Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Windows 10 – Mobile Hotspot

Image by barek2marcin via pixabay

A few weeks ago, I was doing a demo on a couple of Alexa skills that I've developed using Amazon Echo Dot. However, the place where I have to do the demo use enterprise class Wi-Fi (it is where after connecting to the Wi-Fi network, we need to authenticate using web browser). Unfortunately, at the moment, as far as I know, Amazon Echo Dot doesn't support enterprise class Wi-Fi. To make matter worse, my cell phone signal was very weak in the meeting room, so I was unable to use my cell phone as hotspot.

Luckily, I have my Windows 10 laptop. Windows 10 has a feature where I can turn my laptop into mobile hotspot. To make it work, I would make sure that my laptop has Internet connection. Before the demo, I would connect my laptop to the Wi-Fi network (and when prompted, I would authenticate myself using the username and password provided by the company). Once I am connected to the Wi-Fi network and have Internet connection, I would then:

  1. On my Windows 10 laptop, go to “Settings”.
  2. Then I would select “Network & Internet”.
  3. On the left navigation area of the “Network & Internet” window, there should be an option for “Mobile hotspot”. I would click on that.
  4. On the “Mobile hotspot” screen, you should see a screen similar to the one below. By default, Windows would already pre-define the mobile hotspot network (SSID) name and password for you. However, you can change them by using the “Edit” button. To turn on the mobile hotspot, near the top of the screen, there is an on/off toggle button, click on that one and it will enable the mobile hotspot.


At this point, you can go to your other device (in my case Alexa app on my mobile phone to configure the Amazon Echo Dot) and configure it to connect to the mobile hotspot that has just been setup on the Windows 10 system.

In my case, the mobile hotspot feature in Windows 10 works great. I was able to demo Alexa skills that I’ve developed on Amazon Echo Dot without any issue on places that use enterprise class Wi-Fi.

Some Observations

  • Windows 10 seems to be smart enough to detect if the system has wireless (Wi-Fi) capability or not. If the system does not have Wi-Fi card, I would not see the “Mobile hotspot” option under “Settings” – “Network & Internet”.
  • When I am using VPN connection, I might not be able to enable the mobile hotspot feature
  • After some period of inactivity on the system, Windows 10 would automatically disabled the mobile hotspot.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    T-SQL Tuesday #99 – Work-Life Balance

    This month T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Aaron Bertrand (blog | twitter). For this month's T-SQL Tuesday, we are given two options. The first option is to write about something that we are passionate about outside of SQL and tech community. The second option is to write about T-SQL bad habit. Mr. Bertrand has a long list of them. For this entry, I choose to write about activities that I do outside SQL or tech community #sqlibrium.


    One activity that help me to decompress from a busy week at work is cooking. By no means, that I am a great, or even a good, cook. I love to research recipes online and try them. I would also try to experiments with the recipes, tweaking, substituting or adding ingredients. Cooking allows me to channel my inner creativity. Sure, there were times where the “experiments” end up to be disasters (plenty of times actually). Those times, I ended up ordering and eating take-out Pizza or Chinese food. But hey, Edison failed 9,999 times before he was successful in inventing the light bulb.

    It also helps to cook something that you love eating. It will give you that extra motivation. One example, I love eating ramen noodle (Not the instant one. Although, I do get instant ramen fix once in a while). Recently, I embarked on ramen noodle making journey. After reading books, blogs, watching YouTube (I think you can almost learn about anything on YouTube nowadays) and attending a weekend class on "The Art of Ramen”, for several weeks I tried to experiments making ramen noodles. Earlier on, it was not pretty. But after several attempts, I was able to make Miso Ramen. Some of the pictures from one of the successful experiment:

    Fresh Ramen Noodles

    Fresh Ramen Noodles

    Ramen with Pork and Egg

    Ramen with Pork and Egg

    Miso Ramen

    Miso Ramen

    It took a many failed attempts and several weeks. But I must say, success taste delicious (especially on cold winter days in New England).


    Health is very important. During the week, I try to run a few miles three times a week. I love running because when I am running, I am alone with my thoughts. There are times where I got great ideas during my runs. In addition to running, I also try to learn to play ice hockey. Mostly, I play in pick up games. It is a fun and great workout.

    Last year, I got the opportunity to join a dragon boat team. We practiced and raced in 38th annual Boston dragon boat festival and 19th annual Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival. We had a great coach and also a great group of people for teammates. We encouraged and build one another up. Just like any other team sport, team work is very important. It is not enough for each individual to have the paddling technique correct; the team need to be in sync as well. The practices were hard (there were lots of pains and aches in the first couple of practices. I felt aches on muscles that I didn’t even know existed), but I really enjoyed them. Our practice sessions were in Charles River. We have a great view of the city from the river. Most importantly, I enjoy the camaraderie.

    AACA Dragon Boat Team

    Source: AACA

    How About You?

    Would love to hear from others in the SQL communities on their activities outside SQL or tech community.

    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Books in Review - 2017

    Image by Negative Space via Pexels

    One of my personal goal for 2017 was to read more books. I was gunning to read 2 books a month. In 2017, I read 25 books (1 more book than the yearly target goal). I am not a fast reader. Normally, I read books when I commute to and from work. Most of the books were rented from local library. I used to prefer hard copy books than digital books. However, a couple of years ago, for non technical books, I made the transition to get digital (Kindle) books whenever possible. It felt awkward at first, but after reading several books on my kindle, I am starting to get used to it. The good thing is that my local library also has a good selection of books in digital format. Since 2017 has just ended, I think it would be good to inventory the books that I've read in 2017. It seems that I read various genres of books from fiction, self-help, autobiography, etc.

    The Complete List

    Below are the complete list of books that I've read in 2017:

    1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't. Jim Collins. HarperBusiness. Business & Money. 400 pages.
    2. Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. John Medina. Pear Press. Self Help. 306 pages.
    3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Jocko Willink & Leif Babin. St. Martin's Press. Self Help. 317 pages.
    4. The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story. Hyeonseo Lee & David John. HarperCollins Publishers. Autobiography. 320 pages.
    5. Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons. Hal Higdon. Rodale. Health, Fitness & Dieting. 306 pages.
    6. Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated. Dana Ayers. GP Press. Health, Fitness & Dieting. 169 pages.
    7. Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel. Lee Child. Delacorte Press. Fiction. 498 pages.
    8. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. Chris Guillebeau. Currency. Business & Money. 304 pages.
    9. Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag. Michael Tonello. HarperCollins Publisher. Autobiography. 275 pages.
    10. Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free. Susan Peirce Thompson Ph.D. Hay House. Health, Fitness & Dieting. 325 pages.
    11. Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage & Triumph. Travis Roy & E. M. Swift. Grand Central Publishing. Autobiography. 226 pages.
    12. The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith. Gabrielle Bernstein. Hay House, Inc. Self Help. 205 pages.
    13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. J.K. Rowling. Pottermore from J.K. Rowling. Fiction. 322 pages.
    14. Abraham Lincoln: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership. Elton Trueblood . HarperOne. Autobiography. 195 pages.
    15. Titan's Curse, The (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3). Rick Riordan. Disney Hyperion. Fiction. 322 pages.
    16. The Whistler. John Grisham. Doubleday. Fiction. 386 pages.
    17. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Jen Sincero. Running Press. Self Help. 258 pages.
    18. When Breath Becomes Air. Paul Kalanithi & Abraham Verghese. Random House. Autobiography. 258 pages.
    19. The Art Of Saying NO: How To Stand Your Ground, Reclaim Your Time And Energy, And Refuse To Be Taken For Granted (Without Feeling Guilty!). Damon Zahariades. Amazon Digital Services LLC. Self Help. 172 pages.
    20. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. Scott Adams. Portfolio. Autobiography. 247 pages.
    21. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Marie Kondo. Ten Speed Press. Self Help. 226 pages.
    22. The Art of Communicating. Thich Nhat Hanh. HarperOne. Self Help. 179 pages.
    23. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant. Knopf. Self Help. 242 pages.
    24. The Hobbit (Lord of the Rings). J.R.R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Fiction. 235 pages.
    25. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Ashlee Vance. Ecco. Autobiography. 374 pages.

    Fave Five

    Here are the five memorable books:

    • The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story. Hyeonseo Lee & David John. HarperCollins Publishers. Autobiography. 320 pages. - The book provides some insights on what it was like living in North Korea. It also tells the story of Hyeonseo Lee's amazing journey and struggles to get out of North Korea into China and then South Korea. Once out of North Korea, she has to conceal her identity that she was a North Korean, since she could be arrested and deported back to North Korea and possibly executed in North Korea. In addition, she has to worried about her mother and her brother in North Korea as well, since if the North Korean government knew that a family member has defected, the rest of the family that are still in North Korea could experience hardship. Even with the possibility of hardship, leaving North Korea was a hard decision since they would leave their home, family and friend behind onto a new uncertain future. It is a great read.
    • Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage & Triumph. Travis Roy & E. M. Swift. Grand Central Publishing. Autobiography. 226 pages. - This is a very inspirational book. It is the life story of Travis Roy. He was an ice hockey player. He got a chance to realize his dream of playing for Boston University (Division I Hockey Club). However, 11 seconds into his first shift on his first game as a Terriers, he fell head first to the boards. The impact left him quadriplegic. In just a moment's time, he went from living his dream to life altering moment. The book provides insights on Roy's struggles and emotions. I am amazed on how he used his unfortunate experience to inspire others.
    • Abraham Lincoln: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership. Elton Trueblood . HarperOne. Autobiography. 195 pages. - Many people consider Abraham Lincoln was the best US president. Many noted his leadership skills. Found it interesting that he did not get a lot of formal schooling and the two books that he read the most were the bible and Robinson Crusoe. Not a surprise that bible helped to shape his belief. The book goes into some details on how his spiritual belief lead him to be the leader that he was.
    • When Breath Becomes Air. Paul Kalanithi & Abraham Verghese. Random House. Autobiography. 258 pages. - A very touching book. Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon in training when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the book, Kalanithi tried to answer some of the philosophical questions, such as "what makes life meaningful enough to go on living?" Kalanithi had a passion for literature. He wrote the book eloquently. When reading the book, I feel like I can understand his feelings and train of thoughts.
    • The Hobbit (Lord of the Rings). J.R.R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Fiction. 235 pages. - I've watched the movie before. Enjoyed watching the movie very much. Heard from many people that the book is also good. Got the opportunity to read it last month. I enjoyed reading the book as well.

    Disclaimer: The links above include some referral links to

    Tuesday, December 19, 2017

    PASS Summit Video Recordings

    Image by workandapix via pixabay

    PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) Summit is the largest conference for data professional working with Microsoft SQL Server and Business Intelligence stack. Typically, PASS would have the Summit once a year (in the fall) in Seattle, Washington. PASS Summit offers a wealth of knowledge. Each year, there are hundreds of sessions on various SQL Server and Business Intelligence topics presented by industry experts and also Microsoft employees. If you are a data professional, who are working with Microsoft SQL Server and Business Intelligence, PASS Summit is a great event to learn and network with fellow data professionals. If you were unable to attend the past PASS Summits (or if you attended the past PASS Summits and want to relive and review those sessions), you can go to SQL PASS site and watch the past PASS Summit Session Recordings for free. As of the writing of this blog post, you can view recordings for PASS Summit 2015 and older for free (you need to be a member of SQL PASS but the registration is free). Even though they might be a few years old, they are excellent learning resources.

    By the way, if you can attend PASS Summit in person, I would recommend it. PASS Summit 2018 is going to be in Seattle, Washington, in November 2018. You can get more information from PASS Summit 2018 site.

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    T-SQL Tuesday #97 - 2018 Learning Goals

    This month T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Malathi Mahadevan (blog | twitter) and it is about 2018 learning goals. Given that we are at the end of 2017, this is a timely topic. As data professionals and technology enthusiasts, we are living in an interesting time. There are a lot of opportunities to learn, so much so that we might feel overwhelmed by them. Goals can certainly help to focus our learning efforts.

    Learning Goals

    In 2018, I am planning to learn more on architect-ing and managing cloud solution. As I gain experience working with databases in the cloud, I feel that it would also be beneficial to learn about the different cloud components/services and how they can complement each other.

    Ways to Learn

    To help me focus, I am planning to get Amazon AWS and/or Microsoft Azure certification. Normally, Amazon and/or Microsoft have a guideline (or blueprint) that will tell you the things/skills that you need to know to pass the certification exam. That guideline (or blueprint) can serve as an outline of topics that we can use to learn. To learn the different topics I am planning to read published whitepapers, FAQ articles and blogs. Given the evolving nature of cloud technologies, blogs can help to keep us updated with the latest information or features.

    I am also planning to learn by taking online courses. I enjoy doing online courses. It allows me to study at my own time and pace. There are some Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure online courses available on Udemy and edx that I am planning to take.

    Finally, I am also a believer in learning by doing. When learning new concept/technology, I like to experiments and have hands-on experience. The good thing is that both Amazon and Microsoft offer us opportunities for us to have hands-on experience with most of their cloud offering for free for 12-months. For Amazon, we can sign up for AWS free tier. For Microsoft, we can sign up here.