Steampunk costume? what are you wearing? Fancy a Steampunk ‘I love data’ tshirt from me?

There’s been a lot of interest in the Steampunk theme this year for SQLBits. What is steampunk? I’m writing this blog for the people who have been asking me.

According to the Wikipedia entry, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. So how does that help you to know what to wear? What is the deal with all the goggles and balloons and dead insects and corsets? Confused? Here is my thought:

I’m thinking of printing up some Steampunk style tshirts with ‘I love Data’ on them. Is anyone interested? I’m happy to print up to 10 tshirts for free and give them away. First come, first served!

Stop Press: This is a gift from me (not a PASS gesture, or even a SQLBits gesture. I’m trying to do something friendly and community-minded and I’m paying out of my own pocket. To this end, I’d like to simply give this gift to people who are attending SQLBits only. It is not a company offer or an ad; simply a gesture.

If so, I can get some printed up. I don’t mind putting extra ones in the order. You can regard it as a gift from me. If I get requests for hundreds of them then I will need to change my mind 🙂
If people email me to me by Friday 4th July, then I will work out how many I can get printed and I will make it happen.

If you’d like to design a steampunk print to go on the tshirt, I’d love to see your design!

So, to respond to this, please email me at and I will see what I can do. I come up with this idea because I like wearing tshirts with the word ‘data’ on them and it means I play it safe with a Steampunk top that I feel comfortable in.

What is steampunk? Well, it seems to mean different things to different people. I have had different explanations. My friend raised eyebrows and said ‘niche… fetish’ and looked at me in bewildered horror 9and a slight tinge of fear) when I mentioned it to him. Other people have said ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and talked about mixing Doctor Who with artefacts such as goggles.

It is hard to get to the heart of the design, but it seems to mix past and present, factual design with fictional genres. There is an element of machinery and design.

How do I define Steampunk – if it can be defined? I think I see it as an aesthetic which is a unique combination of modern vibe along with a retrotechnological focus.

That probably doesn’t help you to decide what to wear that is Steampunk though, does it? When I first had a look at steampunk costumes for women…. um, not for me. It was hard finding something that I liked. I’m an edge case though. I am on the wrong side of forty and I dress to hide cankles and varicose veins. If basques etc is your thing… great….I’m glad you have a waist!

I will stick to wearing tshirts with the word ‘data’ on them, quite frankly.

So, if you are stuck, attending the SQLBits party on the Friday night, and not sure what to wear… please let me know what you think of my suggestion and feel free to get in touch..

Here are some examples of Steampunk before we go:

If you have been to Paris, you may well have been to the Art et Metier metro stop, which is designed in steampunk style.


Here is another picture from Wikimedia (I use it so that I don’t get into trouble!) by the artist Albert Robida.


Reposted from Visually: Colours to Die For Infographic example

I liked this infographic, so I reposted here courtesy of Visually.
It is beautiful and impactful.
It is an infographic though: I would love access to the data so we can see it simply for ourselves.

The main thing is that someone has put a lot of work into making this information impactful and easy to understand. The process of design is really hard and you have to be able to put yourself in someone elses’s mind.


Focus on the Global Spanish Virtual Chapter

I love that the PASS Virtual Chapters have a global impact for Microsoft data platform learners around the world. The VCs are my portfolio for my role on the PASS BoD.

In case you haven’t seen the VCs, PASS offer free learning in a variety of languages, including Hebrew, Spanish, Portugese, Italian and so on.

Some of the volunteers have started to post up the webinars onto YouTube so that it is easy for everyone to access. In case you haven’t tried it… this is a time consuming and finicky effort and I am so grateful for their efforts.

I’m looking through the Global Spanish Virtual Chapter videos and here is the link for the Spanish speakers amongst you.

And you can follow them on Twitter here:

Note to Self: A roundup of the latest Azure blog posts and whitepapers on polybase, network security, cloud services, Hadoop and Virtual Machines

Here is a roundup of Azure blogs and whitepapers which I will be reading this month.

This is the latest as at June 2014, and there is a focus on cloud security in the latest whitepapers, which you can find below..

·         PolyBase in APS – Yet another SQL over Hadoop solution?
·         Desktop virtualization deployment overview
·         Microsoft updates its Hadoop cloud solution
·         LG CNS build a B2B virtual computer service in the cloud
·         Deploying desktop virtualization
·         Microsoft updates its Hadoop cloud solution
·         Accessing desktop virtualization
·         The visualization that changed the world of data
·         Access and Information Protection: Setting up the environment
·         Access and Information Protection: Making resources available to users
·         Access and Information Protection: Simple registration for BYOD devices
·         Success with Hybrid Cloud webinar series
·         Power BI May round-up
·         Access and Information Protection: Syncing and protecting corporate information

Here are the latest whitepapers, which focus on security:

Windows Azure Security: Technical Insights. Update to the Security Overview whitepaper which provides a detailed description of security features and controls.
  • Security Best Practices for Windows Azure Solutions. Updated guidance on designing and developing secure solutions.
  • Windows Azure Network Security. Recommendations for securing network communications for applications deployed in Windows Azure.
  • Microsoft Antimalware for Azure Cloud Services and Virtual Machines This paper details how to use Microsoft Antimalware to help identify and remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software in Azure Cloud Services and Virtual Machines.
  • Note to Self: Here is a group of cloud videos to watch

    Happy Viewing!

    Here is a group of Cloud OS videos for your viewing. Enjoy! I’m particularly looking forward to ‘pants versus shorts’, for example!

    ·        Introducing the Master of Mobility from Microsoft
    ·        Hybrid Identity:  Master of Mobility, Part 2
    ·        Mobile Device Management: Master of Mobility, Part 3
    ·        Sliding Window Data Partitioning on Microsoft Azure HDInsight
    ·        Bringing In-Memory OLTP to the Masses: GigaOM In-Memory Webinar
    ·        Information Protection: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
    ·        Mobile Device Management: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
    ·        Hybrid Identity Management: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite
    ·         Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Overview
    ·         Introduction to forecasting capabilities in Power View for Office 365
    ·         I Can’t Wait to Retire – Power BI for Office 365 Surfaces Insights for the Finance Industry
    ·         Pants vs. Shorts – Power BI for Office 365 Surfaces Insights for the Manufacturing Industry
    ·         Joint Private Cloud Fast Track Solutions by Microsoft and HDS
    ·         Making data more accessible

    Power BI Connectivity to SAP BusinessObjects BI Now Generally Available

    Now available is the Power BI connectivity to SAP BusinessObjects BI, a joint business intelligence interoperability solution delivered with SAP in Microsoft Excel, Power BI for Office 365, and SAP BusinessObjects BI. With this solution, users can connect to SAP BusinessObjects BI Universes as another supported data source in Power Query for Excel, enabling them to access and analyze data across the enterprise and share their data and insights in the cloud and any device through Power BI.   

    Microsoft currently offers multiple ways to interoperate with SAP. The BI connectivity is another option customers have using Excel and the latest version of SAP BusinessObjects BI. Users can rely on the latest, accurate, and trusted enterprise data directly in Excel through an SAP BusinessObjects BI Universe without having to wrestle with copying and pasting or manually importing data. Companies that have made investments in both BI stacks can now effectively leverage their technology investments to maximize ROI. IT can also use the connectivity to continue to manage critical company data sources while giving business users access to trusted enterprise data in familiar tools they use every day without requiring them to learn new skills.

    Note to Self: Some useful DAX commands which I keep forgetting

    Over time, I will add to this list. I want to keep an online copy of DAX commands so I can copy and paste them for future Power Pivots.

    When you have an integer and want to convert it into HH:MM or HH:MM:SS format

    When you want to create a key from a standard date. This will take care of adding in a prefixing zero if the month is January (1) to September (9)
    =YEAR(Issues[Logged Date])& FORMAT(MONTH(Issues[Logged Date]),”00″) & FORMAT(DAY(Issues[Logged Date]),”00″)

    Creating an index in PowerPivot
    =CALCULATE(COUNT(Issues[Logged Date]), ALL(‘WorksheetName’), FILTER(‘WorksheetName‘, Issues[Logged Date]<=EARLIER(Issues[Logged Date])))

    This list will grow over time. I just got fed up with forgetting these DAX commands!