Yep, still here

It has been a little while since the last post but never fear, we are still in operation here at the W.  Lots of time has been spent at Kabbage thinking up crazy new ways to interact with data and move the whole conversation forward about small and medium businesses and how they can be supported with data products.

More to come...


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 5/5/2013 at 9:31 PM
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Which Way Did He Go?

If you have been using the PivotViewer browser from MS Labs getpivot site, you may have noticed that site being closed. This then keeps you from pointing other interested people to a spot to download. But no more!  You can find the PivotViewer browser here on the Microsoft Research site.


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 10/28/2011 at 8:53 AM
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StandardCDC Updated

This morning I released a new version 1.4 to CodePlex. The release contains bug fixes for stored procedures.

Go grab the new release and take it for a spin!


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 8/24/2011 at 11:14 AM
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Categories: Transact SQL
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Slalom Featured in Microsoft Showcase

My boss, Jordan Fladell, spent some time with Microsoft's Bruno Aziza to discuss our project that won the Business Intelligence Partner of the Year award.  Video available here.


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 10/2/2010 at 6:05 PM
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Categories: SQL Server | Slalom News
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Don’t Forget OBJECTPROPERTY

While reading another blog post this morning I was reminded of the super helpful metadata function that is OBJECTPROPERTY.  I often have to stop and remind myself that while all the information raised by OBJECTPROPERTY is available directly through the catalog views it is in many cases simpler to deal directly with the function.  For example, solving the blogger’s original question of objects without indexes can be accomplished in a simple query:

image

We can extend our search to find all objects without an index, views and tables alike.

image
There is a wealth of information available to you via OBJECTPROPERTY.  What metadata queries could you simplify today?


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 8/10/2010 at 11:15 AM
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Categories: SQL Server | Transact SQL
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New Laptop == Geek Happy

Over the past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with the choice of a new laptop.  It wasn’t so much a question of “if” as “when”.  My spec list was pretty high…Core i7 processor, at least 6GB of RAM, and 1900+ screen resolution.  I knew this would not be a netbook sized purchase so I tried to make sure I was getting the best value possible.  At the same time I’m working on a proposal for my company of what our BI consultants should carry.  Lots and lots of variables going into an intensely important choice.

The final choice…ooh baby

HPEnvy15

I decided to go with the HP Envy 15.  It met all my spec requirements above and had the thin, clean look of a Mac Book Pro without the $3,000 price tag.  The one “give” on the Envy is that it has no optical drive.  Not a killer for me as I mostly deal in ISO for software and don’t do a lot of music/movie consumption that isn’t already in iTunes or stored on my home server.  After a weekend of heavy usage it has proven to be exactly what I wanted.

Performance you say?

image


But enough about the shiny outside and rubberized keyboard, can this laptop actually handle the load of BI development?  That would be a yes.  The picture above is my laptop in its current state…which has open instances of Outlook, IM, SSMS, TweetDeck, Word, Visual Studio, and iTunes.  The best statement I can make to performance is that I FORGOT that I had SQL Server services running in Automatic startup.  Had I not been looking to start my instance for some demo code I could have happily zipped along with no impact.

So I’m writing this post today with a smile on my face, perhaps even a bit of a smirk after showing this laptop to a couple of my fellow Slalom consultants (who’s competitive?).  If you are in the market for a great laptop with higher end specs you should take a look at the HP Envy.

NOTE: I was not compensated by HP or any HP representative for this post.  That said, if anyone from HP is reading and wants to send me a free one I’m all for it.


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 8/10/2010 at 9:25 AM
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Categories: Other Stuff
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A New User Group for Atlanta

I’m very excited to announce the creation of a new group for the Atlanta area, this one focused on Microsoft Business Intelligence spearheaded by Teo Lachev.

It is starting as a “special interest group” offshoot of the AtlantaMDF, with the idea of it being a full blown user group at some point.  Here are the pertinent details for those interested:

1. The website is http://atlantabi.sqlpass.org

2. We will meet the last Monday of every month. The first meeting is on August 23.

3. The venue is the Matrix Resources Office in the Ashford Dunwoody area.

Matrix Resources
115 Perimeter Center Place
Suite 250 (South Terraces Building)
Atlanta, GA 30346

I hope to see many of you there in August.


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 7/2/2010 at 9:05 AM
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Categories: User Groups
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A Simple Pivot Viewer Example

With all the current fuss about PowerPivot it is easy to overlook one of the other hot technologies coming our way, Pivot Viewer.  The Pivot Viewer is a Silverlight data visualization tool for rendering large amounts of data in a more meaningful way.  Today’s post is about showing the relative ease of putting together a quick demo of Pivot Viewer.

For this demo you will need a few items – Excel 2010, the Pivot Viewer browser, and the Pivot Collection Tool for Excel.  The Excel add-in can be downloaded here.  Additionally, to view the collections you will want to download the Pivot Viewer browser here.  Windows Vista or Windows 7 are required to install the browser.

Once you have installed the add-in, open Excel and go to the “Pivot Collections” tab in the ribbon.

Choose “New Collection” from the ribbon and a new workbook will be created with two tabs, Collection Items and Collection Properties.  Collection Properties sets the basic title and imaging of the collection, for use in the Collection Gallery later.

The real meat of the demo is in the Collection Items tab.  Here we will choose our images and add descriptive data.  You can import photos via the “Import Images” or “Choose Image” button of the ribbon.  Obviously, for larger collections the import will be the better path.

image

For demo sake today I simply imported a couple images from my Photos library.  This adds  rows to my worksheet where I can add a name and description.  Additionally, new columns can be added which will be included in the collection.  I created the following rows in my workbook:

image

At this point I have a basic collection with two pieces of metadata that can be seen by the user (Date Taken and Description).  If I select “Preview Collection” I can get a sense of how the collection will look for the user, very similar to the preview available in Visual Studio with SSRS reports.

Let’s have a look at this collection by choosing “Publish Collection”.  I will be prompted to save the collection somewhere and then the Pivot Viewer browser opens.  I can then navigate around in my collection.  You will notice the slicers on the left are populated with the “Date Taken” column details.

image

A very simple example I realize, I mainly wanted to show how quickly this can be created with the the tooling provided.  It would be quite simple to build a compelling demo for various groups within your organization, giving them a taste of the power of this tool.

I will be building out a much stronger example for my own use and posting bits of the creation process that I find interesting.  Until then, happy Pivoting.

Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 6/28/2010 at 11:02 AM
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Categories: SQL Server | Silverlight
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Changes and Announcements

It has been pretty quiet on this blog for the last month or so, mainly due to a significant professional change in my life.  After three years at Magenic Technologies I took the next step in my career and joined Slalom Consulting as their Microsoft BI Practice Director.  I am now responsible for the BI strategy and execution for all BI projects in the Microsoft stack for our Atlanta practice.  Exciting times to be sure but a huge mental shift in short term.

Over the past few weeks life has been a blur of transitions, adding new names and faces to the mental rolodex, and a trip to New Orleans for the MS BI Conference. 

While this period has presented its own challenges I can barely contain my excitement for this new role.  This transitions nicely into the second portion of this blog post - a couple announcements that I can finally make publicly.  Slalom received the following awards for 2010 from Microsoft:

  • Worldwide BI Partner of the Year
  • Worldwide Information Worker Partner of the Year
  • US Partner of the Year

Everyone at Slalom is extremely proud to have received this honor.  I will admit this is also raising the competitiveness of this geek to not let the BI award go to anyone else next year.  In short, its on.


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 6/23/2010 at 11:01 PM
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Well That Is No Good

I have been following a Connect item about Visual Studio 2010 and the lack of support for BI project types.  This recent comment from Jeff Bernhardt, Product Unit Manager for SSIS caught my eye today (emphasis mine):

First of all, thank you to those customers who have offered feedback regarding how your work and productivity are impacted by Integration Services (SSIS) not yet being available in Visual Studio 2010. As developers ourselves, we certainly understand the frustration you have reported in having two Visual Studio instances installed and maintained on your development machines. While this side-by-side configuration works, it is certainly a less ideal solution to operating SSIS from within VS 2010. Unfortunately, the staggered ship cycles of the two products (VS and SSIS) and some convoluted dependencies did not allow us to reunite the development environments of both tools until the next version of SQL Server.
Meanwhile, please be assured that SSIS projects continue to be supported by Visual Studio both now and into the foreseeable future. Until the next version of SQL Server, we will be happy to discuss with any Visual Studio 2010 customer ways in which they can optimize the interoperability of VS and SSIS. We apologize for any inconvenience and are committed to improving your user experience both now and in the future.
Jeff Bernhardt
Product Unit Manager
SQL Server Integration Services

All I can say is holy smokes.  The "current" version of SQL Server RTMed a week or so ago.  The delivery date of a "next" version is at least a year away, in a best case scenario.  Leaving developers out in the cold for this length of time will seriously impact the business discussions around BI projects.  I am at a loss over this decision.

When you add in the fact that little if anything was added to the SSIS product in SQL Server 2008 R2 it makes you question the dedication it enjoys within the product team.

I know from personal experience that Connect items are heavily monitored so if this also strikes you as something that needs to change make sure you vote (and get others to do so as well).  It sounds like a grassroots effort will need to take place for the decision to change.


Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 5/14/2010 at 11:05 AM
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Categories: SQL Server
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