T-SQL Tuesday #137–Notebook Uses

It’s actually my month to host T-SQL Tuesday, and I came up with the notebook idea last year. Aaron Nelson (b | t) sent me a link to a talk he did at a Meetup. It contained some interesting things, showing how you can use notebooks. Worth a watch.

For me, I don’t use notebooks a lot in my work. I had thought about using them to show clients and customers how to use our products, but I hadn’t moved far in that direction. I think too many customers are still using SSMS primarily, and haven’t moved to ADS.

The one place I’ve found them interesting is with Python. When I am sometimes trying to work through an issue, I think it’s easier to run a cell of code and get some results to work through an issue. If I use the REPL, I lose things. In VS Code, which I prefer, I don’t like the split code/terminal. I find that slightly annoying. Notebooks make things easier.

I was doing this recently, as I tried to work on the Advent of Code. I tried different parts of an algorithm in different cells, just to see what the results were. This helped me to work out some logic.

2021-04-13 10_02_06-● Day5.ipynb - Data Analysis - Azure Data Studio

That’s not a great algorithm, and I got better over time, but this was really a good way for me to think about the sections of the problem, putting each on in a separate area.

It’s a little of “teaching myself” within the construct of a notebook. After all, that’s what a lot of data scientists are doing when they start to go through different code items in a notebook.  They can share the notebook with others, which helps to teach.

For me, it’s teaching myself.

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Daily Coping 13 Apr 2021

I started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here. All my coping tips are under this tag. 

Today’s tip is to eat healthy food and drink lots of water today.

I did better at the beginning of the pandemic. Well, apart from a few donut days, I was cooking more, adding lots of vegetables, and drinking lots of water. In fact, I used to fill up water bottles and drop them on my desk every day to remind myself to drink.

2021-04-05 13_59_38-Photo - Google Photos

I got out of both habits a bit, so I’m going to try and do better. I’ve been aiming for more roasted vegetables, salads, and grilled meats.

I’m also going to start filling the bottles and putting them on my desk in the am.

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Everyone Run a SQL Saturday in 2021

With SQL Saturdays being rebooted, and the SQLSaturday.com website live, it’s time for events. I am reaching out to some people that have run events in the past, but I really would like a more people to think about running an event in 2021. Please, contact me if you need help.

We are still in a pandemic around the globe, and while vaccinations are happening, I don’t know that many people will be able to attend a live event in 2021. With that in mind,

2021 is about the schedule.

By that, I mean that attendees don’t have to travel and block out a particular day to go to a SQL Saturday at a local venue. Instead, they can attend any SQL Saturday in a close time zone, if they have the time. Therefore, I don’t care when the Denver SQL Saturday takes place, but rather, I care that I watch a session or two when I do have time. I may not be able to spare an entire Saturday, but I can watch a session or two if I have the choice on any given Saturday (or other day).

Therefore, I have a goal.

A SQL Saturday every week for the rest of 2021.

I realize it won’t be every week, as it takes at least a few weeks to get an event together, but I want to plant the seed now. Let’s aim for one every week from June 1 on.

To make it easy, I’d give organizers these targets:

  • Stick to 2-3 tracks only, 4-5 sessions each.
  • Broadcast in a cheap, simple format. Streamyard is cheap, and Agorify looks interesting.
  • Use mostly local speakers but pick others if you need them. Make this “local” with local talent.
  • Use a short call for speakers (2 weeks) and then just promote your event.
  • Promote locally as much as you can to attract and engage your local people for 2022.
  • Don’t worry about speaker gifts or other extras.
  • Make it a fun day for you and your fellow organizers, but easy.

No matter when you normally have a SQL Saturday, think about just scheduling one for some time this year. We will get dates on the site, and without the need for a venue, you just need a Saturday when you are free. Or really, any other day of the week. Don’t let the “Saturday” limit you. There have been physical events on other days. Run your event on a Friday, or a Wednesday. Whatever suits you.

If a full day is too much, try to do a half day, 2-3 sessions across an afternoon and evening.

If you have never run an event, a virtual one is much easier, and it’s a good first step before you run a physical one. Take this year to practice giving back to the community.

Why Run Virtual Events?

Many of us are tired of physical events. We miss seeing others, and we miss the networking. Virtual events do not do a good job of duplicating what a live event is like.

I get that. I tend to dislike virtual events, both as an attendee and speaker. I am tired of video “stuff”.


We want events to come back in 2022 and beyond. We also want to keep learning and growing. This is for attendees and speakers.

Running your local event, say the Elizabeth SQL Saturday (my local city), means that I can engage my local audience and speakers. I can use this as a way to excite some of my local membership and get them thinking about the future. They may long for the event next year, even if they find attending a virtual SQL Sat LA to be better than my SQL Sat Elizabeth.

This also gives speakers opportunities to practice their skills, deliver new content, and get excited. There are fewer opportunities virtually and having a locally focused event might give some people a chance to improve, or start, speaking to give back to the community.

I really, really, really, really (can’t use enough reallys here) hope we get back to physical events by the end of this year, but I’m not counting on it. I do think we will be able to get venues and run events in 2022, which means looking forward, but keeping SQL Saturday going.

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Daily Coping 12 Apr 2021

I started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here. All my coping tips are under this tag. 

Today’s tip is to commit to being more active, starting today.

This is tough for me. Not because I want to avoid being active, but because I typically try to be active most of the month. Here’s my March.

2021-04-06 17_05_41-MapMyRun — Mozilla Firefox

The week I missed? I tried to drag the tractor bucket around on the ground, by hand, on the 21st. I did some chores that day outside, so I moved, but then my back had me mostly taking it easy until the 29th.

However, I do want to commit to a different view moving forward. The weather is changing, and my wife got a bike stroller for our dogs. One can’t walk a lot, so our aim, as we are getting older, is to bike more this summer, and take the dogs.

So my commitment is to

a) start biking 2 times a week

b) add in a swim a week

c) continue with yoga and weight lifting, likely doubling up some days with a bike and weights.

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