So much for the death of Xbox
So much for the death of Xbox

The gaming Internet lost its shit yet again earlier this month. This time it was the turn of Xbox fans after information was leaked that Xbox were going to be making some of their exclusive titles available on Playstation and Nintendo Switch. Known for their rational and level-headed approach to speculation, Xbox Twitter quickly descended into claims that Halo, Gears, Forza, Starfield, Indiana Jones and other titles would launch on PS5 and that Xbox would completely stop making hardware and die as a brand. Phew. Xbox boss Phil Spencer added fuel to the fire by not denying the rumours and only stating Xbox would release a business update the following week. So what’s going on?

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Development Time Format on non-Date Dimensions in SSAS

I ran into a rather strange situation recently while attempting to set up some new calculated measures in an SSAS cube. I’m still new to MDX, so I ended up chasing my tail around for a while (and crying out for help on both StackOverflow and MSDN) before I eventually tracked down the culprit and solved the issue. Basically, I was trying to create a calculated measure, which, using a couple of date attributes from one dimension, would apply to my [Time] dimension and filter the value of a specified measure to match. Not hard, right?

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Gaming 10 Years of Xbox LIVE Infographic

Love them or hate them, there’s no escaping infographics these days. They are EVERYWHERE. Personally, I’m a fan. I’ve always been interested in visualisation techniques and better ways to represent data visually. After all, the human brain can process images and patterns much faster than it can text. The best visualisations are the ones that need no explanation, while the worst are the ones that basically just overlay some text or numbers on some graphics and still make you read the content to understand what’s going on. Even then though, I’m a sucker for a nice infographic (yes, event the overly textual ones).

Anyway, the point of this post was to show off a little infographic that I received from Xbox LIVE Rewards the other day to celebrate 10 years of Xbox LIVE, and illustrate my contribution to that:

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Microsoft’s Mobile BI “Project Helix” Unveiled
Development Microsoft’s Mobile BI “Project Helix” Unveiled

Some pretty interesting information leaked out of last week’s SharePoint Conference 2012 regarding Microsoft’s upcoming Mobile BI (Business Intelligence) solution. There’s been surprisingly little reaction to the unveiling of the solution, apparently codenamed “Project Helix”, perhaps due to the fact that it was unveiled at a SharePoint event and not a SQL Server one. However, courtesy of one attendee tweeting some screenshots to SSAS guru Chris Webb, this little nugget of information landed in my inbox this morning and immediately piqued my interest. Unfortunately there’s very little information available on “Project Helix” at the moment, but from the 2 screenshots provided by attendee Just Blindbaek, there are a few things that are immediately apparent, and a couple more that can be reasonably inferred:

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Development Editing a PowerView RDLX file in Sharepoint 2010

Since I’ve not managed to get a post written up in about a month, I figured it was well past time to pull my finger out and get something posted.  As part of my recent work with PowerPivot and Sharepoint 2010, I’ve also been playing about with PowerView as a quick UI. For anyone who hasn’t tried/heard of PowerView, I suggest checking it out here.

Although a PowerView report is actually run as a Silverlight object when viewed in your browser through Sharepoint, you’ll see if you choose to download the file that it is actually saved as a .RDLX file, remarkably close to the standard SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) report file format of .RDL. So, this suggests there might just be some similarities in there somewhere, right?

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Development Calculate the difference between two dates in DAX

Another quick Data Analysis eXpressions (DAX) update, given that I’ve been playing about with PowerPivot again this week. Following on from my exertions trying to work out how to return a month name in DAX, I found myself looking for a DAX equivalent of SQL Server’s DATEDIFF function. Fortunately, this is reasonably straightforward. All we need to do is perform a regular subtraction on two dates and multiply the result by 1.0, which will return the number in serial date-time (the number of days since “1900-Jan-0”, which is how Excel stores dates).

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Development Calculating Month Name from a Date Integer in DAX

I’ve been playing about with PowerView and PowerPivot recently, while also getting used to the Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular model in  SQL Server 2012 (Denali). The tabular model provides a high-compression, in-memory store for easy data model construction and analysis. Ad-hoc calculated fields can be defined within PowerPivot (built on the same xVelocity technology) using Microsoft’s Data Analysis eXpressions language, which is very similar to Excel functions. However, DAX is still pretty basic in some places, and while looking for a simple Month Name function (similar to the GetMonthName function in .NET) I ran into a couple of interesting issues.

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Manchester City FC Analytics make OPTA data publicly available
Data & analysis Manchester City FC Analytics make OPTA data publicly available

In a move to stimulate the analytics community, Manchester City Football Club have teamed up with English Premier League statistics provider OPTAPro to release a full data set of Premier League players for the 2011-2012 season. The MCFC Analytics project has been created to harness some of the amazing talent out there in the analytics community and provide fresh ways of analysing OPTA’s performance data.

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Development Metadata Discovery in SSIS 2012 not working with temp tables

SQL Server Integration Services is a tidy bit of kit and an absolute must have on any SQL Server developer or administrator’s toolbelt.  However, it is as frustrating as it is sublime, with many obfuscated error messages, quirky behaviours and downright oddness.  I ran into one such quirk recently while setting up a Data Flow Task using an OLE DB Source that loaded its data from a Stored Procedure, specified by a package Variable.  Everything was working fine until I identified that I needed to do something in the stored procedure that resulted in my using a temporary table.  As soon as I updated the procedure and attempted to refresh the columns in my OLE DB Source, I was hit with the following error:

Msg 11525, Level 16, State 1, Procedure My_Stored_Procedure_Name, Line 1
  The metadata could not be determined because statement 'My SQL Statement Here;' uses a temp table.

So why does this happen, even when I’ve defined the type of the column in my procedure?

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picnicerror.net 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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