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Power BI woes – Couldn’t load the site, Synonyms missing

Power BI Woes


I haven’t had the best of times with Power BI to start.


Firstly, I keep getting an error – at first I thought it was related to Ie11 which I’d just upgraded to, but it seems to be SP related, as it happens on all my browsers. 

We couldn’t load the site. Refresh the page to try again.



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 There is a button saying “Fix It”, which opens a new window, which gives a “page can’t be displayed”, and fixes nothing.



Nicely done MS. So I went through the debugging, reset IE11 , it briefly worked, broke again (on all browsers)

For now I just created a new empty BI site and added the Power BI site onto that, and it seems to be working.


Second issue: Synonyms. They just didn’t show up.

On @KJonge ‘s advice, I first installed Office 365 Excel from the Click to Run – still nothing. Then I saw a little hint in the help that triggered me to understand what was going on:

You need to be signed *into Office* as your Office 365 user.

As you can see in the screen below, I was not. Click on “Switch account” and punch in your Office 365 account email.

The next screen lets you choose between your Office 365 and Microsoft accounts. Yes, I do indeed for whatever reason have two accounts with the same name and email with MS. Which has caused endless woes on Azure, but at least this screen makes it pretty clear what’s going on, and I select the Office 365 user. This is “Organizational account” if you’re wondering.


Finally, log in with this account, and your synonyms will appear.

A problem with putting Lightswitch projects in Dropbox.

A problem with putting Lightswitch projects in Dropbox.

If you get the error “The “LSResourceGeneratorsTask” task failed unexpectedly.
Unable to find root project file at this location: {0}”

You need to go to that location and remove any duplicate .ls3proj files. This duplication confuses VS.

The cause of this can be Dropbox conflict handling, where it puts “(Mark Stacey’s conflicted copy 2013-11-01)” into the file name.


A chunk of my life I’ll never get back.

My thoughts on the PASS Board

As there are plenty of people across the US, and across Europe as well, I am going to take a very narrow minded view on the candidates: What can they do for us here in Africa?

Seeing as it’s just Jody and myself carrying the flag down here I feel justified. (a shout out to the other chapter people as well : Gail, Mike, Matt, Stephan and Anish)

I am going to put forward some suggestions I would like to see, and ask the candidates for their views.

Firstly, why Africa?

Well, to start with, we’re a lot bigger than you think.

From BigThink

Secondly, we have a vast population. We have an average density *higher* than Europe!


There were 1 billion people in Africa in 2009.

And unlike the rest of the world, economic growth is expanding massively here, with a huge emphasis on tech growth to enable this.

Basically, there is a huge need for PASS to get involved in my continent if they want to be relevant.

Item 1: Africa has been totally short-changed on events

No Rally? (And we were really trying to get one out here). SQL Saturdays are local events (although we had some people coming from our neighbours for my last one), and if PASS really wants to grow in Africa, we are going to need some big events that draw in people from a whole region. Most people will not be able to afford to fly to the US or even Europe (did you realize that it’s twice as far from South Africa to Europe as it is from the US to Europe?)

My suggestion would be to start with East Africa (Kenya) as it is a tech hub, and it’s a market that needs a lot more SQL exposure if Google and IBM aren’t just going to own the market. Another advantage for East Africa is that it can serve part of the Middle East.

West Africa would be a good second bet, and given the size of the Nigerian market, might even be a first bet.

South Africa (where two of the SQL Saturdays in Africa currently happen) is possibly not the first place ~ we have a big market, but our neighbours are smaller, and we also have TechEdAfrica : 2 big MS events in one year, so I’d say East Africa is lower hanging fruit. We’re also very far from the north African market.

A comment was made that virtual chapters would work for Africa: Sorry, but that is just so flat out wrong. Firstly, bandwidth. Barring a couple exceptions, Africa just doesn’t have it. And virtual chapters with no internet just plain don’t work.

Secondly, there is a cultural barrier. Us Africans generally don’t do business or engage until we have met in person, and even then, nothing happens unless it is in person. Emails don’t cut it, even phone calls. I am, in my business, scheduling flights to my customer areas (especially Nairobi) to do work that with Europeans or Americans I’d pop an email out and be done.

Item 2: More data about what PASS is doing

Access to the raw data would be best, but even regular regional reports. How many people are members of PASS in each country? Which usergroups are meeting where? What are the plans for Africa?

This lack of data hurts PASS as it hides the successes here and elsewhere. Just use Lightswitch and open an OData feed for us!

Item 3: More transparency and fairness

Why on earth are americans voting for the EMEA seat? And why are we voting for the US/Canada seat?

Over and above that, I propose regional councils at a greater granularity than the board has. EMEA is too damn big to be lumped into a single bucket. Europe is very much first world, Africa very much is not. To give an example, most Kenyan banking is done with a feature phone. Not a traditional bank, not a browser, not a smartphone app. It’s a different space and if PASS wants to be relevant here, then this is important to know.

Regional mentor choice is another thing I’d like to see more transparency on, and a defined process for how someone becomes a regional mentor, what their exact duties are, and a report card on how they are doing, with the information coming at least partly from chapter leads in their region, and a defined way of doing a handover.

This particular items isn’t just Africa of course, but I look at the RM process here, and it is completely opaque. This process should be made transparent and clear, and be regional in nature. Regional mentors should live or least spend a substantial amount of their time in the region they are mentoring. And the choice of regional mentor should be chosen by a regional council.

Finding out who is a regional mentor is also not easy. It should be right upfront on the website.

This closer alignment of RM and region (and for pity’s sake, we don’t have enough RMs for Africa? 1 RM residing in Africa, as good a job as Jody has done, is just not enough for 1.07 billion people.) will help to ensure PASS’s growth and relevance in Africa.

Item 4: Closer alignment with other communities

This is an interesting one, and I am sure I will get some flak.

Sometimes, the tech communities here are smaller, and we therefore cross-pollinate. Both in Johannesburg and Cape Town we have community nights where multiple user groups meet, and Cape Town had a joint SQL and SharePoint Saturday. These are successful initiatives, and broaden the reach, as the SP peeps pop into SQL sessions, SQL people pop across. In Nairobi, I see the SharePoint and the Windows Phone user groups doing a lot more together: these joint initiatives create a better value, as things like venues can be shared. This is something I think is uniquely African at this point, and a framework for how PASS UGs and non-PASS UGs can collaborate, on UG meetings, and on events, would be a powerful thing.

And comments

I’m hoping to hear from the candidates!

Wijgrid with WijComboBox

Adding a combo box using Wijmo to a WijGrid

This is just a skeleton:


 <span style="color: green;">//edit<span style="color: black;">

<span style="color: black; font-family: Consolas; font-size: 9pt; background-color: white;"> beforeCellEdit: onBeforeCellEdit,

<span style="color: black; font-family: Consolas; font-size: 9pt; background-color: white;"> afterCellEdit: onAfterCellEdit,

to your table grid, giving you:

Read more…

Distribution theory and hashing

One of the early questions often asked when people hear about a quarter rack is “but what benefit will having just 2 boxes give us over having a single big SQL Server? These aren’t high end individual machines, surely I can get better results by using a scale-up machine?”

Importantly, the benefits of a PDW will be obvious even on a 2-node quarter rack, and in fact the techniques being applied are just more advanced versions of the ones that would need to be performed to get good performance out of a single scale-up machine.

If you refer to the first post (Introduction to PDW) you’ll see that we talk about MPP vs SMP – the very heart of an MPP system is being able to split up a workload across multiple symmetric nodes. On every node, the workload has been partitioned across multiple disk groups by SQL Server partitioning, each partition has been affinitised to a CPU core and a memory space.

This allows for balancing IO to RAM throughput and CPU speed (and is at the heart of why a *low-end* machine, which is in no way low end, just without over speccing the CPU is used in this stellar appliance. We can thank Intel for a massively overpowered CPU, and now the storage vendors need to catch up!)

The way the PDW is designed, we can split data not just across partitions within a machine, but also across machines.

This is called distribution. And if we can serve 100k rows per second on a single partition on a node, then if we have 8 partitions on a node, and 10 nodes, we can serve 8 million rows a second. And this increase is linear as we add more nodes.

Read more…


A great call out from Marco Russo to get a BI MCM (now MCSM, for Microsoft Certified Solution Master). If you don’t know the MCM program, what are you doing on my blog? Just kidding. Being a Master in SQL is a good solid foundation, but there is no BI equivalent, and the problem with BI is that it is faaaar from just SQL: Integration Services, Analysis Services and Reporting Services now have to bow to SharePoint and Office, especially with PowerBI coming, and there is no official Microsoft certification to prove mastery. As Marco says on his blog, mail to request one.

Now, I have an additional request: I think we need to campaign for a BI MVP role. The MVP program has SQL MVPs and SharePoint MVPs, but when you have one foot in each camp, and the nomination forms tell you to only list the events that are applicable to the particular tech you’ve been nominated for, it gets twice as hard. Especially as PowerBI becomes a bigger part of the story, this is going to be a real need.

DISCLAIMER: My drive for a BI MVP slot is partially influenced by the fact that I personally would like to be an MVP, and despite being nominated several times, just haven’t seemed to quite make the cut, and I think the foot in two worlds piece is part of that.

Thanks to Andrew Karcher, whose blog steered me to Marco’s.

Editable and persisted data grid in Lighstwitch

UPDATE: The newer WijMo grids come editable by default


Using the ComponentOne WijMo grid in Lightswitch is a great way to get an editable grid in your application. It isn’t documented so well yet, so here is my overview of how to persist changes back to the database. All code in this example is based upon Update 2 for Visual Studio 2012.

The DB I’m using is here

To start off with, download and install the ComponentOne Studio parts. Next, create a new Lightswitch HTMLClient C# application:

Read more…


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