2014 review: the year by the numbers

The last post of the year! It’s been a really excellent year all round and time for my traditional post counting down some of the numbers that have been my life this year. 10068445 (roughly): the number of page views across my blog according to Google (up around 9% from 2013) 105881: the number of miles […]

2014: the year in books

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see my posts from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and people have been enjoying it, so I present the 2014 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 40 books this year and I managed 53. I wanted […]

New interview available online

The Simple Talk folks from Red Gate have been running a Geek of the Week interview series over the last few months and this week I’m their featured geek. You can read the interview here. Enjoy!

2013 review: the year by the numbers

The last post of the year! It’s been a really excellent year all round and time for my traditional post counting down some of the numbers that have been my life this year. 9233243 (roughly): the number of page views across my blog according to Google (up around 15% from 2012) 112289: the number of […]

2013: the year in books

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see my posts from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and people have been enjoying it, so I present the 2013 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 60 books this year and I managed 56. Next year […]

Don’t forget *your* system health!

We all obsess with making our databases and our clients’ databases healthy and fabulous, but often we forget about looking after ourselves. Over the last few years I’ve steadily ballooned 50lbs over the weight I was when I married Kimberly, let myself get stressed, black bags under my eyes, and an unhealthy liking for Tater-Tots, […]

2012 review: the year by the numbers

The last post of the year! It’s been a really excellent year all round and time for my traditional post counting down the numbers that have been my life this year. 8081324 (roughly): the number of page views across my blog (up almost 10% from 2011) according to Google, from 141 countries (same as last […]

2012: the year in books

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see my posts from 2009, 2010, 2011) and people have been enjoying it, so I present the 2012 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 60 books this year and I managed 59. Next year we […]

Visiting Scotland (part 1)

A friend of ours on the SQL Server doc team asked me to recommend some places to visit for their upcoming trip to Scotland so instead of dashing off a long list in email I thought I'd do it as a blog post so others can benefit too. I'm going to concentrate on the areas […]

A natural progression

Just over thirteen years ago, at the end of January 1999, I arrived in the US on an H1B visa to start working for Microsoft, after almost 5 years working for DEC/Digital. On Monday, February 1st, 1999 I entered Microsoft's building 1 and saw my first SQL Server source code (it was the code for BULK […]

2011: the year in books

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see 2009, 2010) and people have been enjoying it, so I present the 2011 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 50 books this year and I managed 53. Next year we have a […]


Don't expect any activity here for at least a couple of weeks as we're leaving today for a long-overdue dive trip (on the Belize Aggressor) – our first diving for almost 18 months. I'll post lots of photos in December… In the meantime, please go run the index survey code from my last post – the […]

The Golden Rule – maybe just optional now?

We’ve been off-line the last couple of weeks while we’ve been traveling around Europe and now I’ve got a bunch of blog posts to catch up on (plus a whole lot of photos of cool things to show you). But first, a rant that’s been brewing for a while… something that really, really, really irritates me. And I’m sure […]

Recent Lego models gallery

It's been a while since I blogged about hobby stuff so I thought I'd share a few photos of recent Lego models I've made – I know quite a few of you are model nuts like me! I've included a soda can so you can get an idea of the scale of the models. Click […]

T-SQL Tuesday #14: Resolutions – continue having fun

  This month's T-SQL Tuesday is being run by newly-minted fellow-MVP Jen McCown (blog|twitter) and the topic is about resolutions. And specifically about resolutions around technology you've been pondering. One of the things I try very hard to do is make it a bit fun when teaching people about SQL Server. Let's face it, it's a very, very […]

2010 review: the year by the numbers

The last post of the year! It's been an excellent year all round – I thought that instead of doing a long post about goals etc, I'd count down the numbers that have been my life this year. 1413307: the number of page views on my blog, as tracked by Google, from 130 countries – […]

2010: the year in books

In 2009 I read a whopping 100 books (see my wrap-up post) and it seemed at times like I spent every waking moment reading, so I set myself a more modest goal of reading 40 books in 2010 – and I managed 45. A lot of people enjoyed my top-10 list last year so I […]

Offline for four weeks…

Hey folks, Just a quick note to let you know that Kimberly and I will be offline from this weekend for four weeks. We're going on vacation – taking the kids up to Alaska to explore for two weeks and then Kimberly and I are taking an ex-Russian ice-breaker with Heritage Expeditions over to the […]

The Paul and Kimberly travel guide

Yesterday morning I was tagged in a blog post by my very good friend Buck Woody (twitter|blog), wondering how I travel (and by extension, how *we* travel, as I'm almost 100% of the time traveling with Kimberly). I think it might make for interesting reading for some of you who travel a lot too. Buck's […]

On vacation…

It's been a while since we had a vacation (and more than a year since we last went diving!!) so tomorrow we're off for a couple of weeks R&R (mostly on a live-aboard dive boat) before a run of events in Europe. During that time, we'll be completely offline – no blogging, no email, no Twitter […]

Another unavoidable social network

Just when I thought I'd discovered all the online networks that could successfully prevent me from doing useful work, I re-discovered LinkedIn this morning after Kimberly got sucked in, and dragged me in as well. It makes sense I suppose as a more serious way to keep in touch with people we met at conferences […]

MVPs again – what does it mean?

We both just got the MVP renewal emails – although I must admit to having some April Fools fun this morning on Twitter and the MVP newsgroup :-) It's a privilege being recognized as a top contributor to the SQL Community, not a right. We do what we do and we're recognized. As are several […]

TGIF Time Warp

Once in a blue moon I come across something cool and it happens to be Friday, and I blog about it. Last time was drinking Guinness in Dublin and the time before was an insane driving skills video (see here). My (scary) friend and fellow SQL MVP Grant Fritchey (Twitter|blog) posted the first two lines […]

New blog on SQLskills.com: Paul’s Electronics

At the start of the year I decided to get seriously back into playing with electronics after a long haitus. I agonized about where to blog about all this stuff (as I like to blog a *lot*, as you all well know) and I initially thought it would be cool to have everything intermingled on […]

What three events brought you here?

Yesterday I was discussing life-direction-changing-events with Kimberly and our great friend Libby and I thought it would be interesting to find out from people how their lives brought them to where they are today. I'm often tagged in these kinds of blog posts from other people, so today I'm going to start one of my […]

Once in a lifetime: 100 books in a year

(This is my last blog post for 2009 – thanks to everyone who reads my blog and takes part in the SQL community – hope you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!)  Every so often you have to challenge yourself with a goal that actually stretches your abilities and tests your stamina. At the start […]

Goals, obsessions, and aspirations: becoming an MVP

Several times this week I've been asked about how to become an MVP. A few people have posted on this, but here's my take.  I think basically what it comes down to is that if you aspire to become something you're not already, you usually need to make changes in your life. Sometimes significant changes. But […]

Wasting time on vacation

This isn't a SQL Server blog post so doesn't count against my vacation. Just finished making the Lego model of the original Death Star that I got for Christmas. Took me about 24 hours altogether. Click the photo for a larger version.   No need to grow up when there's Lego to play with :-)

July Vacation

Well – the first half of the year is over and it's been a pretty busy time for Kimberly and I. I only managed to get one day at home in June but I'm at home for whole month of July, and this year I'm taking a proper break. I'm going to be essentially dark […]

Blog post 350 on this blog – vive la communite!

Quick blog post to celebrate a bit of a milestone and round out the month of May – no blogging tomorrow. Earlier today I was making a backup of all the content on my blog because I want to make sure I have a secure copy of it if multiple failures happen with site hoster […]

We all do stupid things when we’re young

I've just been posting a few links on Facebook and began reminiscing about my days at Edinburgh University. I spent a lot of my 3rd and 4th years there running the Tardis unix cluster, a fantastic experience which fed directly into my addiction for putting things together, taking things apart, and generally dinking about with […]

Garden flower close-up photos

I was reading through some gardening books this morning trying to identify a plant we had last year that died over the winter (I was successful – it was a Tibouchina Urvilleana (Princess Flower)) and thought I'd break out the 50mm and 100mm macro lenses and shoot some close-ups myself. Here's an example: I've uploaded […]

Photos: amazing wall paintings from the Imperial Palace in Bangkok

In February this year we stopped off in Bangkok on the way to and from teaching in Hyderabad. On one of the days we did some sight-seeing, including the Imperial Palace in Bangkok. I took a bunch of photos of the wall paintings in the outer courtyard and I've posted an album up on Facebook (easier than a big, […]

New Microsoft Regional Director – Paul Randal

I'm very pleased, and deeply honored, to announce that I've been made a Microsoft Regional Director. This is one of a very small group of people (about 120 worldwide) who Microsoft sees as influencers of, and liaisons between, the Microsoft community at large. Apart from me, the other SQL MVPs who are also RDs are […]

Facebook, or how to lose productivity forever

Ok – so Kimberly got on Facebook last weekend after peer-pressure from a bunch of people at Katie's 9th birthday party. I resisted, in vain it seems, knowing how devastating it would be to our productivity, given that we're both totally OCD. Now I joined (again) this afternoon and the prophecy came true. So unfortunately […]

Diving in the Caribbean

The first of the long-promised photo posts (with lots of Wikipedia links) – click on photos for larger versions. Over the holidays Kimberly and I went to St. Lucia in the Caribbean for a well-earned and highly-anticipated break – sun, relaxation, and scuba diving for a few weeks. St. Lucia is almost at the far […]

OT: Scottish fine arts

(Yes I know I haven't posted for a while, we've been travelling – we're in Hyderabad right now – but I'll post a bunch over the next week) This one's totally off-topic. My Mother is a popular and well-known artist in Scotland (described as "one of the new Scottish colourists") and she's just launched a […]

Happy holidays!

[Edit 1/1/09] Well, actually its so nice here (St. Lucia) that we're staying on vacation another week – maybe I'll post some stuff next week – maybe… Well, its the end of another year, and my first complete year outside of Microsoft – and what a busy year it's been. Between the two of us, […]


After putting up with years of me occasionally breaking into song with 'Manamana!', Kimberly finally caved-in this afternoon and asked to see the classic Muppets Manamana song video. And so for all of you who haven't been exposed to those cultural icons of 70s and 80s, the Muppets, checkout the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC9FtLQJoGM. [Edit: the […]

Paul Randal named Contributing Editor of TechNet Magazine

As you may have noticed, I *really* like blogging and writing about SQL Server (to the point that Kimberly jokes in our sessions and workshops that I blog so much I don't sleep…). Well, to cap off our very successful conference season, I'm very pleased to announce that I've just been made a Contributing Editor […]

8-bit nostalgia time

If anyone reading the blog was watching SQLServerCentral back in 2006, you'd have seen an email interview I did with Steve Jones while I was still at MS. In there I talk about how I got into computers and taught myself 6502 assembly-language programming on an Acorn Electron (little brother to the BBC Micro) which […]

One year on…

Well, it’s been a year since I left Microsoft (8/31/07) to join Kimberly running SQLskills.com – and what a blast it’s been! From 8/31/07 to 8/31/08 I’ve: Had one front-page article in TechNet Magazine Written two whitepapers Presented at 4 conferences Taught in 5 countries outside the US Taken 39 flights (still 18 more to […]

This had me in tears laughing…

Just go watch it – LEGO stop-go animation of a Metallica concert – it’s fantastic! http://www.sarahlacy.com:80/sarahlacy/2008/08/stop-what-you-a.html Thanks to Jason Massie for the heads-up (tons of cool SQL stuff on Jason’s site btw…)

LEGO Olympics

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of LEGO (see SQL Down Under podcast interview – CHECKDB, 2008, and what does Paul get up to when Kimberly’s away?). In fact the kids got me the new LEGO Volkswagen Beetle for my birthday last month – just […]

Weird Boeing test flight

Just a bit off-topic on this one! I was sitting working on our top deck this morning when I spotted a large commerical airliner being shadowed by a small jet. I rushed in to grab my binoculars, assuming the escort was military and something was wrong with the airliner. Then things got really weird – […]

When Moray Eels get a little close for comfort…

While we were on vacation at the start of July we spent a week on the live-aboard Kona Aggressor II catching up on some scuba-diving. Two of the night-dives were to a site where Manta Rays congregate (up to 16 of them at a time) and feed off plankton attracted to dive lights. The basic […]

Nostalgia day

I’m sitting here writing my next article for TechNet Magazine – this time on Tracking Changes Using SQL Server 2008 – and was fooling around on the web when I came across a page I hadn’t seen for a long time – http://www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/. It’s a student-run computer system at the University of Edinburgh where I […]

Do backups apply to just digital data? And how many backups should you have?

So Seattle weather went from 50 degrees to 85 degrees overnight Friday and we all went from shivering to sweating! It's too hot to be sitting outside so we're both sitting inside getting a little work done. Well, I should really say 'work' as neither of us are actually doing anything productive for the business. Both of […]

Paul Randal awarded SQL Server MVP for 2008

  (And this isn’t an April Fool…) I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve been made a SQL Server MVP for 2008. For the eight years or so before leaving the SQL team last August, I was involved a lot with the SQL Server MVPs. It’s going to be *really* interesting being on the ‘other […]

Personal: Final day in Beijing sightseeing (lots of photos)

Now we’re back at home and working very strange hours as we deal with jet-lag. The flight back from Beijing to Vancouver was a great flight but with weird seats in business class – individual pods instead of actual seats. Nice to be able do lie down flat but not very wide – not the […]

Tales from the women’s bathroom in the Microsoft office in Beijing

Well, I bet that title grabbed a bunch of people’s attention :-) In the Beijing Advanced Research Centre offices of Microsoft where we’re teaching this week, the bathroom stalls have print-outs of jokes on them. The ones in the women’s bathroom are pretty good – here are a couple of them that made us laugh […]

Personal: And on to Beijing and the Great Wall…

Start of the second week in China. We flew up from Shanghai to Beijing yesterday, and just in time it seems. As we flew out of Shanghai it was being enveloped in a snowstorm. Beijing’s much colder than Shanghai though – being further north and inland quite a way compared to Shanghai. As I said […]

Personal: First trip of the year – China!

Nothing technical in this blog post for a change, just some info about the first trip of the year for us. We’re in China for two weeks, teaching classes at the Microsoft campuses in Shanghai and Beijing. We flew in Sunday afternoon on a direct flight from Vancouver, Canada which was just wonderful. When I […]

Patents and parties

In the mail today I received notice that my first software patent has been granted by the US Patent Office :-) (after being filed 3.5 years ago while I was still writing DBCC CHECKDB code!) It’s basically a way to run DBCC CHECKDB on a database stored in a backup without actually having to restore the […]

Donald Wayne Tripp, August 6 1944 – November 28 2007

As many of you who follow our blogs (and we’ve met at conferences) may know, Kimberly’s Dad has been very ill for some time. On November 28th he passed away peacefully at home with us after a long and brave fight against cancer. He’ll be missed by many friends and family. Kimberly has a longer […]


With the class we taught yesterday in Zurich for Microsoft, Kimberly and I have just finished almost three weeks of continuous travelling and presenting at conferences. Now we’re taking some time off to relax and recharge. My blog will be silent until Monday 26th November, when I’ll start posting some cool articles with example scripts […]

And we’re off – Fall conference season begins!

After all the build-up over the last few weeks (putting finishing touches to decks and demos), we’re finally off to the last set of conferences for the year. First up is SQL Connections in Las Vegas, with over 5000 attendees!!. We flew down yesterday from Seattle to hang out for an extra few days before the conference, as […]

SQL Down Under podcast interview – CHECKDB, 2008, and what does Paul get up to when Kimberly’s away?

Today I finally managed to hook-up with SQL Server MVP and Regional Director Greg Low so he could interview me for his podcast show – we’d spent the last few months juggling schedules and time-zone differences (he’s 17 hours ahead of Redmond) but today the stars aligned and we made it. You can download the interview at […]