SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook–On Sale Until 2018!

SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services CookbookHappy  Holidays! As a gift to everyone, PACKT Publishing has put the e-book version of my SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook on sale for just $5.

Yes, that’s right, for the same price as a pumpkin spice chai tea latte with extra whip cream, and a quick trip to http://bit.ly/ssrscook, you could be reading this magnificent tome of wisdom.

Now, I can year some of you going “but Robert, SQL Server 2017 is out now, is this still relevant?” Yes, absolutely! Very few changes were made to the 2017 version of SSRS, so everything in this book is just as valid.

And it’s not just my book that is on sale, all the e-books at PACKT are on sale for the same low low price. So after you get done adding the SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook to your shopping cart, be sure to check out the other awesome titles on PACKT Publishing.

This book, by the way, makes an excellent companion to two of my Pluralsight courses.

The SQL Server Reporting Services Playbook, https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-reporting-playbook, is designed for people who are totally new to SSRS and need to get up to speed FAST.

Already know SSRS, and just want to learn what’s new with SSRS 2016? Then my appropriately named What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services course, https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-2016-reporting-services, is just the thing for you. It goes over just the new features in SSRS 2016 (and still applicable to 2017) and does it fast. With this short course you can be up and running with 2016/2017.

What? You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? Well I’m shocked, but OK I can help you out. Just send me an email to


and I can fix you up with a code good for 30 days during which you can watch my courses, or any of the fine courses at Pluralsight. (If you want to see all my courses, just click the About Me link at the top, or go to http://arcanecode.me).

If you have some free time during the holiday season, and want to avoid the in-laws, then curling up with a great book (like the SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook) beside the yuletide fire can be a great way to spend your time!


A Walk Around SQL Operations Studio

In my latest article on RedGate’s Simple Talk site, I take you on a walk around the brand new SQL Operations Studio, or SQLOPS for short.

If you haven’t heard about it, SQLOPS is the new open source, multiplatform tool for using SQL Server, think of it as SQL Server Management Studio for the PC. And the Mac. And even Linux!

My article walks you through the critical components: Where to get it, how to install it, and some basics on how to use it. Even though it is in preview, there are some features it has, which SSMS does not, that make it worth looking at today.

You can read the article at http://bit.ly/acred02, or the full URL is https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/sql/sql-tools/walk-around-sql-operations-studio/ .

You can see all my Simple Talk articles at http://arcanecode.red

Creating Azure Resource Groups Safely With PowerShell

A few posts back I mentioned that I had become a SimpleTalk author, and that my first post for them was PowerShell Functions For Reusability and Restartability in Azure (read it at http://bit.ly/acred01)

I’ve created a companion video for it, which focuses on creating Resource Groups. You can see it below, or on YouTube at http://bit.ly/acredyt01.

As I mention in the video, you can find the code samples on my github site, at http://bit.ly/acredgit01

Fixed! PowerPoint 2016 Presenter View Not Showing

I purchased a new laptop earlier this year, a pretty sweet Lenovo ThinkPad. The only thing that annoyed me was PowerPoint 2016 wouldn’t show the presenter view. Well I finally got around to tracking down the issue. I found a post in an MSDN forum that was close, but not quite right in the instructions. In fairness the answer was several years old so the interface likely changed in that time.

The issue relates back to the NVIDIA driver. I did see some posts suggesting you uninstall the NVIDIA driver and roll back to an older version, but I didn’t find it necessary to do anything that drastic. Solving it was just a few simple steps.

image01First, if you have PowerPoint open, you should close it. Now, right click on your desktop, then select nView Desktop Manager. If you don’t see this option, then the this solution won’t solve your issue as you either don’t have an NVIDIA card, or don’t have the right NVIDIA software installed.


Next, click on Applications, on the left in the tree view (1). Then, click the Enhancements button in the lower right (2).


Finally, uncheck the box beside “Add PowerPoint slide show extensions”.

Click OK to close the Application Enhancements window, then OK again to close the nView Desktop Manager window.

And that should be it, open PowerPoint, start your slide show, and the presenter view should now appear for you (don’t forget to check Presenter View on in the Slide Show options tab before you start the show).

Note that I’ve only tried this with PowerPoint 2016, although I’m guessing it would likely work with older versions of PowerPoint as well (if it does, leave a comment letting everyone know what version of PowerPoint you were using).

Hopefully this solution will work for you too!

I’m Now a SimpleTalk Author!

RedGateSimpleTalkLogoVerticalAdding to my other activities, I’m now writing for SimpleTalk, RedGate’s community hub. My first article just went live.

PowerShell Functions for Reusability and Restartability in Azure is the title, in it I describe how to implement the concepts of reusability and restartability in PowerShell. The functions were written against the Azure platform, however the concepts are valid for any PowerShell implementation. You can read the full article at:


If you want to keep up with all my articles, I’ve setup a special URL which will jump you to my author page at SimpleTalk:


It’s small now, but expect it to grow quickly. Happy reading!

Making Videos for Fun and Profit

As I author this post, I’m at a Microsoft conference. Today’s focus is on the creation of video content to help promote your brand. As I have some experience with this from my Pluralsight videos, I had some suggestions as to technology.

The first tool I use is from TechSmith, it is Camtasia. It is designed to do screen recordings with narration. You can record your audio during your screen recording or add narration later, or a mix of both (should, for example, you mess up and need to fix an audio flub). It has “call outs”, i.e. ways to draw on the screen, transitions, text/titles, noise reduction, and more. It can also record from your webcam, but it’s more meant for putting your head in a small box in a corner of the screen.

I’ve used the free Audacity tool to do some audio touch ups on occasion.

I recently bought CyberLink’s PowerDirector, although to be honest I haven’t yet had time to work with it but look forward to doing so. I also recently found a free video editing suite called Davinci Resolve that looks very nice, but like PowerDirector I haven’t had time to look at it. But the price is right.

Of course if you want to go all out there’s Adobe Premier. It’s the video editor the pro’s use. I haven’t used it, but my daughter uses it to edit her YouTube videos (http://annakatmeow.com is where you can see examples of it in use, her Let’s Explore Nashville and DisneyLand/Vidcon blogs made good use of its benefits. ). FYI Adobe has a program for students where you can get the entire cloud suite, normally $49 a month for only $9 a month.

I also do some video work on my iOS devices. Mostly I record on my iPhone then transfer and edit video on my 12.9 inch iPad Pro.

For recording, I use FiLMiC Pro . It’s the most complete recorder I’ve found, with tons of options. It also has a remote app, so I can setup my phone on a tripod then use one of my iPads to see what the phone sees, start and stop the recordings, etc.

If you want a mid-ranged video recording option, try MoviePro . It has a lot more features than the built in Apple software, but isn’t quite as complex as FiLMiC Pro. It also has a remote app.

For editing, I use LumaFusion . A very full featured editor. Has titles, transitions, prebuilt lower thirds, audio editing, easy addition of sound tracks, and more. I’ve edited several videos with it, and like it a lot.

On the hardware side, I use a Rode Podcaster USB mic to do my video work. A bit pricy for the hobbyist, but since I do this for a living it was a good investment. I have it 7 years now and it still works great.

With my iOS devices I invested in the Rode smartLav+ . With it I can get some really good sound quality even in less than ideal conditions.

I also own a Nikon D7000 DSLR with Video capabilities, but as good as my iPhone 7 camera is now I don’t use it all that much except for when I want to take some really great photos too. I have a variety of lenses that will out perform the iPhone camera easily. It’s just big and bulky and I need a back pack to carry around all my accessories.

I have a small tripod for my phone, and a bigger one for holding my iPads. I also have a SanDisk USB key that can plug into both iOS devices as well as your computer’s standard USB port. Makes it very easy to transfer video files from one device to another.

The last thing I ordered was off Kickstarter, I saw the guy demonstrating it at VidCon and loved it. It’s a ten foot selfie stick. I know, you’re scratching your head and thinking I’ve gone nuts. Selfie stick? But the more I thought about it the more uses I kept coming up with for it.

This will be great for taking crowd shots at big events, such as Ignite and the PASS Summit. It comes with a tripod base, so you could use it to record a stand up hallway interview with someone, or put it on a table top. And that’s just for us geeks, I can also see it being useful for journalists, or real estate agents, letting them get unique shots.  Really fills a gap for when a drone would be useful but can’t be used due to being indoors or other regulations. It comes with both a phone mount as well as a GoPro mount, so I may wind up having to buy a GoPro.

Often video can be greatly enhanced through the use of soundtracks or special audio effects. A few sources I found for these include:

ZapSplat: Lots of sound effects and some music. https://www.zapsplat.com/

FreeSound: Mostly free, good but not easy to find things. https://freesound.org/

Epidemic Sound: Outstanding music, I mean really, really good. It does require a fee though, either 99 cents per minute if you only want one song, or $15 a month per youtube channel you want to use it in.  http://www.epidemicsound.com/

Finally, there is an excellent YouTube channel by Amy Schmittauer called Savvy Sexy Social. She provides excellent advice on vlogging, including content creation, technical aspects. and more. She’s also authored an outstanding book which I highly reccomend called Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging.

Windows 10 Icons Not Showing, Preview Not Working

I had a weird issue with Windows 10 today. All of a sudden, my icons weren’t displaying correctly. When I had the Preview Pane on, nothing was displayed. Even more bizarre, The Layout area of the View pane in Windows Explorer, had all the icons disabled.

Turned out I had a corrupted icon cache. To fix this for yourself, first open up a copy of Windows Explorer (or My Computer or whatever you wish to call it).

Go to the View tab, and make sure the Hidden Items is checked on.


Now navigate to C:\Users\(User Name)\AppData\Local, where of course (User Name) is replaced with your user name.

Find the file IconCache.db, right click and delete it. Yes, that’s right, delete it. It’s OK, it won’t hurt.

To be really thorough, you could now head to the Recycle Bin, and clean it out, or at least open the Recycle Bin and remove the IconCache.db file. However you could skip this step if your the nervous type.

OK, that done, restart your computer.

When you return to the folder, such as your Pictures folder, Windows will start rebuilding the icon cache automatically, and you should now see your icons working again, and the preview pane should also now be functional.

Standard disclaimer, no warranty or guarantees provided, this is what worked to me (and to be honest I’m making it a blog post to remind me should it happen again). This may or may not work for you, but as the icon cache will automatically build itself it’s pretty safe to try.  Good luck!