SQuirreL SQL Client for accessing different databases – Part 1

squirrelIts been my experience that if you work on ETL projects, you eventually accumulate client software for a number of database systems on your development PC. The reason is pretty straightforward – you need to be able to access the systems you are working with to determine data types, schema structures, and occasionally to check that a User account and Password you have been given actually works.

One problem I’ve run into though is that not all operating systems are supported by different database vendors with their tools. While Windows has the largest installation base, Mac OS X, and Linux also are used for ETL development  but Microsoft’s SQL Server management tool will only work on Windows machines. Apple’s FileMaker software is similar, running on Mac OS X and Windows, but not Linux (since version 7). The examples go on and on. Also, because each tool is laid out differently, it can be difficult to find what you need quickly when you only work infrequently on a specific platform. Often times remembering where I need to go in a specific tool will take me longer than getting the actual information I was looking for.

All of this leads to the point of this post – using a free open source product call SQuirreL SQL Client to access multiple database platforms via one application regardless of whether you are running Windows, Mac OS X or any of a large variety of Linux distributions.

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Linux bootable USB drives on Mac OS X Yosemite – Solved!

bootsIn my twenty plus years of working on PCs, I have seen external media formats change from 5.25 inch floppy disks (which really were floppy) to 3.5 inch (not-so) floppy discs to CD to DVD and USB (thumb) drives. I’ve had PCs at one time or another that have used all of those formats, but over the past couple of years, the push has to been to move away from external media whenever possible. Thus the last two PCs I have purchased did not come with anything other than USB slots. One is my ZBox computer that I use for development, and I change operating systems on it fairly frequently.

Rather than burn a DVD of an ISO every time I want to reconfigure the development box, its should be easier to make a boot-able USB. Using Windows there are a host of different GUI tools to create bootable USB drives, and most Linux distributions are similar. If you are on a Mac running OS X Yosemite, the  solution isn’t quite as simple. A number of websites include directions, but generally I’ve found they don’t work.

But this week, I found a successful method, and created both Fedora and CentOS bootable USB drives (unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work with Windows ISO’s). Because this requires enabling the root user account on your system, be sure to exercise caution when following these steps. Read on for more information.

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Mac OSX Yosemite and Pentaho Kettle 5.3

AppDamagedThe Pentaho Community Edition 5.3 Business Intelligence suite was released a few weeks ago, and I downloaded the ETL application tonight to install on my Mac. As with the past few versions, the application generates an error when you try to start it on Mac OS X because of security features in the operating system. I’ve covered previously a couple of ways to overcome those security issues and recently reader Ian emailed me with a third method that I decided to try out.

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crashA short explanation for why the site has been quiet for a couple of weeks: In my last post I referenced updating to OS X Yosemite. While the operating system has been performing fairly well, one installed software package has not.

For the most part, I use virtual machines to develop and test different things like Hadoop, SQL Server, Pentaho and various other items. This allows me to try out multiple packages and operating systems without the expense of a lot of physical boxes. For the host software, I have been using Fusion, the workstation software from VMWare that allows you to run multiple virtual systems on a Mac. The last time I upgraded my Mac’s OS (less than a year ago to Mavericks), I had to fork over $45 to upgrade Fusion to overcome some issues with the new OS. Continue reading