I’m Speaking at #SQLSatDC

I am so excited to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday DC on Saturday, December 14, 2019.  I am so honored to have been selected.

This is a really important Saturday for me, personally.  I have submitted for the last two years and have had to cancel both times.  First cancellation was due to my partner loosing his job the week before and last year because I tore the meniscus in my left knee four days before I was supposed to leave.  So, I understand what a huge leap of faith the organizers are putting in me by selecting one of my sessions this year.  To ensure everyone that I will not cancel this year, my partner is still out of work, but it’s not such a huge impact any more and I’m wrapping myself in bubble wrap every time I leave the house to prevent injury.

My Profiling Your Data session was selected.  I love delivering this session.  Such an important topic that is overlooked way too often. If you’re in the DC area on December 14th, stop by and say, “Hello”.  I’d love to chat.

I’m Speaking at SQL Saturday Oregon

I am honored to have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Oregon this year. They always have so many sessions submitted with only 40 slots available. I was selected to speak last year, so to have been selected again is truly humbling .

My What is Power BI session was selected and I’m super excited to give this session again, I haven’t given it for a while.

If you’re in the Portland area on Saturday, November 2, 2019, stop and say, “Hello”, I’d love to see you and chat a bit.

Updated Data Profiling in Power BI Desktop

In this month’s (October 2019) release of Power BI Desktop, they have added a ton of cool stuff, you can read all about it via the Power BI Blog.  But what I’m most excited about is the love that was given to the Data Profiling feature.

The Data Profiling feature was first added to public preview just under a year ago in November 2018.  Then it went GA in May 2019 and just 5 months later, they’ve added more goodness.  That’s one of the great things about Power BI, the release cadence.  If you don’t like something or want more features, just wait a few months (or five in this case).

One of the big things that was lacking with the Data Profiling feature was the text length statistics.  This is a huge deal for me.  It’s one of the things that I’ve encounter most frequently, incorrectly sized string columns in data warehouses.  Well, the wait is over, text lengths are now available.  Unfortunately, it’s not intuitive on how to get them.

First, you will need to make sure that you have the Column profile check box checked in the View ribbon in the Power Query Editor window.

Now select a column of data type text so the Value distribution pane (at the bottom of the screen) shows the values of the column.  Then click on the little tiny ellipses (…) in the upper right hand corner of the Value Distribution pane.  Select Group By then Text length from the pop up menu.

Now you should have a nice histogram of your text length values.

This is much better than nothing, but I wish they would have included the Min and Max lengths in the Column statistics pane with all the other summary statistics because it has a nice little Copy menu (via the ellipses in the upper right hand corner) so you can easily send the data to someone in an email if needed.  They even formatted the output in a table!

Contents of Column Statistics Copy

Contents of Column Stats when pasted into Word

The Group by functionality isn’t just for text data types though.  You can use it for all data types.  I really like the groupings available for Date and Datetime data types, these will be super helpful.

Available Date groupings

Available Date groupings

Available Datetime groupings

Available Datetime groupings

Honestly I’m not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth, but we still need more when it comes to text lengths.  So I’ll just wait a few months and see what comes next.

 

September on the Road

I am so excited for the next three weeks.  This is a trip that has been in the planning for nearly 2 years.  I have always loved travelling and wanted to go to Africa, now I have the opportunity of a lifetime:  I get to combine my love of travel with my love of SQL Saturdays.

My first stop will be in Johannesburg, where I will have the honor of presenting my Power BI pre-con session, Zero to Dashboard, for SQL Saturday Johannesburg on Friday, September 6, 2019.  I am super excited and can’t thank local organizer & fellow Data Platform MVP, Michael Johnson (B | T) enough for this opportunity.  Then I get to do two of my favorite sessions, Data Types Do Matter and Profiling Your Data, on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

Second stop on this tour will take me to Cape Town, where I will present my Zero to Dashboard pre-con again on Friday, September 13, 2019.  I am super thankful to another fellow Data Platform MVP, Jody Roberts (T), for giving me this opportunity.  I will then present the same two sessions as Johannesburg, Data Types Do Matter & Profiling Your Data, on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at SQL Saturday Cape Town.

I will spend about 10 days in Cape Town, visiting friends that are like family before I head back to Johannesburg.  From there I travel to Prague for SQL Saturday Prague on Saturday, September 21, 2019.  I am still pinching myself because I can’t believe I was selected to speak at this event.  I will be presenting my Profiling Your Data session.

I think there are still tickets available for both pre-cons and there are still open registrations for all three events.  If you are in any of these areas, please stop by and say, “Hi”.  I would love to see you and chat.

Speaking at SQL Saturday Raleigh

I am happy to announce that I will be speaking at SQL Saturday Raleigh this Saturday, April 27, 2019.  I have been part of the organizing team for this event for the past few years so have never been able to speak (those of you who are fellow organizers know why!).  This year we had a last minute cancellation of an afternoon session, so I decided to step up and fill the slot.

I will be presenting my What is Power BI? session at 2:30pm.  If you’re in Raleigh with some time on your hands, stop by and say, “Hello”, I’d love to see you.  You can also check out some other great sessions as well, we still have registration slots available.

My Very First Azure SQL Database

I recently delivered my very first SQL Saturday pre-con for SQL Saturday Richmond on Friday, March 29, 2019.  You can read about that adventure here.

As part of the content for my pre-con, I wanted the attendees to be able to pull data from a database.  But how in the world was I going to make that happen?  I needed a database that would be accessible from the internet, but I didn’t have access to a server with this kind of access.

The light bulb went on and I thought, “What about an Azure SQL Database?”  Could I really do that?  I’ve been stuck in the on-premises world with no experience in Azure.  Would I even be able to get it stood up in time?  I mean really, I had less than a week to make it happen.  Surely that wouldn’t be enough time.

That’s the beauty of Azure SQL Database, it’s take almost no time to spin up a database and make it accessible via the internet.  In fact, it took me less than 5 minutes.

Once I had the database created in Azure I piped the data in via SSMS using the import data task, just like it was an on-premises server, whoa, how cool is that?!

So next time you need to stand up a database super quick, give Azure SQL Database a try.  It’s secure by default and you can control who has access to it very easily via the Azure Resource Manager.  Go ahead, give it a try.