SQL Down Under show 45 – Jamie Thomson – SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

Sorry that shows have been slow coming this year. That's about to change (famous last words).

The good news is that show 45 with guest SQL Server MVP Jamie Thomson discussing SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is now available for download from http://www.sqldownunder.com. In the show, Jamie discusses lessons he learned while moving from DTS to SSIS and covers off many best practices for working with SSIS.


Should IT Professionals Refuse to Implement Scams (and #MYOBFail)

Not long back, it became very common for dodgy domain registration companies to send letters to domain owners that they weren't dealing with. Rather than saying "hey we're a great registrar and here's why you should switch to us", the common ploy was to send out something that looked like a renewal notice, hoping that the receiver would just authorize and pay it without thinking. In Australia, the ACCC (basically the consumer watchdog) has been chasing down and taking action against such practices.

This has me thinking though about the role that we as IT professionals play in enabling these sorts of scams. If we ever want IT to be taken seriously, we have to stop being the ones that enable this nonsense. Recently I was doing work for a client that would greatly enhance their ability to send out bulk emails. Jokingly, I was suggesting inserting a rule that would always omit my email addresses from any of their systems. But it again left me torn as to whether I should be helping them or not.

What really concerns me though is I'm now seeing companies that I would have previously regarded as reputable heading further and further down this path. One I received today particularly annoyed me. Some time back, we purchased an MYOB license for our company. We were offered an annual maintenance subscription and declined. Ever since then, I've been constantly contacted by MYOB-related salespeople trying to get me to purchase a maintenance subscription. Each and every time, I say "I have no interest in this. Please don't call again." What makes it worse, is I'm often paying for global roaming fees on the phone calls they insist on making. But today they've gone a step further. Look at the following letter:


It's hard to perceive this as anything but an attempt to get someone to try to inadvertently pay for a maintenance subscription that they didn't order. (I'm sure the MYOB folk would try to justify it somehow and I'm sure it's borderline legal). It is designed to look like an overdue account, not like an offer to provide the maintenance that I've constantly told them I don't want. The irony is that instead of making me consider maintenance, it will now make me never wish to deal with the company again and to endlessly tell others why I don't want to. Overall, it will have a much worse outcome than what they could have achieved. #MYOBFAIL

But the bigger question is whether we as IT professionals should be helping generate this sort of thing. Clearly, IT folk are deeply involved in enabling this. Alternately, is the desperation for work all that matters and "if I don't do it, someone else will" ?

OT Book: On the Origin of Species – Charles Darwin

Given my interest in science, I'm ashamed to say that I've only just got around to reading Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life". What prompted me to read it this time was watching two episodes of "The Genius of Charles Darwin" while flying across to the U.S. It's an excellent documentary by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins can see overbearing at times but in this series, he's measured, accurate and inspiring. In the documentary, he showed one of his most prized possessions: a first edition copy of this book.

The best ideas always seem to have three common attributes:

  • They appear totally obvious once someone else points them out
  • They are deceptively simple
  • It's hard to comprehend why someone hadn't noticed them before

The ideas described in this book are an amazing example of these qualities.

I have not the slightest doubt that in the future, this will be still regarded as a stunningly influential book and will have started the biggest change in human thinking.

Recommended! (Actually Required Reading!)