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John Paul Cook

Getting off to a good start

There are several things I do to get each New Year’s Day off to a good start. All of my machines have been to Windows Update today and are updated and defragmented. My DBA toolkit on a stick is completely new for 2010. When I went to and downloaded the latest full suite, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the portable version of Open Office finally works on 64-bit systems. These are my recommendations for portable applications you might want to add:

  1. 7-Zip portable it also opens iso files, which can be very handy
  2. FileZilla portable you never know when you might need to FTP something
  3. FireFox portable since it’s portable, you don’t install it
  4. Java portable Open Office needs this if the machine you’re using doesn’t have a JRE
  5. Notepad++ portable excellent freeware editor with lots of features
  6. winMd5Sum portable great for when you need to confirm that your download wasn’t corrupted
  7. WinMerge portable excellent comparison tool for comparing and merging files
  8. Foxit Reader portable small, fast pdf reader better than the Sumatra reader that comes with the suite

I also downloaded the latest version of PDF-XChange Viewer portable and put it on my machines and my USB sticks. I do not use Adobe Acrobat Reader at all. It’s too slow, too bloated, and it doesn’t have enough features. Plus I don’t like installing more than the absolute bare minimum number of applications. I created an Open with file association for pdf files and PDF-XChange Viewer portable. This lightweight product gives me the ability to annotate pdf files. I use it to fill out rebate forms, among other things. Sometimes it doesn’t render correctly and I switch to Foxit. You might want to associate pdf files with Foxit instead of PDF-XChange and use PDF-XChange Viewer only for annotating pdfs.

I went to to get a free credit report. This is the Federal Trade Commission’s site – all of the other sites are commercial sites trying to sell you something. You must make your credit report request from that site only. Be careful about what you click because the credit reporting company is trying to sell you something beyond the free credit report. Since I’m married with joint accounts, I get a total of 6 free credit reports per year. I do it like this:

  1. January 1 – I request a free credit report from Equifax
  2. March 1 – my wife requests a free credit report from Equifax
  3. May 1 – I request a free credit report from Experian
  4. July 1 – my wife requests a free credit report from Experian
  5. September 1 – I request a free credit report from TransUnion
  6. November 1 – my wife requests a free credit report from TransUnion

Getting an early start on taxes is a good idea, so I downloaded free tax preparation software from TaxACT. It even has free E-file. Really free is nice. I installed it into a virtual machine in keeping with my habit of installing the bare minimum on my machines.

I unsubscribed from vendor email that was received today. That’s something I’ve been doing almost every day for the past several weeks. My inbox is no longer cluttered. Now that’s what I call a great way to start off the new year!

Published Friday, January 1, 2010 5:20 PM by John Paul Cook



Giammarco Schisani said:

Nice list. Thanks for sharing. I also like Thunderbird Portable:

January 5, 2010 7:07 PM

Mahesh Arora said:

Dear John Paul Cook

How are you. I am not having your email address that's why I writing this over here.

I have one problem. I wants to connects two Oracle Database Named IC1 and IC2 and wants to compare two tables in that are PRODMAST and their fileds are Prodcode.

February 7, 2010 3:15 AM

John Paul Cook said:

Without buying any tools, you can accomplish the comparison using the MINUS operator in Oracle or the EXCEPT operator in SQL Server.

select * from IC1table
MINUS  --use EXCEPT for SQL Server
select * from IC2table

followed by

select * from IC1table
MINUS  --use EXCEPT for SQL Server
select * from IC2table

You have to run both queries to make sure you don't overlook something. Make appropriate changes when the tables are in different databases or schemas.

The email facility on this blog site sends me email.

February 7, 2010 10:26 AM
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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a registered nurse recently completed the education to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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