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Auckland, New Zealand
Smurf sized geeky person with a penchant for IT, gaming, music and books. Half of industrial duo 'the craze jones'. Loves data, learning new things, teaching new things and being enthusiastic.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Effective Indexes for Beginners

I've created a presentation for the August SQL User Group which is about using 'sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats' DMV in order to evaluate your index usage.

The presentation and code sample is available to download on the right.

FriendFace

Seems the IT Crowd hit the nail on the head with FriendFace. FaceBook are buying a company called FriendFeed, guess FriendFace is a better name than FaceFeed. :)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge

In a fit of insanity I signed up to do a 40km leg of the Lake Taupo cycle challenge, oh dear.

Those who know me will understand the issue here. I'm short, fat, unfit, have a knee full of titanium bolts and haven't ridden a bike for 3 years. Being side-swiped by a bus passing too close was the final straw after being knocked off by three cars prior to that, and let's not forget car drivers who can't wait 2 seconds to turn left and turn across the front of you, or morons who fling car doors open without looking to see if anyone is coming. They don't just knock you off in Auckland, to add insult to injury they get out of their cars and scream abuse at you for being on the road in the first place, one car driver swerved into a cycle lane to knock me off and then yelled at me for being in the middle of the road - thank goodness for a fast police response and other car drivers with a modicum of sense who gave statements verifying the guy was a nutter. Anyway, all these deranged drivers who see cyclists as a target proved to be a bit much for someone from a country where drivers are courteous to cyclists and give you plenty of room, so I stopped cycling before one of the deranged morons killed me.

I've become a very, very nervous cyclist. The thought of riding in rush hour traffic every day is somewhat daunting. The thought of pack riding on a road that hasn't been closed to traffic, in a cycle rice, is also somewhat terror inducing.

So as of tomorrow morning I start cycling to work again. I'm already nervous and planning a route to work that involves as little traffic as possible. I may also install a 3 foot steel spike on the side of my bike to force the deranged nutters to go round me.

Wonder if anyone will notice if I put a small motor on the rear wheel to help with hill climbing? That could possibly be construed as cheating though.

Friday, 7 August 2009

The Whatsit?

I've just been to the launch meeting for The Whatsit? which is a free online cybersafety resource for SMEs.

The Whatsit? has been created by NetSafe after research into cybersafety and security processes/practices of SMEs in NZ were shown to be somewhat inadequate.

This new tool helps SMEs to create a cybersafety policy quickly and easily using multichoice options in a web-based application. It looks pretty useful and will make implementing a policy much quicker for business owners with little time.

Check out www.thewhatsit.org.nz for more information.

The speakers got me thinking though. It seems that NZ businesses are not catching on to the idea of cloud computing, the speakers were talking about such horrors as staff using gmail, hotmail or instant messaging whilst at work. With more companies moving their email services (amongst other things) out to the cloud, the distinction between work/personal email could become somewhat blurred. And instant messaging is a great tool if only people could look past the social side of it and instead imagine business uses for it. If all a business does is check the site addresses that staff visit, then how will they know if webmail or instant messaging is for work or personal use? They don't.

I think NZ businesses need to start thinking outside of the "we must stop our staff doing anything other than work" mindset. We can have our hotmail open and still be working; We can have Skype open and still be working - I've successfully used Skype for pair programming. These tools and websites that management seem so afraid of are already being successfully used by people to help them in their work. Some businesses have a knee-jerk reaction to the Internet and assume that if staff have access all they will do all day is send emails and surf the web.

There's nothing wrong with surfing the web or checking your email as long as you still get your work done, perhaps people need to start looking at productivity levels instead of hours worked. For example, Joe Bloggs is at work for 8 hours, he works flat out at his best speed for 7.5 hours and he gets 10 things completed. Annie Bloggs is also at work, but only for 7 hours, she works flat out at her best speed for 6 hours, spends an hour or so checking stuff out online, but gets 15 things completed, however, according to most business managers, she's the bad guy here. If a person has completed all their work, why expect them to sit there doing nothing. All that happens in that situation is that staff will work more slowly, I'm pretty sure research has been done in this area, whereby staff will achieve the same amount of productivity per day regardless of how many hours they are at work. You must have experienced this yourself when you've had a half day holiday booked and yet you still manage to achieve all your work in the 5 hours you're there in the morning. Why not let staff go home if they've finished all their daily tasks, or let them surf the web in 10-15 minute intervals throughout the day? Who does it harm? No-one!

Anyway, that's my twopennethworth.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Defrag Your Indexes Script - Version 1.1

As it's getting kinda large now, version 1.1. of the script is attached as a link on the right. Constructive comments/suggestions welcomed. Also, let me know if it's useful for you. :)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Auckland CC Rates - Ouch

Apparently this year you can get help with your Auckland City Council rates if your household earns less than $30k per annum. I doubt that anyone could even buy a shared equity house in Auckland with a household income < $30k, let alone an entire house, so who on earth are Auckland CC targetting their largese at? Certainly not the homeowners in Auckland who received their bills today with 3 weeks notice to find $300 or else get a penalty fee.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Speakers/topics for GGD Auckland event on 27/8

Myles Matheson from Microsoft will be presenting "Demystifying Business Intelligence" and Carolyn Sanders from Fronde Systems Group will be presenting "Scrum 101 - Unleashing the theory!".

Tickets are $35, price includes dinner and a glass of wine. Tickets available from www.girlgeekdinners.co.nz.

DEMYSTIFYING BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

BI is real hot right now, but I often find myself in situations where I have to try and explain Business Intelligence (BI). It’s not that easy to define BI in a universal definition that everyone agrees with. BI is as much a collection of technologies and principles as anything else.

My talk will be about how companies use BI and what it means to the IT professional. I will take you through the first principles of BI. The who, why, and how we deliver BI systems today. We will also look at an end to end solution that many businesses already own.

Myles is a Solution Specialist for Microsoft New Zealand. He has worked in the field of data warehousing and business intelligence for the last 11 years both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He has focused on the delivery of business intelligence projects, project management, the training of staff in business intelligence, and the development of the data delivery methodologies.

Myles has a wide experience of Business Intelligence technologies that are currently deployed in the market place. Myles has been involved with design, development and support of business intelligence systems using Microsoft technologies.

Myles regularly speaks at Microsoft events such as Tech ED demonstrating the SQL Server platform.


SCRUM 101 - UNLEASHING THE THEORY!

The core of the practice of Agile is the delivery of individual projects; it's where most practitioners start out, and it fundamentally changes the way a project team works together and works with their stakeholders.

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile delivery approaches at the moment. In this presentation, Carolyn Sanders uses one of her recent projects as a way to illustrate each facet of Scrum and how it panned out in real life, from start to finish.

This talk is directed at developers, testers, project managers, PMO managers and CIOs - who are relatively new to Scrum and want to explore the practical detail at the day-to-day level of a single project.

The session will end with a Q&A to allow you to explore how Scrum integrates with other parts of the practice of Agile, or dig deeper into how it worked for one team.

Carolyn Sanders is an experienced project manager and Principal Consultant at Fronde Systems Group, with a focus on project management and Agile. Carolyn learned BASIC in 1983, sparking a lifelong fascination with computers and software. After university she worked for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in NZ and Australia, on software development and business change projects. She joined Fronde Systems Group in 2002 as a project manager, gaining PMP certification in 2004.

A certified Agile Project Management professional and trainer, and ScrumMaster, she is Fronde's Agile practice lead, a working party member of the Agile Professionals Network, and a specialist in helping clients implement Agile approaches and manage Agile projects. She also blogs, facilitates, teaches and speaks on Agile and project management in a variety of forums.

Auckland GGD event - August 2009

The next Auckland Girl Geek Dinner event is on Thursday 27th August. We're holding it at GPK in Ponsonby.

Tickets are $35.

We have two speakers for August, Carolyn Sanders and Myles Matheson. More info and ticket purchasing on the website www.girlgeekdinners.co.nz.