Getting Reviewed.

The good news in my world is my software, BookSmarts, was reviewed. I didn’t really know it happened, but Softpedia reviewed it.

To tell you the truth, this sort of thing can be nerve-racking especially if you know ahead of time that they are going to review your work. In my case, I’ve been working on it for the past two years. The surprise moment when you see a review of your work makes time stand still and your heart starts beating harder.

When someone is working on something for two years without seeing a dime, it becomes their baby. I am now sure I know what the mother’s on Toddlers & Tiaras are experiencing. You have got this thing out there for the world to see, your baby, and people are criticizing or praising it. Trust me, as a parent, no one ever likes it if you call their baby ugly. Go ahead, I dare you to say that to a mom you know, see how it goes. You probably won’t be able to say that again without a lisp, because she knocked out your front teeth.

Luckily for me, I apparently have pretty baby, it got an excellent first review. It was an affirmation of my time and effort, as well as all those around me who have supported me through this intrepid endeavor. It is a reward, in a sense, for the effort. Yes, it is ultimately making money is proof of success, but this is a nice place to be in on the path to success.

BookSmarts Bookmark Manager Softpedia Rating

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

MS Access – Remove Source Control

If you are like me, you love source control. I recently discovered you can use source control in Access via a plugin. However if you want to push it out to a client, how do you remove source control? What you do is a compact and repair of the database. It will ask you if you wish to remove source control from the new copy of the database, click yes and your should be good to go.

Powershell – Copyrighting made easy

I recently needed to submit a program I’m working on for a copyright. One of the criteria is the first and last 25 pages of the program need to be submitted. I really didn’t want to go into every source code file and append it to a file manually, I have more important things to do than that. I used my old friend Powershell to get what I needed.

Here is the line:

> ls *.cs -recurse | ?{-not ($_.fullname -match “obj”) -and -not ($_.fullname -match “properties”)} | Get-Content > sourcecode.txt

What this is doing is grabbing all of my C# code from my solution (excluding code in the obj and properties folders) and dumping it to a text file.

From there I was able to upload one file.

Finding All The Logins Not Associated to Database Users

Today I ran into a particular issue, consolidating user accounts. In this particular exercise, I needed to remove old user accounts that were not tied to any databases. Here is a neat trick I did to get a reasonable number of logins to look at for disabling.

CREATE TABLE ##names (NAME SYSNAME);
EXEC sp_msforeachdb ‘insert into ##names (name) select name from [?].sys.sysusers’;

SELECT name,
loginname
FROM sys.syslogins l
WHERE NOT EXISTS ( SELECT *
FROM ##names u
WHERE u.name=l.name )

Using the unsupported sp_msforeachdb stored procedure I could dump all the usernames into a table and compare it to the logins. Simple, quick, dirty…But saved a lot of time!

Remotely connecting to SQL Server 2008 Integration Services – Access is denied error.

Very annoying error and I haven’t seen clear concise instructions for getting this to work. I will attempt to do that here.

  1. Open Administrative Tools > Component Services
  2. Navigate to DCOM Config and open the properties for MsDtsServer100
  3. Click on the Security tab
  4. Add the appropriate users/groups that you need and assign their permissions to BOTH “Launch and Activation Permissions” AND “Access Permisions” (Both of whom, select Customize then Edit)
  5. Click Ok to save changes and close those windows.
  6. Right click on Computer, select Manage.
  7. Navigate to System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Groups
  8. Double click on Distributed COM Users
  9. Add the users/groups you wanted to give permissions to.

Parenting Hack – Feeding a child who refuses to eat

Being the parent of a child in the terrible 2’s can be a daunting task; they are expressing the individuality and are testing the boundaries. My daughter was refusing to eat, it was just an act of defiance.

I then remembered something from the book the Art of War, take the middle ground. If she won’t eat food, maybe I could get her to just hold the food. Obviously, it should be something easy for a 2 year old to hold. In this case I used pancakes. I told her to help daddy by holding a pancake for me.

In a minute, she ate the pancake. I asked her to hold another one for me, and wouldn’t you know that she ate that one too!

So I hope this helps to feed your defiant 2 year old as well!

SQL Server Database Corruption

I’m currently studying for the 70-450 exam to obtain my MCITP in SQL Server Database Administration. I wanted to get a better understanding for SQL Server’s transaction log. I wanted to see if I could corrupt a databases MDF and recover data even after the last t-log backup. This is where the tail backup comes in.

The tail log backup can recover your data even if the MDF is corrupted. This is because it stores all the transactions since the last full backup and t-log backup. If the MDF is corrupted your t-log should still be able  to be backed up, unless that is corrupted too. If the database is not truly corrupt, a backup log statement with the norecovery option will work just fine. This puts your database into recovery mode and prevents users from going into the database, preserving the state of the database so the restoration can be performed.

Unfortunately this does not work when the database is corrupted. You have to use the option continue_after_error, this forces the backup to occur.

You can then restore all data back to the database using your full and t-log backups.

Immediately after bringing the database online, be sure to make a full backup. This way you have a good restore point and if you routinely are backing up your t-logs, your next transactional backup will work just fine.

SQL Server – Searching for Non-Alphanumeric characters Using Like

All I can say is I have never really needed to search for a percent sign or square brackets or a caret in a query until today. GooBling (Googling and Binging) didn’t return any useful results. Of course Kim Tripp, one of the sage SQL Server gurus always recommends checking Books Online first, shame on me for not checking there first but this wasn’t entirely obvious. Check out the details here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms179859.aspx

You can specify an escape character using a very, now, obvious escape character. An escape character placed in front of a pattern matching character will force SQL Server to recognize the pattern matching character as a normal character.

For example:

SELECT * FROM table WHERE col1 LIKE ‘%|%%’ ESCAPE ‘|’

The above query will return all rows where col1 contains a percent sign.

Virtual PC for Windows 7 Black Screen

57% of all VM launches in Virtual PC are failures. I’m joking, don’t believe everything you read on the internet (or politicians for that matter). To that end, take my solution into consideration but a warning for you, there is a distinct chance you will lose data in this case, especially if you never save changes from the Undo Disk.

If you are having problems booting your VM in Virtual PC, I have a trick fro those of you who have the Undo Disk enabled. If you cannot boot, you can go into settings of the VM > Close in the left pane > Select Prompt in the right pane.

Try to stop the VM and it will prompt you for an action when you close. Select “Turn Off and Delete Changes”. When it closes it deletes everything in your undo disk and it will revert your VM to a time when, hopefully it was booting correctly.

Note: any changes made since the last time you committed changes from the undo disk will be gone forever. The idea here is to recover the VM to a working state. I do not want to hear that your VM is dead, you have been warned.

SQL Server Rebuild or Reoganize Your Indexes – It depends, but here is a script I use.

So if you are like me, chances are you have that one server where the reindexing or reorganizing is taking a long time to finish. I came up with a solution that has helped me reduce the time it takes to maintain my indexes.

Background

Rebuilding indexes basically recreates an index from scratch (retrieving the data from the table again) whereas reorganizing is a process that relocates the pages of an index.

Rebuilding an Index

Rebuilding an index is typically an offline process, unless you have the Enterprise edition of SQL Server with the online flag set (check BOL for your particular version). While non-clustered indexes are being rebuilt, the table is available. However, rebuilding clustered indexes results in the the table being offline.

Reorganizing an Index

Reorganizing is an online process. It can reduce your fragmentation, but doesn’t always. Remember it is only moving pages around and not actually recreating the pages from data in the table.

Best Practices

Based on what I have read from various experts of SQL Server, rebuilding is recommended for indexes over 30 percent fragmentation. Under 30 percent, the index should be reorganized.

It is also recommended to not do anything to the indexes that are under 100 pages in size as they will not gain anything from a rebuild or reorganize. Of course, sometimes you might need to rebuild a small index, if for example, one of the pages has data corruption.

What the Script Does

Based on the best practices I mention above, it scans the sys.indexes view of every database on your SQL Server instance and then creates (and executes) rebuild or reogranize command for each index that has more than 5% fragmentation and more than 100 pages in size.

It uses the server default fill factor, which you can set in the properties of server instance.It currently DOES rebuild clustered indexes, so if you are running this be sure to run it in your maintenance window.

I encourage you to read through and understand the script as well as test it in your test environment before running it on production to get a feel for its behavior.

Let me know if it helps you out, I know it has helped me get more done in my maintenance window.

DECLARE @rebuildThreshold FLOAT;
SET @rebuildThreshold = 30.0;

CREATE TABLE #indices (
dbname VARCHAR(300),
tablename VARCHAR(300),
indexname VARCHAR(300),
fragmentation FLOAT
)
DECLARE @db SYSNAME;
DECLARE @sql VARCHAR(2000);

DECLARE curs CURSOR
FOR
SELECT  name
FROM    sys.databases
WHERE   name<>’tempdb’  AND state_desc <> ‘OFFLINE’ AND is_read_only = 0

OPEN curs

FETCH NEXT FROM curs INTO @db;
WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS=0
BEGIN
SET @sql = ‘SELECT ”’ + @db + ”’,
”[” + SCHEMA_NAME(schema_id) + ”].[” + OBJECT_NAME(i.object_id, DB_ID(”’ + @db + ”’)) + ”]”,
i.name AS indexname,
ips.avg_fragmentation_in_percent
FROM    sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats(DB_ID(”’ + @db + ”’), NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL) ips
INNER JOIN [‘ + @db + ‘].sys.indexes i ON ips.object_id=i.object_id AND
ips.index_id=i.index_id
INNER JOIN [‘ + @db + ‘].sys.objects o ON i.object_id = o.object_id
WHERE   page_count>=100 AND
avg_fragmentation_in_percent > 5’;

INSERT  INTO #indices
(
dbname,
tablename,
indexname,
fragmentation
)
EXEC (
@sql
);

FETCH NEXT FROM curs INTO @db;
END
CLOSE curs;
DEALLOCATE curs;

DECLARE curs2 CURSOR
FOR
SELECT  CASE WHEN fragmentation<@rebuildThreshold THEN ‘ALTER INDEX ‘ + indexname + ‘ ON [‘ + dbname + ‘].’ + tablename + ‘ REORGANIZE;’
ELSE ‘ALTER INDEX ‘ + indexname + ‘ ON [‘ + dbname + ‘].’ + tablename + ‘ REBUILD;’
END
FROM    #indices
WHERE   indexname IS NOT NULL;

OPEN curs2;

FETCH NEXT FROM curs2 INTO @sql;
WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS=0
BEGIN
EXEC (@sql);
PRINT @sql;

FETCH NEXT FROM curs2 INTO @sql;
END

CLOSE curs2;
DEALLOCATE curs2;

DROP TABLE #indices