Upcoming Events: SQL Saturday Boston

Key Details

What: SQL Saturday Boston
Where: Microsoft, 5 Wayside Road, Burlington, Massachusetts, 01803, United States
When: Saturday, September 14th.
Admission is free. Register on the SQL Saturday website.

What I’m Presenting

02:45 PM — 03:45 PM — Approaching Zero: Minimizing Downtime During Deployments

That 2:45 PM time slot is a murderer’s row; there are seven strong talks in there.

Updates to Time Series Analysis in SQL Server

A couple months ago, I blogged about how my DataCamp course entitled Time Series Analysis in SQL Server soft launched. Since then, I’ve been hard at work, squashing bugs and making instructions and hints clearer and getting this course from soft launch to hard launch.

I have a new batch of updates coming out soon, so I wanted to walk you through some of the process. First, the average rating over the past eight weeks. The course launched about 10 weeks ago, so I’m stripping out that early period of first-movers who love everything and give it a 5-star rating.

It’s like watching your investment portfolio change from day to day.

The first batch of updates hit on July 16th, when I had enough data to learn where some of the problems were and fix them. That bumped the score up a bit, where it has mostly leveled off in the 4.4-4.45 range. Since then, I’ve had a few minor changes but nothing as big as the June 16th release or the upcoming release. My hope is that this next set of changes bumps me into the 4.5-4.6 range.

To figure out what to change, I get a helpful, sortable table with information on how people are doing. Here it is sorted by percentage of people who gave up and asked for the solution:

Psst, what’s the answer to question 8?

When 80% of the people are unable to answer your question, there’s a problem… Drilling in, we get to see the error messages learners get when trying out this problem:

I don’t think I correctly specified the 10 parameters, no.

From there, I can view the actual submitted code and see what my solution looks like versus the submitted code. Here’s the top-ranked example (with a bonus that you get the solution. If you found this blog post and remember it when going through my course, I think that’s worth one free solution):

Where it all went wrong.

With this information, I can modify the course. In this particular exercise, I decided to do two things: first, I provided the number of seconds and milliseconds to each DATETIMEOFFSETFROMPARTS() call. That was a common mistake where people filled in 8.0 for seconds.milliseconds rather than 7.999. Second, in the hint, I provide the exact date in a format which just happens to match the order of inputs. My hope is that these two things are enough to raise the success rate. For this example above, people put in 2039 as the year instead of 2038. Reading the improved hint, they’d see that the year is definitely 2038.

I ended up making these changes on about 15-20 exercises and will keep making changes to make the course successful. If you are going through the course and have direct feedback, hit the (!) button at the top-right of the screen on any exercise and leave your thoughts.

If you want to feel old, there are people old enough legally to drink in the United States who had not been born yet when this episode of the Simpsons first aired.

If you want to try this course out and learn all about working with times, dates, and time-related aggregations in SQL Server, get to the course on DataCamp. The first chapter is free, though subsequent chapters come at a cost. Just money, though, not souls or firstborn children.

Upcoming Events: Music City Tech

Key Details

What: Music City Tech
Where: 590 Creative Way, Madison, TN 37115
When: Friday, September 6th and Saturday, September 7th.
Admission to the main event is is $240 for a single conference (like Music City Data) and $400 for all three. Registration is open.

What I’m Presenting


09:30 AM — 10:30 AM — Launching a Data Science Project

This is my first year at Music City Tech, but I’ve enjoyed multi-discipline conferences like IT/DevConnections in the past.

Upcoming Events: SQL Saturday Baton Rouge

Key Details

What: SQL Saturday Baton Rouge
Where: LSU College of Business, 501 S. Quad Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.
When: Saturday, August 17th.
Admission is free. Register on the SQL Saturday website.

What I’m Presenting

09:15 AM — 10:15 AM — A Map to Success
10:30 AM — 11:30 AM — Approaching Zero

Baton Rouge is one event I’ve wanted to go to for years, but there was always something else—Louisville, Indianapolis, or some other event. This year, I decided to go for it and take a trip into Louisiana in mid-August because that’s the best time of the year to visit.

For attendees, these are two new talks, both created in the past few months. They should be in for a treat.

Upcoming Events: SQL Saturday Louisville

Key Details

What: SQL Saturday Louisville
Where: University of Louisville, Founders Union, 450 N Whittington Parkway, Louisville, Kentucky
When: Saturday, August 3rd.
Admission is free. Register on the SQL Saturday website.

What I’m Presenting

09:30 AM — 10:30 AM — Launching a Data Science Project

I’ve had the good fortune to be in Louisville several times for SQL Saturdays and Derbycon before that. This year, the SQL Saturday is at a new venue. Unlike earlier this year at Madison, I checked beforehand…

Where’s Poochy?

So there I was, working on my series on ML.NET, when someone hit me with a blackjack and I woke up a month later with a throbbing headache and lack of blog content.

At least, that’s the excuse I’m going with. Forthwith is a quick update on what’s happening.

Upcoming Events

I’ll have individual blog posts, but here’s what I’m cleared to talk about now:

  • SQL Saturday Louisville on Saturday, August 3rd.
  • TriPASS advanced DBA meeting on Tuesday, August 13th. I’m going to dive into PolyBase in SQL Server 2019.
  • SQL Saturday Baton Rouge on Saturday, August 17th.
  • Music City Tech in Nashville, September 5th through the 7th.
  • DBA Fundamentals Down Under on September 9th.
  • Open F# in San Francisco, September 25th through 27th.
  • Data Relay in England, October 7th through 11th.
  • NDC Sydney, October 14th through 18th.
  • PASS Summit Pre-Con, November 4th.
  • PASS Summit, November 5th through 8th.
  • Live! 360 in Orlando, November 17th through 22nd.

There are a few other events which I can’t announce just yet, but this part of the scheduled is firmed up.

Triangle SQL Server User Group Update

Two things of interest (which I’m blabbing about here before sending out an official notice to the group). First, thanks to Tom Norman (t | b), we are well on our way to non-profit status. We’ve incorporated in North Carolina as TriPASS and are working through the non-profit process. By “we” I mostly mean Tom. Delegation is the best.

Second, we are toying with streaming. After seeing Santosh Hari’s blog post on streaming user group meetings on the cheap, I decided to give it a try, particularly because some of the equipment was on sale during Prime Day(s). We’ll be streaming at https://www.twitch.tv/TriangleSSUG, so give us a follow.

Upcoming Blogging

Over the next six weeks or so, I plan to get back on the blogging horse. Here’s what you have to look forward to:

  • Finishing up the ML.NET series. I’m so close, yet so far.
  • More on PolyBase Revealed. Draft 1 is close to completion and I want to talk more about new external data sources and fun stuff I’ve learned.
  • Lessons learned in TriPASS streaming.
  • Lessons learned from putting an F# project into production.

Stay tuned and hope I don’t get blackjacked again.

Upcoming Events: SQL Saturday Albany Pre-Con

Key Details

What: SQL Saturday Albany Pre-Con
Where: Hilton Garden Inn Albany / SUNY Area, 1389 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12206
When: Friday, July 19th.
Admission is $150. Register on Eventbrite.

What I’m Presenting

08:30 AM — 05:00 PM — R for the Data Professional

This is my full-day R training under a slightly different name. Over the course of the day, we will cover a broad swath of the R ecosystem, giving you a general familiarity and setting you up to learn more. We will also spend a considerable amount of time covering scenarios specific to database administrators and other data platform specialists who might think that R is just for data scientists.