T-SQL Tuesday 135 - The outstanding tools of the trade that make your job awesome – write-up

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Two weeks ago I have sent out the invitation for February 2021 #tsql2sday and last week almost 30 people responded with their contributions.

I would like to thank you all of the contributors (see the posts’ list below) for their time.

Contributors

Here is the list of all contributions to February 2021 #tsql2sday in alphabetical order. It is a short summary, so I invite you to read each post for a better understanding.

  • Alexander Arvidsson (blog/|twitter) The OBS software seems to be very popular and it also ends up on Alexander’s list. You can find there Hugo as well, as an alternative to WordPress for building websites. The last thing in the toolbox is a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader that is capable of storing all the fiction Alexander likes to read.

  • Andy Yun (blog/|twitter) Andy works for SentryOne and is talking us through the SentryOne Plan Explorer – .pesession files, in particular, that is a ZIP with the saved working session. Performance tuners among us have a look.

  • Benni De Jagere (blog/|twitter) Benni writes about custom profiles in Microsoft Edge that are tied to LastPass vault and Microsoft Teams Tenant. In the post, we can find a long list of the External Tools for Power BI Desktop which is worth to check out. Impressed by others using notebooks in Azure Data Studio, Benni promises to rewrite some of the scripts and processes into Jupyter Notebooks

  • Chris Johnson (blog) Chris touches the base of a common issue with renaming objects. Working with Visual Studio project seems to be more preferable way than in SQL Server Management Studio. Check the link to the original blog post for three tips Chris has for us.

  • Chris Yates (blog/|twitter) Chris gives us a list of tools for DBAs, including Redgate, Microsoft and SentryOne software. There are some other items on this list, so have a look – make sure you check the linked forums if you do not know them already.

  • Dave Mason (blog/|twitter) Daves shares with us a couple of generic mided tools like Notepad (the Windows version, not Justin’s one), Paint.NET or SpaceSniffer. The last one does not let you find more space for parameters. The list is not limited to software as Dave mentions the usage of the headset. Apparently, they make you play chess 😉

  • Deborah Melkin (blog/|twitter) Deborah writes “It’s not the tool that solves the problem. It’s making sure we implement and use the tools properly to help solve the problem”. I can relate to that. Deborah writes about using SQL Server Management Studio and Azure Data Studio as well as SentryOne Plan explorer.

  • Deepthi Goguri (blog/|twitter) Deepthi gives us a list of 10 useful tools. Some of them are strictly SQL Server DBA related, like Redgate SQL Compare or SentryOne Plan Explorer, or Microsoft SQLQueryStress. The list contains few tools for video and image editing (OBS Studio, Adobe Lightroom). The two I would definitely like to try are Nimbus Screenshot and Free Download Manager.

  • Eitan Blumin (blog/|twitter) Eitan included an extensive list of free tools for blogging and community activities as well as for productivity and work. I encourage you to check out this blog for more details.

  • Garry Bargsley (blog/|twitter) A few months ago Garry struggled with feeling organised and started reading the book “Getting Things Done”. Following that Garry found that three tools helped him to stay organised. Read more about that on Garry’s blog: Microsoft To Do, Pocket, Feedly.

  • Glenn Berry (blog/|twitter) If you follow Glenn, you might notice there is a number of CPUs involved. Glenn uses CPU-Z and GPU-Z to get detailed information about the respective hardware. Speaking of hardware, check out Glenn’s recommendation for the iFixit Mako Driver Kit. At the end of Glenn’s post, there is a link to Essential AMD Desktop PC Configuration Checklist that’s worth reading – enjoy.

  • Hugo Kornelis (blog/|twitter) Hugo’s post is very much related to the pandemic, but it is original in its content as it touches on personal efforts to keep his family safe. If you want to learn about the special tent or process how to safely visit Hugo have a look at his contribution this month. The current situation shows we not only care about ourselves but about our loved ones and people we meet every day. Thank you, Hugo, for this post and be safe!

  • Jess Pomfret (blog/|twitter) Jess has a passion for automation, so it is no surprise we can read about PowerShell modules (check her post for the full list). She writes about PowerShell too, so I recommend to check the post about PowerShell interactive search. From the post, we can learn a handful of useful Microsoft Excel shortcuts. The last thing Jess mentions is her bike that helps her to deal with the lockdown gym closures.

  • John McCormack (blog/ twitter)
    As John mentioned he had been talking about tools at SQL Bits before, however this time he focused on one particular – Statistics Parser by Richie Rump (blog/ twitter).
  • John Q. Martin (blog/|twitter) John starts with search engines and shares a few tricks on how to improve the search results. The other tool John writes about is Terraform, which combined with graphing tools can be really useful. John works with SQL Server and in order to manage the estate, he is using dbatools on daily basis and admits that would be lost without it.

  • Julie Koesmarno (blog/|twitter) On Julie’s blog, we can read about cheatsheets. The two of them she made for Azure Data Studio (Markdown and keyboard shortcuts), as well as some other resources for KQL, R and Docker.

  • Justin Bird (blog/|twitter) Justin writes about the notepad, but it is not the notepad I would think about. The notepad is physical, manual. Have a look at this hilarious review as it is the brand new smartphone application.

  • Kevin Chant (blog/|twitter) Kev included two tools in the post: Azure Data Studio and… coffee machine. If you ever need a new coffee machine-read Kevin’s post first. I hope there will be a sequel 😉

  • Lina Kovacheva (blog/|twitter) It is Lina’s first #tsql2sday post and I would like to thank her for being brave to take part in it. Lina is sharing with us the way she uses sp_whoisactive stored procedure to troubleshoot performance issues. From the post, we can learn about additional parameters or using it in Azure Data Studio.

  • Rob Farley (blog/|twitter) Rob lives in Australia and unlike most of the contributors this month Rob is not restricted by any lockdowns, so working from the office is quite normal. Despite Australia dealing with the pandemic quite well, the rest of the world is still under many restrictions, so are SQL community activities. Even though Rob works from client sites there is a space for webcam and headphones. While missing physical whiteboard Rob worked out how to draw on the laptop screen as it is a glass board. More about this trick on the blog.

  • Rob Sewell (blog/|twitter) Rob is one of these people who you go are going to ask about PowerShell related things – but not only. He likes to drink coffee, like a lot, so one of Rob’s important tools is a coffee machine. Like many since the pandemic started Rob works from home and to make his environment healthier he invested in a standing desk and special chair (that looks like a thing you see in the circus). Finally, Rob is a competitive person, so not being able to play cricket he figured out the cycling can help. With an online cycling system called Zwift he was cycling between ship wreaks and dinosaurs. Do not ask me – read the whole story on Rob’s blog. PS: The most important “tool” is at the end of his post.

  • Shane O’Neill (blog/|twitter) Shane advises how to deal with the community or self-made scripts. If you have any scripts you use Store them, Version them and Take Care of them. It is fair to say this advice is true for any workplace.

  • SQL Undercover (blog/|twitter) The blog post from SQL Undercover covers top 5 free tools for DBA which are Minion Backup, BOFRK , Power BI and few tools from their own stable – SQL Undercover Inspector and Catalogue.

  • Taiob Ali (blog/|twitter) Taiob writes about having a treadmill + TV combo in the office. Exotic? Who does not want to run and watch the PASS Summit keynote? Taiob also got 30 minutes hourglass to improve concentration on a single task. Finally, there are some techy gadgets that Taiob owns or is about to buy soon.

Final word

My first #tsql2sday post was exactly year ago and it was a response my colleague’s (Jess Pomfret) invitation. This time I am inviting and another colleague (Lina Kovacheva) has written her first #tsql2sday.

For me, that is enough proof to say the monthly blogging party helps people to get involved in the community and share the knowledge.

Thank you Adam Machanic (blog|twitter) and Steve Jones (blog|twitter) for bringing this to life and keeping it alive!

Once again, I want to thank all the contributors as without you it would be very empty in this part of the web.

Thanks,

Mikey