Friday, December 29, 2017

A visit to the lost city of Pompeii

September 21: We will be visiting Pompeii excavations for the better part of the morning; have lunch at Sorrento and get a distant view of Positano on the way back. 

Maiori to Pompeii Ruins

Pompeii was our first phase of the visit on September 21, 2017 and we started around 8:30 from our hotel in Maiori. I was quite excited after listening to a briefing on the eruption of Vesuvius that happened in the past with a video and pictures by our accompanying experts, Dr. Andrew Becker and Dr. Trudy Becker.  However, words fail to describe the extent of devastation that followed the eruption. The populous city was completely buried in earth and rocks within a matter of 2 days after inhabitants, human and animal, were burnt to death.

Pompeii ruins (Scavi de Pompeii)

Vesuvius eruption : Source :

Pompeii is about a little over 45 miles from Maiori and takes about an hour. We traced our route part of the way back to when we arrived from Naples. Then we followed a highway and our bus was parked at the entrance ' Piazza Esedra'. Facing the gate, we could see the Naked Man statue on the hill on the left.

We were met by our local guide, Signor Niccolo, a slightly-built energetic guide who mixed lot of information interspersed with jokes. He did an excellent job and left a lasting impression.

We followed him through the passages; the walk along the ruins; visiting some landmark locations such as the House of Menandro with the garden in the courtyard and decorative frescoes; the bakery with milling devices made of lava and the baking oven; the tiled Stabian public baths; the forum and the granary where the various body casts of folks and animals are stored.

Entering the ruins  

The street towards house of Menandro

Inside the house of Menandro 

Courtyard garden: House of Menandro
(Source: Ray Austin)

Main street with gaps for carriage wheels

The bakery showing the mills used for grinding
(Panificio di Popidio Prisco)

House with the lucky (naughty) symbol in its fa├žade (Source: Al Kehew)

The Stabian bath (Source: Al Kehew)

Forum with the granary on the left and Vesuvius in the back.

Roman dog (cast) from the ruins    

We only saw a small portion of the ruins. Besides what we saw there are many objects unearthed and now on display in museums in Naples; the British Museum and other places.

Three Graces in Pompeii
Romans traded with Arabia, India (pepper and spices) and China. According to Pliny the trade was so large that Rome had a deficit and the Indians demanded gold.  An Indian Ivory statuette of what is wrongly attributed to the Indian Goddess, Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) was found in Pompeii. The statuette is perhaps that of an Yakshi (a demi-goddess) from the Gandhara period.


Ivory statuette of Indian origin found in the ruins

I very strongly recommend this site, (Google has done a great job) if you want to literally re-visit Pompeii, or recollect what you saw when you visited:

For video specific to our visit, view it on You Tube.

We are moving on to Sorrento...

Begin to design UI for Universal Windows Projects

Here are more links in my posts to XAML after you read this beginner post.

XAML is a XML based language that Microsoft developed to create a applications the easy way. XAML is declarative that means that whatever you declare up front is what you get. There is no more secret to it.Universal Windows Projects use this language to build applications.

In this slideshow I show a step-by-step procedure to create an application with XAML which has just a button that displays Hello. It has some color and size to it. Although you will be seeing 18 or more slides once you grasp the spirit, you would do it under a minute.

In order to work with XAML you need Visual Studio 2017 Community. The good news is it is free. What is more BLEND, its comprehensive designer also installed at the same time. You may also need Windows SDK for Windows 10 which can be found on the Internet. There are various versions.

In developing on Windows Platform be sure to use the intellisense feature that takes out all the mystery out and gives you a very practical and intelligent way to work with design.

In this slideshow I show a step-by-step procedure to create an application with XAML which has just a button that displays Hello. It has some color and size to it. Although you will be seeing 18 or more slides once you grasp the spirit, you would do it under a minute.

So let us get on with this slideshow.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

So easy connecting to SQL Server using Microsoft Operations Studio

It is so easy to connect to SQL Server database.

Read here: What is Microsoft SQL Operations Studio?

Read here: Microsoft SQL Operations Studio User Interface

Watch this video: Connecting to SQL Server 2016 Developer edition database using
Microsoft SQL Operations Studio

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017


Hope to post more in coming years....

Keep fit and look forward to great things.


Friday, December 22, 2017

If you are a data scientist get this R package defines itself as an 'opinionated collection of R Packages'. This is a modest statment as tidyverse can do a lot of things.

Tidyverse is specialized group of packages for data science.  If you are familair with ggplot2, the most popular data visualizing packgage in R universe, then it is included in tidyverse in addition to more useful packages.

The 'Core' package consists of many useful packages but you can also bring in others in the package to work with it to enhance its usability above and beyond what it can do by itself.

Here are what you find in the core of tidyverse.

These are loaded when you load tidyverse. There are packages in tidyverse that you have to load separately using the library() such as:
readxl .xls and .xlsx
haven for SPSS, Stata and SAS data
and many others.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

OWIN and the Web

.NET is Microsoft Specific which is also featuring in some Open source projects. Believe me it is true, read here:

'Microsoft is providing the full .NET server stack in open source, including ASP.NET, the compiler, the .NET Core Runtime, Framework and libraries, enbaling devvelopers to build with .NET across Windows, Mac or Linux'.

This is old story, since 2004 the 'mono project' was a open source implementation of .NET platform.

Now coming to OWIN, which is short for Open Web Interface for .NET OWIN) defines a standard interface between .NET web servers and web applications.

You can find everything you want to know about OWIN here at this master site.

These are some of OWIN compatible projects:
Servers and Hosts
    ASP.NET vNext

Microsoft uses OWIN for building ASP.NET Single-Page applications and several of the assemblies used are OWIN based as shown here:


Reading an RDL file using XML Notepad is very easy

A RDL file is a report definition language (RDL) file. It has every bit of information in the file. It's actually the blueprint for the report and there is no better tool than XML Notepad to read it.

You have several options to look at a report's rdl file as shown (by right clicking the (any report) reportany.rdl file.


You could open in Notepad and it is going to be a very large file and you may get yourself lost in it without recognizing the key areas. Even using Microsoft Edge it is the same. You could open in Microsoft Visual Studio, but not every one may have it.
The reccommendation is XML Notepad. This is a good application to review the properties of a report rdl file.
You may download XML Notepad as described here. it is free.
Launch XML Notepad and click FIle menu to open the rdl file. In this case I am using a simple file called SimpleReport.rdl.
The file gets opened as shown. Now you see why I recommend this application. You canveyr clearly see how ggthe report is constructed.


Expand the DataSource to see the details.


Now open the DataSets node as shown.


Click the Fields to see the fields in the data as shown.


Well, you can also see the report design.

Explore more and enjoy!

I guess you agree with my assertion that XML Notepad is the best to see the report rdl file.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Power BI: Data Visualization with Data Bars

Looking at a bunch of data does not give a feeling for the big and small values without making comparisons by reasoning. This next table is trivial in that you can easily see the small and big values. However I have chosen this to make the explanation easy to understand.

This comparison is built into the idea of presenting data bars in Microsoft programs such as MS Excel and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services 2012.

In the June 2017 version of Power BI Desktop which is in preview 'Data Bars' are supported. What Data Bars do is to show visually how big or small data values are. Here is an example from my previous post how the data is visualized after adding Data Bars.

Four types of Data Bars are shown in the above: Data Bars, Color Scales, Icon sets and 'Above average' types.

In the present version this is how 'Data Bars' feature is implemented.

I have imported the same data as in the previous post into Power BI using 'Get Data'.

I added the two fields 'State' and 'Item Value' into the fields as shown above.
 I had to rename 'State' to 'St' as 'State' may be keyword in Power BI which automatically formats as s map (this was on another page of the view)

This is probably some 'bug' in the software in this Preview version here.

Now right click the 'Item Value' in the fields as shown.

In the Conditional formatting menu choose 'Color scales'.

Here you can choose colors to represent Minimum, Middle and Maximum values and click OK.

That is all there is to it.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Linius Video Virtualization

Video content need not be a black-box containing the various stuff that go into video like, images, audio, etc. Video Virtualization takes your video file and converts it into another file where the individual pieces in the original video can be edited.

Microsoft, Amazon and IBM are investing in Video Virtualization. Microsoft with the help of Magenic is making Video Virtualization available on Microsoft Azure.

Here is a video that explains Video Virtualization of Linius.

Linius has perfected Video Virtualization protected by patents that all the three previously mentioned cloud companies are using (going to use?).

This is serious stuff as most user experience these days are driven by videos, be it entertainment, news or anything else. Being a single technical source, Linius will profit hugely.

I was driven by curiosity and wanted to see how far I can go in creating a Virtual Video file using Linius Video Virtualization Engine (VVE). I did get to the part of bringing in my video file here: 
Video created to describe a visit to Amalfi in Italy.
I was able to get this file into VVE at this site:

When I tried to edit, the software broke my file (which was actually a slide-show) into attached individual frames for each slide. There were no controls in Step 2 where you can edit.

Anyway, I published it after the second step and it produced another file at the VVE site.
<!-- Paste this snippet into the DIV element on your web page -->    
      <iframe style='width: 100%;height: 100%;' src=''/>

Now I am not sure how to go from here to edit this '186490283' file.

Some of my unanswered questions are:

Do I need to get to the file on VVE site to edit it?
How do I edit it? Graphic User Interface? If Programmatic, how?
How do I use its features, Search, modifying content, introduce ads, etc.?

Do you need a light-weight tool to develop SQL Server projects?

Well there is a heavy-weight tool, SQL Server Management Studio that is installed as a separate application from SQL Server installation (used to be a part of the SQL Server installation).

SQL Operations Studio is a lighter tool. It is free and you can carry out database development operations using it. It is available for SQL Server on Windows, Linux and Docker, Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data warehouse on Windows, Mac or Linux.
The preview version became available in November of 2017.

If you would like to use it you need to download the version you want from here:

I downloaded the Windows version. You need to extract the files into a folder. 

The executable is sqlops.exe and it is indeed a small file.

SQLOPS user interface in Windows 10 Protection Status