CDOT Bar Chart Makeover

Published On: 2021-08-19By:

As I was browsing Twitter today, I noticed a tweet from the Colorado Department of Transportation about their anti-DUI campaign. Shown below, it contains a bar chart that appears to have been presented in PowerPoint.

Tweet from CDOT containing a poorly designed bar chart

There are some easy opportunities to improve the readability of this chart, so I thought I would use it as an example of how small improvements can have a big impact on a fairly simple chart. I recreated the chart (as best I could) in Power BI and then made two revised versions.

Bar chart with 5 bars representing suspected impaired driving fatalities per year. The top left contains 3 logos. The title is on the top right. Each bar is a different bright color. The axis labels are very small.
My Power BI version of the original chart
Redesigned bar chart that removes the thick orange line, moves the title to the top left, and uses only one color across the bars.
My 10-minute makeover that increased readability
Bar chart with red bars and an annotation noting the upward trend from 2019 to 2020. A gray placeholder with a question mark has been added for 2021 with the note "Don't become part of this statistic."
My additional iteration that applied a clearer message and focus

Especially when making data visualizations for the general public —and especially when you want to get people’s engagement on social media— you need to reduce perceived cognitive load. Otherwise, people won’t even bother to read your chart. If your chart feels too busy or too complicated, many people in your intended audience will feel it is not worth the effort to even try to read it and will move on down their Twitter feed to the next Anakin and Padme meme.

Watch the video below for all of the details.

21-minute video showing how to improve upon a bar chart found on Twitter using Power BI
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HAT TRICK: Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting Makes 3rd Appearance on the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Published On: 2021-08-17By:

NEW YORK, August 17, 2021Inc. magazine today revealed that Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting [DCAC] has made a third appearance on the annual Inc. 5000 list. With 88.5% growth over 3 years, the company ranked #3741 on the most prestigious list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

Denny Cherry, founder and CEO of the thrice ranked, award-winning cloud solutions and database solutions company commented, “2020 demonstrated that businesses still utilizing on-premises servers and co-location facilities need to consider upgrading to cloud solutions, which offer more flexibility, dexterity, and security for their production in a rapidly changing environment.”

“The year really proved the mettle of our team at DCAC, too and I couldn’t be more grateful to them all. We met the immediate needs of businesses across the country as the pandemic radically altered access to their environment and backups. We meanwhile transformed into a full suite Cloud Service Provider (CSP), offering clients the ability to migrate from legacy hardware to an environment that offers scalability, reliability of multiple data centers with multiple redundancies, load balancing, and customization of business analytics, while enjoying the support of DCAC, which has the highest ratio of Microsoft Data Platform MVPs in the United States.”

“The 2021 Inc. 5000 list feels like one of the most important rosters of companies ever compiled,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. “Building one of the fastest-growing companies in America in any year is a remarkable achievement. Building one in the crisis we’ve lived through is just plain amazing. This kind of accomplishment comes with hard work, smart pivots, great leadership, and the help of a whole lot of people.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. The top 500 companies are featured in the September issue of Inc., which will be available on newsstands on August 20.

MEDIA INQUIRIES:   Kathleen Hannon (704) 912-0209 or via email at kathleen@dcac.com.

About Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting
Microsoft Partner and Gold Platform certified Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting offers companies a cost-effective way to achieve a deft, high-speed IT environment that maximizes every aspect of their platform: from architecture, to infrastructure, to network. DCAC services include Azure and AWS Architecture / Migrations, Azure Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and Azure Support, Database High Availability, Database and Cloud scalability, SQL Server virtualization and acceleration, and Power BI report development. DCAC has been named IT Company of the Year two years in a row at the American Business Awards and is ranked on the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000

Methodology

Companies on the 2021 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2017 to 2020. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2020. (Since then, some on the list may have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2020 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Growth rates used to determine company rankings were calculated to three decimal places. There was one tie on this year’s Inc. 5000.  Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Inc. Media

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including web sites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Vision Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit www.inc.com. For more information on the Inc. 5000 Vision Conference, visit http://conference.inc.com/.

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For #JohnsDad

Published On: By:

Last week, on Wednesday August 11, 2021 at approximately 3:45PM Eastern, my Father left this world.  Much too early.  Covid took my Father from me, my family, and his grandchildren.  He had some underlying issues, but Covid is what pushed him over the edge.   Covid put him on a ventilator when nothing else worked.  If you remove Covid, he’d still be here, enjoying his retirement, traveling with his wife, and spending time with family and grandchildren.

He did the right thing. He got vaccinated. He was immuno-compromised from other health issues. We discovered too late that those treatments destroyed any anti-bodies.

He was my rock, absolutely one of my best friends and I am shattered beyond measure.

My Dad, Duke, was a great man.  20 years of service in the United States Air Force, distinguished pilot and aircraft commander of the FB-111 Aardvark, flight instructor on T-37 Tweet and my one of my favorites, T-38 Talon.  He loved woodworking, golf (oh he loved golf!) and living life to it’s fullest.  He taught me about family, honor, respect, how to be a good dad to my own kids and countless other things.  Dad also never turned down sampling bourbon, delicious food, or a new adventure.

I am truly the man I am today because of him. I am grateful beyond measure for that.   I miss him terribly.

Some members of the #sqlfamily got a chance to meet my Dad.  He had joined me at a couple #sqlsaturday events in years past, namely in Nashville as it was an event we could easily drive to.  He loved the SQL Community and he loved that I was a part of it.  He was actually considering putting together a presentation and we were going to travel together to other events, speaking Father & Son.  Unfortunately, that won’t happen now.   Thanks to all of those who welcomed him and made sure he felt apart of the community.  He got to sit in the speaker rooms with me and talk to friends and colleagues and he had a ball every single time he did.  He loved those trips and spoke of them often.

There’s even a Twitter hash for him, #JohnsDad.  He was a part of #sqlfamily.

He was a good sport and was always up for a laugh.

Dad truly believed living life by the moto: Love, Laugh, Live.  So say we all.

If You Wear a Mask

Thank you.

Wearing a mask costs us next to nothing and it’s the right thing to do.  Continue to wear your mask.  Just because you are vaccinated doesn’t mean that you can’t contract the virus or spread it to others.

Continue to wear your mask, please.  For me.  For Dad.

If You Don’t Wear a Mask

If you do not believe in masking up to protect others from Covid you dishonor him. If you dishonor him, you dishonor me.

It’s possible that my Dad died because of people like you.  I don’t know and I’ll never know.  All because you do not want to wear a mask.

If you don’t want to wear a mask for yourself, then wear one for others. After all, the Father you save could be your own.  I wish you could have saved mine.

Don’t let my Dad’s death be in vain.  Mask up.  Please.  If not for me, then for him.

Take one step further and get vaccinated.  Getting vaccinated helps to protect those that can’t be protected and slows the spread of the virus.

For Dad.

I love you Dad.

© 2021, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.

The post For #JohnsDad first appeared on John Morehouse. Contact the Author | Contact DCAC

How I carved up 18TB of Storage

Published On: 2021-08-13By:

In a previous post I told you about how I got a Synology DS920+ on loan to play around with.  The device comes with 4 drive bays so there is a wide range of combinations that you can do in terms of drives.

Since this is my first entrance into using the Synology line of products, and for data safety, I decided that I would purchase my own set of drives to use.  This ensures that if the device had to be returned I could keep the drives in my possession.  It’s my data after all and I want to keep it with me.   This also means that I could reuse the drives elsewhere if I wanted to, say maybe in a new external case.

After looking at various drive options and based on the suggestion from my Synology contact, I choose the following Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives.

  • 2 x 4TB 7200RPM Drives
  • 2 x 6TB 7200RPM Drives

The Ironwolf series of drives comes in a standard HDD and a Pro version.  The Pro version offers the higher rotation speed whereas the standard drive is 5900RPMs.   The price different for the higher speed was minimal so I decided to go with those speeds. I also was able to find the 6TB drives on Newegg.com for about the same price I found the 4TB drives on Amazon.

So, 6+6+4+4 equals 18TB of total storage.

Let’s talk storage pools

Now, I’m actually not going to have just 18TB sitting around waiting for me to do something with it.  I’m going to carve this up into different pools.  In my previous post, I had mentioned that I want to play around with things like VMWare, volumes, storage, pools, etc. but I also want to be able to backup my home machines.  This means that I want to carve things up so that I have a “production side”, which will hold my backups, file shares, etc, and then a “development side”.  The development side will be storage in which I can play around with without worrying about causing issues with the production side.

So, I’ve carved it out into two different storage pools.  The first pool, which will be production, will hold the two 6TB drives and one of the 4TB drives.  With Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) doing the RAID for drive redundancy, this will give me a little less than 10TB of usable space.  This is calculated because one of the 6TB drive is used for the RAID redundancy which leaves 6+4 = 10TB of storage.

If I were to replace the 4TB with another 6TB drive, then I would get 6+6 = 12TB of usable storage.  Another benefit of the production pool is expandability.  With multiple drives in the pool, I can strategically expand the pool with newer and bigger drives if needed without having to recreate things.  The DS920+ supports hot-swapping drives (not all units do so make sure to verify) so there can be no downtime in switching drives.  In my case because I’m usually paranoid about causing damage, I always power down the unit just to be on the safe side.

The second 4TB is placed into a pool all by itself.  This will be the development side of things.  Since it’s development, I’m not concerned about data redundancy at this point so it won’t be in any type of RAID group. Unfortunately, if I wanted to expand that pool with a bigger hard drive, I would have to completely destroy that it and pretty much start over.  At this point, however, I don’t think that I’ll run out of space any time soon.  4TB is still a lot of space to consume, especially in a development type of setting.

After all said and done, I ended up with a little over 9TB and 3.6TB for Production and Development, respectively speaking.  That’s not bad at all!

You will notice that Synology isn’t shy about telling you that you don’t have data protection on a storage pool. Since this is just a single drive, there’s no way for me to get it into a RAID configuration.  Given that it’s development stuff, I’m ok with that.

Summary

If you are going to do something similar, take the time to put some thought into how you want things configured. The other thing that I did is ensure that I didn’t put anything on the array that was production right away.  By doing so it allowed me to mess around with the drives and experiment without worrying about destroying things.   Doing so will ensure that you have a good solid plan moving forward.

How would you have carved up the storage?  Let me know in the comments!

 

© 2021, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.

The post How I carved up 18TB of Storage first appeared on John Morehouse. Contact the Author | Contact DCAC
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Globally Recognized Expertise

As Microsoft MVP’s and Partners as well as VMware experts, we are summoned by companies all over the world to fine-tune and problem-solve the most difficult architecture, infrastructure and network challenges.

And sometimes we’re asked to share what we did, at events like Microsoft’s PASS Summit 2015.

Awards & Certifications

Microsoft Partner   Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting LLC BBB Business Review    Microsoft MVP    Microsoft Certified Master VMWare vExpert
INC 5000 Award for 2020    American Business Award 2021 Gold    American Business Award 2021 Bronze    FT Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies 2021   INC 5000 Award for 2020    American Business Awards People's Choice    American Business Awards Gold Award    American Business Awards Silver Award
FT Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies 2020       Best Full-Service Cloud Technology Consulting Company       Insights Sccess Award    Technology Headlines Award
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