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Drew Hamre

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t e c h   c o m m e n t a r i e s

Natural Language Interfaces to Relational DBMSs

For more than 20-years, software companies have tried to commercialize natural language interfaces (NLIs) for databases and the web. Google invests heavily in natural language research, and the technology is pervasive in their systems for search and targeted advertising.   More  
[September 2008]

Relocating? Consider the Terabyte SneakerNet

Inexpensive Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices played a key role in relocating a multi-terabyte data center cross-country over a single weekend. Running multiple NAS devices in parallel, data was transferred to permanent storage at an aggregate rate that exceeded 100-gigabytes/hour.   More  
[December 2007]

A Database Load Generation Utility

This .NET database load generator includes a multi-threaded Windows desktop program that drives an OLTP workload. The generated workloads can measure relative system performance, or help perform operational assessments.   More  
[March 2007]

Expanding Queries with WordNet

The freely-available WordNet includes an English lexicon with more than 200,000 word senses, and captures their semantic inter-relationships. Software can navigate these conceptual networks to retrieve synonyms, calculate linguistic similarity, and so on. This paper discusses WordNet and includes samples that can expand the semantic scope of a query.   More  
[February 2006]

File Encryption in .NET using TripleDES and Blowfish

Among the alternatives for custom file encryption are .NET’s built-in TripleDES and implementations of Blowfish. The Blowfish alternative demonstrates good encryption/decryption speeds, and also interoperates with different operating systems and processor architectures.   More  
[June 2005]

Using MSSQL's Profiler to Help Understand Legacy Software

Profiler is one of the many tools bundled with SQL Server. Profiler is most commonly used to diagnose performance problems, but may be indispensable in helping decipher the behavior of legacy software that's being migrated or maintained.   More  
[September 2008]

The Legacy of Jim Gray

Legendary computer scientist Jim Gray remains missing after vanishing in the Pacific. This appreciation reviews highlights from Gray’s career, touching on exabyte storage, grids, I/O optimization, and the “database revolution” he helped ignite. Gray’s recurring concern was the data avalanche: “How much information is there in the world?”   More  
[February 2007]

Custom Properties in Office Documents

Custom properties may be added to Office documents to support versioning, to track provenance, or to improve search behavior (topic tags). This review of Office's extensible Structured Storage formats includes techniques to bulk-load custom properties for each document within a library. [Note: This paper’s focus is chiefly on legacy file formats for Microsoft Office 1997-2003.]   More  
[June 2005]

How Many Bytes in a Zero-Length File?

We perceive each file under Windows to be a single stream of bytes, and most software -- including Windows Explorer -- treats files in this manner. But this is misleading. Using Alternate Data Streams under NTFS, gigabytes can be stored in what appears to be an empty file. This paper discusses tools for detecting and editing these streams, which have proven both useful and malign.   More  
[May 2005]

Building a Dual-Boot Laptop for the Corporate Environment

On replacing a corporate desktop image with a customized operating system, while maintaining compliance with networking, and security standards.  More  
[April 2010]

Using WSRM to Track SQL Server’s Resource Usage

WSRM is typically used to allocate CPU and memory resources among competing applications. Less well known is WSRM’s accounting capability, which may ease the development of chargeback software, allowing system costs to be apportioned according to metered use.   More  
[March 2007]