New Year Musings

Hello! And Happy New Year!

I’ve spent much of the past month off work looking after my daughter whilst my wife is at work. It seems that while this time of year is quiet for me at the office, in the NHS its the busiest period of the year. So it has been great to spend time with Phoebe at home, which has resembled a building site since the end of October. Indeed, as I work from home I have had to move the computer from into 5 different times whilst work was completed. During that time I’ve learnt more things about plumbing than I’ve ever wanted to know, and surprised myself when I kept a remarkably cool head when I noticed water leaking out the ceiling (from the room I had just removed the radiator from successfully (I thought) and whose pipes I had capped) into our living room. And here is some advice which is as unrelated to technology as you’ll ever read on this site, but invaluable nonetheless: try not to reuse caps to cap off radiator pipes, as you have to turn them so tight they tend to break up when you try to use them again. Which is exactly what I had done. I thought they were screwed on well enough until I turned the heating on and water got flowing around the system, which was when the water started to leak out of the busted cap. Fortunately for me no damage was done and I was able to drain the entire heating system, which unfortunately coincided with us living without heating during the coldest days of 2014, until the plastering was done. It’s all part of us paying our dues until the house is done. Currently we are without a shower/bath, though mercifully we are not far away from friends who are kind enough to let us use their bathroom.

So plumbing issues and full time parenting aside, I’m somewhat out of the loop with SQL related news. I understand SQL Azure got a facelift and can now support partitioning and that Cumulative update 5 has been released for SQL Server 2014. And Booking & Pricing for SQLBits XIV has been published. However, despite it taking place in my hometown of London (and only a stones throw from where I was born and bred, providing you can throw a stone over the Thames) I have yet to book my ticket. This is because I have paid for myself to attend the Brent Ozar Unlimited SQL Server Performance Troubleshooting Class taking place in Denver in February. So the cost of the training, coupled with the extensive building works has left my training budget a little thin to say the least! Nevertheless, I’m super excited to be going, it’s going to be a great learning experience. When it comes to independent learning, I read plenty of articles, watch webinars, go to user groups and conferences, and of course write this blog, but this will be the first in person training I’ve attended since… well… ever. And as it’s coming out of my own pocket I’ll definitely be taking notes!

The past few nights I have been playing about with the theme on this site, and whilst none of the changes got published, I learnt about linear and gradient affects in CSS which allow you to do neat and subtle gradients if you pick the right colours.

This is a simple linear affect –

and this is the gradient affect with 3 colours –

However I feel you can get a better looking image using the box shadow technique:

This stuff is all very new to me and it wasn’t much more than having a bit of fun and seeing what I can do with CSS. This blog is hosted on the WordPress site on a customized Twenty Eleven theme, and I like this theme because it is clean and simple and does not get too bogged down and though there may be a few contrast issues there’s little chance I’ll ever end up on Web Pages That Suck. I’ve dabbled in other themes, but I’ve spent so much time customizing the CSS to get the look on this blog I cannot bear the thought of changing!

Last year, in fact a year a ago today, I wrote some new-years-but-not-really resolutions, and in the interest of probably only myself, I’m going to check to see if I achieved them:

  1. write better check-in comments; check. Easy enough.
  2. Keep on Posting; 99 posts in a year I moved house, not bad. Though the year before I became a dad for the first time. I’ll still say 99 posts is pretty good.
  3. Read Infinite Jest: yep, did this, enjoyed it. Now that I’ve tackled this book I want to read other books that I may have demurred from before, so definitely pleased I read it and stuck with it when the going got tough.
  4. Pass some exams; I passed the three exams necessary to achieve the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate grading. Again, in a year I moved house, pretty good going.
  5. Make a King Cake: failed at this, but did buy one and eat it, plus I bought another one yesterday, so in some respects I win.

2014 was a massive year for me; moving house, I playing proper gaming tournaments and even ranking respectably in some of them, not to mention juggling work/home life and trying to fix up a house, whilst keeping up the running. This time I’m setting myself some longer term objectives (ie, not in a year) as I want to set bigger objectives:

  1. Read all the books on the Lisa Simpson Book Club list that I have yet to read. IJ has given me the impetus to read more. I love reading, but I always prefer to play games than read a book. Maybe time for a change…
  2. Become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE); seems the logical step, but more of a challenge as there’s no one text to help with the exams, nor would I expect there to be.
  3. Make a King Cake, or at least eat another one.

Here’s to an even more frank and productive new year!

 

Author: Richie Lee

Full time computer guy, part time runner. Full time Dad, part time blogger. Knows a thing or two about Pokémon. Knows too much about SQL Agent. Writer of fractured sentences. Maker of the best damn macaroni cheese you've ever tasted.

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