Key DBA’s Weblog

April 29, 2008

In Transition Part 4 or House Hunting Trip Wrap Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — keydba @ 10:39 am

Saturday, we celebrated our success of finding housing by taking a trip to the St. Louis Zoo www.stlzoo.org .  The first thing about the Zoo that we discovered was that it is FREE to get in.  You still need to pay $10.00 per vehicle for parking, but still, FREE Zoo!  Once in the Zoo, of course certain attractions of the Zoo cost money.  For example, you can purchase a ticket to ride the train that makes trips around the Zoo for $5.  Want to Ride the Carousel?  $3 please.  We liked the idea of the pay-as-you-want theme of the Zoo.  My personal favorite part of the Zoo was the outdoor/indoor Penguin exhibit.  The inside portion was kept at a frosty 45 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Note: I am really, really comfortable in 68 degree server rooms as well.)  After the Zoo we had a nice relaxing dinner.  For “coffee” met with the Recruiter that found me for the position in the St. Louis area.  We had a nice conversation, and it was good to finally match a person to the voice.

Sunday was a travel day for us; back to Orlando, Florida.  The saddest part was having to give back the GPS unit, who my Fiancee named “Garmina” (We had the unit speaking in the female voice.).  Our flight back was uneventful.  We stopped for a lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in Orlando, Little Saigon Restaurant. Sadly it will be the last time we eat there for a long while.

April 26, 2008

Q: Why did you start this Blog again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — keydba @ 1:15 pm

Q: Why did you start this BLOG again?

A: In our society it is considered polite conversation to ask one’s Profession, such as “What do you do for a living?”  Over time, I have developed a multi-staged answer.

Dialogs go something like this:

50% of the time …
Them: “What do you do for a living?”
Me:   “I work in Information Technology.”

Them: “What’s that?”
Me:   “Computers.”

Them: *eyes glaze over as a natural defense of being instantly bored* “Oh.”

40% of the time …
Them: “What do you do for a living?”
Me:   “I work in Information Technology.”

Them: “… Computers, right?”
Me:   “Yep!”

Them: *eyes glaze over as a natural defense of being instantly bored* “Oh.”

09% of the time …
Them: “What do you do for a living?”
Me:   “I work in Information Technology.”

Them: *eyes glaze over as a natural defense of being instantly bored* “Oh, that computer crap.”

(This type of reaction still amazes me.  Mental check: Yes, we really are in the twenty first century, it really is 2008.  I have come to the conclusion that anyone that responds to me like this has just missed out from a technological perspective, regardless of their age.  I realize that not everyone has a technical job, or works with a computer with whatever it is they do for a living, BUT we cannot NOT interact with computers in America today.  Computers of one form or another are everywhere.  Cell phones, ATMs, electric watches, calculators, GPS units … the list goes on…) 

0.9999% of the time …
Them: “What do you do for a living?”
Me:   “I work in Information Technology.”

Them: Something to the effect of “Are you a Server Admin?”
Me:   “I am a Database Administrator.”

(This type of response occurs when I have run into another person that is in IT, or I am at a technological event like COMDEX, browsing Technology books in a store, etc.)

0.0001% of the time … (Reserved for Family and Friends)
Them: “What do you do for a living?”
Me:   “I work in Information Technology.”

Them: “Oh really? My computer has been acting kind of weird lately …”
Me:   *fights the urge to glaze over eyes* “I will be happy to take a look at it, but I cannot guarantee that I can fix it.”

(I don’t know how this kind of myth or stereotype has evolved, but apparently anyone in IT is a desktop expert, at least according to this segment of the population.  What the general population does not realize or care to know is that as time goes on IT is getting more and more specialized as technologies continue to evolve and expand.  In my opinion, this type of situation can be equal to having a Podiatrist check you for an ear infection; yes the person is a Doctor, but not his or her specialty.  I am the kind of person that realizes that the person I am talking to does not know anyone that has troubleshooting or computer repair skills, and they just want their computer to operate smoothly.  I honestly don’t mind looking at someone else’s machine, but I am *very* careful to stop if there is a serious issue with the machine.  I will always backup any data that I can or take a System Restore if working on a PC with WindowsXP.)

 

This online journal aka BLOG answers the question: “What do you do for a living?”  It has just occurred to me that I now need to print business cards that give a little blurb about what I do, and a URL link to this site.  (I have no idea how when or where I developed the ability give myself more work, but I am *REALLY* good at it.)

— Key

 

In Transition Part 3 or House Hunting Trip Day 2 of 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — keydba @ 5:09 am

The Garmin model is a Street Pilot c550.  Amazingly we were out the door of the hotel and on the road by 8:30 AM.  After a quick breakfast, Mrs. Garmin (the female voice) led us to my new office building where I will be working for CompanyB.  My Fiancee and I came up with the idea to drive from the new office to possible rental locations to make sure each address was within the “thirty minutes from work” rule.  Of the six locations we had narrowed our search down to, three of the locations (two houses and one apartment complex) were beyond the half hour window.  The first of the three remaining choices for Round One got moved to the back of the line due to the fact that no one was at the Management Office, despite the blue and white “OPEN” sign smack dab in the middle of the door window.  The events at the second location was a real eye opener for the both of us.  We were really excited about this location due to the fact that I had sent an email to the property Management last night, after having reviewed the floor plans online, as well as the price ranges for the units via www.forrent.com .  On our way to track down one of the rental houses, a representative of this complex had called us, and confirmed that they had units that were in our price range, had units available when I need to take possession, and all of the amenities we want.  I let the representative know that we would be stopping by as soon as we could.  Upon arrival, I introduced myself, my Fiancee introduced herself, and we began to explain our limited time in the St. Louis area to secure housing, my start date of May 12, 2008, as well as the amenities that we wanted at a minimum.  She checked her available unit list, and stated that she has several units available, and she would be more than happy to show one or more units to us, as soon as she took a copy of each of our Drivers Licenses, and began to run a credit check.  The credit check came back in a moment or so.  Now for the fun part … 

Being an average American I have less than perfect credit, so in order for this apartment rental property company to protect themselves, they wanted roughly $800.00 U.S. Dollars PLUS six months rent before we could take possession of an eight hundred square foot, one bedroom, second floor apartment.  Basically with a one year lease, we would be paying for the first month, and the eighth through the twelfth months before moving in.  We did some quick math, and calculated that we would need $5,680.00 U.S. Dollars … in the form of a cashier’s check.  I thought to myself, “If we had more than $6,000 in liquid assets, we would not be renting!”  While my Fiancee and I were reeling about the audacity of this place, the representative asked us if we wanted to see an empty unit.  Again, I thought to myself, “Oh, this have to see!  At least I will get an idea of what they are so proud of.”  I exchanged a quick glance and a shrug with my Fiancee, and told the representative that we would like to see it.  There was nothing special to note about the unit, and it had all new GE appliances.  We told her that we would be in touch no later than close of business tomorrow.

We were off to our last hope for the day.  In about two hours, we had toured three units, had my credit checked, had a background check, my employment verified, and a current renters check made with our current rental company made.  We also wrote checks for our security deposit, pet deposit, and application fee.  I will take possession of the new apartment on May 9, 2008.  Our mission of securing housing was accomplished!  With a huge weight lifted off our shoulders, we headed back to the hotel to rest.  After some lounging around, we decided to grab some dinner.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we have the entire day to ourselves.  I will be contacting the Technical Recruiter that found me for CompanyB.  She wanted to meet us for dinner.

— Key

 

 

April 25, 2008

In Transition Part 2 or House Hunting Trip Day 1 of 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — keydba @ 5:27 am

Today was a busy day.  I worked a half day at CompanyA.  Spent my morning briefing my replacement at CompanyA, going over the morning reports to review, and working through a new SQL Server 2005 Cluster that the Server Team brought online last night.  Unfortunately, I was not included in the proper email distribution list, so I spent about a half hour troubleshooting an inactive SQL Server 2005 instance.  A quick call to the Senior Systems Administrator, got me in touch with the Server Team Member that migrated the databases from the single instance to the Active/Passive SQL Server 2005 Cluster.  The Server Guy hadn’t realized that I was “out of the loop” and got me added to the list, to avoid this in the future; and granted my access request to both Server nodes, as well as SA rights to the SQL 2005 Instance.  This was a great opportunity to show my replacement how to incorporate a new SQL Server 2005 Instance into my automated monitoring application.  (I will elaborate more about this system when I get back to CompanyA office next week.)  I began documenting the Server Name, IP Address, SQL Server Version and about a dozen other factoids into my master list of database systems.  All of this took me up to about Noon.  The end of my half day of work.

I then drove home, grabbed my Fiancee, the laptop, and our one bag and drove the 65 miles to the Orlando International Airport.  Then we flew to St. Louis for a House Hunting Trip, courtesy of CompanyB.  The flight was uneventful except for the recipe I learned (by observation) from the nice older lady next to me.

 Southwest Airlines Trail Mix

Yield: About a half cup
Ingredients:

  • One package of salted, roasted peanuts
  • A single 100 Calorie Pack of Cheese Nip Thin Crisps

Directions:

  1. Open both packages.
  2. Dump contents of both packages onto a napkin.
  3. Mix ingredients to desired mixitude.
  4. Enjoy!

Optional:

  • Bring your own Raisins.
  • Enjoy with a beverage!  I observed the making of this recipe enjoyed with a Coca Cola, which I gladly opened for the nice lady.

Other than a little bit of a rough landing, we arrived in St. Louis, MO.  Picked up our bag from Baggage Claim, and took the shuttle to the rental car lot.  We had our choice of a PT Cruiser, or an HHR.  PT Cruiser won because it was the default in the system.  We opted to pick a Garmin GPS unit, I will get the model of the unit tomorrow, it seems to be more accurate that other models I have used in the past.

The Female Garmin Voice took us to the hotel.  We checked in, got our room keys and dropped off our things.  Then I called the Real Estate Agent that CompanyB has helped place employees relocating to the area for the past eight years.  Due to the short notice of this trip for us, he was already booked Friday and Saturday.  So, to accommodate us, he met us for dinner at a local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel.  He brought along a map and several apartment hunting guides.  Over the course of several hours and a nice Mexican dinner he proceeded to give advice on what parts of the St. Louis area he has placed people in, as well as what places will fit our budget as well as the amenities that we will need.  We have at least a half dozen good leads on places to check up on for Friday and Saturday.  It is almost 12:30 AM Central time (1:30 AM Eastern).  More on our experiences tomorrow.

— Key

 

April 23, 2008

In Transition Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — keydba @ 11:42 pm

I am in the process of changing jobs.  I have given my two week notice at CompanyA in Daytona Florida; and will be moving to work for CompanyB in St. Louis, Missouri.  Why?  CompanyB is willing to pay me more in salary while I administer a smaller database environment.  During the next few weeks, I will be posting my experiences while I make the transition from the old job to the new one.

I made the mental decision to start a BLOG for a few months.  It will be written from my perspective about everything I go through in my Professional life.  My day-to-day mundane tasks, interesting technological advances I come across, custom scripts that I develop to solve problems, scripts I find and modify for my needs, as well as comments and observations.  I will do my best to make a posting every day, which will slowly evolve into a habit as I incorporate the time I carve out of my schedule to sit down and type up my experiences of the day.

NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT refresh browser or mess around with network settings while writing blog entry! Or, if I do, save the last half hour of unsaved work to a Text file first, so I don’t have to retype it again! *slaps palm to forehead*

While I was on the phone with my Father, I mentioned the idea of creating this online Journal after my first day at CompanyB.  He really liked the idea BUT suggested that it could be a real eye opener for me to start documenting my experience now, while I am wrapping things up for CompanyA and all of the “stuff” that I go through during my job change.  Hopefully someone reading my postings will be able to glean some tips or make fewer mistakes that I did for this whole shift of lifestyle.

— Key

 

First Post

Filed under: First Post — keydba @ 11:12 pm
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This is my first BLOG. My goal is to “unlock” some of the secrets and mystique surrounding my profession.  I am a Database Administrator.

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