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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Building a Raspberry Pi NAS: Hardware
Development Building a Raspberry Pi NAS: Hardware

The Raspberry Pi has been a huge hit since its launch in 2012, grabbing the attention of hobbyists and professionals alike. The option to buy a fully functional, credit-card sized computer for less than £30 has opened up a slew of possibilities for experimentation and creativity, regardless of budget. I’d been meaning to pick one up for a while, and finally got the push I needed when I started doing some freelance web work and needed a backup system for my client sites and databases. Reading Scott Hanselman’s post regarding the Computer Backup Rule of Three simply drove home the point. I also fancied getting all my media files off my hard drive and into a centralised location on my home network where they could be backed up, easily accessible, and viewed through my TV. Given the option of buying a pre-made NAS box from Amazon, or constructing my own and getting my teeth into that tasty Raspberry Pi, there was no choice to be made!

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Power BI for Office 365 first thoughts
Data & analysis Power BI for Office 365 first thoughts

I’ve been meaning to write something on Power BI for a long time now, and I’m a little late in getting round to writing this, as most of the dust has already settled after Microsoft sent out the first round of invites to the Power BI for Office 365 preview, and a lot of people have produced some amazing work with Power BI. Chris Webb has written a pretty comprehensive review on his blog, as have countless others.

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Development Optimising SSIS to read from a view using OLE DB Source

I’ve really been neglecting the blog of late and have been taking a bit of a break from a lot of extra curricular business intelligence and data reading. I figured it was about time to get back to posting though, and as luck would have it, my colleague Stephen came to me with an interesting SSIS performance issue that presented the perfect opportunity for a quick blog post. I’ve not written much about SSIS lately, having been drawn off by the shiny sparkle of developments in the self-service BI sector such as Power BI, and playing with Big Data tools like Hadoop. But I still do a lot of work with SSIS and it’s still my go-to large scale ETL tool.

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Development Fix login failed error while editing Table Properties in SSAS Tabular via Visual Studio

Just a quick post regarding a strange problem I encountered while working on an SSAS Tabular model project. Built on the same Vertipaq technology as Power Pivot, it’s very easy to get started and produce quick, efficient data models. Unlike Power Pivot, which runs as an Excel add-in, SSAS Tabular models are developed in Visual Studio via the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) Business Intelligence add-on. However, once you load up the development environment, it’s almost exactly the same, the only difference really being that when you build a tabular model in VS, it is developed against a temporary cube on a pre-installed SSAS Tabular instance. Power Pivot just works entirely in memory, without requiring an SSAS instance.

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Microsoft announces Power BI for Office 365
Data & analysis Microsoft announces Power BI for Office 365

After launching a number of really neat self-service business intelligence plugins and components over the past couple of years, Microsoft has finally announced their complete self-service BI package: Power BI for Office 365. Incorporating Microsoft’s four big self-service BI components of the past year or so; PowerPivot, PowerView, Data Explorer and GeoFlow, the Power BI suite combines these parts into a single, unified offering. Most exciting of all though, is the inclusion of a mobile application for either Windows (I’m assuming Win 8) or iPad, which could very well be the secretive “Project Helix”, revealed at last year’s SharePoint Conference.

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5 Reasons why PowerView can’t replace Reporting Services
Development 5 Reasons why PowerView can’t replace Reporting Services

The other week I wrote a post discussing how PowerView was the future of SQL Server Reporting Services, and the killer features that made it a compelling choice. Despite the numerous positive advances that PowerView brings to Microsoft/SQL-based reporting, there are of course a number of counter arguments. I deliberately left these out in order to look at some of these reasons in a later post.

As such, here are five reasons why PowerView, despite all its pizzazz, is simply not capable (in its current form) of replacing the venerable SSRS.

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About is a personal blog where I 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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