15 Years since Hans Rosling first excited the world!

Classic Hans Rosling Bubble Chart – on main Tableau page!

I had a chance to take a look today at Tableau Public. I’ve used it in the past but to be honest Tableau is my third favorite visualization tool (behind Qlik and Power BI). I was impressed to see they used an example mimicking the famous TED talk by Hans Rosling. If you haven’t seen this and you’re interested in data and analytics – its a must watch! πŸ™‚

Nathan Yau’s Reading List

I follow and really like Nathan Yau. His site FlowingData.com is a great resource for Data Visualization inspiration. Below is his reading list for during the crisis:

Making Charts

Books specifically about making and using charts…


Making sense of numbers…


Some code…

  • R Packages by Hadley Wickham β€” I know the basics, but I should know more.
  • The Book of R by Tilman M. Davies β€” A big, fat reference.
  • Some visualization with Python book. I’ve seen some books, but is there a well-regarded reference?


Outside visualization, but applicable…


To think about various visual forms…

Dashboard Comparison

A took a quick look at the COVID-19 data using Power BI and Qlik Sense. Both have their advantages – but are using the same dataset. A shared table in Snowflake (CT_US_COVID_TESTS).


This is a difficult time for many of us. My thoughts are first with all of the people suffering from the disease and it’s impact. Also with the heroic first responders, the men and women who are risking their own lives to save others.
There are a number of interesting site I’ve been following to get more info. The site below does a great job of explaining the growth of the virus and how to tell if we are flatting the curve.

The original Johns Hopkins site uses a map delivered by ESRI and ArcGIS to track the progression of the virus:

Citi Bike Demo

Yesterday I attended a free workshop put on by Snowflake. The session entitled “Zero to Snowflake in 90 Minutes” provided information on Snowflake’s Architecture, Performance and Scalability as well as a “hands-on” demo. Snowflake touts itself as “The Data Warehouse Built for the Cloud” and is gaining enterprise customers at a dizzying pace.

The “demo” used data from Citi Bike – New York City’s bike share system. Citi Bike is the nations largest bike sharing service. The data can be downloaded from: https://www.citibikenyc.com/system-data

The workshop provides an introduction to how to setup and use Snowflake. The outline is below and the lab takes 90~ minutes:

Lab Overview
Module 1: Prepare Your Lab Environment
Module 2: The Snowflake User Interface & Lab β€œStory”
Module 3: Preparing to Load Data
Module 4: Loading Data
Module 5: Analytical Queries, Results Cache, Cloning
Module 6: Working With Semi-Structured Data, Views, JOIN
Module 7: Using Time Travel
Module 8: Roles Based Access Controls and Account Admin
Module 9: Data Sharing

I found the workshop very interesting and for two reasons. First, it covered all the basics of using a cloud based database. Users loaded data from a S3 bucket, parsing both csv and json files. Queried the database and managed schema’s and security. The second reason why enjoyed the session is because Qlik’s Elif Tutuk used this dataset for a Qlik Sense Demo app.

I found a copy of the old Qlik Demo app and set it up on a Qlik Sense instance.

I created a ODBC connection (using a DSN) and was able to update the data from Snowflake. The combination of Qlik Sense and Snowflake is compelling. I liked the Snowflake demo especially when I could match it up with the visualizations from Qlik Sense.

Credit Scoring Model

In late 2018-2019, I worked on a Credit Scoring model. As part of the work I wrote a “whitepaper” outlining the process, methodology and results.

A copy of the whitepaper is available for download: https://www.ericfrayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Credit_Scoring_Whitepaper_v1.pdf

As part of the project I used R and SPSS for model construction and verification. The output from the model is available here:

Microsoft Analysis Services

In 2012, I picked up a copy of Teo Lachev’s “Applied Analysis Services.” The book featured how Microsoft was pulling together Excel, Power View, Power Pivot, Tabular Modeling and the new DAX Language (Data Analysis eXpressions). The traditional OLAP SSAS MDX cube wasn’t going away but the new hardware options and increased need for self service meant a new technology was required. DAX uses standard Excel formula syntax. This provided business users with a way to extended Excel logic, formulas and calculations. The power of Excel with the promise of self service BI is pretty compelling.

During my time at Qlik (2012-2017), Microsoft continued to build and expand it’s products. With the Tabular model , Microsoft adopted a “columnstore indexing” strategy using Vertipaq. This allowed for much more data to be available on disk and in-memory.

For more info visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/analysis-services/

Google Analytics

This is just a quick post to share I’m using this site mainly as a “technical sandbox”. Someplace to try out different functionality and post working examples. I’m using Google Analytics in a browser and app on my phone to see if I’m getting any traffic. Most of my “users” are friends, colleagues and potential employers who’ve I’ve given the url.

Anyway here is a page from Google Analytics for my site. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising how much Google provides for developers and internet users.