I’ve been thinking about this blog post a lot these last few days. The classic “end-of-year” post that most everyone does, but this one has turned out to be rather special for me. At the same time it is kind of scary, as when I look back on what I’ve done and accomplished this year, I realize how much it actually is - and how much I have actually chosen *not* to do. 2018 was the year I decided to step up my speaking game for real. I had spent 2016 and 2017 polishing my skills and sending abstracts to what felt like every conference there was.
It’s time for me to go on the road again, and this time I’m headed to London and the UK Cloud Infrastructure User Group where I will be delivering a brand new session on self-service BI from an infrastructure perspective. This session is not only brand new, it is also a bit of an presentation style experiment. I will be delivering the session in no less than three different voices - as in, three differing points of opinion. The subtitle for this session is “arguing with myself” for a reason… My goal with the 60-minute session is to provide a walk-through what self-service BI is and what makes it so potentially awesome, how it can (and will!
There are several more use cases for a dataflow, but one that is very useful is the ability to share a dataset between apps. Previously we had to duplicate the dataset to each and every app that needed to use it, increasing the risk that one dataset was ignored, not refreshed properly or otherwise out of sync with reality. By using dataflows we can have several apps rely on the same dataflow (via a dataset), and thus it is quite possible to have a “master dataset”. Here is one way to do it: 1. Create an app workspace to keep all your dataflows that you are planning on sharing to different app workspaces.
With Power BI Dataflows out in public preview and everyone exclaiming how absolutely amazing they are, I decided to put together a bit of an example of how you might use it to “hide” some of the data prep work that goes into cleaning a dataset. To do this I will build on a blog post from Erik Svensen that he wrote a few years ago where he uses data from Statistics Sweden to work through a JSON API. Exactly what data I use here isn’t quite as important as how I use it, but the idea is to provide a prepared dataset ready-to-use for an analyst.
I’m on a train heading to Stockholm and Microsoft TechDays, where I’ll be delivering “Azure SQL Server for the on-prem DBA”. This session outlines what’s available in Azure, what is automatic, what is not quite automatic and what is idiosyncratic, as well as explores some of the hard questions one should ask whenever the topic of databases in the cloud comes up. This is the second time I’ve been selected to speak at TechDays, and I find this to be a very nice conference. It’s a good venue, a lot of people and a great sponsor area. This year I’ll apparently hold court in one of the larger rooms - rather exciting!
On Monday this week I was downtown for some business as the new MVP awards started hitting Twitter. As several of my good friends were awarded this round, I was very happy and excited for them. They’ve all worked long and hard for our wonderful community, and it felt absolutely amazing to see them get recognized. My business concluded, I walked home in a warm, early autumn drizzle and felt rather good about things. This year has been absolutely exceptional i so many ways, as I’ve been out speaking in 15 different countries thus far this year. Fifteen. The speaking have taken off in a way I could not have imagined as I continue to receive favorable responses to my abstracts.
I was recently accepted to speak at a SQL Server-related event in Europe. As I relish the opportunity to speak I was very happy and started preparing in earnest for booking the trip and polishing my session. However, when I took a look at the schedule, I found the name of another speaker that I had not expected to find anymore. This person has been tossed out of one of the most important Microsoft programs allegedly (as I don’t have personal, first-hand knowledge) due to repeatedly misbehaving in general and being sexist in particular – a behavior I have personally witnessed multiple times.
I’m sitting at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam contemplating my midsummer weekend. I was accepted to speak at SQL Grillen, a free one-day (plus one day of paid pre-cons) event in the metropolis of Lingen, Germany. Never heard of Lingen? Well, neither had I, before this event. When William Durkin, the main organizer of the event, gave me the news that I had been accepted, I took the opportunity to ask him where Lingen was, and he told me that it was fairly near “the ass end of nowhere”. Having been to Lingen, I would have to agree. Actually getting there turned out to be a bit of a challenge – in the end, the amazing Andrew Pruski told me that he was driving there from Schiphol, that his flight landed five minutes after mine and that he’d love travel company.