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Kevin Kline

What Makes a Useful Poster?

While I'm recovering from surgery, I've been thinking about what makes a technology poster worth putting up on your wall?

As I walked around TechEd last week, there was no shortage of posters available for all sorts of technologies.  Some were mostly diagrams without many words, while others were almost entirely verbal.  Even among the SQL Server vendors and at the Microsoft SQL Server pavilion you could find several different posters.  Quest Software (my employer) had two posters out - one with a quick description of all of the DMVs in SQL Server 2005/2008 and with a description and syntax for all of the system stored procedures.

My main criterion in deciding whether to put up a poster is whether it offers a quick look-up on information that I'd otherwise have to spend a long time thumbing through manuals (either physically or electronically) to find the information I need.  So what's your main priorities in a) whether you even keep a poster, and b) whether you put one up on the wall?  What are some topics worth putting onto posters that you've always wanted to see in print?

Many thanks!  I look forward to your feedback,


Published Friday, June 20, 2008 10:15 AM by KKline
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Kalen Delaney said:

Hi Kevin

I'm so glad you're recovering!

I used to have the original SQL 2005 DMVs on my wall when writing my first SQL 2005 book; I was always checking it. It is the only poster still up on my wall, but I have lots of windows and there is room for only one!

I agree a poster has to be useful.In my old office, with more wall space, I used to have one that explained the 5 normal forms using examples from the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. I wish I had it still.

Take care of yourself!!


June 20, 2008 12:43 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

>While I'm recovering from surgery

That's all we really needed to read. Glad you're ok.


June 20, 2008 2:04 PM

kozloski said:

You can still get the "5 Rules of Normalization" poster from the creator!

This and the SQL Server 2005 DMV poster (a.k.a.: "DBA Twister") that was distributed with SQL Server Magazine are the only two I've kept, and I consider both to be "useful," although one is mostly verbiage and the other fairly terse.

I suppose the answer is... It depends.

June 20, 2008 2:38 PM

Kalen Delaney said:

Thanks for the pointer! I'd re-order the poster, which I did originally get from DB Programming and Design Magazine, if I had any more wall space. So I'll just download the PDF...


June 20, 2008 2:50 PM

Greg Low said:

Kevin, so cool to see you posting *anything*. Glad to see you in solid spirits and recovering.



June 20, 2008 11:43 PM

ALZDBA said:

Or we would need a big wall

or we would need an accordion/harmonica type of poster.

Get well soon.

June 21, 2008 5:58 PM

Rajesh said:

Poster with the following would be my best -

SQL Server 2008 DMV

Top 20 mostly run maintenance command .  

SQL Server DB Engine Physical Architecture .

List of New Commands in SQL 2008 .  

June 23, 2008 3:14 PM

Roy Harvey said:

The things I keep on my wall aren't posters, just bits from the docs.  The most obvious is the table of values and their usage for the third parameter (style) of the CONVERT function.  I used to keep one for the datepart/datename functions' first parameter, but eventually I just stopped using abbreviations for that.

July 1, 2008 5:39 PM

KKline said:

Hi everyone,

I've cross-posted this discussion to so that we can have a fully threaded discussion.  Feel free to jump in there.

Kalen - I remember that you'd mentioned the Daisy Hill puppy farm poster in the past. I'm super glad that Dennis posted a URL to find it.  Very cool!

Rajesh - great ideas!

Roy - I used to post up lots of bits of docs too.  But now that I'm in my home office and not in a cube, I don't like to stick too many pins into the walls.  I used to do exactly that for Oracle's DECODE function.  But functions with lots of parameters certainly is an excellent topic for a poster.  

And to Paul and Greg, thanks for the kind wishes!


July 18, 2008 12:18 PM

Michael Bianchi said:

I know this posts are a few months old, so I hope someone reads this soon.  Does anyone know where I can get a PDF of the "5 Rules of Normalization" poster?  I tried the website listed above but I got a 403 - Forbidden error.

Thanks in advance,


November 10, 2008 2:55 PM

Brandon said:

The site is still down with a 403, but Google turned up this link if anyone wants a PDF:

February 25, 2009 4:27 PM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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