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Have a Think

This editorial was originally published on 1 Oct 2015. It is being re-run as Steve is traveling to SQL in the City.

I'm used to working at a chaotic pace. I have lots of diverse projects and deliverables that constantly force me to change my focus. I have short term and long term projects. I work with diverse technologies. My workload is a mix of development and administrative tasks. It's a hectic schedule that gets worse when I travel since SQLServerCentral must continue to run.

Years ago I was struggling with daily deliverables, the bimonthly SQL Server Standard magazine, and a couple book projects a year. It was maddening, especially when my business partners also wanted me to experiment with ways to grow our business. I wondered, how would I ever find time to dream up new ideas or implement a proof of concept.

Andy Warren helped me slow down by scheduling "thinking time." He told me it was important, and he had to make some at his job. Carve out an hour once a week or so and just spend time thinking about a project. Don't do; just think.

I have kept that advice in mind over the years, and I try to take some time to just think about the tasks I need to accomplish. I don't worry about actually getting anything done, but instead try to just think about the best way to move forward. I don't always succeed, but I continue to try to make time and just think.

Whether you run a business or just write code for one, I think the art of stopping and thinking is a bit lost. So few of us actually stop to spend some time planning. Instead we're very quick to start writing code or trying out a configuration change. While I am a proponent of experimenting, I still think it's worth taking a few minutes and just consider different ways to experiment. Often we can choose better experiments if we have a plan.

Try it this week. Take ten or fifteen minutes and think about the next task rather than diving right in. You might find it to be a more valuable tool than just experimenting.

Steve Jones - SSC Editor

Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums

Redgate Database Devops
  Featured Contents

Fixing MLS Python Services to Load the Runtime

Emmitt Albright from SQLServerCentral

Recently I went to work on a SQL Server 2017 instance and couldn't get the Python runtime to load. I'd keep getting this error: A strange error for me to see, and one that didn't quite make sense. How can the runtime not launch? However, restarting the instance still resulted in this error: Msg 39021, […]

SQL and Scope

Additional Articles from SimpleTalk

Understanding scoping rules is a basic skill for developers. In this article, Joe Celko gives a bit of the history of scoping in early programming languages and shows how scoping applies to SQL queries as well.

Where SQL Server monitoring fits into your tech stack

Additional Articles from Redgate

This article explains the basic components of a tech stack, and the decisions and requirements that affect how and where monitoring tools generally, and a specialist SQL Server monitoring tool like SQL Monitor, in particular, fit into your stack.

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Get the Governance Data You Need Out of Your Power BI Gateways with PowerShell

Aaron Nelson from SQLvariant

OK, before anyone yells at me: Yes, I know the On-Premises Data Gateways are now part of Power Platform, not just Power BI. I learned how to do everything...

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Are Stored Procedures Faster Than Stand-Alone Queries?

Bert Wagner from Bert Wagner

Watch this week’s episode on YouTube. A few months ago I was presenting for a user group when someone asked the following question: Does a query embedded in a...


  Question of the Day

Today's question (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor):


The Real REAL

What is the equivalent of the REAL datatype?

Think you know the answer? Click here, and find out if you are right.



  Yesterday's Question of the Day (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor)

Fun with Arrays

I run this code to create a few arrays in my Python REPL.

>>> a = [1,2,3]
>>> b = [4,5,6]
>>> a
[1, 2, 3]
>>> b
[4, 5, 6]
>>> c = [7,8,9]
>>> d = [a,b,c]
>>> d
[[1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6], [7, 8, 9]]

Now I run this code:

>>> d[0][2] = 10
>>> d
[[1, 2, 10], [4, 5, 6], [7, 8, 9]]

When I now type "a" to see its value, what is returned?

Answer: [1, 2, 10]

Explanation: Since d was set to point to the arrays represented by a, b, and c, a change to d is reflected in those arrays. In this case, the change is to a, and it now has the same values that d shows, [1,2,10]. Since Python is 0 based, the 2nd element was the 3 and is now a 10. Ref: Python arrays -

Discuss this question and answer on the forums




Database Pros Who Need Your Help

Here's a few of the new posts today on the forums. To see more, visit the forums.

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SQL profiler - Is SQL profile being deprecated and extended events should be used instead?   Also, has anyone heard that there is more of a concern around Statistics rather than fragmentation ?
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SQL Server 2017 - Development
Most frequently used text in column - I would like to update a field (yearclass) for each row with the most common text in payclass for each grower, block, section and year combination. In the case where there are equal amounts of payclass, weight should be used to determine yearclass. Highest sum of weight wins. I have tried many queries of which […]
Insert into OPENDATASOURCE with Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.16.0 provider - failed - Hi all, we export data into Excel file from SQL Server 2017 with a simple command (a part of a stored procedure): The command looks like: INSERT INTO OPENDATASOURCE('Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.16.0', 'Excel8.0;HDR=YES;IMEX=1;Database=\\some_folder\excel1.xls')...Sheet1     SELECT * FROM table1 It works fine. But only if just one export is processing at the same time. If more exports are […]
Removing a double space in the middle of a name - Suppose I had a list of names and one of the names was Kathy  Harrison.  Notice the double space after the first name.  In Excel there is a function called TRIM which could remove extraneous spaces.  I am trying to find something like that in SQL.  As far as I know, in SQL, TRIM is […]
SQL Server 2016 - Administration
SQL Server security after deleting AD group - I currently have a scenario where an AD group that was defined as a SQL login with particular permissions got deleted from AD but not from SQL. So: domaina\groupb - no longer exists as an AD group but still exists as a SQL login It seems that members of the deleted group still have SQL […]
Very large t-log with backups - I have a database that's 125GB, but the t-log is 190GB.  I do full backups each day and t-log backups every 15 minutes.  I've verified the log backups have been successful for the past week.  Generally when I see a large log like this it is because backups are failing.  The log isn't growing out […]
SQL Server 2016 - Development and T-SQL
Exporting very large Data to an XML file from SQL Server - I have a query that creates an xml file but I'm getting errors because the XML is too large. I've already set the Results To Grid Property XML Data to unlimited but I'm still getting the error.
Administration - SQL Server 2014
Always on - huge set of inserts and updates - Hi everyone, I need some advice please on how best to do something. We have a database which is 1TB in size, its part of a SQL 2014 Always On AG (synchronise sync). We have to do a very large data change, initial estimates are from testing it will take around 15 hours. Optimisation has […]
Development - SQL Server 2014
NOOB question with Case statement - hi here i am again with a noob question again: i'm trying to do this: case  when columnA <> 0 then columnB = 1 else columnB end but it return error. i used case statment before but im the same column, is it possible to use in multiple column with the argument based on one […]
SQL 2012 - General
service pack Question - Hi, I updated our SQL ser5ver from Sp2 to SP 4 today, and it says it was a success. However when I run say: I get Sp 2 So did I get the update or not if not what can I do? Thank you SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion'), SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel'), SERVERPROPERTY ('edition')
SQL Server 2012 - T-SQL
join with GEOMETRY data type - I want to perform something like....   SELECT * FROM a JOIN b ON a.geometryField  = b.geometryField OR SELECT * FROM a JOIN b ON a.geometryField.  STEquals(b.geometryField ) OR SELECT geometryField FROM a WHERE geometryField  IN (SELECT geometryField FROM b )   You get the gist.  None of the above work.  I know I need […]
Need help query for current row and previous row - Hye, I've table and data as following, CREATE TABLE [dbo].[WeightStory]( [Idx] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL, [WeightDte] [datetime] NULL, [WhatWeight] [decimal](18, 3) NULL, CONSTRAINT [PK_WeightStory] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED ( [Idx] ASC )WITH (PAD_INDEX = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS = ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS = ON) ON [PRIMARY] ) ON [PRIMARY] GO SET IDENTITY_INSERT [dbo].[WeightStory] […]
Reporting Services
Failed Executions - Curious what everyone else is doing... I've always had a daily report showing me report subscriptions that failed.  I've had a task to better monitor all report interactions (subscriptions, cache refresh and interactive) sitting in my queue, but I put it off because of other higher priority tasks.  Right now I'm in the process of […]


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