Mark Whitehorn

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Professor Mark Whitehorn is chair of analytics at Dundee University's School of Computing.
The Register breaking news

Beware the innocent systems 'health check'

D'oh! This column has generated a lot of feedback, some indicating that the answers to the problems were obvious. Quite right - they are obvious to people with years of practice, and some of our readers are blessed with that experience. But the whole point of the series is that none of us start with 20 years of experience. We all have …
Mark Whitehorn, 08 Sep 2008
The Register breaking news

SQL Server 2008 moves on, wants to stay friends

Review Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 is now upon us. More than a year after its initial planned delivery date, Microsoft Wednesday released to manufacturing code for a new version of its database that's almost as significant as its last great release - SQL Server 2005, three years ago. Microsoft is, with SQL Server 2008, bucking its …
Mark Whitehorn, 07 Aug 2008

Lateral thought saves sizzling server

D'oh! I learned a long time ago that generating random numbers (really, truly random numbers) is a non-trivial exercise. However, I completely failed to apply that computer science lesson to the real world of computing and continued to believe that events in the Newtonian world could happen without a cause. Such a belief system is not …
Mark Whitehorn, 29 Jul 2008
The Register breaking news

What I learned from a dumb terminal

D'oh! There is a (probably apocryphal) entry in a naval officer's fitness report that reads: "This officer never makes the same mistake twice. However, he appears to be attempting to make them all once." As developers we should try to avoid collecting the full set, but making some mistakes are inevitable; the trick is to learn from …
Mark Whitehorn, 20 Jun 2008
Microsoft .NET logo

Windows experiment meets the bottom line

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 This project I began writing about in late January, the prototyping of a large database project using the latest versions of a Microsoft software stack, has been an unusual exercise. Unusual because, from the start, both the executive and the technical personnel were fully co-operative throughout the entire undertaking. The …
Mark Whitehorn, 02 Jun 2008
graph up

Virtual Earth puts human face on data

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 Those who have been following Project Watch will know that I have been leading the development in a large database project using SQL Server 2008, Windows 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. Relatively heavy stuff. Part of that project, though, involves the creation of a mashup that displays our spatial data on a map - yes, I know, all …
Mark Whitehorn, 16 May 2008
chart

Frustration and joy - Microsoft's CTP in action

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 OK, so choosing and installing the hardware - that was easy. I wish I could say the same for the software. On the face of it all I had to do was install the beta version of Windows Server 2008, the production version of Visual Studio 2008 and the beta SQL Server 2008. Sorry, by beta of course I mean community technology preview …
Mark Whitehorn, 02 May 2008
Microsoft .NET logo

Windows hardware challenge draws on resources

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 Here's a question for you: what hardware does it take to run an entirely new, pre-release Windows operating system and 1TB-worth of SQL Server 2008 community technology preview? This question seems simple to answer, but the challenge comes in locating the requisite hardware. One problem that always arises when using any beta …
Mark Whitehorn, 19 Mar 2008
Microsoft .NET logo

Microsoft measures up

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 The next task in rolling out our 1TB SQL Server 2008 application using Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008 is to import signed spatial data into the spatial data type. This is the code: UPDATE tblSpatialData SET SpatialLocation = geography::STGeomFromText('POINT …
Mark Whitehorn, 26 Feb 2008
For Sale sign detail

Back to basics for SQL Server 2008

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 When I asked: "How do we convert more than 12,000 location items - by hand?" we had almost completed the process as part of our move to Microsoft's up-coming SQL Server 2008. The question was, in fact, rhetorical. Nevertheless, we received a lot of advice and suggestions from Reg Dev readers. This, for example, from …
Mark Whitehorn, 14 Feb 2008
Microsoft .NET logo

Experience overcomes Microsoft's broken promises

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 Before we go on, let's just talk briefly, in a quiet voice, about the delay to SQL Server 2008. The major issue here is that whilst Microsoft conveniently forgets the past, most of us can still remember SQL Server 2003, er...2004, oh, actually, that was eventually 2005. So Microsoft is turning into a serial offender when it …
Mark Whitehorn, 29 Jan 2008
channel

The 'blem wit' error messages

When I was young I built up a collection of system error messages. Ok, look, it's not as sad as collecting stamps! It is? Really? Oh well, never mind. Anyway, my recent piece about Borland putting rude words in Quattro Pro got me thinking it was time to revisit that collection. Some of them date back to the days of the …
Mark Whitehorn, 28 Jan 2008
Microsoft .NET logo

Inside the Windows 2008 stack experience

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 Register Developer regular Mark Whitehorn is rolling out a significant new IT project. This has, at its heart, a database of around 1TB and is ultimately expected to support several thousand users. The project is using nothing less than upgrades to a trio of big-ticket products from Microsoft - Visual Studio 2008, Windows …
Mark Whitehorn, 24 Jan 2008
Microsoft Office logo

'Draconian' Microsoft promises to make Office work again

Update Microsoft has threatened to release a fix for an Office 2003 update that may well have the productivity suite work as intended once again. As reported earlier Service Pack 3 for Office takes the unprecedented step of barring access to files created with earlier versions of the product. Install the Service Pack and your stash of …
Mark Whitehorn, 05 Jan 2008
Borland

Why Borland trashed its spreadsheet

Myths and legends Always remember, the compiler is your friend. Programming is stressful but no matter how many f**ks and b***ocks you might occasionally feel the need to insert into the comments, the compiler will always strip them out. It's great. Of course, it doesn't actually go looking for rude words. So it would be a mistake to use them …
Mark Whitehorn, 19 Dec 2007
Microsoft .NET logo

Mind your languages with Microsoft LINQ

We've been hearing a growing amount this year about LINQ - Microsoft's Language Integrated Query. You can expect a lot more next year, starting in February as Microsoft launches Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. LINQ promises to close the skills and knowledge gap for developers using C# and VisualBasic trying to connect to …
Mark Whitehorn, 10 Dec 2007
HMRC Her Majesty Revenue and Customs

Running queries on the HMRC database fiasco

Comment When it comes to talking about last week's data loss by the HMRC, I was told not to use precious words outlining my feelings of rage and bafflement that a government body can be so cavalier with so much data because, presumably, we all feel the same. So I will simply note, for the record, that my gob has been totally smacked …
Mark Whitehorn, 25 Nov 2007
Oracle

Oracle 'cheated' in TPC benchmarks

Myths and legends When database folks gather to sup ale and chat, as they invariably will at Oracle's OpenWorld in San Francisco this week, talk occasionally turns to benchmarking. As soon as it does, someone will say: "Of course the trouble is you can't trust the vendors. Wasn't Oracle caught cheating at the TPC benchmarks?" The public has a …
Mark Whitehorn, 12 Nov 2007
Warning: roadworks

Hands on with MDX

Following our introduction to MDX (to be found here) this follow-up article is a get-you-started guide to using this powerful language to manipulate multi-dimensional data. The basics Relational databases store data in two-dimensional tables, a familiar concept that mimics grids of data on paper. Multi-dimensional data is …
Mark Whitehorn, 23 Oct 2007
The Register breaking news

MDX: Why it will matter to application developers

Since when did application developers need to know about an analytical querying language like MDX? Since February 27th, next year. That’s when Microsoft will launch SQL Server 2008. Of course, you’ll still have breathing space because, as we are painfully aware, launching and actually delivering products are, in Microsoft’s …
Mark Whitehorn, 22 Oct 2007
The Register breaking news

Evolutionary vs. traditional database design

We recently published an article on the advantages of evolutionary database design (EDBD), a process which has its roots in the agile/extreme programming world. To provide a little balance, some yang for the yin, we asked Mark Whitehorn to comment on the article and give his views on EDBD vs. the more traditional database design …
Mark Whitehorn, 06 Aug 2007

Oracle 11g’s new toys

Oracle has just announced onto a suspecting world the latest release of its flagship database engine. It is packed full of additional features. If you are an Oracle DBA and/or developer, then you will be keen to find out what’s coming because, for good or ill, these will be the features you will work with in the coming years. …
Mark Whitehorn, 13 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

Remember the ‘Service’ in SOA

There is, of course, no widely agreed definition of Service Oriented Architecture – I know this to be true because I read it on the Web. However most people might agree, if they happened to be chilled out and mellow at the time, that, as my Web source (Wikipedia as it happens) continues “Service-orientation describes an …
Mark Whitehorn, 09 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

The great migration debate: Essbase to Analysis Services

There may be multiple political/managerial reasons behind a decision to move from Hyperion's Essbase to Microsoft's Analysis Services – not least of which might be the recent purchase of Hyperion by Oracle. Whatever the reason, from a developer's viewpoint, moving a set of multi-dimensional databases from one engine to another …
Mark Whitehorn, 08 Jun 2007
Microsoft

MUST is a must

The task of migrating or upsizing Microsoft Access databases is a common one, particularly for small businesses that are growing well and feel a real need to move. Microsoft's SSMA (SQL Server Migration Assistant) is an obvious candidate, but here is an alternative that compares well. Microsoft's SSMA In October last year I …
Mark Whitehorn, 08 Jun 2007