SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – March 2012 Action

A bit late on the post, but the March meeting memories are fresh as the dawn. It’s quite interesting to see the latest change of, effort and thought, incorporated to bring something new at every meeting. So this month’s blazing new category introduced was the “Lightning Talks“. Following was the roller coaster ride, planned for the evening.

  • Anything – SQL Lightning Talks
  • SQL Server 2012 – What’s New by Dinesh Asanka (MVP)
  • Tips on boosting your career

Ever heard of lightning not striking the same place twice? Well if you were present at the SS SLUG meeting, you would’ve seen it strike not once, not twice, but five times consecutively, at the same place and no casualties reported. The strikers were given a 2 minutes each to share their knowledge on anything related to SQL. The first striker was, Gogula Aryalingam (MVP) on the topic, My Data Mart is Better than Your Data Warehouse. The presentation was compact, concise and hit the nail. Following him was Shiham Samsudeen on Try… Catch…T-SQL Style. A simple topic, explained with easy to understand code snippets. Next was about Data Compression by Sudesh Wijayathilaka. It was a topic that would’ve been ideal for an individual session as it covered a vast area. But he tried his best to put out the basics related to the topic. Supun Thrikawala spoke of Table Variables, The good and the bad. He presented a comparison between Temp variables vs Table variables. The final striker for the lightning session was Avantha Siriwardana who spoke on SQL Server Standards. He explained on why the protocols were presented and why people should consider using them. The change was interesting and there could have been more interesting tit bits covered in the lightning talks by some more speakers.

Dinesh Asanka (MVP) took over the stage, to introduce the new features available with the new release of SQL Server 2012. Though the intention was to give a mere theoretical heads up on the new goodies, but the hype created by the attendees required a few demos and gave birth to the idea of explaining those features in individual sessions.

The next session was personally, the cream of the crop for me. It was something I was looking forward to as a university undergraduate and which I actually found quite handy. And yes, it was also more than just tips. The four maestros of SS SLUG, in no particular order, Preethiviraj Kulasingham, Dinesh Asanka, Dinesh Priyankara and Gogula Aryalingam shed some light to those of interest. It kicked off with stories directly from their bags, in order to show that, what matters is the start and the dedication you are willing to put, even if you were to start from ground zero. There was a brief up on certifications offered by Microsoft for those who are interested in building a career along the SQL route. Preethiviraj Kulasingham, mentioned four areas of focus if you really wanted to venture in this path.

The third one is at its pinnacle while the latter is an emerging field. Likewise, there were some advice on Do’s and Don’ts and what was expected from an interviewer’s perspective of both experienced and fresh graduates. What grabbed my attention was, how passionate each of them sounded with regard to the knowledge and skills required. Generally, the gamble of dollars comes to mind as you start off with career guidance tips, but this was different. It didn’t occur to anyone till the very end. For once, the emphasis was on knowledge, skill and passion.

April meeting, let’s see what they’ve rolled up in their sleeves.

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Microsoft, Windows

Windows 8 Consumer Preview : Starter, Main Course and Dessert

Almost a week since Windows 8 Consumer Preview was out and I got my hands on it today. Heads up on the post, for the Windows fans: it ain’t gonna be “Microsoft Friendly” and for the rest of the crowd: nor is it gonna be “Anti-Microsft”. And no, it’s not on the fence either 😉

Starter, Installation Process.

The entire process took a fine 40 minute ride. I installed Windows 8 in my virtual machine. What I expected was a normal wizard that would let me select the options and keep on clicking Next and Tada! it would boot the new OS. And I wish life was that easy or rather Windows 8 was that easy. As the process begun, this is where I got stuck,

Product Key

If anyone is wondering, why I spent a long time with the installation, this is one reason. Because I had to seek Google’s help for this. I don’t understand the importance of this step for a Consumer Preview version and if it is important, it should have been mentioned in the official site (providing the key). Next, time minting process was creating an entire New Windows Live ID to be used as the login credentials. There was no option to use the existing IDs. Hopefully, it will be accommodated in the final release.

Lifting the veil off, this is what I got.

Windows 8 Home ScreenMain CourseCritical Analysis. Things that I like are, I completely love the metro style and the entire look of it. The categorization of the tiles and easy access to different apps comes very handy. Concise, it is an improvement of a mobile OS made available to tablets and desktops. But is it really User Friendly, when it comes to desktops? That’s an evident concern. When we are talking of business on the go with mobile phones and tablets, then Windows 8 is most definitely one of the best options available. But when you scale it down to the desktop usage of it, unless you’ve been bitten by the tech bug, a conventional user might be taken back.

For instance, though I like the look and feel of it, initially I was wondering around with the basic functions pertaining to a program. Like, how can I close this window? Where do I click when the buttons are overlapping? How can I see the programs that are open? With regard to Internet Explorer, how do I go Back? (And yes, I tried it out without checking out the Demo Video) For a second it even struck me, whether they were planning to promote keyboard shortcuts. And when these functions cannot be executed fast, that could burn time as well as few blood cells. Looking at the Consumer Preview version, Windows 8 needs a lot of things to be fixed/changed, bearing in mind the users who will be solely depending on their desktops. Because unlike the touch devices, getting your way around and executing your normal tasks can be bit cumbersome. But if you are using both the tab and the desktop, this would not be a problem as you would have a knowledge of how things work and it’s just a matter of moving from touch to non-touch.

Going further down, what’s the difference in the core functionality of Windows 8? It is said that there’s enhanced performance and improved boot time (approximately 8 seconds). Performance, so far seems good but couldn’t see a significant difference compared to Windows 7. Boot time, yes it’s reduced. On one hand I’m glad that Microsoft had brought a significant enhancement with regard to the kernel and I wish they experimented more and introduced more changes other than just adorning the same old features without considering a change to the kernel.

DessertMy Conclusion. From a personal viewpoint, would I choose Windows 8 for my mobile or tablet? Yes, one because it is tailor made for it and two, it is indeed good. Would I choose Windows 8 for my desktop? YES! With a bit of a mumbling for few days, I would most definitely conquer it!