Monthly Archives: July, 2014

Interview Question #7: Object Manager

Question

As a MicroStrategy developer, you are constantly using Object Manager to migrate objects that you develop inside the Subject Areas folder in your project. To save time, what object can you create to enable you to go straight to this folder when you open Object Manager?

A. Layout

B. Project Source

C. Script

D. Template

E. You cannot accomplish this in the Object Manager.

Answer

A. Layout

Opening multiple project sources at once in Object Manager

You may need to migrate objects between the same projects on multiple occasions. For example, you may need to move objects from your development environment to your test environment on a regular basis. Object Manager allows you to save the projects and project sources that you are logged in to as a layout. Later, instead of opening each project and project source individually, you can open the layout and automatically re-open those projects and project sources.

The default file extension for Object Manager Layout files is .omw.

To open an existing Object Manager layout

  1. From the File menu, select Open Layout. The Select Layout dialog box opens.

  2. Select a layout and click Open. A Login dialog box opens for each project source specified in the layout.

  3. For each Login dialog box, type a MicroStrategy login ID and password. The login must have the Use Object Manager privilege.

  4. Click OK. The project sources open. You are automatically logged in to the projects specified in the layout, as the user you logged into the project source with.

To save a workspace as an Object Manager layout

  1. Log in to any project sources and projects that you want to save in the layout.

  2. From the File menu, select Save Layout. The Save Layout dialog box opens.

  3. Specify a location and name for the layout file and click Save. The layout is saved.

MicroStrategy Course Where You Will Learn About This Topic

MicroStrategy Administration: Application Management Course

WIRED: A Redesigned Parking Sign So Simple That You’ll Never Get Towed

web-snow-day-1

Your car gets towed, and who do you blame? Yourself? God no, you blame that impossibly confusing parking sign. It’s a fair accusation, really. Of all the questionable communication tools our cities use, parking signs are easily among the worst offenders. There are arrows pointing every which way, ambiguous meter instructions and permit requirements. A sign will tell you that you can park until 8 am, then right below it another reading you’ll be towed. It’s easy to imagine that beyond basic tests for legibility, most of these signs have never been vetted by actual drivers.

Like most urban drivers, Nikki Sylianteng was sick of getting tickets. During her time in Los Angeles, the now Brooklyn-based designer paid the city far more than she would’ve liked to. So she began thinking about how she might be able to solve this problem through design. She realized that with just a little more focus on usability, parking signs could actually be useful. “I’m not setting out to change the entire system,” she says. “It’s just something that I thought would help frustrated drivers.” [1]

Sylianteng notes: [2]

I’ve gotten one-too-many parking tickets because I’ve misinterpreted street parking signs. The current design also poses a driving hazard as it requires drivers to slow down while trying to follow the logic of what the sign is really saying. It shouldn’t have to be this complicated.

The only questions on everyone’s minds are:
1. “Can I park here now?”
2. “Until what time?”

My strategy was to visualize the blocks of time when parking is allowed and not allowed. I kept everything else the same – the colors and the form factor – as my intention with this redesign is to show how big a difference a thoughtful, though conservative and low budget, approach can make in terms of time and stress saved for the driver. I tried to stay mindful of the constraints that a large organization like the Department of Transportation must face for a seemingly small change such as this.

01 two-step

The sign has undergone multiple iterations, but the most recent features a parking schedule that shows a whole 24 hours for every day of the week. The times you can park are marked by blocks of green, the times you can’t are blocked in a candy-striped red and white. It’s totally stripped down, almost to the point of being confusing itself. But Sylianteng says there’s really no need for the extraneous detailed information we’ve become accustomed to. “Parking signs are trying to communicate very accurately what the rules actually are,” she says. “I’ve never looked at a sign and felt like there was any value in knowing why I couldn’t park. These designs don’t say why, but the ‘what’ is very clear.”

Sylianteng’s design still has a way to go. First, there’s the issue of color blindness, a factor she’s keenly aware of. The red and green are part of the legacy design from current signs, but she says it’s likely she’d ultimately change the colors to something more universal like blue. Then there’s the fact that urban parking is a far more complex affair than most of us care to know. There’s an entire manual on parking regulations; and Sylianteng’s design does gloss over rules concerning different types of vehicles and space parameters indicating where people can park. She’s working on ways to incorporate all of that without reverting back to the information overload she was trying to avoid in the first place. [1]

redesigned-parking-inline2

Sylianteng also posted on her blog an illustration of the problem in terms of biocost, as part of her Cybernetics class with Paul Pangaro. [2]

Biocost_ParkingSign

Sylianteng has been going around Manhattan and Brooklyn hanging up rogue revamped parking signs. “A friend of mine called it functional graffiti,” she says. She’ll stick a laminated version right below the city-approved version and ask drivers to leave comments. In that way, Sylianteng’s design is still a ways away from being a reality, but so far, she’s gotten pretty good feedback. “One person wrote: ‘The is awesome. The mayor should hire you.’” [1]

————————————————————————

Sources:

[1] Liz Stinson, A Redesigned Parking Sign So Simple That You’ll Never Get Towed, Wired, July 15, 2014, http://www.wired.com/2014/07/a-redesigned-parking-sign-so-simple-youll-never-get-towed-again.

[2] Nikki Sylianteng, blog, http://nikkisylianteng.com/project/parking-sign-redesign/.

Michael Saylor Keynote – MicroStrategy World Barcelona – July 2014

Click on image to watch keynote video

Click on image to watch keynote video

MicroStrategy Simplifies Product Packaging to Enhance Total Customer Experience

New MicroStrategy Pricing

Converges on Four Products; Offers Free Upgrades to Premium Capabilities for Existing Clients

BARCELONA, Spain, July 8, 2014 – MicroStrategy® Incorporated (Nasdaq: MSTR), a leading worldwide provider of enterprise software platforms, today announced a new packaging structure aimed at delivering the best end-to-end customer and partner experience, making it easier than ever to acquire, deploy, and succeed with MicroStrategy. MicroStrategy also announced that it is extending free upgrades for existing clients to the premium capabilities included in the new product packaging, offering greater value to clients and new users.

The packaging changes will empower new and existing MicroStrategy clients to realize the full potential of their analytical applications using the most comprehensive analytics and mobile platforms in the industry. This information, and more, can be found at: www.microstrategy.com/experience.

“Our new packaging makes it simple for organizations to choose MicroStrategy for the totality of their business analytics and mobile application needs,” said Paul Zolfaghari, President, MicroStrategy Incorporated. “We believe it instantly enhances our value to existing customers and is emblematic of our heightened focus on delivering a positive customer experience. The new packaging allows better preparation and planning for new deployments, providing more value over the broad range of solutions we offer.”

Under the new packaging structure, MicroStrategy’s full feature set, previously split into 21 discrete offerings, has been reduced to four simple packages that empower developers, analysts, power users, and consumers to take advantage of the comprehensive MicroStrategy platform with simplified value-based pricing.

“From a customer perspective this is a welcome change,” said Andrew Young, BI Director, at Bob Evans Farms, a MicroStrategy client. “Budgeting and planning new applications will be far easier, especially breaking down platform investments to our business customers. With the simplified offering and pricing structure we can paint a more complete picture and focus on the business value.”

MicroStrategy added that the new packaging allows clients to more affordably deploy the full breadth of MicroStrategy capabilities (including data federation, write-back, closed-loop analysis, and automated report distribution, among others) to more users across the enterprise, giving end users full authoring capabilities as needed and integration with Microsoft® Office® applications. System architects gain efficiencies with the full ability to manage upgrades, migrations, and data loads, as well as free server administration and monitoring features. Within the four product offerings, clients will have all styles of analytics (self-service, dashboards, advanced analytics) across any interface (web, mobile, pdf, email report distribution) at Big Data scale—on an automated platform.

“To maximize the value of a customer relationship requires that companies simplify the pricing to ensure the purchasing process of technology is easy and transparent,” said Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer at Ventana Research. “The new MicroStrategy packaging and pricing enable the best possible customer experience, while shortening the time to gain full value from technology for organizations.”

The new packaging focuses on user roles within an enterprise:

  • MicroStrategy Server™ benefits all user roles. It includes a fully-featured server infrastructure designed to connect to multiple data sources, supports all major analytic styles from report distribution to information-driven apps to self-service data discovery, and scales to hundreds of thousands of users. It also includes administration and monitoring tools needed by organizations to effectively and efficiently manage their deployments.
  • MicroStrategy Web™ empowers business users to consume, author, and design analytics through an intuitive web-based interface. Business analysts can use MicroStrategy Web to take advantage of the all-inclusive set of self-service analytic capabilities.
  • MicroStrategy Mobile™, the award-winning, industry-leading interface for Apple iOS and Android devices, is an easy, fast, affordable way to mobilize analytics and information-driven applications to an increasingly mobile and 24 x 7 workforce.
  • MicroStrategy Architect™ provides developers with an extensive set of development, deployment and migration tools needed to efficiently manage the application development lifecycle.

The Company also noted that these four offerings complement the free MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop™ it made available last year. MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop is a free self-service business analytics tool designed to enable any individual user to gain deep insight into the user’s data by effortlessly creating powerful, insightful visualizations and dashboards.

MicroStrategy Report Optimization: Computational Distance

Computational Distance

Source: MicroStrategy University, Deploying MicroStrategy High Performance BI, V9.3.1, MicroStrategy, Inc. September, 2013.

Computational Distance

Any BI system consist of a series of processes and tools that take raw data at the very bottom-at the transaction level in a database-and by using various technologies transform that data into the finished answer that the user needs. At every step along the way, some kind of processing is done in the following components-the database, network, BI application, or the browser.

The concept of “computational distance” refers to the length in terms of systems, transformations, and other processes that the data must undergo from its lowest level, all the way to being rendered on a browser as shown in the image above.

The longer the computational distance is for a given report, the longer it will take to execute and render. The preceding image shows a hypothetical example of a report that runs in 40 seconds. Each processing step on that report, such as aggregation, formatting, and rendering, adds to the report’s computational distance, increasing the report overall execution time.

Reducing the Computational Distance of a Report

Computation distance offers a useful framework from a performance optimization perspective because it tells us that to improve the performance of a report or dashboard, you must focus on reducing its overall computational distance. The following image shows different techniques such as caching, cubes, and aggregation that can be used to optimize performance for the 40 second hypothetical report.

In the next blog post, we will next look at two key computational distance reduction techniques offered in the MicroStrategy platform-caching and Intelligent Cubes.

Reducing the Computational Distance

Steve Heller, Alberto Cairo, and The World in Terms of General Motors

World in Terms of GM Cutout

Readers:

The other day on Twitter, Albert Cairo tweeted about a great visual map he found in a 1938 issue of Fortune Magazine at Steve Heller’s Moving Sale on Saturday, June 28th, 2014 in New York City.

Alberto Cairo GM Tweet

Daily Heller Moving Sale

Steve Heller

Steve HellerSteven Heller wears many hats (in addition to the New York Yankees): For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times, originally on the OpEd Page and for almost 30 of those years with the New York Times Book Review. Currently, he is co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department, Special Consultant to the President of SVA for New Programs, and writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review.

He is the co-founder and co-chair (with Lita Talarico) of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he lectures on the history of graphic design. Prior to this, he lectured for 14 years on the history of illustration in the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual arts. He also was director for ten years of SVA’s Modernism & Eclecticism: A History of American Graphic Design symposiums.

The World in Terms of General Motors

The visual in the December 1938 issue of Fortune Magazine was called The World in Terms of General Motors. It depicted a sketch map showing the location of (then) GM’s 110 plants. The spheres representing each plant are proportional (in volume) to their normal number of workers. The key numbers of the spheres are indexed on the map. The map does not include those manufacturing plants in which GM has less than 50% stock. The principal ones are Ethyl Gasoline Corp., Bendix Aviation Corp., Kinetic Chemicals, Inc., and North American Aviation, Inc.

Not shown are GM’s many non-manufacturing interests, domestic warehouses, etc.

So, finally, here is the complete map.

Enjoy!

Michael

[Click on the map image to enlarge]

IMG_0354