New Year tech clean up

Well as another weird year begins I’ve managed to break some time off to do a bit of housekeeping. I’ve remove some old forks, added licenses, tags etc. I’ve also been renaming the default branch to main. git branch -m master main git fetch origin git branch -u origin/main main

January 17, 2021 · 1 min · matt40k

Invoke-SqlCmd Failing

A really annoying problem I hit recently with a some Azure Runbooks was the following message occuring: Invoke-Sqlcmd : The WriteObject and WriteError methods cannot be called from outside the overrides of the BeginProcessing, ProcessRecord, and EndProcessing methods, and they can only be called from within the same thread. Validate that the cmdlet makes these calls correctly, or contact Microsoft Customer Support Services. After doing some digging, I found out that Invoke-SqlCmd isn’t thread safe, so other runbooks running on that Azure Automation account, could interfere with each other....

July 16, 2020 · 2 min · matt40k

HP Laptop review

It’s the time again that I go in search of a new laptop to replace my current one. Following on from my previous success with the Toshiba laptop - buying cheap and upgrading the RAM and HDD. I went in search of a cheap laptop. My requirements remained all but the same except for a Full HD screen. I once again settled on a Intel CPU. I did spent a large amount of time trying to find a AMD Ryzen based laptop and although they seem good I just couldn’t seem to find the right one, most seemed to have a optical drive which nowadays seems like a waste of money and just adds pointless weight to the laptop....

January 22, 2020 · 4 min · matt40k

AWS S3 errors

One of the annoying things about AWS S3 is the error messages. Below is an error, see if you can figure out what it’s saying. I’ll give you a hint. We’ve connected and authenticated. Here is another hint, we can read from that bucket. Give up? It’s permissions. Incorrect AWS keys returns a helpful message, so does invalid bucket, as does no access to read bucket

September 30, 2017 · 1 min · matt40k

Nice idea, but pretty holely

So the NHS Hack Dayretweet this We're a UK non-profit dedicated to open source in Healthcare. Can anyone help us with some VPS instances? @rackspaceUK @digitalocean @linode — NHoS (@_nhos_) April 30, 2017 Which made me think why is Ubuntu creating a NHS specific distro (OS) and why are they begging for some VPS instances? Turns out, it has nothing to do with either Ubuntu or the NHS. Its a group of people building on-top of Ubuntu, aimed at the NHS....

September 21, 2017 · 2 min · matt40k


Idempotent – something that is repeatable, that remains unchanged in value when repeatedly executed either independently or on by itself. SSRS – SQL Server Reporting Services part of Microsoft SQL Server. Used to deliver static reports that can be viewed via a web browser and exported to a number of formats including Excel, PDF and CSV. SSAS – SQL Server Analysis Services part of Microsoft SQL Server. SSIS – SQL Server Integration Services part of Microsoft SQL Server....

September 21, 2017 · 2 min · matt40k

Cyber Security Insurance

I’ve been thinking lately about how the web industry needs to change in order to improve. Cyber attacks appears to be on the rise and alot of the time they appear to be caused by someone doing something silly. Perhaps this is because everyone is a web developer, it certainly isn’t down to lack of available resourceson the matter. Thinking positively about cyber security, the card companies banded together to form PCI-DSS – Payment CardIndustry Data Security Standard, with the goal to help businesses process cardpayments securely and reduce cardfraud....

July 5, 2017 · 3 min · matt40k

Rosetta@Home DNS Issue

If you ever need a lesson in the importance of picking a good domain registrar, then read about Rosetta@Homerecent problems. Dear Rosetta@Home participants, We — like many of you who have contacted us — have been extremely frustrated by the long project downtime. We ( had a domain name registration verification lapse, and our registrar ( and ICANN turned off DNS for We went through the steps to...

March 12, 2017 · 2 min · matt40k

Automating WordPress maintenance

WordPressis an amazing blogging platform. However it does require a fair amount of love. Despite Mythic Beastsmanaging a large portion of my stack (hardware, OS, Apache, PHP, MySQL) and WordPresshaving automatic background updatesI still find myself logging in and finding pending updates for WordPress. The solution was WP-CLI. With the shell add-on, I SSH onto my account, then What the above script does is download WP-CLI, grant it execute permission, then downloads my script and again, gives it execute permission....

March 9, 2017 · 1 min · matt40k

Resident parking

Been trying to find out the following from my local council: How many resident parking permits have been issued How many resident parking bays are available What exactly has the money been spent on in terms of fines issued. To say they are being evasive is an understatement. So far, I’ve got, the response of: _This info is fluid as it is not only static residents who can apply for waivers within a given zone but also agencies who provide medical needs and other statutory services....

March 1, 2017 · 2 min · matt40k

Cloudflare parser bug

So once again we have another major security leak. You can read about it, hereand below is the email CEO Matthew Prince wrote to customers: Dear Cloudflare Customer: Thursday afternoon, we published a blog post describing a memory leak caused by a serious bug that impacted Cloudflare’s systems. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read that post on the bug: we resolved the bug within hours of it being reported to us, there was an ongoing risk that some of our customers’ sensitive information could still be available through third party caches, such as the Google search cache....

February 24, 2017 · 3 min · matt40k

Caching woes

Caching always seems to cause problems, still, we can’t have it all. Today’s caching problem was to do with RedgateSQL Prompt, a really amazing plugin that helps you write better SQL code. The problem with it is the cache of database object metadata was out-of-date. I had updated a table so when I typed select * then press TAB to expand the * into a list of columns, I got the old names....

February 24, 2017 · 1 min · matt40k

Authenticating IoT

I was re-entering my password into our NowTV boxin the bedroom when it occurred to me. Authentication sucks on the Internet of Things (IoT). The problem is you have a simple device with minimal extras. On the NowTV you have a basic remote that looks like this: Can you imagine entering a password with a length of over 20 that’s a mixture of numbers, special characters and both upper and lower case characters?...

January 8, 2017 · 2 min · matt40k

Microsoft SQL Server on Linux

This is absolutely amazing, Microsoft, running SQL Server, in Linux Redhat (RHEL)!

November 11, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Where has SIMS Bulk Import gone?

Cut-down version, I’m not working with SIMS anymore and I can’t pass on my work without them getting a large bill from Capita for using the business objects. Years and years ago I was working on a SIMS help desk at a Local Authority (LA). I had a school log a call asking about importing email addresses. Like many schools this school had just purchased a messaging service that allows sending emails and texts, the problem was they needed them in SIMS ....

October 6, 2016 · 5 min · matt40k

Are hybrid shops missing the point?

With rise of the internet high street businesses are rushing to adapt so they don’t become a thing of the past. However in their rush are they being a storm trooper? Are they missing the point? First, lets look at two successful hybrid business. Hughes, a electrical store based in East Angliaand Argos, a British catalogue retailer operating in the United Kingdom. If we focus on Argos as its more well known business....

October 1, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k


So oneof the really nice sponsorsat SQL Saturdayhad a vending machine that was rigged up to release a treat when you sent a tweet. Like so I'm at #sqlsatcambridge home of @redgate #redgatetreat #red668 — Matt Smith (@matt40k) September 10, 2016 and give you… In mine had a SQL Promptlicense. At first I was a bit disappointed, I hoping for SQL Testlicense or a full blown SQL toolbeltbut the more I’ve been using it, the more I’m loving it....

October 1, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Wooo!!! Fixed in SQL Server 2016! It’s nice to see Microsoft fixing old bugs – the I noticed today they updated the MSDN article about Actions in Multidimensional Models. It now supports HTTPS! Woot!!   

September 12, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Another year, another SQL Saturday

Unfortunately this year I’ve not been able to make any of the pre-cons, however the (free) community day looks epic – the hardest part is going to be selecting which session to attend, the final one looking the worst. Aghhh!!! I’m going to have to roll a dice or something! CDC – Change Data Capture in Detail Uwe RickenWhat’s new in the SQL Server 2016 for a BI Professional Prathy KamasaniExploring the Azure SQL Database...

September 7, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Today one of our older SSIS packages failed which loads data into our warehouse, it turns out one of the fields had been expanded as the business had started to use a different standard for one of the codes. Despite not being told about this, it causing it fail and generate extra work on an already busy Monday it was actually a really good thing. Firstly, once we identified the problem (and fixed it), our main business contact was aware of it, was able to explain why it was happening....

September 5, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k

AD tools on Win10

A while ago I got a new laptop at work with Windows 10 Enterprise and for a while I just kept using my old Windows 7 Enterprise laptop for bits I hadn’t yet transferred over. The last thing on the list was AD tools. This should just be a question of installing Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (KB2693643). Unfortunately Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 is available only in English (United States) for this release....

September 3, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Why does Bing sucks

The only thing you search for on Bing is Google. Microsoft has for a long time been in the search engine business with numerous rebranding exercises – MSN Search (1998 – 2006), Windows Live Search (2006 – 2007) then Live Search (2007 – 2009) and finally Bing (2009 – present). Despite all the time and money Microsoft has poured into its search engine Google still has 3 times the number of of the search engine market share as Bing....

August 29, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k

Build problem and duplicate releases

Yesterday I went to investigate a problem someone had reported only to discover a butt load of releases As you can see, I have more releases then commits. A build was triggered by a commit, but this doesn’t explain why. I tried switching it up so it only builds when you put [build] in the commit message – which resulted in having to commit the yaml file as the feature isn’t available via the web interface, it does make sense to have this under version control....

August 15, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k

Toy cars

Over the summer holidays I got my son to create a spreadsheet detailing some of his toy cars which we then imported into PowerBI. Created by a 7 year old in under an hour  

August 14, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

School MIS systems in the England

Updated 10/10/2016 – Added Map using the new Shapes option in PowerBI. Every School in England regularly publish data to the Department of Education and Graham Reed has published a spreadsheet of the software each school used to submit their returns. Below is a PowerBI report I’ve created based on his data. You can also access by clicking here

July 30, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k