Information Overload and the Second Brain
Information Overload and the Second Brain

I joined my first Twitter Spaces uh….hangout…chat…thing…space(?) the other night, hosted by Stefan Natter, talking about Roam Research and how powerful a tool it is for unlocking all sorts of potential, and helping focus and creativity. One comment made by George Silverman of MindSkills echoed some thoughts of my own lately, about the sheer volume of information to which we’re exposed on a daily basis, and the mental capacity of our brains to process this.

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GeoFlow brings 3D geographical visualisation to Excel 2013
Data & analysis GeoFlow brings 3D geographical visualisation to Excel 2013

The other week, Microsoft announced GeoFlow for Excel 2013 at the SQL PASS Business Analytics conference in Chicago. While it’s not exactly new, it is at least, a pretty impressive looking addition to the data visualisation toolkit.

However, while GeoFlow finally brings 3D geographical visualisation to Microsoft’s self-service BI utility belt (in your face, Batman), it’s hard to make a case for it for any purpose except wowing executives and potential clients.

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Notes from building a Custom ForEach Enumerator in SSIS
Development Notes from building a Custom ForEach Enumerator in SSIS

I recently posted about a quandary in which I found myself that led to me building my own extended ForEach File Enumerator in SSIS. All things considered, it was a reasonably straightforward experience, with most of my issues stemming from a relative unfamiliarity with Windows Forms development (I was always an ASP.NET man). The whole process can actually be split into four very simple steps to make things easier:

  1. Create your Enumeration function.
  2. Design your UI for SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT).
  3. Validation and assignment of input from the UI.
  4. Deploy your new component.

As long as your new custom component isn ’t too complicated, these steps can be completed very quickly, meaning you can be up and running in only a little longer than it would take to write everything in a Script Task, and think of the re-usability!

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Web & technology Re-downloading Microsoft Office 2010 using an existing Product Key

Just a quick one for now, as I’ve still not got around to finishing up the several posts I currently have in the offing, due to playing about with HDInsight on Windows Azure. I did however, spend a rather frustrating couple of hours at the weekend trying to find a way to re-download Office 2010 for an older PC after upgrading my laptop to Office 2013. I had the absolute brainwave of signing up to Office 365, which would allow me to install the latest suite on each of my PC’s. Only after signing up did I realise that my old desktop, running Windows Vista, didn’t support Office 2013. Luckily, I have a copy of Office 2010 on my account, so all I needed to do was go to my office account and re-download the 2010 installer, right? Right?

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Extending the ForEach File Enumerator in SSIS
Development Extending the ForEach File Enumerator in SSIS

One of the primary reasons for using SSIS is to process multiple files, ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) data, and feed it into a destination, for example, a data warehouse. Built-in components such as the For Loop Container and the ForEach Loop Container make it very simple to enumerate a collection and perform some processing tasks for each entry, be it an array, a dataset, or a directory containing files. In fact, the ForEach File Enumerator option of the ForEach Loop Container allows you to even specify a mask to filter the list of files in a directory prior to processing, so you can weed out unwanted files from the loop. But what if a simple string match isn’t powerful enough to perform the filtering you need?

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Microsoft BI 2012: A Year In Review
Development Microsoft BI 2012: A Year In Review

With the year drawing to a close, I thought it would be the perfect time to recap the major developments in Microsoft Business Intelligence throughout 2012. Unsurprisingly, the launch of SQL Server 2012 proved to be the focal point of this year’s releases, although we had a few extra surprises along the way:

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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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