Mike Scalise

Mike Scalise

My thoughts on SQL Server, Project Management, Fitness, and all points in between

T-SQL Tuesday #123: Life Hacks to Make Your Day Easier

T-SQL Tuesday

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Jess Pomfret (b|t) and the topic is “Life hacks to make your day easier.”

A Little Background

For those of you who don’t know, T-SQL Tuesday is the brainchild of SQL Server Guru Adam Machancic (t). It is a monthly blog party where a person is chosen to be the blog “host” for the month, chooses a topic (can be technical or non-technical), and charges IT professionals to write about the topic on their respective blogs, then link back to the host blog.

Once the month has concluded, the host makes a roundup post comprised of links to each participant’s post. It’s a great way for people to learn a lot about a topic from incredibly knowledgeable people, and it’s wonderful for the participants as they get to contribute to the community and the greater good.

This 123rd T-SQL Tuesday is particularly special to me because it’s the first one I’ve participated in.

Life Hack

A life hack I learned about relatively recently is the Apple “Speak Screen” option on iPhones. This feature, which has apparently been around since the iOS 6 days, allows iPhones to speak the contents of web pages to you. How did I not know this existed?

When I first used this feature, I was blown away. My backlog of websites, blogs, and articles to read had been growing, and it seemed I would never make my way through all of the material. Now, when I’m in the shower, in the car, heck–even when I’m cleaning the house I can bring up a page I’ve been wanting to read and simply have Siri dictate it to me.

Here’s how to turn it on:

Settings –>Accessibility–>Spoken Content–>Toggle “Speak Screen” On

Or, just go to a web page ask Siri to “Speak Screen.” If it’s not enabled, it’ll give you the option to go to the aforementioned settings area and enable it; if it is enabled, it’ll speak the page to you.

There are several other related options you can set in this area, like whether text gets highlighted as it’s spoken, the rate at which text is spoken, etc.

As we all know, time is one of the few resources we simply cannot make more of, so our next best option is to be as efficient as we can with the time that we have available to us. “Speak Screen” has allowed me to significantly improve my efficiency and overall productivity. I highly recommend exploring this to see if it can help you too. If you want to do more reading on it, head over to Apple.

The Parker’s Heritage Collection from Heaven Hill Distillery

Last Updated: 06/17/2020

Why an entire post dedicated to Parker’s Heritage?

Well, when I became interested in rare whiskeys in late 2016, I came across a website that recounted the top ten rare whiskeys of the world. On that list was Parker’s Heritage 8th edition (13 Year Wheat Whiskey) from 2014. It described its color, nose, palate, and finish so eloquently that I had to try it. The problem was that it was, well, a rare whiskey. Intrigued, I began to research more about the collection and became hooked. The story, the quality, the rarity all worked for me. So if you want to know about Parker’s Heritage and my experience, read on.

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PASS Summit 2016

It was amazing, to say the least.

And yes, I know I’m a few months late to the game to blog about last year’s PASS Summit, but I only recently got my blog up and running and have had a chance to compile myriad pictures I took during the conference. Whether you’re relatively new to SQL Server and are considering going or a veteran who has been multiple times, I thought I’d share my experience in hopes that you’ll glean something from it–maybe a new nugget of information.

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Busting the Myth: Project Plans Are Developed and Managed Solely in Microsoft Project

In college, I majored in business administration and minored in entrepreneurial studies. This meant taking numerous marketing courses. I remember being taught many times over that we should use clear, descriptive, and unambiguous names if we ever started a business or launched a product or service. This way, potential customers would have no problem understanding what the company does or what function the products serve.

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How to Increase SQL Server Query Performance When You Have No Control Over the Query — A Unique Approach

Last week, at my local PASS chapter (Rochester), I gave a presentation titled “Magical Query Tuning.” In the presentation, I described a query-tuning technique that can be used when you think you’re out of options. I first learned of this method from Kendra Little at LittleKendra.com and I think it’s an incredibly interesting and not widely-known method, which is why I chose to share it with everyone.

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The Money Challenge

As we near the end of 2016, many of us are starting to think about next year. How can we make 2017 better than 2016? What should our resolutions be? What about our goals? Should we take that vacation we’ve been wanting to go on?

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Function Friday

I’m a huge proponent of SQL Server. I think it’s a great database engine and I find that I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge about the product and help others expand theirs. In that vein, starting in October of this year I’ve begun tweeting one SQL Server function and a link to its page on microsoft.com, each Friday. I call it Function Friday.

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