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  • Protecting Credit Card Data

    Although the latter part of this post discusses Always Encrypted in SQL Server 2016, Im starting with the topic of protecting your own credit cards. I have a certain credit card that will remain nameless that we use for as many purchases as possible because of the cash rebate it offers. Its like electronic cash to us and always paid in full. ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on January 23, 2016
  • Storage Health Check

    Would a drive failure inconvenience you? Have you checked your old drives? Maybe it is time you should run some diagnostics. Before installing a new, larger SSD and making a completely fresh installation of Windows, I thought it would be a wise idea to check the status of my existing storage devices. Most of my drives are from Seagate, so I ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on December 22, 2015
  • re: Surface Pro 3 first impressions

    For running R and SQL, I recommend Surface Pro, not Surface. If your laptop works, wait just a little bit longer for Surface 4 instead of Surface 3 because of better performance and battery life. A docking station is nice to have but not a must. A higher end Surface Pro is suitable as a desktop replacement for many power users. If you need a lot ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on October 22, 2015
  • Privacy Settings: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Ive spent more time than Ive wanted today looking for and fiddling with privacy settings. Social media users cant have privacy, but there are at least some things we can do to reduce annoyances from having an online presence. Targeted advertising is something I find disturbing. I dont want to shop online and later have social media present ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on October 18, 2015
  • Windows 10 Fixing Flash Video Playback

    After upgrading my desktop (which has always been quirky) to Windows 10, I noticed that many videos would only play audio. Instead of video, all that I could see is a green background as shown in Figure 1 below. Figure 1. Green background during video playback. I suspected that the video was using the Adobe Flash Player which I confirmed by ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on August 9, 2015
  • In The Cloud: Azure SDKs

    People have been asking me about three things recently: Application development in Azure Visual Studio 2015 Microsoft certification exam 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions These topics are interrelated. To do application development for Azure, youll need Visual Studio and SDKs. After installing VS 2015, visit the Azure ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on August 6, 2015
  • Finding the number of the day in the year

    I needed to find the number of the current day of the year. It wasnt related to SQL Server at all, so I did a search. Coincidentally, I saw several bad examples of how to do this using T-SQL. Bad examples sometimes prompt me to post and this is another one of those times. If you work with dates in SQL Server, I strongly urge you to familiarize ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on July 25, 2015
  • Speaking at Houston TechFest

    Ill be speaking at Houston TechFest on September 12, 2016. I have two presentations. One is new T-SQL language features for developers. New as in mostly features added since SQL Server 2012, although I might cover common table expressions if time permits and the audience wants me too. Ive given this presentation about 10 times to some of my ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on July 19, 2015
  • Starting PowerPoint slide show from any slide

    If you do a lot of presentations, the default configuration for PowerPoint might not be what you want. Sometimes you dont want to start the slide show from the beginning. Instead, you want to pick any arbitrary slide and start the slide show from that point. You can either use the keyboard combination of Shift and F5 or you can add an icon to the ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on June 4, 2015
  • Reserve your free copy of Windows 10

    If you have a retail version of Windows 7 or Windows 8, go to and click Reserve Windows 10 to sign up for your free copy of Windows 10. The Windows 10 release date is July 29, 2015. This offer does not apply to non-retail versions such as Enterprise edition. Figure 1. Upgrade reservation obtained on ...
    Posted to John Paul Cook (Weblog) by John Paul Cook on June 2, 2015
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