News and Updates

September 24, 2020

What a Year!!

My dad always warned me to not make a promise that I couldn’t keep. Well, obviously I couldn’t keep my promise to keep this site updated monthly. I could blame it on a lot of things: busy at my new job, COVID-19, moving into a house, moving the site to a new hosting provider, or any other excuse that I could utilize. But the truth of the matter is, regardless of the truth of each of those excuses, they were just that — excuses.

This has indeed been a crazy year! We moved our RV from one campground to another right before COVID-19 hit and haven’t been back to the office since. After a few weeks, my wife surprised me stating, “I think we should buy a house!” Because we liked the area around the new campground, we looked there and found THE HOUSE! We also had to make trips back to our old house to pick up a few things that we left with the renters and make another trip to her mother’s house in Ohio to get a few more. My wife did an amazing job at transforming the grounds into a veritable garden! We also invested in solar panels and that seems to have been a wise choice so far!

I started a new project as well — writing a book! It will be called A Practical Guide to Set-Based Queries co-authored by Alex Fleming. It will be published by Apress and they’ve been extremely helpful. It’s certainly a work-in-progress but I’m excited about it! As more of the book takes shape, I’ll share more details about it.

February 22, 2020

New Year’s Resolutions

At the start of each new year, we often delude ourselves into making resolutions to do things right, better, or more regularly. As good as our intentions may be, we often wane in our diligence of keeping to these self-promises. Of course, this year was no exception for me.

One of my resolutions was to write these blog entries more regularly. Well, as you can see, this hasn’t worked out so well. Quite a bit has happened to me recently that bears some explanation. Primarily, I have taken a new position at Healthfirst, a health insurance company based in New York. A couple of years ago, I worked as a consultant to them. I traveled from my home in South Carolina to NYC once a week for about a month and a half before it was clear that it would be more beneficial (in many ways) for me to travel to the Lake Mary, FL office (near Orlando). I worked in this capacity for about 8 months before my contract was concluded.

I accepted a 1-2 year contract position for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Riverton, UT. At the end of the first year, I discovered that a position for an Enterprise Data Architect at Healthfirst was still available. It was with the same team that I worked with previously and they were thrilled to have me return. They were even willing to wait over 2 months for me to complete my contract and travel to Orlando!

Now, it’s as though the previous year didn’t happen as I’m working on the same platform (PostgreSQL in AWS) as before in the same project that hasn’t seemed to progress as quickly as it should have. After spending a week in NYC and a few weeks in Lake Mary, it seems to be going well.

In any case, I will attempt to make these entries at least monthly. I still plan to convert my presentations into blog entries for better understanding, but that will take more time as well.

October 3, 2019

Welcome to the new site for SQL RV! I upgraded to a new environment to allow me to bring you better content than before. This is still a work-in-progress, so I appreciate your patience. If there is anything else amiss, please let me know!

September 6, 2019

So, after over 20 years of working in SQL Server, I finally got around to getting a certification. The MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) is actually a stepping stone to obtaining an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert). One more exam will cinch that for me.

Previously, I’ve never put much stock into certifications of any kind. While they are intended to be skills tests, I have known too many people who were simply skilled at memorizing information to pass an exam yet not skilled enough to put it into practice. I once graduated with a fellow who got a 4.0 GPA in accounting. Yet when it came to implementing it in software, I understood accounting principles better than he did even though I never took any accounting classes!

Also, I figured that with over 30 years of experience, a certification was not going to be very useful. Today, there are a number of folks who worked quite hard to obtain certifications. With that and the fact that the manner in which certifications tests are implemented have improved, I thought it would be a good idea for me to pursue it now. Last May a special was available to purchase a certification exam with two retakes plus a practice exam. So I decided to purchase three sets to prepare for the MCSE. After my purchase, I discovered that they must be used within 6 months. Therefore I have until the end of November to complete them. Wow, no pressure!! So far (knock on wood) I have yet to need any of the retakes. While it cost extra for those, having them available has removed some of my test anxiety.

Interestingly, for the longest time, the SE in MCSE stood for Systems Engineer. However, it was pointed out to me by a colleague this morning that SE now represents Solutions Expert. I feel that using the title of Expert is rather pretentious and I feel reluctant to use it. I have no problem calling someone else an expert when appropriate, Personally, if I deal with someone who calls himself/herself an expert, then I generally have reservations about their skills unless they prove otherwise. Perhaps that’s an issue that I will have to simply get over.