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Big Data & Machine Learning Scenarios for Retail

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 12:54
In the retail industry, customer-centricity & personalized experiences are a very high priority. Retailers are realizing that the data that they own combined with the abundance of public & purchased data can give them a competitive advantage that was not easily possible in the past. Competing with data has become feasible and real due to the convergence of the democratization of data and the availability of tools and technologies for handling the size and variety of data.   Microsoft...(read more)

Kinect-enabled solutions offer insights on retail customers

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 12:00

If you wanted to see the latest, most innovative technology for retailers, the 2015 National Retail Federation (NRF) Expo was the place to be. This annual event, popularly known as the “Big Show,” took place January 11–13 in New York City. For the third consecutive year, the Kinect for Windows team was pleased to participate in the Microsoft booth, along with our colleagues from the Microsoft Retail Industry team.


At the Microsoft booth, Justin Miller from NEC demoed their digital signage solution, which combines
Kinect v2 depth tracking with NEC's demographic and facial recognition software.

It has been exciting to see the changes that have taken place with Kinect in retail, particularly in the area of shopper analytics. At the 2013 and 2014 NRF events, interest in Kinect focused on the sensor’s unique capability to enable touchless interactions with large-screen displays. So we saw Kinect used to create innovative, interactive digital signs and kiosks, and even virtual fitting rooms. While those scenarios continue to offer compelling enhancements to the shopping experience, more and more developers are recognizing the potential of Kinect in collecting and analyzing shopper behavior, as demonstrated by the Kinect-enabled solutions from AVA retail and NEC that were on display in the Microsoft booth.

AVA retail demoed two fascinating products: Path Tracker and SmartShelf.

  • Path Tracker was powered by six Kinect v2 sensors mounted some 30 feet (about 9 meters) above our booth, providing complete coverage of the exhibit floor. The sensors offered real-time detection and analysis of the path of every visitor to the Microsoft booth, thus demonstrating how a retailer could determine shoppers’ paths in the store. By showing the areas visited and how much time visitors spent there, it demonstrated how it could provide retailers with shopper counts and a heat map of where in the store their customers spend the most time.
  • Unlike the panoramic views employed by Path Tracker, SmartShelf focused on a particular retail shelf. By using the high-fidelity depth-sensing capabilities of a downward-facing Kinect sensor to monitor every customer interaction with products on that shelf, it provided real-time data on which products customers picked up and how long they were held. In addition, SmartShelf triggered digital signage that provided details and marketing materials for the products selected, and it sent mobile alerts to the tablet PCs of the sales staff (in this case, the booth personnel), letting them know, in real time, which products the customers were viewing.

NEC Enterprise Biometrics also had an exciting demo in our booth: a unique digital signage solution that combined Kinect v2 depth tracking with NEC’s demographic and facial recognition software. It works like this: the Kinect sensor detects a shopper’s proximity to and engagement with digital signage in a product endcap or kiosk, launching an attract screen if the shopper appears to being walking away from the display. When a shopper stops and approaches the screen, a loop of product marketing messages begins to play. At this point, the Kinect sensor forwards data on the shopper’s face to the NEC biometric software, which determines the gender and approximate age of the customer, using this information to serve up age- or gender-appropriate product recommendations. While these targeted product recommendations are important for driving sales, the NEC solution is equally—if not more—valuable for the data analytics it provides, as it tracks the estimated age and gender of all the shoppers who walk by the kiosk, not just those who stop to engage. (It also recognizes store employees and does not include their data.) It also tracks the effectiveness of the messaging throughout the attraction, engagement, and purchase stages, to determine if the display is connecting with the target demographic for that particular product.

As these innovative demos show, Kinect-based solutions can offer brick-and-mortar retailers the kinds of customer analytics and insights that their online counterparts take for granted. It’s going to be an exciting year!

Michael Fry, Business Development and Partner, Kinect for Windows

Key links

Do I really need to use DTC Transactions?

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 11:16

It is sometimes common practice to enable Distributed Transaction (DTC) behavior but it can be unnecessary, and adds unwanted overhead.  

DTC has the ability to determine single phase vs two phase commit requirements.  A DTC transaction involves resource managers (RMs) of which SQL Server can be one of them.  If a single resource manager is involved in the transaction there is no need to perform 2-phase commit.   DTC shortcuts the activity and performs a single-phase commit safely.   This reduces the communication between the DTC and RM managers.  However, the overhead of the DTC manager is still involved making the transaction slightly slower than a native TSQL transaction.

Single Phase

The following is a single phase DTC commit example.

begin distributed tran
go

update dbTest.dbo.tblTest set object_id = 100
go

commit tran
go

Notice the trace output does not indicate a prepared state.  This is a direct indication of a single phase commit.

Two Phase

The following is a 2-phase commit example.

begin distributed tran
go

update MYREMOTESERVER.dbTest.dbo.tblTest set object_id = 100
go

commit tran
go

The transaction involved the local instance (RM=1) and a remote instance (RM=2).  With 2 RMs involved DTC commits the transaction under full, 2-phase commit protocol.   Notice the prepared state in the trace indicating full, 2-phase commit protocol is being used.


You may want to review the DTC transactions executing on your system, looking for prepared state.  If the DTC transactions running on your system are not using 2-phase commit protocol you should consider removing DTC from the transactions in order to improve performance.

Bob Dorr - Principal SQL Server Escalation Engineer

Remote Desktop for iOS v8.1.6 is now available on the Apple App Store

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 11:14

My name is Livi Erickson, and I am a Program Manager on the Remote Desktop team. Today, we’re excited to announce that Remote Desktop for iOS 8.1.6 update is now available for download on the Apple App Store. This update contains a number of bug fixes that improve the reliability and stability of the client and fixes several important issues. We’ve gotten some feedback that some users would like more details about the fixes that go into the releases, so we wanted to go into a little more detail about what we’ve done in the latest release.

Remote Resource Improvements - We had a number of users inform us that they were unable to connect to their Remote Resource applications and that they were getting stuck with the “Preparing your Remote Resources” message on the connection center. 8.1.6 fixes an issue where the feed was not fetched properly, so users hitting this message should download the latest version of the app to access their resources. We also included a number of other fixes where users were unable to connect to desktops that were published through resource feeds.

NTLMv2 Support & Channel Binding - In this update, we’ve added support for NTLMv2 for Remote Desktop gateways and channel binding to support gateways using HTTPS. These fixes should help users who are hitting issues connecting through a gateway server.

Gateway Crashes – The updated 8.1.6 client includes a number of fixes for crashes that users were hitting when connecting through Remote Desktop gateways.

Mouse Button Swapping – This update contains a fix where users were not seeing the ‘Swap Mouse Buttons’ take effect on the remote PC. Users who have their mouse buttons swapped on their remote PC should be able to set this correctly now on the iOS app.

Kanji Character Support – This update contains a fix where Japanese Kanji characters were not appearing properly when using a Bluetooth keyboard.

In addition to the above fixes, we have also made general updates to the layouts for iPhone 6/6+ support and improved the reliability of the built-in client keyboard.

You can download the latest version of the Remote Desktop for iOS client from iTunes here. The Remote Desktop app is also available on your other devices running Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, Mac OS X, and Android.

Help us make Remote Desktop better! Keep the feedback coming on our feature requests site as it will help us ensure we build the right functionality into our apps.

Note: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the Remote Desktop clients forum. Thank you!

Attention aux arnaques !

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:58

Avec ce nouveau mot-clé, je vais commencer une série d’articles qui répondent aux questions que me posent mes parents ou amis dans leur utilisation de leurs ordinateurs.

Dans l’ancienne série des films Taxi, Émilien, le policier prétend travailler dans l’informatique pour ne pas devoir faire sauter les PV. Dans la vraie vie d’aujourd’hui, je ne sais pas s’il continuerait à se faire passer pour un informaticien.

Les dernières questions importantes que des amis ou parents m’ont posées sont relatives à des arnaques en tout genre, dont celle, relativement nouvelle, qui consiste à téléphoner en se faisant passer pour quelqu’un de Microsoft.

Retenez bien ceci : Microsoft ne contacte jamais des clients sans avoir été préalablement contacté.

Si une personne se prétend travailler pour Microsoft et vous propose de vous aider à désinfecter votre ordinateur car il est infecté, c’est une tentative d’escroquerie.

La page du site de Microsoft qui évoque la protection de votre vie privée détaille quelques exemples de tentatives d’escroqueries, mais la technique par téléphone est nouvelle.

Maintenant, imaginons que vous n’ayez découvert ce billet que trop tardivement. Vous avez laissé un inconnu prendre le contrôle de votre ordinateur. Il a fait quelques manipulations auxquelles vous n’avez pas forcément compris grand-chose. Dommage !

La meilleure des solutions serait de reformater votre système pour repartir sur un système sain.

Facile à dire, me diriez-vous ! Mais difficile à faire, j’en conviens.

En attendant de trouver une solution, il faut rapidement couper l’herbe sous le pied de votre attaquant. Pour cela, il vous faut couper l’accès de votre ordinateur à Internet. Certains ordinateurs ont un interrupteur physique pour activer ou désactiver l’accès Wifi. Coupez-le !

Si vous êtes sous Windows 8 ou Windows 8.1, le mode avion s’active assez facilement :

En parallèle à cette coupure, il vous faut trouver un ordinateur sain et de confiance sur lequel vous allez rapidement changer tous vos mots de passe.

Ne changez pas vos mots de passe sur votre ordinateur contaminé car votre attaquant a pu y glisser un programme qui l’informera de votre nouveau mot de passe !

Parmi les mots de passe à changer rapidement, le mot de passe de votre messagerie est important, mais aussi celui de votre compte Microsoft.

J’imagine qu’il est inutile de mentionner que tout mot de passe d’un compte ayant un lien direct avec votre argent doit être changé : celui de votre banque, mais aussi votre compte PayPal, si vous en avez un.

Vous allez rapidement regretter d’avoir, comme beaucoup d’utilisateurs, utilisé le même mot de passe pour plusieurs organismes car si l’un des compte est compromis, d’autres peuvent l’être également. Ainsi, si vous faites régulièrement des achats sur des sites qui vous proposent de mémoriser votre numéro de carte bancaire, celui-ci pourra rapidement être récupéré et réutilisé sur d’autres sites plus ou moins sécurisés. Certains sites exigent une confirmation par un code envoyé par SMS sur votre portable, d’autres non. Sur ceux qui le proposent, n’hésitez pas à vérifier ce numéro de téléphone pour la confirmation de l’achat !

Dans le même genre, n’hésitez pas à vérifier les informations de récupérations de votre compte Microsoft qui peuvent avoir été modifiées ou les questions secrètes que certains sites proposent pour forcer un changement de mot de passe.

Vérifiez qu’un nouveau code de récupération n’a pas été généré qui permettrait à votre attaquant de reprendre le contrôle de votre compte Microsoft après votre changement de mot de passe :

En parallèle à toutes ces actions, n’hésitez pas à porter plainte auprès de la police.

Si toutes ces actions vous font mesurer l’ampleur du travail, sachez que vous pouvez limiter le travail par pas mal d’actions préventives que j’aborderai dans un prochain billet, notamment pour mettre de côté vos documents les plus précieux et rendre plus compliqué le travail de votre attaquant.

A framework for embracing cloud in health and healthcare

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:38
Last week, I shared information about the progress we are making on Windows 10 and some really cool new technologies, like HoloLens , that I believe will have a significant impact in health and medicine down the line. This week, I’d like to focus on something much more immediately relevant to  healthcare organizations—decisions about streamlining IT operations and reducing costs by moving applications and services to the cloud. When considering such a move, health organizations wrestle with...(read more)

Hierarchy Visualizations in Dynamics CRM 2015

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:12

Editor’s note: The following post was written by Dynamics CRM MVP Mayank Singla

CRM 2015 has introduced a new way to visually look at the relationship between records. This new feature is called Hierarchy Visualizations and is available for Account, Campaign, Case, Contact, Opportunity, Order, Product, Quote, Team, and User entities, but is only enabled out of the box for the Account, Product and User entities. However, this feature can be enabled for any other system or custom entities.

Before a Hierarchy Setting can be used, “Hierarchical” relationship must be marked to Yes for atleast 1: N relationship. To make this changes expand an entity tree view on Solution Customization screen and open a 1: N relationship.

Please note, this feature can be enabled only for 1: N self-referential Relationship only.

 

Next step is to setup Hierarchy Settings. Expand entity tree view, go to Hierarchy Settings and click on New.

 

Provide a Schema Name and Quick View Form. If a Quick View Form does not exist, click on Create New and setup a new Quick View form.

Please note, only first four fields from the Quick View Form will be displayed on the hierarchy tile. Also, only Hierarchy Setting per entity is allowed.

At this stage, any other existing self-referential can also be marked as Hierarchical Relationship. This can be achieved by clicking on “Mark a relationship as enable for hierarchies”. This opens following screen –

 

To mark any other self-referential relationship as Hierarchical, select the record and click on “Mark hierarchical”.

 

Once the Hierarchical Settings are configured properly, go to the Entity View

 

If the Relationship field configured above is populated you will notice          icon in front of the record. This signifies that a Hierarchical relationship view is available for that record. Click on the icon to view Hierarchical information –

 

Some key features on this screen are –

  • List on the left showing the hierarchy based on the tile selected.
  • Hierarchical tiles showing information based on the Quick View.
  • “Open this record” option on list as well tiles allowing user to directly open the record from this view.

Please note, View Hierarchy option is available on the top-right corner of a record if the Hierarchy field is populated.

 

Another enhancement is on the Advanced Find, allowing users to search for records “Under” and “Not Under”

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

 

Mayank is a Dynamics CRM MVP and has been working as a Senior Consultant since 2007. He has extensive experience of small, medium and complex end to end Dynamics CRM implementations. He is currently working with a consulting company in Auckland, New Zealand wherein he is responsible for Pre-sales, Analysis and Design, Requirements Gathering, Infrastructure planning, Development and Deployment of Dynamics CRM for various customers. He has previously worked with Microsoft India wherein he has worked on various products and technologies like Dynamics CRM 2013/2011, Scribe, ClickDimensions, Dynamics AX 4.0/2009, Windows Azure, WPF, WCF, Silverlight and SQL Server.

His MVP profile page - http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Mayank%20Singla-5000599. You can add him on LinkedIn - https://nz.linkedin.com/in/mayanksingla or follow his blog - https://demystifyingcrm.wordpress.com

 

About MVP Monday

The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.

 

Whiteboard Sessions - Treffen Sie die MTC Architekten auf den ALM Days 2015

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:02

 

Erstmalig haben wir auf den ALM Days die Architekten des  MTC Teams vor Ort mit 60 minütigen Whiteboard Sessions.

Sie kommen mit Ihrem Szenario und Ihren Diskussionsthemen zu uns und wir nehmen uns Zeit für Sie und Ihre Fragen.“

Hier die Themen:

Cloud

Alles rund um Microsoft Azure Active Directory
Development mit Microsoft Azure PaaS Diensten
Infrastruktur in der Cloud mit Microsoft Azure IaaS Diensten

Office

Microsoft Office und Microsoft Office 365 Development
Hybride Szenarien mit Microsoft Office 365
Alles rund um Microsoft SharePoint Server und Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Online
Alles rund um Microsoft Office 365 Delve

.NET 

Alles rund um das .NETFramework und Development

Windows

Client Strategie - mit einem Windows für alle Geräte in die Zukunft
Device Management - Durchblick und den Durchgriff behalten
Evolution im Rechenzentrum - Cloud oder eigene Server oder beides?
„End of Support“ - Jetzt der Windows Server 2003. Optionen?

Die Whiteboard Sessions sind für alle Besucher der ALM Days kostenfrei – Interessiert? Email an cbinder@microsoft.com

Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 CTP 2 Released

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:00

Today we released Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 CTP 2, adding support for graphics debugging of Unity-based applications on Windows Phone, and making fixes in the IDE, Team Foundation Server, and Git support. The release notes have the complete list of features and fixes.

As always, please give us your feedback, suggestions, thoughts, and ideas on our UserVoice site, through the in-product Send-a-Smile and Send-a-Frown UI, or file a bug through the Visual Studio Connect site.

Thanks!

John

John Montgomery, Director of Program Management, Visual Studio Platform

John has been at Microsoft for 15 years, working in developer technologies the whole time. Most recently before working on the Visual Studio core development environment, he was working on the tools for Windows 8 development.

Twitter: @johnmont

Azure Mobile Services Quickstart for Visual Studio Cordova

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 09:58

Since nearly the GA of the service, Mobile Services has had support for a PhoneGap quickstart app project in the Azure Management portal:

Just click the magic Download button to get your customized PhoneGap project. Now, while PhoneGap and Cordova are pretty much interchangeable, you can’t really (at this point) open a Cordova project directly in Visual Studio by using the Apache Cordova Tools for Visual Studio 2013 installed.

Personally, I’m sold on Visual Studio as an IDE for Cordova/PhoneGap projects (as you may have noticed in my previous posts and my MSDN Magazine article). One of the things that makes this tooling for Cordova great is that it gives you the ability to create or add a Mobile Service to your Cordova app, just like you can do for a Windows app. However, to really follow along with our Mobile Services tutorials, you need the TodoList quickstart. You can build the whole thing based on the HTML tutorial and use the Add Connected Service wizard in Visual Studio, like I show in my article. However, to make everyone’s life a little easier, I published a version of the TodoList quickstart as a Cordova project in Visual Studio:

https://github.com/Azure/mobile-services-samples/tree/master/VSCordovaTodoListQuickstart 

To get this working, just get the URL and application key from the Mobile Services portal (below):

And replace the appUrl and appKey placeholder values in the index.js code file in the project:

Hope this makes everyone’s life a little easier using Cordova with Visual Studio and our Azure tutorials.

Cheers!

Glenn Gailey

Young coder wins big at AT&T Hackathon with app that helps drivers stay awake

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 09:58

Clyde Wallace (left) looks on as his daughter, Sabrina Wallace, discusses their driver-safety app and wearable device they developed at the recent AT&T Hackathon in Las Vegas.

When Sabrina Wallace describes her latest technology project, she launches into a pitch and sounds more like a seasoned entrepreneur than a teenager. The young programmer recently walked away with $20,000 in cash prizes from the AT&T Hackathon in Las Vegas for an innovative app designed to prevent traffic accidents.

Not only does she program, she just started college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and volunteers teaching middle school students how to code. This impressive young teen has big plans for her future.

At the hackathon, Sabrina and her father, Clyde Wallace, created a wearable device and cloud-enabled app that monitor driving habits to detect if users are facing danger due to road hypnosis, a trance-like state that occurs when driving on an open road for a long period of time. A watch measures wheel activity to determine if a user is driving in a straight line, and measures hand movements to detect when someone may be falling asleep. The app then sounds alarms and asks questions to ensure drivers stay awake.

“One of the most dangerous situations where people crash is driving on a straight road with no other cars around,” Sabrina says, explaining the importance of the project. “Our safety app will wake up people who start falling asleep.”

Sabrina did all the coding for the hack project. Because her experience was working in the object-oriented programming language Ruby, she had to learn how to program in C#. She crammed the day before the hackathon to learn the C# syntax.

Sabrina started college early and is majoring in computer science. Her father introduced her to programming at a young age and she’s been hooked ever since. After finishing her degree, she wants to continue her studies and get a doctorate degree and then go on to work for a tech company.

Though Sabrina debated where in the technology industry her true passion lies, she said coding at the hackathon helped finalize her decision. Input from two close mentors – Lee Misch, a lecturer at UNLV’s Department of Computer Science and John Kowalski, a system administrator at UNLV – also helped her decide on her focus.

“I used to go back and forth and battle whether I wanted to do hardware or software,” Sabrina said. “But now I know, I’m into software.”

Though this was Sabrina’s third time attending a hackathon, it was her first time as an official team member among the hundreds of other technophiles, developers and designers who traveled to Las Vegas to build apps.

Sabrina met Microsoft employees at the event who helped her through some hurdles associated with learning a new programming language, and now she hopes to intern or participate in a Microsoft program for college students. She will also continue to develop the driving-safety app and plans to enter more hackathons in the near future.

Ask Sabrina what she did with her half of the prize money and she begins to sound more like a teen. “I bought games and a Surface Pro 3,” she says. “Oh, and candy.”

 

A faster CHECKDB – Part IV (SQL CLR UDTs)

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 09:16

I have been working on the various aspects of DBCC performance and SQL CLR based User Defined Data Types.    I encountered a few issues that I have outlined below. 

1.      Memory Grant Bug

There is a bug, prior to SQL Server 2014, causing the memory grant for the DBCC operations (checktable or checkdb per table) to be improperly estimated.  Placing the session, running the DBCC command, in a specific resource workload group allows you to limit the memory grant size and increase the DBCC performance.  Reference the following link for more details” http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql/archive/2014/11/10/a-faster-checkdb-part-iii.aspx   I used a grant cap of 20GB on a 128 CPU, 512GB system with success rather than accepting the 90GB default grant request.

2.      Blob Handle Factory

Fix released (Microsoft Bug Id: 3939015).  Before the fix the DBCC command(s) created an internal structure (Blob Handles for each SQL CLR UDT based column as rows were processed) and failed to mark it for reuse when done processing the row.  Each spatial row/column would look over the blob handle list, create a new entry and add it to the list.   This resulted in wasted memory and CPU as the list continued to get larger and larger and the entries could not be reused.    The fix allows proper reuse of the BHF.   

The customer indicated it took 22 days to complete on the current SQL Server 2012 build.   The QFE now completes DBCC checkdb in 15.5 hours. (DL980 G7 with 512GB RAM)

Download: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3007556/en-us  (SQL Server 2012 SP2 – CU4)
Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3029825

3.      Parallelism

DBCC does use parallel, internal queries when possible.   In studying this closer I found that running individual checktable(s), from multiple sessions can decrease the overall DBCC maintenance window.

DBCC checkdb loops over each table and executes the fact queries.  The SQL engine many elect to execute the fact queries in parallel.    However, CheckDB only processes a single table at a time.   On a larger system you may be able to take advantage of multiple checktable invocations on different schedulers.

The fact queries used by DBCC command are prevented from using parallelism if a large UDT column is present.   Spatial is somewhat analogous to varbinary(max) and falls into this limitation.   This means the internal, DBCC, fact query against your largest table runs with a serial plan. 

If you manually shard the table, creating a covering view it may allow you to execute concurrent dbcc, index rebuild and other operations faster.   

Parallel Check Table Example:

DBCC CHECKALLOC
DBCC CHECKCATALOG
Parallel.ForEach(table in sys.tables)        --         Make sure the number of parallel executions is appropriate for resource consumption on the SQL Server
{
      DBCC CHECKTABLE(…) with …
}

Shard Example:

create view vwMyTable
as

    select <<column list>> from MyTable_1
       union all
    select <<column list>> from MyTable_2   …..

4.      Trace Flag 2566  (Ignore Data Purity Checks)

Once data purity checks have been successful on upgraded databases or the database was created on newer versions the DATA_PURITY check becomes ‘On By Default.’      DBCC DBINFO(<<DBNAME>>) shows the dbi_dbccFlags.   The 0x2 bit indicates data purity will be run by default when checkdb or checktable is executed.     You can avoid these checks using –T2566 or dbcc traceon(2566) in the same batch as checkdb or checktable execution.

The trace flag skips the purity checks as long as the checkdb or checktable command does not specify WITH DATA_PURITY, overriding the trace flag behavior.

My testing only shows a nominal performance gain.

Additional DBCC References

Part 1: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql/archive/2011/12/20/a-faster-checkdb-part-i.aspx 
Part 2: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql/archive/2012/02/23/a-faster-checkdb-part-ii.aspx 
Part 3: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql/archive/2014/11/10/a-faster-checkdb-part-iii.aspx  

Spatial

Over the last 18 months Microsoft addressed various spatial performance issues.  The QFE build, mentioned above, contains the following corrections that you should consider enabling to improve overall spatial performance on the servers.  

In a nutshell:  Apply latest Service Pack and latest CU for SQL Server and in addition, enable STARTUP trace flags (-T8048 and -T6531)

Details:

Reference link

Title

Comments (Warning: mileage will vary based on data pattern)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2887888

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2887899

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2896720

 

 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql/archive/2013/11/19/spatial-indexing-from-4-days-to-4-hours.aspx

FIX: Slow performance in SQL Server when you build an index on a spatial data type of a large table in a SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 instance

Took an index build from 72 hours to 4 hours and requires trace flag –T8048.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2786212

FIX: Access violation occurs when you run a spatial query over a linked server in SQL Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2012

 

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3005300

FIX: High CPU consumption when you use spatial data type and associated methods in SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014

May improve performance by 10% or more for spatial methods.  Requires trace flag –T6531

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2977271

FIX: Performance improvement for SQL Server Spatial data access in SQL Server 2012

Query that used to take 20+ hours < 2 hours.

Blob Handle QFE   KB: 3029825

 

 

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/9694.tuning-spatial-point-data-queries-in-sql-server-2012.aspx

Tuning Spatial Point Data Queries in SQL Server 2012

 

Bob Dorr -  Principal SQL Server Escalation Engineer

 

Investigating issues with VSO - 1/26

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 09:05

Initial update: 26 Jan 2015  5:03 PM UTC
------------

We are currently investigating issues with Visual Studio Online services. Users may experience performance degradation while accessing Visual Studio Online. Our DevOps teams are engaged and are actively working on resolving this.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this issue. 

Sincerely

VS Online Service Delivery team 

EPA Recognizes Microsoft as a Leading Green Power Purchaser

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 09:03

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Microsoft on its list of the largest green power users; and has ranked the company at number two of the top 100 users in the nation.

As the EPA reports, Microsoft currently purchases nearly 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually for its U.S. operations, which is enough green power to match 100 percent of Microsoft’s U.S. electricity use. Our annual purchase of green power is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of nearly 236,000 average American homes annually. In addition to ranking second on the National Top 100 list, Microsoft also ranks second on both the Fortune 500® list and the Top 30 Tech & Telecom list.

We recognize that climate change is a serious challenge that will require a comprehensive and global response from all sectors of society, which is why we made the commitment from our fiscal year (FY) 2013 (beginning July 2012) to carbon neutrality. We have worked to achieve this commitment each year in a variety of ways, including increasing our commitment to purchase green power. Starting FY15 (July 2014 – June 2015), we purchase green power in the same geographies in which we operate globally to obtain the carbon reduction under the new GHG Protocol Scope 2 guidelines. We are honored to have made the EPA’s list and applaud the other organizations that have been recognized for their significant investments in the nation’s green power market.

Fifty ways to use your Azure

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:30

As I sat staring at a slide listing all the different uses for Azure, and thought how boring it is to just list all the features to an audience, my brain started to wander… So for a different perhaps more light hearted look at some of the many features available on Azure read on…

The problem is everything’s on prem she said to me

The answer is easy if you take it logically

I’d like to help you make your office server free

There must be fifty ways to use your Azure

 

She said “You worry about viruses that will intrude

All those updates and those patches will surely change your mood

But I’ll repeat myself, at the risk of being rude

There must be fifty ways to use your Azure

Fifty ways to use your Azure

 

Move your Email, Dale

New data store, Thor

Do your BI, Guy

And try if for free

 

Move the VM, Clem

You don’t need to update then

Store passwords and keys, Lee

And try if for free

 

Host all your web, Deb

Mobile too, Sue

Run your batch job, Rob

Just listen to me

Try some Hadoop, Hoop

You don’t need to update much

Nodejs or PHP

and try it for free

 

She said “it grieves me so to see you in such pain

if only you could focus on core business once again”

I said “I appreciate that and would you please explain about the fifty ways”

 

She said “Why don’t you just go visit the website

and I believe after some reading you’ll begin to see the light

and then she smiled at me and I realized she was probably right

There must be fifty ways to use your Azure

Fifty ways to use your Azure

 

Learning Machine, Jean

or Event Hub, Cub

Scale all you like, Ike

And try it for free

Video too, Lou

You don’t need to update much

move your AD, Lee

and try it for free

 

Load test in the cloud, Howd

Back it all up, Pup

Authenticate, Mate

And try it for free

Python too, Sue

You don’t need to update much

MongoDB, Lee

And try it for free

UEFI Boot USB を作る

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:13

#win10jp

クリーンインストールするために、Windows 8 以降はUEFIブートできるUBSメモリが必要なケースがあります。といってもそんな大変ではないですけどね。手順はこれだけ。

  1. FAT32でフォーマットする
  2. ISOの中身をコピーする
  3. BOOT セクタを書き替える

■ 作成方法

さてやり方。

管理者権限でコマンドプロンプトを起動します。タスクバーにコマンドプロンプトを登録してある場合は Ctrl+Shift を押しながら起動すると管理者権限で起動します。起動したら以下の順でコマンドを入力

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • ここで USBメモリの ディスク番号をチェックして
  • select disk ディスク番号

続けてフォーマットの指定:もちろん中身は消えますので注意!

  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • select partition 1
  • active
  • format fs=fat32 quick
  • assign

続けて、インストールディスクのISOイメージをマウントして、その中身をごっそりUSBメモリにコピーします。

最後にブートセクタの書き込み。これはISOをマウントしているドライブの中のコマンドを使います。ISOがIドライブ、USBがUドライブの時

  • I:
  • cd boot
  • bootsect /nt60 U:

これでOK。新しいOSが出てくる時の風物詩ですね。

■ Windows 8 からのUSB起動

さて、Boot メニューやBIOSが起動できないWindows8デバイスで、USB起動するにはどうしたらいいか? この場合は Windows 8 の保守機能を使います。(Windows 8 が起動していないとダメ)

  • まずUEFI起動USBメモリを刺しておく
  • チャームから設定
  • PC設定の変更
  • 保守と管理
  • 回復
  • (PCの軌道をカスタマイズする項目欄の)今すぐ起動する
  • (しばらく待ってから)デバイスの使用
  • UEFI:General USB Flash Disk xxx

これで再起動が始まり、USBから起動することができます。ただ、デバイスによってはこれでできないこともあるので注意。

SP2013 Crawling *Explained: Orchestration (Part 1)

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:03
With VerboseEx logging enabled, the crawl of a single item (or interchangeably, a "document") can generate more than 6000 ULS events , at times making troubleshooting a particular document analogous to finding the needle in the haystack. In this series of posts, I hope to help your troubleshooting efforts by first describing the high level orchestration for crawling a document and then use subsequent posts to deep dive into each step using key events from ULS. The goal is to facilitate troubleshooting...(read more)

Droitwich Spa High School Case Study - Head pointing to the cloud, feet firmly on the ground

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:00

The following is a guest post from Gerald Haigh

A large and rapidly improving secondary school works with Microsoft Partner SharePointEduTech Ltd to ensure that learning is effectively supported and extended by the appropriate use of technology. Here, this involves building a bespoke Hybrid solution – a Microsoft SharePoint-based portal that takes full advantage of the power and breadth of SharePoint 2013 locally hosted, together with the cost effectiveness and flexibility of the features within Cloud-based Office 365.

Droitwich Spa High School is a larger than average 11 to 18 secondary academy (1450 students) with sports college status. At the last Oftsed inspection it was found ‘outstanding’ in leadership and management, and ‘good’ in all other categories, a considerable improvement from the previous inspection. As part of the drive for further progress, Deputy Head Jonathan Brook, with responsibility for data, finance and resources, looked at the school’s existing virtual learning environment with a view to estimating its impact on learning and level of use.

‘We’ve had a VLE for some ten years,’ he says. ‘The right one, properly used, is like extending the school day, understanding that children can be at their most productive when they’re at home.’

However, the current VLE, he concluded, was not living up to that.

‘It was good at what it did, but the problem as I saw it was that it lived in a different world, with its own log-in, separately from everything else that was happening.’

To begin with he was thinking in terms of a solution that linked to the school’s SIMS management information system. This would at least put student data more easily within reach, something the existing VLE wouldn’t do. As he did the research, though, he realised, having seen SharePointEduTech’s work in other schools, that what was really needed was a branded Microsoft SharePoint based school ‘portal’, with staff, parents and students’ home pages, linked through to their routine work and activities -- and with access to data from their SIMS.net MIS. Carefully constructed and used, it would become not just a useful resource, visited as necessary, but an everyday working environment – growing eventually to be a virtual version of the school itself.

SharePointEduTech on the scene

Having seen SharePointEduTech’s work on building branded and customised portals for other schools, Jonathan approached them with a view to realising the Droitwich Spa vision.

‘They were on the scene quite early,’ says Jonathan. ‘First contact in July 2013 and they picked up the pace in September. We mocked up some sketches and told them that this was the kind of thing we wanted. They were really good. It was a slick process, and their first attempt was ninety percent there.’

Consultation, inclusion and Training

Despite the pace of events, it was always important to keep everyone informed and on board as the project developed.

‘We had a working party of twenty from across the school with input on the design, content, and the taxonomy of the portal. SEN, for example, wanted to be sure that parents had all the information they needed about the support available for students’.

Staff training was an important aspect of the project both for teachers and support staff. Here Adrian’s experience as a teacher and a SharePoint expert was vital. He was able to pitch training and support at the right level for the technically minded and those whose focus was academic. He knew all the pitfalls we could expect and how to support teachers with new technology.

Parental engagement

Right from the start, Jonathan was clear that parental access to the school portal would be crucial to what they wanted to achieve.

‘We knew that was a massive part of it. I was an area where we felt we could do a better job than we had been doing.’

The on premises portal

The first step was to develop the portal using SharePoint Server 2013 on- premises.

Neatly branded by SharePointEduTech with the school’s colours, logo and overall look, it offers access, for staff, students, parents and governors – appropriately, by log-in, because obviously not all have complete access – to timetables, email, class sites, subject sites, tutor group activities, up-to-date announcements, SIMS MIS data, out-of-school activities, the school’s twitter feed. Departments can populate their subject sites as they wish – with resources, past exam papers, The school uses a system of five houses -- Aqua, Ignis, Lux, Terra and Ventus – and these are embodied in the structure of the portal and the portal has a league table of house points.

Some of the obvious early successes include an alert for unread emails –

‘It breaks a vicious cycle we were in where nobody sent emails because nobody was reading them.’

Also popular with students is a running check on their SIMS MIS reward points. Students and parents can also, because of the link to SIMS, see student reports, including past ones, revealing patterns of progress or otherwise.

Importantly, all of this – branding, structure, content, access permissions, was tailored by SharePointEduTech to the school’s needs and wishes. Their team were able to bring to the table considerable experience not only of knowing what’s technically possible and practical, but also of similar projects which they have undertaken in other schools.

Staff adoption

The portal in this form became available in January 2014

‘We were concerned that it wouldn’t be ready in time,’ says Jonathan. ‘But when we thought about it we realised that it would never be perfect, and we should release it as work in progress, available to the parents and students as soon as possible.’

The staff had a whole day training event on the portal in January, followed by twilight sessions differentiated according to the rate at which people were becoming confident with it. Staff adoption was gradual at first, partly because the previous VLE was available to the end of 2014, and some ICT-minded staff continued to use it.

‘But through the summer term 2014 as timetables became lighter,’ says Jonathan, ‘there were more enquiries about how to use the Portal for various functions.’

Incorporating the cloud

With the on- premises SharePoint portal firmly established, the next step was to add the functionality of Office 365 in the cloud, creating a true hybrid solution for the school – A SharePoint EduTech vision that they sum up as ‘Head to the cloud; feet firmly on the ground.’

In this way, students were able to take advantage of Office 365 cloud-based mail and the vast storage possibilities of OneDrive, as well as all the Office365 web apps and tools such as Office Mix. Anytime-anywhere working, and parental engagement are considerably enhanced, and the licensing advantage of Office 365 pro-plus for Students makes this a highly cost-effective way of providing a forward-thinking school with a 21st Century learning environment.

Student Voice

Recently, Jonathan Brook ran a survey on student use of the Portal (using the built-in survey feature) Here’s how he reports the results:

“Over 90% of the students are using the Portal at least once a week. A quarter are using it every day.

Over half of our children are regularly monitoring their own attendance on the Portal

Two thirds of our children are regularly reviewing their positive and negative behaviour points on the Portal.

Nearly two thirds of our children are regularly using the Portal as an online homework diary.”

Jonathan also adds some student comments:

“The Graphics and Product Design sites are very useful for quickly accessing resources that aid me with my projects, as there are plenty available that are incredibly useful to my learning.”

“I like to see what we may be covering in future lessons so I if might be unsure about the topic I can learn a bit about it first.”

“I find all of the sites on the Portal useful because you can have the information that you need on here e.g. the house that you’re in. It tells us how many house points our house has got and what place we are in. It also tells us what house competitions coming up or are going to happen it is all very useful.”

“We have the sheets that were used in lesson so if I am off school I am able to access the work that was done so that I don't fall behind.”

“I find the subject sites useful because you can use past papers, materials and videos to help you revise.”

Parent reaction

Improved parental engagement was one of the key drivers of the whole project, and there’s been a gratifyingly positive reaction. Comments include:

“Checking the homework is fantastic. I can make sure my son is doing his homework on time.”

“Being able to see the positive and negative behaviour points is really useful. I can have conversations with my son at home before problems escalate in school.”

“I find being able to see the homework that has been set really useful. I can make sure my daughter is staying organised and it’s nice to know what she is doing at school.”

 

Conclusion

Head teacher Natalie Waters says,

“The development of the portal has been one of the most significant developments in the school this year.  It has enabled us to gather the most important information about all aspects of the school in one place, keep that information up to date and, most importantly, allow parents to be genuine partners in their children’s education.“

 

 

Droitwich Spa High School Case Study - Head pointing to the cloud, feet firmly on the ground

MSDN Blogs - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:00

The following is a guest post from Gerald Haigh

A large and rapidly improving secondary school works with Microsoft Partner SharePointEduTech Ltd to ensure that learning is effectively supported and extended by the appropriate use of technology. Here, this involves building a bespoke Hybrid solution – a Microsoft SharePoint-based portal that takes full advantage of the power and breadth of SharePoint 2013 locally hosted, together with the cost effectiveness and flexibility of the features within Cloud-based Office 365.

Droitwich Spa High School is a larger than average 11 to 18 secondary academy (1450 students) with sports college status. At the last Oftsed inspection it was found ‘outstanding’ in leadership and management, and ‘good’ in all other categories, a considerable improvement from the previous inspection. As part of the drive for further progress, Deputy Head Jonathan Brook, with responsibility for data, finance and resources, looked at the school’s existing virtual learning environment with a view to estimating its impact on learning and level of use.

‘We’ve had a VLE for some ten years,’ he says. ‘The right one, properly used, is like extending the school day, understanding that children can be at their most productive when they’re at home.’

However, the current VLE, he concluded, was not living up to that.

‘It was good at what it did, but the problem as I saw it was that it lived in a different world, with its own log-in, separately from everything else that was happening.’

To begin with he was thinking in terms of a solution that linked to the school’s SIMS management information system. This would at least put student data more easily within reach, something the existing VLE wouldn’t do. As he did the research, though, he realised, having seen SharePointEduTech’s work in other schools, that what was really needed was a branded Microsoft SharePoint based school ‘portal’, with staff, parents and students’ home pages, linked through to their routine work and activities -- and with access to data from their SIMS.net MIS. Carefully constructed and used, it would become not just a useful resource, visited as necessary, but an everyday working environment – growing eventually to be a virtual version of the school itself.

SharePointEduTech on the scene

Having seen SharePointEduTech’s work on building branded and customised portals for other schools, Jonathan approached them with a view to realising the Droitwich Spa vision.

‘They were on the scene quite early,’ says Jonathan. ‘First contact in July 2013 and they picked up the pace in September. We mocked up some sketches and told them that this was the kind of thing we wanted. They were really good. It was a slick process, and their first attempt was ninety percent there.’

Consultation, inclusion and Training

Despite the pace of events, it was always important to keep everyone informed and on board as the project developed.

‘We had a working party of twenty from across the school with input on the design, content, and the taxonomy of the portal. SEN, for example, wanted to be sure that parents had all the information they needed about the support available for students’.

Staff training was an important aspect of the project both for teachers and support staff. Here Adrian’s experience as a teacher and a SharePoint expert was vital. He was able to pitch training and support at the right level for the technically minded and those whose focus was academic. He knew all the pitfalls we could expect and how to support teachers with new technology.

Parental engagement

Right from the start, Jonathan was clear that parental access to the school portal would be crucial to what they wanted to achieve.

‘We knew that was a massive part of it. I was an area where we felt we could do a better job than we had been doing.’

The on premises portal

The first step was to develop the portal using SharePoint Server 2013 on- premises.

Neatly branded by SharePointEduTech with the school’s colours, logo and overall look, it offers access, for staff, students, parents and governors – appropriately, by log-in, because obviously not all have complete access – to timetables, email, class sites, subject sites, tutor group activities, up-to-date announcements, SIMS MIS data, out-of-school activities, the school’s twitter feed. Departments can populate their subject sites as they wish – with resources, past exam papers, The school uses a system of five houses -- Aqua, Ignis, Lux, Terra and Ventus – and these are embodied in the structure of the portal and the portal has a league table of house points.

Some of the obvious early successes include an alert for unread emails –

‘It breaks a vicious cycle we were in where nobody sent emails because nobody was reading them.’

Also popular with students is a running check on their SIMS MIS reward points. Students and parents can also, because of the link to SIMS, see student reports, including past ones, revealing patterns of progress or otherwise.

Importantly, all of this – branding, structure, content, access permissions, was tailored by SharePointEduTech to the school’s needs and wishes. Their team were able to bring to the table considerable experience not only of knowing what’s technically possible and practical, but also of similar projects which they have undertaken in other schools.

Staff adoption

The portal in this form became available in January 2014

‘We were concerned that it wouldn’t be ready in time,’ says Jonathan. ‘But when we thought about it we realised that it would never be perfect, and we should release it as work in progress, available to the parents and students as soon as possible.’

The staff had a whole day training event on the portal in January, followed by twilight sessions differentiated according to the rate at which people were becoming confident with it. Staff adoption was gradual at first, partly because the previous VLE was available to the end of 2014, and some ICT-minded staff continued to use it.

‘But through the summer term 2014 as timetables became lighter,’ says Jonathan, ‘there were more enquiries about how to use the Portal for various functions.’

Incorporating the cloud

With the on- premises SharePoint portal firmly established, the next step was to add the functionality of Office 365 in the cloud, creating a true hybrid solution for the school – A SharePoint EduTech vision that they sum up as ‘Head to the cloud; feet firmly on the ground.’

In this way, students were able to take advantage of Office 365 cloud-based mail and the vast storage possibilities of OneDrive, as well as all the Office365 web apps and tools such as Office Mix. Anytime-anywhere working, and parental engagement are considerably enhanced, and the licensing advantage of Office 365 pro-plus for Students makes this a highly cost-effective way of providing a forward-thinking school with a 21st Century learning environment.

Student Voice

Recently, Jonathan Brook ran a survey on student use of the Portal (using the built-in survey feature) Here’s how he reports the results:

“Over 90% of the students are using the Portal at least once a week. A quarter are using it every day.

Over half of our children are regularly monitoring their own attendance on the Portal

Two thirds of our children are regularly reviewing their positive and negative behaviour points on the Portal.

Nearly two thirds of our children are regularly using the Portal as an online homework diary.”

Jonathan also adds some student comments:

“The Graphics and Product Design sites are very useful for quickly accessing resources that aid me with my projects, as there are plenty available that are incredibly useful to my learning.”

“I like to see what we may be covering in future lessons so I if might be unsure about the topic I can learn a bit about it first.”

“I find all of the sites on the Portal useful because you can have the information that you need on here e.g. the house that you’re in. It tells us how many house points our house has got and what place we are in. It also tells us what house competitions coming up or are going to happen it is all very useful.”

“We have the sheets that were used in lesson so if I am off school I am able to access the work that was done so that I don't fall behind.”

“I find the subject sites useful because you can use past papers, materials and videos to help you revise.”

Parent reaction

Improved parental engagement was one of the key drivers of the whole project, and there’s been a gratifyingly positive reaction. Comments include:

“Checking the homework is fantastic. I can make sure my son is doing his homework on time.”

“Being able to see the positive and negative behaviour points is really useful. I can have conversations with my son at home before problems escalate in school.”

“I find being able to see the homework that has been set really useful. I can make sure my daughter is staying organised and it’s nice to know what she is doing at school.”

 

Conclusion

Head teacher Natalie Waters says,

“The development of the portal has been one of the most significant developments in the school this year.  It has enabled us to gather the most important information about all aspects of the school in one place, keep that information up to date and, most importantly, allow parents to be genuine partners in their children’s education.“

 

 

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