A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.
All In to the Cloud
I was listening to the fall 2020 GroupBy conference recently and heard Gethyn Ellis note that he wasn't aware of any companies that were over some age (a decade?), and that had made a 100% move to the cloud. The comment caught my eye, not because I haven't felt the same way, but because I'd just heard from a company that surprised me.
During the DevOps Enterprise Summit recently, one of the keynotes was from Capital One. They are a 26 year old company that is focused on financial services, and they said that this year they are 100% in the cloud. They recently shut down their last data center. For a highly regulated company, and one that's not a startup, that is impressive.
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The Separation of Tools
I've got a question for you today. Is it better to have SSMS and ADS available as separate downloads?
If you installed SQL Server prior to 2017 (the year, not the version), you had the option to add Management Studio (SSMS) to your installation. In fact, that was the only way to get SSMS back then. There was no separate tools download, which was a pain for many customers.
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SQL Server Phone Home
A few versions ago Microsoft added the Customer Experience Improvement Service to the SQL Server platform. This is the CEIP service, and it comes with SQL Server. It is designed to get telemetry from your operation of a SQL Server instance on your premises. If you have Standard or Enterprise, you can turn this off, but if you use Developer or Eval, you cannot. Brent wrote a short description of this service recently, which is a good summary.
When this first came out, there was a lot of concern with regards to data privacy, but I suspect most of this is overblown. Microsoft is bound by the GDPR, and my conversations with employees over the years have convinced me they take this seriously. Not just the legal staff, but many of the developers were surprised by the detail and documentation that they had to provide in order to gather data.
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Chopping Off Data
Do you know the difference between XLS and XLSX? They're both Excel formats, and many of us might just use one or the other. After all, the latest versions of Excel work with both, and if you've been using a spreadsheet for years, perhaps you stick with the older format when exchanging data with others.
As many of you might have seen, Public Health England recently learned there is a difference with large amounts of data. They found data was being chopped off in a spreadsheet because they were using the old XLS format, which only supports 65k rows. The newer XLSX format will support a million rows, but both numbers are far below what SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and other platforms support. Those platforms support billions, and most are limited only by the storage available.
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Career Goals and Inspiration
Many of us start working in technology because we enjoy programming or software or data or some other aspect of computing. We usually have some excitement that gets us motivated to start learning or apply for a job. Over time, we may move our area of focus, pick up new platforms, change jobs, and more. I'd like to think that most people actively make choices, rather than fall into the next situation, but I see the latter more often than the former. People take jobs quickly, when offered, even if the opportunity isn't one for they were aiming.
This certainly isn't all bad, as there are times when we get opportunities we weren't expecting. We may not realize what possibilities are available. However, I do regularly see people not thinking about the next step in their career until they need a job or they hate the one they are in. With that in mind, asking you to think about where you might want to go or what to achieve, I have a question for you.
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The Degradation of the Turing Test
The Turing Test from Alan Turing was proposed as a test of an intelligent system. Could a human determine if the other party in a conversation was a machine? This was an interesting way of imagining how powerful a computer might grow and the types of answers it might give to a human. Interestingly enough Turing didn't argue about the correctness of the answers, just that they appeared to be from a human.
In some sense, I wonder how many people would have been fooled by the GPT-3 bot on Reddit. It posted comments for a week to a variety of threads. You can look through the posts by the "thegentlemetre" user, but this one caught my eye, and as I read it, I was surprised how much this looks like things I've seen posted on the Internet.
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