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  • Blog Post: What a Shocking Bad Hat!

    Nineteenth century London was famous, or perhaps notorious, for the jokey catchphrases heard in its streets. They sprang from who-knows-where and spread around the city, amongst urchins and gentry alike, in a matter of hours. Charles MacKay, in his classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the...
  • Blog Post: Who is PowerPivot for?

    Ann All recently posted an interesting article at IT Business Edge: Microsoft’s Schizophrenic Approach to Business Intelligence . I’m not too insulted: I tend to agree with Janet Long that, “Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy.” Ann’s argument is straightforward...
  • Blog Post: Leverage: An Introduction

    My father was an engineer and spent many weekends in the garage nursing his various old cars. Frankly, I was little help, but there was one job I loved: lifting the big old monsters onto the axle-stands with the hydraulic jack. At 10 years old, I felt like the young superman, raising a hefty Rover P5...
  • Blog Post: My Top Ten SQL Server Bloggers of 2009

    I think I may have set myself an all-but-impossible task: to choose ten bloggers who write about SQL Server, and who have been outstanding in the last year. Nearly impossible, not because I can't find ten, but because there are so many more worthy of recognition. In addition, many of those I will not...
  • Blog Post: Bored by the HP / MSFT announcement? You Need to get out More

    I'm in Tucson today, and you know what? The weather is warm and dry. Are you surprised? I guess not - what else would you expect? Yet every time I come here from Seattle (and man, Seattle was dark and wet and cold when I left this time) I find the simple intensity of the Arizona weather catches me anew...
  • Blog Post: T-SQL Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

    For the last few days my inbox, Twitter and Facebook feeds have been full of advice about which words I should stop misspelling. To be fair, in English, I have relatively little problem, and any misspellings I do make may be sloppy, but rarely result in misunderstandings. On the other hand, there...
  • Blog Post: The "Dallas" information marketplace

    Today I'm here in Washington DC, demo-ing in Bob Muglia's keynote at our Worldwide Partner Conference. This time, I'm showing something quite new - not just a new product, but a new concept in data - Microsoft's premium information marketplace codenamed "Dallas." "Dallas" may be better known as a...
  • Blog Post: Crossing Boundaries

    Were you in Las Vegas last week? If you attended the SharePoint conference in the Mandalay Bay resort, you probably thought you were. But Las Vegas is famously a city of facades, illusions and well-kept secrets. Caesars Palace isn't really Rome, nor the Venetian, Venice. My favourite illusion is...
  • Blog Post: Three suggestions for SQL Server DBAs in 2010

    One of these days I really should blog about "dumb questions I have been asked at customer briefings." There's a danger in that, of course: namely, that a customer could equitably blog about "dumb answers I received from Donald Farmer." Nevertheless, the other day, a CIO asked me an excellent question...
  • Blog Post: Virtually Unstoppable

    A friend insists that we'll only know the recession is over when software vendors no longer start every whitepaper with the phrase "In these tough economic times ..." It may be as reliable an indicator as any. Meanwhile, in these tough economic times, I often read of factories suffering so badly...
  • Blog Post: Of Virtualization, Videos and VPs

    My mentors at Microsoft have always told me, how important it is to get quality 1:1 time with senior figures in the company; the idea being to get good insights to strategy and a better handle on the executives' various personalities and strengths. I don't think my mentors had in mind that I should...
  • Blog Post: The Best Tool for the Job

    One evening last week I was hanging out with a friend who is a professional photographer. As so often happens on such occasions, we whiled away some time comparing new toys, for we both had new cameras. Mine is small and perfectly formed (an Olympus, if you must know) and he had a high-end Nikon of such...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 R2 & Office 2010: Better Together

    Mary-Jo Foley recently wrote a blog post about being better together. At Microsoft this is something we take seriously. In her blog post she includes some snippets of an interview with Donald Famer. Donald discussed how we exchanged some team members with the Excel team in order to have a great integration...
  • Blog Post: Divining Oracle

    Bar Bosch , in Palma de Mallorca, is one of my favourite places to hang out. It's hectic and noisy, but still leaves space and time for endless discussions or reflection. It is the perfect place to pretentiously pore over Žižek or Derrida. Yet in the autumn of '98 I found myself sitting there, ordering...
  • Blog Post: He cares! He really cares!

    I first met Sean McCown when I worked on the team developing SQL Server Integration Services. Sean was simultaneously one of our most active supporters and one of our most trenchant critics. He can very – what’s the word? – very forthright . You know, blunt, outspoken and generally...
  • Blog Post: PowerPivot passes a landmark in downloads

    In the middle of May, just about 6 weeks ago, the SQL Server BI team launched PowerPivot. This weekend, we have we passed an important milestone: 100,000 downloads of the Excel add-in. For a BI application, this really is a huge number. I guess it truly underscores something we have said all along: that...