PhillipBlanton.com

When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time.
— Cy Twombly

My new Chile Roaster

I just bought a chile roaster from PuebloChileRoasters.com.

They made me a left-handed chile roaster and I am a right handed individual. Ken Kaufman @ PuebloChileRoasters has graciously decided to allow me to return my chile roaster and exchange it for  a right-handed model.

The left-handed model has the handle and gas control on the right side. The right-handed model has the handle and gas control on the left side. For an illustration, see this video od Ken using his right-handed model.

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Do Not Buy A Colibri Lighter!

They are crap.

I smoke about three cigars a month, and probably the same number of pipe bowls. About two years ago I bought a Colibri pipe lighter at the local tobacconist shop. I want to say I spent about $60 for it. Here's a picture...

The lighter NEVER held gas for more than ten minutes. I'd fill it up and then smoke a cigar or pipe. Then a week or so later, I'd try to light another cigar or pipe, and it'd be out of gas. I'd fill it up and light my smoke.

Then about a week or so later, I'd try to light up a cigar or pipe, and find the lighter empty again.

A few weeks ago I filled up the lighter and listened to it. It made a hissing sound for abut ten minutes and then was out of gas. Apparently the Colibri quality control allowed leaky lighter out of the factory.

I took it back to the tobacconist that I bought it from and they said, "Oh We haven't sold Colibri lighters now for over a year. They are crap and we had way too many customers bring them back, so we decided not to sell them anymore. You need to contact Colibri customer support."

I decided to buy a new ighter from them (a Xikar that rocks) and just take it in the shorts on the Colibri. Here's my new Xikar

I have contacted Colibri and hope that they will eventually replace my crappy lighter with a good one, but I have slim hopes.

So, My advice to you is, if you want to spend the money on a good lighter, expect to spend between $50 and $75 but demand quality for that money. Don't wait a year to report trouble, and don't buy a Colibri. Colibri sucks and they don't warranty their products for very long.Xikar makes great products and they warranty them for life.

Downsides to SQL Server Mirroring

I have been designing and developing applications targeting Microsoft SQL Server for about 14 years. I moved from Clipper and BTrieve to SQLServer '97 at Hewlett-Packard back in about 1998.

Today I am a senior solution architect with a large consulting firm, and am on a team that is migrating a large organization from physical hardware to VMWare. My job is to evaluate each of their more than fifty ASP.net applications, determine if they can be be made SQL Server mirroring aware with no (or minor) code changes, and craft a migration plan for these applications.

As part of my investigation, I have learned a lot about SQL Server Mirroring. One of the big differences between Mirroring and Clustering, is that mirroring is done on a database by database basis, while clustering is handled at the SQL Server instance level. I'm sure you have all heard or read that and think you understand it, but you may not competely appreciate the gravity of that statement. Let's analyze the situation using a real world scenario.

Suppose you have an ASP.net application that uses a single, read-write database for application data, and a separate read-write database for SQL Server session state management. This is not an uncommon situation. Though it is easy enough to install the SQL Server Session State management to your application database, many architects separate the app db from the session db. That's perfectly acceptable, as long as you realize what kind of challenges mirroring brings to the table.

In the event that you are using mirroring, and the application or session database fails, SQL Server will fail-over to the mirror for ONLY THAT SINGLE DATABASE. If your assumption is that the app db and session db are existing on the same server, then your application will find itself in an unstable state.

The solution is to provide a separate connection string in the config file FOR EACH DATABASE that it uses. This will allow applications that use ADO.NET or the Native .NET client, to provide a connection string for each database, that will provide for robust failover.