Un-SQL Friday: Tech Giants

I haven't had a real meat-and-potatoes technical post in a while and for that I apologize, however as you can see at the top of the page, this blog is "on SQL Server and kindred subjects". I'll have to write more about where the "kindred subjects" part came from later, but I'm clearly not limiting myself to just writing about SQL Server. Be sure to tune in next week and I promise I'll have some SQL Server content for you!

Anyhow, not only is it Friday, but it's Un-SQL Friday as declared by Jen McCown (blog | twitter)! This is actually the 2nd Un-SQL Friday, but the first one I'm available to participate in. Jen's asking us to write about our tech giants – those we really look up to in the technical world.

I could easily rattle off a list of people with excellent blogs and content I could only dream of writing, but I don't think that would be very interesting. Let's face it, if you're reading my blog, you're reading their stuff too. So instead I'm going to tell you about my tech giant about everything that's not related to computers, my father.

Hard at work with my tech giant

My dad is an auto mechanic for a pretty large city. Their garage works on a wide range of vehicles (police cars, fire trucks, snow plows, buses, you name it…) and many people don't realize that a huge range of skills is necessary in a shop like that. Changing oil and tires is one thing, kind of like how pretty much anyone can understand a SELECT query after a few minutes of study, but there's also way more to it depending on how deep you want to go. Just like SQL Server has Integration Services, Reporting Services and Analysis Services, each of which can be a totally different world, vehicles can have incredibly complex electrical, hydraulic, and/or pneumatic systems. Working on a large fleet of them requires knowledge of all the above.

After removing the swimming pool from my backyard

Needless to say, our family's cars rarely have work done on them outside of my parents' garage. But that's not all that makes my father my technical hero, he's handy with just about everything else as well. I can probably count on one hand the number of times people were hired to do home improvement work at my parents' house because there was never a need to. Whether it was woodworking, plumbing, appliance repair or whatever else, Dad had it all under control and the rest of us were there to help. From an early age my brother and I were taught that anything can be accomplished with the right tools, know-how, and the occasional army of family members to help out.

Growing up in the environment I just described, I used to think I was pretty handy too. Then I bought my own house, and it's been quite the humbling experience. I know how to do a lot of things, but I don't think I'll ever feel like I'm quite as handy as my dad. What I lack in handiness I make up for on the computer, but all the programming & database knowledge in the world isn't going to help me too much when there's water dripping out from inside a wall. Hopefully I can acquire a few more of those skills with time. Until then, thanks, Dad, for being my tech giant.