Rob Farley

Rob Rob Farley has been consulting in IT since completing a Computer Science degree with first class honours in 1997. Before moving to Adelaide, he worked in consultancies in Melbourne and London. He runs the development department in one of Australia's leading IT firms, as well as doing database application consultancy and training. He heads up the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, and holds several Microsoft certifications.

Rob has been involved with Microsoft technologies for most of his career, but has also done significant work with Oracle and Unix systems. His preferred database is SQL Server and his preferred language is C#. Recently he has been involved with Microsoft Learning in the US, creating and reviewing new content for the next generation of Microsoft exams.

Over the years, Rob's clients have included BP Oil, OneLink Transit, Accenture, Avanade, Australian Electorial Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Royal Borough of Kingston, Help The Aged, Unisys, Department of Treasury and Finance (Vic), National Mutual, the Bible Society and others.

Did you mean to come here? My blog is now at

23 December 2005

Merry Christmas everyone

I need to go home and learn some carols. Hope you all have a good long weekend. Merry Christmas. I won't get religious here, but do try to avoid getting caught up in the busy-ness.

21 December 2005

Putting a CD into my computer

I bought a CD for the wife today. It's a Christmas one, put out by Sony. I didn't think anything of it until I put it into my machine, and found that it prompted me to install some stuff. Alarm bells rang, the word 'Sony' echoed in my head, and I hit 'Deny'. I wonder how many people wouldn't've though.

Ajax presentation links

For those people who were at my presentation about AJAX today:

The AjaxPro site (where you can download a DLL that will do all the hard work for you) is .

The seminal article on Ajax is at (it's by Jesse James Garret).

And that image that I manipulated using the querystring is at


20 December 2005

Time to move onto other priorities

I did my last exam of the year this morning. Good to have it over and done with.

Now I get to think about other things, like my talk on AJAX tomorrow at an MSDN Update Event. It's a joint session with Dave Glover. He was going to talk about ATLAS, but that's been postponed, so he's going to talk about mobile web and smart client apps instead. But I'm still going to do my bit. After all, perhaps the quiet week between Christmas and New Year will give you some opportunities to improve your websites.

So come along, and learn how you can build your own Google Maps website without even using AJAX. But then I'll show you how you can use AJAX to make a much better user experience.

15 December 2005

Today's SQL UG meeting

Today we had David Lean's presentation on the SQL Server Execution Environment. It was good. Made me wish I'd seen it before the exam I did yesterday. But that's fine. The talk was still good.

I find that I don't get to pay as much attention in the meetings now that I run them. I feel like I'm the host, and having to make sure that things are running okay. Still, I got to meet a few new people, which was good. And we had a big turn out. We got about 40 (I did a quick head-count quite late, and it was just under 40 then, and I think some people had already had to leave).

I'm going to locate the content and post it somewhere. We didn't end up webcasting it out, due to technical difficulties. But we'll keep trying, and I'm sure we'll get it right one day.

Next month we have Jeremy Huppatz talking about Upgrading to SQL2005. If you want to come along, go to :)

Don't buy the wife a power tool

I haven't got Roslyn a Christmas present yet. The plan is that she'll take me to the shops to teach me how to buy her jewellery. So I don't buy her jewellery that she'll never wear for one reason or another.

I'm awful at buying Roslyn presents. I think like a bloke. I've learned to watch for clues, the "Ooh, that looks nice" comments when walking through a shopping centre, that kind of thing.

But a few years ago (when we were still in London), I made a mistake. In about October, she had commented about a RotoZip when watching the TV. She said how useful it would be, and talked about some of the stuff she could do with it. So I made a mental note. Went to all kinds of trouble to find a hardware store that had one (very popular, sold out quickly), and eventually found a B&Q that stocked them. She saw the box wrapped up under the tree, and had no idea what it was.

I learned that year - don't buy the wife a power tool. Even if she really wants one.

14 December 2005

I don't feel much like a DBA today

I sat 071-444 this morning. I felt like I didn't know all the answers straight away, as is the case for most exams I do. But if I did fail it, then I don't really mind too much. I'm not a full-time DBA by any stretch of the imagination. I know quite a bit about DBA principles, but I'd rather do design, tuning, querying, that kind of thing.

And there were still questions that had me thinking that none of the answers were right. I think this exam would've been better off with a scenario situation. "Answer this question. Now you get these results from this query - what does this tell you? What do you do next?" - that kind of thing. Instead it was 82 questions over 210 minutes, all completely distinct. I felt myself disengage way too many times. I didn't really want to be there. Does anyone ever want to be in an exam? I guess I should, now that I'm signed up for another two in January. *sigh*

12 December 2005

XBox photo

I'm sure many of you will have read about this already. It seems that someone bought a photo of an XBox from eBay for an awful lot of money...

08 December 2005

Which Superhero am I?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

The Flash
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

I guess I should be pleased I have nothing in common with Catwoman. But geeky? Really? Spiderman wasn't geeky was he?

06 December 2005


Scott Adams recently wrote about his Humour Formula (Ok, I've inserted a 'u'). The idea is that to be funny, something has to hit on at least two of the following: Cute (as in kids and animals), Naughty, Bizarre, Clever, Recognisable (You’ve been there), Cruel.

It's got me thinking. I like to try to be funny. Clearly geek jokes aren't going to work, unless they're cruel or bizarre. Typically they're recognisable if you're a geek, and they might be clever, but they don't hit home on the rest.

My SatnavAndSegways attempt (ok, you can listen to it here) I hope hits on some of these. The SatNav stuff is probably naughty, clever and recognisable. The Segways stuff is probably bizarre and cruel, naughty maybe. Maybe recognisable because you've seen yourself put on weight... I think most of my humour is a mixture of naughty, clever and cruel. Probably not the kind of humour I really want, but bizarre, cute and recognisable is hard to pull off. I definitely know I'm not cute. Kleefy's video definitely proved that. I'm sure my neck used to go in a bit, rather than just going straight up from my shoulders to my head. :( I'd definitely be better off on radio.

05 December 2005

Bunnings and credit cards

I went to Bunnings on Saturday. Had some stuff to get, you know how it is.

I paid for the stuff on credit card, and as I signed my name, I noticed my WHOLE credit card number there on display, with the expriy date just underneath. I can't say I was happy. I'm sure they don't need that. The transaction had gone through, so as far as I can tell, they don't need a copy of all the details, they just need a copy of the transaction receipt number, and something that Visa recognise means my card was there. Heck - there's not even much point in them having my signature, except to verify that it's me. I should be able to just show them my drivers' licence to verify that my signature matches the one on the card.

It's now got me wondering who else does stuff like that.

Another exam done - DB Design

Well, I got through another exam on Friday afternoon.

The Database Design exam (71-441) was one with six scenarios, each having about a dozen questions. The kind of thing where they say "This person wants this. The DBA wants that. There is a mandate that this type of user can't do something else." and then ask you a bunch of questions about it. These things always seem to me to be more about whether you can understand the question, rather than knowing the answer. Everything is written there, so it shouldn't be hard.

I'm a lot more confident about passing this one than the last, but as always, I felt weird as I left, wondering if I passed or not. I still don't feel like I know enough about SQL2005 to be doing exams. But I'm only interested in scraping through, I don't need a great mark.