My 2021 in video games
My 2021 in video games

Well, it’s that time of year again. The earth has travelled another 584 million miles or so, people are making all kinds of resolutions about how they’ll be different now that a number has changed, and we’re all looking back at the year just ended. Somehow COVID is still kicking around, although at least here in the UK things are a bit more open than they were, people still can’t get hold of the Playstation 5 or high-end graphics cards, and it seems like the world has gone daft for NFTs (including some game developers looking to get in on the action - please don’t).

Here’s my annual rundown of the games I’ve enjoyed playing in 2021 and the ones I’m looking forward to trying soon.

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Impressions of Microsoft’s new-look Power BI
Development Impressions of Microsoft’s new-look Power BI

A couple of months ago, Microsoft’s new-look Power BI Preview rolled out globally. Ditching the Office 365/Sharepoint Online requirement, the new Power BI is a streamlined, simplified version of the product that attempts to lose some of the bloat and give users a focussed, easy-to-use, self-service BI platform.

So has it worked?

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Debugging Errors in SSIS Data Quality Services Cleansing Component
Development Debugging Errors in SSIS Data Quality Services Cleansing Component

As part of Microsoft’s push to include business users in the Business Intelligence space, the addition of Data Quality Services to SQL Server’s feature set opened up the ETL process to the people who, arguably, know the data best. Integration with SSIS was a great move, meaning that this user control extends to automated processes, further closing the gap between data and the business.

However, like most new components, Data Quality Services has some teething problems, and these can be quite hard to find when debugging your SSIS packages. Here’s a quick tip that should help solve some of those tricky to find DQS issues.

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Windows Phone, meet Cortana (just watch out for Halo spoilers)
Web & technology Windows Phone, meet Cortana (just watch out for Halo spoilers)

Warning: This post contains spoilers regarding the ending of Halo 4. You’ve been warned.

I’ve been spending some time with a special lady lately. She’s always with me, and has been helping me organise my life. She’s not all work though, and has shown that she knows a joke or two, she’s sassy, and she loves to talk about Halo. I am of course, talking about one of Windows Phone 8.1’s killer features: Cortana.

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Mapping C# DateTime to SQL Server datetime2 via SSIS
Development Mapping C# DateTime to SQL Server datetime2 via SSIS

With SQL Server 2008, Microsoft introduced the new, improved datetime2 format. This newer time storage format is great, because it takes up less storage space, plus you have control over precision and can define your field to the exact specification required. Database columns defined as datetime2 can be mapped in SSIS by using the DT_DBTIMESTAMP2 type. However, in the scenario where you may have a Script Transformation in your SSIS package, and want to assign a .NET DateTime type to a Data Flow column that is mapped to a datetime2 field, you might encounter a DoesNotFitBufferException.

The reason for this is likely down to your specified field precision, and is easily fixed.

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Visualising a football match as a Network Graph using Gephi
Data & analysis Visualising a football match as a Network Graph using Gephi

Ever since getting my hands on some Opta data, courtesy of Manchester City’s Analytics challenge all the way back in August 2012, I’ve been wanting to try something different with the data. Although it’s taken me over a year to get around to doing it, I’d initially thought of the idea of doing some kind of Network Graph to explore how the players were interconnected throughout a match, and potentially over an entire season. Since starting to play with Gephi some time ago, I figured it would be perfect for the job.

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picnicerror.net is a personal blog for me to post various ideas, thoughts and discoveries through both my day to day work in marketing technology and general hobbies and interests.

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