Tag Archives: Twitter

Day 2 Review #sqlpass #summit12

To follow up on my first post about day one of this years PASS Summit, here is how day two played out

The “keynote” here was some PASS discussions, then Quentin Clark (MSFT exec) and Julie Strauss (wicked smart) doing an end to end demo on many things.. Hadoop, Azure, Data Explorer, Power View, Excel, etc. The blogger table was pretty annoying with their tweets during the demo calling it out as boring and not what DBA’s want, failing to remember that half the conference is BI people. I think the demo was “dry” but they showed many things and tied it together. I saw Julie at TechEd and she knows what she is doing. Of course every year the blogger table is going to say “zoom” on the presentations, which yes, they should be doing, or changing resolution, but to see the bantering back and forth on twitter is just bad overall for the people attending and watching and looking for info. The blogger/twitter table should be relaying information that people at home are clamoring for, not bad mouthing the presentation/presenters.

I hit up 4 sessions in all on Thursday Nov 8th..

1. BID-307-M: Using Power View with Multidimensional Models

As with day one, I mentioned I try to get to presentations by Microsoft employees, today was no different. The first one being with Bob Meyers and Sivakumar Harinath. This was a deep dive into the newly announced functionality yet to be released or given a date that will let us hit OLAP cubes with Power View. Honestly I wish Microsoft would have released this from the get go. One thing I don’t understand though is why Power View uses DAX to hit OLAP and TABULAR, while Excel uses MDX to hit OLAP and TABULAR. Seems split brained to me. Choose one and go. Many audience questions in this one, and one downfall of Microsoft Employee presentations is that they have a hard time saying “no” and get into discussions with audience members, many times taking too much time on some specific question.

Presentation was good, and we learned some things. New dimension properties for ImageUrl, Geography (for mapping), etc. And what will and won’t work with Power View and OLAP. Good stuff.

2. BIA-400-HD: Enterprise Data Mining with SQL Server

This was a double session, and I just stayed for the first half. Mark Tabladillo (marktab) is a PhD so that tells you something. Data Mining in SSAS/SQL Server has always been an enigma since day one. I don’t know of many using it in real life (besides the AdventureWorks Demo?) – it is kind of SSAS Cube Writeback, awesome, but not widely used. He showed how you can use the SSAS Data Mining cubes and Excel Add in to do forecasting, basket analysis and how to get into some of the options and get data out yourself to make your own visualizations, pretty cool stuff, but like I said, I left half way through…

3. BIA-309-M: Enriching Your BI Semantic Tabular Models with DAX

I left the Data Mining session early to get a good seat for this presentation. Kasper de Jonge from Microsoft is one I always try to get to as he is wicked smart as well, and usually the presentations are awesome, this one was no different. Getting into the details with DAX and just seeing someone like Kasper use PowerPivot, Excel .. it shows how “he” would use it, being a program manager, which is different than most. Great to pick up tips/tricks and just see how he goes about doing even the basics. He even showed off the trick on changing the DAX on an imported table to a DAX query to get whatever you want back from your tabular cube, he has a blog post that I went through a while ago to the same effect, which was cool.

4. BIA-206-M: BI Power Hour

Finally to end the day..Matt Masson and Matthew Roche again, with Patrick LeBlanc, Peter Myers, Sean Boon and Chuck Heinzelman.

This presentation reminded me of a Brian Knight spectacular.. throwing trinkets, books, etc to audience, goofy stuff. Pretty funny, and they go through SharePoint, SSIS, PowerView etc. Very lighthearted and a good way to end a 2nd day on non-stop technical things. Matt Masson is probably a stand up comedian at night, just funny stuff. I have seen Chuck present before and he is good, Sean showed us some PowerPivot with Olympic data and Shark bite data, Patrick with a Windows Phone app and Azure and SQL Data Sync, Matt with SSIS data app, and Peter Myers filled in at the end by capturing data from the audience over mobile and slicing/dicing it. I have seen Peter before as well and he is very methodical, it was his first “power hour” and it showed, but hopefully he does it again and is a bit more prepared.

Thursday night was the appreciation night, and gather at the EMP (music museum) in Seattle. They shuttle you over and back. Two free drinks, food (I think I had mac and cheese 3 nights in a row for some reason last week), and you can tour around the museum. There was #SQLKaraoke, but the sanctioned one, not the one at Busch Gardens. Live band and you get to sing, pretty cool stage and everything. Again, bummer, my voice was out or I would have sang a tune.

So to wrap up my 2nd full day, BI, BI, BI all day. More to come with the last day and overall thoughts for this year.

Create a Word Cloud From Your Twitter Feed

I love playing with data. My data makes it even more fun. Wordle has been around for a long time, and so has Twitter (in Internet years anyways). I have always been fascinated by word clouds and visualizing text patterns, etc.

I figured that hey, there has got to be some analyzer for your twitter stream, and I am sure there are a ton, but I didn’t stumble upon any with some easy Googling, so I did it the hard way.

First goal? Get your Twitter feed and/or data somehow. Multiple ways to do this, but I stumbled upon a pretty cool site. http://tweetbook.in that let’s you create an eBook from your Twitter feed and favorites. It let’s you publish out as a PDF or XML file, so I figured that would work. It is a busy site and you may have to wait to get in but once you do you just oAuth it up to Twitter and grab your data.

Now, once you have your data, you need to do something with it. The data would be in XML so you need to parse out the data you want, for instance, I wanted to analyze my “favorites” so I wanted to get the text out of the XML. Here is my first favorite on Twitter (by the way, it will only go back 3200, I think – I only have 2600 or so faves)

  881539697
  A "Manager" class is like my grandmother's junk drawer.
  Fri Aug 08 14:23:56 +0000 2008
  web
  jeremydmiller
 

Well I just want to grab that <text> value, and without having to do any programming or powershell or C#, I fired up trusty old LINQPad (more on this tool in future posts for sure). I then just wrote a quick little query against the XML file like so:

var xml = XElement.Load (@"c:\fave.xml");

var query =
  from e in xml.Elements()
  select e.Element("text").ToString().Replace("","").Replace("","").Replace("RT ","");

query.Dump();

As you can see, I am just loading up the xml file and doing some text cleanup (removing the xml text blocks and removing RT’s, the old syntax which muddies up the results). Note in LINQPad you need to change the query type to C# Statements instead of the default C# Expression.

Once I had my values in the results I wanted, I did a quick CTRL+A, CTRL+C (it still baffles me how many people don’t know CTRL+A is “Select All”) and then pasted it into notepad++, to view, and cleaned up some html characters there (quotes, etc) and then pasted it into Wordle. Here is what I got back:

wordle_of_my_favorites

You can see I really like to favor SQL Server, Microsoft, iPhone, Blogs, sqlpass, Google, SharePoint, Twitter, and pretty much everything geeky. Pretty dang cool. Why doesn’t Twitter offer something like this? I think it would be cool. What other cool things have you done with your “data” – what cool things would you like to see?

The New Hipster: Going Appless

Love the iPhone, really do. But I am pretty hardcode when it comes to apps and loading things and making it “work” hard. Every once in a while some rogue app goes off the wall and starts draining battery like crazy. Usually the only thing to do is restore phone. I have had to do this, and a few other people I know have see it as well. I don’t blame the iPhone, I blame the apps. Just like windows mobile, the apps were the problem :)

Anyways, this time, instead of restoring my phone from backup, I just let it stay “clean”. I decided to not install any apps for as long as I can. It has been 24 hours, so that says something :)

But what I am doing is going back to the iPhone roots, back to 2007. Web apps. Steve Jobs himself says it is their “other”, open, unrestricted platform they support, so let’s see what it can offer.

Facebook? touch.facebook.com
Twitter? m.twitter.com
Flickr? m.flickr.com
YouTube (the HTML5 version is better than the native app!) m.youtube.com
FourSquare/Gowalla? check.in
Reeder/Google Reader? google’s mobile formatted reader site works.
Other apps? openappmkt.com
IM? meebo has a pretty good web app.

Just like regular hipsters, that drink PBR, and lose the flavor and other added benefits of drinking a less “hip” beer, you have to give some things up.. such as..

Push Notifications – not sure yet if this is a good or bad thing to give up. The current implementation just seems to annoy anyways

Background/Streaming music (Pandora/Last.fm, etc) – I did find dance.fm has a HTML5 version or something that streams directly from a web page, so I could almost say others might follow suit. I also have iPod on the device so not to worried, I don’t listen to a helluva lot of music anyways.

What else? Not sure yet, we will see how long I last. One thing I can say, there are some games that are web apps that are pretty cool, but don’t come close to the native games … yet.

Of course I will probably start installing some apps eventually, and after a while I will be back to my old app going ways :)

Foursquare in Your Business

I don’t own a business. So let’s just get that out of the way. But as a Foursquare user, and someone who frequents many businesses.. how could you use Foursquare as a business owner?

First, above all, you can know what the heck foursquare is… check it out.. http://www.foursquare.com .. ok, did you find your business on there?

Anyways, some places give discounts for mayors.. awesome. 15% at the local coffee shop for me, yet an employee is the mayor. Against the rules for places that give deals.

What else can you do? Well, you can know who is coming to your place. You can say “shout blahhhhhh” for a cool new badge

You can do other cool deals, like, the 100th checkin gets this, or the 10th checkin today gets this. Sky is the limit.

Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, etc. If you own your local business, you should be on there and know WTF is going on. Facebook – you should already be there. If not, for shame. It is 2010.

Engage your customers. Give them something, even if it is recognition, if they are utilizing these location based social apps with your business.

Your patrons will thank you and spread the word for you. Through twitter/facebook, or just word of mouth, for you.


Bookmark Bar – Uber Micro Sharing

I use pretty much every browser. I switch between them depending on mood, system I am on, phase of the moon, etc. But there are some essential “bookmarklets” that I always want to use/set up.


There are a few things I wish I could tweak though. Like with Yammer, the ability to choose a group before it hits the page. Also with the Yammer bookmarklet there is about a 50/50 chance the URL/title wont come through so you have to do it manually.

With the Gmail This one, on Safari, it opens in a tab instead of a popup, and loading Gmail is kind of slow (IMHO) when you want to just write a mail from out of no where.

What bookmarklets do you use? Are you a share-a-holic?


Social Experiment: Purging Facebook “Friends”

So last night I decided it was time. Time to put and end to the madness, the quizzes, the nonsense, the “friends on my list that aren’t really my friends” game. What I decided to do was just… delete them all. Everyone. Then see how my “friend” list grows from there.

image

I think one thing as well, when I started Facebook, they didn’t have many of the features they do now. Friend lists were nonexistent, but they did have these “how do I know this person” feature, which now is subtly hidden or not even there at all.  What ensued was close to 500 people with no way to manage them. What if I want a picture album that only XYZ people can see? I need to create a list, but creating a list when you have no one in lists is a pain. Now I can create lists and when I add new friends I can add them to the lists then.

Also, the news feed. Filled with junk, or updates from people I don’t care about. Was getting sick of hiding people or updates, or quizzes, or whatever. I got to thinking, why do I have all these people on my friend list if I don’t care what they are updating? So I started to pair it down, remove people I don’t know, then people I haven’t talked to in real life, then people I haven’t talked to in years and when they got on FB they added me and I haven’t said anything to, then I said, well I will remove people I wouldn’t go have a beer with, then it just became a mess and I said whatever, I will remove everyone and start this experiment. Remove myself from all Groups and stop being a Fan of Sunshine, Campfires, and Not Having Swine Flu. 

After removing a few people I wrote on my wall that I was removing everyone, and before I was even done getting through the purge process (you have to delete one by one by the way. Facebook makes it easy to add friends, pain to remove more than one at a time) someone had added me back. Cool. Then I twittered it, and a couple of friends added me back. Nice. So that’s where I am at, and if I stay there, then cool, if I add friend back, well then at least I will have them categorized as I go.

It’s funny now with few friends, how bad Facebook is at telling me who I should be friends with. It wants me to be friends with everyone from SCSU because I graduated there in 2002. Not good. Wondering though if it doesn’t recommend people I have removed? Hard to say.

Sometimes spring cleaning is fun, starting at zero, new.

Twitter or Yammer?

Recently I have been using Yammer more often than Twitter, but they both have their place. You probably know what Twitter is as it has been going mainstream like crazy the last month or two. Yammer on the other hand is less known. Yammer is sort of like Twitter, but just for your organization.

What Yammer brings, besides being just internal to your place of work, are other enhancements. Groups, for one, is huge. I can create a group say for “Microsoft SQL Server”, and anyone on Yammer in my place of work can join that group and share, discuss, and consume anything from that group. Instead of me sending out emails from articles and tips, people can just subscribe to them.

Also, departments can create groups , private groups, to have discussions just within their dept.

Yammer also has an iPhone app, and a Adobe Air Desktop App (I think I heard TweetDeck integration soon if not already), and it uses SMS message as well if you want, and also you can get daily digest emails from your groups and people you follow.

I would suggest groups of employees that are on Twitter going back and forth, take a look at Yammer for internal needs. What I try to do is save anything for Twitter that is more applicable to everyone, and Yammer for things I just want to share with people I work with.

On that note as well, I separated out my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and am going to try to use Facebook for more non-technical status updates.

So,

Yammer = company/corporate/internal groups

Twitter = colleagues outside of the company, and people I find interesting in my same line of work, etc

Facebook = family, friends, etc