AWS is finally retiring the Redshift DS2 node type
AWS is finally retiring the Redshift DS2 node type

A couple of years back, following a number of updates to Redshift that were available on all node types except for the ds2 Dense Storage node type, I speculated AWS might be planning on retiring the ds2 node type....

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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Building a Raspberry Pi NAS: Enclosure
Development Building a Raspberry Pi NAS: Enclosure

Lately I’ve been experimenting with the Raspberry Pi, the credit-card sized budget computer that took the world by storm back in 2012. I posted the other day about the hardware I’m using to create my own, Raspberry Pi based NAS (Network Attached Storage) slash backup server slash media centre. I mentioned at the end of that article about buying or creating an enclosure to tidy up the Pi-based solution, as well as keep all the components safe and together. It’s not entirely necessary, but if you have a Raspberry Pi, one or two external HDDs, a USB hub and HDMI/Ethernet cables, chances are it’ll be messy and you’ll want to build or buy something to keep everything together all neat and tidy. There are lots of possibilities out there, some you can buy, others you can make. There are lots of cases for the Pi itself, but I needed one to match my particular setup and contain the hard drives, USB hub, and all the related cabling as well.

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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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