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SQLSaturday makes a 4th Stop in Vancouver, BC

…In less than 2 weeks! – Register Now

SQLSaturday #407


We’re BAAAaaack!

Well after almost 2 1/2 years we decided to do it one more time! (For historical purposes you can check-out my last post on the topic here.)

“What’s a SQLSaturday?”

A little unsure what a SQL Saturday is… well you can read the original description on the wiki written by the founder, or you can read other people’s thoughts, here and here… And please do have a look, BUT my interpretation is this:

A free, one day conference style event organized by volunteers, financially supported by sponsors, and attended by data professionals. These events are happening all around the world with much the same model. PASSionate people sharing their knowledge and networking with their peeps.

Wondering if this means you? If you aren’t currently a data professional, that’s okay, this is an excellent way to make a start, meet some people in the field and take in some free educational sessions. Wondering what Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), or Data Scientist means? Wondering what people are talking about when they say Self-Serve BI or Visual Analytics? Yeah… we can help you out there too. 😉

“Gimme a little background…”

Vancouver had the first SQL Saturday outside the U.S. (#65) in 2011 and the last SQL Saturday saw presenters from around the world sharing their knowledge. At that event, SQLSaturday #198, we had about 425 attendees and we took over the BCIT Burnaby Campus.

“… and this year?”

This year we are Downtown Vancouver at the UBC Robson Square Campus. Our Schedule has a choice of 5 sessions for every timeslot – how will you ever choose? Take a friend or business colleague and divide and conquer- share the experience when you get back to the office!

We will have educational sessions and during the lunch hour we will have vendor focused sessions so that our generous sponsors have a chance to talk about the products and services that they sell while you enjoy your lunch. This year we also have a Women in Technology (WIT) panel session hosted by Cindy Gross, from Microsoft Corp.

So how do you register for this exciting day of Data fun and exploration? It’s just a few clicks away…

Register Now

“Free? There’s no such thing as a free lunch is there?”

Well, in this case, no, the lunch isn’t free. If you do register, please consider the $15 lunch. It is a boxed lunch with deli sandwich, cookie and your choice of a drink. All food in made onsite in the Industrial – food safe Kitchen to ensure freshness. Taking advantage of this option means you don’t miss out on education and networking opportunities while you try and hunt down offsite food choices.

We, the organizers don’t draw a red cent (or a shiny nickel for that matter). We volunteer or time, and it is a break-even event. Sponsors cover the fees for the facilities, WiFi, the A/V equipment, Insurance, and the Speaker’s Dinner… And NO, the speakers don’t get paid anything for their time either, so please, if you come, thank them for taking the time to share their incredible knowledge with you. While you are at it also thank the sponsors, without them this event just wouldn’t happen either.

Not sure this is your thing?

Not really that into data? Do you IT or Data Savvy friends a favour and pass this link along so that they have an opportunity to attend.

Again, this is less than two weeks away, register now to reserve your spot. I look forward to seeing you at the event!


Register Now



Data Mashups Recipes using Power Query

Potatoes, cream and butter not required!

Tomorrow evening I will be delivering a presentation to the Vancouver PASS Chapter the Vancouver BI PASS Chapter and invitations have gone out to various other local UGs as I will be covering a few different areas.

Power Query is a pretty slick tool and I will add details here, but they will also be in the Slide Deck that I will include later in this post at a link to my SlideShare account.

This page will have some links to other important places that you might want to explore, such as OpenDataBC.  OpenDataBC has a MeetUp group that just ramped up in November for Vancouver.  It’s sister Meetup in Victoria has been meeting for quite a while, but when one of the key organizers moved to Vancouver for a new role, she decided to make things happen here too.  Thanks for the hard work Gillian!

Looking to learn more about the recent updates?  Check out the PowerBI MSDN blog, and see post like this:

I LOVE how Miguel Llopis does a detailed blog post with screen shots, but also takes the time to also showcase each new feature to the realease in a short screencast – Microsoft, take note, people DO like this – Please encourages this… give that man a raise!

Looking to Download the Power Query Add-in… Likely the best place to go for the December update is:

Power Query release cadence – monthly sprints!  I LOVE it – something new to touch EVERY MONTH…

What will I be doing in the session?

  1. Showing you how to get the tools
  2. Showing you around the tool
  3. Doing some fun stuff with public data
  4. Scraping data from websites
  5. Creating a Do… WHILE construct to iterate over a website.

Afterwards, BELLINIS!  The Cactus Club is just around the corner from our Venue, so why wouldn’t we


Day 1 of Dimensional Modeling in Depth and Loving it!

Wow! The end of an amazing Day #1 – Dimensional Modeling in Depth.

I frequently espouse the benefits of benefits of following the Kimball approach to clients. Sometimes they listen and send their people to the Kimball University Training, and sometimes they simply buy them the book and say, “Make it so, Number One!” [Think Captain Picard from Star Trek the Next Generation]. Now was the time to put my money where my mouth was. If I believe in it, I need to drink my own Kool-Aid. Ya know, it’s kinda tasty! Apparently, with the number of the people in the room, others like the taste too… 72 attendees! WHAT? Yes, and 44 are from the state of Texas – there are also other from Canada too. Overall, I was a little shocked, but delighted to see the room and all the people.

They course isn’t simply a re-hash of the book, there are different conversations, and with 72 people, we get a lot of great questions. I wouldn’t necessarily ask some of them, but I’ve been intrigued by some of the answers and conversation that comes from them the comments and questions.

Margy is a Rock Star. Truly. She downplays here role saying that people are waiting to see and hear Ralph speak, but honestly, I’m getting more than my money’s worth from Margy. It’s just so damn sad that they are retiring. We have to entrap all of them and keep them out of retirement. Really, we can make it happen… Okay, I’m just getting tired and punchy… time to hit the hay so that I’m refreshed for Day 2.

Oh, and I almost forgot – I will also be attending the North Texas SQL Server User Group on Thursday, because, “Hey, it’s in the same building!” – How cool is that.  Who will I be seeing present?  None other than the infamous Mindy Curnutt!  She will be speaking on “Tracing and Extended Events – 3 Methods to end the Madness” – It’s like I won the lottery TWICE in one week!

P.S. – The POST process failed last night in WordPress and fell off the Rocker… Luckily, I saved it in Word and could re-post today!

Kimball University Training all this week!

kg-dw-toolkit-new-202x250I have always been a fan of the Kimball Books for providing a playbook for how to do Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (DW/BI), and I have always had an excuse for not biting the bullet and taking the course.  Now, my time is running out.  The team is retiring, as stated here.  I am taking the Dimensional Modeling in Depth this week, and then I am thinking Seattle in August might be a good time for the Lifecycle in Depth.  Of course I have all of their publication in both traditional paperback and e-book formats for a lighter backpack, but, I am hoping to fill in some of my blind spots and get some insight that you can only get when spending quality time with the industry leaders.  I am hoping the stories and conversations with the attendees will alsoKimball-Group-Logo be enlightening and I can gain insights that I may not get in other forums.

Here in Irving, Texas, a hop, skip and a jump from the Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) Airport, I will be taking part in the class in the Microsoft Training Center (MTC).  I chose the NYLO Dallas/Las Colinas Hotel as it can see the MTC from the front door of the hotel.  No cab, not rental car, no hassle!  The hotel has also received good ratings on the travels sights, and it is a incredibly reasonable rate for what you get.

So, my goal… one post a night capturing the moments as I reflect upon each day of training.

But wait there is more… I have so many other things to talk about, you may just be subjected to a few other posts this week, as I struggle to get some exciting news out the door on events in the Vancouver area in relation to IT and Data focused events in particular.

Until we next cross paths,


Selected to present at the PASS Business Analytics Conference

PASS Business Analytics Conference - Calling All Data Professionals - May 7-9 2014, San Jose, CA - I'm Speaking

It’s Official!

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I share with everyone that I will be presenting with Niko Neugebauer (t | IN | mvp) at the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose, California.

I have been going to PASS conferences for over a decade now, and occasionally I have submitted an abstract or two, but this time, sweet success!

Planning… well, we will be challenged with Niko living in Lisbon, Portugal, and me here in Vancouver, British Columbia, there are more than a few kilometers between us.  Fortunately, there are tools like Skype and SkyDrive which will allow us to collaborate while we construct our 60 minutes of Pure Awesomeness.

My Partner in Crime... figuratively speaking, of course...

My Partner in Crime… figuratively speaking…

These Conferences are EXTREMELY Serious, and they are all business… that is why Niko and I submitted a sessions entitled Managing Your Alibi with Social Media.  I suspect that our session might require a warning to be posted similar to the BI Power Hour at PASS where they state “You will not learn anything useful* ”  and ” * We are not responsible for any accidental learning”.

All that being said, this is a conference, and we do have some standards to live up to.

I can assure you that:

  1. we will look at social media data
  2. we will look at geospatial data
  3. we will have lots of Data Visualization “eye candy” to assist in proving our innocence of the criminal charges being brought against us
  4. fun will be had by all!

Register NowIf you are a Database Professional, BI Professional, Business Analyst, Data Scientist, or intrigued by Data Visualization and Business Analytics, I would encourage you to check out last year’s Keynote, by clicking the link below, peruse the sessions and register by clicking the link to the right.




Good Riddance 2013 – Love, Health & Happiness for 2014!

I actually had to look up “Riddance” for this one.

good riddance
phrase of riddance
  1. said to express relief at being free of a troublesome or unwanted person or thing.

Sure, I’ve used the term before, but I wasn’t too sure how to spell it correctly.  Seeing it in correctly spelt, it all made sense to me.  Then seeing that there is an end of the year event held for the past seven years in Time Square.


Good Riddance Day.  I want to say Good Riddance to...


I have quite a few things that I am happy to say good-bye to from 2013, but admittedly, I have a lot to be thankful for too.  I do have my health; my wife with whom I share my life; living in a country not currently at war, having comfortable shelter with heat and fresh water.  I can afford food on my plate.  I have family, friends and a fantastic community of which I am so fortunate to be a part.

On this last day of 2013, I’d like to wish you and your family Love, Heath and Happiness.  I look forward to sharing more in the New Year.



Rebuilding my machine with Windows 8.1

Start Time: 8:25 PM Pacific Time  (remember I am stopping to two finger type this blog 🙂

Downloaded Windows 8.1

Downloaded and Installed “Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool” from CodePlex

Created Windows 8.1 x64 Bootable USB on 8GB OCZ Rally2

Slide Samsung Pro 512GB SSD into my Lenovo x230T (replacing my Samsung Pro 256GB SSD)

Booted to USB

Accepted Default US Language – it’s just easier to change it all later.

Enter Product Key

Accept License agreement

Custom (Because I am not upgrading…)

“Where do you want to install Windows?”

Drive 0 Unallocated Space 476.9 GB

8:38 PM… Installing Windows

8:42 PM… Rebooting

Personalize… Just choosing the defaults for now…

PC Name x230t

WiFi – It sees all of my networks.

Choose my AP with strongest signal – type Security Key

Express Settings… This is a portable tablet; I ABSOLUTELY do not want to install updates whenever…

I like how Update your PC and apps has automatic options… I still turn them off.

I like how I can choose not to “Send a Do Not Track request to websites I visit in Internet Explorer.” – this is the default – NICE!

I like how the Check online for solutions and Help improve Microsoft products and services are very configurable.

I live the Share info with Microsoft and other services.

Linking to my account

Help us protect you… by texting me! – well that didn’t work… it never sent the text, or I haven’t received it yet… okay, “Plan B: e-Mail” via POP3 mailbox… and mail redirection via EasyDNS… Not so fast sometimes due to Mail filtering

Allow me to disable skydrive… Huh>?

Installing my Apps, whether I want to or no…  Oh, it just did the default ones… good, now choosing My Apps that I’ve already downloaded for Windows 8 in the past… NICE…  It would be nice to be able to get rid of the apps on My Apps list that I’ve tried but really don’t care for anymore… remove the clutter, because I have tried quite a few…

9:25 PM

Install Windows Updates… Only 0 Critical and 9 Important (and only 2 of them are NON hardware… I will Install the hardware with the Lenovo Hardware update software.

Finished at 9:31


Then install the Lenovo ThinkVantageSoftware that will pull all of the hardware drivers specific to the x230t down to my tablet.

Install started, but stuck on License screen… okay, I am not the only one with Windows 8.1 install with this issue…

Okay, Looking closely, I need to install .NET Framework 3.5 with SP1… that’s not installed by default… Control Panel; Programs & Features; Turn Windows Features on or off; .NET Framework 3.5  (Includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)… connected to Windows Update to get the additional pieces!  (I will run Windows Update 1 more time to be sure…) Nope… In fact that updates that showed before as being installed now look to be back in the list to be installed… perhaps a Shutdown is needed?

Yes, Lets…

Okay, One more Windows Update check.  Re-install the two updates… and now on to try the ThinkVantage System Update Software…  Nope, No Dice!  Dag-nabit!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Chrome and IE’s Translate via Google and Bing…They helped me with this solution proposed on this site:

The solution… Silent Install, FTW!

Windows – X; Command Prompt (Admin); CD C:\{where ever you dropped the file}\systemupdate502-06-26-2013.exe /a /s /s /v”/qn”

(I don’t think I need two “/s” switches above, but I’m not about to try again…)

After the silent install type “System Update” at you start screen… Voila!

0 Critical Updates; 19 Recommended Updates; 1 Optional Update

after install… (I paused the Install and plugged in the Ethernet cable and things went much faster!)

1 Package did not install…

“ThinkVantage Fingerprint Software – 7/8 [64]
Click here to install manually”

NICE!  okay…

Dialogue Box:

“ThinkVantage Fingerprint Software Setup:
To use this product.  Windows Biometric Framework must be enabled”

Well that makes sense…

Windows Start Screen; Services.msc; Windows BIometric Service; start; properites; startup; automatic

You may enable biometric functionality from group policy, refer to the following steps.

This little solution I found here:


a. Press the key, Windows + R.
b. Type gpedit.msc and press enter.
c. Select the option Administrator template and Windows Component.
d. Select the option Biometric and change the settings accordingly.

 Type “Fingerprint” at the Start screen; Navigate to PC Settings, select Accounts, and select Sign-in options


And for the last device…

the Ericsson F5521gw Mobile Broadband 3G Wireless WAN Mini PCI Adapter.

Detailed Instructions:

Latest Driver:

For Activation: 

Constantly Paving New Roads

Heraclitus by Johannes Moreelse

Heraclitus of Ephesus, is the Greek philosopher know for the quote “Nothing endures but change,”



I bought my Lenovo Thinkpad fully aware of Heraclitus’ lesson.  I looked at “required” features, 

nice to have” features as came to a solution that I believed would meet my short and likely medium term needs.  I suspect it would have been wise to define “short term” and “medium term” needs, but as I am discovering, that would have been a waste of time. or as we commonly hear today, “The only constant is change.”  Such is a reality of which you become acutely aware when you work in technology sector.
brick-trowelOff to the paving ground once again.
I need more local storage.  I am spoiled and demand (although, perhaps, I don’t “require“) a Solid State Drive (or SSD).  SSD’s are fast, and, well… expensive, in comparison to standard mechanical

you know that’s just crazy talk… So, on we go… What do we need?  What’s important?  What should I put on my new rig? How should I go about doing this to reduce wasted time?spinning disks.  Paving refers to the process of formatting and re-installing ones operating system and software on their primary storage drive.  Of course I could use software to restore an image of my current SSD onto the new SSD, but if you are and IT Professional, SONY DSC

Perhaps, having an on-line list of application and add-ins that I need with Link to vendors websites in a manageable format that is in some semblance of prioritized order?  Yeah, that’s a good start… I will make it live here, and encourage people like YOU to tell me if there is something else that you would recommend.  I know… I ask so much!

Looking forward to your input – Thanks in advance!

DevTeach Vancouver’s “Call for Speakers” deadline is fast approaching!

Why not submit to present at DevTeach Vancouver 2013?

DevTeach Vancouver - December 2nd - 4th 2013

With less than 7 days to go, You’d best set some time aside for developing some presentation abstracts and a speaker bio.  Yes, the “Call for Speaker” went out over almost a month ago, and you have procrastinated long enough!  Take some time, brainstorm some topics, write some draft presentation abstracts and give them to your co-worker, spouse or neighbour to read an give you some feedback, then write up something snappy about yourself, then SUBMIT before the deadline.

DevTeach is an all Canadian Conference with world class presenters… like YOU.  Why not take a risk and submit.  Step up your exposure.  Take an opportunity to visit Vancouver!

DevTeach is Ying to SQLTeach’s Yang

SQLTeach Vancouver - December 2nd thru 4th 2014

For full detail on what you need to provide for a speaker submission, please check out:There is plenty of Dev and there is plenty of SQL, so Jean-Rene Roy (or JR is he is commonly referred) at one point added the SQLTeach aspect of the conference.  Have a look on the website for past events held in Vancouver.  You’ll see so great local and international speakers, sharing their knowledge and this event is small enough, the attendees can even share a table at lunch with their favourite speakers.

So Much to Choose From

In terms of content, we have 10 tracks to choose from.  Below we have the number of presentations for each track and the name of the Track Chair, so that you can butter them up.  No paper trails on any of those bribes please  :^)


  • 6 .NET Agile. Track Chair Mario Cardinal
  • 11 Software Architecture. Track Chair Mario Cardinal
  • 11 Web Dev. Track Chair James Kovacs and Medhat Elmasy
  • 6 Javascript Track Chair James Kovacs and Medhat Elmasy
  • 6 Mobile Track Chair Jeffrey Palermo
  • 6 Cloud computing Development. Track Chair Jeffrey Palermo
  • 6 Windows 8 Track Chair Jeffrey Palermo
  • 5 SQL Server DBA/Admin. Track Chair Richard Baumet
  • 6 Database Development. Track Chair Scott Staufer
  • 6 SQL Server BI. Track Chair Jean-Rene Roy

Total sessions: 68


Don’t Delay, Submit Today!

And don’t forget, time is running out, submit by August 25th!


Hekaton is Microsoft’s In-Memory OLTP solution coming to SQL Server 2014

It's time to unlock insights on any data.  Download SQL Server Community Technology Preview 1

With all of the announcements as of late in Microsoft’s Data Platform space, it can be challenging to keep up with the barrage of new information coming down the pike.  It seems thought In-Memory

OLTP has piqued the interest of many data professionals.  With recent announcements regarding

SQL14 at TechEd North America, the deluge begins.  So where can YOU find out more… Well, great news, there are plenty of resources available for you to learn more, including an opportunity for you to roll up you sleeves and dive in.  Certainly there is a strong focus on this release of SQL on “Hekaton”, or “In Memory OLTP” as it is now being called.  For some In Memory OLTP IS a game changers, and a very anticipated feature indeed.

…and to get you started with In Memory OLTP, and SQL Server 2014 in general…

5 Steps to Wading Knee-Deep in SQL14

1. Download SQL Server 2014 CTP1

(That’s MicrosoftSpeak for Community Technology Preview – and to be quite honest, I like this better than calling the release alpha or beta)

Download SQL 20 14  C T P 1


SQL Blog dot com

2. Read Kalen Delaney’s In-Memory OLTP (“Hekaton”) Whitepaper

from her Blog:

Inside Microsoft SQL Server 7_0Just as an aside, if you get an opportunity to take part in ANY education session that Kalen conducts, it is ALWAYS worth the money.   I saw Kalen at my 1st PASS pre-con session back in 2000 in San Francisco – I was as “gitty as a school girl.”  I should have had her sign my “Inside SQL Server 7.0” – how did I miss that opportunity?  I sat right in the front row and took full advantage of every second of that day.

3. Watch some of the sessions from TechEd North America 2013 & TechEd Europe 2013

streaming online, or download them for later viewing on a plethora of device options

Tech Ed Europe 20 13Tech Ed North America 20 13 In Memory O L T P






4.  Read Blogs about SQL14 from SQL Server Professionals like these:

Non – Hekaton:

UPDATE: July 16th! 

I can’t believe I missed this one… Actually, I didn’t miss it as much as realize that it wasn’t 2014 material… how silly of me!  Nico is a PASSionate speaker, a vivacious, honest, caring individual.  I am honoured to call him a friend.  Niko is a Community Evangelist for PASS and  SQL Server MVP.  Prior to becoming a Community Evangelist, he  organized the first SQL Saturday outside of North America, in his home town of Lisbon, Portugal.  This guy breathes life into community!


5. Schedule some time for explorations!  

This isn’t going to happen by osmosis, you need to dig in, put the hip waders on and trudge through some soupy water; it’s the only way…

Enjoy the journey, and let me know if you have any other treasures that you’d like added.  As always, I welcome your comments!