How I Got Started in Software Development-A Tribute to Ed

A tribute is an expression of gratitude or praise.  As I head into this holiday season I wanted to express thanks to those individuals who have impacted my career through the years.  What got me thinking about this was the fact that my father-in-law passed away two years ago in mid-December.  I wanted to honor his memory.  I have chosen to do this by starting an annual blog entry where I recognize an individual that has directly impacted what I am doing today.  As a result, this first tribute will recognize my father-in-law, Ed Jankowski’s influence on my career.

Ed Jankowski, My Father-in-Law

I would have to say that Ed was most directly involved with my transition to the field of software development.  I had no prior experience working on computers before I met Ed.  During my employment at Bethany House Publishers, I saw a need Beaver Hatto “automate” the book used to track inventory.  At the time, Ed worked at the parent organization, Bethany Fellowship, as the primary IT guy.  (Quick background note, Ed left HP to work at Bethany as a ministry and a job.  He had extensive experience in electronic engineering, network systems, and related technical troubleshooting and support skills.)

After identifying the need, I approached my boss with my idea.  He noted we likely could not get this done through our divisions IT.  I talked with Ed about the idea and he and my manager worked out a deal.  If I was able to create a program to manage the warehouse inventory, I would then be loaned back to Ed to do something similar for him with the phone system for billing.  In return, Ed would provide hardware, software, and office space so I could figure it out.

Yes, I picked Microsoft Access as my development platform.  Ironically, my wife, Sheila, taught me the basics of Access so I could get started.  I created my first database, THEN learned about relational database theory – normalization.  So, I rewrote the app.  In the end, I created a decent application that would eventually support RF devices and save the company a lot of money because of the efficiencies related to these changes.

After a few years, I went to work for Magenic and moved from application development into database development and then into business intelligence.  But more about that later.  Without Ed’s support in his son-in-law, who knew nothing about software development and very little about computers at that time, I would not be where I am today.  I know Ed was proud of how far I had come and I still miss his input and influence in my work and life to this day.  Thanks Ed.


Why I Blog – #Meme15

A fellow blogger and SQL guy, Jason Strate (@stratesql) started a meme on Social Networking as a result of a Social Networking session we participated in at SQL Saturday #99 in Minnesota. (

The questions for this month are:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. Why do you currently blog?

Let the reflection begin

Why Did I Start?

I have “started” blogging at least three times that I can remember.  In each case, I had great aspirations about passing along cool stuff I had learned.  Interestingly, it was neither easy nor “fun” for me to blog.  Each of those times I failed because I could not find enough unique topics to write about.  After all, who would want to read a blog about something someone else had written?

So, I gave it another try.  With guidance from the likes of Jason Strate (@stratesql) and Dan English (@denglishbi), I realized that a blog was a way to communicate what I had learned and what was exciting to me.  I fired up my old blog and have been blogging on what interested me and in particular when I had to work to resolve an issue.  Now, I was really a “blogger” and it was cool.

Why Do I Continue?

I still work hard to get blogs written.  I am much more comfortable presenting on a topic as opposed to writing blogs.  However, I have discovered that some of the stuff I write actually interests other people.

I write more now to get out information on topics that I enjoy and to discuss problems I have had to solve.  I do wish I had more time to blog, but I will blog when I can.  It is more fun than it used to be for me and I will keep on blogging.

What’s up with the name?

What is behind DataOnWheels?  Well, on of the attempts I started was while I was working at Xata ( which is a transportation management company.  I really enjoyed working there and the data work was really cool.  I thought DataOnWheels was unique and represented my interest in both data and transportation.  Well, I have since returned to Magenic ( where I still work with data, but not so much with transportation.  However, a brand is a brand.  I like the uniqueness of the name and I guess I could change my tag to “Have data, will travel” or maybe not.  I just like the name.

In conclusion, if you are interested in blogging yourself I encourage you to give it a try.  There are a couple of free blogging sites out there like WordPress which I use and Google’s Blogspot which my daughter has used.  My final advice is you should write when you want to and don’t feel bad when you have to wait a while.  Do it for yourself first, who knows who will find you when they need that info.

Upgrading Denali CTP3 to SQL Server 2012 RC0

When I started looking into the upgrade path for this, I saw a couple of notes online about the fact that it was not possible.  I turns out there is a Connect item on this issue (  In that item was a work around to use the SQL Server 2008 R2 upgrade option.  When you start the RC0 installer, choose the Upgrade option which is last I the list as shown below.


This will launch the setup wizard and start the Setup Support Rules check after which you will be prompted to select the instance you wish to upgrade.  In my case I have two named instances with CTP3 – DENALI and TABULAR as well as the Shared Components including SSIS.  (NOTE:  The CTP3 version number is  I started with upgrading my DENALI instance which had all of the services installed.  On this instance, the Analysis Services instance was installed to support multidimensional databases.  (The TABULAR instance only has a tabular Analysis Services Instance.)

As you can see in the Select Features dialog you are not able to change the selected features when upgrading to RC0 from CTP3.


My first “gotcha” – this may negatively affect my SharePoint 2010 install.  In particular, integrated Reporting Services.  I chose to risk it and continue.


I left the Instance name and accepted the supplied Instance ID in the next step.  I made no changes on the next three steps – Disk Space Requirements, Server Configuration, and Error Reporting.

Second issue I ran into was related to Visual Studio 2010.  I order to pass the next step I needed to update it to Service Pack 1.


The installer for Visual Studio 2010 SP1 can be found here: After I had that installed, I had to reboot and then continue with the SQL Server 2012 install.  This allowed me to successfully pass the Upgrade Rules operation and I was now ready to upgrade.

After getting no errors during the upgrade, I was required to reboot.  Now to check the instance.


Looking good.  I was able to work with the updated versions of SQL Server 2012 RC0 in SharePoint as well.

All in all, it appears that the upgrade succeeded successfully as noted in the comments of the Connect item.  I hope you have a similar experience.

UPDATE: I did run into an issue when trying to execute 2012 SSIS packages from Management Studio.  A error regarding logging was raised.  This issue has been posted on Connect and you can find the information here:  I have not tried the work around yet which requires fulling uninstalling CTP3 then reinstalling.

“Beyond Rounded Corners” at the Microsoft BI User Group of Minnesota-Dec 6, 2011


Come join me and other Business Intelligence professionals at the Microsoft BI User Group meeting at Microsoft’s new offices in Edina, MN on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.  The meeting starts at 2:30.

I will be presenting the second session of the night, “Beyond Rounded Corners – SSIS Changes in SQL Server 2012″.  My session will highlight many of the changes implemented in SSIS which enhance the developer experience.

If you are interested in joining us, Click here to register! I look forward to seeing you there.