Monday, September 27, 2004

OS Wars

Let's just get this out there: I simply don't care about the OS wars between MS and Linux. My living is made from MS technologies, and I've had a little exposure to Linux, which I found difficult. (I can't imagine the average home user trying it...yikes.) I guess my hope is that the Linux movement will push MS into making their products better. I just can't see getting religious about this sort of thing...I have better things to think about.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

clustered and nonclustered indexes

Okay, so I finally got a metaphor for the two types of indexes which even a lay person can understand.

You're looking for information on wallabies. You decide to go to the university library. Picture these two scenarios for reference books:

a) You find a book on animals. You flip back to the index at the back, look in W, then Wallaby, then it gives you a page number. Then you flip to the page number and look for the information there.

b) You go to an encyclopedia. No need for an index. Just go to the W book, and turn straight to Wallaby. The information is there.

The former is a non-clustered index, and the latter is a clustered index. Clustered indexes store the actual data in sorted order, so when you follow the sorting path, you actually get to the data itself - no need to "flip" to another page. Non-clustered indexes only contain references to the location of the data, much like a generic reference book's index.

Hope that helps any of you out there like me for whom this isn't inherently obvious....

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I did an amazing thing in the year 2003. I gave up caffeine. From March 2003 through December 2003, I didn't have any coffee, tea, chai, Diet Coke, nuthin'. And I slept well and functioned just fine, and lived happily ever after.

And then I started grad school. Suddenly I discovered new meaning behind "freaking exhausted". And the coffee has flowed freely until the present time.

The problem is that I'm really sensitive to it. I'm aware that decaf coffee still has 3% of the caffeine left, and my body has wonderful ways of finding it, and proceeds to keep me up at night. So right now I'm in a vicious cycle where I'm tired in the morning, so I have coffee, so I get no sleep, so I'm tired the next morning, etc. That's how it works.

Today? Peppermint tea. Still has a stimulant property but it's more herbal. I'm trying to cut back on the coffee but it ain't easy. I have an addictive personality so I suffer more from "coffee compulsion" than actual physical withdrawal symptoms.

Will the office go out to Starbucks this afternoon? Probably. Will I join them? Probably, like a big idiot. I did decline the morning coffee run, though - big step! Good thing I had my tea.

Oh, and my favorite espresso drink? The Starbucks caramel macchiato. (These days, decaf & nonfat.)