Tag Archives: Community

My Desktop Setup

Every once in awhile when I’m recording a Pluralsight course, I’ll take a photo of my desk to let people see the behind the scenes of the process. Well, my friend Steve Jones (@way0utwest) encouraged me to write a desk setup post…so here we go!

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Desk

Autonomous SmartDesk 2 – Home Office

Most standup desks come at a much higher price point, this one lands somewhere between $379-$500 depending on the features. While it’s pretty minimalist, it gets the job done. I have several presets for various heights depending on the current task I’m performing. One tip for those who record audio, I always stand when recoding, it helps me with annunciation and also control the tone of my voice better. A standing desk is a must if you’re going to be recording production quality audio. I think there are some health benefits too to standing desks. :)

Compute Power

Main Laptop – 2018 MacBook Pro – 2.9 GHz i9 – 32GB RAM – 1TB SSD

This is my primary computing device, I don’t have a workstation, on this computer I do almost everything so the specs are pretty strong. The only upgrade I didn’t get in this laptop was the 2TB hard drive. I offload archive content to a 2012 Mac Mini that has 2TB of disk space. 

Backup Laptop – 2018 MacBook Air – 1.6 GHz i5 – 16GB RAM – 512GB SSD

As a consultant and trainer downtime isn’t acceptable for my business. So I need to be able to reach into my laptop bag, plug in and go and that’s the intent of this machine. It has enough horsepower to run all of my critical functions and training workshops in the event my MacBook Pro dies. It’s a touch slower, but it gets the job done. I keep all of my content sync’d between the two laptops with OneDrive.  

File Server – 2012 MacMini – 2.5GHz i7 – 16GB, 2TB SSD

This computer is ancient as the sea but has served me well. It has 2TB of SSD storage serves as a local backup target and also where I archive data.

Monitors

Monitors – Philips 288P6LJEB 28″ Monitor, 4K UHD

I have two 28” monitors, which honestly for me isn’t the best solution. First, when I put the monitors at full 4K resolution I can’t read anything the font is too small. I didn’t take that into account when I made the purchase :) so I usually operate them at 2560 x 1440…which I can actually read. Further, I generally only use one monitor at a time during day to day functions, there’s enough real estate at the resolution I previously mentioned to get things done. When recording or presenting, as you can see my setup in the photo above, I’ll put the external monitor 1280 x 720 and drive demos on that monitor and use my MacBook Pro’s monitor for my presenter’s view.

When it comes to connectivity, we’re in a transition in the Mac universe where everything is going USB-C. So I have the monitors plugged into my laptop via USB-C for video using this cable. The monitors have a USB 3.0 hub and I plug in my USB 3.0 devices into that, so my recording rig and the desktop charging gear all plug into the monitor’s hub…then the monitor’s hub plugs into my laptop via a USB 3.0 to USB-C converter cable. There really isn’t a need to buy one of those expensive hubs. As devices get swapped out I opt for USB-C or Bluetooth.

Desk Arms –  Loctek D5D Dual Monitor Arm Desk Monitor Mounts Fits 10″-27″ Monitors, Gas Spring LCD Arm

These work well and give me a ton of desktop real estate back when compared with monitor stands. If you notice, the supported range for the arms is 10” to 27” inches…yea, I messed that up as my monitors are 28” so there’s a little overlap on the left monitor there. But it works out ok in practice. 

Recording Gear

OK, for the recording stuff, my main goal is to achieve the highest audio quality while recording without being an audio engineer. When recording you want to make sure that you’re getting the highest quality audio on what you’re recording. You can fix a lot of issues in post-production but it’s always best to never let those issues get into your recorded audio. The main reason is, good editing is expensive…in both time and money. So with this rig below, I’m able to archive my goal of good quality audio, but with a simple setup. Background noise is literally non-existent.

Microphone – Shure SM7B

I switched to this microphone in April of 2018 and have never looked back. My first microphone was a Blue Snowball ICE. This was a great microphone for getting started. But as recording became a bigger part of the business…I wanted to step up the audio quality and also reduce my editing time, so I switched to the Shure. A pop filter is included with this microphone.

USB Interface – Scarlett Solo USB

The Shure microphone is a professional device requiring inline power and has an XLR interface. The Scarlett Solo is a pre-amp device that boosts the audio signal and then connects to my monitor via USB 3.0. This device is simple and effective. I only have to remember to turn it on. 

Mic Activator – Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1

This device boosts the audio signal from the microphone into the pre-amp enabling you to have a cleaner signal going into your pre-amp without having to crank up the gain a bunch.

Putting this all together, the cabling looks like this:

Shure -> XLR -> Cloudlifter -> XLR -> Scarlett -> USB 3.0 (monitor) -> MacBook Pro

Boom Arm – RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom

My main thing about a boom arm is buy a quality one that doesn’t have springs. If your arm has springs when you bump the mic or your desk, the springs will vibrate and your mic will pick that up. Remember, my goal is to record quality audio the first time…a good boom arm actually contributes to that audio quality. It mounts solidly to the desk and when bumped or moved it is silent. This boom arm is great, highly recommended.

XLR Cables – Tainston XLR Microphone Cable Male to Female-3 Feet

The Shure requires XLR cables. Don’t skimp on cables, buy good ones. I might revisit this one and get shielded cables as every once in a while if I have my cell phone too close to the recording rig I get a little background noise in the recording. 

Recording Software – Camtasia

I use Camtasia for all recording. It works great for simple recording and editing. I try to keep each project file less than 1 hour in recording length as it starts to struggle from a performance standpoint when I go longer than that. I don’t do any post-production in Camtasia. I use a professional editor and he uses Adobe Premier.  

Headphones – Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3

When recording having wireless headphones is great. Not having a wire is beneficial as you are not constantly having to move it out of the way or get caught up in it while recording or while listening to recently recorded audio.  Much has been said about the quality of these headphones…they’re great and I highly recommend.

Input Devices

Keyboard – Microsoft Sculpt

I’ve been using various Microsoft ergonomic keyboards for years. As for this one, I want to ensure my keyboard has the shortest keystroke possible when pressing on the key and this keyboard has that. I also use the native MacBook Pro keyboard which has a similar shallow keystroke.

Mouse – Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse

When I switched to this MacBook Pro, everything went USB-C. My previous Logitech mouse used a dongle that was USB 3.0. So I got essentially the same mouse, but the Bluetooth version. The mouse can be paired with multiple computers at the same time. There’s some software that enables you to move between the computers seamlessly…well, let’s just say that doesn’t work so well. There’s a little button on the bottom of the mouse that will swap computers. That actually works.

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional – Data Platform for 2019-2020

Today, I’m proud to announce that I have been renewed as an Microsoft MVP – Data Platform for the 2019-2020 award year, my third MVP award. This is an truly an honor and I’m humbled to be included in this group of exceptional data professionals. I really look forward to continuing to work with everyone in the MVP community and continuing to contribute to our unmatched Data Platform Community!

MVP Logo Horizontal Secondary Blue286 CMYK 300ppi

What is an MVP?

Here’s the definition according to Microsoft

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.

For 2019-2020, I have been named a Data Platform MVP, which means my technical specialization is on data products like SQL Server. The group of people that have received this award is quite small…by my count 332 worldwide and less than 75 in the US. I’m honored to be in this group of talented professionals.

Why I’m excited to be an MVP?

Honestly, the primary reason I’m excited to be an MVP is to give back (more), I’ve learned so much from other MVPs and receiving this award will help me to continue to build relationships with other MVPs and Microsoft employees to further help develop the Data Platform itself and the community that surrounds that platform.

At the start of 2016 I had set a goal of being an MVP in 5 years. I don’t know why I picked that number, but what I figured was…MVP would be validation of consistent, quality work for our community and being recognized for the work that I’ve contributed. Things like blogging, social media, public speaking and more. You learn a ton by teaching! 

The past year has been great, focusing on Containers and Kubernetes and how we can leverage that tech in our modern Data Platform.

To the people that have helped along the way, I thank you all!

Speaking at SQL Saturday Dallas

Speaking at SQLSaturday Dallas!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Dallas on May 17th 2018! This one won’t let you down! Check out the amazing schedule!

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is Practical Container Scenarios in Azure” 

NewImage

Here’s the abstract for the talk

You’ve heard the buzz about containers and Kubernetes, now let’s start your journey towards rapidly deploying and scaling your container-based applications in Azure. In this session, we will introduce containers and the container orchestrator Kubernetes. Then we’ll dive into how to build a container image, push it into our Azure Container Registry and deploy it our Azure Kubernetes Services cluster. Once deployed, we’ll learn how to keep our applications available and how to scale them using Kubernetes.

Key topics introduced
Building Container based applications
Publishing containers to Azure Container Registry
Deploying Azure Kubernetes Services Clusters
Scaling our container-based applications in Azure Kubernetes Services

Speaking at SQLSaturday Atlanta – 845

Speaking at SQLSaturday Atlanta!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Atlanta on May 17th 2018! This one won’t let you down! Check out the amazing schedule!

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is Containers – You Better Get on Board!” 

SQLSaturday #845 - Atlanta 2019

Here’s the abstract for the talk

Containers are taking over, changing the way systems are developed and deployed…and that’s NOT hyperbole. Just imagine if you could deploy SQL Server or even your whole application stack in just minutes. You can do that, leveraging containers! In this session, we’ll get you started on your container journey learning container fundamentals in Docker, then look at some common container scenarios and introduce deployment automation with Kubernetes.

In this session we’ll look at
Container Fundamentals with Docker
Common Container Scenarios
Automation with Kubernetes

Prerequisites: Operating system concepts such as command line use and basic networking skills.

Awarded Friend of Redgate – 2019

Friend of Redgate – 2019

I’m excited to announce that I have been named a Friend of Redgate for 2019, my forth year in a row! The program targets influential people in their respective technical communities such as SQL, .NET and DevOps and enables us to participate in the conversation around product and community development.

As a multi-year awardee in the program I get to see first hand the continuing dedication Redgate has to the SQL community and to making great software. I met a ton of really cool, very dedicated people along the way. Thanks for the recognition and I look forward to another great year!

Redgate makes outstanding products! While I focus mainly on the DBA side of things such as SQL Monitor, SQL Backup and SQL Prompt there are many more. I’ve used these tools for years and let’s just say they’re awesome.

Redgate isn’t just software, they’re committed to community and education. Here are some of the things they do to support technical communities:

  • Online resources – SimpleTalkSQL Server Central, and books and Free eBooks. These resources aren’t marketing fluff, it’s killer content written by real experts
  • Events – hosting events, exhibiting at events and supporting user groups across the world. One word can describe this, engaged
Thank you to Redgate for this opportunity! I look forward to participating in this program, sharing my thoughts and learning as much as I can from all involved.
 
 
If you need you’d like to talk about Redgate’s products and where they fit into your SQL Server system please feel free to contact me.
 
Follow me on Twitter: @nocentino

Speaking at SQLSaturday Sacramento – 757!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Sacramento!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Sacramento on July 28th 2018! And wow, 757 SQL Saturdays! This one won’t let you down. Check out the amazing schedule!

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

SQLSaturday #757 - Sacramento 2018

This year I have TWO sessions!

1. Monitoring Linux Performance for the SQL Server Admin

So you’re a SQL Server administrator and you just installed SQL Server on Linux. It’s a whole new world. Don’t fear, it’s just an operating system. It has all the same components Windows has and in this session we’ll show you that. We will look at the Linux operating system architecture and show you where to look for the performance data you’re used to! Further we’ll dive into SQLPAL and how it architecture and internals enables high performance for your SQL Server. By the end of this session you’ll be ready to go back to the office and have a solid understanding of performance monitoring Linux systems and SQL on Linux. We’ll look at the core system components of CPU, Disk, Memory and Networking monitoring techniques for each and look some of the new tools available.

2. Containers – You Better Get on Board

Containers are taking over, changing the way systems are developed and deployed…and that’s NOT hyperbole. Just imagine if you could deploy SQL Server or even your whole application stack in just minutes. You can do that, leveraging containers! In this session, we’ll get your started on your container journey learning container fundamentals in Docker, then look at some common container scenarios and introduce deployment automation with Kubernetes. In this session we’ll look at Container Fundamentals with Docker Common, Container Scenarios and Orchestration with Kubernetes

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional – Data Platform for 2018-2019

Today, I’m proud to announce that I have been renewed as an Microsoft MVP – Data Platform for the 2018-2019 award year, my second MVP award. This is an truly an honor and I’m humbled to be included in this group of exceptional data professionals. I really look forward to continuing to work with everyone in the MVP community and continuing to contribute to our unmatched SQL Community!

MVP Logo Horizontal Secondary Blue286 CMYK 300ppi

What is an MVP?

Here’s the definition according to Microsoft

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.

For 2018-2019, I have been named a Data Platform MVP, which means my technical specialization is on data products like SQL Server. The group of people that have received this award is quite small…by my count 367 worldwide and less than 100 in the US. I’m honored to be in this group of talented professionals.

Why I’m excited to be an MVP?

Honestly, the primary reason I’m excited to be an MVP is to give back (more), I’ve learned so much from other MVPs and receiving this award will help me to continue to build relationships with other MVPs and Microsoft employees to further help develop the Data Platform itself and the community that surrounds that platform.

At the start of 2016 I had set a goal of being an MVP in 5 years. I don’t know why I picked that number, but what I figured was…MVP would be validation of consistent, quality work for our community and being recognized for the work that I’ve contributed. Things like blogging, social media, public speaking and more. You learn a ton by teaching! 

To the people that have helped along the way, I thank you all!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Atlanta – 733

Speaking at SQLSaturday Atlanta!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Atlanta on May 17th 2018! This one won’t let you down! Check out the amazing schedule!

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

My presentation is Monitoring Linux Performance for the SQL Server Admin” 

SQLSaturday #733 - Atlanta 2018

Here’s the abstract for the talk

So you’re a SQL Server administrator and you just installed SQL Server on Linux. It’s a whole new world. Don’t fear, it’s just an operating system. It has all the same components Windows has and in this session we’ll show you that. We will look at the Linux operating system architecture and show you where to look for the performance data you’re used to! Further we’ll dive into SQLPAL and how it architecture and internals enables high performance for your SQL Server. By the end of this session you’ll be ready to go back to the office and have a solid understanding of performance monitoring Linux systems and SQL on Linux. We’ll look at the core system components of CPU, Disk, Memory and Networking monitoring techniques for each and look some of the new tools available including new DMVs and DBFS.Prerequisites: Operating system fundamentals, process, memory and disk concepts.

Speaking at IT/Dev Connections 2017 – San Francisco!

I’m proud to announce that I will be delivering two sessions at IT/Dev Connections in San Francisco! This is my second year at IT/Dev Connections, real content for IT pros!

Networking Internals for the SQL Server Professional

Tuesday, 10/24/2017: 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm

Room: Contiental 7

Abstract

Once data leaves your SQL Server do you know what happens or is the world of networking a black box to you? Would you like to know how data is packaged up and transmitted to other systems and what to do when things go wrong? Are you tired of being frustrated with the network team? In this session we introduce how data moves between systems on networks and TCP/IP internals. We’ll discuss real world scenarios showing you how your network’s performance impacts the performance of your SQL Server and even your recovery objectives.

Learning Objectives

Networking Fundamentals, TCP/IP, Network Performance and how these impact SQL Server.

Linux OS Fundamentals for the SQL Admin

Wednesday, 10/25/2017: 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm

Abstract

PowerShell and SQL Server are now available on Linux and management wants you to leverage this shift in technology to more effectively manage your systems, but you’re a Windows admin, Don’t fear! It’s just an operating system. It has all the same components Windows has and in this session we’ll show you that. We will look at the Linux operating system architecture and show you how to interact with and manage a Linux system. By the end of this session you’ll be ready to go back to the office and get started working with Linux.

Learning Objectives

In this session we’ll cover the following  

  • Process control
  • Service control
  • Package installation
  • System resource management (CPU, disk and memory)
  • Using PowerShell to interact with Linux systems

IT/Dev Connections

Speaking at SQLSaturday Sacramento – 650!

Speaking at SQLSaturday Sacramento!

I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Sacramento on July 15th 2017! And wow, 650 SQLSaturdays! This one won’t let you down. Check out the amazing schedule!

If you don’t know what SQLSaturday is, it’s a whole day of free SQL Server training available to you at no cost!

If you haven’t been to a SQLSaturday, what are you waiting for! Sign up now!

SQLSATSAC650

This year I have TWO sessions!

1. Linux OS Fundamentals for the SQL Admin

SQL Server and PowerShell are now available on Linux and management wants you to leverage this shift in technology to more effectively manage your systems, but you’re a Windows admin!  Don’t fear! It’s just an operating system! It has all the same components Windows has and in this session we’ll show you that. We will look at the Linux operating system architecture and show you how to interact with and manage Linux system. By the end of this session you’ll be ready to go back to the office and get started working with Linux with a fundamental understanding of how it works.

2. Designing High Availability Database Systems using AlwaysOn Availability Groups

Are you looking for a high availability solution for your business critical application? You’re heard about AlwaysOn Availability Groups and they seem like a good solution, but you don’t know where to start. It all starts with a solid design. In this session we introduce the core concepts needed to design a Availability Group based system. Covering topics such as recovery objectives, replica placement, failover requirements, synchronization models, quorum, backup and recovery and monitoring. This session is modeled after real world client engagements conducted by Centino Systems that have lead to many successful Availability Groups based systems supporting tier 1 business critical applications.