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Week 29 – 21 Sep – 27 Sep

Weekend – a quarter of the UK under new lockdowns. R >1 and the numbers are really alarming again. Continued protests globally about masks and restrictions.

R number estimates in nations and regions

Usual data from The Seattle Times

Friday – “1 in 500 in UK has Covid”

Thursday – coronavirus continues to mutate, become more transmissible. France, Spain, Portugal – record rise. 5% increases since last week across TX and much of mid-west US. Increasingly become a rural virus.

Wednesday – Second wave continues to sweep Europe. UK political fallout around unclear advice.

Tuesday – Flu vaccine awareness needed in the US. Looks like the BBC daily summary is back.

Monday – UK told to prepare for “50,000 new cases per day”, Boots pausing flu shots for under 65s. US around 200k deaths. WA State cases are dropping. Bleach being sold on Amazon again as cure for Covid.

The Seattle Times The Guardian BBC
21 Sep here here here
22 Sep here here here
23 Sep here here here
24 Sep here here
25 Sep here here here
26 Sep here here
27 Sep

Week 28 – 14 Sep – 20 Sep

Weekend – UK heading back to country wide lockdown. WA State rate of positive tests is dropping from around 5.5% to around 3.1% – which is a good sign. Not enough test capacity in the UK.

Friday – Pandemic means less European election monitors for US vote. Canadian border restrictions in place until end of October.

Thursday – Continued confusion around CDC advice and guidance.

Wednesday – many “back to school” virus outbreaks. No widespread vaccine for a year.

Tuesday – more restrictions in UK to break transmission chains. This is back to “the hammer and the dance”

Monday – another new week of school at home. Cases on the rise everywhere. UK testing chaos. Removing the BBC from the daily updates next week.

PC rebuild – so late getting this started.

The Seattle Times The Guardian BBC
14 Sep here here
15 Sep here here
16 Sep here here
17 Sep here here
18 Sep here here
19 Sep here here
20 Sep here here

Week 27 – 7 Sep – 13 Sep

Weekend – UK vaccine trials resume. Fall/autumn flu combined with Covid will be really devastating. Brazil deaths >132k.

Weekend numbers from The Seattle Times:

Friday – Fauci says “vaccine in late 2021”. UK continuing towards huge uptick in cases. R>1 in many cities.

Thursday – Record cases in Europe. Same story repeating in UK, France, Spain, Portugal.. long list. Trump “misled public” about severity of Covid.

Wednesday –  US numbers declined, plateaued, now rising again.

Tuesday – England heading rapidly towards a second nationwide lockdown. Week 2 of “back to school, online and at home”.

Monday – Labor Day – and the end of a hot extended weekend. Generally in western WA I see masks being worn, there are plenty of folk who will not. The BBC live coverage is back.

The Seattle Times The Guardian BBC
7 Sep here here here
8 Sep here here here
9 Sep here here here
10 Sep here here
11 Sep here here
12 Sep here here
13 Sep here here

Azure (re)-certification

Way back in 2015 I passed the 70-534 beta exam “Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions”. As a beta exam, taken internally, there were seemingly hundreds of questions.

Since then, Microsoft changed their certification program, moving to role-based certification (and as an aside moving all certifications to be around cloud solutions).

Time to re-certify.

First up – review the certification path. The Azure Training paths are pretty well called out.


Azure Fundamentals – AZ-900. As a personal stretch I decided to take this exam, not just as a standalone piece of certification, but to prepare for leading a couple of cohorts of colleagues at work through a “minimooc” team led set of training. The exam was relatively simple – but using the experience was helpful in mentoring others across the team to be prepared for and pass this exam. My personal goal is to support some re-skilling and re-certification of the majority of the Infrastructure Services team by year end. The Microsoft Learn site gives much of the content for the exam – but not quite everything.

Next up Azure Solutions Architect. Two exams (AZ-300 and AZ-301, or the newer AZ-303 and AZ-304). I sat both pairs; I learned a heck of a lot about Cosmos DB that I didn’t know a month ago.

Passed and happy for another two years.

Week 26 – 31 Aug – 6 Sep

Weekend – BBC missing again. Labor Day weekend in the US. Another gathering point for family, friends – and another reminder around masks and distancing. 3000 new cases in the UK – some from additional testing. No end in sight for any of the restrictions.

Regular update for the week from The Seattle Times. Second peak is slowing, death rate is dropping. WA DOH continues to not report “total tests” – so there is no indication of positive test rate.

The state Department of Health has changed how it reports testing totals, and testing data for the past few weeks is incomplete. Also: As of Aug. 28, the DOH is no longer publishing COVID-19 death counts on weekends. Instead, the number of weekend deaths will be added to death tallies reported on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Friday – 6.2M cases in the US. 200k cases per week. 190k deaths. No daily updates from the BBC again

Thursday – “vaccine on its way” says CDC.

Wednesday – Pelosi mask distraction. 185K US deaths.

Tuesday – looks like working from home is in place for maybe six more months. Today school-from-home started. All of us, in the house, in different rooms, having meetings online. US will not work with WHO on vaccine. US is starting to consider herd immunity – which failed in the UK.

Monday – Half a year. Feels like the meta-aggregation diary of Pepys. 25 million global cases, 6M in the US, WH vs Task Force differences. The tone of the news is moving from “hopeful” to a grimmer place; reflecting resurgent infections.

The Seattle Times BBC The Guardian
31 Aug here here here
1 Sep here here here
2 Sep here here here
3 Sep here here here
4 Sep here here
5 Sep here here
6 Sep here here

PowerBI, DAX and the Azure EA billing API

More fun this morning with grappling DAX to pull out the data I need.

We write multiple tags to Azure resources – from the resource group down to anything that takes them. Makes showback, accountability, support so much cleaner.

The tags are returned, in a non deterministic order, via the billing API – and look like this (data cleaned up), a list of tag/values. JSON-like ish kinda.

application“: “Shared SQL“,”project“: “Shared Database Engineering“,”costcenter“: “1234“,”itowner“: “Buckley, Martin“,”supportgroup“: “Database Engineering“,”businessowner“: “Buckley, Martin

I was looking at some DAX to pull this apart; PowerBI has a native “extract text between delimiters” function. It’s not going to build a tree of arbitary values; but I can now cleanly extract the tags I need to build this datamodel.

After I get this working, it might be time to pull all of the discrete DAX steps together to make it more efficient against a vast dataset.

Fun times on a Saturday.

Follow up to this. Extracting multiple pieces of insight from the tags – that drive KPIs for service improvement:

– resource groups with no costcenter tag (this is the cardinal sin – no costcenter and showback isn’t there, getting to health on this is easy)

– resource groups where itowner or businessowner don’t meet business rules (ICs can’t be owners)

– resource groups where the supportgroup is not valid (it doesn’t match a ServiceNow Assigment group)

Most of all – I can find everything tagged with “placeholder” or “set by policy” and sweep that broom through the tagging.

All in all – a good few hours of work.

Week 25 – 24 Aug – 30 Aug

Weekend – a handful of confirmed “re-infections” is a worrying sign. Will a vaccine even be effective?

Weekly reminder of the state of the State from The Seattle Times. Plateau – but not safe.

The state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties, announced Aug. 12 it is changing its test-tracking methodology and won’t report testing totals or the state’s positivity rate again until its new data reporting system is operational. Also: On Aug. 28, the DOH announced it is ending the publication of COVID-19 death counts over weekends, starting Aug. 28-30. Regular publishing of death data will take place Mondays-Fridays, and the number of weekend deaths will be added to Monday and Tuesday reports.

Friday – across Europe travel restrictions are returning – similar to earlier in the year.

Thursday – “undeniable surge” in France, South Korea struggling to contain outbreaks. Second wave? Maybe. How these cases are suppressed is going to be vital learning.

Wednesday – the never ending flood of news is numbing. Trying to sustain empathy with 24M global cases, 5.8M US cases, 820K global deaths and 180k US deaths is hard. US politics are working to suppress the numbers and the news. Meanwhile Italy has surge of cases. Russia approves second vaccine.

Tuesday – Today India, Turkey, Spain again. US back to school is starting to prove a disaster.

Monday – it’s nearly September. Birmingham, UK continues towards lockdown. Boris says “go back to school”. We know how this ends. HK confirms re-infection.

The Seattle Times BBC The Guardian
24 Aug here here here
25 Aug here here here
26 Aug here here here
27 Aug here here here
28 Aug here here here
29 Aug here here here
30 Aug here here here

Week 24 – 17 Aug – 23 Aug

Weekend – was planning a late week camping trip; PNW National Parks are “over full, over flowing, over used” – there is no availability. Folk are heading to the mountains and lakes.

Sobering: 800k global deaths. 23 million cases. WHO says “pandemic over in two years”.

The Seattle Times weekly graphic:

The state Department of Health has stopped releasing the number of tests that have come back negative. The agency, which initially cited technical difficulties for the lack of data, announced Aug. 12 it is changing its test-tracking methodology and won’t report testing totals or the state’s positivity rate again until its new data reporting system is operational.

Friday – continued stories of “folk rushing back” to avoid lockdown and quarantine. It’s not the time to be heading on long haul trips for vacations tbh.

Thursday – Russia vaccine trials starting. Vast amounts of European cases. BBC saying “end of first wave” not a second wave.

WednesdayKing County reporting “lower ratio of positive tests” but spiking elsewhere.

Tuesday – more vaccines in clinical trials. Korea sees new cases.

Monday – reports of mutated Coronavirus strain. Will there be any chance of a vaccine? My guess is yearly variants like influenza. Much like the US, exam results are in disarray across the UK. Spain new cases spike.


The Seattle Times BBC The Guardian
17 Aug here here here
18 Aug here here here
19 Aug here here here
20 Aug here here here
21 Aug here here here
22 Aug here here
23 Aug here here here