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Archive for July, 2010

What you’re running SQL on a netbook?

July 24, 2010 2 comments

In my previous blog post I gave my review of my new Toshiba Satellite T115D-S1120 netbook. My primary use of the netbook so far has been for checking email, syncing my Zune, a little bit of TweetDeck, working with Microsoft Word, and blogging.  That was until I came across Noel McKinney’s blog post [Post1 & Post2 | Twitter] where he recently picked up a new netbook and installed SQL Server 2008 R2.

My first initial thought was You’re going to do what?  Then it quickly changed to hmmm why not?  You see Noel is one of the lucky few that are getting ready for SQLCRUISE trip with co-Captain Brent Ozar [Blog | Twitter] and co-captain Tim Ford [Blog | Twitter].  Noel is setting up his netbook for the onboard training and why not.  Netbook’s are compact, the battery life is amazing, and they are getting more powerful.  I was amazed that I could get 4GB of ram in mine and that it was 64-bit.

I was still a little hesitant at first to install SQL Server on my netbook.  I wasn’t sure how the single core processor was going to handle running SQL Server, but this is what we do, we think outside the box, we overclock our CPU’s, we put cool spoilers on our cars to make them look fast.  Maybe not the last one, but you get my drift.

Not everything goes faster with a racing spoiler.
Not everything goes faster with a racing spoiler.

Why not install SQL Server on a netbook?  What the heck, I took a good image of my machine and took the leap and installed it.  I installed SQL Server 2008 R2 Developers edition (x64), why not since it is a 64-bit machine.  I also installed Reporting Services and Analysis Services, as well as AdventureWorks sample databases and exercises.

One of the things that I did in my SQL Configuring was I set the SQL Services to manual and I created a desktop shortcut on my desktop (just like Noel explains in his post), so I could start the services when needed.  This will help keep unnecessary services running every time the computer is started.

It’s a little to early to know for sure performance or what exactly I will use it for, but so far I have been very happy.  Stay tuned I will blog more on this.

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Categories: Computers, Reviews, SQL Server

My Toshiba Satellite T115D-S1120 Netbook review

July 24, 2010 1 comment

I know there are more professional reviews out there, but I wanted to give my first hand insight on the product.  I recently received a new Toshiba T115D-S112 netbook computer.  A quick look and I found the computer lists for around $425-$450 at Amazon and I have seen as high as $499 at Office Depot.  Seems a little on the high side for a netbook.

T115D-S1120 Image Some quick specs:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Proc: AMD Athlon™ Neo Processor MV-40 1.60GHz
Mem: 2GB DDR2 800MHz Memory
Hard Drive: 250GB (5400RPM);
Display Size: 11.6″ LED (16:9) 1366×768
Display Type: HD TruBrite LED Backlit display
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 3200
USB: 3 USB ports (one sleep and charge port)
Misc: HDMI output, 5-in-1 media card reader
Size: 11.3 x 8.3 x 1.35 inches
Weight: 3.5lbs

One of the first things that I did when it arrived was upgrade it (because that is what I do, I am a dinker, me make go faster…).  I added an additional 2GB of RAM for a total of 4GB, replaced the 250GB (5400rpm) hard drive with a 320GB (7200rpm) hard drive, and I replaced the Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) with a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (x64).  I love starting out with a fresh clean install of Windows, mainly so I can get rid of all the CRAPWARE.

After upgrading the hardware, the Windows Experience Index still isn’t the greatest and as you can see the Processor and Graphics brought down the score, the other components score pretty well.

T115D-S1120 Computer Index

What I like about it:

I love the sleek look to the netbook. The keyboard is a good size and easy to use with my adult sized fingers or as my son says my big hands. The screen size is a nice size at 11.6″ with 1366×768 resolution and I haven’t run into any issues with viewing different websites or other applications or documents.  The display is a HD TruBrite® LED Backlit display, which is absolutely gorgeous, the brightness blows me away.  The netbook is under 3.5lbs and is very portable.  I haven’t had a chance to run the netbook battery down to see how long it actually lasts, but on several occasions I ran it for several hours on the back deck and it still had 60+ percent available.  The specs say 5+ hours of battery life which is AWESOME.

What I don’t like about it (really just minor annoyances)

The sleek look of the netbook is a double edge sword.  The “Fusion® Finish in Nova Black” surface looks awesome, but it leaves finger prints and smudges like you wouldn’t believe.  I am constantly wiping it down like I have OCD.  The other thing that bothers me is the two USB jacks on the right side are too close together which prevents you from using both of them at the same time.  I really only run into this while I am at home and I want to plug in my USB mouse and maybe a USB stick.  There is another USB jack on the left side so I can use that, just shocked that they are so close together.  The other thing is the speaker are right under the front of the computer, so the sound is weak and muffled.  I understand that it is a netbook and I can’t except Bose sound quality, but yikes they are bad.  Another thing is that it is a single core processor (AMD Athlon™ Neo Processor MV-40), it is really just a minor annoyance to me (I understand that it is a netbook).  It really has only become an issue when I am trying to do too many things, like having multiple web pages open, TweetDeck, and an Office application open other than that minor annoyance.

My conclusion:

This is a great compact netbook with above average power.  I have been very impressed and happy with the overall performance of the computer.  I wouldn’t recommend this as a power user machine because of the single core processor, but for a moderate user this machine compact design and above average hardware is very capable of handling the users needs.

Categories: Computers, Reviews

Lifetime of learning

July 12, 2010 4 comments

TSQL2sDay150x150

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday #008 “Gettin’ Schooled” is being hosted by Robert Davis [Twitter | Blog] and the topic is on learning and teaching, which can be found here.  Great topic and I can’t wait to read other people’s blogs on the subject.

How do you learn and what am I learning?

I am a hands-on learner.  I need to read it, touch it, and test it, (smell it and taste it) to get a good understanding of it.  I generally start by reading an article, then step through the process, and finally test the process to get a better understanding.  My favorite types of blogs are those who are very detailed and step through the process.

I am currently studying for my Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance (70-431) exam.  This process has been very challenging and rewarding for me.  I am learning new aspects of the software that I have not used in my current position, like service broker and end points to name a few.  For my studying I purchased Wiley’s Microsoft Office Academic Course (MOAC) book and I love how it is arranged.  It does a great job explaining the topic and then goes into a great detailed lab that details the steps of the task. 

How do you teach?

I did some teaching at my previous job.  I taught a 5 day admin course on the ERP software that the company developed and did several conference style sessions.  The classes were generally small with on average of 6-10 people and the conference sessions could range from 15-30.  This was a huge challenge for me because I am generally a shy person and getting out in front of people presenting was really terrifying.  I tend to be a very technical person and this was my style of teaching.  I tried to give technical information in a way that was easy to understand and follow that up with hands-on labs that helped put what you learned to practice.  With more practice I think that I could be a better speaker and I may look into that in the near future.

What is successful teaching?

I think that successful teaching has to have content that is delivered in a fashion that the person being taught can understand it, remember it, and be entertained in the process.  I am not a big fan in which the instructor is reading the information from a book or slide deck.  I don’t get anything from it and I can do that on my own.

I think that we all something that we can teach each other and learning, well it takes a lifetime.

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. 
-Pablo Picasso

Thanks Robert for the great topic.  Look forward to next months T-SQL topic.

Categories: SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday