The waste and the loss

I cried a lot when my mother died.  It wasn’t because I was sad and missed her.  It was because of the waste.  She had her good parts, but the bad parts kept me from having a relationship with her.  My dad and I never talked about it.  But I really regret the waste of what could have been.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, p. 554

Nature Boy

There was a boy
A very strange, enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea

A little shy
And sad of eye
But very wise
Was he

And then one day
The magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me

“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return. “

We’ll Fight As Long As We Live

Fiery mountain beneath the moon
The words unspoken, we’ll be there soon
For home a song that echoes on
And all who find us will know the tune

Some folk we never forget
Some kind we never forgive
Haven’t seen the back of us yet
We’ll fight as long as we live
All eyes on the hidden door
To the Lonely Mountain borne
We’ll ride in the gathering storm
Until we get our long-forgotten gold

Miles To Go Before I Sleep

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost
Stopping By Woods on Snowy Evening

The Trouble With Warp Speed

If you grew up watching Star Trek you can recall “Warp factor two Sulu,” Scottie starting to sweat about things if Warp 6 was run for any length of time, and going absolutely worried at Warp 7 and above.   But at the same time when warp drive was engaged stars would go flying by the craft like gnats.

Several months ago I was sitting around instead of doing what I was supposed to at home and it dawned on me that the warp speeds in Star Trek, compared to interstellar distances, posed a real problem.   See the table below ( Stellar distances from ):

Common Name Scientific Name Distance (light years) Years to Reach @ Warp 2 Years to Reach @ Warp 6
Proxima Centauri V645 Cen 4.2        2.10           0.70
Rigil Kentaurus Alpha Cen A 4.3        2.15           0.72
Alpha Cen B 4.3        2.15           0.72
Barnard’s Star 6        3.00           1.00
Wolf 359 CN Leo 7.7        3.85           1.28
BD +36 2147 8.2        4.10           1.37
Luyten 726-8A UV Cet A 8.4        4.20           1.40
Luyten 726-8B UV Cet B 8.4        4.20           1.40
Sirius A Alpha CMa A 8.6        4.30           1.43
Sirius B Alpha CMa B 8.6        4.30           1.43
Ross 154 9.4        4.70           1.57
Ross 248 10.4        5.20           1.73
Epsilon Eri 10.8        5.40           1.80
Ross 128 10.9        5.45           1.82
61 Cyg A (V1803 Cyg) 11.1        5.55           1.85
61 Cyg B 11.1        5.55           1.85
Epsilon Ind 11.2        5.60           1.87
BD +43 44 A 11.2        5.60           1.87
BD +43 44 B 11.2        5.60           1.87
Luyten 789-6 11.2        5.60           1.87
Procyon A Alpha CMi A 11.4        5.70           1.90
Procyon B Alpha CMi B 11.4        5.70           1.90
BD +59 1915 A 11.6        5.80           1.93
BD +59 1915 B 11.6        5.80           1.93
CoD -36 15693 11.7        5.85           1.95

At cruising speed it would take the Enterprise 2.1 years to reach our closest star and at max safe speed it would take 8.4 months.  For a kid who learned his Starfleet Technical Manual, yes I owned a copy, this has really rocked my world :)

You would think later versions of Star Trek, what with all the technical advances in the new starships, would go faster, it doesn’t seem to be the case.  The NCC1701D in The Next Generation only has a top speed of Warp 9.9.   That cuts the time to Alpha Centauri to a mere four months instead of 8, and still takes a full year to reach the 12th closest star to earth.

Live Long and Prosper.

Please set Wrench->Zoom to 100%

Using a chromebook, using secure shell 0.8.31, all my sessions starting popping up with the message “Please set Wrench->Zoom to 100%”.   Furthermore in some sessions the last line of the screen was not being displayed.  Ie. where you were typing commands was not visible.

What was going on ?

In plain english this message simply means someone has fiddled with the browser zoom in chromebook settings.   Click on the area of your toolbar that shows time/wifi/battery etc., bring up settings.  Select Advanced Settings.  Scroll down until you find the section in Web Content saying Page Zoom and make sure that is set to 100%.  Issue resolved.

There that was painless wasn’t it ?

Automated Benchmarking

Naturally the best benchmark is your own workload.  Any canned benchmark will be different than the live workload you witness on your particular system.   Still for kicking the tires on a new DBMS installation, for exploring tuning impacts of various variables in general etc. canned benchmarks can be marvelous.

HammerDB appears to be just the ticket.   It supports TPC-C and TPC-H against SQLServer, MySql, Oracle, Greenplum, Postgres and Redis.   It runs on windows and linux.

Check it out at the above link.

Sandbox in EC2 … cost safety ….

I’ve found EC2 in Amazon AWS to be a great sandbox for a DBA.   I have test servers of SQL Server 2012 and 2014 base at the moment.   I always worry though that I will forget to shutdown an instance when I am not using it, go on vacation to Pango Pango, or wherever, and return to discover I’ve been paying hourly fees for an instance I didn’t need to have running.

What to do ?

The answer is to schedule a task to automatically shutdown the server once a day, a a time when you probably won’t be using it anyway.   Say 3:00 am local time.   If by chance you wanted to have stuff running overnight in your EC2 test instance…. just disable the auto shutdown.

You will want to start the task scheduler, create a basic tast that runs daily, specify the time, and then enter the command and options.  The command is :


Arguments that I use are ‘-s -t 60 -f -c “Bye Be” ‘

To learn more about shutdown.exe read the following technote :

What Version of SQL Server Is Running ?

When you sit down for the first time with a new SQLServer instance its a good idea to validate precisely what version you have running.  I have been told I have one version when in fact I have another.   In large installations of servers its even possible you may have forgotten what a particular server is running.

First you can view the SQL Log “Management->Sqlserver Logs->…. the first record will usually show the server name.  You may have to widen the column to see it all.

Another way is to use the @@VERSION variable.   Instead of using SELECT @@VERSION which returns the results in a single text column I prefer to use PRINT @@VERSION which formats the output in a more human readable display.

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 – 12.0.2000.8 (X64)
Feb 20 2014 20:04:26
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation
Standard Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.3 <X64> (Build 9600: ) (Hypervisor)

In the above example it shows I am using the 64 bit version of SQLSERVER 2014 Standard Edition