Jeff Pries

Business Intelligence, SQL Server, and other assorted IT miscellany

Month: September 2013

SQL Saturday Roundup: #232 – Orlando, FL

SQL Saturday Roundup: #232 – Orlando, FL

For my 9th SQL Saturday, I decided to head to the source and attend the one that started it all — SQL Saturday Orlando.  SQL Saturday started in November of 2007, led by Andy Warren, Brian Knight, and Steve Jones.  Thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can see the original event’s main page and schedule page preserved in their original form…oh, how things have changed!

To begin the weekend for SQL Saturday 232, I attended Tim Mitchell’s (B | T) Pre-Con session:  Real World SSIS: A Survival Guide.  The session was hosted in a meeting room of the host hotel and had a pretty good turnout.  Tim provided a fantastic overview of his 7 tips for SSIS techniques in the real world complete with numerous demos.  I found the session overall very well organized and informative, though I did have difficulties at time as I don’t currently use SSIS nearly as deeply of frequently as others.

After a great day of learning about SSIS survival tips, it was time to get some rest in preparation for a full Saturday of learning.  SQL Saturday 232 was held on the campus of Seminole State College in Lake Mary, FL.  The event itself was well-organized with good signage and ample parking.  Upon check-in, in addition to the usual name badge, each attendee was given a branded USB drive, which was a nice touch, and a t-shirt (though these were on a separate table and easy to miss)

As always, deciding which sessions to choose from the vast array of great choices was difficult.  Ultimately, I decided on a good mix of BI topics, with a mix of general troubleshooting and professional development as well.  A few of my favorite sessions for the day were:

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My New Favorite Chart — Overlapping Bar Charts

My New Favorite Chart — Overlapping Bar Charts

Back in April, I had the pleasure of attending Jason Thomas’s (B | T) Advanced Charting Techniques in SSRS at SQL Saturday #220 in Alpharetta, GA.

During this session, I was introduced to my new favorite SSRS visualization — the Overlapping Bar Chart.

The overlapping bar chart is really just a standard bar chart with a range chart in the background.  The range chart in the background represents the sum of the bars in the foreground.  This allows you to see very quickly the total amount for a category as well as a quick breakdown of the parts that make up that total.

To create an overlapping bar chart, you will first need some data.  The data should have a category (such as dates or products) and then a couple of quantity columns and finally a total column which sums the quantity column.

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The Office Hijinks Series – Part 3: Tequila Bot

The Office Hijinks Series – Part 3: Tequila Bot

Welcome to the next installment of our Office Hijinks Series.  In this week’s episode, we meet Tequila Bot, built in August of 2010.

A co-worker, Robert, was out of town for the week.  This time, rather than making his office look like a little girl’s room or filling it with balloons, I decided what better than to replace him with a robot!

I’m not sure where the original idea to do Tequila Bot came from — an off the wall link at the time.  Anybody can build Futurama’s “Bender,” so this seemed a bit more original.  Tequila Bot is based off of one of those low-budget commercials which pop up on YouTube from time to time.

Tequila Bot was built from old cardboard boxes, duct tape, silver spray paint, and other assorted items from the hardware store.  We set him up in Robert’s office, gave him a chair and some credentials on the wall and we we had our new technician!  All in all, I think I got him pretty close to the original inspiration (minus the walking!)

Upon Robert’s return, Tequila Bot lurked around the office for some time until sadly, he was eventually disassembled.

[ Go back to Part 2 | Go forward to Part 4 ]

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