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!


PASS keeps things fresh with BACon: It ain’t yer grand-pappy’s PASS conference

Times, they are a-changin’


We were warned of this back when SQL Server 7.0 launched.  We were told that the technology was so great that we wouldn’t need DBAs anymore; the database was self-tuning.  I know, we all chuckled at this and moved on, but not without at bit of damage control as we explained to our bosses that the Marketing people were once again posturing.SQL7Box

Times were a changing with Windows Azure being released in 2010 and SQL Server Data Services (as it was then coined) we were counting the days to move our systems to The Cloud.  Okay, maybe we aren’t quite there yet – Strangely not all of my clients have a Windows Azure account, but for a large number of companies, relieving themselves of on premise data centers truly is a compelling idea.

datat anywhere

Times are changing, again with talk of Big Data, Visual Analytics, and Sentiment Analysis becoming common buzz words in all sorts of places.  Of course, we don’t throw up our hands and start fresh.  We need to take pause, listen, absorb and discuss.  What better place than at a conference?  Among the people that we’ve come to know and respect over the years either by attending other conferences, or reading their books, blogs or other trade publications.  We can learn from one another how we can help educate and direct our own teams as we navigate our way around some of these new concepts.Cloud, Big Data,Enterprise Data

Some of us could leverage some of these new and emerging technologies to solve business challenges we have today.  Sometimes we have processes in house that have already collected and archived or warehoused this information; we just need a way of letting it tell a story.  Tools like PowerPivot and PoverView can help us discover treasures, and build a visualization which can help the business gain a deeper understanding, and potentially make better decisions based on new found ideas.  Let’s embrace the opportunity to help our companies reach new levels of understanding through business insight.  Other times we have hit a wall and we need new solutions.  Perhaps, we have multiple petabytes of sensor data, and we need to look at a big data solution.  How will we know where to turn? This is where the PASS Business Analytics Conference can help.

copy-PASS_BAC_Im-Attending_Twibbon.pngPASS has, for a number of years has, put on a conference for the Data Professional, with a focus on the Database Administrator and the Database Developer.  Over the years as Business Intelligence has gained a greater focus for the Data Professional, PASS has added tracks to meet this growing demand.  The areas outside the traditional relational database engine continue to gain focus.  “Beyond Relational” is what this area has been called, but I think the levy broke.  Too much new innovation is coming from areas outside of the relational engine.  It gets hard for one conference to serve the needs of one audience.  The PASS Business Analytics conference is not the silver bullet – it is a conference targeted at the Decision Makers, Technology Architect / Implementers, Business SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), and Data Wranglers.  

 If you are wondering wether Big Data can help answer new questions for your business, or need to unlock insight from the data that is trapped in you data silos, or you are struggling to find solutions to answer today’s business questions, perhaps, you need to join me in Chicago from April 10th – 12th.  As always, if you see me, don’t be shy – introduce yourself, I don’t byte.  

 use the code BAC725MVP for $200 OFF the PASS BA Conference



Scott Stauffer


Microsoft Canada wants to hear from YOU!

Download Trials / Learn / Provide Feedback

Microsoft - Your feedback matters.We often work with Anthony, Pierre and Mitch, the evangelists from the IT Pro team at Microsoft Canada.  They asked us to share this important message with you.

The team at Microsoft Canada is focused on ensuring that they help set you up for success by providing the information and tools you need in order to be get the most out of Microsoft based solutions, at home and at work.

Twice a year, Microsoft sends out the Global Relationship Study (GRS for short); it’s a survey that Microsoft uses to collect your feedback and help inform their planning.  If you receive emails from Microsoft, subscribe to their newsletters‚ or you’ve attended our any of their events you may receive the survey.

The important details:

  • Timing – March 4th to April 12th 2013
  • Sent From – “Microsoft Feedback”
  • Email Alias – “feedback@e–
  • Subject Line – “Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners”

Many of you already read the Microsoft Canada IT Pro team’s blogs‚ connect with them on LinkedIn and have attended their events in the last year or so. So you may already know that you’re their top priority. So they want to hear from you. 

Pierre, Anthony and Mitch use the GRS results to shape what they do, how they do it and if it’s resonating with you. Tell them what you need to be the “go-to” guy (or gal).  Tell them what you need to grow your career.  They want you to be completely satisfied with Microsoft Canada.

This year, Pierre, Anthony and Mitch have delivered 30 IT Camps and counting across the country.  Giving you the opportunity to get hands on and learn how to get the most value for your organization.  They have a few more events planned this year, so keep an eye on their plancast feed for events near you.  Based on your feedback, topics they’re planning to cover will include:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012
  • System Center 2012
  • Private Cloud
  • BYOD – Management and Security 

That’s not all.  They’ve heard you loud and clear so in addition to hands on events, they’re also delivering more technical content online via the IT Pro Connection Blog.  Windows 8 continues to be a big area of focus for them.  They covered a lot of great content at launch and they’ve complimented that with new content like:

In addition to this, there are some valuable online resources you can use like Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft’s no-cost online training portal.  Or software evaluations (free trials) on TechNet that allow you to build your own labs to try out what you’ve learned.

Regardless of how you engage with the team at Microsoft Canada‚ you’d probably agree that they hear you. They’d also encourage you to continue to provide that great feedback. They thrive on it‚ they relish it‚ they wallow in it and most importantly of all‚ they action it. So please keep connecting with them and keep it coming! Pierre, Anthony and Mitch are listening.

Resources, Tools and Training

  • Tim Horton’s Gift Card Contest– We’re giving away 350 Tim Horton’s gift cards, all you have to do to qualify is download a free qualifying software evaluation (trial).  Download all three for more chances to win, but hurry, the contest closes soon.* 
  • Windows 8 Resource Guide Download a printable, one-page guide to the top resources that will help you explore, plan for, deploy, manage, and support Windows 8 as part of your IT infrastructure. 
  • Windows Server 2012 Evaluation – Get hands on with Windows Server 2012 and explore the scale and performance possibilities for your server virtualization. 
  • Microsoft Support  – Get help with products‚ specific errors‚ virus detection and removal and more. 
  • Microsoft Licensing  -Visit the Volume Licensing Portal today to ask questions about volume licensing‚ get a quote‚ activate a product or find the right program for your organization.  

*No purchase necessary. Contest open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.  Contest closes April 11, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Three-Hundred-and-Fifty (350) prizes are available to be won: (i) $10 CDN Tim Horton’s gift card.  Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. For full rules, including entry, eligibility requirements and complete prize description, review the full terms and Conditions.

In Conclusion / ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Download Trials – Try the products out for free – Look at the links above, Almost everything has a trial version so that you can kick the tires yourself!
  2. Learn – Never Stop!  Use the resources above to push yourself to learn more – the resources help you get there faster.
  3. Provide Feedback – If you were chosen to take part in the Global Relationship Study, please take part and provide feedback; If you were not chosen, ALWAYS feel free to send feedback directly to the Microsoft Canada Team – They are always very receptive to feedback. (or leave a comment here!)

How do you measure the success of a SQLSaturday?

I am a man of data.  I employ the scientific method.  I use metrics and build dashboards.

I guess I could measure it by attendees, by the number of speakers who submitted.  Perhaps, I could measure the Social Media buzz or how well I managed my budget, or how many repeat attendees.  These all tell good stories, they allow us to compare with other events, and decide the relative value.

In reality, I am much more a qualitative guy.  I look at the involvement of the numerous volunteers, the number of email thank yous, the amount of time spent with attendees organizers and sponsors after the event.  I also look at the pre-event activities and the new friendships that were formed.  I also look at the smiles on the people’s faces, and the energy of the event.

I had a blast, and I thank the speakers, 5 of which traveled from Europe, and thought to stop by in Canada to present: Niko, Hugo, Oliver, Constantin and Mladen – Thanks guys!  Eight Speakers came from others  parts of Canada: John W., Rohan, Edwin, Damir, Jean-Rene, Karen Lopez, Michael and Colin – Tim Horton’s all around! Thanks to our speakers who crossed the 49th to come visit us – there were 17 of you.  Then we have Julie, who is just trying to get as many legitimate international foursquare check-ins in a 1 years period – likely for a GeoFlow presentation.

Thanks you to our Organizing Committee.  Todd helped keep me from having a panic attack on the day by printing of some of the speed passes for the few people who forgot to printout their name badges and raffle tickets.  Blythe who help with the Marketing and Communications, and many other logistics.  To Donabel for looking after the Program Guide, the Guidebook App integration, and assisting Blythe with the dozens of volunteers.  Thanks to Jamie and Melody for coming all the way from the Interior of BC, where they now have two (2) PASS Chapters!  Jamie helped with sponsor coordination, logistics, and he was up on stage with me during the raffle draw.  Melody organized the entire Lightning Talk line up, communication and coordination.  Richard Looked after communication with the speakers and slotting people in to tracks. I like how everyone jumped in to lend a hand and make the event a success.  Thanks Team

Special thanks to Jonathan for stepping forward an taking care of business and taking the left over lunches to a Vancouver homeless shelter.  Thank you as well to the Christine for once again coming out and helping a presence and leadership at the registration tables.

Thanks to the Sponsors too who were there to financially support the event – we couldn’t do it without you guys either…

This sounds like one of those long Oscar speeches and I think I can hear the Jaws music starting…

In the end there’s only on measurement that I concern myself with.  Will we do it again next year?  Absolutely!