Aggregating date and time values

Date and time values are not entirely intuitive to aggregate into averages in T-SQL, although the business case does arguably exist. Suppose, for instance, that you have a production log with a “duration” column (in the “time” datatype), and you want to find the totalt or average duration for a certain group of items.

It’s possible, but I would still call it a workaround.

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Anonymize your dev databases!

I’ve been working on a little gadget for a while now, and today I finally got around to completing it and so now I’ve published it for everyone to try out. It’s a web API (wait, wait, don’t go away – it’s for database people!) that creates a randomized list of names, addresses, etc.

In this post, I’ll show you how easy it is to use this service to anonymize a development or test database so you don’t have all that personally identifiable information floating around.

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Scan hundreds of SQL Saturday raffle tickets. Fast.

If you’re an organizer, sponsor and/or an exhibitor at a SQL Saturday event, you often collect raffle tickets from attendees. In exchange for giving you their contact information, they have the opportunity to win cool raffle prizes.

Here’s the thing, though. Raffle tickets can be a bit painful to scan on your mobile phone. You point the phone at the QR code, then click the URL that opens up the browser, after which the SQL Saturday web service takes another second or two (or three) to load. This is fine when you have just a few tickets, but it can be mindnumbing if you have hundreds.

What can I say, I’m lazy.

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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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