Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

Archive for September, 2008

Need an Excel Chart? Try Chart Advisor

Posted by denglishbi on September 29, 2008

Creating visual representations of your data can sometimes be a challenge and you might get stuck in a rut using the same chart types over and over.  Why can’t you just select your data and let the tool generate the charts for you?  Well now you can.  Out on Office Labs there is a new product that is under development called Chart Advisor.  Once you have installed the product you will select the data in your Excel worksheet, click on the Insert portion of the Ribbon, and select the Chart Advisor in the Ribbon.  It will analyze your data (can experience performance issues with large amounts of data right now) and then present you with a good variety of chart options for you.  It currently doesn’t set the data types in the axis based on the data type in the spreadsheet (like currency and percentages), but other than that I think it is a great start.

Want to find out more check out this video on Soapbox:

Video: Chart Advisor Overview

And also check out the blog posting here on the Excel Team blog.

What are the requirements / limitations?
Operating System needs to be either XP or Vista. You’ll need a copy of Excel 2007. Also, because this is a prototype, we’re limited to 8,000 cells for analysis.

Check out more FAQ here.

Posted in Downloads | 1 Comment »

MN SQL on Saturday postponed

Posted by denglishbi on September 17, 2008

Unfortunately the SQL event coming up this Saturday that I blogged about a few weeks back here has been postponed until the November/December timeframe.  Most likely it will be in early December.  Having this event on a Saturday in MN at this time of the year is tough.  There are not a lot of MN people that are willing to give up a beautiful Saturday day at this point in the season when it is going to be 70 or 80 degrees out and we know that winter is just around the corner.

Anyway this will be rescheduled hopefully early December before we have too much snow on the ground and hopefully we can get more participation, sponsorship, and excitement about the event.  Maybe there will be a local ‘Unleashed’ SQL Server 2008 event soon.  I am not sure if one is being planned or organized in the local area or not….has anyone heard anything?

Posted in Training | Leave a Comment »

Magenic Webinar Sept 16 – Making Better Decisions with Your Data Follow-up

Posted by denglishbi on September 16, 2008

We did a second round of the Making Better Decisions with Your Data webcast today and it went pretty good.  I stumbled on my thoughts a couple of times, but we got some good discussion going at the end with some questions and that was great.  I definitely want these types of presentations to be very interactive with input and questions from the attendees.

There will be a link to this recording available in the next 24 hours and I can update this posting with that link.  If you want a copy of the presentation you can download it from my SkyDrive here.  We do have the earlier recording of this that you can watch here.

Here is the early posting link here if you want more information in regards to this presentation.

Thanks for everyone that attended and if you have any additional questions send me a message through my blog or email Magenic at info@magenic.com.

Posted in Training | Leave a Comment »

North Central BI-SIG Sept 12 Follow-up

Posted by denglishbi on September 16, 2008

Last Friday I co-presented at the local Business Intelligence user group with Joe Beeck and it went really well.  I wasn’t sure how we were going to do on time, but I actually had to kind of skim over my demo at the end.  I was able to show how to setup the option to enable the OPENQUERY capability within SQL Server 2005 with the Surface Area Configuration tool and with Policy Based Management in SQL Server 2008, so that was cool.  I have uploaded the presentation to the user group site, North Central District Business Intelligence SIG, and I did place it on my SkyDrive account if anyone else would like to take a look at it.  You can access the file download from here.

The presentation was on the whole Sreadmart to Data Mart conversion process and the additional information in regards to the presentation can be found on my early posting here.

If you have any questions in regards to this topic or would like to know more about the solution and using SQL Server stored procedures to access the SSAS data for Reporting Services (mainly to merge multiple data sets together – which is always an issue when it comes to SSRS) send me a message or reference my earlier blog posting here.

Just want to thank everyone that attended and hope to see you at the December meeting or at the Microsoft BI Conference next month.

Posted in Training | Leave a Comment »

SQL Server 2008 compared to Oracle 11g

Posted by denglishbi on September 9, 2008

Well it might be a little biased, but it does make direct links to the Oracle web site in regards to pricing.  There is lots of great information with additional sources like InformationWeek, ComputerWorld,  Gartner, etc.  If you want to find out how the two database giants match up check out this site here.  There is also a whitepaper in regards to this that you can download and read here too.  Not only does it talk about the database platform it also mentions the development platform for .NET applications here.
Check it out for yourself and become a believer (if you are not one already like myselfSmile – and yes I do drink the Microsoft koolaid).
Rock on SQL Server 2008 and way to go product teamParty
SQL Server 2008 Free Express Edition Download
Download a 180-day evaluation of the product now and give it a test drive for yourself from here.  Or start using the free SQL Server 2008 Express Edition today (download it from here).
So are you ready to start the migration process to SQL Server 2008, perform an upgrade, or startup a new install of the product?  Contact Magenic at info@magenic.com.

Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Quick Feedback on the 71-452 (70-452) Beta Exam

Posted by denglishbi on September 6, 2008

I went and took the beta exam 71-452 for the MCITP Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (70-452) test this morning.  I guess they decided to change up the format compared to the one for SQL Server 2005 (70-446).  The 2005 test was broken out into case studies where you would read the case study and respond to around 15 questions about it.  What I didn’t like about the 2005 format was that each case study was timed and once you were done with one you couldn’t go back and make any modifications.  I wish they would have just given you the full three hours to complete all of the case studies, but I don’t call the shots.  Basically you got 45 or 60 minutes per case study, each case study took maybe 15 or 20 minutes to digest, and then you got about 2 minutes per questionThinking  I will just say that it wasn’t what I would consider a pleasant experience and good luck if you needed to take a bathroom break…
So I did a quick little refresher last night and this morning with the 2005 Transcender prep tests and flash cards thinking that it would be similar to the 2005 test, but I was wrong.  The reason I thought it would be the same was because the MCTS BI tests were basically identical between 2005 and 2008 except for some search and replaces for 2005 with 2008 (reference my earlier posting on that feedback here).  Well I went and took the test this morning and there were no case studies, just 75 questions (most likely won’t be this many when the test goes live; I think they just do all of the questions for the beta — don’t quote me on that one though) and none of them were related.  They were all multiple choice with a few where you had to pick a couple of choices, but that was basically it.  The test was really geared towards the SQL Server 2008 version which was great (but I wasn’t expecting this, no biggie though since I have been using it since the CTP3 or was it CTP4).
You definitely want to study and prepare for the test.  Best advice is to reference the Microsoft prep guide here along with referencing the BOL here or downloading them from here.  Other than that I will find out in about eight weeks how I did and I have my fingers crossed.  The beta was only being offered through Sept 10, so good luck if you take it other wise in a couple of months it should be official (either way good luck when and if you take it).

Posted in Training | Leave a Comment »