Tag Archives: Yammer

Yamanalysis: Analyzing Yammer and Using PowerPivot on MySQL

I have blogged before about we use Yammer. Some interesting data can be gleaned from the usage of Yammer. One thing though is that the data and usage stats are limited in the Yammer area, but you can get all the data and take a look at things. I ran into Yamanalysis and decided to give it a try.

After getting Ruby, Rails, MySQL, curl/curb, GraphViz, IBM WordCloud and whatever else configured, I finally got it working. (FYI – MySQL 5.0 – you need to run the config wizard as administrator on Windows 7 or it just hangs at the end).

Pretty cool data and analysis from a higher level. Of course after getting everything working, I wanted to hit the data with PowerPivot. This sounds like an easy feat, but yet seemed to be a complicated task.

I first got the ODBC connector 5.1 for MySQL (Since PowerPivot doesn’t natively connect to MySQL,and 5.1 since that is the only one I could find reliably and get to work.), and set up an ODBC source. Tests fine.

In PowerPivot, I would run through the wizard and it would get architecture mismatches, and catastrophic failures, trying to test the connection. Ignoring that and moving forward, running a query would just hang on import forever. I tried different DSN’s, User/System DSNs, etc, to no avail.

What I ended up doing was firing up my local Microsoft SQL instance, and creating a linked server through a system DSN to the MySQL instance, then I could query the data fine from SQL. I opened up PowerPivot, connected to SQL local and then ran the query to MySQL and it work. What a workaround, what a hack, but at least I can hit the data in PowerPivot locally, which was my goal here.

Of course I could take what Yamanalysis is doing and dump to SQL, or do something similar in C# and dump to SQL, that might be a project for another day.

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Cool Things I Have Been Doing On the Computer Lately

In the past couple of months, weeks, whatever (time flies) I have been doing some pretty cool things on the computer, in a wide range of areas. Just want to get them down on paper (you know what I mean)…

1. Yammer – working hard on growing Yammer community, external networks, just getting engagement and showing the benefits. It’s fun.

2. Kinect – did some Kinect hacking. On my own then with the group, got some cool stuff to show. It is crazy how easy it is to get something up and running with Kinect and the SDK. I see this stuff taking off in the coming months/years.

3. Azure – dorking around with Azure, looking at what it can and can’t do, what it could do well, how it would fit in with everything.

4. SQL 2012/Power View – been playing around with SQL 2012 since “Denali”, but now its got an official launch date (March 7th) and things are getting real. Power View demos online, trying to figure out how SQL 2012 is going to fit into our infrastructure and just learning as much as I can about it.

5. Ruby – been getting into Ruby and Ruby on Rails on my Mac, git, sqlite3, heroku, etc. Trying to learn more things that just the .NET ecosystem.

6. Ubuntu – same here, set up a VM, been trying to use it consistently, trying to get the other viewpoints from Windows and Mac and where things are at. Keep up with the joneses so to speak.

7. Android – I picked up a Samsung Galaxy (Verizon 4G) a few weeks ago and have been using it. I still love my iPhone, but getting more into Android. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is a pretty good OS, there are still quirks, but its better. Verizon sucks around where I live btw.

8. Google+/Picasa Web Albums – been getting this into my photo workflow, for sharing and backup. Liking it so far.

9. SharePoint 2010/FAST – been researching and reading FAST server like crazy trying to see how it will fit in with a potential project. I think it could be amazing. more to come.

10. SMS – been playing around with different frameworks, and seeing how they compare, trying things out. Using Voice and SMS is all the rage these days. (Hall and Oates thing anyone?)

Bonus: Nothing with computers, but I have been really getting into brewing beer/homebrewing. I think we have made 5 batches now, and the ones I have tasted so far are really good. It is a fun hobby and breaks up the constant technology I am involved in. More to come here too.

And much much more. Time is limited, time to post is limited. Getting out there and doing cool things is fun, and sharing them is fun too. Gotta find the right balance. I hope everyone is having a cool 2012 so far.

Yammer: Transparency in Enterprise Project Communication

Recently I attended the Gartner Infrastructure and Operations conference in Orlando, and one of the main points they kept bringing up was “social” in the enterprise, how your IT Ops groups can use it to communicate, Yammer was at the forefront here (and SharePoint).

I have been a proponent of Yammer for some time. At work, I actually created our Yammer instance back in September 2008. Although it hasn’t taken off as I’d hoped, it has made some people think. Coming from a tech company in MN to a bike manufacturer, you can’t expect leading edge technical things to take off too fast, have to set expectations, was just kind of waiting for the right time to see how we could really use it.

Recently, on a software project we have, I was thinking on how to “up” the level of communication between team members, but also keep things transparent so everyone who wanted to could “drink from the firehose” so to speak. Tons of communication happens on IM and Email, phone, face to face. All those have their place and are needed, but they are all mediums in which people are left out.

Face to Face, usually is more personal and unless it is a huge conference or meeting, not everyone can hear or be there, and things get lost or no notes are taken. Same with phone. Email, things get saved, but people are left off and not everyone is included. Many small questions or items to communicate aren’t even sent to avoid email overload. IM is good for one on one quick questions and information sharing, but once again, it gets lost and isn’t saved for anyone else to see.

In comes Yammer. Create a group, and then say “everything to do with the project, communicate it here”, and see what happens. Well, tons of info comes pouring out. Things that were maybe a conversation or IM/Email between two people are now open for the group to see and other people can add their voice to the conversation, or just be aware of the issue. Things you might previously emailed or IM’d, throw them on Yammer. Is there really any reason any project based communication that isn’t of a personal nature can’t be there for the group?

Start using #hashtags, and you start building a knowledge repository. Upload images, files for more info.

Now, you might say, “Well I am going to get Yammer overload!” yes, that may happen. Turn it into a daily digest instead of emails on every post. Hit the site now and then throughout the day. If you really want to get someone’s attention, @ them and make sure you/they have the setting to get alerting on a @ to them, either through IM/SMS or email.

Things to watch out for? Gotta make sure you dump messages to your group, not the main feed, or you end up clogging up people’s feeds. Also, install the desktop app for a better experience.

Can using Yammer lead to more transparency on your project? I believe it can. Try it out, and see what it does for you.

I find this.. exhilarating.

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?


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

Blogging in 2009

I have been looking through some of my Google Analytics logs, and I really find it funny. The top 3 posts on my blog really don’t have anything to do with stuff I am really into, but they are more things that I did in my spare time and blogged about.

1) Linux on my Ps3
2) iSight Camera Drivers on Macbook/Parallels
3) Ruby on Rails and MySQL on Vista

So yeah, I don’t really do any of that stuff “full time”. Even looking back over my blog posts, and seeing how things have changed since 2004. Talking about ASP development, SQL 2000, ASP.NET, C#/VB.NET, C++, BI, Other tech stuff. Fun stuff.

Now that I am doing Business Intelligence full time, but in more of a manager role than a “doing” role, I usually don’t fall into crazy development debacles or solutions that require a “blog” to explain, or a “blog” to save the next sorry sucker who comes across the setup or crazy steps I had to take to get something to work.

That, coupled with Twitter, and Facebook, and Yammer, and whatever else, blogging takes a back seat. But I still think there is a good time and place for blogging. You make it what you make it. You can use it as log to look back on (I do, I search on stuff I blogged all the time, instead of having to remember it), or just a good way to keep people up on what you are doing, in more than 140 characters.

Where do things go from here? I am sure there tons of things coming down the pipeline that I will be blogging about. SQL 2008, Sharepoint, Excel Services, More BI stuff (SSIS, SSRS, SSAS), Cloud Computing, iPhone, Mobile, Gaming, just good old plain geekery. And don’t forget lil Ella, and music and much more.

I have mentioned before that my blogging has also changed dramatically since I started using Mac’s full time at home. It makes it tough to get a “full solution” into a blog post. I have tried with VM’s but I just get too distracted :)

I have found that I get more though, out of reading and just consuming as much info as I can. Books, eBooks, Blogs through Google Reader, Twitter, etc. Still subscribing to 250-300 blogs, the cream of the crop, and I add more every day, mostly BI blogs these days. Unsub’d from most of the .NET Dev blogs since I Just am not into that as much any more. Things like that. I’d rather learn more than just regurgitate or create some kind of “echo chamber” here.

Blogging in 2009 is much different than 2008, or 2004, or whenever, and I am sure it will evolve. It should be fun! and I hope to embrace the changes that will come in the upcoming years.

Random Things around the Net Week of 02/14/2009

Yammer iPhone app goes Open Source – Yammer is a kind of Twitter clone, but for your company. I believe it is made by the same people that created Geni.com. Pretty cool that it is open source, just another way to get a good idea on how to build iPhone apps. WordPress has their app open source as well.

iusethis.com – stumbled upon this site, good way to find nice apps for mac, iPhone, windows, see what people are using.

Best Website Monitoring/Performance Tool – from Mahalo.com – if you manage web servers or are a server admin, read it.

wwwsqldesigner – if you want to make SQL ERD diagrams through your browser, check it out.

Feed Flix – if you use Netflix, check out this site. You link it to your account, then it gathers metrics on everything you do with Netflix, really eye opening. Things like tell you your average cost per dvd rental, an dhow long you keep titles rented out, etc.

Pismo File Mount – ever wanted to mount a zip file as a drive? Check this app out.