Completed 225 posts! + It’s my Birthday today!


I have enjoyed blogging! And – The best part is the interaction that I get to have with you – dear readers! I hope to stay as active as I am in the coming year! oh btw, Completed 225 posts with no wish to stop anytime soon ­čÖé

And yes, It was my Birthday today!

Thanks a lot for being an active part of the community!


In case you are interested, here are few more statistics (9/30/2012):

Dashboard of paras doshi blog

New Journal Article Published – Title: “Building an Ideal Tabular Model for Power View reports”


Part 2/2 of the series on building Ideal Models for Power View reports is live!

Summary: “In this article, we will first compare the PowerPivot and Tabular models, which will help you choose between these two models for your scenarios, and then we will study the reporting properties in a Tabular Model that you can configure to build an Ideal model for Power View reports.”

Read here: SolidQ Journal: Building an Ideal Tabular Model for Power View reports by Paras Doshi

Blog-Post about Part 1 is here: SolidQ Journal: Building Ideal PowerPivot Model for Power View reports


If you have any feedback or comments, please drop a comment or contact me.

Productivity Tip: Convert “Emails” TO “Tasks” or “Prioritized To-DO List” in Outlook 2010


Though I have used Outlook as an email client for about couple of years now – I recently figured a nice way to convert “Emails” to “Tasks” in a Prioritized way. One way to think about emails is that it’s a mechanism via which others assign work to you. Some work may be more important than the other. Wouldn’t it nice to just take an email (that has some “to-do” work for you) and put in a Prioritized To-DO format? Yes? Turns out Outlook can do that for you! In this blog-post, I am going to show you how.

Here are the steps for Outlook 2010 (Desktop Version):

1. Select an Email. Drag it to the TASKS (in the bottom left corner of the navigation pane)

2. Now it will add the content of the email as the description of the Task and it will let you select:

  • Subject
  • Start Date
  • Due Date
  • Status
  • Priority
  • Reminder

outlook emails to tasks to do

3. And you’re done! you can do so for more than one emails – After you COMPLETE a task you can mark it complete.

4.When I get in the “work mode”, the first thing I see is my Task- List. If you want to see your Tasks:

Navigation Pane > Tasks section > Just select “Tasks” (and not To-DO list) to see the Tasks (you can sort it by subject, due date, categories)

5. Note this is similar to “flagging” an email and then assigning the follow up data to it. But I find Dragging the Email to Tasks and then setting the priority simpler.


So that’s about it. Do you use this feature? No? Would you use it? Also, Do share outlook tips with me – I am always looking for things that can make me more productive!

Azure PASS VC session on 24th Sep 2012 Monday: Getting Started with Windows Azure


Join the Azure PASS VC’s session on “Getting Started with Windows Azure” on:

Date: 24th Sep (Monday)

Time: 11 AM Eastern Time; 8 AM Pacific; 8:30 PM India Time; You can download the event calendar from here

Speaker: Brian Prince, Principal Cloud Evangelist Microsoft

Session Abstract: Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform for quickly building and running scalable applications. We will cover just what the cloud is, as an industry, and what Microsoft is offering. We will see into the data-centers, how they work, and the a high level view of all the components of the platform.

More Details:

components of windows azure

About My First Professional Experience that Introduced me to the amazing world of Databases!


I remember Taking a course “Database Management systems” while pursuing Bachelor’s in computer Engineering. I liked it, I liked it a lot and so I thought that It would be a great experience to get some hands on professional experience about Databases and so I went on an Internship search and soon, I found one!

The task was about designing and developing a database for their “materials management project”. They had decided to build an Internal Application that automates their processes and replace their existing “manual” work. I remember once I was given a stack of about 1000 papers to study their existing processes! Also, I also got the chance to talk with the users and “Interview” them for the Task of designing databases. I was guided by Developers in their IT Department who had designed and developed database for some of their existing applications. And It was a nice experience of designing the database for the real-world! After that, I did some database development work and wrote some SQL that I had learned at my “Database Management systems” class at my University. Fun times!

interview and papers helped create database design


Paras Doshi Internship Database Design Certificate

How to Create Calendar Files (.ics) that can be Shared/Emailed/Downloaded?


For all those who rely on their electronic calendar as much as I do – You know, that receiving a calendar file (.ics)┬á for events/parties/online-meetings is very convenient! So as an organizer – next time, when you want to invite a bunch of people to an event – How about adding a calendar file (.ics) file in your email? People who got invited could just open and save “meeting details” stored in .ics file attached with your email. And once saved, their calendar would “remind” them about your event. Do you think it is useful? Yes? Great!

For this blog-post, I am going to show how you can do this via my favorite email client: Microsoft Outlook. Here are the steps for Outlook 2010:

1. Press “ctrl + 2″ to switch to calendar.

OR outlook > Bottom Left Corner > Calendar.

2. Select the calendar and click on NEW Appointment.

3. Enter Meeting Details. Select Date & Time.

Regarding Timezone: I just set it based on my timezone. If your recipients are in different timezone, Don’t worry – when they receive the file, it would show their timezone.

enter outlook calendar meeting details timezone

4. Save and close the appointment.

5. switch to calendar and select the appointment.

6. Go to file > Save As > save it as “.ics” file

how to create an ics file


You have the file now and This calendar file (.ics) is ready to be emailed/shared/downloaded!


If you are organizing online meetings, events, parties, talks, etc and need to invite people to it – next time, consider including an electronic calendar to it. And in this blog-post, you learned how to do it via Outlook. If you’re not using Outlook as your email client, sorry that the steps were not helpful but here’s the idea: Include electronic calendar files for the convenience of the prospective attendees!

One Insight from Analyzing my Past Year’s Blog Traffic Data:


I analyzed my Past Year’s Web Traffic Data: Here’s the Insight: Traffic on Weekdays > Traffic in Weekends. In most cases, Traffic on Weekends drops by 40%!

In other Words: Not as many people read BLOGS on weekend as much as they do on Weekdays.

What Can you do with this insight?

> First, Verify that it’s true for your domain/field-of-expertise. I blog about Technology and so this insight is applicable to blogs like mine.

> If you plan to blog say Twice in a week. Schedule those Posts on Weekdays (instead of weekends)

What Data did I analyzed:

– site stats

– Google Webmaster Tools search queries report. This gives you the number of searches that include your “blog post” as one of the result. Here’s what it looks like:

web analytics analyzing google webmaster's search data

Seems people are not searching for Technical content during Weekends. And less folks searching for “content” on Search Engines means Less Traffic (& less EyeBalls).


For my Blog, The Traffic Drops by 40% on Weekends. And that just means that lesser number of people are “listening” on weekends. Since I do not have a “schedule” for this blog yet – I would try to post things on weekdays instead of weekends. That’s what I would do – What would you do with this insight? Do you see the same Traffic pattern for your Blog?

Machine Learning VS. Data Mining


For the Past couple of months, One of the things that I have thought about is “What is the Difference Between Machine Learning & Data Mining”. I have Studied Data Mining and Advanced Data Mining concepts at both Undergraduate and Graduate level and recently I started learning about Machine Learning via ┬á– I was curious to know the difference between the two similar/inter-related fields. After, spending time understanding what Machine Learning is – Here’s what I am thinking:

When I learned Data Mining – The focus was on Taking a Data-set and using (more than one) Algorithm(s) to detect Patterns in the data-set. I am studying machine learning – Here, we’re asked to write algorithms (and build models). So To me, Data Mining seems to be deal with practical aspects of putting Machine Learning algorithms to use.

When I took Data Mining courses – I didn’t write algorithms. But learned what different Data Mining Algorithms can do and what kind of patterns each algorithm helps us find. In machine learning class, my focus is to learn how to write the algorithms (build the model) and optimize it so that it can predict well.

Also, in machine learning the goal is clear – the questions are mostly like “Build a model from Past Data that predicts X “. whereas I remember, For our Graduate Level class, My professor gave our Team a data-set of “fatal accident data” and said “Go play with it!”

These were my experiences. What are your experiences with Data Mining, Machine Learning – and how do you differentiate between these two fields which are similar in more than one ways?

Excel data Mining in Action: Forecasting Twitter Followers for next week


OK, so you know I recently installed Data Mining Excel add-in: How to enable Data Mining in EXCEL powered by SQL Server Analysis Services? – and I couldn’t wait to go beyond the samples provided with the Excel add-in. So I decided to start with Forecasting. In this blog-post, I downloaded my Twitter stats into Excel. And of course, I had to clean and add computations which was equally exciting and I ended up with a data-set that had the follower count and also number of tweets I had.

The Date-Range in the Data-set is from 23 July. 2012 – 5 Sep. 2012. Of course, to get “better” forecast – you need to feed more historical data. In my case, the Twitter API didn’t allow me to pull ALL historical data at one go – let’s not get into details because that’s not the focus of the blog-post. But rule of thumb is that more historical data gives better forecast. And, Here are the steps I followed:

1. Loaded Data into Excel 2010. (I am using Twitter as an example here. Other real world scenario’s would be Sales Forecast). Note that I have kept it simple for the purpose of the demo.

2. Now, let’s create a forecast model.

Go to Data Mining Tab > Data Modeling > Forecast:

data mining excel forecast twitter followers

3) Forecast Wizard:

a. Getting Started with Forecast Wizard: NEXT

b. Select Source Data. Then Press NEXT

c. Select input columns. In this case, I selected Date as Time Stamp and Total Follower Count & Total Tweet Count as Input columns.

– Notice the Parameters Button? That is used to set the configuration of how the (Time Series) algorithm runs. For the purpose of this demo – I am going to explore that.

d. Finish.

4) It forecast-ed (Using the Time Series Data Mining Algorithm) the follower count for next week and if you can see – it says that on 12th Sep 2012, I would have 438 followers which is +3 when compared to today’s (5th Sep) follower count.

forecast twitter followers using excel data mining

5) Few Notes

a. I had selected Total Tweet count just to show that It can forecast more than one variable at same time. Here the model used the Date Column as the time-stamp while forecasting.

b. Of course, this may not happen for REAL because your follower count can go up or down based on

  • Tweet (Quality Tweets!) Frequency
  • Number-of-bots-that-decide-to-follow-you (kidding!)
  • Re-Tweeting interesting content and replying your followers. Basically being social!
  • If tweet gets picked by someone famous, your count increases
  • Other real life “surprises”..

Here’s the point though: This was just a Toy Example to show “forecasting” with Excel Data Mining – If I explore it further, I would document my experiences!

And oh, BTW here’s a nice video by @MarkTabNet and @SolidQ (SolidQ: I work at this amazing company!) on “Microsoft Data Mining Demo — Forecasting (SQL Server 2008 and Excel 2007”. And MarkTabNet is a great resource for Data Miners, Check it out!