Post by Rob Collie

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Assortment of Quick and Fun Topics

I keep something called Ye Olde OneNote List of Future Blog Topics.  You know, I think of something and go “ooh, that would be a good thing to write about,” so I add it to YOOLOFBT.

Problem is, said list sometimes grows a lot faster than the rate at which I produce finished blog posts.  So…  good topics just get buried sometimes.

Today, let’s make sure a few of those topics get to see the light of day.  Like children who’ve been cooped up in the house all winter, they need to go outside and play in the yard.

#1:  DataZen Post “Wins”

Last week’s post on Datazen positively shocked me with the number of page views it got.  It set the all-time record for single-day views of a given post, AND that traffic also led to the single best day for overall PowerPivotPro.com traffic.  (A rising Datazen topic lifts all posts.  Something like that.)

And it wasn’t close, either.  Both new records eclipsed the former records by healthy margins.

The take-away, I think, is that mobile visuals SELL.  This excerpt from last week sums it up nicely:

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So if you’re trying to increase Power Pivot buy-in at your company, Datazen is worth a look.  It’s a gateway drug.

#2:  Power Update Passes 2000 Downloads

 

power updateAn awesome milestone: over two thousand people have now downloaded Power Update.  (***WEDNESDAY UPDATE:  Closing in on three thousand now actually).

If you haven’t tried it yet, you should download and try it out today. Seriously, I wouldn’t say that unless I 100% believed it.  It changes your whole relationship with Power Pivot:

  1. Automatic, scheduled, hands-free refresh of your models and reports.
  2. Does NOT require a server (no SharePoint, no Tabular, no Power BI subscription)
  3. But makes those servers BETTER if you do have them, because the scheduling is so much easier and flexible.
  4. Pushes the refreshed workbooks to a file folder, network share, SharePoint, Datazen, or PowerBI v2 (latter two via OneDrive).
  5. Will even email out updated PDF versions (!) to audiences of your choosing.
  6. Makes Power Query even better, which is hard to imagine but true.
  7. 100% free, forever, for the first workbook.

I’ve particularly enjoyed all the Microsoft employees who’ve been telling me how much they use Power Update.  (It’s an essential component of every Power Pivot-backed Datazen deployment, for one example).

Download Power Update Here (No Payment Required)

#3:  A “Fix” for the 32-Bit Problem?

Wow, I was STUNNED to hear about this.  A student in my class last week mentioned it:

This utility patches 32-bit Excel.exe (and therefore Power Pivot) so that it can act like 64-bit!

The theory is that you can run this utility and it “fixes” Excel.exe (and therefore Power Pivot) so that 32-bit Excel is no longer limited to 2 GB of RAM, and can now use 4 GB.

4 GB may not sound like a lot, but I used to run 64-bit Excel/Power Pivot on a laptop that ONLY had 4 GB or RAM, and it ran FLAWLESSLY.  Even on 300 million row workbooks.

Turns out that Excel plus the Power Pivot engine and addin tend to gobble nearly a full 1 GB on its own, before you even start loading data.  So 32-bit Power Pivot only has 1 GB of RAM to work with.  If you jump to 4 GB, that means Power Pivot now has three times the useable RAM (1 GB vs 3 GB).

The file size limit for Power Pivot is 1 GB anyway, and that tends to translate to about 2-2.5 GB of RAM – which is less than 3 GB yes?  So in theory, 4 GB of RAM should be all the difference in the world.

So again, in theory, this should fix your out of memory issues, your file corruption issues, basically everything.

***DISCLAIMERS: 

  1. It may also break some things. Microsoft thought about doing the same thing, but shied away because there may be addins that it breaks.
  2. Running ANY utility like this from an unknown 3rd party is risky.  Do so at your own risk.

That said…

  1. The student from my class last week is from a BIG company. And he’s from IT.  And he reports that he has MANY people running this fix, and it’s been working great.  (This mitigates concern #1 to an extent).
  2. The utility DOES make a backup copy of Excel.exe, so you can revert if needed.  (This also helps mitigate concern #1, but does nothing about concern #2).

So, if you’re willing to try this out, give it a whirl and let us know how well it works for you.  This could be a BIG deal.

Download and try out the utility here