Power BI Custom Visual Contest!

You already know Power BI allows custom data visualizations to be build.
And now Microsoft has created a contest with a $5000 grand prize for those who want to contribute to a better Power BI experience.

Afraid you won’t be the best?
2nd place awards $2500 and 3rd awards $1500 !

You’re not the 3rd best?
there will be THREE (!!!) “People Choice Awards” up for grab as well. Each worth $1000.
These will be judged by the number of twitter mentions for each entry.

Sadly winning one of the first 3 prizes won’t be possible by mentions.
But they will use the following criteria

  • 35.00% – Originality and creativity of the Visual
  • 35.00% – Usefulness and applicability
  • 30.00% – Design and code quality

Interested?
Check out the full post on the official Power BI blog

Free datasets

We all have those default vendor datasets.
But from time to time, we all just want a newer and fresher datasets, small or large, to play with.
Here you can find a list of real and useful opendata data to play with.

 

I’ll keep this list updated when I see new, incredible or just fun datasets.

Got a dataset that you think needs to be listed as well?
Post it in the comments!

2015/08/16 – Update: Added a realtime dataset section and added UK and EU opengov historical data.
2015/08/02 – First published: Added several useful datasets from my favorites


Real-time Data

City of Philadelphia Bike Share Stations
API info
Data relating to the Indego BikeShare program, including station locations and the number of available bikes.
More information about the program is available at: https://www.rideindego.com/

Live traffic information from the UK Highways Agency
Several API’s depending on the information you want
Live traffic information data showing traffic information on the strategic road network in England, maintained by the Highways Agency.


Historical Data

New York City OpenData
1300+ recent datasets, formatted for ease of use
makes the wealth of public data generated by various New York City agencies and other City organizations available for public use.

Reddit 1.7 Billion Public Comments
Original reddit post
Torrent of complete archive | Torrent of 54M comment subset
This dataset in Google BigQuery (direct link)
A dataset that is 250GB when compressed, over a terabyte uncompressed. Talk about a lot of data for all your text analysis needs…

Airline on-time performance data
zip files per year
The data consists of flight arrival and departure details for all commercial flights within the USA, from October 1987 to April 2008. This is a large dataset: there are nearly 120 million records in total, and takes up 1.6 gigabytes of space compressed and 12 gigabytes when uncompressed.

MuckRock
4000+ FOIA datasets all forms (email, excel, …)
is a collaborative news site that brings together journalists, researchers, activists, and regular citizens to request, analyze & share government documents.
Data is requested through Freedom of Information Acts.

New York State
2500+ charts, maps, calendars and of course regular datasets
Not only the city New York, but also the state has opened up it’s data.
Anything ranging from Citi Bike System Data to Subway Entrances to even Bicycle Routes.

World Country information
Site with API links
Get information about countries via a RESTful API

UK Open Government Project
23000+ datasets in different forms (CSV, XML, API, …)
Everything you ever wanted to know about the UK and more 🙂

European Union Open Data Portal
8600+ datasets available
Ranging from employment to industry to education data

Belgian Open Data Initiative
Approaching 2000 pure Belgian datasets

PASS Performance – SQLPalooza 2015!

Today I noticed I missed some great sessions from the PASS Performance virtual chapter. I’ll list them all below for you.

Do check performance.sqlpass.org for more great sessions!
And don’t forget to follow @SQLPASS_PVC on twitter

#1: Make Your SQL Server Queries Go Faster
#2: Building High Performance SQL Servers Virtual Machines on AWS and Azure
#3: Performing a SQL Server Health Check
#4: Columnstore Indexes – Questions and Answers
#5: Performance Troubleshooting Using DMVs
#6: Maximizing SSIS Package Performance
#7: Troubleshooting Seconday Replica Latency
#8: SQL Server Benchmarking: The Powershell Speedometer

Read morePASS Performance – SQLPalooza 2015!

Windows as a Service and Windows as a panic attack

Over the last week I’ve noticed several articles on Windows 10  passing by. I only linked 2, but some of these articles have very suggestive titles. Other articles are just full of suggestive language. Both suggesting that the free update is a trap and that we’ll all have to pay through the nose for Windows 10 after a free period.
It's a trap!

I understand that these major sites run on hits generated by all the fuzz they can create, but this is just starting to seem crazy.

Am I the only one thinking that Windows will just follow the same great path that Office has paved for it?

To me that would be the only logical path, as the Office 365 model is the way to forward. While people not needing all the fancy stuff can just buy each Office version separately. The same will hold true for Windows 10 or Windows 365.

It also will make licensing and managing the computer park a lot easier for a lot of businesses. And the home users will always be safe with the latest and greatest Windows version.

I tend to get bored every now and then

And when I get bored, the internet reaches out to me…
MVA has become a hobby it seems, even more so then browsing LinkedIn Pulse, Twitter, 9GAG, … 🙂


 

The Know It Prove It Challenge was fun to do in February and I completed the last module of the SharePoint course on the last day of February.

Today, as I started yet another video series (this time a C# for beginners course), I got bored almost when nearing the 1 hour mark. Which isn’t that abnormal, we all need breaks once in a while.

The thing is that I went into my MVA dashboard and noticed that I’m spending waaaaay too much time on there.

MVA Ranking 201503019

 

Out of 2.880.150 people on MVA I rank #9534.
And out of 12.404 Belgians I rank #76.

Something else I wasn’t expecting is that most (about 2/3rds) completed courses were Azure/cloud related instead of SQL Server!

That only enforces my idea of continuing on the Azure path in my spare time.

So I’ll talk to you soon about some Azure stuff!

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy – Rock your skills!

MVA - Know it. Prove it.
MVA – Know it. Prove it.

If you’re not already familiar with the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) then this is a great opportunity to get familiar with this incredible resource!

Best of all is, any courses you already completed on MVA will count towards this challenge! 🙂

Personally I will be following the SharePoint track out of curiosity.
It will take me less than an hour every day, so it is very manageable.
These are the covered topics, well worth the time as you can see!

  • Manage SharePoint Online Documents and Lists
  • Support Corner: Configure SharePoint Outbound Hybrid Search
  • Office Guides: SharePoint Online Overview for IT Pros
  • Office Guides: Apps for Office and SharePoint
  • Tuning SQL Server 2012 for SharePoint 2013 Jump Start
  • Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • Developing SharePoint Server Advanced Solutions Jump Start

MVA – The good

MVA basically is the free Microsoft version of Pluralsight/CBT Nuggets/Udemy/..
If you’re looking to learn a new skill, get a deeper understanding or even get certified in a Microsoft technology, this is the place to be!

MVA – The not so good

I’ve found that not all courses contain the content you expect them to contain. Especially not if you want to get certified.
To offset this you should learn to visit (and love) Technet often.

Technet, love it!

A great example of Technet usage is the Books Online feature.
Want to get familiar with SQL Server Data Quality Services (DQS) data cleansing? You got it!
Just looking for an overview of what you can learn about SQL Server? Sure, that’s possible!

 

So, this happened…

Cartoon describing how most blogs start and then fail
Welcome to blogging!

At the moment this blog in general will be about all things awesomely (and sometimes less awesomely) Microsoft.
However my focus will mainly be on 4 topics.

  • SQL Server
  • Azure
  • Business Intelligence
  • Certification

So how does one create a blog?

  1. Promise that you will start blogging
  2. Do other stuff for 3 weeks, some examples
  3. Think of a good domain and blog name
    • Settle with your own name
    • Tell yourself you’ll think of a good name later on
  4. Register the domain and get some hosting
    • Set domain name up to point to hosting
  5. Search for blogging software
    • Settle with WordPress as it seems popular enough
  6. Remember you read a blog from some SQL dude stating he recently changed his comment system
    • Research WordPress comment systems
    • Settle for the free “Jetpack by WordPress.com” plugin
    • Notice it’s not yet working and requires tinkering
  7. Look for a theme
    • Notice there are a TON of (free and paid) themes
    • Decide this is a task for Future-Jan
  8. Create your first post on your vanilla WordPress site, because why not!
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