SQL Server 2016 Community Launch Event in Vancouver, BC

What?  Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Community Launch Event
Where?  UBC Robson Square Downtown Campus (800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7)
When?  Thursday, May 19th, 2016  (9 AM – 5 PM)

We will have Microsoft Employees, Data Platform MVPs and Seasoned SQL Professionals talking about and demonstrating the new features of SQL Server 2016.  Of course, we don’t know the ACTUAL release date of the product at this point, but CR1 (Release Candidate 1) is out, so RTM (Release to Manufacturer) shouldn’t be TOO far behind?  Never the less, the community will unite and converge under Robson Street once again, to Connet, Share, Learn on May 19th.

More details to come… Drop the date into your Calendar, Eventbrite page to follow…

No, this is NOT an April Fools joke…


Scott’s Hierarchy of Presentation Needs

As I roll up my sleeves, make some espresso [insert 12 other OCD / procrastination habits], In preparations for another SQLSaturday, I think once again about how I have needs.  I’m not talking about the one’s that Abraham Maslov provided me – those are a given.  I have certain needs as a presenter in order to be successful.  Now this isn’t a paper that is to be published in psychology journal to be pondered upon and dissected  for decades, but simply a draft to be added to and perhaps referenced from time to time when people consider the physical surrounding when they speak.  I haven’t done my due diligence to see if this topic has been suitably covered in other blogs or books, and at this point I’m not sure that I am locked into precedence of layers or completeness.  In fact, please comment with additional recommendations and opinions.

So here we are… remember, it’s just a draft!


  • Audio
  • Visual
  • Connectivity
  • Electricity

Technical Issues… Please Standby – Image to come shortly… 🙁



When influencing, educating, sharing knowledge, it’s important to be heard!  Now anyone who knows me well knows that I have a rather loud voice at times.  Perhaps, I never learned about my, “Inside Voice,” in elementary school, or I am slowly losing my hearing and speak louder to compensate, or because I took music & theatre in school and the ability to project my voice has become an ability that has improved over the years [I’d like to think the latter, but other’s debate heavily over the former two possibilities.]  Where am I going with this?  Oh, yes… “…it’s important to be heard!”  When you are speaking in certain venues, you have Lapel or podium mics, in other venues, the acoustics are similar to that of an amphitheatre and then sometimes, you simply have to project your voice.  It isn’t critical that I know the Audio characteristics of the venue, however, it certainly does help to know ahead of time so that I can properly prepare.


So there is me… I have to be dressed appropriately, PJ’s, slippers… uhm, suit, tie, polished shoes…  But then there is this thing called PowerPoint, and although I’d like to believe that my audience just came to see me… {C’mon, of course, they soooo did…} they likely came to see a technical demo, a psychedelic Data Viz, or an architectural tech diagram.  So it would help if I had the correct connectors for my computer.  Also, of importance is to be privy to the supported resolutions and aspect ratios, but, more importantly, the native resolution of the projection system.  Certainly knowing the size of the screen and room is great to know, it isn’t a major concern in rooms designed for such activities.  When you first start developing your slides… this is the best time to choose your slide format 4:3, 16:10, 16:10.  Changing this afterwards can be a major pain, but Scott Hanselman posted this excellent blog on how to quickly change the aspect ratio without stretched images.  We aren’t talking just about PowerPoint presentations.  If you have visual designers like Visual Studio that have a number of regions, shrinking things down to a low resolution can make it rather cumbersome to navigate. Knowing this beforehand a presenter can practice at this resolution, and make needed changes to the regions that are displayed by the tool by default.  In turn, the audience won’t be distracted by a panicked, disoriented presenter.


Notebooks, small batteries, no power outlets at the podiums/tables.  ‘nuf said…


With so many service offerings in the cloud today, and demo environments living on someone else’s servers, connectivity is king.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to access the internet, connect to a VPN, use Remote Desktop in Azure via an Ethernet Adapter, but know, in reality, this is not always going to be an option.  I understand companies have security concerns so they lock down ports on their firewalls, provided limited bandwidth connections, have a spotty or aged WiFi infrastructure in place or simply don’t provide ANY of these options. Now sure, I have some fairly beefy machines that I can bring along, but I am getting old, and to carry a lot of extra tech in my backpack can do a number on my back.  Let’s not mention that the TSA people raise eyebrows when you have a LOT of hardware for a weekend trip.  Another option is to record videos with Camtasia, and likely a recommended backup in the event that things don’t quite go as planned.



Okay, now it’s your turn!  Did I miss anything here?  Do you have a layer to insert into the Presentation Hierarchy of Needs?  Add your comments below!

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 Outlook.com 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… http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Windows-8/Windows-8-1-Lenovo-system-update/m-p/1233801

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

source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn344916.aspx

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!