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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Installing Software – HP Mini Netbook

I was heading out on a trip to SQLSaturday #17 recently and decided that I wanted to try and travel with only the netbook. My laptop gets heavy, this was a short trip without the need for any audio or video, so it seemed like the perfect chance to try and survive with a small machine.

However in preparation, there were a few things I wanted to bring with me.

  • SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft One Note 2007

I used SQL Server to check things and answer questions, so it’s nice to have a copy of the developer edition with me. I also use One Note extensively for my writings and with the Live Mesh synchronization I have, this works well. So I downloaded the software from MSDN and got ready to install it. Since I need SQL Server for my laptop (it has 2005 only), I decided to burn a DVD of the .iso. I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but this was the simplest for me.

I put the SQL Server 2008 DVD in my laptop, shared the drive from the networking and sharing center, and then connected from the netbook. It was very simple, with me typing “\\Qosmio\DVD” in the RUN box of the start menu. That brought up a credentials box and when I entered my account and password for the laptop, I was connected to the DVD drive. Qosmio is the name of my laptop and I had shared the DVD drive as “DVD.”

I started setup and immediately it asked to download an updated .NET framework. I ran that and then rebooted, reconnecting to the DVD when I was done. The SQL Server installation didn’t detect any warnings or issues, and I selected the database engine, tools, SSRS, SSIS, and BIDS. I started the installation and lay in bed, netbook on my chest, laptop next to me, watching TV and the installation alternately.

Let me say this was incredibly slow, and after 30 minutes, even though I was seeing slow progress, I decided not to wait any longer. I put both machines on the dresser and ignored them until the next morning. When I woke up the installation was finished and I had SQL Server running on the netbook.

After the first SSMS startup, subsequent startups took about 7 seconds, slightly slower than the desktop, but not by much. The intellisense seems to work quickly enough for me, and while my standard ALT-X for executing a query is awkward, the machine works fine. I think it would work well for demos that don’t need a lot of processing power or have a lot of rows to return.

Office 2007

I also decided to install OneNote, which is part of Office 2007. I was concerned about disk space, and was thinking to just install this one item, Following the same procedure as above with the Office DVD, I connected and ran setup. When it asked for the DVD key, I add to eject the DVD to read the key, and once it was entered, Office gave an error that it couldn’t read setup. Apparently as soon as you get the last digit in the key entered, it looks to move forward. I closed the drawer and hit “retry” and things proceeded. I checked the installation without any other products, and then with Excel and Word added back in. The disk space was negligible, maybe 200MB, so I decided to include those two products as well.

I left it running, expecting a slow install after SQL, but when I came back about 30 minutes, it was done. I fired up OneNote, pointed it to my Live Mesh One Note folder and it loaded up all my current editorials. I haven’t used Word or Excel much, but they’re there if required.

Right now I have 4.7GB free out of 15.2GB on my SSD., I was concerned about space, but most of the things I deal with are small documents, and except for databases that are < 1GB, I should be fine. I have installed on this machine:

  • SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition
  • Word 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • One Note 2007
  • Live Mesh
  • Live Writer
  • Firefox 3
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Powerpoint 2007

This is about everything I need. I also have drivers for an external USB device. Things are working well, so I’m going to mess with the device and try to get Windows 7 on it next week after the RTM is available.

Traveling Light

The trip down to Baton Rouge had me presenting a non-technical presentation. I used the external USB device from Tritton Technologies and it worked great. I connected right in and I had an image on the screen. I even edited the presentation a little the night before in my hotel, moving a couple slides around, and it worked great.

During the trip I answered email on Webmail, wrote some blog posts with Live Writer, and even edited a few things in One Note. The space savings was great, and it was fantastic to have a greater battery life. I took notes in notepad and Live Writer during sessions, and the small device worked out well on a desk and on my lap.

A successful trip, and I’m looking forward to more of them with just this small device.

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