When the Process matters nearly as much as Results

There are times when the results aren’t nearly as important as the process of doing as people learn things from figuring out what not to do. This applies if you are troubleshooting why your project isn’t working right or when your database crashes in the middle of the night. Knowing what not to waste your time with is the key to getting things back up and running. It’s the knowledge that you have gained doing the little things that add up to being the person who can fix things quickly. Often times, the little things add up to something big. It appears this has happened to me.

Finalist in Tribal Awards

I was most honored to be included in SQLServerCentral/Simple Talk Tribal Awards Finalist in the Best New Community Voice category. To be recognized among all the other people who speak and write about SQL Server is quite an honor. The only way that this could have happened is a myriad of people that I’ve met while speaking at various community events and reading this blog remembered my name when looking at a blank line on the Tribal Award. I was so surprised when I saw that my name was listed on the award I nearly fell out of my chair. To everyone who thought enough of me to enter my name in the Best New Community Voice thank you. I really appreciate it.

Nomination and Winning

Regardless of the outcome, especially given the other nominees in the category, I feel that I already won.  Being a finalist is a real honor. After all there are so many other people who are also really involved in the community. I’ve been fortunate to visit with many of you who I’ve met either online or at various events. Thank you so much for to the people who thought of me, as I really appreciate your kind thoughts.  This process mattered as much as the result, what ever it turns out to be.

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur


Power Map – No longer only BI

Microsoft did something interesting with the licensing of Power Map, they changed their mind. Power Map was original released as part of Power BI a preview tool. Shortly after Power BI went live on February 10, Microsoft made this announcement. “On May 30, 2014 if you have the Power Map Preview installed, it will no longer work in any non-Office 365 subscription version of Excel.” You won’t see that text on their site, but I had it on a slide for a previous presentation I did on Power BI.  Time to update the slide as things have changed since SQL Saturday Detroit, and I have updated my presentation for Power BI SQL Server Saturday Denver.

Do you have a License for That?

The Preview for PowerMap was originally available for Excel 2013 and Excel 2013 for Office 365. Microsoft’s message that came out after PowerBI was officially released is translatable to unless you have Office 265 and pay for a Power BI license, no Power Map for you. Well, that folded like a bad poker hand. If you look now at the Power Map website it says this (I’ll quote it here to make sure I have the text if it changes again)

“If you have any subscription for Microsoft Office 365, you have access to Power Map for Excel as part of the self-service business intelligence tools.” Yea!  But what if you have Excel 2013 on prem? You can use the preview forever. What does that mean? No new features but Power Map won’t stop working. Here’s what the website says exactly “Although feature and performance enhancements for Power Map will continue to be released for the Office 365 subscription plans, there are currently no future plans to update the downloadable Power Map Preview.” Now you don’t have to have purchased the separate license for Power BI to get Power Maps. You can be all Powerful with Office 365 or Office 2013. (Note to Microsoft:Does everything have to have Power in Excel? I am starting to channel the Wizard of OZ)

New Power Map Features

On September 9th, 2014, Microsoft just released some new features for Power Map which they do about once a month. One of the cool new features is the ability to add your own maps for things like the inside of buildings. If you want that to work, you might need to check your configuration. I’ve included a copy of my Com Add-In Screen. If you can’t remember how to pull this up, check my previous post https://www.desertislesql.com/wordpress1/?p=178


You will notice there are two checkboxes here for Power Map on the COM Add-In Window because I was using the preview and Office 365 automatically gave me the non-Preview version of Power Map when I got an automatic Office 365 update. To get the cool new stuff, I must have the Microsoft Power Map for Excel checked, not the Preview one. If you didn’t pay for Power BI with Office 365, you won’t be able to use the new features Microsoft adds in every month.

Now if you have Excel 2013 or Office 365 and didn’t download the preview yet, you still can right here. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38395. Microsoft now calls the Power Map Preview an Unsupported Add-In, but all of the original features still work.

Mapping in Excel

If you have Excel 2013 or Office 365 and you don’t have Power Map Preview installed, you can still use mapping tools for Excel reports. How is this possible? By inserting maps into Power View.  The maps inside of Power View are very interactive, and unlike Power Maps, you can encode these reports as HTML 5 and display them on your phone or tablet.

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur

Powerful Stuff at SQL Saturday 331 – Denver


This will be the fourth SQL Saturday this year that I have honored enough to have been selected as a presenter. I know it is an honor, because I’ve also been turned down, which makes me work harder and keeps me humble.  If you decided today that hanging out at the University of Denver next Saturday is something you want to do, you are out of luck. There is now a waitlist to attend as SQL Saturday Denver is filled to capacity.  It is really awesome to think that they have so many people interested in learning about SQL Server that they are going to have to turn some away. It says something about the great job that Steve Wake, Windy Martin and friends are doing in publicizing this event too.

Power BI

I am going to presenting on Power BI. As a lot of people haven’t yet seen it in action, I will be demonstrating the features of it and explaining the rather complicated licensing issues around Power BI.  Power BI is mostly Excel, and I’ll be explaining what you can do in Excel 2013 without having to buy anything and if you do decide to buy PowerBI what you get.  Because there are some things which won’t really fit in my presentation, I’ll be posting a few things here on Power BI as well.

SQL Community

I don’t get out as much as I would like, and I certainly don’t get to visit the places where a lot of people who read my blog are, like Brazil. If you are attending SQL Saturday Denver please come by and introduce yourself.  I will give you 10,000 reasons to come to my presentation, none of which I am going to say here as it will ruin the surprise.  I am looking forward to hearing presentations from the other speakers too as there are some great topics being covered. I hope to see you there.


Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur


Where to go to be in the Know

At the last SQL Server User’s group meeting, I got into a long conversation with someone about where to go to find good training materials online for people at various skill levels. Contrary to popular belief, I do spend time on the internet not on twitter or shoe shopping, and have come up with a list of sites where I think the training material is quite good, and also free. I included a lot of video content, as a lot people find that easy to use for learning new things.

This is not meant to be an exclusive list, just the places I’ve found helpful most recently or have found myself visiting a lot. If you have some suggestions of places you think I should add, please send them to me.

Big Data

MSBIAcademy – This is a really good way to get up to speed on Big Data and other topics.

Apache – If you are interested in Hadoop, you will make your way here to get the latest releases and see what wacky name the latest new tools has.

Hortonworks – I found the training information on Hortonwork’s site to be very good at explaining things.

Learning Map for HDInsight and Azure – SQL Server data is moving to the cloud too and this is a great place to get up to speed.

Mostly SQL Server

A lot of these sites have crossover information too.

SQL University – This site has information for those people just getting started with the Microsoft stack to more advanced topics.

Pragmatic Works Training on the Ts – Every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Pragmatic Works provides free webinars on SQL Server and Big data topics with some of the people who wrote the book, ok lots of SQL books about all kinds of SQL and Big Data Stuff. Flip through the archives if you are working during the day and don’t have time to view them live.

Microsoft Virtual Academy – This is Microsoft’s site where they offer free training and you get points. I didn’t know that I wanted points before, but I do now.

Microsoft’s SSIS Tech Net Videos – The audio on these is often very lousy, but the content is pretty good. I am not sure how often these are updated, but you can find good best practice material here.

Ola Hallengren’s Site – At any time you have anyone calling you a DBA, you should know about this site.

CBT Nuggets on YouTube – If you can find anything on YouTube from CBT Nuggets, it probably won’t be a waste of time. This link is for information on SSIS. Be wary of some of the things posted on YouTube, as not everything there is correct or best practices and the quality can be marginal.

Channel Nine – Microsoft has some random-ish videos out here, some of which are really helpful

SQLServerCentral – This is a great resource. Go create an account here as it is free and there is a treasure trove of information.

SQLPass – Last but certainly not least, check out all of the information archived on SQL Pass. They have a lot of virtual groups on a wide variety of SQL related topics. If you can’t attend when they are being held, the videos are available for later viewing on the website. The previous PASS Summit information is awesome. They also have a YouTube channel as well, where you can find interesting things to watch.

SQL Saturday

All of the other stuff I mentioned is archived and available when you have a chance, but there is nothing like being able to ask resident experts about various stuff and network with other SQL Server people. Check out SQL Saturday to see when and where there is going to be an event near you. These events have gone worldwide, so it is very likely there will be an event near you sometime this year.


Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur