How To Design an Engagement Ring

I usually post about technical issues around the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack, but I’m going to take a break from that. In my personal life, I reconnected with someone so beautiful and amazing. In a very short period of time, there was an overwhelming thought that would not leave my head. I had to marry this woman.

Therein lies the problem. In my mind, engagements require an engagement ring. What to do next?

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ASUS Transformer Book T100

When I heard about the ASUS Transformer Book T100, I instantly knew I had to have it. ( Why? It’s a large tablet that transforms into a small notebook. It’s a Windows 8.1 machine with touch. It gets 11 hours of use on a single charge. When docked, it folds into a single unit. It […]


How do you calculate someone’s age in years, months and days?

In the Microsoft SQL Server Group on LinkedIn (, a question was asked: How do you calculate someone’s age in years, months and days. I gave it a shot and… well… failed. Here’s my updated code. It will take care of cases where the birth date is Feb 29th or any birthdate on the 29th-31st […]

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How to create a Gantt-like Chart in SQL Server Reporting Services

Intro and Background I was recently asked for some help with a Dynamics CRM Online engagement.  The customer wanted a Gantt-like chart that showed the span of active opportunities. Dynamics CRM Online really isn’t important to my post, except in one major detail. Dynamics CRM Online doesn’t allow access to the underlying data.  There is […]


Memorial Day – 2013

To all that have served and all that have sacrificed,  thank you. This was sent to me and is being reprinted with permission.  It’s somewhere between an essay and poetry.  Written by Sahar Rohani, a 13 year old in eighth grade. Imagine. You’re in a staring contest with death, and in the painful grasp of […]

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Ever needed to write a text file from within SQL Server?

Well, there are a three of ways of doing this:  Extended Stored Procedures, OLE Automation and SQLCLR. While it is out of the scope of this post, Extended Stored Procedures and OLE Automation are things that have been retained in the SQL Server product in order to maintain a measure of backwards compatibility.  Microsoft often […]

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Concatenating Text using FOR XML

In my recent post about using CTE’s to concatenate text (see, I was very proud of myself and my genius. Then I read Majunath Bhat’s post “Grouping data from multiple rows into a single row” over on BeyondRelational (see With some small changes, I now see the beauty in using FOR XML PATH […]

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Backing up all databases on SQL Server

I was reading a blog post by Paresh over on LinkedIn (see his post here) and his recommendation for automagically backing up all databases within a SQL Server instance.  It inspired me to share my backup stored procedure. What does mine do that Paresh (and many others) do not do?  Here’s what I generally do […]

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CTE to concatenate column values in multiple rows into a single string

UPDATE:  While using PIVOT and CTEs to concatenate strings is cool, I’ve found a better way using FOR XML… see ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Using SQL Server, one thing I’ve always done is used PIVOT to concatenate strings.  The one thing about that solution is you have to impose a maximum number of rows that will […]

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Latest RAID Experiment – VirtualBox and FreeNAS (8 TB RAID 5)

When we last left off, I found Christmas joy in a big honking bag of hard drives and an external SATA enclosure.  But my joy was not complete without a measure of redundancy and recoverability. The controller that shipped with the enclosure did not support RAID 5 in firmware and the embedded controller on my […]



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