Busy Busy Silence

It’s time for a personal message from your friendly Director-Elect-at-Large.

In about a week, I’m going to be taking on my first year of duties as a Director-at-Large of PASS. What are those duties? I’m going to be overseeing the program efforts for the 2010 PASS Summit. I’ll be working closely with an established team of volunteers to make the upcoming Summit an amazing experience for everyone.

Outside of PASS, what have I been doing?

Writing
I have been working on an essay length blog post. I want to branch into writing longer, more-focused, articles here. I love the shorter posts, but sometimes I don’t have anything to write about. Sometimes I just want to focus my creative energy toward something that requires more effort from me. These longer articles give me a chance to be a bit more creative and exercise my creative powers.

It’s also nice to get back to one of my passions: writing. Long before I went to college, I had a passion for writing and a passion for the sciences. When I went to college I majored in English with a concentration in Non-Fiction Writing. My original goal was to go into technical writing. That didn’t happen. I had to feed myself, so I got a “real job.” It’s nearly ten years later and I’m confident in my knowledge and ideas and writing abilities. It’s time to start writing longer pieces.

Working
For those of you how might not know, my client hired me on in November. They made me an offer a few days before I left to go to the PASS Summit and I accepted. This has been a big change for me. For the first time in 5 years I’m not a consultant – I am now responsible for the longevity of our data. With that added responsibility, I’m now the key decision maker for our databases (barring the budget, of course). In addition to my move onto the PASS Board and becoming a strategic thinker, I have to wear both tactical and strategic hats at work. It has been an interesting change and I’ve been fortifying the shop so I can do enjoyable things moving forward instead of plugging holes.

Working… for myself
I’ve been working on several side projects. There’s very little to report. One of the projects is a loose idea that will be hashed out over the next year and will hopefully become something great. Watch this space for more. I should be able to announce another one in a few weeks. And, the third one…

Well, I’ve jumped headfirst into the world of software development, again. My friend, Matt Nowack, and I (with some help from Brent Ozar) have been collaborating for the last two weeks on a project. There’s not a lot to talk about, yet. But the change in technology stack has been interesting. Rather than use a Microsoft stack, we’re using Ruby on Rails, a pair of Macs, TextMate,SQLite, and github to work together on this project. It’s been a fun experience getting back into development and considering a different set of problems from the day to day issues of a DBA. What has really amazed me, though, is how well all of these different tools have come together so nicely to make our development experience painless.

Restores
As an aside, I had the primary HDD in my laptop die not once, but twice, in the last few days. The first time it threw an error during a routine drive check that OS X thankfully performs. I had backups, so I booted the machine from the install DVD, plugged in my backup drive, and did a full restore with a low-level format. within 48 hours, the machine wasn’t booting and Seagate’s tools were reporting massive disk errors. Seagate’s tools also let me put in an RMA request through the tool itself and I have been informed that my new drive should be shipping soon. Meanwhile, I went down to a local computer emporium and purchased a new HDD. I threw it in the laptop (unformatted) and fired up the laptop with the install DVD in the drive once again. Within three hours I was up and running with a working copy of my laptop. I have never doubted the need to take regular, reliable, backups. After the events of the last several days, I am doubly convinced. Without backups, I would still be installing software right now.

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