Welcome to the first post of the new year. I’ll be keeping things a little on the lighter side for now. I’m still very into my work and learning lots of share-worthy things in the data world. But for now, movies!
So, some of my elder moviegoers asked me the question that many people have been asking over the last year or two: “What Marvel movies do I really need to watch before Infinity War?”, or more recently, “before End Game?”. More generally, which ones are worthwhile viewing to a casual non-geek, to someone who doesn’t need to obsess over every little minutiae, someone who is not by nature a “comic book movie lover”. It’s a completely fair question, and honestly it needs more.. less nerdy answers.
Data isn’t literally everything. I mean it is, technically, but it’s not all super happy fun times, so we need to take a break once in a while and do something less neuron-intensive. Thus, my new segment: movie reviews! Because, despite what you may have read, all work and no play make Nate a dull boy. And yes, I promised you this blog would be professional. Mostly. I remember specifically using that word. So don’t wag your naggy finger at me. If you don’t like it, you can simply avoid the tags like #offtopic and #movies.
If you have a core database using a different collation than the rest of the DBs around it, BAD THINGS HAPPEN.
And we’re back! Hi folks, thanks for being patient with my December hiatus. The holiday season is always a little hectic but this year it felt especially sudden. And hey, you all have better things to do than read a blog in between the home cooked meals and the family gatherings.. like sleep, shop, and go see all the new movies!
Thanks to both Pitch Perfect 3 and the latest New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Britney’s “Toxic” is now stuck in my head, so that’s fun.
Some of you may not know this, but I’m a big movie nerd. Not like the weird “knows a bunch of obscure factoids about all the Tarantino movies” or whatever. But I do quite enjoy the behind-the-scenes / making-of stuff — what used to be called “bonus features” on DVDs (remember those things??).
Our genre of choice is generally horror. Now, I’m gonna get nerdy on you for a bit; because there are several sub-types or horror, and I enjoy almost almost all of them. Campy, creepy, fun, found-footage, gory, spooky, slasher, supernatural, tense, psychological, revenge, deconstruction, possession. For the uninitiated, “deconstruction” is like 2012’s Cabin in the Woods — it pokes fun at the tropes while building on them in unique ways. Those are one of my favorite kind; that one in particular is definitely in my top 10 all-time.
So to kick off this year, before diving back into the technical stuff, I’d like to give you a coupe lightning reviews of some horror movies that we’ve watched that are perhaps underrated or you may have missed.
The Babysitter (2017) – comedy/deconstruction. A young preteen boy, whose parents are gone a lot, has a great friendship with his older teen babysitter, but one night decides to spy on what she and her friends do after he goes to bed. And well, crap hits the fan. Lots of fun, eye candy, and slapstick violence. 👍👍
Patchwork (2015) – campy/revenge. 3 girls are Frankenstein’d together and have to overcome their mental differences and physical struggles to piece together the perpetrator and hopefully exact some revenge. Superbly acted by the lead lady, plenty of violence and just enough funny bits to keep it going. 👍
Happy Death Day (2017) – slasher/deconstruction. Think Groundhog Day but with a college chick being killed by a masked marauder repeatedly. She must try to find out who it is before it’s too late! Somewhat predictable but still entertaining and engaging. 👍
Incarnate (2016) – possession/supernatural. A somewhat unique twist on the genre, a brain doc frees people from possession by mind-sharing & getting the person back in control of their own consciousness. Think Inception meets Exorcist. Very well-acted, convincingly scary demon, and nicely twisted ending. 👍👍
Demonic (2015) – creepy/found-footage. Bit of a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with demons; it’s about a ghost-summoning gone horribly wrong resulting in the deaths of all but 1 (ish?) member of the group that originally attempted said ritual. Frank Grillo is always on-point. Very engaging. 👍
Last Shift (2014) – gory/creepy/demon-y. Rookie cop gets stuck with the last watch in a soon-to-be-shut-down police station, chaos ensues. Literally, this is some crazy crap; scary and bloody. Original & vastly under-hyped, has an indie vibe but looks & feels professional-grade. 👍👍
Most of these should be stream-able. So check ’em out!
Now on to the SQL stuff.
Collations are Hard
If you ever have to integrate a vendor database into your existing environment, and the vendor ‘mandates’ their DB use a certain collation (which differs from the rest of your SQL instances / databases), run away screaming. Srsly.
Or convince your managers that you know better, and force it into the same collation as everything else you have to integrate with. Good luck & godspeed.
Let me give you an example. The ERP system is being upgraded, which of course means a new (upgraded) DB as well. Part of this upgrade seems to involve supporting case-sensitive searching/matching against name fields. To this end, the vendor insists that the DB should use a case-sensitive collation, namely Latin1_General_100_CS_AS. Problem is, the rest of your DB environment, in which a lot of stuff touches the ERP database (via joins, linked-server queries, etc.), uses the SQL default collation of SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.
If you follow the vendor’s mandate recommendation, guess what’s going to happen to your queries/views/stored-procedures that touch this & other DBs? Horrible things. Terrible performance degradation. Wailing a gnashing of teeth from the developers, business users, and customers.
Okay, I exaggerate. Slightly.
But it really does hurt performance, and I don’t feel like it’s talked about enough in the data professional community. In the next post, I’ll take this problem apart a little more and try to impart some of what I’ve learned from going through the pain of dealing with the aforementioned example.