Free UK Visual Studio/ALM Events in 2016

Throughout the second half of this year, Microsoft are hosting three free events on the popular topics of Application Lifestyle Management & DevOps with Visual Studio. These are full day events, and yes to answer the most important question snacks and lunch is free!

It’s not entirely clear if the event is going to include Visual Studio Team Services, however there is the promise of showing off new features. So presumably another update for Visual Studio 2015 is coming soon, or new features are going to be added to VSTS. But the main gist of the day is the end-to-end application lifecycle with Microsoft tooling, taking an application from requirements, development to automated release and testing

Full info on these days are here.

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. Continue reading “New Year Musings”

UK SQL Relay 2014 Plus Travel Info for London and Southampton

Throughout October, SQL Relay 2014 is taking place in the UK. If you’re unfamiliar with SQL Relay, it is a series of 1 day events that are run throughout the UK. Each event is a single track (or more in the case of London) conference, with between 50 and 200 attendees and 6-8 hour long talks by SQL Server professionals, MVPs, authors, technical experts etc.

Continue reading “UK SQL Relay 2014 Plus Travel Info for London and Southampton”

A Few Things I Didn’t Know Last Week

  1. That it is possible to have a Victorian house built in the 1930’s: I’m in the process of buying a new house, and one I saw listed was Victorian terraced. When I viewed the property I wasn’t too surethat it was Victoarian so I asked the agent when this property was built. “1930’s.” was the response. “Oh, I read on the listing it was Victorian” I replied, hoping for further clarity. “Yea, yea.” was the agents clarification…
  2. That the beginning of a book can be the end, and the end be not in the book, and the last few pages of a book be the middle: I finally finished Infinite Jest, a book I’d been promising to read for about two years. For me, the effort involved outweighed the enjoyment I got from reading the book. To contradict that, I want to read it again, but after reading some of the texts cited in the reviews of the book. I don’t want to post spoilers (trust me, what I’ve written in bold above does not reveal anything), but I’ve come away from the book wanting to read reviews, articles etc on the book, and it’s challenged me, so it;s certainly had an impact on me, in a good way.
  3. That it is possible to have other indexes on tables that have Clustered Columnstore Indexes on it: but you need to consider all the implications.

    This isn’t a knock on Brent’s advice, it’s a clever solution and I’m sure he’d expect people to go check their work before adding indexed views on CCI tables. When testing this solution I found the indexed views to be more than twice the size of the compressed table, so it’s not as if the solution is without it’s disadvantages which Brent goes over at the end of the post.
  4. That it’s possible to bite off more than you can chew: I failed the 70-462 exam last Friday. What with moving house, reading literary (and literally) heavyweight books, spending time with the baby, and learning about Clustered Columnstore Indexes, revision time was at a minimum. It’s not the first time I have failed an exam, it won’t be the last, and I know where I messed up: lack of revision.  So time to book my second shot and get revising. I got my arse kicked by the exam and I didn’t like it, so I’m going to work that much harder to pass this exam.

20% Discount on Microsoft SQL Exams? Oh Go On Then…

As my more regular readers will know, I am working towards my MCSA SQL Server 2012. So I was pretty pleased to see this tweet the other day.

I signed up and booked my exam for March 28th. I’ve booked the “Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases”. This is my day job after all!

A few caveats with the voucher:

  • This voucher is valid for 20% off any MCSA: SQL Server 2012 exam: 461, or 462, or 463, plus a free retake of the exam if you need it. You will receive an email shortly with the above voucher number and the information below.
  • This voucher expires on May 31st, 2014. All exams, including retake exams (or Second Shot), must be taken by May 31st, 2014.

Wish me luck! And if anyone is going to sign up: good luck! Let me know how it goes.

SQL Supper Notes

Yesterday evening there was a very special SQL Supper hosted at the Microsoft offices in London Victoria. It was an open session with some of the Microsoft Data Platform group, Mark Souza, Nigel Ellis, Conor Cunningham, Hatay Tuna and Ewan Fairweather. So I made my way by foot from the offices here in Covent Garden to London Victoria. Although February in London is rather chilly, with a brisk walk you can make it in half an hour, plus you pass several landmarks such as the piazza at Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square (and it’s controversial 4th plinth sculpture, the Blue Hahn Cock) the Mall, Buckingham Palace and finally, Westminster Cathedral.


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Microsoft Exams: 2 down 2 To Go

Wow, a new years resolution I’m following through with! This year I’ve already passed 2 Microsoft Exams. The first exam was “Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012”, and some of the skills I learnt from studying for this exam has helped me write better scripts, 1 of which was posted yesterday. So I’m 1/3 of the way towards achieving the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) SQL Server Solutions Associate certification.

The second exam I passed is the “Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio 2012 Application Lifecycle Management”, which (along with the testing and TFS exams) is necessary for achieving the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer Certification. Continue reading “Microsoft Exams: 2 down 2 To Go”