Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts

Monday, October 31, 2022

Tales From The Field Weekly Wrap Up for the Week of 10-24-2022


Hello Dear Reader! This past week was an extremely fun time over at the Tales From The Field show!  Fall is here, the leaves change and fall in Florida very quickly, & today is Halloween!!!  Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year.  It is also my daughter's birthday, which makes it extra special!

This is my favorite holiday because everyone can participate in the holiday, the cost to celebrate is low, & everyone is there to give freely.  We will be giving out candy bags, and the house is decorated in a Nightmare Before Christmas theme!  

Decorated while I listened to Wrexham AFC streaming in my earbuds.  Nothing better than listening to Mark Griffiths (Twitter | @m_griffiths92) talk about the pies or bursting my ear drums as Paul Mullin scores away!

Hopefully all of you will have a fantastic, candy filled, costume wearing day today!

"So Balls", you say, "what happened on the show last week!?!".

Ahh, thank you Dear Reader for keeping me on track!  Off to the recap!


We had the great Karen Lopez (Twitter | @DataChick) on the show.  Karen is an 11 time Microsoft Data Platform MVP, a NASA Datanaut, & a Senior Project Manager & Architect at InfoAdvisors.  As the world re-opens and we look at traveling for work and conferences again, we discussed Tips & Tricks as well as #KarensTravelStories

Josh hosted the show.  I shared the crazy story of my bachelor party flight to New Orleans, somehow I was disqualified, Andres WON!!  Andres will be the host next Tuesday!!  There was something weird going on about Andres, Josh, and a VENMO payment.... let's just say Dear Reader, I have my suspicions. 


We had Chris Ayers (Twitter|@Chris_L_Ayers) join us for the Community Round table on Thursday. 

Chris is a Senior Azure FastTrack Customer Engineer that is DevOps & Developer focused.  Chis is part of the same FastTrack team that Neeraj, Josh, Andres, & myself are all part of. We talked about DevOps Days Tampa Bay 2022 and some of the upcoming presentations and events Chris has planned. 

We covered a ton of great content on the show, here's a summary of the posts:


a. MY BEST 61 TRAVEL TIPS TO MAKE YOU THE WORLD’S SAVVIEST TRAVELER  by Nomadic Matt Twitter @nomadicmatt 


a. Starting with brand new Azure AD Lifecycle Workflows – Part 1by Pim Jacobs Twitter @PimJacobs89 


a. The Points Guy by The Points Guy Twitter @thepointsguy 


a. Deriving real-time intelligence about the physical world with Azure Percept and Azure Digital Twins  by Nabeel Muhammad Twitter @abrsazi 


a. Parallelism in SQL Server Execution Plan by Amhad Yaseen Twitter @AhmadZYaseen 


a. Synapse Delta Lakehouse and Power BI Enterprise Big Data Worked Example. Part 1: Start With the End in Mind  by Rishi Sapra Twitter @rsaprano 


a. Tech Conference Travel Tips by Una Kravets Twitter @Una 


a. Securing access to Azure Data Lake Gen 2 from Azure Databricks by Nick Hurt Twitter @Nicholas_Hurt  


a. More Consistent Execution Plan Timings in SQL Server 2022 by Paul White Twitter @SQL_Kiwi 


a. Mastering DP-500: Synapse Serverless SQL and file types – the ultimate guide!  by Nikola Ilic Twitter @DataMozart 


a. 16 Short Funny Travel Stories That'll Make You Laugh Out Loud by Jessie Festa Twitter @JessonaJourney 


a. Best practices for designing a Microsoft Sentinel or Azure Defender for Cloud workspace by Tiander Turpijn Twitter @TianderTurpijn 


Ok Dear Reader it's time to land this plane.  Put your tray tables in their upright and locked positions, take small children by the hand, and DON'T FORGET we are live this Tuesday & Thursday at 1 pm EST!  Comment on the stream on any of our Twitter pages, Youtube Show page, or my Linkedin page as we are streaming and your comments will make it onto our show!

As always Dear Reader, thank you for stopping by.



Monday, October 17, 2022

Tales From The Field Weekly Wrap Up for the Week of 10-10-2020

 Hello Dear Reader! We had a big week on Tales From The Field!  We've got some great stuff planned for you this week, but before we get to the Live shows tomorrow 10/18 & 10/20, I wanted to do a quick recap of last week.  

Ignite is always an exciting time, announcements are in the air, and we have truly arrived at what I like to call Fall Conference season.  This is a lot like pumpkin spice season, but technology flavored. still has a lot to do with Starbucks as we are all in line to get coffee.

Ignite returned to an in-person gathering at the Washington State Convention Center for the first time since 2019 when it was in Orlando.  I always love when it is in-person.  Hopefully, we have more in person with a streaming component next year.  It is really impowering to allow the millions at home who cannot attend in person to attend remotely. 

All right enough talk, let's get to the shows!


Last week was Microsoft Ignite and we kicked off our show with TWO big guests.  We had Niko Negebauer Sr. PM from the Azure SQL Managed Instance Product Group, (Twitter | @NikoNeugebauer) join us on the show!    For years Niko was a Microsoft MVP, contributing to the community as a chapter leader, Presidente of the TUGA in Portugal, a PROLIFIC & amazing blogger.  Presenter at many international conferences, and user groups.

We also had Anna Hoffman, (Twitter| @AnalyticAnna) Sr. PM from the Azure SQL Data Platform join us!  Anna is a Data Scientist, The Host of Data Exposed, the co-host of Something Old Something New which is a series about the math behind data science & how it applies to Azure ML, presenter at International conferences, one of the most recognizable faces in the world of Azure Data. 

I was the host!  Neeraj won!!  We discussed our favorite Ignite experiences and Niko flipped the scripted and asked us questions.  Check it out at the link above.


On the Thursday show we had the Community Round table and covered Community & Ignite content all in on location.  Here's a summary of what we covered on the show:


a.10 for 10: My 10 Favorite SQLPerformance Posts  by Aaron Bertrand Twitter @AaronBertrand


a. On the Floor of Microsoft Ignite: Day 1 Announcement Thoughts by Joey D’Antoni Twitter @jdanton


a. Microsoft Ignite 2022: What to Expect from This Year’s Event by Joe Kuehne Twitter @BizTechMagazine


a. Azure IoT Edge Integration with Nvidia Deepstream by Emmanuel Bertrand Twitter @emmanuel_B_V


a. The Dangers of Dynamic SQL and How to Avoid Them by Rob Farley Twitter @rob_farley


a. Microsoft Ignite 2022 – Azure Data Platform Update by Wolfgang Strasser Twitter @wstrasser


a. Ignite 2022- New Features and Updates for Ignite 2022 by  David Allen Twitter @onmsft @davidpaj1978


a. High Performance Real Time Object Detection on Nvidia Jetson Tx2 by Prof. Lee Stott Twitter  @lee_stott


        a. Stop Using Production Data for Development by Thomas LaRock Twitter @SQLRockstar


a. Azure SQL and Azure SQL Managed Instance - Backup retention polices Loading …  by Paloma Garcia Martin Twitter @PalomaGarcia40


a. Introducing-rankx-in-dax by Marco Russo Twitter @marcorus


a. Microsoft Ignite Big Book of News 


a. New PowerBI Implementation Guidance by Melissa Coates Twitter @SQLChick


a. Incremental Refresh and Hybrid tables in Power BI: Load Changes Only by Reza Rad Twitter @Rad_Reza


a. Introducing assessment tooling for Oracle database migration to Azure SQL and PostgreSQL- Preview  by Neel Ball 


We love our Sr. Escalation Engineers at Microsoft.  These folks are our hero's and our firefighters.  When you have a big issue, you call and put in a ticket.  These are the folks that come in when that ticket is escalated.  One of the blogs that we featured was by Paloma Garcia Martin and she was so kind to give us another Shout Out on their team blog last week!  

Speaking of, what a GREAT TEAM BLOG!!  It is the Azure Database Support Blog and you should go and check it out!

More guests and more great content to come this week, hope to see you there!  And as always, thank you for stopping by.



Monday, July 10, 2017

Spider-Man Homecoming Twitter Sentiment

Hello Dear Reader!  This past Thursday night I took my son Zachary to see Spider-Man Homecoming, it was an amazing movie with a fantastic cast.  Both of us are BIG comic book guys, and we enjoyed it immensely.  As a matter of fact we both enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t help but wonder how the rest of the world felt!  You’ve probably seen different ways to view Twitter sentiment analysis, but I wanted to do this today using Azure Logic Apps to create a real-time Power BI Dashboard, with a live data source using Azure SQL Database.  We’ll how we did this in detail in a later blog post, but first let’s look at the data!

Want to read a little more?  Head over to our, Josh Luedeman (@Twitter) and myself, blog over at MSDN!  Click here for the Deeper Insights Blog.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Microsoft: 1 Year in, how's it going?

Hello Dear Reader, one year ago today it was leap year, February 29th 2016. So I'm a year older, the big four zero.... 40.  A little wiser?  Maybe.

Despite my New Year's resolution to get fatter and work out less, I've lost 21 pounds and I'm working out 3-5 times a week.  CURSE YOU NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS!!!  YOU NEVER COME TRUE!!!!

Also I left my old job as a Data Platform Lead, ie 'Executive Manager', and went back into the field as a Premier Services for Developer Consultant.  Oh and I did this by going to work for Microsoft.

That's right Microsoft.

"So Balls", you say "Is this Micro-soft that makes the ultra-micro-soft pillow cases? or is this the REAL Microsoft?"

Good question Dear Reader!  Yes this is the real deal.  I really work for Microsoft, also I feel the need to smile whenever I say that.

I don't want to make this seem like being an executive or a manager were a bad experience.  They were not.  I love the people who were on my team at Pragmatic Works.  Some have left, some have stayed, and others joined Microsoft.  I love the people I worked with, and I still do.

I would relish the chance to Manage again, but it would have to be the right scenario.  I was asked to manage teams many times in my career before PW.  I refused.  It wasn't that I didn't want to.  I knew that if I had to lead the team I was a part of, I would have to fire the slackers who were my friends get rid of some people that I knew and hire new people.  PW was the first place where I was working with a dedicated and talented group that was amazing from top to bottom.

Adam Jorgensen (@WAdamJ), who has probably changed his twitter handle.....again...... the second I linked to it in a blog post, was a FANTASTIC boss, mentor, and friend.  There are a few habits I picked up from Adam that continue to help me.

My first year I felt like I was spinning my wheels.  I was more efficient, but I was still doing some of the same things and didn't know a better way to do it.  Adam asked me how many books I read on SQL when that was my field.  I stopped to count and he said, "A lot right?  The number doesn't matter.  It's the concept.  You read a lot, studied more, and experimented to become an expert right?".  He was right*.    He then asked me, "How many books have you read on management?"  I was floored.  But I also didn't know what to read.

Adam created a spreadsheet that had a lot of book recommendations.  He gave it to me in a spreadsheet and prioritized what he felt the most important books where.  Some I loved, some I make everyone read, and others... were terrible.

I learned, I grew.  I liked it.  I also realized what kind of management books I enjoyed and that lead me to more books, more ideas, more new concepts.

Moving from a Consultant to a Manager was like moving from a wide receiver or running back to a Football Coach.  You don't play on the field.  You put people in place to play positions, you can even put a talented lead consultant in the field, your quarterback, by you don't do the work.  That's not your job.

You do the opposition research now.  What does the field look like?  What is the goal?  How do we develop the right tools so our team can win?

Going back to being a position player was a little scary.  I never gave up being technical, but I didn't know if I would enjoy it like I used to.
*By the way Adam likes it when you agree with him try to do that.  But don't tell him that's why you are doing that, for some reason he doesn't like that.


I love it.  I love this job.  I sometimes pinch myself.  I've called my friend Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken) sometimes just to thank him.  My thank you generally starts something like this, "Dear Sir, Thank You for you kindness, generous patience, and pure grit for the number of times you called me, asked me to join you, and for all the times I said NO.  Thank you for not giving up on me."

I could go on and on, but let's start to break down what is so great.  I didn't number these, because it's hard.  I tried.  I picked my top five.  There were more.  I ordered, re-ordered, and then said the heck with it.  So here they are.  The Corporate Culture, Freedom, My Managers, Health Benefits & Corporate Giving, and The Ability to Grow as a Professional.

The Corporate Culture.  The company is driven by a Growth Mindset, you've seen these changes.  The quality of products are better.  The collaboration is better.  It's no longer Microsoft vs. the world.  Gone are the days when your Microsoft app works great as long as you use additional Microsoft products X, Y, and Z and woe-be-on-to-you if you used anything non-Microsoft.

This all comes from a growth mindset of our Senior Leadership Team that views different competitive advantages as challenges to get better.  The recognition that a Microsoft product is not always the best answer, and the zeal to learn from competitors and our mistakes to constantly grow.  We aren't just sitting still here.  There is constant progress to be made, it starts with reinventing ourselves with a clear mission dedicated to help others achieve more.    

Freedom.  Freedom is a great and scary thing.  It means that I get to be responsible for me and my time, but it also means I am responsible.  My manager doesn't care if I'm at my desk.  If I'm on the road two weeks in a row I may have an errand to run in the middle of the day.  He's not constantly checking up on me.  He encourages me to be active on social media, trusts that I will perform for my client and job, and allows me to manage that myself.  The expectation is that I'm a responsible professional, and I get treated that way.  It's simple, but pretty darn revolutionary given what I've experienced throughout most of my professional career.  I pick my engagements, I pick my schedule, and I pick where and when I travel.

The Health Care Benefits & Corporate Giving.  I not going to go into the benefits.  Its not that I couldn't talk about some of them, but I don't want to accidentally cross any lines.  I typically discount benefits in negotiations.  Company X will say, take this job because we offer this, and this accounts to us paying this much money.  I've been at plenty of companies with "GREAT HEALTHCARE OPTIONS".  None of them come close to crazy good benefits.  Companies use them as negotiating tools.  I discount them because at the end of the day none of them were much better than the others.  That is until this one.  If you've ever worked at Microsoft you know they are crazy good.  I don't know if the people who have worked at Microsoft their whole careers realize how good they have it.  Personally, I'm extremely satisfied.

The Corporate culture of giving is also amazing.  A couple of times a year the whole company spends lots of free time volunteering, creating, and offering up things for others to purchase just to give the profits to charity.  We have multiple giving campaigns and Microsoft matches what you give up to over $10,000 per employee.  There are whole charities that have great causes from building sustainable housing for those in need, to raising money for cures to diseases and prevention, to disaster relief.  Some of them almost entirely funded internally by Microsoft employees.  This is selflessness at its very best.  There are so many people here doing good you cannot help but be inspired by example or by proxy.  I feel very strongly about this, because Microsoft does not beat their chest and say "Look how great we are!", if you didn't see this from the inside you may not even know it occurs.  This culture has been around since they existed.  This is built into the place.  Watching people do amazing things, and knowing my 'work' helps bring in revenue that in turn is donated to these great causes in some way, shape, or form is inspiring.

The Managers.  I have two managers.  One that I directly report to, but they both have decided to co-own our group.  Remember all the good things I said about my friend Adam.  Take that, wrap it in Microsoft culture, and put almost two decades of experience behind it.  They manage a team of All Stars from App Platform to Data all with a developer focus.  I've worked with some of these folks before, and even managed some of them.

To see them thrive in this environment helps me see places where at PW I could have done better, or how things could have been done for the better.  It is a very interesting learning experience.  I managed Bradley Schacht (@BradleySchacht), Jorge Segarra, Josh Luedeman (@JoshLuedeman), Gareth Swanepoel (@GarethSwan), and others are at Microsoft now.  All thriving.  It is a very cool thing to watch, to see new managers get the chance to work with them.

The really great thing is my Managers realizes this.  We talk often as Managers and I'm asked for feedback and perspective.  When I have it I give it, when they deserve praise I give that as well.  The best feeling is the mutual respect that is given.  Never once have I heard the phrase, "Well things are different here you aren't at <insert former job> you are at Microsoft and we do things this way".  That comes from the corporate culture, and is embodied by how we communicate.  There is always respect and a desire to learn what we can from different experiences.  My managers are really incredible, and it inspires me even for when my next opportunity to lead presents itself.  Dan and Niel, Thank you both!

The Ability to Grow as a Professional.   One of my first conversations with Niel during my on-boarding was about how to find my next job at Microsoft.  I thought, "Well that interview must have not gone as well as I thought this guy already wants to get rid of me!"  The conversation revolved around finding a manager that inspires you.  Finding someone that you want to work with, and making sure that the fit is right.  The best part about the conversation was realizing here I am on my first day, and my manager believes in me so much that he's already trying to help me figure out what will be my next step at Microsoft.  Internally I've watched people I admire transition from CSS to the Tiger Team or to the SQL Server Product Group or from the Product Group to AzureCAT.  The fact is as long as you want to grow as a professional, you have a place to go within Microsoft.  I didn't even mention the massive investments they make to help each of us grow technically, but I'm starting to run a bit long and if you've hung in there I appreciate your time.


Dear Reader, I'm home.  I hope to be here for as long as I can.

As always, Thank You for stopping by.



Monday, February 29, 2016

Goodbye Pragmatic Works

Normally when I write a blog, I start out will a Hello to my Dear Reader.   Not today.  This was almost a blog I didn't write because I didn't know where to start.  So let me start with the people and see if it moves along from there.

To the Consultants

You are an amazing group of women and men.  The amount I have learned from you and with you over the past four years has been staggering.  I say this to those who have left and those who remain.  It was my privileged to work with you every day.

We have too many fun memories for me to count.  I went through my pictures and found hundreds.  I think that speaks well of the times we had together, because it was important enough to take those pictures.

I've said my fair share of mushy goodbyes, listened to Baz Luhrmann's Sunscreen way to many times, and rambled on about coffee filters.  There are some words that you say in life, there are those whose meaning you know intimately because emotion surrounds them.  When I say brother, sister, call someone buddy or big guy, those words have far more meaning than their surface value.

 Each of them is the embodiment of love and relationships that have been built over time.   When I use them my heart thinks of those people in my life and those times when those words were made noble to me.

Team Ball will forever be one of those words now.

 To the Management Team

Thank you for the opportunity to be a leader.  Not just in the community but to a staff that I count as close friends.  There were challenges, struggles, loses, and wins.  The ability to shape the direction of a company is a strange and powerful gift.  So my parting advice to you is so much more simple.  Don't mess it up.

I don't say that to be glib or short, you did great before I was there, and I'm confident you will do great after I am there.  That is my hope for you.  So let me explain.

You've built something special and great.  You have an environment where people come to work with one another as part of their passion.  In my time with you I've learned just how critical proper and constant communication is to everyday success.

There is no book that tells us what to do, or how to lead or grow this company.  There will be trial and error.  Remember to listen to employee concerns, don't change course too quickly or too many times, most importantly remember Why you do what you do.  If you start with Why good things will always follow you.

You have a fantastic team.  I'm very proud to have counted myself as one of them.


For everyone else reading, the next question is where am I going.   Here's a hint.

 Thank you Dear Friends.  I'm sure I will talk to you soon.