DatabaseDevelopment

SQL Server Data Tools Released

On March 6, 2012, Microsoft released the first official release of the “SQL Server Data Tools” (SSDT) to the web. Even though this release accompanies SQL Server 2012 RTM, you can use SSDT against SQL Server 2005 or later, including SQL Azure. So download it now! and get started developing and deploying your SQL Server databases using SQL Server Data Tools.

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is a free database development environment for SQL Server which is hosted inside the Visual Studio shell. Even though SSDT will first ship as part of SQL Server 2012, it supports all existing SQL Server versions starting with SQL Server 2005, including SQL Azure. This means you can use it today to author, debug and deploy your database schemas targeting SQL Server 2005 SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure.

SSDT builds upon the declarative database development foundations established by Visual Studio database projects, as such it provides a rich set of database schema authoring and deployment capabilities which is fully integrated in to the Visual Studio development environment.”

You can also download SSDT from the Web Platform Installer. Navigate to Products on the top and then to Database on the left side. SQL Server Data Tools will be in the list near the bottom. This is a free tool and will integrate into your VS2010 IDE.

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Resources

The following are great blogs about SQL Server Data Tools:

DatabaseDevelopment

SQL Server 2012 RTM now available on MSDN/TechNet

SQLServer2012You can now download all of the latest RTM editions of SQL Server 2012 if you have a currently active MSDN Subscription.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions

You can read more about the new features in SQL Server 2012 here:
http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/get-sql-server/try-it.aspx

SQL Server 2012 Express Edition

For those of you looking to download the Express edition, you can do so from this URL: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/editions/2012-editions/express.aspx

AviationGames

Microsoft Flight

Microsoft released Microsoft Flight on February 29, 2012 as a free game, with additional purchasable downloadable content for items such as additional planes and locations.

The sky’s the limit! Experience the thrill and wonder of flight with Microsoft Flight. Now anyone can enjoy the fun, freedom and adventure of flight. Feel the power at your fingertips as you take to the skies and launch into thrilling missions and exciting challenges over the free-to-play Big Island of Hawaii. Take off today and fly into the ever-expanding world of Microsoft Flight.

This free download gives you the opportunity to explore the skies over the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii in the state-of-the-art Icon A5 or the classic Boeing Stearman.

MSFlight

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:

  • Direct X Version: DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3.0
  • Memory: 2.0 GB
  • Operating System: Windows® XP with Service Pack 3
  • Processor: Dual Core 2.0 GHz or higher
  • Graphics: 256 MB (DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3.0 compatible)
  • Hard Disk Space: 773 MB

START FLYING NOW… IT ONLY TAKES A FEW MINUTES TO GET IN THE AIR!
GAMERTAG NOT REQUIRED TO DOWNLOAD AND PLAY THE FREE VERSION.

The free version includes everything you need to take-off and fly around the Big Island of Hawaii including the following:

  • Tutorials
  • Play Online or Offline
  • Includes the Icon A5
  • Missions
  • Hidden Aerocaches

Flight is available at the Xbox Marketplace.

Uncategorized

Hello WordPress!

Hello WordPress. I’ve moved my blog over to WordPress from Spaces. I must say, I’m really impressed with what WordPress has to offer.

Look for more blog posts coming soon.

Callon

Uncategorized

1,300 laid off at Blue Mountain

I can’t believe this, but Blue Mountain has closed it’s ski operations this season due to the unusual weather conditions were having.

“Ontario’s largest ski resort has laid off 1,300 workers after closing down its ski operations in the middle of the winter season for the first time in the resort’s 65-year history.” – Toronto Star http://www.thestar.com/News/article/168295

This sucks as I wanted to get out and ride my board before heading to Banff to ski the Big 3.

I think there is hope of skiing in Quebec at Mt. Tremblant. Jonathan…hook us up!!!

Life

Acura CSX: Part 2 – The Choice

So now I’m left with the decision of whether or not I take the plunge and lease the new Acura CSX and sell my current car, a 1999 Acura 1.6 EL. I decided to make a few phone calls and see what other people had to say before I make a decision.

 

A decision has been made (that was quick), I’m going to put my car up for sale on AutoTrader and then go into the dealership on Monday after work to initiate the lease process. Here is the description for my car that’s for sale incase anyone is interested:

 

1999, ACURA, 1.6 EL
5 Speed, Silver, Leather, Heated Seats, A/C, Alloy Rims, Cruise, Moon Roof, Heated Mirrors, Keyless Remote, AM/FM Stereo CD with 6 Disc Changer and Winter Tires. Has 250000 km (majority highway drive), original owner, all service done through Acura.

 

Ok now that I’ve made the decision to go through with this, there are some questions and choices I need to make, namely the type of Transmission and Color of the car.

 

          Do I go with the 5 speed manual (which I prefer) or try something new and get the new 5 speed automatic with shift paddles, which are supposed to be incredible and awesome to drive with

 

          Color (Silver, Black and Blue are my choices) and if I select Blue do I go with a black or tan interior? 

I’m already sold on getting the NAVI package, basically a GPS Navigational system that links up to your Entertainment and Climate control systems and is voice activated.

 

Also Acura has some nice accessories, but they already give you so much that it’s pointless to get any of the options. For instance, the following is what comes as standard on the 2006 CSX Premium with NAVI:

          Moonroof
          Leather seats
          Heated front seats
          Floor mats
          Detail trim
          6 speaker sound system
          Mud flaps

Options I would get are:

          Wheel locks (for the 16” rims)
          MP3 Player auxiliary input (ability to plug your iPOD, ZEN or any other MP3 player directly into your sound system)

At the moment I’m leaning towards the 5 speed manual transmission (I love driving stick) and since I’ve had a silver car for the past 8 years, I’m thinking of trying the blue out. The blue looks great in both black and tan interior, actually with the tan interior it makes it look sharp, classy, and sexy and resembles a BMW, Audi, and Lexus, just half the price and twice the reliability J 

I am interested in this paddle shift automatic transmission, so I’ll probably give it a try on Monday just to get the whole picture.

 

I’ll keep you posted.

Life

Acura CSX: Part 1 – The Test Drive

Well the time has come to put my old 1999 Acura 1.6 EL to rest and get something new (I know some of you have been telling me this for years). When I say rest I mean I’m selling it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good car, but for the past couple of years I’ve been longing for something bigger and newer (Acura TSX). So maybe the time has finally come to look at getting something new. It also helps that there is an incentive, a summer sale of 3.8% on a lease, ending July 31, 2006. I better hurry before it’s over.

 

This all really started with me talking to my friend Craig the week prior, about my car and the maintenance it was getting done, etc, when he told me he was interested in the new CSX from Acura. I was shocked as he loves his 1997 Accord. He said the new CSX has got more power then his Accord and is incredible efficient on fuel at an estimate of $150 a month in savings (based on his driving distance for work) over his current Accord. He said overall the new CSX was an awesome little car (although it’s much bigger then what I currently have) with more horsepower then my EL and his 1997 Accord, better fuel mileage, and just overall more efficient and very advanced (no hydraulics, which means no more timing belt, pumps, etc…yeh).

 

So when I was in the Acura dealership on Saturday picking up my car from it’s minor service (oil change, spark plugs, belt adjustments, gasket leak fix, etc), I decided to take a look at the CSX. I went over and talked to Scott Norman, the original sales associate who leased and then sold me my current 1999 EL. You know it’s nice that he is still there and even remembered me, that is real service. I don’t think its everyday you can walk in to a car dealer and still see someone from 8 years ago, and to top it off, remembers you. So we caught up and then I mentioned that I liked the look of the new CSX, etc. He proceeded like a typical sales person to tell me more of what I didn’t already know from the internet (which in my opinion is great, tell me what I don’t know, people should be investigating the car before going to the dealer, but alas this isn’t always the case). He then handed me the keys to take one for a spin. So off I went.

 

I got in the car and noticed it wasn’t a demo car but in fact one of the other sales associates, talk about trust. The first thing you notice about the CSX (AKA the New 2006 Honda Civic) is the dual consoles for the driver. The upper console is much the same as Heads Up Display (HUD) found in military aircraft and even now in the some of the newer high end commercial aircraft (Boeing 777, 787, Airbus A380, Gulf 5, etc). In the CSX/Civic, the upper console isn’t exactly embedded in the windscreen or projected on a film of glass, but is rather placed high and far back on the dash, right in your line of sight with the road. Here you have the important information, speed, gas, temperature and turn indicators. The lower console has your information on RPM (tachometer), and other indicators for maintenance, mileage, trip, etc.

 

Here is a picture of the look of the dash and the twin consoles. Notice how the upper console is directly in line with your line of sight on the road. When I test drove it I loved this concept and I hope other car manufacturers go this route too.

 

 

 

 

The other nice thing I noticed and I’m sure you have too by now, is the sweet Navigation system (GPS), center of the dash. It’s amazing and includes voice activation for directions, climate control and entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, it has an awesome 6 speaker system that supports MP3, WMA and an auxiliary line input which is sweet for any owner of an iPOD or as I have, a Creative ZEN Vision M (in my opinion better then those iPODS, but that’s another discussion altogether)

 

 

So far I’m sold on this car, the real question now is whether or not I go with the manual 5 speed transmission or the automatic 5 speed with F1 inspired paddle shifters, mounted directly behind the spokes of the wheel. I ended up taking out the manual transmission car for a test drive because this is what I enjoy the most and I had my reservations on the paddle shifters, even though they’ve been given rave reviews and are an adrenaline rush to use. Some even say this is the future direction of the manual transmission. The test drive was great and everything I expected. The gear box was short and compact, allowing you to shift with your fingers if you wanted. I only went for a 20 minute drive as I couldn’t stay all day and I more or less just wanted a feel for the car. At this point I wasn’t committed to buying anything. When I got back I ended up having a quick conversation with Scott and running through some numbers on potential lease payments, etc. I then collected the keys to my car, paid for the service and walked off to my silver EL. When I got into my car and started to drive, this is where things started to get rolling (no pun intended) on getting a new car. I just finished an awesome drive in a brand new 2006 CSX and my adrenaline was still flowing. Getting into my car was like a bad hangover…it just didn’t feel right anymore.

 

I drove home and called Craig to let him know what I thought of the car and how it performed. You see the funny thing about Craig is he is known to buy cars without ever testing one out or even seeing it (which he did with his Accord). He was very intrigued at what I had to say and what I thought about the car, the interior, etc. I told him to call Scott and see what he could do for him, maybe give us a deal if we were both to lease something.

 

At this point in time it was late afternoon on Saturday and the dealer had closed. It was also closed on Sunday. So Craig and I were left to ponder what we would do. The summer sale was ending July 31 and who knew what the new rate would be, or if the sale would be extended. Craig decided he was going to pursue the car and talk to a dealer on Monday. I on the other hand needed more information, my gut feeling was telling me to GO FOR IT, but I still had to worry about what I would be doing with my current car.