Dan English's BI Blog

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

Archive for April, 2013

New Book – Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data

Posted by denglishbi on April 26, 2013

I just found out this week that the book Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data was available on the Amazon for the Kindle and also in paperback now. 


When I got home from work last night there was a package waiting for me and it was my own personal copy of the book:)


I had the pleasure of being one of the technical editors on the book


As well as a contributor where I got to work on one of the chapters, so you get to see some of my handy work as well, guess which chapter;)


And I greatly appreciate Mark’s acknowledgment and allowing me to work on the book


The authors of the book are from Pragmatic Works – Mark Stacey, Joe Salvatore, and Adam Jorgensen.

Here is the description of the book from Amazon:

Go beyond design concepts and learn to build state-of-the-art visualizations

The visualization experts at Microsoft’s Pragmatic Works have created a full-color, step-by-step guide to building specific types of visualizations. The book thoroughly covers the Microsoft toolset for data analysis and visualization, including Excel, and explores best practices for choosing a data visualization design, selecting tools from the Microsoft stack, and building a dynamic data visualization from start to finish. You’ll examine different types of visualizations, their strengths and weaknesses, and when to use each one.

  • Data visualization tools unlock the stories within the data, enabling you to present it in a way that is useful for making business decisions
  • This full-color guide introduces data visualization design concepts, then explains the various Microsoft tools used to store and display data
  • Features a detailed discussion of various classes of visualizations, their uses, and the appropriate tools for each
  • Includes practical implementations of various visualizations and best practices for using them
  • Covers out-of-the-box Microsoft tools, custom-developed illustrations and implementations, and code examples

Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data arms you with best practices and the knowledge to choose and build dynamic data visualizations.

I would highly recommend getting your copy in either paperback or electronic format and checking it out.  Both versions are in full color, very nice:)

Visual Intelligence: Microsoft Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Data

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PASSMN April 2013 Meeting

Posted by denglishbi on April 15, 2013

The next Minnesota SQL Server User Group meeting is tomorrow Tuesday, April 16. This month the two presentations will be on (1) HortonWorks sandbox demo and (2) NoSQL.  Be sure to register so that your name badge will be available for you at the Microsoft Technology Center when you arrive.Minnesota SQL Server Users Group

The sponsor for this month’s meeting is Robert Half Technology.

Location: 3601 West 76th Street, Suite 600 Edina, MN 55437

Live Meeting:


  • 4:00-4:15 : Announcements / Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 4:15-4:30 : HortonWorks Sandbox Demo, by Bill Preachuk
  • 4:30-5:45 : Rules of Engagement: NoSQL is SQL Server’s Ally, by Rick Krueger and Dave Valentine
  • 5:45-6:00 : Prize giveaways

Please click here for meeting details and to RSVP for the event


HortonWorks Sandbox Demo (by Bill Preachuk, Emergent Networks)

HortonWorks provides a free downloadable Virtual Machine image that promises you “Go from Zero to BIG DATA in 15 minutes!“ In this short presentation we’ll discuss What the Sandbox is, Where to get it, How to install it, and How to get it up & running. Then we’ll fire up our trusty rusty VMware environment, step through the web-based GUI and run a few of the included tutorials.

Bill Preachuk serves on the Board of the PASSMN User Group and is responsible for SQL Saturday Minnesota 2013. He is a SQL Server 2008 MCTS, and is employed as a DBA/Data Warehouse Designer at Emergent Networks. Bill has been in IT since 1991 and has presented at Analytics conferences, PASS User Group meetings and SQL Saturday events in the Twin Cities and Iowa.

Rules of Engagement: NoSQL is SQL Server’s Ally (by Rick Krueger and Dave Valentine)

When should you favor a NoSQL store over SQL Server, or consider polyglot persistence? In military and police operations, the rules of engagement determine when, where, and how force shall be used. As the “data police”, we are responsible for determining when, where, and how data is stored. As SQL Server professionals, it tends to be our first choice, even when there are other data storage options that are a ‘more natural’ fit. In this session, Rick and Dave will start with the NoSQL basics, and then dive into the different categories of NoSQL stores while explaining what each type is well suited for.

Rick Krueger is the President of Premier Applications, Inc., and a SQL Server indie based in the Twin Cities with 18 years of software and database development experience, working with SQL Server since 1998 (6.5). Don’t let his developer credentials (MCPD) and background fool you, he knows a thing or two about SQL, and is currently focusing on data architecture and database development.

Dave Valentine is a Development DBA with over 10 years of experience with SQL Server and Development technologies, specializing in Business Intelligence and ingenious solutions. Dave has also been an Adjunct Professor at Metropolitan State University for the past 10 years educating students in Database Management, Web Development, and Java Programming.

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Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group 2013 Q1 Meeting Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on April 15, 2013

Just wanted to do a quick post to let everyone know that the presentations and demos from the last MN Microsoft BI User Group meeting are available for download.  This includes the opening announcement materials for the meeting, Brian Larson’s Reporting Services demos, and Ross McNeely’s top down data modeling presentation.image

You can access the material from the user group site in the past events and presentations location.

Effective Reporting through SSRS and Top Down Data Modeling for BI

Thanks to everyone that attended, it was a great turnout and special thanks to C2 for the post-event happy hour.

Next month we will be sending out the invite for our next meeting that will be on Tuesday, June 4th, so stay tuned.

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