Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I did not coin the phrase, but fully intend on stealing it and using it.  

Last week, the Professional Association for SQL Server held its annual Summit.  This is basically a world-wide user group, ran by users, for users, with a little help from MS and CA.  There is a board of directors that have been elected, by-laws, volunteers and the rest of the members.  Each year, those that get to go get a chance to meet the movers and shakers in SQL Server communities world-wide.  I have often said to other SQL peeps that I have probably met at least 1 author of a SQL book they probably have in their office.  So far, that prediction has been 100% true.  I have been able to sit at the feet of the giants in our community and learn from them.  Some have even become my friends.  And i get to see them each year at the Summit.  As my attendance has increased, i have also met and made many friends that are repeat customers, like myself.

Someone else at the summit coined this phrase, and i stole it too.  Summer Camp for DBA's.
This is an eerily accurate portrayal of the event.  We all show up from across the world, and slowly remeet each other.  Excited handshakes and embraces are exchanged.  We talk about what we've been doing, what we want to do, what our plans and dreams are for our careers and systems.  We learn from others and each other.  We attend classes during the day and learn tons.  We play at night and revive old friendships and new ones.  When its over, we are exhausted, tired, a bit homesick, but sad to leave our summer camp buddies.  We go our separate ways, but continue to stay in touch.  When we return home, we have a renewed vigor for our jobs and a thirst to apply neat new things we have learned.  We could not attend all sessions, so we thirst for the missing knowledge we skipped and watch it on video.  We attend to our various volunteer efforts with new ideas.  We discuss new ideas outside our scope of influence. We tweet way too much with our newly found friends.

This is the High i and others are talking about.  Its a natural high from an amazing week of camaraderie and learning and mayhem.  Each year i attend, i come back with this High and hope it doesnt go away.  Its enjoyable to have the SQL endorphins running through my system.  Menial tasks seem to take on an extra significance.  Rote discussions seem to trigger latent memories of learned skills from sessions attended.  Life simply seems more enjoyable and less dull.

As i start my holiday weekend (thanksgiving in the USA) i hope to retain some of this feeling.  Maybe simply postpone it until next week when i am in the chair in front of the db's again.  I have set myself some goals for my volunteer efforts, and plan on documenting these for myself, so that i can remain focused the entire year.  I have written an article already about my experiences with Twitter and the summit.  I am working on getting that published. I have a notepad file of notes that i need to traverse and assign out as tasks. 

If nothing else, PASS Summit has sparked that inner light in me to get up and move a bit more, do a bit more, be a bit more effective.  I believe that this High and versions of it received from other events is what has propelled the folks i termed 'movers and shakers s in SQL Server communities world-wide' previously.  they simply got excited years ago about their jobs and stepped up a notch.  Continual stepping up a notch has posed them as 'movers and shakers'.  Do i hope to attain this alltitude someday?  sure. Will I? Who knows.  What's important to me now, and i hope in the future is to simply step it up a notch myself.  Make myself better tomorrow than i am today.  In the end, wherever i end up on the scale will not really matter, only that i am a better person for it then, than i am now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Summer Camp for DBA's (#SQLPASS) is over for 2008

I wanted to thank everyone that i met and remet at PASS this past week.
I started sending this over Twitter, but ran out of 140 characters too soon.
Either I know too many people, or all their names are too long. hum...

So, here it goes.

Thanks goes out to :

People that i follow on twitter that i met or remet while attending PASS


Thanks goes out to those twits that were not in attendance, yet involved themselves in a positive way and contributed to the PASS summit

And the folks that i met and remet that have yet to get with twitter, but still provides a valuable social experience at the PASS summit.

Andy Warren
Ben Miller
Bill Graziano
Christoph Stotz
Chuck Heinzelman
Erin Welker
Itzik Ben-Gan
Kalen Delaney
Kevin Kline
Neil Watkins
Rick Heiges
Wayne Snyder

And all the wonderful folks at Red-Gate
and more i do not remember names of, i'm sure.

I am sure that i missed some folks, and i will try to add to the list as i remember them.


While at PASS, i had the chance to meet and talk with so many different folks. All of which taught me. All of which i learned from. From the presenters, from the organizers, from the board of PASS, from the volunteers, from the attendees (delegates), from the speakers, and from others. If you do not take the time

What an amazing experience PASS was this year. With the advent of the Social Networking toys we all picked up, plus the combination of close proximity to everyone in the Summit, I was able to meet and interact with people in a way i never have before. Le't's talk about a few of the new experiences that i was able to participate in over this new wave of Social Networking that was unleashed with a vengance upon #SQLPass.

Where else, or when else have you
  • been an audience member, and seen the inner thoughts of people about to take stage in front of 3000 people, and seen and read what they were thinking before, and after? and then seen that person later alter their presentation based on feedback from the audience, before taking the stage?
  • been able to get the insights of a dozen individuals if not more that are participating in an educational experience, at the same time you are?
  • been allowed the opportunity to meet up and organize into small groups quickly and efficiently, while those same people are scattered amongst the city in different locations?
  • been keyed into great sessions that others are participating in and be able to decide to jump to that session or stay in yours?
  • been able to wake up or goto bed, and get a slight iternary of peoples actions, even though you are not present?
  • been able to join a group of friends that have all taken off to a destination, and realize its the same destination you intended on going too? Now you are not alone.
  • been able to get someone to save you a seat, as you were late getting into a capacity filling room, and been able to experience the session with them?
  • arrived at an airport and asked to share a ride in the cab with someone, and been able to trust that individual that you had never met before?
  • been in a small group of folks, and had an entire subtext of converstaion and reality occur, and be able to witness it?
  • found someone who had an extra bag to lend you out in your packing needs?
  • met friends you may feel a kinsmanship with, yet never met in person? and find out that they are exactly like the friend you had before meeting them?
  • peek into the minds of bloggers and writers commenting and disecting anothers speech, giving you a unique opportunity of seeing the words in a different light than your own, and understand them in multiple ways, as they are still emerging from the speaker?

All this, and much more was afforded us at PASS by virtue of Twitter, and Social Networking. An amazing experience PASS has been for us all in years past, and the networking advantages we have reaped have been countless. But this PASS, 2008 PASS Summit was incredible to be a part of the upper, lower and middle realities that surrounded it with Social Networking.

An amazing experience, brought to new heights.

Friday, November 21, 2008

#PASS Day 3

Today is Thursday at PASS Summit.  I started the day early by getting up, and getting to snooze.  Then again and again and again.  I then changed the alarm for alater time, and snoozed that a few more times.  When i finally got up, I was lae for the Quest breakfast event with the panel of experts.  I showered and hurried over to the conference center.  Its awesome to be so close, so that the trip is in minutes.  Once i got there, i had a little bit of breakfast, and listened to the panel of experts talk about their ideas.  It was neat to hear so many different ideas up there, and solutions ot real world problems.

After this event, i made my way over to the keynote event and sat in the second row behind the board of directors.  While the keynote event went on, twitterverse was reap with underlying information from myself and others.  Its great to see others insight into an event, in realtime.  When the Keynote was over, we had a friend in Kalen Delaney's session already saving us seats.  Many thanks goto Grant Fritchey for getting us seats.  Kalen is always interesting to listen too.  she has such a way of sharing experiences with us, and not following a script.  Before you know it, you are pulled into her world and are learning along the way.  I love it.

After this sesion, i made my way to the Women in Technology luncheon.  The purpose for going was there is always good food at this event.  Secondary purpose was because Sanj invited me to attend, and i felt like i should help out the women in thee PASS organization that i work with.  While i sat there eating the great food, i learned a lot too.  The panel consisted of a few women with great experiences that they shared with the audience, and opened it up to questions from the audience. Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom i caught during WIT.
  • No schedule wednesday. Not allowed to have meetings on wed. U r allowed to plan life events to occur that day. 
  • Find friends who enhance who you are but let you be who you are. 
  •  Kalen made a great point. Set a goal and strive for it, but do not be afraid to reevaluate it. Do not be imprisoned.\
Search for more tags on WIT to find more insights.

And in that vein, goto search.twitter and look at all the comments on #sqlpass to follow along.  Some will be out of context, but others will be priceless.

I spent some time grabing pieces of information i was listening too, and throwing it out to the twitterverse for others to read.  I was even commented on by Louis Davidson as the only one on twitter posting about the WIT event.  Though there were a couple others also.

After this lunch, i went to another session, then another one, etc.  I leared some great things and always enjoy these sessions.  some more than others, but most will teach us great tidbits we can bring back home.  One of them was Tom LaRock's session on Operations Manager.  This is a tool i really need to dig into, and see if i can get it implemented.  It seems like a great tool for monitoring your databases.  Tom actually was remoted into his work, via VPN, and amazingly, did a great job demoing this, with few issues.  The session was great overall, and i hope to learn from it, and implement it.

I made my way down to the exhibition hall and got a bit more swag, and even filled out my card, in the hopes to win one of 15 prizes to be given away later.  After getting it filled out, i ran back to the hotel to dump my swag, and get back for the drawing.  On the way, i ran into another chapter president, Fransisco Rosario.  He ended up winning an XBox guitar hero game and gear.  It was cool to be standing by someone who won.  Earlier, a name was read off of an individual that i recognized.  It was an interviewee that i met over the phone when i interviewed him for Cybersource.  He was not present, and didnt win.  Too bad.

After the drawings occurred, and i didnt win, i went up to Brad McGehee's talk on being an exceptional DBA.  I also went to Joe Webb's session on quering suggestions.  It was hard to hit both these, as they were at the same time.  Both had good information and i look forward to reviewing the slides and videos online later.

At 6pm, there was an event for everyone.  It was a huge concert like arena.  Music, guitar hero stations, lights, etc.  I wondered around a bit and talked with a bunch of people.  Its always fun to network and see people and alk shop and not shop.  I didnt stay long, as there was a dinner being thrown for Friends of Red-Gate at Ruth's Chris Stakehouse... yummy.  i went with a few other PASS folks (Pat Wright, Grant Fritchey and Tim Ford).  Once there, more shmoozing occurred, good food, and great conversation.  We ended up at a table with Greg Low and his wife, and had stimulating conversations about a good dozen different topics.  They were a joy to discuss to many different things with, and i really loved the time spent together.  By this time, it was about 9pm, and aboout 14 plus hours of being up and going.  Its tough to be up and going so long and learning and networking and all that.  It seems to tire me out so easily.  I returned to the hotel, spent a couple mintues recording a podcast for my family, and this blog.  Now i'm done, and will crawl into bed.  Tomorrow, i get to be an ambassador at breakfast, and sell PASS to folks eating.  Then more sessions will occur, more learning, more networking, and more learning.  I can't wait, but first, sleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

#PASS Day 2

Day 2 - Which is actually t minus 1 to the true start of PASS.  The day before the summit starts is dedicated to volunteer training.  My first PASS event was in 2004, in Florida.  My family came along to attend Disneyworld while i was at conference.  At this summit, i was so new, i didnt know that there was breakfast served, nor a keynote.  So i would show up in time for classes, and attend, then bail.  I didnt meet up with many, or do much  networking at all.  The next summit i attended, i had been indoctinated in volunteering.  I loved learning about PASS board of directors, and some of the inner workings of hte summit and beyond.  I fell in love, and saw a huge benefit to volunteering.  I was a Chapter leader, and i volunteered to be on the Chapter Committee.  The next summit, i volunteered to be on a SIG, and had taken over a Regional Mentor role as well.  So, volunteer day is a busy one for me, and an enjoyable one learning so much.  I have not volunteered as much or as many years as some of the folks there, but we all remember each other, and know that we are making a small splash into this organization and helping it out.  Its great to learn the inner workings, learn about the finances, and ive attented enough of the volunteer trainings to see a wide variety of leaders and thier different ideas and personalities.  Its an amazing thing to see others doing similar jobs as predecessors in different yet very capable ways.  

As I set in the room, i would wonder over to the twitter world periodically, and catch up on the folks tweeting about what i was watching.  A little surreal.  the food is always good, and the networking is always even better.  Sharing ideas. stories, learning and fun times.  
We get an overview of the organization, its past directions and future directions.  We break out into groups in the afternoon, and get down to the nitty gritty.  I sat in the Chapter meeting with Greg Low and many other chapter leaders.  We all get to meet each other, and share ideas. 

Greg is a great leader and has such a keen eye for directing folks.  He is a gem to listen too and i always get great ideas from him.  As he is talking, i end up getting inspirations about how too run my chapter and be a better regional mentor.  I always come away with a list of items i can improve upon, implement, and attempt to be abetter volunteer.

After the Chapter meeting, i ended up talking with a few folks about ideas of transforming our user groups.  

I ran into Ben Miller and discussed our local chapters and issues surrouding them.  I have had a hard time the last 6 months getting presentors and a stable location to house my User Group.  We talked about some great ideas.  This actually made me late to the Opening Social and my manning the table at my Special Interest Group.  Luckily, not a lot of people were interested in the SIG, so i didnt miss a lot.  A few folks did stop by and talk to me, and i had a couple volunteer kinda.  I'm not sure that the SIG actually has been given a life, but at least a few were interested.  I had chances to meet up with some other folks, give away my MOO cards, and network.  This is what PASS is all about for me now.  The learing that i will get tomorrow thru friday will be great, but the networking is amazing.  

After the Opening Social, i made my way up to the SQL Server Central party.  Last year, i just showed up, and luckily Steve Jones let me in.  I didnt register with the SSC code, as i was sponsored with other codes, so i felt like i was cheating getting into the party.  I didnt play any of  the games, but just watched.  But this time, i paid my way in, got my book, shirt and chips for playing.  I ended up at a table playing 21.  I ended up getting 22 a lot of the time, and it was soon apparant that i had no idea what i was doing, but i had fun doing it.  I had others helping me out, even the dealer would raise her eyebrow when i suggested making a dumb move.  At a couple different points in the game, Steve Jones would stop by, and dump off some prizes to be given away at the next blackjack.  I watched Todd Robinson win and win and win.  Many a joke was made as his hugely accumulating stack of black chips, soon becoming yellow, and then finally blue.  I wallowed with my white and red chips, and the occasional green one i would trade for more red ones.  I bet slow and steady, and rarely won, but kept in the game.  Steve Jones stopped by one more time with a movie and an IPod nano.  It was blue, just like the one that my daughter Kylie picked out at the store as something she 'had to have'.  I made a few jokes about never being able to win it, but got close a couple times.  Each time i had a face car or an Ace, we would ramp up and cheer, hoping to hit a blackjack.  When it missed, there was oohs and ahs, and yelling.  The table next too us started wondering what they were missing.  After about 4 chances of getting the ipod, and missing, i ended up hitting it.  Got my only Blackjack of the night and won the IPod nano.  Woohooo.  An immediate direct tweet was sent to my family.
After the gaming was over, and we watched Todd Robinson win the 1st place chip leader, i headed home to the Sheraton with others.  After running into more PASS board folks i finally got to my room.  Now, im fighting getting iTunes installed and trying to get some songs to the ipod so i can use it on my morning run.

In any event, this is my report.

#PASS Day 1

I arrived in Seattle on Sunday night, in preparation for the PASS Summit.  The next day, i got up, attended to some work, went off of on-call duties, and had a chance to catch up with some PASS folks.  We had a good time catching up, seeing some sights, and talking databases.  There was a fair amount of teasing and twittering, and photos were taken as well.  Its always nice to catch up with some folks from past summits, and Social Networking this past year.

Monday night, we attended a Volunteer party that Pat Wright and the volunteer committe put on.  It's always such a great thing to meet up with the volunteers, rub shoulders with the Board of Directors and other members of PASS.  It's also fun to hang out and get free food and play.  (the next day we always learn how much it really cost), but today its free.  We gathered at the convention center and walked what i thought would be 8 blocks, but uphill, it seemed like a lot more.  We got to the bowling alley and after the mad rush for shoes, we went downstairs to an area set apart just for us.  The music was loud, the blowing was  loud, and the people were loud.  The snack were great, the blowling only as good as i could bowl with my sore shoulder.  Great time were had.  I bowled 3 strikes, and 3 gutters.  I even got a couple spare's , but one was when i took over the guy before me's spot.  I got to bowl twice in a row that set... hehe.
Lots of people came and went.  I had conversations with a ton of people, and even got a hug.  The night was a blast.  I made friends with @peschkaj  as we were some of the few that didnt drink that night.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

#PASS Board of Director Candidates - Part 2 : Challenge

Earlier today I posted a summary of the candidates, and how they have affected my life. This was meant to be taken lightly and with a bit of tongue and cheek. I had fun writing it, and trying to pin down the details of their interactions with me. We still don't know what they all believe or want. Some have posted on their own blogs info about themselves and their hopes and aspirations for the board.

Here are some of the responses.

  • Andy Warren
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Louis Davidson
  • Lynda Rab
  • Pat Wright
  • Thomas LaRock

  • Another PASS member, Brent Ozar, suggested that we question these candidate more specifically to determine their positions on critical issues facing our nation - the DBA Nation.

    So, this is a call to each candidate to post their positions

    CLR in the database




    Backup and Restore best practices

    Excel sprawl in the BI realm

    SQL Server Cloud and the future of the DBA

    Social Networking and the DBA

    Cursors, are they truly evil?


    SQL Community

    and last but not least, I challenge each to answer Chris Shaw's SQL Quiz challenge

    And if others want to add items to this list, please add them to the comments.



    Pat Wright responded here. And i have to say he took the challenge, rose above it, and still noted his position on issues that affect us as PASS members, mainly community. I like the response. Thanks Pat.

    Lous Davidson resonded here. I love this response. He too the challenge to answer the silly questions, but dug deep on the important ones. Way to go!!

    got another article published

    Earlier this week, Peter Ward emailed me and asked if i would be interested in writing an article for SQL-Server-Performance again.  I have gotten into this writing gig, and really enjoy it.  Its different than writing code, or tuning a database.  It gets me to experiment with another creative outlet i do not always use.  But, as you have read on this blog, i am trying to write more, in many different ways.  Just blogging, documenting adventures, career oriented writings, articles, and occasional stories.  So, when i was pushed by Peter, i grabbed my handy dandy list of topic ideas, and picked one and started going to town on it.  For me, the easiest way to finish a story, is to get it in my head and start writing it.  Then it nags at me, until complete.  This article took a couple days to create and then to proof read and send off.  The story has always been there, lurking in the shadows.  I just had to shine a light on it, and give it clarity and a voice.  Its from my own experience, and i could easily remember it, and apply new ideas too it.  At work, i am getting ready to implement this idea again.  So, it was two pronged in its goals.  To document what i did once upon a time, and refresh my memory of it to implement again.

    Read the article here.  But only, as one FaceBook friend mentioned, if you have to deal with multi-million row tables, will you find it interesting.  

    Thanks to Peter for keeping me in his thoughts and prompting me to continue writing.  Having someone else, outside yourself, push you, is a great way to accomplish your goals.  I'm sure he doesnt realize it, but he is helping me out, as i help him with an article from time to time.
    Thanks to Andy Warren for prompting me via his blogs to start writing as a creative outlet and career boost.  

    #PASS Board of directors candidates

    Wow, what an amazing list of folks to choose from this year at PASS Summit.

    • Andy Warren
    • Douglas McDowell
    • Louis Davidson
    • Lynda Rab (incumbent)
    • Pat Wright (incumbent)
    • Thomas LaRock
    I stole this list from Andy Warren's blog.  

    Before i get into who i will be voting for, i wanted to give you a bit of a background with my experience with these folks and PASS.

    I have been a member of PASS since 2004 and have been involved as a volunteer at the Summit and at home in various positions.  In 2003, i started attending the Salt Lake City SQL Server User Group, which was headed by Pat Wright, at the time.  I started helping out and presenting at that group.  After attending a PASS summit in Florida, I broke off and started my own User Group in my home area of Utah County. I became a Chapter president with PASS in 2005.  When I attended PASS, I volunteered to be on the Chapter Committee and continued to be a Chapter President.  Meetings were sparse for the Chapter Committee during the year, but i enjoyed getting to know folks and working with PASS.  At the 2007 PASS summit, Pat Wright stepped down as our area's Regional Mentor when he gained a position on the Board.  He put me in as a Regional Mentor, and i gladly volunteered to take on these responsibilities.  The Chapter Committee leadership was altered, and new directions took effect.  Part way through the year we got some good direction on being Regional Mentors, and i started pursuing my tasks.  I continued to be a Chapter President as well.  During this year, i also started a Special Interest Group (SIG) for auditing and compliance.  This has not made a big splash as an important or even very active SIG compared to the other SIGs.  
    During this last year, as the PASS Summit had finished, and people were still excited about networking and communicating with other PASS members, many social networking tools have sprouted up.  I joined and kept updating my Face Book page a lot more than i ever did my MySpace page.  I also joined Twitter and started micro blogging there.  I recently started trying to force myself to blog a bit more and keep a journal of activities.

    Why do I detail these things?  Well, most of the board have been influential to my career and friendship.  I started blogging because Andy suggests this in his blog.  I started twittering after seeing Tim Ford from PASS mention it on Facebook.  I created a FaceBook group about PASS.  Pat Wright got me going on being a Chapter President and Regional Mentor.  Tom LaRock got my SIG approved and moving last year at PASS.  I have worked with Louis in the Chapter Committee, i think and more recently in the SIG Quiz Bowl and SIG meetings.  I remember meeting and working with Douglas as a volunteer the last couple years of PASS.  And Lynda Rab was on the SIG committee for a bit, and has always been present at volunteer events these past few years.

    So, with all that said, its hard to come up with a favorite to vote for.

    So, how about this... one guy's view of the candidates, as it pertains presence that i have seen.

    • Andy Warren
    • Douglas McDowell      @douglasmcdowell   joined  4:41 AM May 8th
    • Louis Davidson        @DRSql                  joined 7:33 PM May 12th
    • Lynda Rab 
    • Pat Wright               @SqlAsylum            joined 10:43 AM Nov 7th
    • Thomas LaRock         @SQLBatMan          joined 9:05 AM Aug 3rd 


    How long I've known them
    • Andy Warren               from SSC fame, 5+ years.  from PASS 2+ years
    • Douglas McDowell        from PASS, 2+ years
    • Louis Davidson            from PASS, 2+ years
    • Lynda Rab                   from PASS, 2+ years
    • Pat Wright                   from home, 4+ years
    • Thomas LaRock         from PASS, 2+ years

    Have had personal email exchanges with
    • Andy Warren           yes
    • Douglas McDowell
    • Louis Davidson        yes
    • Lynda Rab
    • Pat Wright                 yes
    • Thomas LaRock      yes

    Have had group email exchanges with
    • Andy Warren          yes
    • Douglas McDowell   yes
    • Louis Davidson       yes
    • Lynda Rab               yes
    • Pat Wright               yes
    • Thomas LaRock      yes

    Have had Instant Message communication with
    • Andy Warren
    • Douglas McDowell
    • Louis Davidson      yes
    • Lynda Rab
    • Pat Wright               yes
    • Thomas LaRock

    So, with all that having been said, i suggest that each person that will vote take the time to find these people and get to know them a bit.  Ask them some questions.  Read their blogs, follow them on twitter, or read their twitter posts.  Try to find them online and get to know them there.  But get to know them.  Find the person that will best represent you on the board of the PASS organization we all participate in.  

    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Getting ready for PASS - MOO cards arrived

    Today, about a week later than i thought they would arrive, my MOO cards arrived. They are very professionaly done and look great. I gathered the family around to look at them, as I put about 20+ different pictures of my mug on them. The kids loved seeing their dad on cards.

    After seeing a few other folks get their cards from MOO, i thoought it was a great idea too.

    Thanks too SQL Batman, SQL Agentman and the one that started it all, Brent Ozar.

    I usually print my own cards for PASS, and they have the little perforrations on them, and the fading ink im too cheap to replace before printing. One year, one of the colors was simply gone, and I was left with teal colored business cards. So, this year things will be different. I'll look professional. At least until you turn them over and see pics of me dirtbiking, boating, etc.

    Friday, November 07, 2008

    Whoops! The SQL DBA Quiz

    Before the PASS Summit, various twitter and blogger folks were passing sharing SQL DBA mistakes that they had made in their careers.  
    Though i was never tagged by others, I did write some up, and now publish those for your enjoyment.

    Mistake #1

    When i was a wanna be DBA, i had implemented an import process of medical data.  Once in the db, the data was scrubbed, run thru a series of edits, and the resulting data was output to another system.  There could be up to 25 edits performed on data, depending on the contents of the data.
    I ingeniously designed a system of procs and tables that would push and shove the data around.  But sometimes, specific records would fail the edits, and get left in an odd state.  So, i needed to know from step to step which edits had been performed.  So i setup a history table of edit steps per record.  This was awesome, in the event of a failure, we could locate the record(s) and determine where they stopped in their processing.  We could then take action to get them moving again.  The we i talk about was me and 1 other developer.  Time went on, and we suffered a lot less failures as we shored up the system.  
    Then one day, the PM notices that instead of taking 5 seconds to process a record, its taking 5+ minutes, and asks me to look at it.  I immediately look into my history table for clogged records, and find none.  All seem to be flowing well thru the edits.  This is when i realize that the history table is rather large... and has no indexes... and has no primary key... and is taking longer and longer to query and process history into...  doh!
    A couple sql statements later, a PK and some indexes... and viola! the system is up and running again speedily.
    So, not to self, follow best practices on all tables all the time, regardless of their minimal existence on a system, or level of duty on the systems.

    Mistake #2

    I was in a hurry to get to my lunch workout at the gym.  I was releasing some updates to produciton.  As always, I start with a transation.  Make sure i'm updating the correct set of data with a select statment.  Perform the Update.  Then select the data, to ensure it was altered.  I report this to those that care, that the release was completed.  I bolt out the door, late to mu lunch gym appointment.  
    On the way down the road, i get a call from a guy back east that monitors the db.  He says something is odd, and its really slow.  I hope i can look at it when i get back from the gym.  As i start listening to his description, i remember the beginning of my story.  Begin Transaction....
    uh, I sheepishly tell start, I believe i left my maching in a transaciton on the main table on the prod system... no Commit.  oops.  
    After revealing my password so he could log into my box, and letting him commit, i made some mental notes to not perform open ended transactions again on prod systems.  

    Mistake #3

    I start a trace on prod system to monitor for durations on a specific proc.  I don't use profiler, as the GUI can be a resource hog.  I ensure that a server side trace will take less resources, and be a controlled trace.  I code the trace up, and give it a stop time.  I dont want this thing running too long on the prod system.  45 minutes should be sufficient.  I'm about to goto the chiropractor anyway, and this is the perfect amount of time between me starting it, and finishing there, and making sure it completed successfully.  I add into my sql code 45m to my dateadd function, to generate the end datetime of the trace, and kick off the trace.  I goto the chiropractor and get fixed up.  afterwards, i look at the traces running with ::fn_trace_getinfo, and notice the default trace, and mine.  But mine has an odd endtime.  
    This is when i realize that my dateadd value had added 45 months to the date it was supposed to stop at... not 45 minutes.  DATEADD( m, 45, GETDATE()) is way different from DATEADD( mi, 45, GETDATE()).
    Good thing i was checking on this trace's completion anyway, and not leaving it to the computer to decide.  After all, the computer was only doing what i told it to do, and we all know I can't be trusted.  So, another mental note to self.  Don't assume I know what I am doing.  Ensure that controls are in place to double check my own work.