Facing the Future

Come out from the shadow of your history and embrace your destiny.

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Poem: Ode to The Ground

I make no request,
But the ground-
It offers me the support
I crave.
Through the soles of my feet
I sense it’s solidity
And it’s mature strength,
Unlike the shoulder of a friend
It will never let me down
But will hold me up
And make me strong.
It will not let me just slip
Through and fade away –
It gives me a sense of reality
And in turn I establish that
The ground is also real.
That frightens me though,
Because it is also a prison wall
That can never let me escape
Into another world
Where I might otherwise chose
To be

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Names Considered for JB

 

  • Christopher
  • Adam
  • Michael
  • Calvin
  • Andrew
  • Matthew
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Some Basic Interview Advice

Notes from a recent training session (rather a basic one – but fundamentals are easily forgotten in stressful situations) :

Advance Preparation

  • Keep a copy of the job advert and specification.
  • Keep a copy of your application form / CV
  • Research the department / organisation + make notes
    • Understand where the organisation is going
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewers

On-the-Day Preparation

  • Re-read your key documents – your application form / CV etc.

General Tips

Be:

  • Punctual
  • Smart
  • Polite
  • Natural but not casual

During the Interview

  • Take your time
  • Ask for repetition / clarification of questions – either because you need them or to give you time to answer
  • Give brief answers – ask if more detail is required.
  • Answer questions
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The Fold

There has been a long running debate amongst web designers as to whether or nor “the fold” matters, or even exists. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Of *course* users know how to scroll. Just like they know how to unfold physical media. But knowing how is not the same as doing.
  2. Everything else being equal, people are less likely to do things that take more effort. Scrolling takes effort (not much, but some), so users are more likely to read things above the fold than below it.
  3. There are actually two folds – the first is at the bottom of your browser window. The second is in your head. It is the amount of scrolling + reading *you* are willing to do before you give up on a web page. Some people who visit this page will not read this sentence – it will be below their personal fold.
  4. Everything else being equal, users will do things that they typically find most rewarding. If web-designers believe in the fold, they will put the content they consider most important near the top of the page. As a result, we actually train users not to scroll – thus re-reinforcing the idea of the existence of the fold.
  5. Users develop strategies for getting what they want from the web. These strategies vary from person to person and from day to day. The way I/you look at a page might not be typical. You can’t always generalise your own experience.
  6. Without watching what real users actually do, we’re just guessing about the whole fold issue. (Although some of our guesses are more educated than others).
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SQL Server: Show all the FOREIGN KEYS that reference a TABLE

For SQL 2005+

[sourcecode language="sql"]
DECLARE
     @tableName nvarchar(MAX)
SET
    @tableName = 'tableName' -- (1)
SELECT DISTINCT
     ccu.table_name,
     ccu.constraint_name
FROM
     INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLE_CONSTRAINTS tc
INNER JOIN
     INFORMATION_SCHEMA.REFERENTIAL_CONSTRAINTS rc
          ON rc.unique_constraint_name = tc.constraint_name
INNER JOIN
     INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CONSTRAINT_COLUMN_USAGE ccu
          ON ccu.constraint_name = rc.constraint_name
WHERE
     tc.table_name = @tableName
[/sourcecode]

Notes:

  • Change line (1) to specify the table name.
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SQL Server: Show all the PRIMARY KEYS for a TABLE

For SQL Server 2005 +

[sourcecode language="SQL"]
DECLARE
  @tableName nvarchar(MAX)
SET
  @tableName = 'tableName' -- (1)
SELECT
  tc.TABLE_NAME,
  tc.CONSTRAINT_NAME,
  kcu.COLUMN_NAME,
  kcu.ORDINAL_POSITION
FROM
  INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLE_CONSTRAINTS tc
INNER JOIN
  INFORMATION_SCHEMA.KEY_COLUMN_USAGE kcu
    ON tc.CONSTRAINT_NAME = kcu.CONSTRAINT_NAME
WHERE
  tc.CONSTRAINT_TYPE = 'PRIMARY KEY'
AND
  tc.TABLE_NAME = @tableName OR @tableName IS NULL
ORDER BY
  tc.TABLE_NAME,
  kcu.ORDINAL_POSITION
[/sourcecode]

Notes:

  • Change line (1) to specify the table name. Removing this line will list PRIMARY KEYS for all TABLES.
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Grumpy = Good

Humph.

Apparently, feeling grumpy is good for you.

So, that’s ruined that, then.

 

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Interview Feedback

Having secured my demotion 😉 I asked some of the interview pannel to provide feedback on my presentation / interview.

Persentation Strategy and Style

  • A risky strategy, but it worked – ND
  • Liked it – ND
  • Personally enjoyed it – MD
  • Concerned that others may have found its tone too jokey, inappropriate or too long – MD
  • Lecturing style (fine) – MD
  • The typefaces were harder to read for someone with poorer eyesight – JJ

Delivery

  • Good speed, compusure, passion and knowledge – MD
  • Enthusiastic – MD
  • Came across well – JJ

Business Content

  • Too much emphasis on past glories rather than what I will do for business in future – MD
  • Too little emphais on how my skills relate to the business vision / strategy – MD
  • Too little focus on fundamental business benefits – delivery cost, time, qualities – MD

Technical Content

  • Confident – JJ
  • Obvious proficiency – JJ
  • Too much technical detail – MD

People Content

  • Some concern about some of the attidudes I expressed through my use of language. “Don’t have time for Muppets” was memorable and unhelpful – JJ

Advice for the Future

  • Consider the audience – what do they want to hear? What is their emphasis? – MD
  • Emphasise what I will actually do for the department, and the benefits the department will receive – MD
  • Shorter answers are better – people can always ask. Be brief, but provide oportunites for questions – MD
  • Attitude in the build up to the interview is important. It is difficult to be positive in an interview if you’ve been negative about the process – JJ

Thanks for the feedback!

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Everything on Your Plate

Yesterday evening, we had guests for dinner. JB (5 yrs) was over tired and over excited. Perhaps that is why he was being particularly fussy about his food.

L (my wife): Eat up! Everything on your plate is something you normally eat!

JB: Yes… Except my fork.

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