Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm an Administrator Why Can't I Copy Files

Hello Dear Reader!  I've been working on setting up a virtual environment for quite some time. When last I wrote about it, I described issues I was having due to cloning the same server that I had set up as my Domain Controller, Dude Where Did my AD Account Go? Troubleshooting Duplicate SID’s. 

Well I’ve gotten further down the road and today I was setting up some new servers to do some work with Availability Groups.  The Servers were cloned, SID’s were different from the Domain Controller, I renamed the servers, added them to the domain, set up my additional hard drives, and started copying over SQL Server files for the installation.  Then I get this error.

“So Balls”, you say, “did you remember to add your domain account as a Local Admin?”

Excellent question Dear Reader, you’re on your game today!  I did.  I even logged on as the local server’s Administrator and double check that my account was listed in the Administrators group.

Initially the way I had gotten around this error was by logging in as the Local Server Administrator.  I found that account had all the correct permissions.  This wasn’t a satisfying resolution.  If I didn’t have access to copy files, what else was I missing?  Would this cause an issue with my SQL Installation?

Help me help You Windows!  HELP ME HELP YOU!

I was stumped, so I turned to the Intrawebs.  Google/Binging the error message got me some results.   The first couple links didn’t help.  Then I came across a message board from the Windows Server forums, Destination Folder Access Denied – Copying file to root of C:\.

I wasn’t trying to access my C:\ but these steps worked for me.  I’m going to detail out the same steps that Rick Tan did in the forum post.

First open up run and type in gpedit.msc to open the Group Policy Manager.

Next expand the tree by Windows Settings | Security Settings | Local Policies | Security Options.  Scroll to the bottom we are looking for Policies that begin with User Account Control.   First up User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators.    

You may not want to disable this on your server at work, but these are my VM’s.  I’ve given my account Server Admin level access.  I don’t want to have to answer a prompt every time I need to do Administrative things.  We want to set this to elevate without prompting.

Click OK and let’s move on to our next one.  User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation.  Okay I’m an Admin.  I’m going to install things on my server.  Otherwise this account wouldn’t be an Admin.  Let’s disable this, I don’t want to be prompted with “are you sure?” every time I try to install something.

Click okay and now onto User Account Control:  Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode.  Seriously?  How many times do I need to say I’m sure this Admin account is an Admin?

Click Disabled and OK.  So once we change these policies you no longer get the annoying ARE YOU SURE, ARE YOU SURE?, ARE YOU SURE?,prompts.  Sometimes you just want to yell!  I’m an Administrator, I granted this account Admin access.  YES! IT’S A F#(%ING ADMIN!

“So Balls,” you say, “You okay there?”

Sorry Dear Reader, redundant security frustrates me.  The steps worked for me though.  When I try to copy over SP1 for SQL 2012 it succeeds.  Refreshingly enough, I don't get prompted to ensure I wanted to really run the item I double clicked on.  What a wonderful world.

For these settings to take affect a reboot will be required.  So now it's time to sit back, and enjoy a pop up free world.  As always Dear Reader, Thanks for stopping by!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pro SQL Server 2012 Practices

Hello Dear Reader.  Every now and then professionally you get to be a part of something really cool.  Back in the spring of 2012 Jonathan Gennick of Apress contacted me about participating in a book.  His idea?  Get together a lot of really amazing SQL Server Professionals in order to write on subject they were passionate about.

The list of professionals involved was one that made me immediately want to own the book.  When I got the chance to help I jumped!  I wasn't alone.

The companies whose employees collaborated on this book come from Red Gate SoftwareSQL Skills,Brent Ozar Unlimited, Pragmatic Works, and many others.  They are MVP's, MCM's, and regular old SQL Community folk like myself.

We all decided to write blogs reviewing/describing each others chapters.  I will be listing and updating them here.

If you're interested here is a link for the book on Amazon.  Big Thanks to Apress, Jonathan, and my fellow Authors!


Jes Schultz Borland @grrl_geek

1/14/2013   Book Review: Pro SQL Server 2012 Practices Indexing Outside the Bubble

Herve Roggero  @hroggero

1/15/2013 Chapter Review:  The Utility Database (By Chris Shaw) and how it applies in Cloud Computing 

I'll be updating this page on my blog daily as we crank out new reviews.  All the authors have pitched in and we'll be writting them out one day at a time.  Tomorrow SQL MVP Chris Shaw (@SQLShaw | Blog) all around awesome guy will have his review  on Compliance and Auditing. Thursday the Dr.  of Database Design himself SQL MVP Louis Davidson(@drsql | Blog) is up on Release Management.

Hope to see you then!



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Top 5 Reasons You Should Be on Twitter

Yesterday for Monday Morning Humor I talked a little about how Twitter was a great resource for learning.  But before we do that I wanted to out myself.  The lovely Mrs. Balls still teases me about this, but I used to make fun of Twitter. I thought it was ridiculous when I first heard of it.  And I swore up and down that I would never use it. 

“So Balls”, you say, “What changed your mind?”

Excellent question Dear Reader, SQL Saturday 49 was the start of changing my mind.  I really enjoyed it and was inspired to become more active in the SQL Community.  I looked at what all the top people presenting were doing and wanted to push myself in that direction.  I created a blog, I joined Linkedin, and I joined Twitter.  But my mind wasn’t yet changed.

I fumbled around, added a couple of people that I looked up to or respected.  And by virtue of watching their conversations found more people in our industry, who I respected and were very active in the SQL Community.  Listening SQL MVP’s talk SQL on Twitter is like hearing the CIO tell you what their plans are for the future.  It’s an inside track into a conversation that you wouldn’t be privy to unless you were playing in the Big Leagues.  

A book that Brent Ozar (@BrentO | Blog) had written called The Simple Twitter Book really helped as well.  When my Dad signed up on Twitter I sent him a copy of this and said “You should read this ASAP”.   My Dad isn’t in the tech field but he has always been tech savvy, and Twitter can do a lot of things for a business owner.  There are a lot of good tips on etiquette as well as how to make Twitter interesting to you.  And Dear Reader if you are on Twitter and you haven’t read it, go grab a FREE PDF copy and get to reading!


1.  Paul Randal’s Twitter Feed
Paul Randal(@PaulRandal | Blog) is one of the Owner & Founders of a company named SQLSkills (@sqlskills), he’s a Regional Mentor for the SQL MVP Program, he lead the team that wrote the Storage Engine for SQL 2005 & the Access Methods for SQL 2008.  In other words he’s wicked smart in ways that most of us would like to be.  He and his company share a lot of information freely on Twitter.  And for a while they were doing a weekly Quiz, chocked full of good info on SQL.  As my cartoon yesterday indicated he will say something smart that you will want to remember.  And you can get a lot of learning from this.

2.  #SQLHelp
If you are having a work Problem and you and your co-workers are stumped, #SQLHelp is a great resource.  In Twitter the Hashtag, aka pound sign #, is used in front of a phrase to make it searchable.  SQL MVP Aaron Nelson (@SQLVariant | Blog) had a brilliant idea that if you need help with SQL throwing this phrase out there would be like our own mini Bat Signal, saying SQL GURU’s HELP OVER HERE, MAN THE LIFE BOATS, or CALL A LOCKSMITH.  However you phrase it, I need some help.  Some of the top minds in our field watch this, and respond during the day with suggestions and answers.  I don’t mind saying I’ve used this more than once and it has been awesome every time.

3.  Blogs
There are so many people whose Blogs I follow, or have learned of because of Twitter.  We as the SQL Community Love to write, we LOVE it like Romeo has this little crush on Juliet.  I’ve got over 240 people that I follow on Twitter, and I would say that around 200 of them Blog.  Whenever I write a new one it goes out on the RSS feed and I announce it on Twitter.  When SQL comes out with a new Service Pack someone blogs about it, when a new CTP comes out for the latest SQL Version 100 people blog on it.  If someone hit’s a bug, they blog on it.  A new technology comes out that your work is looking at, someone probably Blogged on it.  You will find the people you know you can listen to, and you will start watching for their blogs.

4. Events
There is a lot going on out there.  I love Dave Matthews, he’s not touring this year but he is doing a concert for Charity August the 20th, up in Virginia…..where I moved from….., but it’s not Just Dave Matthews.  SQL Solstice taking place in North Carolina in August.  SQL Saturday's, like SQL Saturday 85 (in Orlando September 24th!),  SQL Rally, and SQL Server User Groups.

5.    #MCMPREP
      This is another brain child of a great SQL Blogger, Thomas Larock (SQLRockstar | Blog).  Back in November last year Microsoft announced changes to the Certification Program for a Microsoft Certified Master.  Tom had the brilliant idea of holding study sessions on Twitter, now in G+.  One day when I'm not at work and can actually hop onto one.  I'm planning on it.  I'm still ways away from this goal.  But I can't help but want to learn from the people that are already there, or are about to be there.  And I hope you would want to learn from them to! 

     So there you have it Dear Reader, my Top 5 Reasons for being on Twitter.  There are a lot more, but I'll let you go and find those reasons out for yourself.  Thanks for stopping by again.




Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Morning Humor: Don't Forget Twitter!

Hello Dear Reader, after writting last week, How Do You Learn?, one thing became apparent to me very quickly.  I forgot Twitter!  More importiantly I forgot Paul Randal's (@PaulRandal | Blog) Twitter Feed!  And no sooner did I realize that when over the weekend there was discussion on Trace Flag 3422.   Twiter deserves it's only blog entry, because while Paul Randal's Twitter feed is awesome, there are a lot of other great thing's like #SQLHelp, and litterly hundreds of amazing bloggers!

I drew this up while doing some late night work and thinking on the subject.  I hope you enjoys this and I'll post more tonight!



Friday, July 29, 2011

How Do You Learn?

A lot of brilliant people have spent a lot of time, some have made careers out of, learning about how we as people learn.  Whether you subscribe to the Kolb’s, Gregorc’s, Honey & Mumford’s Models, or Flemings VAK/VARK model, at this point in your career you’ve found a way to learn and it works for you. 

I once had a professor, Dr. William Perry, that said repeatedly throughout his courses “Learn to Love to Learn!”.  He would talk to us about how as IT professionals you had better enjoy learning because you would be doing it for the rest of your life.  He would also add that if you did not like to learn you were in the wrong field.  He couldn’t have been more right.

“So Balls,” you say, “How do you learn?”

Glad you asked Dear Reader, let’s dive right in.

MY FLASH CARDS            

 Here is a picture of one small part of my Desk.  If you’re someone who has worked with me you’ve probably seen my flash cards.  I started this pile of flash cards when I was working on beautiful Ft. Monroe in Virginia.  I was studying for my TS and then my ITP Certifications for SQL 2005.  I added to my flash cards next when I was working for the Office of the President up in D.C.  I was studying for my TS in SQL 2008 at the time.  As I would take the train in I would read my book and highlight sections that I wanted to make flash cards out of.  Then I would re-read the book making the flash cards.

After studying for and getting my Certifications, I didn’t want to just forget what I had worked on.  So I continued to review them.   Sometimes people would walk up and say “What are you studying for?”, and I would reply with the name of the Certification I was working towards.  Sometimes I would simply reply by saying, I just want to keep the information fresh in my mind.

As working situations arise, having this information fresh in my mind proved beneficial time after time.  Learning provided better situational awareness, which only served to reinforce how important it was to continue to learn. 

Pretty quickly on I started finding myself in situations where, I would have an issue resolve it, and I’d want to continue to learn from it.  So I would make a flash card on the script, or the situation.  My focus had been on learning from books alone, and that was pretty narrow.  I realized it was just as important to expand not only what I was learning, but where I learned it from.

Back in 2009 our VP of Microsoft Technologies had told me about this upcoming event called, 24 Hours of PASS.  It was an online event, so I could watch these 1 hour training sessions from my Computer.  I persuaded work to let me work remotely, so I could watch these training sessions.  This was my first exposure to PASS, and my first window into the SQL Community, (other than the forums for ).

There was amazing session after amazing session, I learned about NUMA from Thomas Grohser (@tgrohser), I first heard Louis Davidson (@drsql | Blog) discuss relational design, and got my first ever view of Brent Ozar(@BrentO | Blog).  I was hooked, and I had gotten a lot of good information.

“So Balls,” you say, “Where do you get your learning material from books and webinars?”

Great question Dear Reader, but the answer is I get it from just about everywhere.

When you look at my flash card pile up above, know that I’ve thrown a lot out.  I gave some to friends, and the flash cards have been a constant evolution.  Sometimes material in books are wrong, sometimes material on Books Online are wrong, and sometimes you never know what will be useful.

Here are the places that I take notes from that turn into flash Cards, and would be my recommendations.

A.      Books
Books are a great source of knowledge and there are a lot of really good SQL Server books out there.  Right now I’m reading Microsoft 2008 Internals, Click Here to View.   I’m also reading Professional SQL Server 2008 Internals and Troubleshooting, Click Here to View.  The great thing about books is that when you buy them, you can always have them with you.  Nothing beats having knowledge at your finger tips.  IPAD, Knook, whatever buy them and study them.

B.      SQL Server Central
Whether it be the Question of the Day, an Article in the newsletter, or a really great discussion on the forums.  There is more information than you could ask for in a lifetime.  You can get help with your problems, and do plenty of learning as well.

Last month at MagicPASS we had a Microsoft Certified Master speak to us about the Relational Engine and how Cache works Internally.  It was free, we had tacos, and there are a lot of great DBA’s just like you at the meetings.  This is a fabulous place for networking and for learning.  Go to the PASS website and find the User Group nearest to you.  Don’t forget the Virtual Chapters which provide FREE webinars monthly, sometimes twice a month!

D.      24 Hours of PASS
This is another FREE event, I hope your sensing a trend here you don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn, and it will have the TOP names in the field of SQL Database Administration and Business Intelligence.  All it requires is your time.

E.       Channel 9
This is Microsoft’s online learning resource for the Public.  You can find Tech Ed Presentations, Informational videos by the Project Teams, and even new technology previews.  Another great FREE source.

F.       Webinars
Companies like Pragmatic Works, Idera, and Confio are constantly putting on Webinars monthly and for FREE!  You just need to go to their websites and sign up for their free training News Letters.

G.     SQL Saturday
Hey We have one of these coming up in Orlando on September 24thClick Here to Register!  This is an event where some of the top names in our filed present to you for FREE!  You will have MVP’s like Andy Warren(@sqlandy | blog), Rodney Landrum (@sqlbeat | Blog), or Jorge Serraga (@sqlchicken | Blog) just to name a few, presenting for you Dear Reader.

H.      MCM Videos
I wrote a Blog on this once already, MCM video’s You Should Be Watching These, and you should be.  They are a wealth of information, that scratches the surface on what you need to be a Master!


There is also a lot of great training that is not for free, SQL Rally, PASS Summit, and training courses offered by companies like SQL Skills or SQL Cruise.  They are worth their weight in gold, and you don’t have to look far to find a lot of people with the same opinions.

However you learn Dear Reader, just make sure you are learning.  I make flash cards from all these thing, and I review them.  I walk around and share them with the DBA’s I work with, and sometimes we have a quiz of the day on a topic.  I’m sure there are a lot of places that I’ve left off the list if you want to add any please do in the comments below!



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Don't Be Afraid, Not Being The Smartest Person In The Room

"I don't have to be the smartest person in the room". I once didn't take a job because of this phrase.  It was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me and it worked out quite well for a friend of mine.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me tell the story from the beginning.


A little philosophy first.  I'm not going to go Ayn Rand or Immanuel Kant on you, but as Louis Davidson (Blog|Twitter) would say, "We're drinking my flavor of Kool-AID today.

I don't have to be the smartest person in the room.  I don't, just don't need to.  Sometimes you will be, sometimes you won't.  If you don't worry about it, then it takes a lot of pressure and stress off.

"But Balls", you say, "Why are you afraid of being smart!?"

Ahh but that's just it Dear Reader, I'm not Afraid.

We've all been in the room with someone that THINKS they know everything.  We've all worked with someone, that just always had to be right.  Have you ever worked with someone like this on the day they were wrong?  

I have a better question would you want to be them on the day they are proven wrong?  No I wouldn't either.  If you always HAVE to be right, then being wrong is a crushing blow.

People can be afraid of a lot of things.  They can let themselves be ruled by fear, fear that your boss won't listen, fear that you don't know as much as the guy sitting next to you, Fear of Not Being the Smartest Person in the room.

I've seen this back fire on so many people that I've always wanted to take a different approach.  I find that you never know where the best idea will come from on a team.  It could be the developer that has been written off as lazy, that has a great out of the box idea.  It could be the obnoxious DBA that has some insight into the best way to layout a project's architecture.  It could be a Server Engineer that has really good insight on code management and migration.

If you make yourself open to the possibility that everyone has something to contribute, then you don't close yourself off to ideas.  And again you take a lot of weight off of your shoulders.


A couple jobs ago I was looking for a new position.  I had reached what I felt was a ceiling.  I had been a Sr. Developer, mentored others, gotten my SQL Certifications, and filled the roles of a Sr. DBA & Sr. Developer.  I had worked on some cool projects, and really loved the people I had worked with.  

However, I wanted to grow and we were a very top heavy team.  A lot of people had been with the company for years, many had their Masters in IT or MBA's, MCAD's, and MCSE's brilliant people that I'm still very happy to call friends.  But with a great experienced group the only way to move into the full time job I wanted was for someone to leave.


So I struck out to find greener pastures.  One particular job had advertised itself as Sr. DBA position.  I applied, and found that the person leaving the job was Awesome.  The company hated to loose Awesome, the client that Awesome served was thrilled with them, and Awesome had no desire to go but was moving to follow his wife's career.

We met several times over a month, and I went on-sight to meet the client.  The more I learned about the position, the more it didn't feel like a good fit.  I found that the only reason they wanted a DBA and were requiring an MCITP for SQL was because Awesome had that and they wanted Awesome II.  It was more of an Analyst/Team Lead position.

While meeting the client, I was asked to explain how I would describe myself as a Manger.  And I said "I'm not afraid, not to be the smartest person in the room.  I think everyone brings something to the table, I like to listen, I like to consider what the boots on the ground have to say, I don't think that my position entitles me to ideas that are more brilliant than anyone else, and as a Manager I'm not afraid to cheer someone on who's smarter than I am in a subject.  If I find someone smarter than I am, I want to learn from them, so I can be as educated as possible on the subject at hand."


To be honest I thought it was a pretty good answer, and I'm still satisfied with it.  When we left the client site, the person who would have been my future manager, tore into me. 

I believe the coversation started out with "I DON'T KNOW WHAT IN THE HELL THAT SHUCK'S GOOD OLD BOY, HUMBLE CRAP WAS......" Needless to say I was taken back.   But I stuck to my guns, which probably only served to enrich the colorful nature of the rest of our conversation.  

The remainder of the conversation centered on how I always, ALWAYS, needed to be the smartest person in the room.  As I explained a little earlier, this flies in the face of how I work.  You can take a job where you compromise yourself, but I can't see how you can do that and be happy.

I told my wife later, that had I already taken the job the tone of the conversation would have left me worried that I would have been fired.  We talked about it that evening, and even though it would have been a significant raise, SIGNIFICANT RAISE, I asked if she would be alright with me passing.  My very wise and beautiful wife replied by saying that she didn't know why I was still even considering it.


The day before I decided to pass a brilliant friend of mine, Perfect, found themselves without a job.  When I had worked with Perfect previously, Perfect had been an Analyst that had been a Team Lead over Developers, and was a perfect for this job.

I got Perfect's resume, and called and informed the recruiter I had been dealing with that I wouldn't be taking the job replacing Awesome.  Despite protests, I told them it may not seem like it, but I've got a person for this job whose Perfect.  I didn't have any hard feelings.  I wasn't the right person, and they weren't the right fit for me.  But I was going to send them Perfect's resume, and they should set up a meeting as soon as possible.

Perfect still works there, Perfect loves their job and is very successful.  And me, I found a little job up in D.C. working for the President, that led me to the Great State of Florida where I was very happy to land.

I guess my only parting advice Dear Reader would be don't be afraid of a someone who is smarter than you.  Embrace them, learn from them, and work hard.  At the end of the day how can anybody be unhappy with learning something new, and making themselves better.




Monday, February 14, 2011

MCM Video Series: You Should Be Watching These!

Back in November at PASS Microsoft Announced changes to the Microsoft Certified Master program.  Instead of 3 weeks of training and exam’s in Redmond and close to a $20,000 price tag, you can take a Knowledge Exam and a Lab exam at select Prometric Testing Centers for a price of $2,500 ($500 for the Knowledge exam, $2,000 for the Lab – provided that you pass both on your first try).
One of the things that Microsoft did as well was get the good folks over at SQL Skills to tape 70 different videos, some are 2 parts with a lecture and a demo, on a vast array of subjects to give you an idea of the scope of what you will need to know to pass these exams.
So you may be saying “Ball’s, I won’t be going for an MCM.  It would be nice, but I don’t have the time, the money, or [insert perfectly reasonable excuse of choice]. Why should I care about these videos?” Well, Dear Reader the reason you want to watch these MCM videos  is that they will make you better at what you do, even if you have no desire to pursue this Certification.
So let us discuss how these videos will make you better and why Certifications are important.
How These Videos Will Make You Better.
There are millions, billions, probably more than trillions of things I do not know.  The things I know the most about are my kids, comic books, and SQL Server.  Every time I learn something I get a little bit better.   Whether it’s how the best way to make one of my son’s/daughter’s smile, or that Action Comic’s #775 is the best Superman Story Ever , or the physical structure of a Data Record and how it is stored on a Page, learning these things make me better at things that I love to do.
Paul Randal (blog|twitter), the man himself, does an internal Deep Dive in Data Structures, Kimberly Tripp(blog|twitter)  covering Indexing Internals, Brent Ozar (blog|twitter)  on Virtualization, Bob Beauchemin (blog|twitter)  on Security and Encryption, that’s an awesome line up!  And normally you would pay top dollar in order to get this training, and Dear Reader it is available for FREE!
I’m watching this, the guys I’m working with are watching these video’s, and we’ve even had a couple lunch-in’s where we’ll get a conference room a projector and we’ll watch and discuss the topic that are covered.
Learning makes you better, and this is a golden opportunity to better yourself, even if you have no desire to get the MCM Certification chances are there is a video that covers a SQL topic that you are using daily, and it can probably teach you something that will help you do your daily grind in a better less grinding kind of way.
Why Certifications are Important
Personally I’m a big proponent of Certifications; I was in awe of them before I attempted to get one.  I always thought that just to have a Microsoft Certification you had some super reservoir of knowledge.  When I decided to go for my first certification I got the 70-431 book off of Amazon, I studied it cover to cover, made flash cards, did all of the examples, took the exam and…..failed. 
The crushing defeat lasted just long enough for me to leave the testing center and get into the car.  By the time I turned on the car, I knew exactly what I would do.  While it was still fresh in my mind I would take the items that I was weakest on and I’d make a study guide, to cover those topics like crazy.  I didn’t fail by much and I was already itching for another try.  One week later I took the exam again and got a 902, I was stoked!
I knew the material, I was able to use it at work, and I grew as a professional because I had pushed myself.  You can push yourself without going for the certification, but that piece of paper shows that you took the time to pursue something, and I believe that is important. 
I’ve had employers tell me that they did not value Certifications, but never in the interview.  I have had managers where arguing with them about why Certifications are important happened so often, I could have listed it on my resume as a hobby.  But the second a client wanted to know who the DBA on the project would be they were more than happy to point out that I was their “Microsoft Certified” DBA.  Whenever we were interviewing potential DBA candidates they were quick to mention my Certifications when they introduced me as their Sr. DBA’s. 
I’ve heard the criticisms about brain dumps and Certification Boot Camps, but the fact is if you’re not a DBA, if you’re a hiring manager with no DBA experience, you may not know how to sniff out the real ones from the fakes.  However, if you are a DBA and you studied and earned the Certifications then you know what the other person should know.
In an interview to me a Certification is not a free pass that you know what you’re doing; it is a bulls-eye saying BRING IT ON!  I want tough questions, I want technical questions, I want to make sure that the people in the room to feel confident that they are getting an experienced professional, and if I don’t know the answer to a question then I’m not too proud to ask because I like to learn, and I hope Dear Reader that you like to learn as well. 
So go get learning on what it takes to be a Master, and maybe get motivated to go become one.
Happy Learning!