How to get an automated alert when your Azure cost takes off

I wrote this quick-and-dirty script to let me know if I happen to forget to turn off a P15 instance, or if I configure a service with a super-expensive performance tier without realizing. Maxing out your free Azure credits may be depressing enough, but emptying your credit card could really put you in the hurt locker.

So, here’s a Powershell script that warns me before any of this happens. It uses the Azure Consumption API to check how much money we’ve racked up on a subscription so far, and if any single instance exceeds, say, 50% of that total cost, it sends a notification to a Slack channel.

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CAST/CONVERT makes expressions nullable

I came upon this issue when I was building some views to support legacy integrations to an app that I was refactoring. The view is supposed to have exactly the same column definitions as a table in the old database that I am redesigning, so to make SSIS packages and other integrations run smoothly, I want the view’s columns to have the same datatypes, nullability, etc.

But there are some gotchas to watch out for with CAST and CONVERT.

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How to set up a beautiful Powershell Core terminal on Mac OS

I just recently had the opportunity to sit with Aaron Nelson and go through some really cool Powershell features, and I’m certainly going to spend time getting to know Powershell a lot better. If you didn’t know, Powershell isn’t exclusive to Windows anymore – you can actually run a basic set of Powershell features, called Powershell Core, on Mac OS and Linux as well.

But there’s a problem.

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sqlsunday.com downloads are now on GitHub!

Regular readers of my blog will know that I occasionally share some useful scripts on my Downloads page. And even though I update some of those scripts regularly when new versions of SQL Server come out, or if I run into a bug feature, there really hasn’t been a practical way for readers to subscribe to those updates or to contribute with good ideas.

I recently attended the annual PASS Summit conference in Seattle, and as part of my personal goal to try to learn new (and scary) things, I took a precon on working with Git.

So as of now, a bunch of downloads are available on GitHub (which is, really, a much better place to host scripts than a shared Dropbox link). You can download them as usual, and if you want, you can add your improvements and send me a pull request. I know I’ve received a ton of good ideas and suggestions over the years, but more often than not, I haven’t had the proper environment to test those changes in, or I just haven’t had the time to dig into my old code.

But now you can:

Conference hack: how to get great screenshots from demos

I take all my conference notes on my laptop, or occasionally on a tablet. Sometimes, I’ll want to take a screenshot of a powerpoint slide or a demo to add to my notes.

Here’s a trick to beautify those screenshots very easily:

The Microsoft Office Lens app (App store | Google Play) is an excellent document scanner, that you can also use to snap pictures of business cards, signs or basically anything rectangular with a little contrast around the edges – like a projector screen.

It’ll identify the framing and correct the image, so you can save it as a picture or a PDF, or beam it to another mobile device or computer.

Point it at the screen:

… and once you’ve taken the picture, it’ll beautify the image:

This is a killer app for conferences.