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Showing posts from 2009

SQL Power's Wabit - A feature overview

Last week I had some time to create a short screencast to show some features of SQL Power's Wabit open source version. The video could be more professional (My headset didn't like me too much) but I was to busy with other projects to  have more revisions. You are very welcome to share your ideas, critics and comments.

Here you go:

(Watch on Youtube: SQL Power's Wabit - Feature overview)

Real-Time Business Intelligence with Wabit & SQLstream

The last week I got the chance to prepare a screencast of SQL Power's new real-time BI solution. It uses a SQLstream server as backend and Wabit as a BI reporting tool. Both the Open Source and the Enterprise Edition of Wabit can be used for it.

Here is the screencast (it's the best to watch it in full screen):

Comments are welcome!

UPDATE: The full offer is now available on SQL Power Real-Time BI solution.

Delta Generation with Kettle

In one of my current project I have to do lots delta generation to figure out if any data changed and be able to work differently with the data depending if it's similar, new, changed, or deleted. I came up with the following transformation:

Products you don't expect to be 'Made in China' - Del Monte fruit cups

Since I moved to Canada back in March I have started to realize how many products are actually made in China. Back in Germany you could also buy lots of stuff from China but you mostly had the choice between German or Europe products and Chinese products.
When I went to Food Basics in Oakville a couple weeks ago to get some apples I stood in front of a huge tray of Chinese apples! Aren't there enough apples in Ontario, Canada or the US? Even Mexico would probably be closer than China.
Another day my wife bought Del Monte fruit cups in the grocery store. I checked the label when I was going to eat it and i decided to leave it in the fridge. First of all it is 'Made in China' (again I guess no other country in this world has fruit) and second it contains artificial flavor. How bad must the fruit inside be that you need artificial flavor (and does anybody in China controls how it is made)?
For my part I'll check the labels more closely whenever I buy any kind of product, …

My first impression of the Palo Worksheet Server 3

Recently I got a change to download Palo Worksheet Server 3, I was planning to build a small test case and impress some people at work with what Palo can do. But I'm not sure if I should really show too much of the Worksheet Server during my presentation after I started playing with it a bit more. Here is why:

Pros:The frontend of Worksheet Server looks nice.The Charts and Micro Charts look nice.Many people won't think of Palo as a full BI tool if it doesn't provide it's own frontendCons:Why did Jedox release a software that is so unstable? I'm always worried to do too much in a worksheet because I don't know whats gonna happen next. Will i get lots of "value?" Will my session end and I loose my data? (Just happened)If you are used to Excel & Google Docs you get impatient, some of the context menus are too slow.After working with it for half a day I wouldn't let a client create his own reports, the frustration level would probably be too high. …

September issue of OSBR on Business Intelligence

This morning the September issue of the Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) - a monthly publication of the Talent First Network got released. It is all on Open Source Business Intelligence.
Have a look: OSBR September 2009 - Business Intelligence

What is the OSBR?
The Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) is a free monthly publication of the Talent First Network. The OSBR is for Canadian business owners, company executives and employees, directors of open source foundations, leaders of open source projects, open source groups, individuals and organizations that contribute to open source projects, academics and students interested in open source, technology transfer professionals, and government employees who promote wealth creation through innovation.[Quote from the OSBR website]

Wabit - Open Source BI - New features in version 0.98

SQL Power Group, based in Toronto, Canada, released version 0.98 of it's open source business intelligence reporting tool Wabit. Here is a overview of the newest (and improved) features:
GeneralImproved UIMost item are drag ableMultiple workspaces can be open at the same timeSearch in workspacesReportsReport templates availableExtended grouping optionsChartNew more intuitive UI to create chartsPie chart support addedOLAP queriesFilter addedImproved UIMore OLAP navigation features added (Drill replace etc.)One of the features I like the most is the new grouping and sections setting in reports as you can see in the screenshot:
There are still many improvements possible but 0.98 brought Wabit a lot closer to all the other open source reporting tools available.
What feature do you think should be added next?

Creating Mondrian Star Schemas with Power*Architect - Part 1/2

A few months ago I first mentioned that you can create Mondrian schemas with Power*Architect. Finally I get the time to create a step by step guide for a small Mondrian schema. This post covers the preparation of Power*Architect to create a new schema, the coming blog post will cover the schema creation and testing.

What you need to get started:
Nightly build from Power*Architect [EDIT: The latest stable version should do it too.]A database, e.g. MySQL or PostgreSQL with the data you want to analyze. In this example I'll use the Pentaho sample data which is included in the Pentaho BI Server 3.xWabit 0.97 (includes Mondrian built in)
or a running Mondrian instance and a Mondrian client of your choice Step 1 - Setting up the database connection
Start Power*Architect Open the Connections menu and start the Database Connection Manager.Click on New.Add the database connection details. For the Pentaho sample data enter the data as shown in the screenshot (Click on it for a larger screensh…

Creating Mondrian Star Schemas with Power*Architect - Part 2/2

This is part two of my step by step guide on creating a Mondrian Schema with Power*Architect.
Step 3 - Creating the Mondrian schema Go to OLAP-> Edit Schema -> New Schema.Enter a Schema name and select the database connection you created earlier.DimensionsRight click on the PlayPen, select New Dimension, and click on the PlayPen againEnter the dimension name, select TimeDimension as the dimension type and click on ok.Right click on the created dimension and add a hierarchy. Select the time table (public.dim_time) and select the correct primary key.Now you can add levels. Right click on the hierarchy and select Add level. Enter the name, column and correct level type.The procedure is the same for all dimensions.CubeRight click on the PlayPen, select New Cube, and click on the PlayPen againEnter the Cube name and select the fact table (public.orderfact in my example)Add the dimensions to the cube. Click on (Dimension Usage), then on dimension and finally on the cube. (This procedur…

Open Source BI - Wabit now reports against Mondrian (and other XMLA sources)

The open source business intelligence reporting tool Wabit added support for Mondrian in it's newest release 0.97. Users can now either connect to the integrated Mondrian server or to any available XMLA datasource.

In the OLAP query, measures and dimensions can easily dragged into the query which automatically updates the results. It is the first version including the OLAP functionality so there are still some features missing, including filters, calculated members, saving of manually created MDX queries but Wabit already shows some nice results.
With it's upcoming release 0.98 - scheduled for September 09 - most missing OLAP features will be added and Wabit should be a nice AND feature rich reporting application for Mondrian and all other OLAP engines supporting XMLA.

Dynamic cell references in spreadsheets with Google Docs

During my former internships in a consulting company I had to work A LOT with Microsoft Excel and often had to use dynamic cell references over multiple worksheets. Recently I started using the spreadsheets of Google Docs to track my bank account balance and to figure out where all my money goes. I decided to have one sheet for every month + one sheet of the month I want to analyze. But how do I dynamically change the reference to the sheet (the monthly sheet) I want to analyze without editing every single formula? Here is my solution: Create the target sheets and your overview sheet
- I gave my sheets the names Month + Year (July 09)In the overview choose one cell that you want to contain the reference sheet and enter the sheet name
- cell D24 in the example
- Using the month names you might have to write 'July 09, otherwise Google will think it's a date.In the overview you can now dynamically reference to a detail sheet using the following formula:=INDIRECT("'"&…

Neues aus Oakville

Endlich komme ich wieder dazu, etwas in meinem Blog zu schreiben. Seit der Hochzeit und Hochzeitsreise sind schon einige Tage vergangen, wir haben hier einige Bilder davon. Von unserem Fotographen gibt es inzwischen auch erste Bilder, er hat einen hervoragenden Job gemacht. Was gibt es sonst neues zu berichten? Sarah und ich haben uns an die langen Wege zur Arbeit und die dadurch meist nicht so langen Abende gewoehnt Der Sommer kommt so ganz langsam auch nach Kanada, sodass man die Klimaanlage zumindest nachts ganz gut gebrauchen kann. Wir arbeiten uns auch ganz langsam durch die Dankeskarten zur Hochzeit, aber das wird sicher noch ein paar Wochen dauern, bis es da etwas zum verschicken gibt. Ich habe auch eine lange Liste von Personen, die ich gerne anrufen oder wenigstens etwas schreiben moechte, aber ich komme einfach nicht dazu. Praktisch die einzige Moeglichkeit jemanden anzurufen ist morgens (aufgrund der Zeitverschiebung), aber da muss ich schon um 6 Uhr aufstehen um rechtzei…

Mondrian Schema design with Metadata Editor and Power*Architect

After not working with Mondrian for a few months I had to design a schema for Mondrian again. As usual I first used the Schema Workbench. U can do everything with it but the user interface is a pain I think, especially if you are used to the other Open Source BI tools that are around for other tasks.
I remembered that at least version 2 of the Pentaho Metadata Editor has a hidden Schema Editor, you have to press CTRL-ALT-O to activate it. If you check out the newest version (Version 3 RC1) you will be surprised how much you can do with it already! After building your relational model in the Metadata editor you can quickly design your cube and reuse your relational model which can save you a lot of time. But remember, it's not supported by Pentaho yet and you have to copy and paste your schema to test it. I'm sure in the near future Pentaho will have a solution for it.
Another open source tool I found (I started working for the company recently) is Power*Architect from SQLPower. …

Wieviele Wochen? Ein kurzes Update

Diese Woche kommt mein Blogeintrag mit etwas Verspätung da ich in unserer neuen Wohnung noch kein Internet habe.
Neue Wohnung? Ja, nachdem ich letzte Woche eine Jobzusage in Toronto bekommen habe, sind Sarah und ich direkt auf Wohnungssuche gegangen und sind in Oakville fündig geworden. Die Wohnung ist 5-10 Gehminuten vom Bahnhof (Go Train) entfernt, sodass ich ohne Auto zur Arbeit fahren kann. Ein paar Bilder gibt es in meinen Alben auf Picasa.
Mit der Arbeit und der Wohnung hat mich auch der Alltag wieder etwas mehr eingeholt. Morgens um 6 Uhr aufstehen, 8-9 Stunden arbeiten, da genießt man die Abende und Wochenenden anders als bisher. Aber die Arbeit bei meinem neuen Arbeitgeber ist interessant und spannend und ich habe lauter gute Kollegen.
So, das war es wieder für diese Woche, ich hoffe nächstes Wochenende komme ich wieder dazu etwas zu schreiben.

Kanada ist ist nicht das Paradies - und trotzdem schön

Morgen werden es nun schon vier Wochen, die ich in Kanada bin. Wenn man weiss, dass man nun für immer hier ist, sieht man Kanada schon kritischer als es die meisten Touristen sehen. Zum Beispiel Niagara Falls: Im Urlaub sieht man die schönen Wasserfälle, Casinos und Hotels. Es lohnt sich aber auch mal ein Blick hinter die Kulissen, die vielen Gebäude die herunterkommen sind, die Verarmung in manchen Vierteln und man sollte bedenken, dass viele der (saisonalen) Angstellten für CAD 9,50 die Stunde arbeiten, ohne Lohnfortzahlung im Krankheitsfall, ohne Krankenversicherung (abgesehen von der staatlichen Mindestversicherung), ohne bezahlten Urlaub, fast täglich kündbar.
Ein anderes Beispiel: In Deutschland jammern Studenten für die ca. 1200 Euro die sie im Jahr fürs Studium zahlen müssen, hier kostet das Jahr gerne mal CAD 5.000 und mehr. Schüler fangen hier häufig mit 14 Jahren an, neben der Schule zu arbeiten, um sich später College und Uni leisten zu können, bzw. um am Ende nicht allzuti…

3 Wochen in Kanada

So nach 3 Wochen in Kanada ist es mal wieder Zeit für ein kurzes Update.
In den letzten Tagen habe ich mich weiterhin fleißig beworben und 4 Vorstellungsgespräche und eine Jobbörse hinter mich gebracht. Mindestens 2 der Vorstellungsgespräche verliefen positiv, sodass ich gute Chancen habe, bis Anfang nächsten Monats einen Job zu haben.

Ansonsten läuft alles nach Plan, die Hochzeitsvorbereitungen laufen bisher gut, in 51 Tagen wirds ernst. Das Wetter ist richtig typisches Aprilwetter, am Samstag waren es ca. 15 Grad und sonnig, am Montag abend hat es geschneit. Das Bild habe ich am Dienstag morgen gemacht.

Schon eine Woche in Kanada

Mal wieder ein kleine Update...

Gestern war ich auf der Jobmesse, war ganz interessant zu anzusehen, allerdings kaum passende Unternehmen vor Ort. Es wurden meist Leute für den Verkauf gesucht (3-4 Banken & Versicherungen, Bell,...). Bei ner IT-Staffing Company musste man ein paar Minuten in der Schlange stehen nur um sein Lebenslauf abgeben zu dürfen.
Am Freitag habe ich ein Telefoninterview mit einer Firma aus Toronto und außerdem kommt demnächst ein Vorstellungsgespräch in Niagara Falls. Mal schauen was die nächsten Wochen bringen.

Bei der Autoversicherung gabs auch ne gute Überaschung. Bisher war nur meine Verlobte versichert. Gestern konnte sie mich als Secondary Driver ohne zusätzliche Kosten eintragen lassen. Die Versicherung wollte nichtmal den Auszug aus dem Verkehrsregister in Flensburg haben. In der Regel soll wohl die Versicherung für Frauen günstiger, der männliche Fahrer sollte dann als Zweitfahrer angemeldet werden.

Die Hochzeitsvorbereitungen gedeihen auch gut. Gestern…

Kanada - Tag 3

Nachdem ich am Dienstag Abend in Toronto angekommen bin, sind jetzt schon drei Tage vergangen in denen sich auch ein bisschen was getan hat und ich mich soweit sehr gut einleben konnte.
Am Dienstag konnte ich direkt am Flughafen ohne große Wartezeit mein Work&Travel Visum holen, mit dem ich jetzt ein Jahr ohne große Einschränkungen in Kanada arbeiten kann. Am Mittwoch habe ich meine Sozialversicherungsnummer beantragt und versucht, meinen deutschen Führerschein gegen einen Kanadischen umzutauschen, was leider nicht auf Anhieb ging. Dafür musste ich gestern meinen Führerschein zum Übersetzer bringen. Heute konnte ich ihn wieder abholen und habe jetzt meine vorübergehenden kanadischen Führerschein.
Mit unserem Auto bin ich inzwischen auch vertraut und es macht richtig Spaß bei gemächlichem Tempo (schnell fahren darf man leider nicht) durch die Gegend zu fahren und das schöne Wetter zu genießen.
Somit sind eigentlich alle wichtigen Vorbereitungen abgeschlossen und ich kann mich ganz dar…

12 days left - update on immigration process

After not writing much lately I think it's getting time to give a short update about how my immigration process is doing.

I received my one year work permit already in December and I'm still waiting to become a permanent resident. I applied a couple months ago and at least since January they are working on it in the canadian embassy in Berlin. According to their website it can take over a year for them to decide, so I better don't expect an answer the next weeks and months.

During the last few weeks I started applying at some companies, but answering emails isn't a strengths of most of them. I hope they serve their customers better. I usually call them about a week after, but often you end up in their phone systems without a chance getting the right person. It might be a bit easier when I actually live in Canada and can drive by to hand the resumes out to the right people. We'll see. At least we have a car already, Sarah bought a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier last month. I…

Thanks Deutsche Bahn AG! Customer service, what is that?

Last month I wrote already about my adventures with Deutsche Bahn AG, the german railway company. They made my fiancée missing her flight, spending the day at the airport and spending a night in the hotel, it cost over 250 Euros.
The customer service from Deutsche Bahn at the airport told me I should send them all my receipts and they would give me the money back. Thats what I did almost 4 weeks ago and today I got a letter back saying they only pay 20% of the cost of the ticket we were delayed with, so I got a gift certificate worth ONLY 11 Euros. I don't need a gift certificate, I'm moving to Canada next month and with 11 Euros I can't even get a one way ticket to the next city.
I was really upset and called them right away, after discussing and complaining what a crappy service that is and how much I spent because of them, the lady at phone finally offered me another gift certificate worth 20 Euros. I wonder if I'll ever get it. But it still doesn't help me at al…

Connect Facebook & (almost) everything from Google

Yesterday I tried to figure out how to post my blog posts on my Facebook profile. First I tried different application but all they could do was adding a box on your profile. After searching for on google for a couple minutes I found one video on youtube that lead me the way: Import Blog/RSS in Facebook profile. You can do it even easier as in the video. When you are on your profile in Facebook, you just have to click on Import (as shown in the picture) and you can import not only a RSS feed from your blog, but also integrate lots of different websites like Youtube, Google Reader and most important for me: Picasa.

Finally you can use all the different great tools from Google and integrate them all into one Profile.

UPDATE: Finally there is also a blog post in the offical blog from blogger about the topic: Blogger Buzz: Facebook Your Blog

Formulare mit Google / Google Chrome

Gerade habe ich mir die Formulare von Google Text & Tabellen angeschaut und bin richtig beeindruckt!
Innerhalb von 2 Minuten konnte ich meine eigene Umfrage erstellen, die ich nun in E-Mails, Webseiten verwenden kann oder direkt über Google ausfüllen kann. Das Ergebnis wird in einer Tabelle gespeichert. Ein kleines Beispiel gibt es direkt hier:

Mit Sicherheit werde ich in Zukunft mehr damit arbeiten.

Google Chrome habe ich mir diese Woche zum ausprobieren installiert, von der Geschwindigkeit bin ich richtig erschrocken, so schnell hat sich Google Mail noch nie bei mir geöffnet. Natürlich fehlen dem Broswer noch ein paar Features aber in einigen Monaten wird er bei mir wohl Firefox ablösen.

How to miss a flight (and spend a day at the airport)

Last week on wednesday my fiancée had to fly back from Frankfurt to Toronto with the 10am flight with Air Canada. To be able to spend more time together we decided to take the train from Freiburg at 5:54am instead of going by car. Usually the train arrives at 8am which gives you plenty of time to check in and go to the gate - but not this time. A few minutes before we would of arrived at the Airport there was an announcement that they have problems with the second part of the train and we had to stop at a very small train station. First the made everyone from the second part of the train to the first part. After trying to disconnect the second part there was a second announcement that it wouldn't work and everyone should go out of the train (it was about -10 degrees outside) and wait for the next train that should stop in about 10 minutes. It was the first time in my life that I had to go out of a train jumping out of the train since the platform was ways too short for the train.