Largest FREE Microsoft eBook Giveaway

(according to Eric Ligman, director of Business & Sales Operations)

I just downloaded 78 books and PDFs on SQL Server, Power Shell, Windows Server, Azure, development, and a lot of other topics that caught my eye.  There’s no indication as to how long the giveaway will be going on, so get ’em while the getting is good.

Words of warning and advice: many of the offerings are only as PDF, some are just DOC, others are also as MOBI or EPUB.  So don’t expect to be able to load everything to your iPad or Kindle and be able to have lovely reflowable and resizable text.  Obviously it’s easy to run the DOCs through Calibre or other programs and convert them to your favorite ebook format, not so easy with the PDFs.  One major problem for me is that some of the links just give you a file with an ISBN#.epub, or a really bad file name, so personally I’d recommend doing a copy of the book title as it appears in the giveaway blog post, then a right click Save As on the link, and paste in the nicely formatted title.


Interested in designing computer games? Here’s some books!

Humble Bundle is selling 17 ebooks worth almost $500 on programming and game design on multiple platforms for the stunning price of $15.  Technologies include: Android, Swift, Unity3D, RPGMaker, Java in LibGDX, and HTML5!  As usual, they’re available in epub, Kindle, and PDF formats and are not encumbered with DRM, something that cannot be said for most computer games. 🙂

Unfortunately, the bundle goes away in about 35 hours from this post.  Sorry for the lateness of this notification, December has been a pretty rough month.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and here’s to a better ’17!  Let’s make gaming great again! 🙂

A couple of additional tools for digging into execution plans

Grant Fritchey has a book on execution plans, revised in 2012, available as a PDF for free from the Redgate site where print and Kindle editions are also available for purchase.  There are MANY free books available on Redgate’s site, highly recommended reading!

And there’s SQL Sentry PlanExplorer, in both a free and paid version, it’s an amped-up version of the basic SSMS tools.  Like Mladen’s tools mentioned in the previous post, it is invoked by a right-click on an execution plan object and opens in its own program window.  There’s a lot of interesting aspects to this tool, such as the Join Diagram that shows you sort of a relational diagram of your query.  One thing that’s quite nice is that each operator’s cost is shown above the icon with the most expensive operator in red and the next in yellow.  If you hover your mouse pointer over any tool you’ll get the same information as what you’d see in SSMS, but if you hover over the first (top left) icon, it will tell you if a good enough plan was found or if the optimizer timed out.

Three books that I find quite useful

They’re all a decade old and kind of dated, but they still have some very good techniques that can be adapted in to newer code and projects.

SQL Hacks, by Andrew Cumming & Gordon Russell (2006).  This book has a lot of different tips, I most recently used it to refine some code for personalized parameters and setting row-based security.  The cool thing about this book is that the reference multiple SQLs: you’ll find examples and explanations in T-SQL, PL/SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.  Not every example has code in every language, but it’s not too difficult to extrapolate in to your favorite language.

Access Hacks, by Ken Bluttman (2005).  Ken’s book has lots of VBA code that I’ve found quite useful: yesterday I pulled code from it to set a timer that will auto-save changed data, and will also close a form if nothing is happening on it.

Access Cookbook, by Ken Getz (2004).  A more in-depth book than Access Hacks, the Cookbook unfortunately is considerably more dated: Access has gone through a lot of changes in 11 years!