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

24 February 2006

See you on Monday night!

If you haven't registered yet, then quickly do it now, and hope that it's not full already. The Security Interchange comes to the Adelaide Oval on Monday night, and hey and you'll have the pleasure of Dave's company too!!

23 February 2006

Voucher in the post

I got home yesterday to find a voucher from PearsonVue, along with my results for 71-431. I'm going to wait for my 71-441 result to arrive, and then look at booking in to do the live version. I want my "MCITP: Database Developer" certification!

22 February 2006

Calendar cube thing

Roslyn and I were recently given a thing where you have cubes with numbers on to represent the date. The idea is that every day, you manually change the numbers displayed on the two 'dice', so that the number is between 01 and 31.

The geek in me glanced at the thing, and suddenly got curious about these two dice. If there's no geekness in you, then stop reading now, please. I just got curious about how the numbers were distributed between the two cubes. There were only two, which straight away told me that something clever must've been done.

A cube has six sides, and these were no different.

I could tell that clearly each cube needed the numbers 1 and 2, so that you can represent the 11th and the 22nd of any month.

As well as that, you need zero on both, because you can't have all of 1-9 on the 'other' cube.

So... we have 0,1,2 and three blanks on each cube. But we still have 3-9 to assign. That's seven numbers, in six spots. And here's the really nice bit, as to why that's okay...

Because you don't need both 6 AND 9, you just need one of them. :) Yeah, ok. I'm a big geek.

20 February 2006

MCITP - Database Administrator

My MCP Transcript (Transcript ID = 707979, Access Code = Adelaide) now has "MCITP: Database Administrator" written on it, from those three exams I passed! Perhaps I should start doing some DBA work now and then... ;)

17 February 2006

Three passed so far (and one fail)

Yesterday I was going to post something with a Meatloaf quote, but I didn't get around to it. Today, "three out of four ain't bad" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Anyway... I still don't have emails about the exam results, but I did find out (by logging on to the site and checking my exam history) that I managed to pass 3 of the first 4 beta exams I sat. I passed 431, 443 and 444, but failed 441. Annoyingly, 441 is the one I was expecting to pass, as it's on the dev side. I guess there are various things that I just didn't know. Probably stuff on Notification Services, or performance benchmarking... all those things that I feel like I should know better.

I still consider myself more of a database developer. I think the problem is that I haven't really used SQL2005 as much as I should've done for passing an exam like that.

16 February 2006

A couple of useful SQL2005 facts

One that seems to have been missed by everyone until this week is that you can now use getdate() in a user-defined function. You couldn't do this in SQL2000, because of determinism. It's been mentioned in quite a few blogs - Peter Ward's is one. Peter is coming to speak at AdSSUG in March.

Another useful thing is about backups. Geoff Orr tells about it in his blog. Through funky use of partitioning and marking certain things as read-only, you can reduce the size of backups by a lot, because you're only backing up data that could be changing. For the rest, you'd be relying on previous backups. (Obviously you'd need to have taken them at some point)

Geoff is a great guy. He lives in Sydney, works at Microsoft in SQL Support, and is a Christian to boot. He helped start one of the biggest churches in London! Hopefully he'll come and speak at our little group in Adelaide some time soon.

15 February 2006

brrreeeport report hunting quail

I'm always happy to help out... so this blog is to help out Robert Scoble.

I'm mentioning the quail thing because I think this will become part of standard vocabulary for the next few months. My guess is that whenever you find yourself in a situation where someone might just decide to shoot you - you'll be 'hunting quail'. That's my tip anyway.

14 February 2006

A new podcast (not by me), and life without a stylus

Interestingly, when I noticed that I had dropped my XDA's stylus in the car this morning, I didn't rush out to get it. I know that I frequently use the other end of a pen, or my fingernail (one I haven't ripped off while playing my guitar), instead. I know where the stylus is, and when I get the time (and energy), I'll get under the seat in the car and find it. But what I've noticed today is that I am surprisingly dependent on it. So I'll be doing that either before I drive home, or when I get there.

I've recently been missing the commute time that I had when I was in Melbourne. Well, not really. I do like the fact that I get home much earlier now that I'm living in Adelaide. I live about 10 minutes' drive from work, and that's great. Except that I feel like I've got a pile of podcasts to listen to that I'm not getting through. And as for reading time - I used to enjoy public transport and the reading time you can get. But now, I feel like I don't get the time to do that as much as I'd like.

One that I will be trying to find time for is Dr Neil Roodyn's new podcast. :)

Kid-safe internet?

I saw this yesterday. It's a video of a kid doing that maze thing where the zombie jumps out at you. If you don't know what I mean - then check your junk mail folder, it's probably in there. Sorry if you haven't seen the original thing, there's a spoiler here: when the maze gets really hard, the screen suddenly changes to a close-up of a zombie, and a loud scream comes through your speakers. Designed to give heart-attacks to IT people who only get up from their desks to step onto a Segway on their way to get some Coke from the fridge. Perhaps it's a population-control device.

In this video, the kid is doing the maze, the zombie jumps out, and he freaks out. Hits the screen, and starts crying uncontrollably. I think his parents probably thought it would make a cool video, and probably didn't expect the sleepless nights that would follow.

It's exactly the type of thing that makes me not want to let my kids use the internet. I'm sure therapy is expensive...


Frank has made me #100 on his OPML of Aussie Bloggers. I even beat Mark Baartse to the coveted #100 spot. Frank says I should strut smugly. I'm not convinced... but it is quite nice to be on the list.

13 February 2006

Last Thursday's AdSSUG meeting

I think it was probably the topic. It certainly wasn't rumours of my humour being good. ;)

The caterer tells me we had 62 people turn up last Thursday to hear Peter Myers' talk on SSIS. I counted at least 50, but I'm happy to go with his number. My next trick will be to get them all to register.

It was certainly a great talk - very useful introduction to SSIS. Great feedback from everyone too. There are rumours of the Melbourne version being recorded for a webcast - if I can find a link for that, I'll post it here too.

The slides are available at

The links within are:

This last one is the link to register for a 2-day event - April 6 & 7 in Adelaide, at which Peter will be teaching on Business Intelligence. Should be worth going to...

08 February 2006

Links from Dave Glover's session

I won't be at ADNUG tonight. I'm going to have an early night and hope for enough health to be at Peter Myers' session tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out the resources from Dave Glover's ATLAS talk.

07 February 2006

Being sick is horrible

I'm sick at the moment. I had an allergic reaction late last week (to what, I wish I knew!), which turned into a cough, and now I feel really miserable. And yet I'm online, blogging.

I love distraction therapy - it can work really well. Problem is, when your body needs 'sleep therapy', distraction doesn't really cut it. Although I think watching TV might help - I read somewhere that your body is actually more relaxed watching TV than when you're asleep. Of course, there is so much junk to read these days that it's hardly likely to be true. "When I hear the echo of a duck quacking, I'll go to bed" is not my mantra.

I do plan to be well in time for the User Group meetings this week. Tomorrow night there is ADNUG, and AdSSUG have Peter Myers speaking on Thursday. I can't miss that one, and don't really want to miss ADNUG either.

03 February 2006

No more Kawasaki worries

For those of you who don't know, my son Samuel went to hospital 18 months ago (when he was 7) with a condition that we eventually found out was Kawasaki's Disease. I says 'eventually', because it took several days for them to work out what the problem was - lucky they did, because untreated it typically causes aneurysms and heart attacks.

Since then, he has taken aspirin every day and had regularly echocardiagrams. It's really affected his life in all kinds of ways, and I would say it has affected Roslyn and me too.

Today he had another echocardiagram. The artery dilation and aneurysm that had previously been there is now gone. He no longer needs aspirin. He's still considered in a high risk category, and as such has been warned off ever smoking, drinking excessively, etc. But on the whole, we're very happy and certainly thanking God. It feels like it's been a long 18 months.

Many thanks to those of you who have shown an interest, or been praying, etc. :)

02 February 2006


:) I have a Muglet. Thanks to Dr Neil for the inspiration. Still not sure why I did it...

IE7 trial

I wrote a blog entry here in IE7. But then it crashed, and it disappeared. So this is the short version.

I'm not entirely convinced. I quite like it - but it's really not winning me over just yet. And besides, I really want stuff I write to be compatible with Firefox as well as IE. Typically in my Microsoft world, things are more easily correct in IE. So therefore, having my default browser as Firefox helps me get it right across the board.

It's definitely worth downloading and playing with. Just don't type anything critical into it yet.