggers write about the same subject on a specific date during the month. Feel free to get involved. This is my first post in the said event.The topics discussed in meme15 are very likely to have a wider scope than just SQL bloggers, if you blog on anything then I think the posts in this meme are likely to provide you with a different way of thinking about how and why you blog The question this month is why should the average database professional get involved and use twitter. I like John’s take on twitter and the be…

How safe are your secrets?

We’ve all have service accounts, application accounts, sysadmin and domain admin accounts and other privileged shared accounts on our systems. These are all vital to the running of our applications and databases.
But do you keep them safe?
Are the passwords held somewhere secure, do you audit who looks them up, do you change them regularly, do you even know if these passwords are correct?I recently installed Thycotic’s Secret Server for that purpose.
This is a web app with a SQL backend that can hold all of your passwords, control who can view or edit them, audit who has viewed or changed them, can run a regular heartbeat to check that the password in the database is correct, auto change the passwords and update related services at the same time.If you have a third party that needs to access a server or application but you don’t want them to know the password they use, then you can configure an account with a launcher where they can click on the icon and it logs in to the system without…

Morning Checks - Forewarned is forearmed

It’s always handy to know if there any problems with your servers before you get into work in the morning. This is why I wrote a program that goes round all our SQL instances at 7am and checks they are all up. If it doesn’t get a reply from one it emails or pages me to let me know. So I know what to expect when I get in and can “hit the ground running”.I have a table with the names of all the servers and instances and my program simply works its way through the list this code actually check the state of the Windows service. The service name for the default instance is straightforward but you will need to work out the correct name for your named instances.Of course there may be occasion where the service reports as running but actually SQL isn’t responding. An alternative method would be to run a SQL command against each instance and see if there is a SQL response. I use that for DBMS and SSAS  but it doesn’t work  for SSIS and a lot harder for SSRS since it’s a web service. 1: 2…

Are you allowed to use social networking at Work?

I was reading this article about internet usage by staff who work for local authorities in Wales http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16394916 The content and context of the article seem to imply that Council staff are wasting time surfing the internet and social networking sites like twitter and Facebook instead of working. In my opinion the stance of the Tax Payers alliance in the article seems a little over the top but not wanting to get to involved in the politics involved in this article it did get me thinking about people and their employers and the internet usage policy’s in place. I have worked in places where the internet usage has been actively encouraged and I have worked in places where it has been quite severely restricted.The most popular site for Cardiff Council was Google, no real shock here and this should come as no surprise to anyone, if you have job that requires the use of the internet then there is a fair chance that Google will be one of the most popular and frequ…

2012: SQL Server, Olympics, Football and Darts

Today is the first day of 2012 and some commentators and bloggers in the SQL Server blog space use this time to write blog posts  about resolutions and goals  they have set themselves for the coming year. In other sphere’s especially the political blog space, bloggers see this as a ‘slow news’ time so they take this opportunity to make predications about the coming year. Reading some of these can actually make you feel a little queasy as I haven’t read one yet that has made predictions of the great global economic recovery of 2012. In fact they all contain a certain amount of doom and gloom,I’ll be staying away from politics and the economy and I won’t be making and resolutions or setting goals here, instead I’ll have a go at making some predictions of my own. Some technical and some not at related to technology and SQL Server. I’ll leave the technical ones until last.The Darts. Over the Christmas break the PDC world darts championship has been taking place  and with the early exit of…