PC Pro Podcast 271 (updated)

On this week’s podcast: the UK government ups the pressure for network-level parental-control filters; Ubuntu crowdsources funds for its new phone; Microsoft’s takes a $900 million hit on stocks of the Surface RT; and BDUK takes the rap for bungling Britain’s next-gen broadband rollout. Finally, the revolutionary light-field camera, the Lytro, focusses our attention in hot hardware of the week.

PC Pro Podcast 271

On this week’s podcast: the UK government ups the pressure for network-level parental-control filters; Ubuntu crowdsources funds for its new phone; Microsoft’s takes a $900 million hit on stocks of the Surface RT; and BDUK takes the rap for bungling Britain’s next-gen broadband rollout. Finally, the revolutionary light-field camera, the Lytro, focusses our attention in hot hardware of the week.

SQL Server – Increasing query performance for large reports

Its always a balance when creating reports, you want to produce an amazing report, but you dont want to cripple your server and make it unresponsive for other users whilst it is produced.

After a lot of research, we found that adding:

SET TRANSACTION ISOLATION LEVEL READ UNCOMMITTED;

as the first line in a stored procedure greatly improves performance for other users as the stored procedure then doesn’t lock tables for reading when it is producing the report.

increase-chart-11As a real-world example, we wrote a system that could produce an annual statistical report that had to go through 1.1million records 18 times per row, and for around 40,000 rows, so a staggering 792 billion reads on the database. We optimised the query, but it still took around 40 seconds to produce, and during that time all the CPUs in the database server were at 100% and disk IO went through the roof, and the system performance suffered dramatically. Other users were left with the system appearing to hang for up to a minute whilst one user created the report.

By adding the transaction level statement we not only decreased the query time to under 30 seconds, but it also allowed all other users to continue to use the system and not notice any performance hang in the system as their queries were still be executed as needed since the tables were not locked.

Paying drivers every time they are stopped at temporary road-works

This proposal concerns the annoying habit of utility companies and building firms to not co-ordinate their activities, and cause huge disruption to drivers with temporary road-works during the working week. Too often huge disruption is caused, yet there are practically no workers there actually doing the road-works to ensure they are completely quickly.

The practical party proposes that for every occasion where a driver has to stop (is stationary) at a set of temporary road-works traffic lights or stop/go signs during the working week (Monday-Friday, 8am til 6pm) the company  / individual doing the works must pay the vehicle driver a single 50p (fifty pence). This includes ALL instances where the road-way is impeded, including but not limited to road building works, hedge cutting, pipe laying, accidents and residential/commercial building works adjacent to the road.

There are no limits to the number of times drivers can receive the money, as long as they are fully stationary, it must be paid as compensation for their journey disruption. Any company or individual who impedes the road must get the road-way cleared again for traffic as quickly as possible.

On motorways, a similar scheme will be introduced, whereby drivers can submit a claim online for deductions against their road tax of £1 for every instance of road-works that have impeded their journey and an additional £1 for every mile of road-works. There will be a smart-phone app (and a separate stand-alone sat-nav style device) that is linked by numberplate with GPS location that will automatically apply the deduction to the next road-tax bill for the vehicle.

On motorways for every minute of stationary time once the Police or emergency services are on-site due to an accident there will similarly be a £1 deduction in road-tax using a similar scheme to the motorway claim scheme.

The Practical party will work with Google, Microsoft and Apple to develop a national road mapping tool that is available freely for all companies and individuals completing road-works to see what other companies have planned in the area. This maps will be available to the public, and must be updated before any road works are carried out, no matter how small. Failure to comply will result in a £10,000 fine for the company or individual involved, and a reward of 50% of this fine to be paid to the individual who first reports that road works are taking place without first being notified on the national mapping system.

How to stop Windows 7 requiring you to change your password

 

There are no built in tools in Windows 7 to do this, but thankfully its pretty simple. This is especially useful if you are running Windows 7 as part of a Parallels Desktop for Mac installation, as the whole VM freezes when Windows requires a password change!

Follow these instructions and it works every time.

1. Right-click on the desktop and Choose New > Shortcut

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.03.25

 

2. Type in wmic as the location, and click on Next

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.03.35

 

3. Just leave the name as WMIC, or you can change it if you want, and then click on Finish

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.03.42

 

4.Right-click on your newly created shortcut and click on Run as administrator

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.11.30

 

5. If you have User Account Control turned on (which you most likely will) then you get a dialog box  confirm you wish to run the utility, click on Yes

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.04.21

 

6. The wmi command line utility opens up. Type in (exactly)

UserAccount where PasswordExpires=TRUE set PasswordExpires=FALSE

and then Press Enter

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.04.51

7.A message appears with a Y/N option for each user account on the computer. Press Y for each, and then press Enter

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.05.47

8. You should see the message “Update Successful” – you can now close the command line window, and will never have the annoyance of Windows requiring you to change your passwords again!

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.05.57

 

Troubleshooting: If you get an error running the command, it most likely means that it cannot write to the accounts and are not running the command as Administrator. Its really important that you do this (see Step 4 above).