Thursday, October 31, 2013

ROWID equivalent in Microsoft SQL*Server

The last few months I've been having to work with Microsoft SQL*Server 2008 R2 for a project I'm on.  I'm not finding it fun for a variety of reasons, including that it doesn't seem as capable as I recall Oracle being and that the source data I'm having to work with is very, very dirty.

One of the complicating factors is often there will be exactly, or almost exactly, duplicate rows when each row should be unique.  Obviously I need to have something to uniquely identify the rows for the delete so looked for an equivalent of ROWID (the pseudo-column in Oracle that uniquely identifies a row).  I found a page that talks about this.  The pseudo column is %%physloc%%.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tablet PCs - Why so pricey?

Is touch screen really expensive to do or something. I've been tossing around the idea of getting a tablet PC to stick OneNote on to use for note taking, reading documents and some web surfing (including Gmail) via WiFi. I'm having to attend a lot of meetings/briefings where the ability to take notes and link them to documents and web pages would be incredibly useful.

Looking around the web the options seem to be:

  • iPad, around the £500-900 mark but won't multitask or run OneNote and from what I've heard from all but the most ardent Apple worshipper is basically crap (iPhone without the ability to make calls)

  • Tiny and low spec (more of a PDA than PC) around the £400-700 mark

  • Equivalent spec to a, non-touchscreen, laptop that currently retails for about £300-450 but costing £1500-2100

I think I'm stick with pencil and paper with printouts of docs I want to read for now.

In terms of specification what I'm looking for is:
  • 10-12 inch screen

  • Run OneNote 2007, Acrobat reader and Firefox at the same time with reasonable performance from both

  • WiFi

  • At least 64Gb available local storage after all system/application requirements are fulfilled

  • Support for external USB keyboard and mouse

  • At least 3 USB ports (2 for keyboard and mouse plus one for memory stick)

  • Price point under £500

  • Handwriting recognition

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Oracle aims to secure future of Sparc, Solaris and Sun hardware

Interesting article on about how Oracle are looking to secure the future of Sparc, Solaris and Sun Hardware. They don't mention it but I wouldn't be surprised if we see 'Database as an Appliance' coming soon with Oracle Database running on Sun Hardware with management taken out of the hands of the local DBA and automated or made accessible only to Oracle themselves. This isn't a 'Death of the DBA' thing, the sort of sites that could go for something like that are probably the ones that don't have a DBA, just a support tech who has a couple of books, the sort of sites that probably run M$ SQLServer now.

One thing they mention, as an aside, is that Oracle plan to to position it as a competitor to Microsoft Office. If they want to do that then I think the thing they really need to introduce to the suite is a desktop RDBMS to beat Access. Ideally something that can also act as a front end to Oracle with a tool that will let you take a desktop database and export it to a full blown Oracle server then use the existing database (or copy thereof) as the front end. A similar process already exists for Access and SQLServer. This might look like a competitor for their development tools arm but then there are already plenty of competitive development tools from other vendors (including Access from Microsoft) in that market.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle to buy Sun

Oracle announced today that they will be buying Sun Microsystems. Their plan is to produce 'pre-integrated' systems where everything from the bare metal, silicon and spinning rust up to the application front end is from themselves. The idea is that customers will save money on systems integration costs but reliability will go up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

Apparently today is Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace (aka Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace) is widely recognised as the first computer programmer. The daughter of Lord Byron, she was encouraged away from her father's dissolute lifestyle by her mother, who encouraged her interest in mathematics. Ada excelled at mathematics and became a friend for Charles Babbage.

When Babbage created his Difference Engine, the first programmable computer, Ada wrote out the method to configure it to calculate Bernoulli numbers. Hence her appellation as the first computer programmer.

Ada Lovelace day was created by Suw Charman-Anderson as a way to promote women in IT.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Blog - Stephen's SAP Blog

As I'm now beginning to work on SAP I've started a blog about it, mostly just somewhere to make notes about interesting/useful things I come across. If it also helps anyone else then great but if it doesn't then no worries.

One of the things I have noticed, comparing Oracle with SAP, is that whilst for Oracle you can find online free resources at pretty much any level (both official Oracle sites and individual sites and blogs) in SAP there seems to be loads of 'salesy' type sites telling you how wonderful SAP is and how it will revolutionise the way you do business (presumably for the better) and some very in depth technical sites (mostly forums), where you're sunk if you can't get in an manually edit the data and code, there's nothing anywhere in between. There certainly don't seem to be any how-tos, any pages that seem to be telling you howto when they come up in Google searches are actually saying "If you want to find out how to sign up for our course and pay us a lot of money." Of community there seems to be little, aside from the aforementioned bit twiddler forums.

I admit I'm a bit Leonard of Quirm when it comes to blog names.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Old tech you'd like to see updated and rereleased

Note an Oracle post, but I know a lot of DBAs and into tech as well.

Yesterday I found my old Psion3 mx (which I used before having to switch to Palm handhelds due to work). I had a play and was reminded why I liked it so much. The key advantage it had, and still has over many more modern devices, is the size. It's small enough to fit in a suit jacket or coat pocket whilst being large enough to have a keyboard you can actually type on and a decent screen size. It also has a decent battery life and, as it runs off a couple of AA batteries, you don't have to worry to much if you're going to be away from the mains for a while. The Psion 5 (that superceded the 3 in 1998) had a larger and slightly more usable keyboard and screen but the size (about that of the Eee PC) meant that it couldn't fit in a pocket so reduced it's utility.

I then got to thinking, how would I improve the Psion3 taking account of the changes of the 10 years since it went out of production?

Here's what I think:

  • Stick with the same basic form of the Psion3mx, same size screen and keyboard.
  • More memory and storage, at least 8GB storage.
  • Increase screen resolution and go full colour.
  • Add graphical viewer (with zoom and pan/scan) and MP3 player/recorder.
  • Add headphone and microphone sockets using standard 3.5mm jacks.
  • Add Bluetooth and, possibly, WiFi (maybe provide WiFi through an external 'holster' with it's own power supply, to reduce drain on the PDA batteries).
  • Replace existing RS232 interface with USB for sync/datatransfer to PC and connection of external devices.
  • Remove the divider in the battery compartment so the batteries are in direct contact with each other (it has a tendency to break so you have to wedge a piece of aluminum foil between them to make the electrical contact).
  • SD card slot.
  • Add rechargable, removable Lithium (or similar high capacity) battery (possibly as external 'holster' option) to replace/supplement existing AA batteries. Allow charging both on an off the device.
  • Update PC connection software for full support of current operating systems, including Linux, and PIM software. Allow wireless sync/datatransfer over Bluetooth.
  • Support for ODF (Open Document Format) in the on board wordprocessor and spreadsheet. Include converter to other formats in PC software.

So, what piece of old tech would you like to see updated and rereleased?