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  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML–Redux

    Since I wrote this series we have taken on two computer science graduates in the evangelism team in the UK, Amy Nicholson and Bianca Furtuna. Both studied machine learning as part of their courses so I introduced them to this series on Azure ML to get them up to speed. They have taken this series apart...
  • Blog Post: How to train your maml – Publishing your work

    Before I get into my next post you may have noticed that ML has changed compared with a few weeks ago -the main page previews experiments differently, and the visualization of data has also changed.. One other problem hit me and that was some of the parts of my demo experiment didn’t work or ran really...
  • Blog Post: Future Decoded – with Data Science

    If you have been following my posts on Microsoft’s approach to data science with things like Machine Learning you’ll realise that it’s capable of making predictions. However to be honest it’s not going to tell you what devices and career you’ll have in five years time. To do that you need expert humans...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML

    In this fourth post in my Azure Machine Learning series we are actually going to do the training itself. I have tidied up my experiment from last time to get rid of the modules to export data to SQL Azure as that has now served it’s purpose .. Before we get stuck into training there’s still a bit more...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML – Looking at the data in SQL Azure

    In my last post we saw how to clean, transform and join datasets. I also mentioned I had trouble doing the join at all and even now it’s not quite right so how can we look at the data and find out what’s going on. The visualisation option only shows a few rows of the 2 million in the dataset and there...
  • Blog Post: How to Train your MAML–Refining the data

    In my last post we looked at how to load data into Microsoft Azure Machine Learning using the browser based ML Studio. We also started to look at the data around predicting delayed flights and identified some problems with it and this post is all about getting the data into the right shape to ensure...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML – Importing data

    In my last post I split the process of using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (MAML) down to four steps: Import the data Refine the data Build a model Put the model into production. Now I want to go deeper into each of these steps so that you can start to explore and evaluate how this might be useful...
  • Blog Post: Adventure Works!

    My title for this post is a pun on the Adventure Works databases, and samples that have been in SQL Server since I can remember. There were also some data mining examples ( as referenced in this old post ) but this has not really moved on since 2011 when I last wrote about it so you might be forgiven...
  • Blog Post: Cast and Convert

    In SQL server the Cast and Convert functions change one type of data to another. A pod cast is the art of converting knowledge into sounds so that's the tenuous link for this post. Pod casting is not something I have ever tried, but the security expert on our team, Steve Lamb sees himself as the next...
  • Blog Post: Integration, Integration, Integration

    Microsoft is all about choice, so instead of having one way of shifting data between two different platforms we have three.  I get asked about two of these a lot but I also wanted to discuss the latest tool in this space to make sense of all them and understand when to use what: Integration Services...
  • Blog Post: Are we spending too much time with Excel?

    Despite my love of SQL Server and my respect for Oracle, and MySQL the worlds number one database is excel.  I know that many purists and DBA’s will shudder at me grouping a spreadsheet with a database, but look at this form the perspective of number of hours of users using excel and the volume...
  • Blog Post: Lean and Mean

    When you build a cube in analysis services it is very easy to expose every attribute in every dimension to the user. You can also add-in every measure and if you don't feel that's enough then you can create your own calculated members to add to the users' fun. Once you have given the users every thing...
  • Blog Post: Grain - The devil is in the detail

    Technorati Tags: BI , Business Intelligence , OLAP , SQL server 2008 Business Intelligence is just like digital photography, the more detail you want the more space you are going to use and in both cases we talk about grain and granularity. If you have ever worked with RAW files on a 'Prosumer' (an IT...
  • Blog Post: One Version of the Truth

    One of the most over used phrases in Business Intelligence is "one version of the truth" so I thought it would be good to discuss why it's important and what IT professionals can do to achieve it. In an imaginary organisation like adventure works there would be several line of business systems such as...
  • Blog Post: Business Intelligence - or putting the I into IT

    As I have mentioned I am the new kid on the blog in Eileen Brown's team. This means that for most of the time I am the trainee and my peers are all light years ahead of me - except that is when it comes to Business Intelligence. Then the conversation goes a bit like this (with apologies to the Cat in...
  • Blog Post: Reporting Services - Nothing to see please move along

    Sometimes when you run a report it’s not going to return any rows, perhaps because the user selected a filter for which there is no data, and that needs to be handled properly. Fortunately there’s a simple way to  control the messaging when this occurs to ensure your users know what’s happened and...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Advent Calendar 2 – Time

    Day 2 of my virtual advent calendar, about stuff I like in SQL Server 2008.. Following on from my previous post, in some data warehouses there is a separate dimension for time of day, so that demand through a day can be modelled. Storing time in SQL server 2005 was a bit of a cludge typically involving...
  • Blog Post: the BI Sematic Model in SQL Server Denali ctp3

    Some sort of semantic model is needed in every BI solution but what is it and why do I need one?  It’s a view of the data store(s) you want to work on for business intelligence which adds additional information that can be stored in the individual tables themselves.  For example how are the...
  • Blog Post: SQL Bits 11 - Notes & Queries

    If you didn’t manage to fight your fight your way through the Everton & Liverpool fans to SQL Bits I thought you might like to see some of the random questions I got asked.. How do I manage SQL Azure? I think the key thing about developing for the cloud is to ensure that your application can handle...
  • Blog Post: PowerPivot Cookery

    I am a pretty good cook (not as good as our chef in residence Marc ) but I don’t practice enough so I wanted to get back up to speed to help out while my wife works on her OU degree and to explain PowerPivot. I have posted this video on YouTube.. ";" mce_src="http://blogs.technet.com...
  • Blog Post: Mental Models - Attributes in Analysis Services

    I had many happy debates with a business analyst on one of my recent projects because he was bought up an an early olap product called HOLOS and he couldn't see how the dimensional model I was presenting was ever going to work. If we had been using HOLOS, and pretty well any other OLAP engine including...
  • Blog Post: Analysis Services Backup

    Backing up a cube is not an ideal experience in SQL Server 2005 for two reasons, it’s a manual process to schedule a backup and as the size of the cube grows the backup time increases exponentially i.e double the size of the cube and the backup time and size will increase by a factor of four. Curiously...
  • Blog Post: Illicit Reporting

    A big thanks to all the IT professionals out who spotted my poor English in the 27 th Sep Technet flash from George and in this post . Intelli-sense is still no substitute for intelligence, but I do quite like the idea of Illicit feedback rather than elicit feedback! I also got an e-mail questioning...
  • Blog Post: Business Intelligence for Small Business – Analysis

    If you have been following this blog over the last few days, then we are at the stage we  know what we want to measure to get the pulse of our business and we have all of that on a scorecard. However just because we are measuring performance doesn’t mean our work is done. What do we do when we notice...
  • Blog Post: Oh no it’s the BI Acquisition..

    My first experience of ‘proper’ databases was using Ingres back in 1994 while working for an obscure part of Customs & Excise (as it was).  We could get a soundex person search from Inverness to return probable matches in under 8 secs from the central server in Southend which had 48 million...