ESRI Plus Boost for Power BI

The ESRI plus subscription for Power BI was announced in September this year (2017) and was made available for the November release of the Power BI desktop. Here’s the video, then read on for a wrap…

The verdict ? It cranks…. the level of detail in the base maps is incredible, you can even see the Calvin Klein’s on the clothesline and the World Demographics are really handy.  The maps perform well, and will support up to 5000 data points.

So what do you get in Plus that you don’t get in standard ESRI ArcGIS Power BI service ?

1. Up to 5,000 data points can be displayed on one map (normally up to 3,500)
2. Access to Living Atlas reference layers (normally just standard ARCGIS feature layers)
3. Access to more Base maps (most only available to USA)
4. Access to World Demographics (normally just USA demographics)

World Demographics…


Extra base maps (with the ribbon symbol)…


Living Atlas  reference layers…


Summary – This was a significant release for the ESRI visual. The World demographics are comprehensive, and some of the base maps show incredible detail. The introduction of Living Atlas reference layers also provides a lot more off the shelf than public hosted feature layers.

Whilst this is all good, there is some way to go. ESRI Visual isn’t available in the on premise Power BI Report Server. There is still embedding issues and forget about publishing your Power BI ESRI map to public just yet.

The process of consuming your own ESRI hosted feature layers is still missing and hence still requires ESRI admin permmissions. A hosted feature layer that is shared appropriately and sufficient credits to cater for hits against your layer. It costs $5 a month to use (free trial for 60 days). If 5000 points isn’t a strict requirement and you don’t see yourself benefiting by the above, you may be just as happy with the standard ESRI release.

Still good to see some enormous effort in this space and look forward to more.

Blackberry Passport v Lumia 950 XL v iPhone 6s v LG G4 v Galaxy Note 4…

Learnings from the last 12 months of Smartphone trials… Now I won’t get emotional here… I’ll tell it how it is… here we take a journey of expectations, to compare some of the most iconic handsets of recent times, and report back with the results of the road test.

iphonepicsApple iPhone 6S – If you want reliability and everyday
compatibility (apps, accessories,  support) this is the phone to go for…. but don’t even bother with a 16Gb… that’s not enough to run an iPhone today for basic day to day… 32Gb is an absolute minimum for an iPhone and Apple shouldn’t be selling 16Gb
phones… Good to see 32Gb is now minimum on the iPhone 7…. Battery life on the 6S isn’t great… go the Plus to save you looking for a power socket everywhere you go… Apps are the best IMG_3240thing about the
iPhone… if you run mobile reporting for your business for example, the Power BI app on the iPhone is ahead of the rest… and for keeping up with special ones… Skype is exceptional compared to Windows phone and Blackberry… The camera and easy IOS work together to smash out some nice pics like the Tweed Heads and Western NSW sunsets above… The iPhone 6S is just a bit underwhelming for a tonne of dollars…  And like Kate Spade handbags, everyone has got one… but don’t take it from me, look at the sales figures going backwards on Apple’s website…

Blackberry Passport – The Blackberry OS is legendary and the Passport silver edition has exceptional build quality.  The notifications and gestures are so sophisticated, so if you are an advanced user, there is quite some depth to learn Bbfront_editthe features in the Blackberry O.S. that will make your day….  The Blackberry app store resembles something of an abandoned shopping trolley… There are a few nice native apps, but search for a few of your favourite apps and you will quickly get the sense, the developer community has left the building…. But wait, the Blackberry runs Android apps (asterisk)… OK, it does run Android apps with a hack but the apps are very hit and miss… and most of the important ones are not usable… It also runs Android apps through the Amazon app store, but you won’t find some important everyday apps on here, like Uber for example.   The battery life, notifications, the bazillion shortcuts and build quality are Blackberry Passport’s golden moments and the camera takes some surprising good shots, such as this Brisbane sunset.  The Passport has the appearance of something outstandingly different that could make you think this is a successful smartphone differentiator… but it’s not…. it’s a wounded thoroughbred…. No support available in some countries, like Australia… and too many app “anomalies” that will end up costing you precious time and productivity… but it will be a nice compliment to your Tag watch in the boardroom and it’s certainly a conversation starter in any social situation…

Windows Lumia XL 950 – Battery life poor, Windows 10 O.S. poor… built quality feels cheap… Camera quite average… not lumia-950-XL-Rendersthe quality of photos from the 1020… It runs hot… I’ve had a range of Nokia/Lumias… Loved my 920 and 1020…. Loved the 930 less…. the rest were average… the 950 is a complete fail in my opinion… But the specs look so cool on paper… Retina login, 8 core liquid cool processor, Continuum (Use your phone as a PC)… and Windows 10 mobile is such a generation ahead of Denim… But you are busy and thrive on productivity…. it runs so hot sometimes you can cook an egg on it, which is great for breakfast on the run but rebooting in the middle of a phone call will wear you down… maybe I gotta lemon ?   I was so excited to get this phone in the post, yet so happy to see it leave… But read here for a nice detailed appraisal …

lgg4LG G4 Android… run away now ! … I can’t believe I’m going back to Android… I’ve had a few Android phones… lack of stability and support for the latest Android release were the biggest turnoffs… The G4 is a year old now, but it’s still a fashion statement… baby!  With an exceptional photo capability, a leather back… was one of the first phones to support Android marshmallow…,  same sized screen as an iPhone 6S plus,  but 1 cm shorter in 20160627_172916-3overall size… a curved screen that contours to your face or your leg when landing in your pocket.  On paper it looks like an exceptional phone that may address a lot of the shortcomings experienced in this smartphone journey… and it’s only $400 bux…

From the cool snaps here… you would think it takes pretty awesome photos… and it does.  It’s probably the best camera phone I’ve had ever, and that includes the legendary Nokia 1020… the low light photos are an absolute dream.  The buttonless design and leather back give the phone a balanced feel and appearance, and the only thing that lets it down in my opinion is Android Marshmallow and the battery.  After plugging in all your social media and contact accounts, phone calls come through unmatched to the same number already in your contact list.  Requires a workaround where you go and delete the contacts storage cache then it’s all good.

20160627_173950-2Workarounds are not a biggie, but definitely one of those WTF moments where you wonder if they actually tested this build before release.  I’ve encountered a bunch of other weird head-shaking issues on Marshmallow, but that’s Android… which turns it’s head on Apple’s minimalist, keep it simple design, and would rather give you 3 different ways of doing everything, instead of focussing on a simple reliable core… That said, is still a far better operating system on features and bugs than Windows phone… and more exciting than an uninspiring IOS.

The photos are so beautiful, but battery life however eventually wore me down on the G4… numerous days of constant phone calls and emails on the go, no time to charge, ordering the Uber at 4% battery at 1:00pm, or not making the distance at all…which is pretty ordinary considering the phone comes off charge at 6am and gets the occasional charge on the way to the office.

Where to now, enter the Galaxy Note 4…  Amidst news of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire, I thanked my lucky stars, with the Note 4 trial arriving 4 weeks after order with T-Mobile branding.  For that reason it lasted only a week… Nothing against T-Mobile, but the bundled branding is tacky and offers nothing to an Australian region other than the update gateway.  Opting for the 4 instead of the 5 meant I could enjoy a removable battery and upgrade-able memory card, and a somewhat legendary following.

The Note 4 beams of iPhone 6 plus battery life, but it doesn’t live to expectations, literally watching the battery % use indicator drop before my eyes, though it was still better than the G4.    The phone itself is solid, and well reputed for it’s strong build.   The camera took some really nice shots, and with an aperture of 2.2, it didn’t take overly great selfies (maybe that was just me looking old and tired), but it belted out a few beautiful landscapes like these scenes of Broadbeach at the Australian Partner Conference 2016.



Choosing a phone is about finding a balance of pro’s and con’s that you are happy to live with… Life is too short for struggle, and you may deserve better, yet there is no one perfect phone… and somewhere in the middle is an appreciation and a phone you will be happy with…



iPhone 6s 16Gb – FAIL

iPhone 6s Plus 64/128Gb – SIMPLE, FUNCTIONAL and HARD to BEAT

Blackberry Passport – FAIL

Lumia 950 XL – FAIL, Poor Battery Life, Flaky O.S., and Apps in Windows 10 Mobile to comprising…

Lumia 920,1020 – MEMORABLE but DATED

Lumia 930 – FORGETTABLE, DATED and Windows 10 Mobile… 

LG G4 – LOVEABLE and FORGIVEABLE but ahhh the flippin battery…

Galaxy Note 4 – PRETTY GOOD except for some Skype anomolies and a battery that didn’t live up to all day expectations…




Windows 10 Eats Bandwidth

Windows10WifiSettingsTo my Windows 10 Brothers and Sisters – who likes to use their Windows 10 device on a Tether internet connection?  For a few months I’ve been blaming poor home broadband bandwidth on the kids, when it was…. moi :/   Clue was the 8Gb mobile data plan getting chewed up within weeks of end of month.   Then it was the 3rd Telstra dude, who noticed uploads unusually high.  Checked the System tray and noticed OneDrive uploading 16Gb…  Let’s tackle the first problem… mobile data plan…, in Windows 10, go to Settings, search wifi, find Change Wifi Settings, click Advanced Options, and here specify a metered connection.  Google it, Bing it, Do it, you won’t regret it.   You will need to do this on your tethered wifi connection first, but also any other wifi connections where you want to reign in bandwidth on a limited or slow connection.  Second problem, OneDrive…  Find the OneDrive icon Windows10WifiSettingsMetered.PNGstatus in your System Tray… If you see your OneDrive is uploading Gbs of data, these uploads will be limiting download capacity on the pipe.  Right click the OneDrive icon and exit.  Start it up again and let it breathe before you go to bed.

Closing note: When a wifi connection is set to metered, any app that relies on an Internet connection to update or display info might be limited in the amount of data it can download or display. You might notice these and other effects:

  • Windows Update will only download priority updates.

  • Apps downloading from the Windows Store might be paused.

  • Start screen tiles might stop updating.

  • Offline files might not sync automatically.

Tattoos and Type Covers

So my Surface type cover recently stopped responding right before a demo to a prospective employee about how cool Microsoft is… Tried the usual stuff, pull off the type cover, reattach, grab coffee.  Solution was to power down, then restart by holding power plus the up volume button for about 10 seconds… Continue holding as it starts… You are taken into BIOS. Exit and save the bios, then low and behold the type cover works again after restart.  Thanks to the heavily and tastefully tattooed person at Harvey Norman for this trick.  Other Type Cover tricks here…




OneDrive : Sync your SharePoint Online Team Site

Sync your SharePoint Online Team Site with your OneDrive easily with the SYNC function in your team site.

1. Go to your Team site

2. Select the Library

3. Click the SYNC button

4. OK to Allow OneDrive

5. Select a target local folder to Sync to

Video instructions here Sync …

If that doesn’t work, go into your SharePoint Online document library, select Library and select Open with Explorer… use the explorer window pop-up to copy files to and from your SharePoint document library…


… then get on the phone to your Mom, and come check back later.


MYSQL: A Query to Display WordPress Posts

The following MYSQL query will display your WordPress post data including post metadata.   Just change the filters as required … demonstrated filters include only posts with a status of Publish and a post date less than Now.  Remember to remove the filter on post date if you are searching for Draft posts only.

SELECT posts.*, postmeta.*
    FROM wp_posts posts, wp_postmeta postmeta
    WHERE posts.ID = postmeta.post_id
    AND posts.post_status = ‘publish’
    AND posts.post_date < NOW()
    ORDER BY posts.post_date DESC


DAX: Get the Month Name from a Date

Some commonly asked questions in this world are :

1. Is the Loch Ness monster real ?

2. Is the Bermuda Triangle really aliens ?

3. How do you get the month name from a date in a PowerPivot DAX formula ?

Get the three character abbreviation of the month name from a Date column in Powerpivot using the following derived column formula…




Australian Computer Society: Predicting the Next Rogue Wave 27th May 2015

Maritime folklore told of the existence of rogue waves, that could appear without warning, against the prevailing current and often in perfectly clear water. Such waves were said to consist of an almost vertical wall of water, up to 98 feet in height, preceded by a trough so deep, it was referred to as “a hole in the sea”. Any ship approaching a wave of such magnitude would be unlikely to survive the extreme forces and would be sunk in a matter of minutes.

In this session we look at the some of the tools, platforms and methodologies in the current Business Intelligence movement, that can assist businesses to predict, “The Next Rogue Wave”. Whilst the next rogue wave can easily allude to the next big destructive force, the next rogue wave can also be the next big opportunity….such as the Black Swan theory, which aims to predict the opportune time to strike, concerning world financial events.

We will cover the whole data science movement, the growing opportunity of cloud analytics platforms, and the role of data governance, all designed to help businesses to be better prepared for the risks and opportunities of the unexpected, and to respond accordingly.
The demonstration will use a combination of presentation and demo time.

Onsite event details as follows, and external conference available from the link below…

27th May 2015

5:30pm for 6:00pm start

ACS Office Level 7/333 Adelaide St Brisbane


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