Rob Farley

Rob Rob Farley has been consulting in IT since completing a Computer Science degree with first class honours in 1997. Before moving to Adelaide, he worked in consultancies in Melbourne and London. He runs the development department in one of Australia's leading IT firms, as well as doing database application consultancy and training. He heads up the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, and holds several Microsoft certifications.

Rob has been involved with Microsoft technologies for most of his career, but has also done significant work with Oracle and Unix systems. His preferred database is SQL Server and his preferred language is C#. Recently he has been involved with Microsoft Learning in the US, creating and reviewing new content for the next generation of Microsoft exams.

Over the years, Rob's clients have included BP Oil, OneLink Transit, Accenture, Avanade, Australian Electorial Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Royal Borough of Kingston, Help The Aged, Unisys, Department of Treasury and Finance (Vic), National Mutual, the Bible Society and others.

Did you mean to come here? My blog is now at

31 January 2006

MSDN event with Dave Glover

I would've thought Dave's blog would've mentioned this, but he doesn't seem to have made any new entries this whole month.

Anyway - he's speaking tomorrow (Feb 1) lunchtime, about Atlas. Should be good.

February AdSSUG sorted!

The AdSSUG meeting for February is finally arranged. Get the details and register at It should be good.

Peter Myers is coming, and speaking on SSIS. It's a presentation he's done in Sydney and Brisbane already, so hopefully he's worked out any bugs by now. ;)

March is sorted too - with Peter Ward. This is a meeting about SMO.

27 January 2006

Exams... would 2/7 be okay?

I was thinking about these beta exams. I shouldn't think about exams after I've done them - I always work out that I've probably failed them, and this time is no different. I really probably have failed most of them. I didn't study nearly as much as I would've done for a proper exam, and some of them I came out knowing that I had guessed (educated guesses, mind you) for way too many of the questions.

So it got me thinking about what kind of result I would be happy with. I sat 7 exams in total so far (4 upgrade exams in March to come). 4 SQL exams (Nov 30, Dec, 2, 14, 16), and 3 .Net exams (Dec 20, Jan 17, 25).

The more I think about the exams, the less sure I am I passed them. But then I need to take into consideration the fact that I know I react this way, so I probably haven't done as badly as my mind is telling me. It's not that I'm pessimistic, or self-deprecating. Actually, it probably is that I'm self-deprecating. It's one of my faults. I might be a little pessimistic, but I'll improve on that in time.

So... I probably passed somewhere between 1 and 5. I'm sure I didn't pass the one with all the WSE3.0 questions, and there's no way I passed all the rest. Let's take the pessimistic view (ok, I need a bit more time than that, don't be unrealistic!), and suppose that I passed 2. Is that enough?

Well, 2 exams gets me, well, not much. But it does get me 2 vouchers to take other exams. And I know a lot more about what to expect from the various exams anyway. I probably won't get a hat from Andrew Coates again, but that's fine. And I'm sure I have more brown hair than I would've if I had studied (and stressed) a lot about the exams that I did.

I just added the WSE3.0 link - why does the MSDN library still use Classic ASP?

23 January 2006

Link for Feb27

Chuck has just posted a link:

So make sure you register. It's at the Adelaide Oval, which will be great.

Gervais and Pilkington

For anyone who doesn't listen to the Ricky Gervais podcast, you should give it a try. This basic premise is that a newspaper (the Guardian) took a successful radio show and decided to pull the music out and make it a podcast. The format of the show is that one of Ricky's co-hosts talks a load of rubbish, and Ricky and the other co-host tell him it's a load of rubbish. Simple, but quite effective.

Got me thinking... I saw Valiant with the kids a couple of weeks ago. Most of the times Roslyn and I go to the movies these days it's to see a kids' film, although we did get to see The Producers the other day, which was really good (please stay to the end, listen to the songs through the credits, etc).

Anyway, back to Valiant. Ricky Gervais plays Bugsy, and does a pretty good job. But this is a story about war-time pigeons, who make a desperate attempt to rescue a fellow pigeon who's a prisoner-of-war. And I'm thinking that Ricky telling Karl that he's talking a load of rubbish when he refers to some piece of monkey news just loses all credibility.

Security Summit in Adelaide - Feb 27 & 28

There's a Microsoft event coming up, on Feb 28. The website is at, and it should be pretty good. Well worth the $220 that your boss will have to pay to send you.

But I've also heard that there is a community-based event the night before. This will be free of course. It'll be an abridged version, with a panel-based format. A whole lot of fun I imagine. And we'll probably pack the venue. After all, if ADNUG gets a good turn out, and AdSSUG has yet another record showing, then there will be very few spare seats.

My suggestion: go to both! The community event will be lots of fun, and give you a good chance to come along to an event that isn't during the day. And the full-day event will be a great chance to get out of the office and have a full-day of training, with everything that tends to go along with that.

22 January 2006

Feb9 update

Peter isn't coming to the next meeting. It's unfortunate, but we'll get him to speak later in the year, and we'll find a fantastic replacement instead. It'll all be just fine.

Suggestions for speakers are always welcome, incidentally. If you're reading this, then please have a think about what you would present to the group if you were put on the spot. And then think about whether you could offer to present it. I'd appreciate, and I'm sure the group would too. And then drop me an email (rob_farley at hotmail) to let me know. :)

And if you're not reading this, then just ignore me. I won't take it personally, really I won't...

20 January 2006


I'm not happy. TPN has a new show, hosted by "Big Rob Farley". But it's not me. And if he's the 'big' Rob Farley... no, it's not good. But I had an article about my podcasting in The Times of London, and I bet he hasn't appeared in anything like that.

I actually have a story about why I should be the 'long' Rob Farley... but being roughly 6'4", I'm definitely not the opposite of big.


February the 9th is two days before my wedding anniversary. We got married on a Saturday, and this year is a Saturday too, so I figure that makes it somewhat special.

But as for Feb9 - I just spoke to Peter Myers. I'm still hoping that he's going to speak at AdSSUG that day, giving his famous SSIS talk. He's getting back to me soon, so watch this space...

Face recognition

I put the picture of me at into Couldn't match me with anyone. I guess I'm an individual. Or I'm so horribly deformed... *sigh* At least it's Friday.

BlueTooth frustrations

I use my O2 XDA IIs (I'm still not sure how I'll feel if O2 start sponsoring ManUtd next year, but latest rumour was that they weren't going to, so that's good) as more than just a phone. Obviously it's great for talking on, but with its WiFi capability, I use it for reading RSS, listening to podcasts, stuff like that. I even use it to record my Aussenal podcasts, although that's on a break at the moment.

So anyway, the other day I bought a BlueTooth headset. I figured that it would be great for listening to the podcasts and recording notes/Aussenal on it too. Save using the wired hands-free kit that came with it - the one that gets caught on the handbrake and seatbelt when I get out the car.

But it turns out that it's really complicated (if not impossible) to get a BlueTooth headset (at least, the one I got) to work like that with a phone (at least, the one I got). You need to get it to use the "High Quality Audio" BlueTooth service, but that seems to be not-particularly-doable. Darryl tried to help, but the resources he pointed me at didn't seem to help much.

My next step is to take the headset back to the shop, and get them to help me find one that will work. I figure if they want to make a sale, then they can work something out.

By the way, it works really well for phone-calls... I just want it to be a more complete solution.

16 January 2006

4 more? You what?

Yeah, I'm doing 4 more exams. In March. So I have quite a while away from the study after Jan 25.

The March ones are upgrade exams. Ones that replace 3 others, for upgrading from MCAD/MCSD to the new ones. I guess these are 'insurance', since I doubt I will have passed all the other exams. I didn't do the MCDBA-upgrade one, because I'm not MCDBA. I figure that's a pretty good reason.

13 January 2006

Yesterday's UG meeting

I've already done the proper post, where I mentioned the resources (oh, and apparently the slides won't be available, sorry). Now for my thoughts on the day.

We had just shy of 40 people turn up. And I think the registration-overlap was really high. That's always good, because it helps with the catering, and giving of prizes. The crowd was good too. Often I see the function room (there are two rooms - the function room where we eat, and the auditorium where we listen to Rob's bad jokes) full of people who aren't talking. But there seemed to be a real buzz this time, which was really great.

Chuck (who was 39 yesterday) tells me the webcast went well. I was worried about that, but it seems that the recording went pretty well, and the only problem was that the slides didn't transition after a certain point. In future, I'll get someone (like Chuck) to advance the slides himself if it seems that the speaker is unable to.

I feel like the user group is coming along really well. We have some great speakers coming up in the next couple of months too. We have Peter & Peter in February and March. Myers will be speaking on SSIS (assuming that he's free - waiting for confirmation on that) and Ward will be speaking on SMO. Compared to some of these guys, I feel like I know nothing about SQL Server. But I'm frequently assured that I actually do.

12 January 2006

January Adelaide SQL UG meeting

Today we heard about Jeremy Huppatz's experiences about migrating to SQL2005. The links he mentioned at the end were and Was there anything else I was supposed to write here?

10 January 2006

More exams

Mitch Denny reminds me that I've got another exam next week (17th). Ugh. And another one the week after (25th).

I kinda think these exams would be a whole lot easier if I were using .Net 2.0 all the time. But I'm really not yet. I'll have to find some time to study. Just what I need this week.

PS: Have you noticed that those web pages are Classic ASP, not ASP.Net? .asp, not .aspx.

Hotmail beta

Today I got an email saying "You signed up for the hotmail beta (sorry - 'Windows Live Mail') - try it now at..."

So now my hotmail account (which I use all the time) is in a nice Atlas-style environment, with all kinds of new features. I love the drag-n-drop, and the useful right-click, the shift-click to multi-select, all that stuff.

But there are a couple of things that are driving me crazy.

1/ In Firefox it says "Some things aren't done yet". But instead of just giving me the old interface, it gives me the new one, with "New" and "Delete" buttons, but no Reply, or anything useful.

2/ I can't sent PlainText email at all. There are all kinds of times when I want to be able to send PlainText email, but it seems to be forcing me to use HTML. I'm going to write to them about it, and hopefully post something here when I know how to do it.

Hopefully I'll get some invites to send out at some point. When that happens, I'll ask wants one.

09 January 2006

Msgr 8

This morning I tried using Windows Live Messenger 8 (beta). Mark Baartse sent me an invite. I'd link to it, but being beta, it seems hard to find the right place. How about this one:

Dave Glover will probably tell me off for putting a Google link for a Microsoft product. Oh well. :)

Anyway, Live Msgr seems not too bad. It's a scary orange colour when you first run it, but you can easily change that. When you mouse-over your contacts and groups, it enlarges the contact, which I don't really like. But I can live with that. I don't like the fact that if you rename the contact (giving it a nickname), you can no longer see the user's DisplayName. But I figure that if someone wants to say something, they can put it in their 'personal message' instead. So I can live with that.

I don't like the fact that it grabs all my Hotmail contacts and puts them in a group either. But I know that this is the way things are going to be, so I can live with that too.

On the whole, it seems really nice. And yet I've switched back to 7.5. Why? For the simple reason that I can't use MsgPlus with it yet. I like MsgPlus. It gives me encryption on my log files. It gives me tabbed chatting (really nice in my book, since I don't tend to maximise windows). It lets me put a shortcut to my wife's contact icon on my desktop (and 'Always On Top'), so that I can notice more easily if she's online. There are all kinds of things about it that I have just come to consider part of Msgr. And I don't think I can bring myself to use Msgr 8 until MsgPlus is supported.

Kudos to Microsoft though. Uninstalling Msgr 8 and re-installing Msgr 7.5 was REALLY simple. No hassles at all.

06 January 2006

Jeremy Huppatz presenting

Yes, it's true. Jeremy Huppatz from EDS is presenting at the AdSSUG this coming Thursday. He's going to be telling us all how to migrate to SQL2005.

As far as I can tell, most people live with what they've got until they have a really good reason to change. Jeremy's going to tell us about a few different scenarios for migration, which should give us all a good template to work from when it comes to taking the plunge.

Plus I'll have a few giveaways. Definitely worth coming along to. Please register, so that we know how many to cater for. It'll also mean you get my nice emails telling you about upcoming meetings.

More on Kodak

Kodak Support just sent me an email, because of the "could not load ESApp.dll" error that we were getting on my son Samuel's old Win98 box (having installed the software that came with his digital camera).

The email ran through a bunch of things like "Some anti-virus software might clash..." and "Try turning off a popup-blocker", and then said:

NOTE: Please check if the chipset of your computer is compatible with our KODAK EASYSHARE Software. Some chipset of computer is not compatible with the software. Below are the non-compatible chipset of camera for KODAK EASYSHARE Software.

1. INTEL 840
3. NEC
4. SIS

So I guess that Samuel's old machine does use the VIA Chipset, perhaps he won't be able to use the Kodak software. I think this is crazy. I'm asking what they recommend.

04 January 2006

Kodak software

Happy New Year everyone.

My son got a Kodak Z700 camera for Christmas. It's a nice little camera. Takes good pictures, easy to use, all the standard kind of stuff you want from a camera.

But then I installed the software on his computer. He has a computer in his room. An old thing that he mainly uses for games. It's not on the internet - I don't need those kind of hassles just yet. So when I got an error starting the software after it said it had successfully installed, I figured I'd use my own machine to troubleshoot.

I tried to download the latest version of the software - just in case the one on the CD isn't the latest. But the one I can download isn't the full install - you need to be online to complete the install. I can't find a full install of it anywhere.

I tried googling for the error (which involves loading a particular DLL), but the only page I found was describing a larger XP problem, not the Win98 problem that Samuel's having.

As much as I appreciate installs that only download the required files when I'm online, I really appreciate being able to get a full copy so that I can install stuff on a computer that's not on the internet.