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Day: August 1, 2022

A Primer on Contrast and CVD

Tim Brock covers color vision deficiency:

In this blog post and a follow up I’m going to describe why and how we used theming to make more accessible to users who suffer from some common visual impairments. Here in Part 1 I’ll cover some of the science and the terminology. Part 2 will look at the actual changes we made.

Click through for a brief discussion of contrast sensitivity and a longer one on color vision deficiency, including why color choice matters.

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“Warming Up” Databricks Clusters

Ust Oldfield needs that cluster to be up:

Interactive and SQL Warehouse (formerly known as SQL Endpoint) clusters take time to become active. This can range from around 5 mins through to almost 10 mins. For some workloads and users, this waiting time can be frustrating if not unacceptable.
For this use case, we had streaming clusters that needed to be available for when streams started at 07:00 and to be turned off when streams stopped being sent at 21:00. Similarly, there was also need from business users for their SQL Warehouse clusters to be available for when business started trading so that their BI reports didn’t timeout waiting for the clusters to start.

Read on to see one way to solve this problem without having a cluster run 24/7.

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Executing as User or Login

Kenneth Fisher puts on a mask:

I use impersonation a lot. It’s a really easy way to check if someone has the permissions they are supposed to. That said, a co-worker recently had an interesting question. They were testing permissions on a synonym.

Msg 916, Level 14, State 1, Line 3
The server principal “Domain/NetworkName” is not able to access the database “OtherDB” under the current security context.

Read on to see what caused the issue and how you can fix it.

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Detecting Data Changes in Power BI Incremental Refresh

Chris Webb writes some M:

One feature of Power BI incremental refresh I’ve always been meaning to test out is the ability to create your own M queries to work with the “detect data changes” feature, and last week I finally had the chance to do it. The documentation is reasonably detailed but I thought it would be a good idea to show a worked example of how to use it to get direct control over what data is refreshed during an incremental refresh.

Read on to see how it works, including a couple gotchas around things like the shape of query results.

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Breaking Changes in Azure Data Explorer

Gabi Lehner announces a change:

The current_principal_is_member_of() function checks if the principal who runs the query is a member in any of the users, apps or groups provided as arguments.

Up until now, it was allowed to specify the AAD group details in multiple forms, including the display name of the AAD group, without specifying the tenant id or name, for example current_principal_is_member_of(“mygroup”).

I have to say, that’s a pretty big security flaw.

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Azure Active Directory Authentication in SQL Server 2022

Mirek Sztajno has an interesting announcement:

Enabling Azure AD authentication opens access to the Azure cloud identity system. Azure AD is used by many cloud services and unifies all local authentication mechanisms used by Microsoft products providing one central identity repository and authentication management system available to different platforms, including Azure SQL and SQL Server on-premises. The variety of available authentication methods including single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA), provides strong security support in the authentication area for different services used internally by Microsoft and by external customers. Azure AD authentication is the recommended authentication method for Azure SQL and SQL Server.

Looks like it does require Azure Arc, which has a fairly small per-instance monthly charge. Click through for the details. That said, you will be able to use this feature on-premises and in other clouds, not just in Azure VMs.

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