Daniel Wikar Personal blog about Analytics, Big Data, Microsoft and IT

Things to learn in 2019 - Part 1

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The list below are my current goals to learn during the year (at least to an intermediate level).

  1. React
  2. Redux
  3. Express
  4. GraphQL / Apollo
  5. Chart.js
  6. Node.js
  7. Docker
  8. Azure Functions
  9. Azure Cosmos DB
  10. ML.NET / Azure ML

So what’s my reasoning behind learning these specific technologies?

Well, basically I would like to get up to scratch building modern web apps using the MERN stack (switching out the M with Azure Cosmos DB since it has a MongoDB API). Might as well have gone for Angular or Vue.js instead of React but the latter felt most intuitive based on my initial experience. Adding Chart.js to be able to draw some nice looking charts in my applications.

Also adding a few .NET backend components to be able create analytical content with Azure Functions and ML.NET or Azure ML. I like the idea of a “headless architecture” where the front end (presentation) is separated/decoupled from the back end (content exposed through APIs).

I will try to combine most of the technologies from the list into one single project since that’s the way I usually learn the best. Sources of learning are usually the official documentations of course, but I can also recommend Codecademy’s interactive online courses and Packt’s books and videos (runs occasional sales where you can really make a deal).

Also writing this as a part 1 since I aim to create a follow-up (or many) during the year with my learning experiences.

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Thinkers vs Repeaters

Creative and critical thinking are key factors in both creating and sustaining success.

During my career I have come across two different groups of people, as always there’s really a spectra between the two but to be able to clearly describe the distinguishable differences I’ll focus on the extremes; Thinkers and Repeaters

So what’s the characteristics of a Thinker? They think for themselves, have a mind of their own and have the ability to create new creative/critical thoughts out of thin air based on their own experience and competence. Nothing is taken for granted and they don’t trust blindly, everything has to be proven and evaluated. They welcome external input for inspiration, challengement or enlightenment - but this is something they consciously evaluate to validate, oppose or reshape their own thoughts.

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” - Peter F. Drucker

The Repeaters on the other hand can seem and sound very initiated, they can be charismatic and well-spoken but the actual words coming out of their mouths are based not on thoughts of their own but rather the words of other Thinkers or Repeaters. They depend on other people to do the thinking for them to repeat and present as their own, be it colleagues, subordinates, consultants or other external parties with or without agendas of their own.

Repeaters have a hard time (often unknowingly) separating right from wrong, A from B, facts from opinions, helpful thoughts from hidden agendas, etc.

Repeaters repeating the words of other Repeaters often end up in a ‘whispering game’ where the actual initial thought from a Thinker is lost or messed up along the way.

The lack of true understanding can even make the Repeaters’ claims end up in a complete jumbled mess where the ‘thought’ in one sentence is opposed already in the next (again unknowingly).

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s really hard to distinguish a Repeater from a Thinker. There are professional and clever Repeaters who have built their whole career in being experts at repeating other’s thoughts as their own and doing it really well.

For some nuance it’s hard to be a Thinker in every single domain but there are clearly severe drawbacks in being a Repeater within your main profession, both for yourself and for the actual Thinkers around you.

So, are you a Thinker or a Repeater? How about your manager? Your colleagues?

Crossposted @ LinkedIn

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Install Data Mining Add-in In Excel 2016

Ever since the release of Excel 2016 a compatible SQL Server Data Mining Add-in has been missing. There has been numerous requests for Microsoft to release an official update but so far this hasn’t happened.

Having Excel 2013 and Excel 2016 installed side-by-side has been used as a workaround to get the Excel 2013 DM Add-In semi-working also for Excel 2016. The following registry hack is allowing the otherwise blocked installation to proceed for Excel 2016 without the need for an actual Excel 2013 installation.

  1. Download Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 SP4 Data Mining Add-ins for Microsoft® Office® (Latest official version)

  2. Insert the following entry in the Windows registry (.reg file here but use at your own risk) excel2016-hack

  3. Proceed with installation which now shouldn’t complain about missing Excel 2010/2013

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Power BI - Confirmed to be available on-premise within SQL Server 2016

In my opinion one of the most interesting outcomes from Microsoft Ignite 2016 is the confirmation that Power BI will be available as an on-premise feature within SQL Server 2016 (Reporting Services). As usual we didn’t get any ETA apart from “we’re not too far off” and “in a not too distant future”.

Link to full video: Create a modern enterprise reporting and mobile BI solution with SQL Server 2016

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ERP World View

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During my career I have encountered numerous different ERP systems, vendors, consultants and specialists. Something that has struck me as common for many (but not all) ERP professionals is the lack of understanding for the need of other enterprise applications and/or integration of the same. Many also seem to favor customizations within the ERP rather than making it a part of a service-oriented landscape with other enterprise or business unit specific applications.

“Documentation? Well, we do have some ER diagrams but they’re not complete or up to date.”

“Why would you like to extract data out from the ERP?”

“Services? Interfaces? We’d suggest you to take a look in the database if you really need some of our data.”

“We already have that in our ERP, not as good but it would still be better to use that.”

“Integrate? Wouldn’t it be better to just migrate the data into the ERP?”

Anyone with similar experiences or maybe the opposite?

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