Monday, January 11, 2016

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Idol "Round of Death"

Hi. I wanted to wait on my recap of this event until I had seen the video of my Speaker Idol session at PASS Summit 2015. I come on around 14:30.

Speaker Idol is purely a test of your presentation skills. Probably one of the most grueling tests because it is very difficult to cover a topic effectively in FIVE minutes. I also try to tell a story when I speak. So, in five minutes it has to be really concise. My topic was SQL Injection. Could you imagine what a disgruntled speaker could do with SQL Injection? Of course, this is all hypothetical. 

I thought beforehand that the eventual winner would have to do what a speaker does typically during a PASS Summit session. Talk, do a demo and wrap up. I also like speakers who throw in a few laughs along the way so I was hoping someone like that would win. No time for Q&A in this format so you are spared that part of the test. 

I used Office Remote for Android to control my PowerPoint 2016 deck. This is a very new phone app and it was the first time I had used it in a live session. I really like this app and will continue to use it but I do need to get better using it so that as the judges correctly indicated it doesn't become such a distraction.
This app basically gives you Presentation View on your phone and allow you to run your laptop in Duplicate Screen mode which minimizes the breaks when you switch between the deck and your demo tools. I did use ZoomIt successfully and I still have a few "umms" to eliminate. I could have formatted the code to be easier to read but that would have revealed the punch line at the end of my presentation. Finally, I wish I had found that sound cord to plug into my laptop for my ending because I though AC-DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top" was a fun way to end for Speaker Idol. I had gone into the room more than once to check out the tech layout but didn't find that cord. 

The judges' comments were very helpful for all the rounds and it will definitely help me to improve as a speaker. I'm hoping the exposure I got at Speaker Idol will help me get selected for next year's PASS Summit. 

My Speaker Idol round should now be called the "Round of Death" because the eventual winner and runner-up were in it. Congratulations to David Maxwell for his well deserved victory. I think he will do a great job next year.

I'm glad I did Speaker Idol but I have to say the normal abstract process is the less stressful way to go if you want to speak at PASS Summit. 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The PowerShell Advent of Code

So, Jeremiah Peschka's post on practicing has hooked me into working through this series of word problems. You can use any language to solve the problems. I'll be using PowerShell because I need the exercise and I need to learn how to use Github.

You can try the Advent of Code yourself here and see my answers so far here.

I was able to answer the first puzzle with four lines of PowerShell. Yeah!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Office Remote for Android

While practicing for the upcoming PASS Summit Speaker Idol contest it occurred to me that it would be great if I could use my Android phone to control my Powerpoint deck. I also recalled Lindsay Clark holding her phone while she was doing her talk this past week at SQL Saturday Orlando.

So, I searched the Google Play Store and lo and behold there it was, Office Remote for Android.

The instructions to install it are very good but I did have issues getting my laptop to pair with my HTC One M9 phone.

To resolve the issue, I had to uninstall and reinstall the Bluetooth drivers to get it working because my Windows 8.1 laptop wasn't recognizing ANY Bluetooth devices. Also, I set the Log On as account to NT AUTHORITY\LocalService for the Bluetooth Support Service. It was then able to find my phone and pair with it.

The following links were very helpful. I did not have to do the registry change suggested in the first link to get this working.

When using Office Remote, close all other apps so that it displays the previous and next screens properly, otherwise they may be blank. I'm guessing this was simply a resource issue on the phone.

Office Remote shows you basically a miniature version of Presentation Mode. There is also a laser pointer that can be invoked by simply touching on the current slide and moving your finger around.

The "New Microsoft" has outdone themselves with this app!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Idol Contestant!

Yes. I have finally been selected to speak at PASS Summit! 

For at least 5 minutes. 

Along with 11 others in the Speaker Idol contest.

If I get to speak for another 5 minutes, I might win a slot at next year's Summit for a full session. No pressure.

By the way, they are live streaming the event from a room that can hold 250 people. No pressure.

I was pretty excited when I saw the e-mail from Denny Cherry that I had been selected but it also comes with an equally heavy dose of dread. 

What will I talk about for 5 minutes? How will I handle such a big room? 

Will Poe Dameron save me? 

Come to the Speaker Idol session on Friday at PASS Summit to find out.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

SQL Saturday #442

I'll be speaking at SQL Saturday #442 in Orlando on October 10, 2015.

This will be the next to last time I present this session. If you miss it, I will be presenting it for the Pinellas SQL User Group in November before it goes into the vault. 

So, if you are interested in minimizing or possibly preventing the type of breach that happened at Anthem Inc, you will likely find my session "Real World SQL Server Database Administration with just a bit of sysadmin" very interesting. 

It is becoming increasingly difficult to allow SQL Server database administrators to retain perpetual sysadmin access on production servers due to IT Security, Audit, and Compliance concerns. 

I'll review the fundamentals needed to define a configurable permission model that allows database administrators to do routine work without having unfettered access to business data. Several demonstrations will show that many DBA tasks can be done without sysadmin access. Attendees will also learn how to deploy a set of permissions that allows DBAs to do routine work, elevate DBA permissions quickly to respond to production emergencies and how to grant sysadmin permissions during disaster recovery scenarios. Scripts will be reviewed and demonstrated that secure the database server, undo the permission model in case of unforeseen circumstances and discover which servers remain to be locked down. Attendees will leave this session with the realization that DBAs need to be sysadmin only when required.

SQL Saturday is a FREE training event for SQL Server professionals and those wanting to learn about SQL Server. SQL Saturdays are possible because of PASS, our sponsors, and the many volunteer speakers and staff that run the event. I encourage you to attend. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Finding the next job was easier because...

I am an active participant in PASSSQL Saturday, and Twitter.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to look for a job after nine years at my previous employer.  
The management decided to relocate the IT department to North Carolina. I live in Florida. Neither myself nor my wife were interested in moving to colder climes. 

I posted my updated resume in January 2015. I really started looking seriously at the end of March.

Because of my participation in the Florida PASS user groups, SQL Saturdays, and Twitter, most of my job leads came from people I know. The one job that I did a phone interview for via a recruiter ended up being with someone who had attended the most recent Tampa SQL Saturday and one of his co-workers had attended my session. They wanted to do an in-person interview but couldn't wait until June for me to start. The conditions of my severance package dictated a June start date for the next job.

I had leads from my user group leader, a former co-worker via Twitter, and an MCM who I met via SQL Saturday. I joined Twitter because of a Tampa SQL user group presentation in 2009 given by Jorge Segarra AKA @sqlchicken. Speaking at SQL Saturdays and user groups made interviews a breeze.

I ended up taking the job with the MCM. He is now my manager.  :-D

I start my new job after two weeks vacation.

The point of this post is the transition was MUCH easier than I could have ever imagined because of the participation I've described above.

If you have to find another job, this is the way to do it. Be social. Contribute.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

One of many reasons to translate VBScript to PowerShell

I'm wrapping up the deployment of a cross-platform automation tool for our distributed databases(DB2 LUW, SQL Server, Oracle). 

One of our major items to convert is a VBScript that does several post-installation tasks for SQL Server. 

I've decided to take this opportunity to retire as much VBScript as possible. 

Why might you ask? 

Here's my first example...

To check the version of Windows in our VBScript requires twelve lines of code

PowerShell only needs one. 

Well, we'll need two lines to store the Caption and CSDVersion in variables for later use.

I expect I'll have several other great examples to show from this effort.

Get stuff done faster with less code. Use PowerShell.