Learning Spanish as an adult

Over the last few weeks, a few people have asked me how I went about learning Spanish as an adult.

A recent guest post on Tim Ferriss’ blog by Gabriel Wyner may be helpful for people that want to learn.

At a high level, the plan I followed was similar:

  1. Learn spelling and sound.
  2. Build a foundational vocabulary.
  3. Learn grammar, abstract vocabulary and patterns.
  4. Get as much exposure to the language as possible. Identify your trouble spots and work them out through self-study.

Although Wyner’s definition of fluency is a little too loose for my taste, the post is filled with solid insights.


Why watch the same movie twice?

I’m a huge fan of revisiting good movies again and again over the span of several years. But not just movies—books, music, other works of art, foods. Anything of quality is fair game, even if I was only lukewarm to it initially.

This quote attributed to Heraclitus comes to mind:

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

In this case, the work you are revisiting is the same. You, however, are not. And the context from which you are experiencing it is not.

It’s rewarding to dive into the same good book every few years and find fresh lessons and insights waiting there for you each time. You see things you did not see and likely could not see at a previous point in your life. In a way, the fact that this happens is a sign of life—a confirmation that you are still growing in whatever areas that work covers.

SSIS Output to Multiple Files

Export a large set of query results into multiple flat files using SSIS.

Let’s say a user asks you to create a flat file output from a database query. Piece of cake. Open SSMS, write the query, run it and copy the results (with headers using SSMS 2008) into a text file. Send the user the file and and you’re done with time left over for a siesta.

But oh wait—they want to be able to open it in an older version of Excel, which will only display ~ 65k rows per sheet. This file has 190k rows. So they ask you to write the output to multiple files, limiting the total rows per file to 60k.

Now what?

You could simply open the raw flat file, go to line 60,001 and cut-paste lines 60,001–120,000 into another file and repeat as necessary. That’s ok for a one-off task but not a good strategy if you are going to be doing this several times. It can be cumbersome and error prone to manually create several files this way.

No—the better approach is to make SSIS do the heavy lifting. I had to do this recently and thought I’d share my solution. [Read more...]

Notes on Marketing and Promotion

I made these notes during last night’s HYPE event: Entrepreneur Roundtable – Marketing & Promotion. The speakers were Caitlin Thayer of Barefoot Media
and Andrew Wood of Mintz & Hoke Communications Group. Caitlin and Andrew discussed brand, marketing, social media and small business success. These notes aren’t their words verbatim so if anything sounds wrong, the blame is mine. [Read more...]

The Well-Dressed DBA

You may not be aware of this fact but DBAs (database administrators) are actually world renowned for their impeccable display of sartorial savvy. What the average man knows about fashion would fit nicely within a CHAR(4) field. What the DBA knows about fashion requires a VARCHAR(MAX) field. At least.

By the way, the author would have you know that he can speak with total and complete authority on female DBA fashion as well as male. But he will let a female DBA tackle her own sex. Today he will tackle only the male.

We will begin at the bottom and work our way to the top. [Read more...]

SQL Server 2005 How to Change Default Backup Location

In SQL Server 2005, you can easily change the default location for log and data files. Open SSMS and connect to the instance you want to configure. Right-click on the instance and choose properties. Then select the Database Settings page and change the Database default locations.

Clickity-click-done. (I know, being a DBA can be tough sometimes.) [Read more...]