Generating random data

SQL Server Central today featured a script for generating random data using a tally table.  While there’s nothing wrong with that, I prefer using a web site,  They offer the advantage of you being able to generate CSVs ready for import of the fields that you need including range bounds, random names, email addresses, etc.  The data generator is also available on GitHub for customization.  The web site limits you to 100 records generated, if you register and pay $20 you can generate 5,000 records.  As a registered user you can also save your datasets, which is a pretty cool feature.

Very useful tool to keep around when you need to load up a database with reasonable data.

Critical patch for all versions of SQL Server!

This is important.  To quote Microsoft, “This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft SQL Server. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an authenticated attacker runs a specially crafted query that is designed to execute a virtual function from a wrong address, leading to a function call to uninitialized memory. To exploit this vulnerability an attacker would need permissions to create or modify a database.

This security update is rated Important for supported editions of Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, and Microsoft SQL Server 2014. For more information, see the Affected Software section.

The security update addresses the vulnerabilities by correcting how SQL Server handles internal function calls and pointer casting. For more information about the vulnerabilities, see the Vulnerability Information section.”

The patch covers both GDR and QFE (General Distribution and Quick Fix) and is available at

According to Aaron Bertrand, if you’re running anything except SQL 2014 SP1, you’re potentially vulnerable.

Have pity on poor RFP reviewers!

If you respond to RFPs or are part of a team that responds to RFPs for your company, consider doing a couple of things.

First, photocopy your RFP.

Now scan your RFP in to a PDF and send it to other people for them to review.

Light grey print may look very pretty on laser-printed hardcopy, but it isn’t easy to read on a laptop screen or monitor, and you could be losing points from your evaluation.  I’m currently reviewing four proposals for a development project (one was just disqualified for not signing their proposal) and it isn’t easy.  And there’s six people reviewing these proposals!

Finally, create your own PDF to submit along with your hardcopies, but MAKE SURE ALL URLS WORK before sending it!

You could easily shoot yourself, and your chance of getting a contract, by your proposal being hard for reviewers to read.