Category Archives: Uncategorized

Configuring my new Surface Book 2 – random topic #2 – Removing Apps with PowerShell

I’ve been a consumer of great blog posts, and sometimes, it doesn’t make sense to re-create the wheel (or the blog post).  I have been a silent fan of How To Geek blogs for some time.  I don’t know the author(s).  I don’t know their story… I just like their posts.  So when I see them come up in search engine results, they are usually my 1st choice (<Right-Click>; Open in New Window)

I am bothered by a few of the Apps that Microsoft bundles with Windows, and wish they were a little easier to push aside.  Some of them just keep getting pushy Mail, Calendar… “Hey dude, I got Outlook installed, already!”

Looks like this one is by Chris Hoffman (@ChrisBHoffman

How to Uninstall Windows 10’s Built-in Apps (and How to Reinstall Them)

Side-by-side Twitter Profile & Post Header

Side-by-side Twitter Profile & Post Header

Thanks for the post, Chris! 



{This blog post is insurance against early onset dementia/alzheimer’s of the author.  But he hopes it helps you too, and hopes he will stop talking in the third person really soon… }

Configuring my new Surface Book 2 – random topic #1 – User Accounts

Love the User Experience of the Surface line

Love the User Experience of the Surface line

The life of an independent consultant as it relates to technology configuration can be murky at times.

In a large organization, it’s usually quite rigid,  IT provisions you a machine (that you may, or many not, have a choices in selecting), that they have configured, they’ve established policies and procedures that help guide you to what you can and cannot do (perhaps, “should, or should not, do?”)  You have standard software and you are told where and how to store information and collaborate with co-worker, partners and customers.  Your tech is monitored for activity (nefarious, or otherwise) and protected from theft with MDM solutions (No, not Master Data Management, but Mobile Device Management) to safe guard corporate IP and assets.

So what about when its just you? … What mood are you in today?  …  Do you feel like being consistent with where you store stuff?  …  How long has it been since you’ve backed up that PC?  When does my warranty expire for that business critical laptop?  Do I have drop protection?  Who do I call if I need on-site, next business day repairs? … Oh, I didn’t buy on-site this time?

So, as I have recently lost a machine, and fumbled to get my assets together, I have a great opportunity to be more consistent, establish and follow some of those best practices (that I KNOW will inevitably save me time in the future) and document some of my decision/commitments here… for all of you to chime in on, criticize, mock… no, but seriously, your input and suggestions will be appreciated.

So, here is one of those thing that has plagued me for some time.  Attaching a machine to an active directory domain.  There are new opportunities, especially as many of my clients have an Azure presence.  Some are “Federated,” others are synchronized, some are just on-prem and a few are just in the cloud.  How do I manage this with my singular machine?  Do I really want to connect my machine to an on-premises domain?  They will have control of my PC!  Who would actually trust my machine anyways?  How about Azure AD – does connecting to their Azure AD in this way conception let them “own” my PC? I don’t believe so… Can I have my machine connect to more that 1 Azure AD tenant without causing problems?

Last year I created a VM with VMware Workstation Pro on my PC for a customer I was working with.  This worked okay, but at the end of the day, they ended up hosting a “developer workstation” in their VMware infrastructure for me to jump onto to get work done, connecting via VPN first of course.

Should I then have local User Accounts, dedicate to each of my customers, on my machine?  Or should simply keep ALL of my customers in one profile?  

One thing I AM going to do, as voldemarz recommends doing in this Stack Exchange response:

and that is to create a local account FIRST with a name that I’d like reflected in my User home directory… For Example:


These will work fine… the 1st path above being my personal, local admin account for the machine.  The 2nd being my community Office 365 Tenant for doing Data Platform work for presentations and demos.  The remaining paths are for clients for whom I may or may not be able to connect to the Azure AD tenants (but certainly NOT for traditional, on-prem Active Directory) – If I am required to have a local machine to connect to their on-prem AD, I can set up a VM on my machine or on their VM infrastructure. 

Truly, I’d LOVE to hear how YOU have dealt with any of the topics that I’ve raised.  In particularly, if you have insight on pro/cons around multiple account on a single machine connecting to different Azure AD tenants – that would be TRULY helpful.

Somewhat related, I did read this for a second time last night… Bob does a great job, both ranting, and explaining the intricacies of Microsoft Person and  Work & School Accounts.

Understanding Microsoft Work And Personal Accounts

[disclaimer – I rely too much on spell check and grammar checking build into WordPress.  If something I typed makes you twitch uncontrollably, please let me know so that I can stop your pain 😉 ]

FREE Power BI Resources

This is just an assortment of learning resources for Power BI and associated technologies that I have found helpful.

  1. Power BI Guided Learning from Microsoft’s Power BI team
    Will brings you a huge video series and they’ve dropped it in YouTube to increase the exposure. Get started at 

    Your video tour guide is Will Thompson, a Program Manager on the Power BI team at Microsoft. There are a few guest guides too, a little later on in the course.

    Your video tour guide is Will Thompson, a Program Manager on the Power BI team at Microsoft. There are a few guest guides too, a little later on in the course.

  2. Guy in a Cube
    Adam & Patrick, both Microsoft Employees, deliver exceptional short videos on various BI and Data Platform topics.  These guys do a GREAT job of tackle some of the most complex architectural issues like Kerberos troubleshooting and just make it make sense.  Adam started things off and has even done some sessions on how he produces his videos.  They do Tech videos on Tuesday and Wednesdays, Wisdom Wednesdays and a weekly round up every Thursday.  Adam started posting videos to his YouTube channel almost 3 years ago!  Great work Guy In A Cube!

    Helping you, and your business, gain insights by learning and exploring Microsoft Business Intelligence

    Helping you, and your business, gain insights by learning and exploring Microsoft Business Intelligence

    Along with his YouTube Channel, they leverage Social Media to announce their new videos and, of course, have a fantastic website to complete the circle. 

There are more to come, so check back here!

There are paid resources that provide a more holistic perspective, and potentially help you to focus on putting other things aside while you focus on your learning… because, Hey… You paid for it!



Six things to consider for #SQLSaturdayVancouver

Six things to consider for #SQLSaturdayVancouver

  1. Register for the All-day Friday Power BI Pre-con
    1. Discount Offer – Save 10% with discount code! (Saturday is Free, Friday is paid)
    2. Further Details
    3. Register (make sure you use discount code SQLSAT) –
  2. Buy the Lunch – Invest in the lunch to feed your body while we feed your mind!
    There will be conferences in town and 4 cruise ships – street food vendors will have line-ups and you will miss out.

    1. We have Lunch time vendor sessions!  AWS, Microsoft & CozyRoc
       – You don’t want to be out looking for something to eat and miss these sessions! 
    2. PayPal $15 – easy
    3. Boxed lunches include Sandwich, Salad, Cookie and Drink
    4. We will send out a link to purchase if you initially chose not to purchase the lunch, but you changed your mind and would like to do so.
  3. Bring your SpeedPASS – This makes Registration a breeze! 
    We email you a link to a PDF file which contains a registration ticket, lunch ticket, raffle tickets and name badge for you badge and lanyard we provide to you at registration

    1. Download it, Print it out, cut it up, bring it along;
    2. “Scissors of Shame Table” is available if you’ve printed it but didn’t get around to cutting
    3. $2 donations to BC Children’s Hospital for having your SpeedPASS printed by us!
       – fee is optional, but MUCH appreciated.
    4. Link to your personal SpeedPASS will be mailed shortly
  4. Sign-up to Volunteer
    Give back to the community volunteer a little bit of time – Earn Karma Points!

  5. Plan your day; Build your schedule – on the day, check back for last minute changes.
    You can plan your day so that you won’t be racing around on the day!

  6. Download the PASS Events Mobile app (for IOS and Android; by Guidebook)
    You can see the schedule and plan which sessions to attend, display abstracts and speaker bios and more!

Master Your Data for Power BI – SQLSaturday Vancouver Pre-Con Session

One of the local Sponsors to SQLSaturday #635 – Vancouver, BC is Excelguru.

Ken, founder of Excelguru, will be delivering a “Pre-Conference” session on Power BI!  Here are some of the details, and a link to further details and a registration page.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The sad reality is that not all data we need for our reports is stored in nicely curated databases. While some of the data may be, the reality is that we also need to piece together data provided in text files, Excel files, web pages and even the body of emails in order to build the complete business intelligence solutions we need. Until now this has been a painful process with a great deal of cutting and pasting into Excel files. Updates have been tedious and error prone, if the solution isn’t abandoned outright. That stops today.

This course is about Data. It’s about getting, transforming, cleaning and reshaping your data. It’s about turning awkward data into shiny golden tables that are perfect for analysis.

You’ll learn how Power BI can clean up, reshape and combine your data with ease – no matter where it comes from. And the best part? While we’ll be focusing on these techniques in Power BI desktop, they are also 100% portable to Excel 2010 or higher via the Power Query add-in.

In this hands-on workshop, Ken will cover:

  • A quick review of Power BI report basis
  • Importing basic data
  • Appending and merging tables
  • Pivoting, un-pivoting, and transposing data
  • Conditional logic, and
  • Other techniques such as structuring and grouping queries, and understanding query folding and the formula firewall

Register Today and Save:

As an exclusive offer for the SQL Saturday Vancouver mailing list, register before 6:00pm on Friday, August 18, 2017 and save 10% on the registration price! Simply enter discount code SQLSAT at check-out to redeem this offer.

Full course details and registration at













SQLSaturday #635 – Vancouver, BC coming August 26th

This Summer, Vancouver data professionals welcome the 5th iteration of the global phenomenon that is SQLSaturday!

Critical Facts


what?   SQLSaturday #635 – Vancouver 2017

where?  UBC Robson Square Downtown Campus – Vancouver, BC

when?   Saturday, August 26th, 2017 (All day! – Schedule coming soon)

who?    500 attendees (it’s our goal!) – professionals who work with data

why?   For the love of data!

how much?  it’s FREE!  – Purchase of a boxed lunch is optional ($15) after registration is complete, you will be directed to PayPal to purchase the lunch, if you want it.  

How do I find out more? Go to… 


Our goal this year is to break the 500 attendee ceiling.  How do we do that?  We open up more tracks and invite other technical communities to talk on data focused topics.  The Azure community will have a track to talk on the current offerings that the Microsoft cloud offers in way of Data Platform capabilities.  The Office 365 / SharePoint Community will also be invited to submit sessions on unique offering in the data space that their community can share.  With MySQL and PostgreSQL now being offered in Azure, we may still see more presentations from OpenSource communities.  In addition to “R” the statistical analysis language that is a key language of the Data Scientist community, we can also expect to see presentations on Python as both “R” and Python now able to be called from T-SQL Stored Procedures.




A History of the first 4 SQLSaturday’s held in Vancouver, BC

Vancouver was the first SQLSaturday outside the USA back in 2011 with SQLSaturday #65. It was an event held the weekend before the Microsoft MVP Summit in Bellevue Washington, so the event was infused with speakers from around the Globe. The event took place at a swanky hotel in the heart of downtown Vancouver. The event was a smashing success. Michael Lato was the main organizer, but Rich Baumet and I did a lot to make the event successful as Michael was on the other side of the country.

Rich Heigis wrote a blog that can be found here.  Aaron Bertrand wrote his blog post here.  Michael Lato blogged multiple times here. Donabel Santos also wrote a blogpost here.  

Vancouver’s 2nd SQLSaturday (#114) found a new suburban home in BCIT’s Burnaby’s Campus.  A more modest sized budget and with fewer attendees, the event was once again orchestrated by Michael Lato, and I popped by the day before the event to help out with the onsite event execution.  Not being on the 


Autumn is here – Let’s Connect, Share & Learn

There are a number of exceptional events taking place close to home (Vancouver, BC, Canada) over the next few weeks… here are just 5 Data-centric events to excite the senses!

  1. New Era of Data Warehouse Design – with ColumnStore technology  (Free event)
  2. Operationalize Power BI  (Free event)
  3. PASS Summit 2016  (discount code provided!)
  4. Columnstore & Memory-Optimized Workshop  (discount code provided!)
  5. Vancouver SQL Camp  (Free event)


September 28th (Wednesday Evening!)

Vancouver BI PASS Chapter presents (Free event):

“New Era of Data Warehouse Design – with Columnstore technology”

by Sepand Gojgini, Lead Business Intelligent Developer DATATEAM services

Having a robust data warehouse and analytical platform is a great competitive advantage, however, many organizations lack one due to complexity and cost associated with developing and maintaining one. In this session, we will share a, proven, new data warehousing approach that can help you take advantage of advancements in Microsoft SQL Server.

for FULL details:
to RSVP:


October 13th (Yup another Thursday Evening!)

Vancouver Power BI User Group Meeting & Vancouver BI PASS Chapter presents (Free event):

“Operationalizing Power BI for the Enterprise”

by Scott Stauffer, Independent Data Consultant

“How do I take my Power BI Solution and pass it over the wall to IT to manage? … How do we take what we’ve developed and make it more “-able”? … Come join us as we look at some solutions that we think might help transition your desktop solution to the enterprise.

for FULL details
Meetup Page:
to RSVP:


October 25 – 28th (Starts on the 24th if you want to take in the preconference sessions)

PASS Summit 2016
at the Washington State Convention Center

4,000 of my closest friends get together each year to Connect, Share & Learn!

2 days of half and full day preconference sessions & 3 days of general sessions

Seattle, WA

Save $150 with the Chapter Discount Code: LC15CJQ9

Full details & to register:


October 31st – November 2nd (Monday – Wednesday)

ColumnStore & Memory-Optimized Workshop
in Redmond, WA (Microsoft Campus)

This 3-day workshop put on by Niko Neugebauer (Data Platform MVP), of OH2data, will be just what your boss ordered to help improve your database performance!

Discover the two of the most important & revolutionary technologies for Data Warehousing, Operational Analytics and OLTP – the Columnstore Index and In-Memory Tables!

– Niko’s Columnstore blog series includes over 90 posts over the last 3 years!

Save $200 with the Chapter Discount Code: VANCANSQL16

Full details & to register:


November 4th (Friday Afternoon)

Vancouver SQL Camp

This Free event is hosted by the DevTeach Community & Microsoft – Pizza & 4 technical SQL sessions by Rich, Scott, Florian and Jean-René on a Friday afternoon

for FULL details:
to register:,26,1,46

SQL Server 2016 General Availability and Community Launch event in Vancouver

Grab and Evaluation Edition or FREE Developer's Edition of SQL Server 2016

Grab and Evaluation Edition or FREE Developer’s Edition of SQL Server 2016

Well, on June 1st, Microsoft delivered a new version of its “Enterprise Class” Database, SQL Server.  Why should you upgrade?  There are so many reasons that I can think of, but likely you’ll be interested because…
SQL Server Developer’s Edition is now FREE! … so why not take it for a spin…
Need resources to get you started… Yup, we can help there too…

tl;dr? – Make your way to the end to link to the resources 😉


Why not join 1 of the Vancouver PASS Chapters? - Click the Logo above and fill select the appropriate region info.

Why not join 1 of the Vancouver PASS Chapters? – Click the Logo above and fill select the appropriate region info.

Vancouver hosted the LARGEST Community Launch event in Canada, thanks to the support of Microsoft, PASS and Swim Recruiting.

swim recruiting

swim recruiting

Our sponsors threw some cash our way to feed the attendees with some snacks, coffee and boxed lunches.  The Swim Team was helping out with registration and talking to you about career opportunities in the Vancouver area.  PASS dropped off a load of DVDs “Top 10 Sessions of PASS Summit 2015.”  These recorded sessions give you an idea of what you simply DO NOT want to miss out on… Are you sold on the PASS Summit?  Go to Vancouver BI Chapter site and grab the discount code to save $150 on registration for the PASS Summit 2016 coming to Seattle in the fall.

Microsoft was at the SQL 2016 Community Launch Event too, represented by Andrew Boudreau.  Andrew played double duty delivering 2 sessions – You Rock, Andrew!  Andrew started the show off sharing the pieces of SQL Server that he is PASSionate about – Azure Data Warehouse and Polybase to name two.  I followed up with “Visualization & Reporting Options on the Microsoft Data Platform” talking about what’s new with SSRS and a few things on Power BI too… Andrew, graciously agreed to fill the lunch slot and filled in the gaps that I left out on Power BI, in addition to launching into some Power BI demos to delight the audience.

After Lunch, Rich Baumet jumped into DBA enhancements and new features.  [On a side note Rich is once again doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  Why not make an investment in a Cancer free future… Click here to help him meet his fundraising goal!]

After Rich, Todd McDermid jumped into share some In-Memory topics, along with some T-SQL features, Always Encrypted, and even a few SSIS pieces, because we asked him to…

A great day was had by all… It is tough to know exactly how many people showed, as some people only came for half a day and others didn’t register, they just slid in, but best estimates based on check-in is 125 – 130 attendees.  Not bad for a community driven event.  For the next SQL Launch, though… Microsoft Canada needs to step it up and have a bigger Launch event here in Vancouver.

The Resources?

Right, you probably want the slide decks…

Todd’s slide decks and demo files are available here:

My slide decks, in addition to Andrews, can be found here:!AgxiYutcvpJCgrwxStCiDrdz4R6fRg

Here is a fancy poster to print out and hang in your office!

SQL Server 2016 Technical Overview poster

SQL Server 2016 Technical Overview poster


Call to Sponsors – SQL Server 2016 Community Launch Event – Vancouver, BC

Okay, this is pertaining my LAST blog post, “SQL Server 2016 Community Launch Event – Vancouver, B.C.”  a.k.a. The Event

As Vancouver is one of the TOP 10 most expensive cities to live, it’s reasonable to expect that it is also one of the TOP 10 most expensive cities to host an event… Community event, or not…

That is why we are reaching out to YOU, our partners in making the  SQL Server community awesome.

We are offering sponsorship opportunities at 3 levels:

Disclosure monies collected will go towards Event, revenue after expenses doesn’t make it to my pocket but goes towards food and beverage for the local Vancouver SQL PASS Chapters meetings.


Bronze Level $375 (a.k.a. – I want to help the community!

show me a little love, but don’t make me stand behind a booth all day…)

  • Thank you at beginning and at the end of the day on stage
  • Logo on Slide Deck / Eventbrite Site
  • Logo on Vancouver PASS OR PASS BI Chapter site for 6 months


Silver Level $750 + Bizcard draw prize (a.k.a. – I’m a Marketing Geek!

I need a little separation from all the excitement of SQL in the form of a table as a platform for my Marketing Magic! [okay, seriously, those SQL people are a little strange, the table is my protection])

all the benefits of the Bronze level in addition to…

  • a table for your marketing stuff – let me know if you don’t have a table cloth it seems most companies do now-a-days. (Yes, we have power cables and chairs too)
  • Logo on Vancouver PASS AND PASS BI Chapter site for 6 months
  • 1 mailing – sent by us, on your behalf; before or after The Event
  • 30-second elevator pitch on stage at the beginning of the event inviting attendees to come talk with you at your booth.
  • you do your business card draw on stage and another short elevator pitch opportunity


Gold Sponsor $2000 (a.k.a. Lunch is one me!)

(Come hear us Roar, we are an MS Partner with Data Platform competency; OR, we sell 3rd part software that makes the Microsoft Data Platform sing; OR, we sell Enterprise hardware that makes SQL Server hum along [Singing or Humming – it’s all good…])

You want the top spot?  First come, first served for this prize sponsorship level; but move fast, there is only one spot!

So again, you get all the benefits of the Bronze & Silver levels in addition to…

  • You have us for the lunch hour – we’re all yours.

UPDATE – April 3rd:  

We have room C300, the theatre, that now comfortably seats 175 people.  We had 100-110 attendees for the launch in 2014, so with a bigger venue, and more hype, we expect 125 – 150 attendees.

There is only 1 Gold Sponsorship opportunity as we only have the 1 room, but you would have the attention of the entire audience as they chow down on their boxed lunches.

Silver and Bronze offerings are not really limited, but practically, we only have enough space for 5-6 booths comfortably