SQL Dumbass

Fighting dumbasses, one query at a time…

When 1,024 Columns Are Not Enough

Dear SQLDumbass: I took a dba job at a shop where they just keep adding columns to the tables, when I tell them that we have to fix the architecture, they say they can’t spend the time to fix the database as the new request are so much more important.  What should I do? – Name Witheld

Dear Name: How many columns are they at right now? Because I wouldn’t worry until you got to about 1,024. After that you need to have what is called a wide table, and they can have 30,000 columns. Are you over 1,024 columns right now? On second thought, just quit now, and save yourself the time and trouble of doing it later on when they start asking you to “make everything just go faster”.

Dear SQLDumbass: Today I found a piece of vendor code that issues a ‘BACKUP LOG WITH TRUNCATE_ONLY’ command on the first day of every month at 8PM. My question is this: After I find the developer that works for this piece-of-shit-vendor-application and stab him with my pencil should I head out for drinks afterwards or just head home? I am thinking I need to make a getaway, but I may need something to take the edge off as well. – D.B.A. Cooper

Dear Name: Wow, that’s a great question. I would say that you should go have a drink. I wouldn’t worry about making a getaway. If you get arrested for stabbing that guy then you’ll need to be tried by a jury of your peers. In this case, that means twelve other DBA type folk, and there is no doubt in my mind they will see things your way.

Dear SQLDumbass: I keep getting an error message? – John

Dear Name: I’m not sure I understand your question. When do you get the error message? When you start your car in the morning? How about when you use the toilet? Do you get an error message then as well? Honestly, if this is the level of detail you provide the people you work with then I would expect that at some point you will see that Life itself is giving you an error message.

You’re Not Worthy

Dear SQLDumbass: I just passed exam 70-431, where can I get a job as a DBA? -Fred

Dear Fred: Oh, you’ve passed an exam? I’m sure the job offers will come rolling in, just be patient. After all, why should years of experience matter anymore? Just look at K-Fed for a great example of how well you can do without any appreciable skills other than being able to talk your way through a prenup, er test.

Dear SQLDumbass: I’m leading a class and for the past few days I’ve had to deal with smartasses who are taking the class arguing my answers with me or simply mucking around on Twitter all day long paying no attention to the subject matter.  What do you suggest I do about this? – Name Withheld

Dear Paul: Tell Brent Ozar to shut up and pay attention.  If that doesn’t work, throw an eraser at his head.  That worked for me when I was in school.  Then again, we had blackboards and erasers back then.  Perhaps tossing a chair will send a nice message to the lot of them?

Dear SQLDumbass: My girlfriend is complaining that I’m spending too much time at work and that it’s cutting into our social life.  I’m an Access DBA for a leading stock trading firm on Wall Street though and the work demands it.  How should I handle this with her. – Roger

Dear “Roger”: OK, am I getting punk’d?  Where do I begin?  Do I start with the fact that you have a girlfriend and are an Access Developer?  Yeah, I think I will:  What are you, their king?  When you all get together to talk shop I’m sure they spend most of the time asking you what it’s like to talk to a real woman?  Secondly, Wall Street firms are using Access for their database platform?  That explains so much.  Really, this failure at AIG, Lehman, and the Goldman Sachs wasn’t about default credit swaps was it?   It was about Jet.  Also, perhaps you’d have more free time if you were working with a better platform than Access to meet your needs.  Sure, it’s great for your quilting club, or for keeping track of your Star Trek memorabelia, but for the financial heartbeat of America and the World?  Seriously?

By the way, stop calling yourself a DBA.  D stands for Database in case you were unaware.  Also, stop calling her your girlfriend, it’s your Mom, isn’t it Roger?  Now go upstairs and take out the garbage like a good boy.

Dear SQLDumbass: I want to start telecommuting.  What do you suggest I do first? – One Foot Out The Door

Dear OFOTD: I suggest you stop showing up to work.  You may want to check with your boss first, but I leave that up to you.

You Won’t Get Shanked

Dear SQLDumbass: I wrote a blog post slamming MS Access, and now I feel kinda bad. Should I be concerned that I will get shanked by a developer at the next office party? -B from Chicago

Dear B: I wouldn’t worry about slamming anyone with regards to MS Access. Anyone that cares about using Access is usually too inept at navigating the internet. Chances are they will never read your post. And the ones that can use a computer are too busy extracting data from Front Page and storing it in Access in order to be concerned with your blog.

Dear SQLDumbass: I’m tired of our DBA’s always complaining about needing separate disks for data, log, and backups. Why do the backups have to go on a different drive than the data? Isn’t it the same data to begin with? So I build servers with one big RAID5 and partition out different drive letters so they think they are getting different drives and they don’t know the difference. Morons. – Gary

Dear Gary: Nice. People like you are the reasons that businesses fail. I bet you are the same guy that builds a SAN as just one big LUN and hands out space as needed. I’m sure performance is through the roof in your shop. I’m also sure the DBA’s are smart enough to examine the disk subsystem to know enough about what you have built. Chances are they are waiting for a failure of some sort. That way, when they can’t recover, they’ll just point to their requirement that they asked for separate drives. When management realizes what a dumbass you are, you’ll be out and they’ll replace you with something more useful, like punch cards or a bag of used staples.

Dear SQLDumbass: Our DBA team here won’t let us be sysadmin and it slows us down considerably. Why are you guys such assholes? – Steve

Dear Steve: A better question is: why aren’t you? If you were more of an asshole then maybe you would be a DBA instead of pissing and moaning about the wonderful job they are doing in your shop. Next time you find yourself thinking bad thoughts about the DBAs there, stop and think to yourself “what can Steve do to be more of an asshole?”, and then go and do those things. You’ll get noticed, and quick, and pretty soon you’ll be right where you belong.

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