The word database is not one that you hear in everyday conversation. It’s one of those technical terms that’s used by business and I.T. people. It might evoke images of computers and long reports of names and numbers or indecipherable data. Some people might think of marketing or mailing lists. In fact, a database is simply any collection of data that’s organized so that it can be retrieved and used as needed. Usually, it refers specifically to data that has been stored within a computer system so that it can be quickly manipulated into reports. Databases take many forms but anytime a computer needs to present information of any kind, whether it be a store’s customer data or patient data at your doctor’s office, that data has to be retrieved from somewhere and it’s usually in a database of one kind or another.
A few months ago, I purchased the StarTech USB to VGA adapter for my system. I got tired of the single display and going with a USB adapter was a lot easier than modifying the computer itself to support two displays.
Going by the reviews on Amazon, I decided on the USB32VGAEH model which supports USB 3.0, VGA displays and includes a pass-through USB port. There are also models that will enable you to add a new DVI and HDMI display through a USB port.
I keep trying to come up with new projects that have less to do with technology and more to do with just improving myself or coming up with great content. It’s not easy given how long I’ve been immersed in the tech world but I decided to start another one.
One Thousand Choices is my new Twitter feed where I will be posting inspirational thoughts and quotes to brighten your day and inspire you to take the next step on whatever path you’re choosing. I claim no special expertise other than my varied experience and willingness to attempt to pack as much positive feeling into 128 characters as possible.
We exist in our effects on others’ lives and those effects last long after we’ve moved on. What effect are you having today? #community
So check it out and if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter! If you prefer the technical side of things, I still have my original Twitter feed at @ComeauAndrew and I run a feed for the Ocala I.T. Professionals networking group at @OcalaITPros.
Learning a new language has always been a challenging task whether you’re satisfying a class requirement in school, moving to a new country or adding a new language for work or recreation. The fact is that we take years to become proficient with our first languages from the time we’re learning to recognize language as infants through the time when we’re able to string sentences together as we reach school age. The expectations are much higher with a second or third language as most people would not want to take three or four years to be able to speak basic sentences and longer to communicate effectively in writing.
One of the many advantages of carrying an all-in-one device like a smartphone is the ability to record notes to myself, whether it’s short reminders or dictation of study notes. A device with some storage space can even store longer recordings including lectures and meetings. The old micro-cassette recorders and other voice recording technologies have easily been made obsolete by the near-ubiquitous recording features of the current generation of phones.
The only drawback for me was the AMR format that is standard with Android sound recording apps. If I’m going to be recording, I want to use the standard MP3 format that can be played on pretty much whatever device or software I’m using and can be recorded in various bit rates to balance the need for quality against the length of the recording and the space available. After comparing a few apps, I settled on the Hi-Q MP3 Recorder from Yuku.
There’s a scam out there that you need to be aware of. I would call it shady although somewhat enterprising. In any case, it can cost you money if you’re not careful. Here’s how it works …
Let’s say that you own the domain WidgetKingdom.net. You would have gotten the .COM domain but it wasn’t available so you settled for .NET. One day you get an e-mail like this:
If you’ve ever replaced a computer or upgraded to a new one, one of the first things you probably thought about was how to transfer all of your data from the old system. These days, this can mean copying many large files and that can take some time.
One way to transfer the data is to copy it to an external device such as a flash drive
or an external hard drive and then copy it to the new machine. That can have the added bonus of creating a backup but might not always be possible or appropriate, especially if you have more data than you can fit on whatever external devices are available or if, like me, you work on other people’s machines and don’t wan’t to keep a copy of the data. It also takes time to copy that data down and then copy it back up.
“… it’s not easy to fix, and any effective remedies would negatively impact the user experience. Just another example that Web security is fundamentally broken and the powers that be have little incentive to address the inherent flaws.” - Jeremiah Grossman, founder and interim CEO at WhiteHat Security
If you visit a lot of different websites, you’ve probably seen some that allow you to login using your Facebook or Google accounts. This is meant to make it easier for everyone; you don’t have to create a new account and remember a separate password and the site owners don’t have to maintain their own membership system.
Unfortunately, there’s a security flaw in the software that enables websites to accept your login information from other sites. Just like with the Heartbleed bug, this is in open-source software used by a number of popular websites. This time, it’s the OAuth and OpenID software and the bug enables “phishing” sites, websites that are specifically designed to get people’s personal information usually by mimicking reputable sites, to grab the Facebook / Google / etc. login information that you enter and then redirect you to a malicious website. This could enable the hackers to get a fair amount of your information or even take over your accounts on the legitimate sites.
In a previous chapter, I described the installation process for SQL Server 2012 Express which included all the bells and whistles of the advanced services package. While it’s great to have all the tools at your disposal to learn from, some people might not want such a large installation on a particular machine or the administration that goes with it but might still want the basic database capabilities of SQL Server on their desktop. In this case, SQL Server 2012 offers a new edition called LocalDB.
LocalDB is a minimized version of SQL Server Express specifically for developers who still need all the programming features including the ability to create stored procedures and other objects within an instance of SQL Server. It has a few restrictions that the average beginner probably won’t be bothered by and you can connect to it with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or other tools to create and manage databases. You can even install the AdventureWorks sample database to work with through an instance of LocalDB.
In this article, I’ll describe the process of installing both LocalDB and SSMS in order to create a small desktop database environment to work with as a developer or a beginner in database design.
In the last part of this series I wrote about SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), the interface that enables you to work with SQL Server objects such as databases and tables. The program enables you to do quite a bit with a SQL Server installation. You can create entire databases and manipulate all the objects within them just through context menus.
Having a graphical interface is nice but the real work of SQL Server is done through commands issued to the service which the menu options in a program like SSMS often do for you. If you really want to be knowledgeable about SQL Server, it’s important to learn the syntax of these commands and how to write and issue them on your own.