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This entry focuses on the code developers add to reports make them work, look better or expose custom functionality. Sometimes it’s simply adding green-bar but when these expressions get complex or have to be incorporated in many places in the report or in many reports (or both) productivity suffers.


They’ve invited me to talk at the local SQL Saturday #47 on June 12th. I’m giving two talks—one on Report Builder 2.0 and another on Visual Studio Local Data Cache.

SQL Saturday is a training event for SQL Server professionals and those wanting to learn about SQL Server. This event will be held Jun 12 2010 at THE MIXER on the Microsoft campus, 15255 NE 40th Street, North Commons, REDMOND, WA 98052. Admittance to this event is free, all costs are covered by donations and sponsorships.

Please register soon as seating is limited, and let friends and colleagues know about the event.

Given the number of people that struggled with the intermediate to advanced topics in my SQL Server and Reporting Services 9-hour series of sessions for Progressive, we've decided to offer the first in a series of introductory webinar courses to be offered each month (for the forseeable future). We're also providing guided labs for this course--as if it's taking place in a classroom. I'll be there to answer questions and if necessary setup a SharedView session with the student to debug their work in real time.


Progressive Banner_LogoI’ve been tuning my monthly webinar again to include more information about SQL Server Reporting Services (R2) and Visual Studio 2010. This high-impact series of six 90-minute webinars held over three mornings is for anyone who wants to leverage Visual Studio, SQL Server and Reporting Services best practices—learning what works, what doesn't and why. These sessions are for developers, architects and managers who want to know how and (more importantly) when to leverage the power and benefits of SQL Server and Reporting Services. The fee also includes both of my Reporting Services and Visual Studio books.

Incidentally, Progressive does not care how many people sit in on the sessions so you can fill a meeting room or the local theater if you want to. These are also designed to be interactive—that is, I encourage the attendees to chat in questions anytime or ask over the phone at the end.

In the latest offering I stripped out the “Connecting” session and pushed in a brand-new session “Report Design Foundations” even though the online outline does not reflect this change. 

Want a front-row seat in my next Webinar? If so, I’m accepting applications for the live studio audience. All you need to do is send me an note saying why you would like to attend. I can comfortably sit about four people so get your application in early. Let me worry about the conference $999 fee, but if you bring doughnuts for everyone... I’ll pick the audience the Friday before the next talk (which is Monday April 26th at 09:00 Pacific time).

The next offering is May 19-21 09:00 Pacific time.

We’re also introducing a more “basic” workshop “Introduction to Reporting Services” in early June. Stay tuned for more details.

I spent considerable time at the recent MVP Summit here in Redmond (Feb 16-19th) trying to get some answers to a number of nagging questions and issues that I and my customers keep asking. Windows Live Meeting (WLM) was high on the agenda. Ironically, several of the Microsoft employees with whom I spoke were fighting many of the same WLM issues but they could get no help at all because they didn’t have support accounts and could not get past the script-readers.

The company that hosts my monthly webinars (9-18 hours a month) hires a third-party company that hosts and records the Windows Live Meeting sessions. They and I have been unable to adequately address any of the following issues: (Updated Feb 22)

After my last debacle with Windows Live Meeting where all four cores of my processor were pegged, my heat alarm was beeping and my patience was being quickly exhausted, I decided to give up on WLM—at least before Microsoft stepped in. When I got back in town from my penance trip to Leavenworth, Kansas and the biker wedding at the tattoo parlor in Ruidoso, NM (film at 11), I called up the WML support team (866-493.2825) (on a Saturday afternoon). To my delight a friendly voice answered and was able to offer a number of suggestions. Apparently WLM has free support 7/24. So, what were the suggestions?

  • Disable Hardware Acceleration on the video card. This is easier said than done in Windows 7 as I’ll explain next. The support pro told me that this solves 90% of the performance problems. It did occur to me that if this is really the case (as it seems to be), why doesn’t WLM just make this change on its own as it starts?
  • Use the Content tab to choose just those applications to share—not the entire desktop. Again, this makes it harder to run a smooth demo unless you open up the applications to share ahead of time and add them to the Content tab. However, this can lead to poorer performance as WLM might be overwhelmed by the increased workload. Since I have two monitors and many windows open that should not be shared (including gadgets) I can see how this would help. I would like to see an option where WLM shares applications on a specific monitor. While one can setup a sharing window, I could never get this to work correctly—perhaps if this was fixed…
  • Don’t share your screen-cam  Window—it’s okay to get WML to show your video, just don’t include it as one of the shared windows.

Turning off video card hardware acceleration has always been a problem with screen scrapers and application sharing. I should have remembered this trick as we ran across it a decade ago while I was evaluating screen sharing programs at MSTE in the 90’s. My problem is with Windows 7—it seems the dialog to change these video card settings has been disabled for some reason. This means you can’t use the Advanced Settings | Troubleshooting | Change Settings  technique that we could use in XP and Vista to make this change.

Fortunately, I discovered that if you install the DirectX SDK, you can disable hardware acceleration in Windows 7 by clicking on the DirectDraw tab and un-checking the Use Hardware Acceleration checkbox as shown below. The DirectX SDK can be downloaded from here.





Webinars Next Week

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Progressive Business and Beta V have partnered together to present another series of technical webinars. The current series focuses on SQL Server and Reporting Services and consists of six 90-minute talks given two a day for three days. The next scheduled offerings are September 9-11, October 13-15 and November 2-5th. See the following link for an outline and pricing details. Note that this series includes a copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition) as well as a copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services—once we get them from the publisher…

Visual Studio, SQL Server & Reporting Services: 6 High Impact Training Sessions
This is a set of 6 seminars given in two parts—one that focuses on SQL Server, the second on Reporting Services. This high-impact series of training webinars is for anyone who wants to leverage Visual Studio, SQL Server and Reporting Services best practices—learning what works, what doesn't and why. These sessions are for developers, architects and managers who want to know how and (more importantly) when to leverage the power and benefits of SQL Server and Reporting Services.



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