Friday, July 27, 2007

SQL Teasers

Denis Gobo has been posting a series of SQL Teasers that are just fantastic.  They only take a minute - go have a look, you'll probably learn something.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Errors in MCTS Microsoft Self-Paced Training Kits

Derik Whittaker posted an item about his frustration with the errors in the .Net Framework 2.0 70-536 Self-Paced Training Kit. I have not had a chance to look at my copy yet, so this is a nice heads up.

First of all, I have to give kudos to Microsoft for truly recognizing the importance of the developer community. 

Since Ballmer's infamous rant, Microsoft has indeed put more effort into communicating with and listening to developers.  That's how I got this kit in the first place - they sent it to me for free.

However, Derik's point is that it is difficult to learn when the material is riddled with errors.  That is very true.

I actually had the very same problem while I was studying the SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance 70-431 Self-Paced Training Kit.  However, I did a bit more looking online and found a very detailed errata.  I printed this, and it was 8 pages!  There may have been a lot of errors, but they have really put in the effort to correct those errors.

In Derik's case (exam 70-536), the errata page is just as detailed.  Maybe there are even more errors in the .net book, because they felt the need to break it into 2 parts!

Not sure from his post if Derik actually found this info.  All you need to do is go to the good old knowledge base and search for the exam number.  Bang, there's the errata.  It does feel odd, because going to the support site for a book is not something that immediately leaps to mind, but this is after all a Microsoft product.

So it's hard to know whether to be upset they made so many mistakes in the first place, or just be happy they actually documented the errors properly.

I tend to cut the authors some slack.  Book publishing is a long process and these books unfortunately tend to be a) written by committee, and b) rushed because they will be out of date soon.  So I'm just happy they manage to get anything published at all.  The link to the Microsoft Learning support site is on the included CD, so if you go looking for the errata, you should find it.  But I think the CD should have a direct link to the errata page.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Derek Hatchard posted his list of podcasts. I liked his post and thought I might do the same thing.  I think podcasts are the easiest way to stay up to date.

The first two on my list are also the first two on his list:

When there's a new show for either of these, it will jump to the front of my queue because the content tends to be time sensitive.  tWiT is honestly not quite as informative as it is entertaining.  Windows weekly is great, except Leo likes to waste time comparing everything to Apple.

Let's look at Derek's other picks:

Venture voice is new for me, I'll give it a try.

I thought I was going to be interested in Jumping Monkeys - I've listened to it a couple of times, but it just doesn't work for me. 

I listen to most episodes of .NET Rocks, at least partially.  Since I don't spend a lot of time writing .Net code, I stand to learn a lot.

Yes, Derek, I think I've heard every episode of Devcasting.  It's interesting to hear how you guys are making a living. 

Of the channel 9 shows, I like The MicroISV Show and ARCcast.

I'm going to add a few:


  • Developer Night In Canada - Microsoft's connection to the Canadian developer community
  • Security Now! - Sometimes hard to listen to, but most often very informative.
  • Off the hook - From the 2600 crowd.  No, not the Atari 2600.  I used to get a kick out of these guys, but I don't listen often anymore.
  • SQL Down Under - Excellent interviews with the big names in the SQL Server world.
  • Plumbers at Work - Kind of like a Canadian tWiT, only more out of date and less entertaining.  Sorry, guys.  But I do like to listen for the Canadian perspective.  It's been a while since they've put together a show...
  • Canadian IT manger podcast - I've been listening in the hope that some useful information will come from this, but this is really the marketing side of Microsoft.  There is no conversion, only boring, well prepared questions and answers.  Microsoft doesn't give managers any credit at all as far as I can tell.
  • Hanselminutes - This is really a great show.  Too many shows are over an hour long, when they could have been 20 minutes.  Hanselminutes is usually 30 minutes a week, and Scott's mantra is "I'm not going to waste your time".  Excellent.
  • RunAs Radio - .Net Rocks for IT guys.  Also hosted by Richard Campbell, produced by PWOP.  There's a bright future for this show.
  • PowerScripting - Powershell for beginners.  Since it's version 1.0, we are all beginners, aren't we?

And just to prove it isn't all tech all the time,

So that's about it.  Anybody else care to share?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Agile" computer repaving

This guy is crazy. I haven't done this since Windows 2000 came out.