Tom Brady

Tom Brady, according to the NFL, “tampered” and “obstructed”.   Pretty grim words for something as stupid as a GAME!!   I can’t stand the Patriots, but he’s not a criminal and the NFL isn’t the the US Justice System….it’s a job and the owners.  Everyone needs to stop making it out to be a major offense and it needs to be taken off the front pages of the news.

I have questions.   If you thought you could lose 1/4 of a years pay on your job because of something on your personal phone, would you not throw it away, too?   Why does the NFL have the right to his personal communications?   Doesn’t everyone do whatever small things they can to make themselves better at their jobs?   If they are legal, shouldn’t you be able to do your best to give yourself an advantage?

It was stupid for the NFL to allow the teams to bring in their own footballs.   It’s a fact that all of the quarterbacks have their preferences, and that most of them use the balls a bit to get them broken in before the games.  If fair play is all that is at stake here, then the NFL should have just provided brand new footballs for every game, or some specific level of “broken in” footballs.   MLB provides baseballs and they aren’t not out-of-the-box brand new.   Some dude somewhere manually breaks them all in and has some mud he uses for it.   Why would the NFL not have something similar in place?

I think it’s ridiculous when big companies (specifically sports leagues) throw someone under the bus for the company’s own oversight.   The NFL blew it here and Tom Brady is being tossed to cover it up.   MLB did the same thing with steroids for years…ignored it and then pointed fingers at some truly great players and made it look like the players were at fault.   The NBA a few years ago started a dress code for players during press conferences because, as a product of the NBA’s own own hip-hop marketing, some players apparently took things too far.

It’s the leagues’ fault.   They love to make money hand-over-fist until something comes up that finally gets the public upset, and then they overreact by blaming the players.   Sorry Mr. Brady, but you’re losing this one…the NFL won’t have it any other way.

Tons of Learning

The last couple of weeks have been a crash course on SQL Server in Azure IaaS.   We moved our North America Multistore database over to Azure and it wasn’t the smoothest transition ever.   The old DB server was a small Windows 2003 server running SQL 2005.   Little server, little DB, never ran into any performance problems, etc.   Figured this would be a cake job and just move easily.

The server I put it on for testing was one of our standard server deployments, running SQL Server 2014 on Windows 2012 R2.   Got it set up, the DBA signed off on it, and QA did their tests and everything was a go.   We moved, and under real user load, it was so slow that queries in our app were timing out for all of our dealers on it.   Since we had gone from SQL2005 to 2014, we couldn’t go back to the old server.   What now?

To keep the price down, we tried to add disks to the machine and stripe across them using Windows Storage Spaces.  This would provide more throughput to the disk, which was, without a doubt, our bottleneck.   This helped some, but we got too many VHD files in a single storage account, and Microsoft started throttling our storage throughput, killing our dealers’ queries again.

I moved everything off of the storage account that I could, to get us under the 40 limit again, and waited another day.   Everything was okay, but we still got a few calls here and there…unacceptable.

Azure support told us that we had to move to Premium Storage, which is more expensive, but runs more like an on-premise server.   I built the server using their guidelines and we migrated.   Not a single problem since.

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t try to save money initially, but build servers that will work and try to scale them back as much as you can afterward.   This would’ve saved a lot of headaches for our user base and still gotten us to the same final solution.

2. Perform load testing on both the current systems, such as perfmon logging, and on the systems you want to try to run on.   Don’t just guess that you’ll be okay because the current systems are old or slow or anything like that.   Use real data to make your case.

3. Don’t just shrug off best practices because you’ve been doing things your way and things have been okay.   I did that here and, sure enough, got bitten big time.

Some docs for future reference:

SQL Server Best Practices on Azure:

Performance Monitor on Windows:

Azure Sizing Documentation:

Azure Automation PITA and InlineScript{}

I have found Azure Automation Runbooks to be a total pain in the ass.   First, I do all of my script work in a text editor or in the Powershell ISE, yet for some reason, I have to use MS’s silly Azure Runbook tool to publish things.   Second, I’ve always had issues getting the runbooks to work right, because I’ve always just tried to copy and paste from PowerShell into the Workflow.

I finally found a solution to the second part today.   It’s the InlineScript{} command.   Evidently, the workflows don’t run in your normal PowerShell context, so you can use InlineScript{} to force specific commands to run in the “normal” way.   Well, forget that.   I just put my whole script into the brackets for InlineScript{} and it worked flawlessly.

What a silly way to do things.   Maybe it won’t always work for some technical reason, but it worked this time.

Who Cares?

I’ve now realized that it’s the time in my life to stop giving so much of a damn about stupid stuff.    I’m buying myself a fanny pack, I’m wearing socks with my sandals whenever I want, and I’m going to (again) quit reading any non-local news.  I’m not going to be a beer snob, food snob, or whatever snob.  I’m going to quit buying crap I don’t need and save money up for trips and other big things.   If I want to wear my bucket hat, I’m wearing it.

This is all a culmination of things I saw on the trip.   I see how Brian and Lois have gotten to travel the world and do cool stuff.   The Chinese dude in the belly shirt at the mall did his thing and didn’t give two cents about others, and yet he was smiling ear-to-ear.  I saw a TON of people drinking Coors Light and having fun.  I saw some unusual anime people at the beach who were dressed all crazy (“Ridiculous” in Evelyn’s terms), who were having a blast.   There was also a dude swimming in his underwear, but had a gal with him who was way out of his league.   There were a lot of cyclists on bikes that looked right out of 1980, and sounded like it, too, but they were getting the job done.

The whole keeping up game and trying to be snooty about things not being up to some “standard” is a waste of energy.