Pumpkin farm visit

Yesterday we did our now traditional October farm visit. It was a gorgeous day. (Speaking of gorgeous, if you say something is drop-dead gorgeous, it will surely make my six-year old first grade son laugh. For some reason he thinks the phrase drop-dead gorgeous is funny. Mom says that he got that silliness from yours truly:).

Anyway, we had a good time there. There was not a single cloud in the sky. Temperature was comfortable. The leaves are changing colors. We did the corn maze and hay ride, visited a haunted house, played in the playground. I couldn’t help but thinking of how fortunate I am, being with my family and enjoying those things that we can afford.

Here are some pictures, if I can manage to upload them and get the links right.

Update: Not sure how to upload pictures yet. It’s getting late, I will retire in a few minutes. Will look around later to see if it is possible.

Silent install / Command line install of SQL Server 2005 Part 1

If you’ve read my articles, you know that I am a big fan of automation. I got a big kick out of seeing somebody else (in this case, machines) doing the real work;) With that in mind, I set out to automate the installation process of SQL Server 2005 September CTP.

SQL Server 2005 provides silent / command line installation. You have the option of setting all parameters in one command line and run it, or providing all settings in an .ini file. If you take the former approach, you will have a long command line to type and it is not easily reusable. If you take the later approach, you will have a config file to work with. It is reusable and customizable. Not surprisingly, I took the later approach.

So I read BOL for setup, looked through various parameters, and came up with my own .ini file. Here is the content of it:
[Options]
USERNAME=Alex
COMPANYNAME=Alex

[ADDLOCAL]
ADDLOCAL=SQL_Engine,SQL_Data_Files,SQL_DTS,Client_Components,Connectivity,SQL_Tools90,SQL_Profiler90,SQL_WarehouseDevWorkbench,SDK,SQLXML,Tools_Legacy,SQL_Documentation,SQL_BooksOnline,SQL_SQLServerBooksOnline,SQL_Samples,SQL_AdventureWorksSamples,SQL_Samples

[INSTANCENAME]
INSTANCENAME=MSSQLSERVER

[AUTOSTART]
SQLAUTOSTART=1
AGTAUTOSTART=1

[SECURITYMODE]
SECURITYMODE=SQL
SAPWD=MakeItAStrongPassword

Now I am all set to go. I ran this command, hoping I could go take a nap and have a sweet dream and when the dream is over it would be all done:
D:\SQL Server x86\Servers>setup /settings H:\TechnicalStuff\Database\MSSQL\SQL2005\Installation.ini qn

Surprise, about 2 seconds after I pressed the Enter key, up popped a Window asking me to install the prerequisites. I had to endure the pain of mindless clicking after all. Adding injury to insult, this process bombed out at the second step, installing Microsoft SQL Native Client:(

Suggestions to Microsoft: in the RTM CD/DVD, it would be very helpful to customers if you provide a sample setup .ini file for silent installation. But, if Microsoft does not do that, you can use my sample posted above as a start;)

Questions to you and Microsoft: is it possible to include installation of prerequisites components as part of silent install? Email me or add a comment if you know the answer.

Alas, I will try this again on a clean machine when I get a chance.

Stay tuned…

Utility to remove Beta 2 and previous CTPs

If you have previous Beta or CTP versions of SQL Server 2005 installed and you’d like to play with the September CTP, Microsoft provides an utility to cleanly remove the older version and .Net Framework. The utility is called sqlbuw.exe, located at CD-Rom\SQL Server x86\Tools\Setup Tools\Build Uninstall Wizard.

It worked great for me on both my laptop and desktop. On my laptop, I had Beta 2; on desktop, June CTP.

Hello World

Hi,

This is my first blog post. So let me start by introducing myself.

My name is Haidong Ji. I am a senior DBA in Chicago. I was a VB6/COM developer before my current position. I’ve been writing for SqlServerCentral for a couple of years now.

I grew up in a rural village in ShanDong province, China. Most people in the village have the same surname, Ji. Therefore it was aptly named as the Ji Village. I went to elementary school there. My middle school years were spent in a small town not too far from the village. I went to high school in our county town. After I flunked the college entrance exam the first time, I endured the shame of taking one more year of high school and succeeded in my second try with flying colors. I can laugh at it now, but then I was really embarrassed by that failure (Plus, the fact that I failed to enter a good middle school and good high school due to my poor exam performance didn’t really help things;). So much so that I never told any of my university classmates that I failed the first time. It felt terrible to hide that from them. I suspect there were quite a few others like me in that regard.

I went to university in Xiamen, southeast China. It was a beautiful city and I miss it a lot.

I came to the US in 1995 for my MS degree in Economics, after working/slacking in Beijing for one year. I started working in the IT industry in 1997. My formal computer science education is laughable. In Xiamen University, I took a PC(DOS) introductory course and a course on dBase. In the US, I took an introductory programming course. That is all the formal computer education I got. The rest of my IT knowledge was self taught over the years. I acquired my first PC in 1998. So when people talk about their first Commodore 64 or Sinclare, I’ve absolutely no idea of what they are talking about:)

Haidong is my given name. In Chinese, it literally means “east of the sea”. However, since I live in Chicago, I figured it would be easier for other people if I adopt a western name. I travel quite a bit, so this name has to work in most countries I travel to. Therefore, I picked Alex as my adopted western name;) I am a classic guy with a classic name, what a great combination:)

I started reading blogs about 3 years ago. I found it to be a very good way to communicate and reach a wide audience. I decided to start my own blog after I came back from PASS conference in Grapevine. Since I started my technical writing at SqlServerCentral, it makes perfect sense that I should start my blog writing here as well.

I will write a lot of Sql server related stuff here. I will focus on automation, scripting, performance, and monitoring. Hopefully you will find them interesting. And please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Please excuse the dust for the next few days/weeks, as I try to polish the design a little bit.

Update: The first few posts were copied from SqlServerCentral.com blogs. This site will be my primary blogging site. The SqlServerCentral.com blog will focus primarily on Microsoft Sql Server. This site will include that, with additional posts on everything else that I can think of.