Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Dear Mr. NULL ...such irony from a database provider..

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Google Earth Pro for businesses now free..


Google Earth Pro, software used by most businesses as their go-to mapping software, is now being offered completely free, having previously cost as much as US$399 (€350).
The application, which has essentially been superseded by ...more

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Monday, 17 June 2013

Beautifying the leaked NSA presentations...

How 90's were those ugly NSA presentations?

I couldn't' see past the messy unorganised slides so much that the privacy debacle passed me by!
Thankfully @EmilandDChas tidied them up.

Monday, 4 March 2013

"Data is the new (s)oil"...

Fantastic TED talk from David McCanless; some great examples showing how visualising data allows you to focus on the infomation that matters.

"Data is the new (s)oil"...

Monday, 19 November 2012

US Election 2012 : The role of social media.

Here are some quick and dirty screenshots I took on election day long before the results were in.
Click images to enlarge.

President Obama has had a few more years to gain 'followers' ,on the various social media sites,  than former Governor Romney, but the difference is staggering?

Social media for the most part is a popularity contest and it is not an exaggeration to to say these foretold the election result.

Perhaps Obama may have different ,more internet savvy, following but regardless of their possible age profile  a 'follower' of any age is still has influence.

It's also reported recently that the results night photo of Barack & Michelle Obama embracing has become one of the the most shared photos online and the most 'liked' photo on Facebook.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

ScottGu: SharePoint & Azure app from scratch

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Free from fanaticism

Fresh on the heels of lawsuits an security flaws , Samsung's SIII ad takes a shot at apple fanbois.
Likely taken in good spirits though -Apple themselves the masters of the 'poke-fun-at-competitor' genre.

posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ian Quigley's quick tour of Visual Studio 2012

For anyone that works with Visual Studio ... check out this funny post over at Ian Quigley's blog on what your IDE could be like.

Ian Quigley's Quick tour of Visual Studio 2012

  • Add a whole bunch of references at once,
  • 'Bing it' button on exception messages (Ahem)  
  • and  Evil Code Monkey™ 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Microsoft WPC2012 - Who's Representing?

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference is well under-way in Toronto.
It's interesting to know what types of Industries and Microsft partners are in attendance, below are some quick charts of the exhibitors and sponsors that I put together.

ISV's ,SaaS and Dynamics lead the charge of Partner Types which reflects an obvious focus on "the cloud" and the continued strong usage of Microsoft technologies in line of business applications.Government, High tech and Telecoms are the most represented industries 

You can catch WPC2012 streaming over at

Based on the data provided over at digitalwpc

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Some Search Engine goodness

No Country Restriction
No doubt you are aware that redirects you to your country specific site for example ,, or for region specific results.
If you have a need to check rankings or non region specific search results - bookmark , the alternative address for Google that will not redirect you.

This comes in handy for those who care about their site traffic or if you are one of those 'SEO consultants /nerds'  You can do this via settings too of course.

While on the subject of search...
Wanna escape tailored results?
Wanna get results without being tracked or bubbled?
Then get yourself over to DuckDuckGo friend for their internet search goodness.The search comparisons are interesting to say the least , amazing to see how much we are tracked.

"Duck Duck Go is a search engine based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania that uses information from crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia) with the aim of augmenting traditional results and improving relevance."

Searching based on what friends do and say.
Try your searches in Google Plus / Google Plus Local , lets say your an academic and have lots of socialistic mates in your circles ...bang in your search terms in g+ and see what those people are saying on that topic . 

Handy if you cant form an opinion yourself , are interested in specific trends or  you just need to find a decent cup of coffee.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Gmail, rocking the UX

They've thought of everything, "..please find attached our response to your RFP..."

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Questionable UX of the SSIS expression builder

SSIS allows you to integrate quickly.
Microsoft obviously put huge effort into adapters for various sources and destinations - and it pretty straight forward stuff.
However some of the "small stuff" ,totally unnecessarily, becomes rocket science.
I needed to have a variable that evaluates to current date less one *calendar* month in format yyyy-mm-dd"

The,workable,end result I came up with is 408 characters for "today less a month".

Rule and expression builders should be massively simple for an end user to work with - otherwise don't bother adding them to a product.

'Expression builder' more like spaghetti builder, C# scripts all the way from now on!

(DT_STR,4,1252)DATEPART( "yyyy" , DATEADD("DD",DATEDIFF("DD",(DT_DATE)"1/2/1900",GetDate()),(DT_DATE)"1/1/1900")) +"-"+
RIGHT("0" + (DT_STR,4,1252)DATEPART( "mm" , DATEADD("month",0,DATEADD("DD",DATEDIFF("DD",(DT_DATE)"1/2/1900",GetDate()),(DT_DATE)"1/1/1900") ) ), 2) + "-"+
RIGHT("0" + (DT_STR,4,1252)DATEPART( "dd" , DATEADD("DD",DATEDIFF("DD",(DT_DATE)"1/2/1900",GetDate()),(DT_DATE)"1/1/1900") ), 2)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Google launch Google Drive

Google launched their much awaited 'cloud' file storage solution Google Drive  April 24, 2012

Drive extends Google Docs and introduces platform capabilities for third party software [think editing, collab etc for files stored in the ether]
I've used Google docs for a long time and keep many documents there , very handy and easy to share and provides a great user experience. 

Intro Video:

OS Support:
It looks like their client , to allow syncing, supports all major os's bar linux at present, with support for Macs, PC's, Android, iPhones

Possibly Downsides:
I personally have confidence in Google's Privacy policy believing their 'do no evil' motto but you may wish need to read the terms of service fully.
"You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours."
It is likely that your documents will be parsed to better serve advertising content at the very least. The ownership of derivative works is confusing.

Talking Turkey:
5GB of storage for free
with option to upgrade storage 
  • 25GB for 
  • USD$2.49/month, 
  • 100GB for 
  • USD$4.99/month
  •  1TB for USD$49.99/month.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Choosing the Right Microsoft Reporting Technology

Accurate and timely information is the cornerstone of a good business decision.

Today, in the Microsoft space there are a myriad of tools available to architects when choosing a reporting technology for their projects.
Perhaps ironically there is need to apply some business intelligence ourselves when choose the proper and correct technology.

Some factors to consider when making these technology include ...
  • Your specific and detailed business need is by far the most important factor.
    • I need to know how many apples I sell each month
    • We need our sales team to receive a pdf each week detailing target graphically
  • The cost implementing a technology {Hardware, Licencing, Training,Services]
  • Ease of integration
  • Usability
  • Any potential future necessity to scale 
  • The abilities of your current employees or IT partner
  • The accessibility/portability of information {mobile, web, pdf , email, scheduling}
Fundamentally , and indeed under the hood in Microsoft technologies,  all reports will have common characteristics. Here are some resources to help you determine what Microsoft technology to use and when.

Devin Knight a has a fantastic series of posts , listed below,  on choosing your reporting technology
Choosing the Right Microsoft Reporting Technology by Devin Knight

Many business are using Dynamics CRM as the platform for their business applications. John O' Donnell's Channel9 Video on Reporting with Microsoft dynamics CRM provides a intro to it's reporting capabilities leveraging reporting services

If you are looking to extend say an an existing application to include reporting functionality it is certainly worthwhile checking out the Microsoft Chart ControlsThese, along with the many list/grid controls, can provide you with the ability to present your information beautifully.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Open Source ASP.NET MVC, Web API and Razor

Continuing moves that strengthen Microsoft's relationship with the open source community; Microsoft have announced the availability of key ASP.NET software under an open source license (Apache 2.0).

ASP.NET MVC, Web API, Razor and Open Source - ScottGu's Blog
"You can now browse, sync and build the source tree of ASP.NET MVC, Web API, and Razor on the web-site"

There are over seventy forks at time of writing!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

SQL Server 2012 Overview

Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 was released to manufacturing this month.The launch event can be 'attended' at and 180 day trial versions are available from here.

Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 offers 3 principal editions , in an effort to simplify purchasing decisions and align editions with common deployment scenarios.
  • Enterprise [Full Features set]
  • Business Intelligence [same features as Standard + 'premium BI features' useful to corporates]
  • Standard [includes database reports and analytics capabilities]
In addition to the above principal editions SQL Server 2012 specialised editions are also available
  • Developer [for non-Production use: demo's, testing and development , not free ]
  • Express
  • Compact
  • Web Edition [for hosting and Value-added IT providers – service providers .]
All editions are offered on 64-bit and 32-bit windows architectures.
Typically you would run SQL Server 2012 under Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system.
This could be either a standalone server or virtual machines instance running under the Hyper-V role.

Licensing models for SQL Server 2012 are as follows
  1. Computing Power [Core based Licensing]
    The number of physical cores is used as the metric of 'Computing Power'
  2. Number or Users/Devices [Server + CAL]
    Enterprise Edition will be licensed via on Computing Power only [after June 2012]
    Business Intelligence Edition will be available per 'Number or Users/Devices' model.
    Both licensing models will be available for Standard Edition.
    Computing Power [Core based Licensing]
SQL Server 2012 licensing for Computing Power is based on the number of physical cores. a shift away from processor based licensing model seen in previous versions of SQL server.

You are required to license all cores with a minimum of 4 cores licenses required per processor.
So a notional 5 core processor would require 5 licenses and a single core processor would require 4 licenses!
The number of cores applicable to your processor is represented by the 'core factor' or the actual number of cores. The SQL Server Core Factor Table is available at this link

To calculate the required license when using this model you multiply the number of cores by the core factor.
Recent information from Microsoft would illustrate core licence cost as follows...
Enterprise Edition Per Core License USD $6874
Business Intelligence Per Server License USD $8592 [CAL's sold separately]
Standard Edition Core Server License USD $1793

If you plan on using Business Intelligence Edition and you are more comfortable with Core based Licensing then Enterprise Edition would be a more appropriate purchase for you.

Number or Users/Devices [Server and Client Access Licensing]
If you can easily count the number of clients that will access SQL Server thaen this is an appropriate licensing model for you. You may for example have a set number of applications that interact with SQL Server for some transaction processing. In this licensing model you must license each individual SQL Server , further to access a SQL Server the client must have a relevant CAL (in the same version or greater!)
A SQL Server 2012 CAL can access any licensed SQL Server including legacy Enterprise Editions.

Recent information from Microsoft would illustrate Client Access License cost as USD $209

Virtualisation + Licensing
Figuring out the licensing for virtual environments gets interesting. The same 2 licensing models apply but your decision will be based on your actual requirements. The per core licensing is a direct response to the fact that many organisation are now running up multiple virtual machine instances – operating a 'private /corporate cloud' ; either managed directly or outsourced.

SQL Server 2012 offers more flexibility for customers deploying to virtual environments. You can license the physical server with Enterprise Edition core licenses and include Microsoft Software Assurance - which will allows for certain amounts of running up and tearing down of environments with out affecting licensing.

When calculating core license cost for VM instances the 'core factor' mentioned above does not apply -but each VM requires a 4 core licence minimum (a VM with 4 virtual cores requires 4 core licenses , a VM with 4 virtual cores requires 6 core licenses , a VM with 2 virtual cores requires 4 core licenses)

A four processor/CPU server with four cores per processor that is fully licensed with sixteen core licenses will allow you to run SQL Server software in up to sixteen Virtual Machines.
You can also individually license each Virtual Machines (VM instance) -the only option for Standard Edition on a virtual environment. Further you can go the Server License per VM and individual CAL per user route

As stated your actual usage scenario needs to be assessed, it is common to have multiple virtual database servers used by Test, UAT, Development, Build, Pre-Production etc.

Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA)
If you provide hosted application of software services to your customers you should consider volume licensing under the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA).An example of such services would be offering a line of business application whereby you and not your customer are the licensee or the Microsoft product.

Who can help you make the correct decisions? should be used to determine best fit Microsoft Partners.
I recommend that you find Microsoft Partners that have a 'Data Platform' competency.

Independent consultants, such as myself, can help you clarify your current and potential requirements ,], determine what technology is best suited to your business and access how any purchases could impact your current IT investments. There are definite questions you should put to potential providers BEFORE you commit your hard earned money.
Your IT professional or an appointed 'champion' in your organisation should prepare a list of questions for an initial consultation – many partners will provide an assessment for free.
Your chosen database technology is a foundation for your business and will have a directly effect on customer experience.
As with any major purchase correct procedures, oversight and due diligence are paramount.
When making a decision on the database platform for your organisation a number of factors will influence your decision.

  • Current or planned IT infrastructure investments and associated compatibility
  • The maturity of the product line.
  • Any costs associated with training employees.
  • The Actual and specific features that will be of benefit to your business
  • The uptime/availability required by your customers (24/7 or Business 9 to5 , Is downtime allowable/planned
  • Any MIS /BI capabilities does your organisation need to support decisions?
    • Do your decisions rely on accurate timely data (Sales, Stock Forecasting etc
  • What sort of integration scenarios does your organisation need?
  • Availability of employees or IT partners with a level of competence in the technology
  • The suitability of the technology to any product roadmap or business strategies.
Recommended Further Reading & Resources?
  1. See the SQL Server Trial Software Web Site.

Cumulative update package 1 for SQL Server 2012