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.
A week ago I woke up in Tel Aviv, Israel, the day after I gave my presentation “Speak your hands - using body language for effective communication” at SQL Saturday in Israel. Despite feeling the onset of a sore throat, I contemplated how I had gotten here. I did not expect to find myself in Israel doing what I love - speaking at conferences and sharing knowledge - when I first started working with databases back in 1997. In fact, I didn’t expect to get very far from my birth town at all. It turns out that was going to be rather far from the truth.
I just came back from my latest trip last night and I’ve been thinking about how to summarize the latest events I’ve been to. It all began with the NIC conference in Oslo in February. There I presented two sessions (Azure SQL Server - the cloud awakens and boring is stable, stable is good - best practices in practice) to some 100 people in total. As is most often the case, It was a great event with great speakers and very good sessions. The conference itself was very well run and I was very happy to have been given the opportunity to share my knowledge with the community so close to home.
This T-SQL Tuesday is an interesting one, as the challenge is to talk about something you’re passionate about outside of the usual work grind. Well, it turns out I’m very passionate about Star Wars, and I’m very passionate charity. Funny thing is, there is a way to combine them. But first, let’s rewind a few years to the beginning of the story. Back in 2013 I went to a small game convention in my home town. I met an acquaintance I had not seen for about 10 years, and while it was great fun to reconnect with him, what was more fun was the fact that he was driving a full-size R2-D2 droid from Star Wars.