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TSQLTuesday #159: What’s your favourite new feature

February 14, 2023

This is my 10th TSQLTuesday, andthis month Deepthi Goguri has given the double prompt to talk about our new favourite features in SQL Server 2022 and our New Year’s resolutions.

Now, for various reasons, I’ve not been posting on this blog for a while. Like, a long while. Like the last post was TSQLTuesday #138. I was going to do a post about why that was, but I haven’t got it written yet and I really want to post on this topic so that might come next week.

Anyway, the same things that kept me away from the blog (and a lot of other things) also stopped me from looking into SQL Server 2022 in any great detail. I did a post in April 2021 about the GREATEST and LEAST functions that were present in Azure and were coming to on prem at some point in the future, but apart from that I haven’t really been paying attention. With all of that, I guess the thing I’m looking forward to the most is the thing I don’t know is there yet. It’s always fun to watch talks and read blogs on new features, and think about how you can apply them to the big issues at your workplace and make life easier, so that’s what I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to do over the next few months.

New Year’s goals

Many years ago I stumbled on Brent Ozar’s epic life quest. Reading around that led me to Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest of Awesome, and I decided I wanted to do something similar. I write about this in more detail here, and list all of my goals here, but the basic idea is to make a list of things you want to do in your life, then focus on ticking them off. I really struggle with keeping focus on things for a long period of time, so having something like this allows me to take some time and set down what’s important, and refer back to it later as a guide to what I should be working on.

Some years after I did this I decided I was done with the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, because they always end up being a bit vague, and you get to the end of the year and you can’t really say if you did them, and they just tend to fade from my attention after a bit. I decided that what I wanted to do instead was set myself some concrete, S.M.A.R.T. goals, and to do that I largely pulled from my epic quest, along with a few other things. The last couple of years have been really bad when it came to achieving anything, because of the pandemic and other reasons, but this year I’m feeling a lot better, and I have some catching up to do, so I’ve been ambitious and set myself quite a few goals. The plan is to check in every 3 months and see how I’m doing, and keep all of them in mind as I go through the year. So, goals for 2023 are:

  • Weigh under 95kg every day for 3 months. This has been something I’ve tried for a couple of years before now, but I think I’m in a better place to tackle it this year. The idea is if I can get to that weight and maintain it for 3 months it will set some healthier habits in place rather than immediately putting it all back on again.
  • Deadlift 200kg. Current tested max is 165kg, but I think I’d be closer to 180kg if I tested it today.
  • Deadlift 250kg. This is definitely more ambitious, and probably won’t happen until near the end of the year if at all.
  • I’ve entered a novice strongman comp that’s coming up in about a month, so I’ve set myself the challenge of completing every event. That means getting at least one rep on the ‘for reps’ events, hitting all of the weights in the ‘progressive’ events (things like deadlift x weight then y then z, I want to get all the way to z), and completing the carry and pull medley in the time (carry 2 sandbags then pull a sled a set distance in 60 seconds).
  • Finish a half marathon. I’ve not done much running the last couple of years, but I’ve entered the Nottingham half, which is the end of September, and if I train right I can definitely complete it.
  • Paint a Warhammer 40k combat patrol. This was nearly completed last year, but I didn’t quite make it so I want to finish it off this year.
  • Paint a Warhammer 40k incursion force. This will incorporate the combat patrol, but double the size of it. I really enjoy painting these models, so this is about having fun and reducing my ‘to be painted’ pile.
  • Paint a gang/team/squad/something else for one of the Games Workshop boxed games. Same as above, painting relaxes me and gives me a feeling of achieving something.
  • Related to painting, I had an idea for a simple app to track all the paints I currently own, and what paints I used on each model, to help me repeat existing paint jobs on similar models in the future. I’ve not done app development before, or really anything outside of databases, so I’m thinking I’ll set myself the challenge of building this in Azure, and hopefully learn some stuff along the way.
  • Blog every week for 6 months. This blog is really neglected and I need to show it some love.
  • Speak at another SQL Server user group. I spoke at the Nottingham user group a couple of times, and was just starting to get accepted to conferences when things got difficult. I’d like to do more speaking, and both the Cardiff and Bristol groups aren’t that far from me so I’m keeping an eye out for when they start up again this year.
  • Sort out a group tent for larp. If you don’t know what larp is, this won’t make a lot of sense, but essentially I want to get a tent and decorate it like it’s from a magical fantasy kingdom.
  • Book another big holiday. I may not get to go on one this year but I’d like to at least have one lined up for 2024 by the end of the year. I went to Bali over New Year and it was really good for me, and I feel like I need to do those trips more often.
  • Have 5 smaller adventures this year. So far I’ve booked a running festival in the summer, and a new larp event, so I need to find another 3. I’m thinking some weekends in London to catch some shows.

Anyway, that is it (apart from one goal I’m keeping secret for personal reasons, but I’ll post if it happens). Like I said, some are off my epic quest and others are just things I thought would be good for me this year, but having the list to refer back to every time I have a spare half a day helps keep me focussed on chasing the things that matter more to me.

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