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Month: August 2020

Working with Read-Only Endpoints in Azure SQL Database

Arun Sirpal takes us through one method for improving performance in Azure SQL Database:

One of the main benefits of configuring active geo-replication for Azure SQL Database is leveraging the read-only endpoint, a good technique to split away read only activity from OLTP based workloads. This means that there is no reason why you cannot point users to these databases via tools such as Power BI as highlighted below.

But there are some things to keep in mind, as Arun points out.

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MLOPS in R with GitHub Actions

David Smith explains MLOPS and GitHub actions in a talk:

In the talk, I demonstrate the process in action (the demo starts at the 14:30 mark in the video below). I used Visual Studio Code to edit the app.R file in repository, and then pushed the changes to GitHub. That immediately triggered the action to deploy the updated file via SSH to the Shiny Server, running in a remote VM. Similarly, changes to the data file or to the R script files implementing the logistic regression model would trigger the model to be retrained in the cluster, and re-deploy the endpoint to deliver new predictions from the updated model.

Click through for a quick summary, link to the repo, and embedded video of the talk.

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The %tensorboard Magic Command in Databricks Notebooks

Jerry Liang and Hossein Falaki introduce a new magic command in Databricks Runtime 7.2:

In 2017, we released the  dbutils.tensorboard.start() API to manage and use TensorBoard inside Databricks python notebooks. This API only permits one active TensorBoard process on a cluster at any given time – which hinders multi-tenant use-cases. Early last year, TensorBoard released its own API for notebooks via the %tensorboard python magic command. This API not only starts TensorBoard processes but also exposes the TensorBoard’s command line arguments in the notebook environment. In addition, it embeds the TensorBoard UI inside notebooks, whereas the dbutils.tensorboard.start API prints a link to open TensorBoard in a new tab.

Read on to see how you can use it.

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Power BI Fonts and Dyslexia

David Eldersveld has some tips to make it easier to read your dashboards:

Power BI font selection is currently limited to about two dozen choices. These include a mix of serif versus sans serif, monospaced versus not monospaced, bold versus light, and more. While I do not have a definitive list of specific fonts–and I would love additional input from readers who live with dyslexia–there are some preferred font choices as well as choices to avoid when designing Power BI reports.

Click through for good recommendations regardless of whether any of your dashboard viewers are dyslexic.

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Creating a Fail-Safe Agent in SQL Server

Garry Bargsley wants the buck to stop somewhere:

Did you know it is possible for SQL Server Agent to  alert you of problems if something goes haywire with your Agent? Have you ever had an issue with Alerts not being sent after critical events? Then you might need to configure the SQL Server Agent Fail-Safe Operator to save the day. A Fail-Safe WHAT you might say?? This is a special SQL Agent Operator configured in the SQL Agent Alert System in the chance any of the following situations occur.

Click through for the situations as well as configuration steps using Powershell + dbatools.

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Calculating Color Contrast

Meagan Longoria has a new Power BI report for us:

Color contrast (as calculated in the WCAG 2.1 success criteria) is dependent on luminance. Luminance is the relative brightness of any point in a color space, normalized to 0 for darkest black and 1 for lightest white. In order to calculate color contrast you must first get the luminance of each color.

As an example, I have colors #F3F2F1 and #007E97. In this hex notation, often explained as #RRGGBB, the first two digits represent red, the second two digits are green, and the last two digits are blue. Each two digits is a value that represents the decimal numbers 0 to 255 in hexadecimal notation. The same red, green, and blue values can be represented in decimal notation as integers, and this is what is used to calculate luminance. #F3F2F1 is RGB(243, 242, 241), and #007E97 is RGB(0,126,151).

Read the whole thing, check out the report, and test those color contrast values.

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Displaying Map Routes with Power BI

Chris Webb lays out map routes:

In last week’s post I described the new Power Query M functions for working with Well Known Text objects, and in a post a few weeks ago I showed how you can use the Icon Map custom visual to display Well Known Text data. In this post I’ll show you how you can put all this together to do something really useful: display routes on a map in a Power BI report.

First of all you’ll need to download the latest version of the Icon Map custom visual here, because at the time of writing the version in AppSource doesn’t have the WKT functionality needed. Second, you’ll need a data source with a table of latitudes and longitudes that represent points on a route that you want to plot. I’m going to use the Azure Maps Get Route Directions API as my data source; to keep things simple I’m going to use the Shared Key authentication method for this API, but I’ll explain below why this can be a problem in the real world. To follow the example you’ll need to create an Azure Maps Account in the Azure Portal so you can get your own key.

Read on for an interesting demo.

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