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Day: June 9, 2020

Alternatives to Circling Elements on a Page

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic has some alternatives to circling an item you want people to notice:

You’ve seen it before: a circle on a slide or graph that is meant to highlight something of note. People tend to be surprised when I express admiration towards this approach. I love that it means someone took the time to consider the data and the viewer and thought, “I’d like people to look here” or “I want to make sure my audience doesn’t miss this.” Then they took an action—adding the circle—to help ensure it.

That said, the circle is a blunt tool. It’s better than nothing: if you are facing such a time constraint that you don’t have a minute to spare for anything beyond quickly adding a circle, do it. If you do have more than a minute, however, there are other eloquent solutions you can employ. This will typically involve making changes to how you design the way the data or supporting elements are formatted.

Cole then lists out several alternatives. When I circle (or wrap with a rectangle), it’s usually one of two scenarios: either I’ve just grabbed a screenshot (or have frozen the screen in ZoomIt) and that’s my primary tool available, or I’m working with a pre-generated image and can’t change it. But when you have a chance to alter the base graph or image, Cole has several excellent techniques to make certain items stand out in contrast to others.

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Installing TensorFlow and Keras for R on SQL Server 2019 ML Services

I have a post on using TensorFlow and Keras in R on SQL Server 2019 Machine Learning Services:

What I’m doing is building a new virtual environment named r-reticulate, which is what the reticulate package in R desires. Inside that virtual environment, I’m installing the latest versions of tensorflow-probabilitytensorflow , and keras. I had DLL loading problems with TensorFlow 2.1 on Windows, so if you run into those, the proper solution is to ensure that you have the appropriate Visual C++ redistributables installed on your server.

Then, I switched back to the base virtual environment and installed the same packages. My thinking here is that I’ll probably need them for other stuff as well (and don’t tell anybody, but I’m not very good with Python environments).

Please continue not to tell anybody that I’m not very good with Python environments. I tend to dump things in the base environment, forget which one I’m in, and all kinds of other bad practices. I think I’m secretly undermining myself in Python, but I don’t have enough proof yet.

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Power BI Best Practice Tips

Lazaros Viastikopoulos continues a series on Power BI tips, switching from performance to best practices:

Tip 2) Organise Measures by Grouping

Tip number two goes hand in hand with the tip explained above, as after we generate explicit measures, what should we do with all those leftover implicit measures? Surely they will confuse the report authors if they are left visible. Furthermore, if we structure our data model as a Star Schema, every fact table will contain some foreign keys to establish a relationship with the primary key in the dimension (lookup) table. Should these columns remain visible for everyone to use?

Read on to learn how, as well as details for the other four tips.

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Actual I/O Statistics in Execution Plans

Hugo Kornelis talks about a fairly recent property in execution plans:

There are two operators that read from the SalesOrderDetail table (or from indexes on that table). The top left operator is an Index Seek on one of the nonclustered indexes on SalesOrderDetail, and on the bottom input of the Nested Loops operator is a Clustered Index Scan that scans the clustered index on the same table.

So, now what? Which of the two is in this case the problem? Is each doing exactly 625 logical reads? Is one doing 50 and the other 1200? For the longest time, there was no way to find out. Sometimes you could make an educated guess by looking at the rest of the execution plan. Sometimes you can get an idea by running other queries with similar plans and check their logical reads (like in this case, you could run the subquery by itself and that would work). But none of these methods are really satisfactory.

Read on to see how the SQL Server team has addressed this.

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Methods for Deploying a dacpac

Erik Ejlskov Jensen shares some advice when deploying dacpac files:

I have previously blogged about using a SQL Server Database Project together with EF Core and also described a NuGet package that enables you to build a .dacpac with .NET Core, even on Linux and macOS.

So the two blog posts above cover development and build. Then next step is deployment.

The main deployment mechanism for making changes to your database based on your recently built .dacpac file, is the cross-platform sqlpackage command line tool.

You can, depending on your requirements, take advantage of several of the available actions this tool provides.

Read on to see two methods for deployment.

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Organizing and Optimizing Power BI Dataflows

Marc Lelijveld wants your Power BI dataflows in tip-top shape:

In this blog I describe a few of the challenges you might face when you have a lot of dataflows. I will describe a few tips and tricks I am applying to sanitize your dataflow approach, organize dataflows and easy to browse through.

Dataflows are increasingly used as shared resource or staging layer inside the Power BI platform. While having dataflows, you can push down logic and reuse across different datasets. This lowers the impact on the source by extracting the data once from source to Power BI, helps in centralizing logic, having one version of the truth and lots of other advantages.

Read on for some tips and practices.

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