7/23/2014

The Invisible Kid

In New York, I was quiet.  Although I still found ways to buck the system.  Before the age of 12, I had been caught shoplifting, drank beer, smoked reefer, smoke cigarettes.  Except nobody would have imagined it.  Because I didn't talk much.

The best thing to happen was to move out of NY to Florida.  Where I became even more quiet.  In fact, I didn't speak.  Just went to school, attended class, went home, played tennis.

Around the 11th grade, I started to come out of my shell.  There was a guy named Kevin, who picked me up for tennis practice every day.  This guy was from Ontario, was African American, went to a private school and was really smart.

He got me listening to some cool music.  We'd go to the arcade before practice and play video games.  And during the ride, we talked about the most amazing stuff.  He was interested in what I had to say, which gave me confidence to talk more.  And win more tennis matches.

That guy went on to Harvard on scholarship, played on their tennis team and was a really cool guy.

I've got to give him credit for giving me the space to grow and exiting the world of mute.

Thank you Kevin~!

Rude People

People today feel like the world owes them something.  King of the world.  They have their remote controls, fly through the channels, such power.

When we go to Disney, you should see these people.  They walk right in front of you.  No manners.  They want you to get out of their way.  Unbelievable, such arrogance.

They aim their strollers right for you.  They stop in the middle of a crowded path, stop right there in them middle.  Oblivious that thousands of people are affected by their ignorance.

It's quite amazing, everyone feels entitled, at the cost of others.

Perhaps I'm just bitching, none the less, I observe this every single time we go.

Another thing, pointing.  When I was a kid, I was taught that it was rude to point.  Now, everyone does it.

Rude, arrogant, self entitled people.

Cheating

Not only are the public schools producing uneducated people who can't think for themselves, the best kept secret is 'cheating'.

Cheating is so prevelant in the schools system, it's baffeling.  The teachers and administration must know its going on.  We cheated so bad in school, I know I did.

I did not see the need to study.  Instead, I'd cram right before the test, write a cryptic cheat sheet the size of a quarter and use that as a study aid to assist in passing the tests.

I'd write so small, try to capture all the main facts, and it worked perfectly.  Except twice, I got caught.  One time, after moving to Tampa, in 8th grade, I asked to copy off another student.  That person told the teacher.  The teacher gave me a zero for the test.  This old lady teacher, a few weeks later, forgot, she asked me why I didn't have a grade for that particular test, so she gave me a make up test.

Another time, I had a cheat sheet for Spanish 2 class, the teacher saw me looking at it, started to walk over to my desk, I crumpled it up and threw it aside, the teacher never did catch me though.

I wasn't the only person doing this, everyone was.  We had a system in 12th grade physics class, some kid from a prior class, would obtain the answers, give them to us.  One test, every kid in the class got like a 30 or 40, except the three of us in the back of the class, we all aced it with 80s and 90s.  Also, the teacher would leave the exam on his desk between periods, one of us would go ask the teacher some questions and signal to the back of the class the answers.  It was almost a game, see how far we could push it.

I will say this, it robbed me of an education.  Except what they were teaching didn't really matter in the real world.  What matters in the real world is solving problems, especially in IT as a programmer.

Solve the problem.  Any way you know how.

Did I cheat, sure did.  Am I remorseful, perhaps.  Would I do it again, probably not.  Did it get me through school, you betcha.

The teachers didn't give a crap about me, in Tampa, I never had one teacher pull me aside and find out who I was, what I was capable of, they just herd the cattle through the system.

A bit of anarchy I suppose.  That's what's so cool about it.

When I got to college though, what an eye opener.  I never cheated.  And my grades were average perhaps, I did really well on the essay tests, not so much on the guess and answer, A,B,C,D, All of the above.  Except I graduated from a major college.  After my job with NationsBank in 1994, where I had to show my transcript to HR, I was never asked again about my college degree, ever.

Would I recommend cheating to kids now a days, hell no.  Put in the time, learn the material, do what's required.

I didn't like school.  Felt it was too restrictive.  Popularity contest.  No real learning going on.  So I made a game out of it.  Which freed up my time to play tennis every single day, from 3pm to 9pm, I was on the courts, doing what I loved.

Cheating helped me to get through school.  Now, you know the rest of the story.

7/22/2014

T-SQL Add Drop Constraints

When building a Data Warehouse, there are times when you must drop and add Foreign Key constraints.

Here's how you check to see if the Constraint exists, if it does, Drop it:


IF EXISTS (SELECT 1 from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.REFERENTIAL_CONSTRAINTS where
       CONSTRAINT_NAME = 'FK_Posted Claim Fund_Vendor')
ALTER TABLE [fact].[FactPostedClaimFund] DROP CONSTRAINT [FK_Posted Claim Fund_Vendor]
GO

Likewise, to see if the Constraint doesn't exist, Add it:


IF NOT EXISTS (SELECT 1 from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.REFERENTIAL_CONSTRAINTS where
       CONSTRAINT_NAME = 'FK_Posted Claim Fund_Vendor')

ALTER TABLE [fact].[FactPostedClaimFund]  WITH CHECK ADD  CONSTRAINT [FK_Posted Claim Fund_Vendor] FOREIGN KEY([VendorSK])
REFERENCES [dim].[DimVendor] ([VendorSK])
GO
ALTER TABLE [fact].[FactPostedClaimFund] CHECK CONSTRAINT [FK_Posted Claim Fund_Vendor]
GO

This technique is quite handy.

7/21/2014

Sell Product or Service to Stay Afloat

In today's economy, I recommend you have a marketable product or skill to stay competitive.

Your risks:
  • Out-Sourcing (foreign competition)
  • In-Sourcing (visa workers)
  • Downsizing
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Automation of Job Function
  • Elimination of Job Function
  • New Hires with Lower Salaries
If you've been coasting for the past few years, not learning the new stuff, on autopilot, working 9-5, doing only as expected, you may have future reservations sitting on the unemployment lines, permanently.

In order to compete and stay relevant, you must have a marketable skill with current experience.

High School students, learn computers, skip college, go directly into the workforce.  You'll avoid student loans and get a jump start on the ever changing field of technology.  Start networking now while there's no pressure and hit the ground running out of school by lining up internships.

If you work in Accounting or Marketing or Human Resources or some other function, you may want to take a few classes at night, get your IT skills up to date.

I applied for a part time job once, the hiring manager said I was competing with people from Russia, Poland and China, for a part time job, nights and weekends.  The reason I got the job was because I was local, they didn't have to contend with alternate time zones.

You're free to do as you please, but just as a warning, start learning now, before you're on the bench, blasting out resume's along with the other thousands of people applying for the same job.

And so it goes~!

#CrystalReports My First True Love

The first reporting tool I ever learned was Crystal Reports.  Version 5.  In 1996.

What a great product.  Pull data out of the database into a graphical report with little effort.

They had Crystal Reports and Crystal Info.  Crystal Info was a reporting server.  Basically had to create two versions of every report because they had differences.

The tool did a lot back then.  One thing they had were global variable to keep track of counts, and you had to reset the formulas in the group headers, so some reports were intense.

The cool thing, back when it was Seagate, they had a 1800# to call, with some pretty cool on-hold music, this services was an additional charge, but you got bumped to the front of the queue, which was a nice feature.

Whatever problem you had, they always said, "this will be corrected in the next version", especially the formatting issues when exporting to Excel.  Not sure this ever got fixed 100%.

Over the years, Crystal Reports got bought and sold.  The last time I used it, the website was a bit of a maze, tough to find your way through, for example I had to download the bits for the Server version, took a few phone calls and emails, finally got the product downloaded.

About the time they introduced Universes, I switched over to Microsoft SSRS.  I find each tool to have advantages and disadvantages.

You can read my articles here:

SSRS vs. Crystal Reports: http://www.bloomconsultingbi.com/2012/04/ssrs-vs-crystal-reports.html

4 Cool Features #SSRS #MSBI #SAP #CrystalReports: http://www.bloomconsultingbi.com/2013/02/4-cool-features-ssrs-msbi-sap.html

#SAP #CrystalReports Performance Tips:http://www.bloomconsultingbi.com/2013/02/sap-crystalreports-performance-tips.html

Installing #SAP #CrystalReports #BI: http://www.bloomconsultingbi.com/2013/02/installing-sap-crystalreports-bi.html

 So I definitely have a soft spot for Crystal Reports as it was my first true love of reporting, back when nobody else was working with data.


The Dave Matthews Band Rocks

I'm a late comer to the Dave Matthews band.  But I'll tell you what, they're one of the best live bands ever.  Similar to Grateful Dead, they blend eery solo's with extended songs with a variety of instruments and world class musicians.  Then add in the lyrics.  It's just fantastic.

Similar to the Dead, they allow concerts to be recorded and distributed.  I like to play Dave Matthews in the background while I work.  Which is nice when they have a two to three hour concert.

When they're in the groove, is a mystical experience where you can get lost in the rhythms.  They have a tremendous vibe.  I'm definitely a new fan~!

Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on83UQNJRg8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9YJnT6NIgE 

7/20/2014

IBM Country Club was Awesome

I grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Where most families worked for IBM.  My dad worked for IBM for 34 years.  And that entitled us to be members at the IBM Country Club.

My dad played handball and racquet ball there every weekend.  Which meant that my brother and I went along too.  There was so much to do there.  Tennis courts.  Several baseball diamonds.  A golf course.  Olympic swimming pool.  A bowling alley.  Basketball gym.  Weights.  Cafeteria.

That place was awesome.  During the summer, they offered camp for the kids.  We went every week.  They had archery, swimming, everything.  I was even on a baseball league there.

I remember they even had fireworks, especially remember the one from 1976 the country's 200th anniversary.

We moved out of Poughkeepsie, NY in 1982 to Tampa Florida.  Many years later I heard they shut down the IBM Country Club --> http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2010/12/13/mourning-the-ibm-country-club-and-end-of-the-corporate-family/

That's too bad.  The economy has changed, the world has changed so obviously the workforce has changed.  IBM was the place to work when I was a kid growing up in Poughkeepsie, NY.

A lot of my childhood was spent at the IBM Country Club and I'll remember those days forever.