Horkay Blog
The postings on this site are my own and do not represent my Employer's positions, advice or strategies.
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Current Fleet being maintained

69 VW Micro Bus - Sunroof

77 VW Micro Bus - Westfalia camper

2000 Windstar blue

2000 Windstar tan

Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:45:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  | Cars#
Saturday, November 24, 2007

Prepared my first wine today, Green Apple Riesling from Wine Experts, supposed to be light and sweet.

It was very easy, hoping for this to be ready for the wife this spring.

Updates as I progress...

December 3, 2007

    Racked into secondary.  Fermentation was nice steady bubbling.  Little bit cloudy.

December 20, 2007

   Cleared up nicely, Added finings and F-Pack

January 6, 2008

  Bottled.  Very clear, tasty - though I'm not a wine fan; bottling wand gave me a hard time blowing the tip off, ended up filling bottles via gravity drop on/off valve from bottling bucket, PIA.  Bottled in 750ml and 12 Oz beer bottles to allow enjoyment on a smaller scale. 


Saturday, November 24, 2007 1:52:25 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  | Fermentables#
Friday, November 23, 2007

Today was marked by a Heather Mead Ale, braggot; inspired by Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, "Historically it was almost impossible to extract the honey unless the entire comb was removed from the hive and boiled.  In the making of mead from heather honey, this would mean that the entire contents of the hive would be boiled together: angry bees, propolis, pollen, royal jelly honey and wax."  I left out the bees and wax, but got the rest !

This mead, beer or braggot, not sure which it really is, took some time to source the fermentables, of note is the use of real Heather Honey from scotland, royal jelly, propolis and bee pollen...none of these were cheap or easy to find.  My most expensive 5 gallons, I expect fermentation to take 2-3 months, and then 9-12 months in the bottle before a tasting.

Heather Mead Ale (braggot).

10 Good Earth Green Tea Bags (must be good earth w/lemon grass)

3.3 Pounds Marris Otter malt extract; $15.00
1 Pound Dry Malt Extract (Muntons), extra light $5.00
1 Oz Fuggle Hops bitter
1 Oz Cascade Hops finish

4 Oz Heather Tips

6 Pounds Heather Honey (scottish); (approx 1/2 gallon) $80.00
1 Pound Wild Flower Honey
8 Oz. Royal Jelly $45.00
8 Oz. Bee Pollen $5.50
8 Oz. Bee Propolis Powder $26.00

Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast 125 ml.
Top fermenting yeast which leaves residual sugar after fermentation.

Basic concept was an extract beer formulation, than I strained the hops from the hot wort, added 1 gallon of water to cool the wort a bit, then added the honey and honey products (royal jelly, propolis and pollen) and heather tips.  Stirred vigorously than topped up to a complete 5 gallons. 

11/23/2007 - In the bucket, no sign of fermentation; nasty heather tips floating on top, smells like a combination of mown grass, piney tree sappy and sickening sweet...i'm expecting a very explosive and messy fermentation....blow off hose in place

11/25/2007 - Fermentation progressing nicely, no issues with blowoff or clogging, temperature at low end of range, 65 degrees, turned cold in kansas city, will be hooking up a "brew belt" to warm up the fermentation a bit. Progressing well

11/27/2007 - Too cool, still fermenting well, but placed a space heater in closet with bucket.  Raised temperature up to 72-74 degrees.

12/2/2007 - Racked to secondary.  What an ugly mess.  The mass of heather tips floating on the top with yeast was a unique odor.  Maybe should have filtered out the heather tips before fermentation, but i've read that the combination of yeast and naturally occurring mold on the heather tips add to the medicinal, inebriating and pshycotropic powers of the brew.  Carefully siphoned to secondary, removing most of heather tips, very cloudy at times when siphon either clogged or sucked up stuff from bottom.  Lost a good gallon of product to ensure that too much sediment and trub was not picked up.  Definetly the most trub i've seen, propolis looks to have settled directly out of the wort, looks the same for some of the bee pollen, lots of heather tips and standard trub; the compost pit is getting the most expensive trub i've ever produced !  I plan on letting it sit in the secondary 3 months, at least until Feb 2008.

From the bonny bells of heather,
They brewed a drink longsyne,
Was sweeter far than honey,
Was stronger far than wine.

From Heather Ale, a Galloway Legend
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, November 23, 2007 7:32:22 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  |  Beer #

Always bound to happen, driving happily along, when you push the clutch in, and swoooaaappp, it drops to the floor with the thud that lets you know, your now just a large bread box of an object traveling on the highway at 60mph!

Fortunately it was the morning rush hour and I was in the left lane, so it would be quite easy to navigate to the side of the road to inspect and get a damage report; nothing any Bus Pilot can not easily handle.

Quick review while laying under front of bus, end of clutch cable blown out, clevis pin lost.  Decide to drive and shift with no clutch; there are vw enthusiasts that will tell you if you match the speed of the engine with the speed of the transmission, a 1:1 ratio, you can shift with no clutch....YES IT's TRUE; but damn they make it sound too easy and getting from 3rd to 4th was impossible.

Bus Limps home.

Friday, November 23, 2007 11:56:44 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  |  VW Bus#
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Such a simple task, but one that trips me up each time.  I can do it very easily in TSQL, but sometimes i have to do it in .net scripting, vb or c#.

I tried using Regex below but was just too tired to fight beyound what I had...any help, the old vb.net standard function is what i ended up using...

Dim MyRegex as Regex = New Regex( "[^/]+$", RegexOptions.RightToLeft )


    Private Function GetNameNoPathorExt(ByVal FileNameWithPath) As String
        Dim sTemp As String
        Dim iPos As Integer

        iPos = InStr(FileNameWithPath, ".")
        If iPos > 1 Then
            sTemp = Left$(FileNameWithPath, iPos - 1)
            sTemp = FileNameWithPath
        End If

        iPos = InStrRev(sTemp, "\")
        If iPos > 1 Then
            sTemp = Right$(sTemp, Len(sTemp) - iPos)
        End If

        Return sTemp
    End Function

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 8:06:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  |  RegEx#
Monday, November 12, 2007

This topic was really my reason for creating the blog site.

I got the idea while reading an issue of Popular Mechanics, October 2007, titled "Top 25 Skills every man should know." 

I found that the same analogy applies to DBA's, "Forgetting the Basics", so we're not talking about describing a primary key, or what a data file is, but the stuff that makes a DBA Professional, "an asset to the Organization".  I consider this the basics, a strong foundation in Computer Science and Relational theory is the "Basics", many of today's DBA's are self-taught DBA's from other disciplines.  Though I will say that I have seen many self-taugh DBA's that are far better experts than anyone else, but overall, I'm seeing a lack of skills when I interview people.  They know how to answer technical questions on indexes, joins, restores etc; but the basic skills...

My list is not really SQL Server specific, as I've worked with DB2 and Oracle DBA's and this list is generic enough to apply to any DBMS.

So here is my own list, in no particular order of importance...

  1. How to Perform a Point in Time Recovery.
  2. How Install multiple instances of SQL Server on Dedicated Ports, and explain how SQL Server communicates on them (can you say firewall ?, Do you know how to test connectivity with no tools ie Telnet / command prompt?).
  3. How to Manually uninstall SQL Server.
  4. How to start SQL Server in different modes, with different switches:
    • Single User Mode; Different location for tempDB, Bypass recover of user DB's
  5. How to use BCP from a command line
  6. Volumetrics and Capacity Planning.
    • Does anyone remember how to calculate, row, index and database size; project it out ?
  7. Security
    • It's a lot more than just data reader, data writer and SQL Injection !
  8. Describe and interpret an Entity Relationship Diagram.
  9. Understand Logging, and not just to text files
    • How many times I see a job, ETL, DTS / SSIS package with no logging to a text file, though I prefer a table for better reporting and forecasting.
  10. How to capture a baseline and use it !
    • Baseline performance metrics
    • Data sizing baselines (kind of covered already)
    • Query baselines
    • Present it to management and budget accordingly
  11. Explain, present, translate ROI of training and utilities to management and get funding for them
  12. Create a SLA (Service Level Agreement) or OLA (Operational Level Agreement), present it and get approval for it
  13. How to prioritize competing requirements and/or present them to management for approval.
  14. How to know what to work on when, document it, present it to management so a common understanding of the environment exists (everyone wants best practices, but you have to know where to put your labor and money to get things delivered).
  15. Be Competent on disk types and the effect of DBMS design (phsyical layout on disk).  I say competent as being an expert on this goes to the height of religous debate, and SAN Technology only confuses things more, but every DBA Should be competent enough in this area to talk to Engineers, interpreting and analyzing the "baseline" data above and how the disk can affect them
  16. Know when to call for support, even with no support contract, there are times it's either cheaper or wiser to ask for help
  17. "Be Like Water", be flexible, walk in the other group's shoes, developers, qa, management and most of all "the business".
  18. Know when to Exceed your Authority, and be prepared to intelligently explain why, don't let a server with a raid controller issue, run to the point it corrupts 100's of gb's of data and claim you didn't have the autority to shut it down !
  19. Documentation, enough said...
  20. Know how to communicate, verbally, written, mentor, teach.
  21. Know how to learn from others.
  22. Change Management Methodologies, Principles and why they exist.
  23. Survive without a GUI interface.
  24. Understand, Locking, Blocking, concurrency and deadlocking...these are the Holy Grail of Scalability.
  25. Keep your resume up to date.

Bonus Skills:

  1. Forecasting growth, but not of the DBMS, of the labor to manage the DBMS
  2. Public Speaking
  3. Privacy Issues



Monday, November 12, 2007 1:48:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  | SQL Server#

Recently I ran into an issue using SQL Server management Studio to edit a SQL Agent scheduled job.

Specifically the business requirement was to have a job run every 87 minutes.  When I went to edit the job, it would let me type in 87 minutes but when you tabbed off or saved, it changed to 60 minutes!

Ended up having to edit this using TSQL, disabling the current schedule and adding a new schedule that was set for 87 minutes, runs and works no problem, you just can't edit it through the GUI.

Thankyou SQL Server Management Studio.

Monday, November 12, 2007 1:06:28 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  |  SSMS#

It has taken me some time to get this done.  As any good tech guy I rolled my own first, but found the functionality I wanted missing.  Though it is a great exercise to create your own.  I evaluated other options, but didn't want to use a commercially hosted solution; because I wanted to integrate the blog into my existing web site.

Some might ask, why not just use one of the commercial sites, etc; I don't like the advertising; I wanted the blog integrated into my non-blog site content.  Also from a technical perspective I find it very important to stay current with technology, and my web site, which isn't the prettiest thing, is my place to work on things; gives one a new perspective on technology.

Enter dasBlog.  Much more complicated than I thought, but I managed to get it up and running in probably 4-6 hours; than I had to get into the source code and see how it works; i'm impressed.


Monday, November 12, 2007 2:59:03 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) |  | Web_Blog#
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