Liveblogging Rostrum Convention 2016

Might live blog today’s Rostrum convention, I think.

Started with a Facebook live with Marcela Ramirez from MRPR.

Marcela has the first session on ‘Selling the Sizzle’ at the Convention.  Marcela (@tweetmrpr) does a ton of good work in the community is very socially aware, and is a great presenter as well.

Oh, and just a terrific person.  Catch her podcast at

Then, after I was Chairman of Adjudicators of the Rostrum Freeman Frank Smith speaking competition – for novices – and that of course was a good competition to see fro Rostrum novices.

The next speaker was Maree Clancy of Say It Now Voice Consultancy.  Now, I have to say it’s the sort of thing I sometimes think is a litle fluffy.  A little woolly.  But Maree grounded it in the science and gave actual takeaways for the audience.  A very good speaker, and a very good understanding of what it takes to be a good speaker.  Very useful I think…

Presentations and public speaking for managers

Last week I did a morning session with practice managers with the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health through UQ Executive Education.  A very switched on group of of women who are doing terrific things – if perhaps drinking a bit too much V to get them through the day.  Anyway, it was a really good half-day – they were presenting their work later that day – and we got to discuss things like what to watch in an audio-visual presentation as well as those five magic things that are important in the world of Rostrum:  Purpose, Content, Structure, Voice, and Body Language.  


This was in the city – and I don’t get to go into Brisbane too often, so here are a few photos of me returning to my old haunts:

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And finally, here’s me with the graduating class.  The ladies are (L-R):  Imogen, Marti, Julie, Camile, Alison, Ray, Cassie, Noelene, Leila, Belinda and Samara.  A wonderful group – though it might be time for me to get a haircut and lose some weight.  Hmm.  

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Launch of the new PowerBI Community group in Brisbane

So I thought I’d do up a small blog, as it’s pretty interesting and relevant.  Tonight I am attending the Microsoft BI user group in Brisbane, and we’re meeting at the Microsoft offices in George Street.


There has been a release overnight of ‘publish to the Web’ for PowerBI.  Recently there was a competition held in the UK, and we have there a visualisation of M25 accidents that won Best Report in the UK.  It’s all  interactive.


There are open source visualisation templates available as part of the new PowerBI toolset.

We heard also from Peter Ward, who advised that there’s a PowerBI executive group targeted at business groups and sharing about the strategy meeting on the third Friday of every month.  Welcome to attend either or both groups.  Bring that ‘PowerBI goodness’ back to your own organisation.

Ron Dunn from Wardy’s IT gave the main presentation for the evening, and the overarching theme is practical implications of PowerBI.

One key point is the vision for Microsoft BI reporting.  Here, the vision is on interactive reports – that’s Power BI Desktop.  Then there are spreadsheets – and of course, that’s Excel.  Report builder is good for Paginated reports, whereas mobile reports use Datazen.

PowerBI is Microsoft’s competitor to Tableau and Qlikview.  Tableau is kind of expensive, and possibly better at Infographics.  Power BI is a maximum of $12 per user per month – though there are free versions available – whereas say Tableau might be $2,000 per seat.

PowerBI is moving away from ‘cloud only’.

Power BI Desktop is a free download.  It does geospatial representations a map.  Connects via data source connectors to data sources.  Lets you pick a number of visualisation sources, and drag-and-drop to build an interactive dashboard.  The visualisations are linked to each other.

In many ways, some of the functions are moving out of Excel into Power BI as a tool.

Does have visualisations in reporting services, although its integration with Sharepoint is somewhat limited.

Noted that Microsoft is moving its releases of PowerBI to more monthly releases rather than yearly.

Works with both on-premise and Cloud data.  So, you can have some of your data on-premise; proper support for this seems to be coming later.

Need to check out – this is a forum run by Microsoft where ideas can be voted on.  This is actively managed and communicated on.

This really creates problems for organisations that run with locked desktops and such like.

Ron has some thoughts on these matters to close.

  • Power BI is unbeatable value (free is quite good if it’ll do what you want)
  • Power BI is designed for millennial freedom (i.e. locked down desktops?  Pfft)
  • Power BI is not a complete BI solution (need the BI stack for that)
  • Power BI is a rapidly evolving work in progress
  • Power BI is for people, not applications
  • Power BI is amazing
Question and Answer sessions
In the wrap up at the end, one point was ‘How does Power BI deal with data governance?’.  And of course the answer here is that it doesn’t.  This means that Power BI does not follow data governance rules in its implementation – you can end up having your data that is subject to rules that Power BI completely stomps over.  So no, it doesn’t do that.
What about Excel and Power View?  Answer – it is going to continue to be supported.  As noted in the vision, there’s PowerBI Desktop, Excel, Integrated Reporting, and mobile reporting (Datazen).  Tonight’s discussion focussed on PowerBi Desktop.

Day 1 of 2016 – Painfully moving home office on a public holiday? Argh!

Well, according to science fiction (fantasy) movies, 2016 is supposed to be a year of all sorts of technological marvels.  Well, it certainly is that, but no technology marvel that anyone made a movie about.  WiFi man, anyone?  

Today I officially started my new role as Lecturer (BIS) at University of Queensland.  I’ve had just over two years as a post-doctoral research fellow, and now I have a lecturer role at UQ.  Mainly, I think, because I’ve managed to teach MBA students pretty well – certainly not because of my research at this stage, though I do have four papers in the pipeline.

Officially, today is a public holiday in Australia – not sure if it ever wasn’t a holiday and people just gave up pretending to work after New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, today was a day my daughter insisted on recalling a conversation we had three years ago.  The one I said that, when she started Grade 5, she could have the bigger room downstairs that I am using as an office for her bedroom – we would do ‘swapsies’ on the room.  Well, after an itinerant tenant (my sister-in-law who has been completing her nursing degree), my daughter insisted on remembering the conversation and it’s time to up stumps and rationalise my office into the smaller room.  It’s working out OK though I’m taking the chance to get a standing desk sorted and, frankly, I miss having a place to sit.  

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Maybe I’ll be able to scam a tub chair in here, or a standing chair.  It’s generally working out OK I think – though as this room is upstairs I think I’ll be organising air conditioning in this room for those hotter days – it faces west and is near a very thin roof.  Pleasant enough tonight though and I can isolate myself and write – hopefully, with a cup of coffee.  Though I’ll have to go up and down my 23 step staircase to do that.  Ah well, that’s what a standing arrangement is all about, right?

Oh yes, the standing part of the desk is clearly an Ikea hack – the longer coffee table and shelf with brackets so I can have two monitors going at once from my Macbook Pro.  I just need to clear up the junk on my desk now and the office is semi-sorted.  

Here’s the stuff for my Ikea Hack standing desk (inspired by posts made online by many others):

  • Lack Coffee table at $A29.99
  • Ekby Tryggve shelf – well, that’s what I bought but that’s no longer available at Ikea.  Essentially, it’s a wide pine shelf 30cm x 120cm.  A fine replacement would be the Ekby Hemnes shelf, same dimensions (119cm x 28cm) for $A29.99.  Though myTryggve shelf was less than that – I paid $9 and only $20 for the coffee table.  Ikea Inflation?    
  • Two Ekby Valter brackets with screws – $5 each.  

Nothing too amazing, it was really easy to put together and cheap enough that if it doesn’t work out I give it all to St Vinnie’s.  Or take the coffee table off and put it in the wardrobe, never to be seen again.  

Anyway I’m really sore from lugging that desk upstairs, and her room downstairs, and still have a metric crapload to do – so I’m just gonna see if I can get Elite Dangerous to work…

P.S. yes that’s a typewriter holding up my second monitor.

Kick-starting the blogging

So it would be fair to say that most of my blogging has been sporadic. So let’s take on a bit of a challenge – can I blog, weekly, for the duration of Semester 2, 2015?

I will aim to refresh this website a bit as well, if I can find the ‘spare time’ to do so. I’ve noticed there are a lot of links etc that are no longer working. One topic of interest will be, what is the topic of interest.

I will be interested to see how that goes – maybe you will be too. Not sure.  It will also be interesting to see whether blogging has the longevity.  I’ve been doing this, off and on, for 10 years now – I don’t know that blogging is quite as important as once it was.  Maybe that is cathartic, maybe that comes with some more freedom to do what works for the individual.  

Anyway – let’s see if some pep can be added to the currency of this blog.