SQL Server with Mr. Denny

February 18, 2010  11:00 AM

Why I don’t buy big name laptops any more

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

There are tons laptops out there which you can buy.  HP and Dell are the biggest sellers in laptops these days.  However for the last couple of laptops that I’ve purchased I’ve stayed away from the major brands.

My last laptop was an Acer Aspire 5610, and my new laptop is an Asus UL50AG.

My Acer laptop was a tank.  Hell my wife accidentally ran it over with a car, and the only problem the laptop had was that the screen was cracked.  I was able to plug in a monitor and copy all the data off of it over the couple of days after that without issue.  The monitor was replaced thanks to Best Buy’s Accidental Damage replacement policy.

But with a new year comes new toys, and it was time for an upgrade to a 64bit machine since the Acer only had a 32bit processor.

The Asus is a total new direction for me. This time I went with an ultra-light laptop.  It weighs in at just 4.2 lbs and is 1″ thick and I’ve seen it run for 5 hours on a single charge.  But there is a heck of a lot of performance in this little package.  It comes with 4 Gigs of RAM which I’ve already upgraded to 6 Gigs, and I’ll be going to 8 Gigs later on.  It has a 64bit processor, and I’ve got the 64bit version of Windows 7 installed along with 64bit Office 2010, SQL Server 2008, VPN software, all the Twitter and IM software that one could ever want.  I’ve got Windows Live Sync, Carbonite, Interguard and Laptop Cop (Interguard and Laptop Cop are my companies products so they are installed for testing purposes, so I usually have beta versions of them installed) all running in the background.

Now since there isn’t actually anything wrong with the Acer and the Asus has a slower processor in it (it has a 1.4 Ghz Centrino 2), I’ve re-purposed the Acer as a portable VMware server.  It has been reformatted with Ubuntu on it and has VMware Server installed on it and it is now my portable data VMware machine so that I can do demo’s, presentations, etc without slowing down my new laptop.  I tried putting VMware ESX 3.5 on it but it couldn’t find the NIC, and Hyper-V 2.0 only support x64.

Depending on how things look next year, and depending on how much use the VMware laptop gets (having the two laptops did give me an excuse to buy a new laptop bag) I may buy a new laptop next year just to be a VMware laptop (this gives me a free try run at it).  My hope there will be that I can put vSphere (or Hyper-V, but I’d prefer vSphere since I know that better) on it so that I don’t have to run Windows then run the VMs inside of that.  Running it under vSphere would also give me the ability to start and stop the VMs from my main laptop without needing to log into the VMware machine’s console, as I already have all the vSphere tools installed thanks to my normal job.  It is going to be tough getting the guys at Best Buy to let me drop in the vSphere DVD to see if installer can find the NIC and hard drive of their machines.  If anyone has gotten ESX or vSphere to run on a laptop please let me know what model in the comments (or via Twitter if you don’t have an account here and don’t want to create one).

But I’ve veered off topic here.

I moved away from the big laptop companies for a couple reasons.

1. Cost: The name brand laptops are expensive.

2. Finding drivers: Like all good geeks I like to format my laptop and get rid of the crap the vendor installs since I know what I want better than they do.  Getting all the drivers from HP and Dell can be a pain.  Acer didn’t make it all that easy, but Asus included 2 DVDs with the laptop. The first the was the restore DVD to make the laptop all factory fresh, and the second was the driver and utility install disk which had all the drivers and extra software. I just checked the boxes for what I wanted installed and click install.  It rebooted a few times during the process, but installed everything automatically.

I know that in the past the non-big brand laptops where not up to par with the big name laptops.  However I can say without a doubt that these Acer and Asus laptops are up to just about any job that you give them (or at least that I’ve given them so far).

Now my last laptop was an HP, and it was kind of a crappy laptop.  When I bought it it was a brand new laptop, and I ended up with one of the first ones off the assembly line.  It was a 17″ desktop replacement laptop and weight in at like 100 lbs or so (probably only 10 or so, but it was still insanely heavy).  The laptop used so much power that it would only run for like 30 minutes on its battery, and when the CPU was running at full speed it would actually use more power than the power supply could output and the battery would actually drain while plugged in.  This was pretty much the last straw for the big name laptops for me.  Especially with how happy I’ve been with the smaller companies laptops recently.

Now if Acus or Acer (or anyone else for that matter) has a laptop that they’d like me to put through the passes let me know.  So far I’m only able to review the equipment that I buy, and I’m not exactly made of money.


February 15, 2010  11:00 AM

Dealing with a digital “chicken or the egg” situation.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Recently I had the opportunity to upgrade my computer desktop from 2 Gigs of RAM to 8 Gigs of RAM.  This required that I reinstall Windows 7 to replace by 32bit OS with a 64bit OS.

This presented me with a problem as I work from home full time and I have to VPN in.  You see we use a Cisco VPN router as our VPN server so I can’t use the standard Windows VPN client which allows you to VPN in from the login screen.  You have to log into Windows before you can start the VPN client.

So I could login to my computer with a local account, VPN in, then add my computer to the domain.  But when it becomes time to login with my domain account.  I can try and login with my domain account but I can’t access the domain.  I can login with my local account and start a VPN tunnel, but if I log out then the VPN tunnel will be closed, preventing me from logging in with my domain account.

The solution that I came up with was to login with my local account which was created when my Windows 7 was installed.  I then granted my domain account admin rights to my workstation (so that I can install software).  I then remote desktoped into the workstation from my laptop and logged in with my domain credentials.  This triggered by local account to log out, but not before the domain account was authenticated.  I then rebooted my desktop and was able to log into my newly formatted desktop using my cached domain credentials.

Windows then built my new profile just like it normally would.  After the desktop appeared I was able to VPN back into the office and begin installing the needed software.


February 11, 2010  11:00 AM

Do what you love, love what you do, or let someone who does, do.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Coming up soon the next group of college students will be graduating from school which means the annual “how do I get a job which pays a lot of money” job posting will being showing up shortly.

The best way to get a good paying job is to pick a field which you like working in.  If you can be passionate about the field you work in, and the work that you do you’ll do well in it and you’ll end up making a good amount of money. Continued »

February 8, 2010  11:00 AM

Using XMLNAMESPACES within a function

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Recently one of my developers asked me to begin returning data from a function as XML instead of a comma separated list.  My thoughts on this was awesome, another cursor getting removed from the system.  I’ll write a quick FOR XML AUTO, ROOT(‘root’) at the bottom of the SELECT statement being used to generate the cursor and I’ll be done.  Right?  Wrong!

Continued »

February 4, 2010  11:00 AM

It happens to be my birthday!

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Today happens to be my Birthday and a regular blog posting day.  What are the odds…

Actually about 1 in 7 or so, but anyway go have some cake for me.


February 2, 2010  11:00 AM

Taking backups is good, but testing them is better.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

I bet that if asked when the last time the database backup was taken and if it succeeded you would know off of the top of your head when that was.  But if I asked you when the last time your database was restored successfully would you know?

Continued »

February 1, 2010  6:59 PM

January 2010 #SoCalCode links are fixed.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

If you tried to download the slide decks from last weekends SoCal Code Camp this morning the links where broken.  I’ve fixed (and tested) all three links and they are all working now.



February 1, 2010  11:00 AM

January 2010 #SoCalCodeCamp Slide Decks

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

As I promised to everyone who attended my SoCal Code Camp sessions here are the slide decks and the sample code that I used during my presentations.

Back To Basics; Getting Back To The Basics of SQL Server

SQL Server Service Broker in the Real World

SQL Service Broker Advanced Performance Tips & Tricks



January 28, 2010  11:00 AM

#SoCalCodeCamp is comming up quickly.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

It’s that time again, it’s time for another SoCal Code Camp. I know, you are thinking, it’s already Code Camp time again?  Didn’t we just have one a few months ago?

The answer to both questions is yes.  We did just have one, but it is time for another one.  The Fullerton Code Camp (this weekend) is on a pretty fixed schedule, it is the weekend before the Super Bowl.  The LA Code Camp which we had a couple of months ago tries to follow a local Microsoft Event which leaves the scheduling to the people at Microsoft.

But all that doesn’t really matter because this weekend, rain or shine (so far weather.com says shine), we are having another Code Camp.

I’ll be presenting 4 sessions this time.

On Saturday I’ll be presenting:

Back To Basics; Getting Back To The Basics of SQL Server Part 1

Back To Basics; Getting Back To The Basics of SQL Server Part 2

SQL Service Broker Advanced Performance Tips and Tricks

On Sunday I’ll be presenting:

Using the SQL Server Service Broker in the Real World

I’ll post the slide decks the Monday after (or you can dig through my blog and find the older versions of them).

See you there,


January 25, 2010  11:00 AM

WordPress must die…

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

There was going to be a kick ass post on using your resources on forums, blogs, twitter, etc to help you solve those really weird SQL Server problems online, but WordPress decided to barf when saving it, and it didn’t save a draft of it either, even though it was up on my screen for like 2 days and I swear to god I hit save at least once or twice.

So instead you get me ranting about WordPress as I just don’t have the energy to rewrite it at the moment.

It was going to be really cool with a link to Jonathan’s post about Diskeeper hosing this production SQL Servers.  I’ll try and rewrite it in the future.


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