Archives / 2011 / August
  • Office 2010 Helps Me Out

    I stink at proof reading. I miss a slew of grammatical and spelling errors. Okay, slew is an understatement.

    When I started working heavily with speech technology a few years ago I discovered something interesting. If I used text-to-speech to read what I wrote I caught all the errors. My completely unprofessional diagnosis - my brain is filtering the data stream from my eyes but not my ears. I immediately started using this new trick to improve my proof reading.

    The one problem I had however was that almost nothing has built-in TTS support. I was able to add it to Word using a macro and copy and paste everything into Word but this was prone to errors and frankly a pain in the butt.

    Today I happen to be digging through Outlook and discovered a new command in 2010 that I hadn't seen before –> Speak. It is detailed here but essentially it reads the selected text and works throughout Office (finally giving me TTS functionality for my emails).

  • SQL Denali Makes Even Fast Look Slow

    I've seen a lot of performance testing over the years, every so often I'm even impressed a bit by the results. Here is one however that will melt the mind of anyone working against large SQL databases: SQL Denali + 1.4 billion with a b rows = 455x increase from 2008 R2. No, I didn't fat finger an extra 5 there. It was that big.

    How? By using a new feature called a Column Store Index (aka Column Indexing). For those wanting the details on how it works and how they tested it you can find the PDF here. Not interested? You sure? I promise, its really short.

    One major caveat however is that not all data types are supported within it. Most wouldn't make sense for this type of use anyway but one in particular was a pain –> uniqueidentifier. I've long used uniqueidentifier as my ID for tables (makes n-tier, replication and merging databases a lot easier). The other gotcha types are the (max) text columns. If you thought you could get away with just setting everything to (max) then you can mark today as when you found out that was a bad idea. You can find the other limitations and restrictions here.

    Looking at the performance I really could have used this feature more than once in the past.