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SQLStudies

My name is Kenneth Fisher and I am Senior DBA for a large (multi-national) insurance company. I have been working with databases for over 20 years starting with Clarion and Foxpro. I’ve been working with SQL Server for 12 years but have only really started “studying” the subject for the last 3. I don’t have any real "specialities" but I enjoy trouble shooting and teaching. Thus far I’ve earned by MCITP Database Administrator 2008, MCTS Database Administrator 2005, and MCTS Database Developer 2008. I’m currently studying for my MCITP Database Developer 2008 and should start in on the 2012 exams next year. My blog is at www.sqlstudies.com.

MJ Swart offers free technical editing

A little while back Michael J Swart(B/T) offered to help you become a better writer. This was exciting for me because over the last 2 years (wow I’ve been doing this almost 2 years) I’ve been trying to get better at writing. However getting better is hard when you have no feedback. Needless to say I jumped at the chance of having someone edit my work.

Now Michael does have some rules.

  • The work must be your own.

    This sounds pretty reasonable to me. No plagiarism. Got it.

  • Only one at a time please.

    Also reasonable. I could see getting somewhat overwhelmed.

  • There is a limited queue size. If it’s full come back later.

    See above.

  • You aren’t getting paid more than $100 for your work.

    Ok, so no free book editing. But I don’t get paid for my blog. (Anyone who would like to start paying me for my blog my email address is in my contact me page.)

  • It can take a couple of weeks to get a response.

    Now wait a minute Michael. You’re a DBA so we know you have no life. I expect quick turn around for this free service that you are providing me out of the goodness of your heart!

 
Since I’ve had a couple of my posts edited by Michael now and been quite pleased by the results I thought I would share an example. For those that are interested the actual post is here.

Here is my original text.

Microsoft has dozens of virtual labs available on TechNet. That’s cool enough but did I mention they are free?!? If you have spent any time looking around my site you will notice that I love study materials and in particular I love free ones. I even have a page devoted to study materials most of which are free. A while back I added a link to a page by Zilckh pointing out these labs and what types are available. (I’ll be adding a more direct link as well) Then over the last couple of weeks they have come up several times both on twitter and at my office. After all of that I thought I would make a point of pointing them out, and of course if I’m going to point them out I should probably give one a shot right?

So I decided to do the Upgrading to SQL Server 2012 from SQL 2005/2008 lab. This being a project we have going at work. Now over the years I have been involved in upgrades from 2000 to 2005 and 2005 to 2008 so I didn’t expect to see anything unfamiliar but I wanted to see how the labs themselves worked. I did run into some difficulty getting it started but mostly because of some security issues that I got taken care of pretty easily. Once the lab started to load it brought up two separate windows. The first was a manual for the lab. The manual had a general discussion on methods of doing the upgrade then walked you through testing the old server using the upgrade wizard and actually upgrading a couple of databases including making a couple of mistakes. The other window was the lab itself. It had “links” to 3 different “machines”. One held the 2005 instance, another the 2012 instance, and to be honest I never needed the 3rd so I’m not sure what it was for. The interface worked quite well and appeared to be full versions of SQL Server. At least when I made an unplanned mistake it reacted exactly like I would have expected it too. All in all it was a very positive experience and one I highly recommend. I look forward to trying out some of the others including the new SQL 2014 labs.


 

And here is the edited version.

If you have spent any time looking around my site, you will notice that I love study materials and in particular I love free ones. I even have a page devoted to study materials most of which are free.

Now Microsoft has dozens of virtual labs available on TechNet. That’s cool enough but did I mention they are free?!? I’ve talked about them before. A while back I mentioned a page by Zilckh who points out these labs and what types are available. (I’ll be adding a more direct link as well)

Over the last couple of weeks these labs have come up in conversation several times both on twitter and at my office. After all of that, I thought I would point them out, and of course if I’m going to point them out, I should probably give one a shot right?

So I decided to do the Upgrading to SQL Server 2012 from SQL 2005/2008 lab – this being a ongoing project at work. Now over the years, I’ve been involved in upgrades from 2000 to 2005 and 2005 to 2008 so I didn’t expect to see anything unfamiliar but I wanted to see how the labs themselves worked. I did run into some difficulty getting it started but mostly because of some security issues that I got taken care of pretty easily.

Once the lab started to load it brought up two separate windows.

  • The first was a manual for the lab. The manual had a general discussion on methods of doing the upgrade then walked you through testing the old server using the upgrade wizard and actually upgrading a couple of databases including making a couple of mistakes.
  • The other window was the lab itself. It had “links” to 3 different “machines”. One held the 2005 instance, another the 2012 instance, and to be honest I never needed the 3rd so I’m not sure what it was for.

 
The interface worked quite well and appeared to be full versions of SQL Server. At least when I made an unplanned mistake it reacted exactly like I would have expected it to. All in all it was a very positive experience and one I highly recommend. I look forward to trying out some of the others including the new SQL 2014 labs.


 
You can see right up front the layout is better. My initial version was two medium/long paragraphs, the new version had multiple shorter/easier to read paragraphs. Michael also took the list I had in the second paragraph and broke it out into an actual list. In addition to the layout changes he re-wrote and moved around a couple of the early sentences and made several grammer/spelling corrections throughout.

Usually he sends me a word document with change tracking on. In this particular case he didn’t so he had to tell me in the email what he had done.

Here is an excerpt from the email he sent me with the changes.

* there was one sentence I rewrote
* And I did change the order of two sentences.
* I changed wording in a few sentences and added commas.
* I made a bullet point list out of the two windows that get displayed in a lab. There’s no rule of thumb that I’m following here, it just seems to me to be a little easier on the reader’s eyes to consume a post that appears to have some sort of structure (rather than a single paragraph).
* I made contractions out of you have and you will. To match the casual style of the rest of the post.


 

Lastly here is what I do to try to make the best use of his assistance.

  • I don’t send him a rough draft. I only send something to Michael after I’ve made several passes through it on my own.
  • If I’m having a hard time getting something to sound right I might send it to him to see if he has any suggestions. Note the first point though.
  • I review the changes he suggested. I don’t just accept it all and post it. I want to know what changes were made and why.
  • And to be honest I don’t always take every suggestion. It’s my writing after all.

    Filed under: Blogging, Documentation, Microsoft SQL Server, SQLServerPedia Syndication Tagged: blogging, Documentation

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