Here we are again, another month another UK Azure User Group meet-up with myself and Richard Conway rushing around the country! This time the rush was on to get to the meetup in time from Derby, we cut it close but we got there (we spent ten minutes trying the find the new venue though… phew!)
So yes! UK Azure V2.0 was released into the wild on Wednesday, with your key contributors fittingly being the founders Richard Conway and Andy Cross, talking about Azure Machine Learning Suite and Custom Visuals in Power Bi respectively. We had a new venue, Runway East in Finsbury Square, new people and possibly more importantly new beverages!
So onto the talks and after much debate we agreed to give Richard one more chance at opening the evening (unsurprisingly he went massively over his allotted time and will be moved down the batting order for next time) he was covering the new Data Science life cycle platforms offered by Microsoft. With a quick (40 minute) dive into data science fundamentals, common terms and highlighting the lack of products to turn data science solutions into production systems. He then started his talk (with poor Lucy having to do deep breathing exercises knowing the pizza was en route) by covering off many of the new aspects of the Azure Machine Learning from data prep to development and integration of models into the cloud.
With literal seconds to spare before Lucy ran onto the stage he wrapped up a truly informative talk. Then it was pizza and refreshments time, thanks to Elastacloud and Handcock and Parsons. Perfect time to stock up on beer and socialize with our great community.
Wrapping up the day in eccentric as always style (and fortunately for him having more than 20 minutes to talk) was Andy Cross with custom Power Bi Visuals. He reengaged the audience by regaling us of his “truly joyful” experience with trying to get Visuals published, the highlights being Andy trying to explain fax machines in his (fairly rubbish) Texan accent; followed by his apparent clear love of donuts. Then we got to see limitations of Power Bi currently, but with the caveat of “if you doesn’t work for you, make something that does”. Andy showed us how easy it is to make something very simple such as showing pictures of kittens or dogs based on an API search, or how simple it is to load in Google maps for your visuals. He explained in simple ways the raw power of Power Bi for powerful reporting (how many times can I use the word power?), and how we can use simple scripts to shape reports with our needs in mind.