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Imposing on Others

October 11th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Having a person complain while he imposes his will on others is like watching a dog cry while it devours a child.
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Performance Issues in SQL Server 2014

October 10th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
I just spent the last week trying to figure out why some of my SQL queries were suddenly taking hours to run on a large dataset when they used to take seconds on an older machine.  The queries I have use a lot of subqueries and left-joins across several tables with hundreds of GB of data each.  At first I thought it might be because my dataset has grown to the point my queries were no longer efficient.  Perhaps I had too many joins or subqueries that were not using the indexes on the table.  I actually tried removing every case of "OR" condition in my queries, which seemed to help a little but nowhere near bringing down the hour or so it still took to run.  After messing with indexes and re-arranging queries non-stop, it turns out it's because of an update to cardinality estimation on the back-end in Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

Luckily, you can disable the cardinality estimation update on a query-by-query basis by doing:
Quote
*your query*   OPTION ( QUERYTRACEON 9481 )

After appending "  OPTION ( QUERYTRACEON 9481 )" at the end of my queries, I'm back to seeing them execute within seconds.  Whatever update Microsoft did to its cardinality estimation clearly missed a few edge cases (perhaps they don't expect large queries and datasets?).  If anyone else is running into this issue, I hope this saves them some time.  Bigger worry is if Microsoft thinks their update is so great that they end up removing the ability to backtrack down the road.
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Wasting Through Time

October 3rd, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
This was another story idea I got as a dream.  I suppose it reflects my mood lately with everyone seeming to get older around me, not just physically but mentally as well.

=========================

Two friends have known each other all their lives.  They are able to time travel but only by skipping forward in time.  They've been doing that for a while and have experienced centuries of history past by, but one day, one of the friends loses this ability.  The other is torn between staying with the friend or leaving the friend behind to continue skipping forward.  There was a sense before that both of them were destined to see all the Earth's history to the very end until the world goes dark, but now that seems less certain.  They end up splitting ways, with one living through the years instead of skipping forward while the other continues to jump forward every few years.  Each time they catch up, one friend gets much older while the other remains...[More]
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Builders vs Maintainers

October 1st, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Sometimes it's like I'm building a house and this guy thinks he's helping by saying it needs a roof.
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Breaking People to Their Core - Complete

September 18th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
This is an older piece I started writing a while ago and finally completed:
https://www.pftq.com/blabberbox/?page=Breaking_People_to_Their_Core

It sheds a bit of light into my thought process for understanding people and what drives them.
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Skydome Theater

September 13th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Imagine an open, dome-shaped theater the size of a football stadium, where instead of looking towards screen on the far wall, everyone looked to the sky.  It would be like stargazing, except as the movie is about to start, the stars fade away and another world fills the sky for as far as the eye can see.  People would be lying on their backs instead of sitting hunched forward on their seats.  It'd almost feel like being in a rocket about to take off vertically.  Perhaps there would be chairs that rotate backwards to a lift-off position and actually elevate slightly off the ground as the movie begins.

This is something that's been churning in the back of my mind for a while.  From a design standpoint, the theater would obviously be limited in capacity and can only show one movie at a time for the all the space allotted, but I think the experience would be phenomenal, especially for very visual, cinematic films.  Capacity is also used in a very technical...[More]
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iPad Pro - 3 Years After the Surface Pro

September 9th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
     This 2012 comic "Surface Tension" by Joel Watson is pretty hilarious in that it nailed the exact year Apple would release their version of the Surface, complete with the exact name to Apple's version of the keyboard touchcover (comic called it the "Smart Cover Touch").


     For all the hype around Apple finally releasing a direct competitor to the Surface though, there are some things still quite apples vs oranges.  The biggest one would be the fact Apple's iPad Pro still runs on the ARM chipset and iOS, as opposed to a full-fledged computer operating system like the Surface does.  The event today highlighted how much faster the iPad Pro's chipset was than most other computers' on the market, but at the end of the day, it continues to only runs iOS apps and not full programs like on a laptop.  This point somehow seems to get missed in all the hype.  This makes the iPad Pro quite literally just a bigger, faster iPad despite the new "Pro" suffix to its name.

     Leave it to Apple though to pitch it the right way such that it manages to position itself as the direct competitor to the Surface Pro and other hybrid computers.  It's a clever marketing technique to dilute the perception of the competitor's product.  Intel did this in the past with AMD via price points, where they intentionally priced extremely crappy Intel chips at the pricing of AMD's superior chips in order to give the impression that all chips at that price range were just bad.  Here, Apple gets away with not having a fully functional computer in their Pro line because their marketing will insure people forget the competitor's Pro line is even a fully functional computer to begin with.

     Funny enough, Microsoft is already doing a lot on its own to make people forget.  It just has to speak up here on the glaring difference between the two products (the same difference between a regular iPad and the Surface Pro), but their marketing department has not been the brightest bunch to say the least.  Look at their own botched Surface launch with two similarly named products, one fully-functional computer and one that only runs mobile apps; that alone confused consumers so much that people still don't quite equate Surface with being a real computer.  Then throw on the cheesy dance ads that scare away the very professionals their device is targeted at.  And now of course you have Microsoft happily going on stage today to help pitch how their direct competitor does everything their own product can (without any acknowledgement that this is not true).

     I'll be laughing so hard if Apple next manages to sue Microsoft for patents on the iPad Pro, the iPencil, or the Smart Cover, but I wouldn't be surprised either.  Apple's just really good at pushing through the competition here, especially one which seems asleep at the wheel anyway.
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Poker Guide

September 6th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
The gist of how I basically play poker:
1. Play like a moron who always bets.
2. Play like a moron who always folds.
3. Only bet when you have something.
4. Bet whenever you think they think you think you might have something.
5. Never bet.  Only call or raise when someone bets into you and you have something.
6. Restart at a random step.
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