It’s time for another T-SQL Tuesday, hosted this month by Jen McCown (blog|twitter), on the topic of resolutions. Specifically, “what techie resolutions have you been pondering, and why?” I like that word – pondering – because I ponder a lot. And while there are many things that I do already because of my job, there are many more things that I ponder about doing…if only I had the time. Then I ponder about making time, but then it’s back to work! In 2010, I was moderately more successful in making time for things that I ponder about than I had been in years past, and I hope to continue that trend in 2011. If Jen hadn’t settled on this topic, I could keep my ponderings to myself and no one would ever know the outcome, but she’s egged me on (and everyone else that chooses to participate)! So here goes…
For me, having resolve to do something means that I wouldn’t be doing that something as part of my ordinary routine. It takes extra effort to make time for it. It’s not something that I do once and check off a list, but something that I need to commit to over a period of time. So with that in mind, I hereby resolve…
To Learn Something New…
One of the things I love about my job is that I get to do a lot of things outside of my ordinary routine. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of opportunity! So what more could I possibly add to that list of things to do? Well, the more I learn, the more I realize I have so much more to learn. It would be much easier to remain in ignorant bliss, but I was born to learn. Constantly. (And apparently to teach, too– my father will tell you that as a small child, I had the neighborhood kids gathered together to play school – in the summer. I’m sure they loved that – but they did it!) These are some of things that I want to dedicate some time to learning this year:
- Spatial data. I have a good understanding of how maps in Reporting Services works, and I can cobble together a simple T-SQL spatial query, but I know I’m only scratching the surface here. Rob Farley (blog|twitter) posted interesting examples of combining maps and PivotViewer, and I think there’s so many more creative possibilities. I’ve always felt that pictures (including charts and maps) really help people get their minds wrapped around data better, and because a lot of data has a geographic aspect to it, I believe developing some expertise here will be beneficial to my work.
- PivotViewer. Not only is PivotViewer combined with maps a useful way to visualize data, but it’s an interesting way to work with data. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this interactive demonstration using Netflx OData feed. According to Rob Farley, learning how to work with PivotViewer isn’t trivial. Just the type of challenge I like!
- Security. You’ve heard of the accidental DBA? Well, I am the accidental security person – is there a word for that role? My eyes used to glaze over when having to study about security, or when reading anything about it. Then I had a problem long ago that no one could figure out – not even the vendor’s tech support – until I rolled up my sleeves and painstakingly worked through the myriad of potential problems to resolve a very thorny security issue. I learned a lot in the process, and have been able to share what I’ve learned with a lot of people. But I’m not convinced their eyes weren’t glazing over, too. I don’t take it personally – it’s just a very dry topic! So in addition to deepening my understanding about security, I want to find a way to make the subject as it relates to SQL Server and business intelligence more accessible and less boring.
Well, there’s actually a lot more that I could put on this list, and a lot more things I have plans to do this coming year, but I run the risk of overcommitting myself. And then I wouldn’t have time…
To Have Fun!
My name is Stacia and I’m a workaholic. When I love what I do, it’s difficult to separate out the work time from the fun time. But there are some things that I’ve been meaning to do that aren’t related to business intelligence for which I really need to develop some resolve. And they are techie resolutions, too, in a roundabout sort of way!
- Photography. When my husband and I went on an extended camping trip in 2009 to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, I had a nice little digital camera that took decent pictures. But then I saw the gorgeous cameras that other tourists were toting around and decided I needed one too. So I bought a Nikon D90 and have started to learn to use it, but I’m definitely still in the beginning stages. I traveled so much in 2010 and worked on two book projects that I didn’t have a lot of free time to devote to it. I was very inspired by Kimberly Tripp’s (blog|twitter) and Paul Randal’s (blog|twitter) photo-adventure in Alaska, though, and plan to spend some dedicated time with my camera this year. (And hopefully before I move to Alaska – nothing set in stone yet, but we hope to move to a remote location – with Internet access – later this year!)
- Astronomy. I have this cool telescope, but it suffers the same fate as my camera. I have been gone too much and busy with other things that I haven’t had time to work with it. I’ll figure out how it works, and then so much time passes by that I forget how to use it. I have this crazy idea that I can actually put the camera and the telescope together for astrophotography, but I think I need to start simple by learning how to use each component individually. As long as I’m living in Las Vegas, I know I’ll have clear skies for nighttime viewing, but when we move to Alaska, we’ll be living in a rain forest. I have no idea what my opportunities will be like there – except I know that when the sky is clear, it will be far more amazing than anything I can see in Vegas – even out in the desert – because I’ll be so far away from city light pollution.
I’ve been contemplating putting together a blog on these topics as I learn. As many of my fellow bloggers in the SQL Server community know, sometimes the best way to learn something is to sit down and write about it. I’m just stumped by coming up with a clever name for the new blog, which I was thinking about inaugurating with my move to Alaska. Except that I don’t know when that will be exactly, so we’ll just have to wait and see which comes first!
Great resolutions! I’m also really interested in deepening my spatial data and visualization skills–I was just reading mslgroup’s 2011 social predictions, and “drawing a good story” was one of them. http://www.mslgroup.com/downloads/2011/01/social_predictions_2011/#/18/
Good luck with your extracurricular resolutions too!
[…] I gave it some thought to how I wanted to spend my personal time and was even brave enough to make my personal 2011 goals public. How did I do? Well, not well on the two main topics that I targeted for my free time. I […]