Keep on Learning
I'm not sure when I first had a desire to write a book, but it may have been when I started working as a technical writer in 1992. I remember telling friends that I was an "author". My friends then asked if I was "writing documentation"? When I answered yes, I was laughed at and was told that "writing product manuals does NOT make you an author"! So I suppose being challenged in this way caused me to seriously consider writing a book that was published by an external publisher to prove to my friends that I was indeed an author!
So my dream came true in 1998 when my first book was published: Teach Yourself DB2 Universal Database in 21 Days. My second one was an update of this TY book and was published in 2003 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0672325829/qid=1120086708/sr=5-1/ref=cm_lm_asin/102-8524566-1932154?v=glance). Bill Wong was my co-author on the update. I learned a lot writing these books, but even more working with about 40 authors who have published other books. I plan to share many of my publishing experiences with you so that maybe one day you too will become part of a team who publishes a book.
I think everyone has the potential to write a book and I recently did a presentation to my son's grade 1 class and encouraged each of them to consider writing a book. As a witness to my son's very active imagination, I'm sure a book written by a child would be much more imaginative than a technical book! The most important characteristic necessary is that the author be passionate, both about the topic and about writing about the topic.
Writing isn't easy for anyone, but what is even harder is re-reading the manuscript multiple times to make sure that it says what you want it to say. I don't think anyone is able to write a sentence without needing to revise it 20 times before it is perfect. Another thing that many authors find tough is accepting comments on the book. Let's face it, hearing someone criticize your hard work isn't fun, but if you look at it as a way to get the text closer to perfection, then it is easier to take.
After you've determined that you have the passion to write about something, you should attempt to write an outline or table of contents for the book. Also figure out who the intended audience will be. It is very important that you imagine the person who would want or need to read your book. Once you've defined the audience and thought about what should be in the book, search online to find books that may be similar. There are tons of books about almost every subject, so do the research to figure out if you have a unique topic or not. If there are books written about the topic, figure out what will make your book different than the others. Does it give more examples? Does it use case studies? Is it part of a recognized series? Does it go into more depth than existing books? Whatever, just make sure you make a list of all the competitive books and determine if you should write the book or not.
Next you'll need to put the details about your book into a proposal. For IBM Press books, you can find a proposal template on http://www.ibm.com/ibmpress. On this site, you'll also find guidelines for creating a strong proposal as well as the name and email address of the person who can accept your proposal.
What is being looked for? Well, first of all, can you write? Make sure that there are no typos or grammar errors in your proposal. You may be asked to provide a sample chapter as well so the publisher can determine if your writing style is good enough. You don't have to be the best writer in the world as you will be getting help from editors and graphics designers, but your writing style will be judged based on both the proposal and the sample chapter.
You don't have to be the foremost expert on your chosen topic to be an author; however, you may want to ask the experts to help you by reviewing the proposal, the chapters, and possibly providing the foreword or a quote for the book.
I have much more to say on this topic, but I'll save it for another day. What I have so far will help anyone who is keen to get started right away so I think it's a good place to stop.
I on vacation for the next week, so you won't see any new posts from me until the week of July 11.
Have a great Canada Day and Independence Day Long Weekend!
IBM Press Program Manager
The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM positions, strategies or opinions.
This week I'm in Orlando working at the DB2 Information Management Conference. My main role at the conference is to administer certification exams to the attendees. The exams are normally $120 - $150 each, but are free to attendees this week.
Business is strong! We've given nearly 200 exams in the first day! Many of these exams are at the entry level which means that we still have many new people to our certification programs. The passing rate is also quite good, with a 72% overall.
My second role at the conference is to promote the DB2 books that we've published. We have a bookstore set up that is managed by Pearson's Kathleen Addis and Jamie Milazzo. All books are offered at a 30% discount and they're selling well. The series of study guides by Roger Sanders are selling very well since these books are very well-written and include sample questions that can help readers gauge whether they are prepared to take the exam.
My third role is to network with people! This is one of my favourite things. I was able to connect with many people who I've known through the conferences I've attended through the years, but also I've met many new people.
Someone I met yesterday told my that he has two book favourite DBA books that he "never leaves home without!". These are the books:
DB2 Universal Database V8.1 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration Certification Guide, Fifth Edition
Advanced DBA Certification Guide and Reference for DB2 Universal Database v8.1 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows, First Edition
I agree with him totally and wanted to share this with you.
I spoke with a few people about promoting the DB2 Express book and the future Cloudscape book. I have quite a few ideas that I'll share with you later once I gather more ideas.
If you are at the conference, please stop by and say hi! If not, I hope you can attend one in the future.
Last week I received an email from a friend who was in a bookstore in the Tulsa OK airport. He found the IBM Press book "Can two rights make a wrong". Not many IBM Press books end up in bookstores, especially in airports, because they are not considered mass appeal books like a Microsoft books tend to be. But maybe this is a start!
So instead of looking for DB2 or IBM books in bookstores, try some of the great online bookstores that are available that tend to offer greatly discounted prices. Some of my favourites:
United States: http://www.ibmpressbooks.com(At checkout time, uUse the coupon code IBMSALES to get a 35% discount.)
Canada:http://www.pearsontech.ca/db2(Always a 30% discount)
Europe http://www.pearson-books.com/ibmpressbookshop/ (Always a 35% discount and free shipping to residents of EMEA.)
India:http://www.prakashbooks.com/(Search on DB2. Prices in local currency for residents of India.)
MC Press, publisher of our best-selling cert prep series is offering a really good discount if you pre-order the new Advanced DBA Certification Study Guide.
Expert Preparation for Exam 734DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Advanced Database Administration Certification Study Guideby Roger Sanders, Dwaine Snow
Why do you want this book?
1) The credibility of the authors! Roger has written 17 books about DB2. Dwaine is no slouch himself!
2) Both authors took part in creating the questions for Exam 734. Who else would you want to get study information from?
3) Sample questions.... and more! Yes, the book has sample questions for each chapter... lots of them. And.... you will learn the correct answer and reasons why that answer is correct. Perfect way to learn!
4) Reference beyond the exam... once you've passed the exam, you'll want to refer to this book over and over and over.... for the valuable insight it brings you on advanced topics.
5) No where else can you find this kind of information in a single book. No other book covers the advanced DBA content to this depth.
6) You cannot pre-order from amazon.com.... or likely any other website.
7) If you are planning to attend the IOD conference, you'll want to get this book as early as possible, so that you can pass the exam when taking it at the conference.
Add your own reasons!
Congratulations to Belal Tassi, Paul Zikopoulos, Aamer Sachedina, and Dwaine Snow for the publication of our latest book:
DB2 Viper Strikes AgainNew Features in DB2 9.5ISBN: 978-0-07-154910-3
The book was custom published by McGraw-Hill, and currently I am the holder of the copies... although I am distributing them across the world to IBM people who may be offering a copy of the book to you. I'm hoping McGraw-Hill is able to distribute some of the copies of the book through the normal channels as well.
So, what's the book about?
This very short book... 134 pages in TOTAL, will help you gain an inside view into the key new features of DB2 9.5 - the ultimate data server! We fully believe that these new features will help you eliminate business barriers in order to take your business to the next level.
This book ONLY covers the features that are new for DB2 9.5, so if you are at the V8 level and want a complete picture of DB2 9 features, you'll need a copy of the book IBM DB2 9 New Features that was published earlier this year.
Yesterday after the IOD Conference keynote led by Arvind Krishna, we ran a book giveaway and signing session for this book as well as the one that was published earlier in the year by Carlton Doe. The giveaway and signing event was a tremendous amount of fun! I have some photos of the session, but I'll to increase my blog skills to learn how to post the photos!
If you are at the IOD Conference and have not received your copy yet, you may be able to find a copy in one of these areas:
* Certification Lounge* Developer's Den* Expo - pedestals for Education and for DB2 * Registration Desk
I hope you enjoy the book!
We haven't had a new DB2 or related book publish in the past few months, so this month I'd like to pass on a 40% discount that was set up for the following books:
DB2 for z/OS Version 8 DBA Certification Guide
List Price: $54.99
Your Price: $32.99 (Save 40%)
IBM DB2 Universal Database Version 8 for z/OS offers enterprises unprecedented opportunities to integrate information, deliver it on demand, and manage it simply and cost-effectively. Now, one of the world's leading DB2 consultants presents the definitive guide to administering DB2 UDB V8 databases in z/OS environments. DB2 for z/OS Version 8 DBA Certification Guide also serves as a key tool for anyone preparing for IBM Certified Database Administrator for DB2 Universal Database V8 for z/OS certification.
DB2 SQL PL: Essential Guide for DB2 UDB on Linux, UNIX, Windows, i5/OS, and z/OS, 2nd Edition
List Price: $59.99
Your Price: $35.99 (Save 40%)
DB2 SQL PL, Second Edition shows developers how to take advantage of every facet of the SQL PL language and development environment. The authors offer up-to-the-minute coverage, best practices, and tips for building basic SQL procedures, writing flow-of-control statements, creating cursors, handling conditions, and much more. Along the way, they illuminate advanced features ranging from stored procedures and triggers to user-defined functions.
Official Introduction to DB2 for z/OS, Covers DB2 Universal Database for z/OS Version 8, 2nd Edition
List Price: $54.99
Your Price: $32.99 (Save 40%)
This is your complete introduction to Version 8 of DB2 UDB for z/OS, the most powerful, scalable, and robust version of DB2 ever created. Here's all you need to get started with DB2 Version 8 database administration and development ... and to prepare for the new IBM DB2 Family Fundamentals exam, your first step toward DB2 certification. From basic relational database concepts to advanced topics such as data sharing, you'll find crystal-clear explanations and real-world insights, straight from the IBM lab where DB2 UDB for z/OS is developed.
To get the discount, enter the case-sensitive coupon code: IBMDB2 at Step #3 during checkout to receive the discount, and complimentary shipping. Order now as this offer expires 12/31/06.
svisser1 2700018UK9 3,862 Views
Put your comments in for all to read! Here's what a few others have done:
1) Author Roger Sanders created a discussion about the pre-conference education classes being offered at IOD at the end of the month.
2) The Search for an XML Superstar contest opened today.
3) I received feedback from someone who read an early copy of the upcoming Expert Preparation for Exam 734 - DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Advanced Database Administration Certification Study Guide and posted the feedback in the DB2 in Books group. 4) Multiple people blogged today. See PlanetDB2
4) 60 people have joined ChannelDB2 in the past week and are watching videos, listening to podcasts, and reading posts.
It's just noon in my time zone, so I'm hoping to see much more activity as the day goes on.
For the past few months I have been thinking about the value of podcasting in relation to promoting technical books. Last week at CASCON the idea came up again, so I'd like to get your opinion on the idea.
My goal would be to put the preface of new books into podcast format. The preface of the book should answer the question, do I need this book? My vision is to have a podcast that is only a few minutes in length, for each book.
As a new book is published, a podcast would be made available. This would work well as a subscription series in that it would help people stay on top of the newest releases as they are made available.
Most book prefaces are written in a conversational manner, so I believe that this would make for an easy and interesting way to learn about the need for the book.
Whose voice should do the podcast? I'd prefer to have the author of the preface do the recording, but would do it myself if necessary.
Let me know what you think. I may go ahead and do a pilot of one of the books and post it on this site. The next book in my realm that will publish is Apache Derby -- Off to the Races : Includes Details of IBM Cloudscape http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0131855255/102-8524566-1932154?v=glance&n=283155&s=books&v=glance.
I'm sure that everyone reading BLOG entries understands the impact a word of mouth reference can be. If someone you know and respect recommends something to you, most likely you will be receptive to the recommendation. Conversely, if they strongly recommend against something, most likely you'll stay away from it as well.
Even if you don't personally know the person who made a review, you'll likely be influenced if a large number of people had similar positive or negative comments.
Book sales are strongly impacted by reader comments and reviews.
What you can do:
1) Add a reader comment on amazon.com, amazon.ca, or any other online bookstore.
2) Create a listmania list on amazon.com that groups all your recommended titles in one place.
3) If you are a blog owner, consider recommending useful or well-written books to your readers.
4) If you are a blog reader, post a comment here or on other blogs mentioning books that you have read that you liked.
IBM Press books can build mindshare
IBM Press now has a large collection of books published related to various IBM technologies. If you are reading these books and like them, it would help if you would put your thoughts on amazon.com.
What would this idea do? What would it accomplish?
Amazon is a very popular tool that is used throughout the world. Most people think of it as a place to buy books, but they also sell many other products as well. The extreme popularity of amazon can have a large impact on the sales of books. Books that get many positive reviews on amazon get noticed and are often featured on leading pages. This can lead to more sales for the book and may earn the book a spot in the bookshelves of leading bookstores.
How would this idea work?
IBM Press books are being published by Pearson Education, but IBM Press is new relative to competitor series such as Microsoft Press and Oracle Press, so volumes are currently lower. More reader comments can help build the popularity of these books. Our competitors have had much success in gaining placement at the stores and as a result are attracting new and future customers who feel that IBM's products are not established well enough to warrant a retail book to be available. Many people may wrongly assume that Oracle is a better product than DB2 just by walking into a bookstore or viewing the reader comments on amazon.com.
BLOGs are also helpful in creating an audience for a book or an idea. Check this out:
Recently, the WebFountain crew has been tracking blogs to predict which books would hit the online best-seller lists (it correctly predicted the U.S. success of the self-help book "What Not to Wear"), see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8767392/site/newsweek/ and http://fringe.almaden.ibm.com/fringe/html/person?focus=urn%3Abluepages%3Aid%3Auid%23958525897
It is usually taboo to talk about how much someone makes, but still, everyone wants to know where they stand in terms of earning potential.
Certmag.com does an annual survey to find out if certifications increase a person's pay or not. The surveys have shown that a person who holds a certification is generally better paid than a similar individual who is not certified. The next logical question is, which certification results in the highest pay?
According to results from last year's survey, certmag says that IBM DB2 certified DBAs earn more than Oracle or Microsoft DBAs!
Enterprise Systems have also done a survey and have recently published their finding:
According to this, DBAs make more than most other IT professionals. Not a surprise, really given the skill and expertise required to do this job. The article also agrees with the findings from certmag.com and lists DB2 as the database where salaries are highest. Actually, DBAs on IMS systems are THE highest.
So, be proud of the fact that you work with DB2 and be proud of your certifications!
If you aren't yet using DB2 or certified, does this help convince you? I hope so!
svisser1 2700018UK9 3,834 Views
The Information On Demand 2008 Conference is the premier IBM information management event... meaning that you will have opportunities for extensive learning opportunities via the 780 Sessions: 120 Business Leadership, 600 Technical Skill Building, and 60 Cognos Sessions.
Did you also know that there is a further learning opportunity via the pre-conference classes? These full day education classes will be offered on Sunday only, October 26th, 2008 from 8:30 am to 4:30pm at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Take advantage of preferred attendee pricing of US $399.00 and get a full day of education, delivered by professional IBM instructors.
Available education is listed below, on-line registration will open to conference attendees soon! Seats will be limited.
IBM Cognos 8 BI: Essentials for Managing BI Projects (version 8.3) Accelerated
Speaker: Norm Goddard
IBM Cognos 8 BI: Essentials for Managing BI Projects (version 8.3) is a one-day, instructor-led course that provides participants with essential knowledge to ensure the success of their Cognos 8 BI implementation. Participants will be introduced to the Cognos Solutions Implementation Methodology (Cognos SIM), the elements of IBM Cognos 8 BI, and the underlying architecture. They will examine the process of creating an IBM Cognos 8 BI solution, and discuss how IBM Cognos 8 BI relates to the other parts of IBM Cognos 8. Participants will be shown a range of resources to help them successfully manage their implementations.
DB2 Migration, How To Move Forward and Never Fall Back
Speaker: Albert Grankin
Production system migration, whether hardware or software is a task that requires very detailed and careful preparation. This session will go over aspects of database migration that are usually not covered in our migration guides. We’ll cover topics including how to prepare your production system for migration and what additional information to collect before starting. It will also cover important steps after migration including comparative performance monitoring, identifying and resolving issues.
DB2 V9/V9.5 for Linux, UNIX and Windows Problem Determination
Speakers: Aman Lalla, Pavel Sustr
Learn how to identify and resolve problems such as database hangs, locking problems, crashes and optimizer/performance problems. DB2 V9 also provides various problem determination facilities and tools such as db2fodc (First Occurrence Data capture). Knowing how and when to use these tools is critical in resolving problems quickly.
DB2 Operational Performance, Success Without Stress
Speaker: Rajib Sarkar
This session will demonstrate effective ways to monitor a DB2 database system for performance and provide tips & tricks in analyzing & monitoring data. The session will also focus on diagnostic tools and techniques used by IBM support personnel and how some of them could be used by DB2 Database Administrators, IT Specialists and Developers for identifying and solving operational performance issues.
Speakers: Hyun-Ju Vega, Suma Vinod, Mark Jamison, Ron Privett
Learn more about troubleshooting from the experts – the IBM Informix advanced support team. Attendees will learn Informix diagnostic methods and tools, how to troubleshoot and diagnose performance problems, connectivity and network issues, memory problems, ER/HDR problems, and Windows specific issues.
Leveraging DB2 Optimizer
Speaker: Yasir Warraich & Samir Kapoor
Learn everything there is to know about the optimizer architecture. We start with discussion about basic concepts such as optimization levels and timer ons. Advanced topics such as data access methods, join methods, analyzing the optimizer access plans will be covered and additionally we'll describe different operators and help identify problematic areas to look into in an access plan. We'll also show how to take counts at different branches in an access plan. Having understood how to analyze an access plan, we'll also demonstrate usage of STATVIEWS, CGS ger,and OPTIMIZATION GUIDELINES to improve query performance.
DB2 for z/OS DBA Certification Crammer (Exam 732)
Speaker: Susan Lawson
This high level certification preparation review is intended to help you take IBM Certification Test 732, DB2 9 DBA for z/OS. Gain an intense overall review of those areas that are on the certification exam.
DB2 9 for Linux & Windows DBA Certification Crammer (Exam 731)
Speaker: Roger Sanders
This training is designed to introduce the student to the concepts a test candidate must know in order to take and pass the DB2 9 DBA for Linux, UNIX, and Window certification exam (Exam 731). The material for this course is aligned with the 731 exam objectives.
Insuring Data Privacy in Your Test Environment using Optim
Speaker: Tom Bauch
Data in your testing environment is often not as tightly controlled or audited as your production data. This 1-day class provides an overview of how to mask your test data to eliminate the risk of data loss and comply with privacy standards using Optim. The class will also review how to simplify the creation and management of your test data, easily creating a subset of your test data to minimize disk requirements, and simplify your ability to create and manage test data environments.
And... if you need help justifying your attendance at the conference, use this conference justification information.
A fellow blogger (Bill Higgins) pointed to an interesting article by Joan Houlihan that gives tips on how to become an author. I thought I'd point to this article in my blog as well.
My job is similar to Mary O'Brien role, but I focus on Information Management titles.
One of the things that Joan mentions in her articles is "Despite the prevalence of online communications, book sales have steadily increased over the past decade
I'm not sure that I've seen the same trend, but I hope to see an increase in book sales! I'm planning to change a few things in the DB2 library for the next release to help achieve this. I can't reveal my strategy at this time, but maybe in the near future.
svisser1 2700018UK9 3,821 Views
DB2Night Show: Nov 19: What's NEW and COOL with DB2 LUW, and a peek into the crystal ball!
Nov 19, 2010
11:00 - 12:00 EST
Register: click here.
If you have ever attended a DB2 related conference, you have probably attended a presentation given by George Baklarz. George keeps us all tuned in to DB2 LUW's newest and coolest features, and frequently shares his crystal ball thoughts on "what's coming" as well.
In this episode of The DB2Night Show, George has agreed to join us as special guest. By the end of 2010, he will have flown about two billion miles around the globe. We're not sure how he has found the time to join us, but we are awfully darned appreciative.
Participate as a studio audience member as one studio audience member will be randomly selected to win an electronic gift certificate. If you can't make the scheduled time, register anyways so that you get information about recorded replays. Lastly, please forward this invitation to at least 5 of your friends! Thank you!
On top of being a very successful presenter, George is also a very successful author of 10 books about DB2. I’m very proud to say that I’ve been alongside George for every single book and am glad that his is such a prolific author. Let’s hope that I can continue to convince him to write books despite his insane travel schedule!
First, let's look at the intended audience for the test as well its structure.
The target audience is a database developer who has an in-depth knowledge of:
* all common programming tasks
* embedded SQL programming, ODBC/CLI programming, or Java programming
There are 63 multiple choice questions on the test and you are required to get a score of 57% or better to pass. The following 7 sections are on the test:
* Database objects and Programming Methods (13%)
* Data Manipulation (26%)
* Embedded SQL Programming (11%)
* ODBC/CLI Programming (13%)
* Java Programming (13%)
* Advanced Programming (16%)
* User Defined Routines (8%)
Section 1: Database objects and Programming Methods (13%)
This section tests:
* Your ability to identify the different database objects that are available with DB2 UDB.
* Your ability to identify the naming conventions used for DB2 UDB objects.
* Your knowledge of the constraints available and your ability to identify when and how NOT NULL, default, check, unique, and referential integrity constraints should be used.
* Your ability to identify how operations performed on the parent table of a referential integrity constraint are reflected in the child table of the constraint.
* Your ability to identify the more common privileges used when developing or running DB2 UDB applications.
* Your knowledge of the various special registers available and your ability to obtain the current value of any special register using SQL.
* Your ability to identify the similarities and differences between static embedded SQL and dynamic embedded SQL.
* Your ability to identify the difference between CLI/ODBC, JDBC, and SQLJ.
Today's assessment question:
Given a table created using the statement:
CREATE TABLE abc.stuff (i INT)
A user called XYZ is to be enabled to access data from table ABC.STUFF using an implicit schema.
Assuming the necessary privileges have been granted, which of the following statements issued by user ABC will provide this result?
A. CREATE ALIAS stuff FOR abc.stuff
B. CREATE VIEW abc.stuff FOR xyz.stuff
C. CREATE ALIAS abc.stuff FOR xyz.stuff
D. CREATE VIEW xyz.stuff AS SELECT i FROM abc.stuff
Where to find the answer:
1) Chapter 2 of Roger Sanders book: DB2(R) Universal Database V8.1 Certification Exam 703 Study Guide
2) Tutorial: http://www.ibm.com/software/data/education/selfstudy.html#2.
3) Product document: search on 'alias'
Tip: If you are an employee of IBM, search for Roger's book on Books 24x7.
Susan Visser[Read More]
875 exams taken after 4 days! Very steady business. We offer DB2, WebSphere, Lotus, Tivoli and Rational exams, but clearly this is a DB2 crowd! We offer all the exams to help people become cross trained in all SWG products.
I had dinner with Roger Sanders last night. I first met Roger years ago just after he published his first book about DB2. I'm glad that I was able to work with him on the three Exam Study guides that he wrote for our Version 8 exams and I'm working very hard to get more book projects for Roger.
Roger tells me that he gets lots of reader feedback about his sample questions and how useful readers find it that he explains the reason an answer is correct. I'm sure that now that IBM charges $10 per take on the assessment exams, more people will choose to use Roger's books for his assessment questions as well as the content of the book.
One of the projects I got involved with in January was to set up a program for Russia to get more people trained and certified. I suggested that we translate Roger's Exam 700 Study Guide along with a few other materials. I am happy to say that Roger's book is now available in Russia and that Roger has been invited to run a crammer course to a select group. It is great how quickly we were able to make this initiative a reality! If we are successful in getting people certified at the entry level, we'll continue the program and focus on Exams 701 and 703.
I was also privileged to meet several people from Brazil this week. We talked at great lengths about the various ways we can increase certifications there as well. I fully believe that you can't just throw a test at someone and hope that they pass. You need to build a program around the test, similar to what we are doing in Russia: a book that people can read and keep to refer to over time, hands on experience, and if possible, training sessions. And then the exams. I am very hopeful that we will be able pull something together for Brazil and other countries as well.
I'm writing this entry on Friday morning at 9:00 am and we have a room filled with people who are currently taking an exam and another room full of people waiting to take their exams before heading home. It has been a very successful week and I look forward to working at next year's conference planned for Dallas in August 2006.