Archive for February, 2010

Microsoft Analysis Services, and more


This post continues the series on the Data Warehouse, product retirement project I’m currently leading. The previous post in this series was Descending Into Microsoft Analysis Services.

Update – Where We Have Reached

  • The Analysis Services Object model traversing program has made a migration to a Windows Forms Tree Viewer. The program is a “lazy” evaluator, in that it only traverses an object (or collection) when the user selects the type. This makes the thing pretty quick to use. It is also all driven by reflection, so in theory could be applied to any object structure. That is a feature which I’ve not implemented, but I may do some time in the future. I should probably should refactor the code and make a subclass of the TreeView with the reflection code as a “custom control”.
  • The define a “Cube” from  the XML, and SQL Tables, is working well. A couple of refinements, have been made to it. These have included:
    • Getting the display order working better. It’s not perfect, in that to do that we would need to add a presentation order column to all of the SQL tables which are used to build the dimensions.
    • Reusing dimensions across “Cubes” which are built from the same SQL table. One little step forward for better data management. There still is a long way to go with improving the data management. But, almost all of those improvements will have to come in subsequent projects.
  • The data comparer has progressed, but taken a detour. I’ll cover that in the “dancing goal posts” section (next).

Dancing Goal Posts

There are, or have been, a couple of “extra” requirements for the project. These have included:

  • A “data salvage” aspect to the project. There are a number of years worth of data which we are going to salvage from the existing system. Hence, the data compare function, has taken on board an extra requirement to extract all of the base data from the existing data. This is a detour which may lead to a couple of choices needing to be made. These choices are:
    • To pour all of the data into one “Cube”. This exposes a number of issues:
      • The “cookie cutter” which builds the SSAS cubes would need to be enhanced to add a time dimensions (to hang the different “cubes” of data from).
      • There could be revision to the data, which has resulted in different “cubes” being created. Developing a dimensional model which caters for this as well could be a “bridge too far” for this project.
      • There have bee changes to the dimensions over time. These changes have just resulted in different “cubes” with different labels sets, in the old system. Building up an approach which implements “Slowly Changing Dimensions”, again could be a “bridge too far” for the project.
  • My Analysis Object Viewer many well need some enhancements. To get a better understanding of the scope of the dimensional issues, which are mentioned above. These enhancements could include:
    • Creating a cube for each of the salvaged datasets. This would be done by the existing “cookie cutter” we have for creating “Cubes”
    • Building something visual to show the dimensionality of each of the cubes. Would need to get into something which gets me a “table like” view of the dimensions. Would need to have hierarchy, and code set information as well. Probably a big job.  Or,
    • Build something which selects the set of cubes, then uses LINQ over the object model to determine the following:
      • Sets the “time 0” cube then runs time forward from there.
      • Identifies “New Dimensions”. These would be dimensions which did not exists in the”time 0” Cube.
      • Identifies Changed Dimensions. There are a number of classes of change which will need to be detected. These include:
        • New Codes, or Labels
        • New Levels
        • Different Hierarchy
        • Differences in the Key pointing to a Label.
  • The data presentation layer for the project needs to be sorted through. There are a number of alternatives here which include:
    • Excel, and the Pivot table. I’ve already pointed Excel at some of the Cubes we have built. They did work OK. I’m not sure how good an Excel solution will work with some of the low bandwidth sites that this solution will need to support. Hence, the next couple of alternatives.
    • SharePoint, with the Excel parts. I’ve never explored how this works, so it will be a “voyage of discovery”. This solution has a number of the benefits:
      • it may work better in the low bandwidth sites,
      • it may allow delegation of the management of the security of the cubes to clients,
      • it may provide a better environment for doing “big” analysis jobs.
    • SharePoint, with PowerPivot. A new thing from Microsoft. I’ve yet to see it in action. So, I’ve no idea what it gives above and beyond standard Excel functions.
    • Reporting Services. This may need to be part of the mix, just for the routine reporting requirements, or maybe more wide spread. Again, sight unseen, I’m not sure what this will give to the mix.


This is an ongoing “voyage of discover”. I’m positive about the prospect of getting something which satisfies the “project brief”. What will need to be done in the future is something which we will have to put on the “to do list” for sometime in the future.

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BOSS eBand JS-8 Predefined Patches

Patch Number Patch Grouping Patch Name
P001 Blues Bluesy Crunch
P002 Blues Blues Lead
P003 Blues American Legend
P004 Blues Blues master
P005 Blues Deluxe + boost
P006 Blues Tweed Lead
P007 Blues Blues Session
P008 Blues JB Good
P009 Blues Early UK Blues
P010 Blues Sweet Home
P011 Blues BadCo.
P012 Soul Funk Funkmeister
P013 Soul Funk Tight Comp Clean
P014 Soul Funk Delayed Twin
P015 Soul Funk Groove Clean
P016 Soul Funk Groove Lead
P017 Soul Funk Crunchy Trem
P018 Soul Funk Crunch Phase
P019 Soul Funk Fat Clean
P020 Jazz Contemporary Jzz
P021 Jazz BG Fusion
P022 Jazz JC-Chorus
P023 Jazz Rat Lead
P024 Jazz Warm Clean
P025 Jazz Dist Delay
P026 Jazz Clean Phase
P027 Liverpool VO Crunch
P028 Liverpool VO Drive
P029 Liverpool Match for Chord
P030 Liverpool Revolution Fuzz
P031 Liverpool Honky Tonk
P032 Liverpool Gently Weeps
P033 Liverpool Spy Theme
P034 Liverpool Day Trip
P035 70’s Hard Rock Stack Lead
P036 70’s Hard Rock Clean Reverb
P037 70’s Hard Rock Rock Crunch
P038 70’s Hard Rock Rock Riff
P039 70’s Hard Rock Clean Vibe
P040 70’s Hard Rock Deep Highway
P041 70’s Hard Rock JB Lead
P042 70’s Hard Rock Swamp Rock
P043 70’s Hard Rock Erupting
P044 70’s Hard Rock Walk That Way
P045 70’s Hard Rock Texas Riff
P046 70’s Hard Rock Texas Tusher
P047 70’s Hard Rock Freedom Bird
P048 70’s Hard Rock Rocker Bottom
P049 80’s Metal Tone Journey
P050 80’s Metal 80s Loud MS+OD-1
P051 80’s Metal Metalcat
P052 80’s Metal Chorus Lead
P053 80’s Metal MS Riff
P054 80’s Metal More Than Lead
P055 80’s Metal Flange Clean
P056 80’s Metal Photo! Riff
P057 80’s Metal Meltdown
P058 80’s Metal Mull It Over
P059 80’s Metal Broken Dime
P060 80’s Metal Effected Q
P061 Modern Metal Modern Higain
P62 Modern Metal Solid Scoop
P063 Modern Metal R-Fier Lead
P064 Modern Metal Clean Theater
P065 Modern Metal Bulls on Rage
P066 Modern Metal Blood Reign
P067 Modern Metal Down Sickness
P068 Modern Metal HiGain Metal
P069 West Coast Deluxe Lead
P070 West Coast Long Train
P071 West Coast Drive Phase
P072 West Coast Chorus Twin
P073 West Coast Pro Crunch
P047 West Coast Reelin Clean
P075 West Coast BG Delay
P076 Fuzz Rock Uni-V Lead
P077 Fuzz Rock 60s Fuzz
P078 Fuzz Rock Creamcrunch
P079 Fuzz Rock Fat Fuzz
P080 Fuzz Rock Cross in the Road
P081 Fuzz Rock Wing Ballad
P082 Fuzz Rock Raw Fuzz
P083 Fuzz Rock Fuzz Boost
P084 Studio Smooth Lead
P085 Studio Classic Studio
P086 Studio Deep Ambiance
P087 Studio Natural Crunch
P088 Studio Warm Overdrive
P089 Studio Modern Studio
P090 Studio Summer Clean
P091 Studio Match Solo
P092 Studio For Acoustic Gtr
P093 Progressive Fuzz Echo
P094 Progressive Clean Rock
P095 Progressive Rotary Control
P096 Progressive Spanish Hwy
P097 Progressive Pan Drive
P098 Progressive Tokyo Dreamland
P099 Progressive Reverse Delay
P100 Progressive Spacy Flange
P101 Progressive Octave Lead
P102 Surf Rock Surfline
P103 Surf Rock Light Fuzz
P104 Surf Rock Surfing Bird
P105 Surf Rock Combo Drive
P106 Surf Rock Clean Solo
P107 Country Country Meister
P108 Country Driven Twin Dly
P109 Country Country Crunch
P110 Country Country Boogie
P111 Country 50’s Guitar
P112 Country Crunchy Apartment
P113 Country Stack Solo
P114 Punk Pop Grunge Spirit
P115 Punk Pop Driven Rock
P116 Punk Pop Sedated Punk
P117 Punk Pop Radio Creep
P118 Punk Pop Green Punk
P119 Punk Pop DS Drive
P120 Bass Slap Limit
P121 Bass Clean Comp
P122 Bass Bass Drive
P123 Bass Extreme Drive
P124 Bass Finger Octave
P125 Bass Sens Slap Wah
P126 Mic Deep Reverb
P127 Mic Short Echo
P128 Mic Medium Delay
P129 Mic Long Delay
P130 Mic Short Ambience
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The New Guitar Toy

Well I’m turning into a collector of guitar gear. Another guitar toy have been added to my gear collection. My latest acquisition has been a BOSS eBand JS-8 (see below).

What is it?

That’s a very good question. It’s the combination of the following:

  • MP3 and WMA file player,
  • A vast array of Guitar Effects. There are a number of “stomp boxes” built into the unit.
  • A vast array of BOSS COSM® preamp models. Own a multitude of amplifier and cabinet combinations in a single box.
  • Guitar Tuner.
  • Metronome.
  • Phrase Trainer. You can select select a segment of a song to play along with repeatedly (sorry neighbours), with some cancelling capability (take out parts of the song mix).
  • Record function.
  • A bunch of rhythm tracks as well.
  • USB (cable) connect to a PC.
  • USB Memory stick to load in songs.

What do I like?

Well, the variety of the effects available is great. Playing around with them “vanilla” (as they came in the box) has been fun. Playing tracks works well. I’ve a bit of a "child trying to synchronise with the jump rope” syndrome at the present. I hope to find ways to overcome this with more practice (my wish list will follow).

The ways of getting music into machine (USB cable, and UBS memory stick) both work well. The Song List Editor, is a bit primitive, but gets the simple transfer job done.

The thing sounds great! I’ve it plugged into my Roland 30x Cube, and it sounds awesome.  The Ibanez sound great through the box. But, I’ve not prompted myself to ask the question, can I get a “vanilla” (completely clean sound). I think that the answer is that you can switch off all the “stomp boxes” and just select the head and cabinet you want. That’s probably as close to the “vanilla” that you can get. (I’ll probably try and set up a set of user defined patches which do this, could be an interesting experiment).

The Wish List

There are a couple of things I’d put on the wish list at this point. These include:

  • I’d love a count in on the track I’m trying to play with. Just the old band “1-2-3-4”, of maybe a snare and bass drum lead in. Something which can set the temp, and show where, and when, to start. I may have to explore getting some Digital Audio Workstation software and edit up the tracks I want to practice against.
  • I’d love a visual (PC based) way to compose a patch (the effects, head, and cabinet). The files on the machine are in a format which must contain all of the information about the patch, which the system then interprets (or implements). I’ll have to have a browse around the net and see if the file format is documented anywhere. (You never know your luck in a big city). I could end up writing one for myself.
  • A catalogue of the patches which came with the box would be nice to have. I may have to collate one and post it up here. You never know who else could be looking for this type of list. The names and patch number could be simple to create, the complete settings could be a bit more work.


I like it (so far). Not sure how it will grow on me, I’ll wait and see.

The creation of patches through the “twiddle the knob” method is not the most appealing. It always strikes me as the “UI the sound engineers” are happy” with so, that’s what you get. I’m more of a create a “UI which fits the users”, and I’m not a “sound engineer” (more of a software engineer).

I’ll post more into this thread as I learn, explore, and play with this new toy.

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