Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lead Thoughts

I took my kids out shopping the other day to pick some things up. While we were out, one of the kids started playing one of the demonstration video games in the store. They hadn't played the game before, and weren't really all that concerned about place or position - they just knew they were having fun.

While playing the racing game on the demonstration system, they were driving around what appeared to be a mostly-deserted track. I knew from experience that it wasn't, and I noticed immediately the indicator that showed them in 8th of 8 places. They didn't seem to notice, or care, and it made me reflect.

How do you know when you're leading?

How do you know you're not behind the curve, and just can't see the first place car?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On-Call Best Practices

I've studied on-call best practices, and they all seem to come down to:

  1. Communicate. First think of yourself as in sales - you are selling your customers and co-workers that you are the buck stopper, and once you own problems, they WILL get fixed. Do whatever you have to do to cultivate that image, especially if you don't like the on-call portion of your job.
  2. Track what you do. You can bet your customer/co-worker/boss will, if they think you're slipping!
  3. Communicate. Tell people what you did.
  4. Track when you do it. This may seem to be a part of #1, above, but it really isn't. Using simple tools, like the calendar portion of your email client, is a pretty simple, integrated way to get this done.
  5. Communicate. The timeliness of your actions can make or break other peoples solutions, so don't be afraid to talk, talk, talk!
  6. Track how you do it. If you involve someone else, especially on the late night calls, a quick email outlining the steps you took while the issue is still fresh in your mind can (and will!) save you both later.
  7. Communicate. Telling others how to reproduce your success isn't being generous, it's being responsible.
I hope you see the pattern. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SSIS /dev/null

While working with SSIS 2008 recently, I needed some random data. While I was poking around on the same site, I found this:


From their webpage:
When developing a package it is very useful to have a destination adapter that does nothing but consume rows with no setup requirement. You often want run a package part way through development, or just add a path so you can set a Data Viewer. There are stock tasks that can be used, but with the Trash Destination all columns are treated as selected automatically (usage type of read-only), so the pipeline knows they are required. It is also obvious that this is for development or diagnostic purposes, and is clearly not a part of the functional design of the package.

So, basically it's a /dev/null for SSIS. Cool!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SSIS Sample Data

While working with SSIS 2008 recently, I needed some random data. I found this:


From their webpage:
It generates random integer (DT_I4) and string (DT_WSTR) data and places them in the pipeline. You specify how many columns of each you would like and for any string columns you pass a fixed length value. You then need to specify how many rows in total you require to be generated.