T-SQL Tuesday #126 Recap

Introduction

Back on May 5, 2020, I posted the invitation for T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home, which was due on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. I ended up getting seventeen blog post responses that I am aware of. Thank you to everyone who participated! This post will be my T-SQL Tuesday #126 Recap.

Here are the blog posts for #T-SQL Tuesday #126, in alphabetical order by author.

T-SQL Tuesday #126 Recap
T-SQL Tuesday

Magnus Ahlkvist

Magnus (b/t) wrote a post called “My response to Covid-19: #DataWeekender“, where he described his efforts to help organize and run the DataWeekender virtual conference. It is great that so many people in the community are willing to do the hard work to make these events happen.

I was lucky enough to be one of the speakers for that event, and Magnus was my moderator. From what I have heard, the event was very well-received, and I want to thank all of the speakers and organizers!

Glenn Berry

Since I was the host (b/t), I figured that I also needed to join in the fun by writing a post. My post was “Building an Efficient Desktop Machine for Folding@Home“. In this post, I went into quite a bit of detail about how to optimize your hardware for Folding@Home usage.

Thinking about performance/dollar and performance/watt is important if you are trying minimize your hardware budget or energy costs. This is true whether you are running FAH or doing other things with your machine(s).

Eitan Blumin

Eitan (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday 126 – Responding to COVID-19“. In his post, Eitan described his efforts to help out by holding free webinars delivered in Hebrew. He also discussed several other initiatives that Madeira Data Solutions has undertaken to help people get though this crisis.

Eitan was also a speaker at the the DataWeekender virtual conference.

Kevin Chant

Kevin (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Organizing DataWeekender“. In his post, Kevin also wrote about the process of organizing and running the DataWeekender virtual conference.

It is interesting to me to hear the behind the scenes details of what people run into, organizing an event like this. Again, I want to thank all of the organizers of these types of events. I don’t think people realize how much work and dedication go into doing that.

Gethyn Ellis

Gethyn (b/t) wrote a post called “Our response to COVID-19? DataWeekender and everything else“. In his post, Gethyn discussed the fact that everyone is in a different situation, and has different ways of responding to COVID-19. Nobody should feel inadequate if they think they “are not doing enough”.

I completely agree with this sentiment. My purpose behind this month’s topic was to inspire people and let like-minded people share their stories if they wanted to.

Gethyn discussed the work of his wife with the NHS Volunteers, and his own development of Skype darts. He has also been busy advising charitable organizations (and other small businesses) how to use technology for remote working.

Finally, Gethyn was another one of the organizers of the DataWeekender virtual conference that was held on May 2, 2020.

Rob Farley

Rob (b/t) wrote a post called “Helping the research into COVID-19“. In his post, Rob discussed a previous post about the dangers of doing data analysis about COVID-19 without sufficient domain knowledge and empathy to understand the situation.

Rob also discussed his memories of helping search for Jim Gray in satellite imagery. Finally, Rob talked about joining the Folding@Home team, and mentioned the DreamLab app for iOS and Android.

Argenis Fernandez

Argenis (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@home“. In his post, Argenis discussed some personal struggles dealing with stress and a birthday. One response to this was buying the parts to build a new desktop machine called the Orange Folding Rig (OFR).

I gave Argenis some advice as he built and modified his new machine. It has enough horsepower to run VMs, and other work-related applications, as well as running FAH. So far, he seems pretty happy with the new hardware!

Argenis has also been busy working on something else very significant related to Folding@home, which he should be able to announce pretty soon.

Marcin Gminski

Marcin (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home“. This was Marcin’s first T-SQL Tuesday contribution, so welcome on board! Marcin is a member of the #sqlfamily Folding@home team, and he has discovered that FAH has certificates that show how many WUs you have completed that you can generate and save.

Finally, Marcin has been busy creating an event aggregator called the Data Community Event Tracker. This lets you find data platform events and helps avoid scheduling conflicts.

Chris Johnson

Chris (b/t) wrote a post called “TSQL Tuesday #126: Folding@Home“. In the post, Chris writes about running FAH with a couple of machines and joining a FAH team. Chris has also organized a Microsoft Teams organization for the Nottingham Writers Collective.

Finally, Chris discusses the importance of using your technical knowledge to help other less technical people make it though this crisis more smoothly. I completely agree with that, both now, and in general. Personally, I have a hard time not doing that, especially when it comes to computer hardware!

Steve Jones

Steve (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126–Folding@Home“. In his post, Steve talks about the old SETI@home project (which I also used to do), and his efforts to migrate to a new desktop machine.

Steve also discusses hosting T-SQL Tuesday Live, teaching Live Stairways, and his efforts to stay connected in a socially distanced manner, with his friends and neighbors. Finally, I want to thank Steve for running the overall T-SQL Tuesday event on an ongoing basis. Steve has been a great mentor and friend over the years!

Todd Kleinhans

Todd (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL #126 – Dreaming of Both Blue & White Gold“. In his post, Todd writes about the importance of clean water for drinking, cooking and sanitation, especially for people who are forced to live off-the-grid.

Todd discusses several different methods and ideas for collecting water from the atmosphere using various different technologies. It is obvious that Todd has a passion in this area, and is genuinely dedicated to trying to help impoverished people with his efforts.

Hugo Kornelis

Hugo (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #118 – My response to COVID-19“. In his post, Hugo writes about his work on a video course called “The Execution Plan Video Training”, and his decision to release it early and make it free for the community.

Hugo has also joined the #sqlfamily Folding@home team, so he is helping out with spare computing resources.

Rob Litjens

Rob (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL TUESDAY #126 – HELPING TO SURVIVE COVID-19“. In his post, Rob discusses some recent health challenges and how that affected him before the COVID-19 crisis.

Just as he was recovering from that, and was finally ready to return to work in the office, he wasn’t able to do that for very long. I can only imagine the frustration.

Rob also helped out as moderator for the DataWeekender virtual conference that was held on May 2, 2020.

Elizabeth Noble

Elizabeth (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Do What You Can“. In her post, Elizabeth talks about what she has been doing to support her family as they are all stuck at home in a relatively small house. This is made more challenging by the fact that a home addition project is ongoing during all of this!

I feel bad that Elizabeth seems to regret the fact that she hasn’t been able to do something more (in her words) “altruistic or as helpful” as other people. As Gethyn discussed, everyone’s situation is different. Nobody should feel like they have not been doing enough or comparing themselves to other people.

Jess Promfret

Jess (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home“. In her post, Jess talks about using an Intel NUC to run Folding@Home on a part time basis. She was concerned about how hot the NUC was getting running FAH.

It doesn’t surprise me that an Intel NUC would get quite warm running FAH! An interesting solution to this was using PowerShell to set the status of the FAH client on a daily schedule. You can get the code here.

On top of this, Jess was a speaker at both the the DataWeekender virtual conference and the GroupBy conference. Jess also reinforced the idea that looking after yourself and your people is an important primary task, that is even more difficult right now.

Tim Radney

Tim (b/t) wrote a post called “T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home and 3D Printing“. In his post, Tim talks about using existing and new PC hardware to run Folding@Home and be a part of the #sqlfamily FAH team. Tim recently built very nice AMD Ryzen 9 3950X system that he is using for this.

Even more impressive is his herculean efforts to 3D print and distribute (free of charge) “ear savers” for medical masks to medical professionals all over the country. Tim has four Ender 3 Pro printers running 24×7 doing this, and he has to wake up in the middle of the night to change out finished jobs. So far, he has printed and distributed over 8,000 ear savers, for free.

Richard Swinbank

Richard (b/t) wrote a post called “A tale of two smartphone apps“. In his post, Richard covers his efforts to follow social distancing guidelines and prepare for whatever may occur. Richard also talks about the NHS Volunteer Responders program and issues with the GoodSAM smart phone app.

Finally, Richard discusses the NHS COVID-19 app contact tracing app that is in development. For both of the apps, Richard goes though the three questions we should be asking ourselves when bringing technology to bear in a crisis.

Do You Want to Host a Future T-SQL Tuesday?

If you would like to host a T-SQL Tuesday, you can read the rules on the T-SQL Tuesday site and ask Steve Jones if you can host. If you have an idea for a future T-SQL Tuesday topic, you can contact Steve Jones.

Final Words

Once again, I want to thank everyone who took the time to write a post for T-SQL Tuesday #126. Believe me, I know how much time and effort it takes to write a good quality blog post. Please take a few minutes to read everyone’s posts!

Remember, one of the main points of any T-SQL Tuesday is to encourage more people in the SQL Server community to write more blog posts, more frequently. Bloggers often complain that they have “writer’s block” where they can’t think of anything to write about. Many bloggers also worry that what they do blog about is not a new or interesting enough topic to warrant a blog post.

You have to try to move beyond those concerns. Blogging is a good way to organize and record your thoughts and knowledge for posterity. I often refer to my old blog posts to help remember the details of previous technical issues that I have encountered.

Writing about something usually forces you to learn more about it, and to do some fresh research to validate your knowledge. If you just solved some sort of technical problem or learned something that was new to you, write a blog post about it!

Finally, T-SQL Tuesday is a good way to get back links to your blog. The number and quality of the back links that your blog has is important for SEO purposes. If you participate in T-SQL Tuesday as a writer or as a host (and follow the rules) you will get more good quality back links. You will also get some additional blog traffic.

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