Monthly Archives: September 2012

How to: use select all in a Tablix filter

This post describes one way to let users select all values in a filter in a data area such as a Tablix in Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.

During a recent Reporting Services 2008 course (6236) I was asked about how to use filtering in a data region, such as a Tablix, and present an option for the user to select all filter values.

A search for doing this with parameters gives you quite a few tutorials, such as Chris Hays’s from 2004. Searching for the same approach for filtering doesn’t yield the same amount of tutorials. So here is a quick guide for a similar approach for select all in filters.

This guide will use SQL server 2008 r2 and BIDS based on Visual Studio 2008.

Initial tasks for demo

Step 1, start BIDS and create your empty Reporting Services project


Above: Screenshot of the new project dialog.

Step 2, Create a new empty report (not through the wizard)


Above: Screenshot of Add New Item dialog.

Step 3, Create a demo dataset (with an empty data source)


Above: Dataset dialog.

Step 4, Create a Tablix and bind it to our dataset


Above: Screenshot of report body with a Tablix bound to our dataset and with the detail row showing our data field

Step 5, Preview report

To verify that we are still on track, check the preview of the report and make sure it displays our demo data


Above: Screenshot of preview of our not so impressive report

Step 6, Create a Parameter

To be able to filter our dataset through a prompt we need a parameter. We will create a manual one. Please use proper datasets mapped to your data for production reports.


Above: Manual filter items for all and for each of our demo data values.

Step 7, create filter in Tablix

Go to Tablix properties and choose the filter tab.

For our Filter Expression we want to create a filtering expression that can evaluate to true. In a traditional filtering expression we would just choose our field and choose to compare it to our parameter. In this scenario we want to do the logic in this expression so that we can do whatever logic is needed. In this case we choose to compare either to one of the parameter values , or check if the parameter is 0 (our “All” value from the parameter settings)


Above: Expression for Filter

For our Value expression we want to evaluate true so that we can compare the two. Note that we need to enter “=true”, not just “true”.


Above: Screenshot of Filter value expression.

Once we have our two expressions our filter properties for the Tablix will show as this:


Above: Filters dialog in Tablix properties

Step 8, test filtering

Run report and choose All in parameter:


Above: All data visible with All filter

Verify functionality with a specific parameter:


Above: Only some data is visible when filtering with parameter

More on filtering

The whole point on using data area filtering versus using data set parameters can be expanded on quite a bit. There are loads of resources on that around.

But trying to be complete: One aspect is how much data you want to generate from data source on initial report run, another is if you want to be able to run the same report with different data without generating another trip to the source. By using parameters and filtering on the data set you only retrieve a limited amount of data. By using filters you can run your report once against the data source and then filter on the intermediate result in a cache or on a report snapshot.

Demo Report

Here is the report file used in the demo


How to: Enable week view

How to enable week view in the HTC One X standard calendar.

I have seen quite a few reviews and blog posts (Such as this review from Gizmodo) where the calendar function in the HTC One X gets poor feedback because of lack of a week view. This is peculiar since it is actually right there in the calendar. The week button is not enabled by default for some reason, but an easy tap and its ready to play:

  1. Tap Calendar to start the calendar app.

    1 redigera flikar
    Above: Calendar menu

  2. Tap settings and choose adjust tabs/redigera flikar:
    2 rearrange
    Above: The missing week view icon (Vecka)
  3. Reorder and disable/enable the calendar views as you like

    3 wee view available
    Above: Enabled week view

(Screen captures above are in Swedish…)

If you want an even better calendar experience, consider installing a more advanced calendar application/widget such as the Pure Grid Calendar Widget (Available on Play) that displays a much better week view with more information about each event.


How to: use web based automations

There are several automation web services available that will do your bidding automagically. Here is a list of a few that I have found works well.


Wappwolf integrates well with Dropbox, box, Google Drive and Facebook and can process them for you in quite a few different ways. For Dropbox, you can convert files to PDF, downscale images, convert audio files, rename files, upload files etc.

Wappwolf is free for 3 active automations and max 100 files/100 MB per day and runs every 15 minutes. There is a premium option available for $5 for one week or $10 for a month of increased processing.

wappwolf automations

Above: Dropbox automations provided by Wappwolf


IFTTT automates quite a few services. It can archive your online presence into Evernote and it can create posts for you based on different events. It has a very easy interface to create custom recipes/automations so that you can create custom actions if none of the available ones fell quite right. Remember to test any recipe, I have found several ones relying on external services that didn’t work as expected.

IFTTT is free at the moment but like everything else will need to figure out a way to make money in the future, either by fees or ads or by being bought and incorporated into a larger offering…

ifttt channels

Above: Channels provided by IFTTT


on{X} is something as odd as a Microsoft automation service for Android phones. And it requires Facebook logins instead of LiveID/Microsoft accounts. One might assume that the service will be released and incorporated into the upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS.

on{X} uses a growing API of triggers and services for your phone to sense different events and activate functions based on them. It could be as simple as checking the weather the first time you activate your phone in the morning and remind you to bring an umbrella if it is going to rain.

Or it could be more advanced, such as launching the Foursquare app if you’ve been at the same location for more than 20 minutes etc. It has a more advanced programming based User Experience so you can create quite advanced custom events if you feel the available automations/recipes are lacking.

on{X} is free at the moment, but you need to install the app on your phone. Never mind the poor reviews, it is a very misunderstood feature. You also need to log in to the web site with your Facebook account and create your automations there.

onx automations

Above: Sample Automations in on{X}


zapier has quite a few different integrations and has a more professional approach with different plans for different levels of their service, from free 5 hour checks to 200 integration checks every 5 minutes for $100/month. zapier also supports a broader range of services such as most of Google services including Google Drive and Microsoft services such as SkyDrive. For personal use it would be best suited for automations where none of the other services are available and where you can live with a 5 hour delay. If you need faster service you would need the basic package for $15/month

zapier services

Above: zapier integrations

General note

By using any of these services, you give them access to a lot of your information. If you aren’t comfortable with this you probably shouldn’t use them. But then you might not want to use any of the cloud services they connect with to begin with.


by: [googleplusauthor]

Automation: Using Evernote to store your life

I am a big fan of Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. I have been using both for quite some time now and I have been automating several things to Evernote.

For more information on how to choose between Evernote and OneNote see this post.

Evernote have several features for automation built in and you can use it directly with several other applications and web services. Here are a few ones I found noteworthy: sends copied information directly to Evernote and more. You can use Evernotes normal global hot key shortcut to paste the clipboard to Evernote (Ctrl+Alt+V) but using and configuring Evernote as a Satellite action makes it a more visual option. Also, can send your clipboard contents to several other applications directly, such as your search engine, Google Translate etc. sample

Image: Choosing copy brings up the menu.

Auto Import Folder

Evernote has an auto import feature where you can designate folders as a pickup points for your files. You define it under Tools, Import Folders. I have a specific folder for import that also deletes the source file once it has been imported. I have placed the folder in my favorites list in explorer so that I can drag and drop files directly into Evernote without problem. I move the files I don’t want to save to Dropbox and copy files I want to retain at other locations.

Since Evernote doesn’t have a printer driver (OneNote does and it works very well) I can print a .pdf file from any application to this folder and have it in Evernote directly without to much fuss.

import folders

Image: Setting Import Folders in Evernote

auto import folder

Image: Part of explorer with Evernote Auto Import folder in favorites.

Send from Snagit

Snagit from TechSmith is a great way to make screen captures. I highly recommend it if you need to make any form of screen capturing on a more regular basis.

Once you have made your capture you can use the Share Tab in Snagit Editor to send your screen capture directly to quite a few applications, including Evernote and OneNote (and Facebook, Twitter, Word, PowerPoint, FogBugz etc…).

Automation from Dropbox with Wappwolf

Wappwolf is a Dropbox automator. It can do loads of stuff to your files in Dropbox such as convert your recently purchased e-book to Amazon format and send it to your Kindle for reading. Or you can use it to store information from Dropbox to Evernote.

You can choose to give Wappwolf access to your whole Dropbox system or you can choose to limit it to an application specific folder in your Apps folder.

Once you have given Wappwolf access, create an automation you need. In this case we want to upload the file to Evernote so we will choose the Any file area and specify “upload it to Evernote” and since we only want to store our file in Evernote we will also choose “Delete the original file” under Advanced.


This works very well for applications that aren’t on my desktop but that can save to Dropbox, such as my Android phone applications (if for some reason the share to Evernote feature doesn’t work) or other web services that can connect and deliver to to Dropbox but not to Evernote.

Side note:

For Swedish e-book readers with a Kindle the convert and send to Kindle is very useful. You can buy/download a Swedish e-book (unless its DRM/copy protected – then you would have to first remove the encryption since the normally used Adobe Digital Edition DRM format isn’t compatible with Kindle) and automatically transfer it to your Kindle.

Using IFTTT to archive your online stuff

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a very nice automation tool that can deliver directly to your Evernote notebooks.

You connect other services to Evernote and specify what should be saved and where.

ifttt sample recipe

I use IFTTT for several automations and a few of them are for Evernote:

I use it to:

  • Archive copies of my blog posts in Evernote (and also as .pdf files on Dropbox)
  • Save copies of all my Facebook updates in a notebook
  • Save copies of all my Tweets in a notebook
  • Save copies of all my LinkedIn updates in a notebook
  • Save copies of all my Foursquare check-ins in a notebook
  • Save logs of specific emails (from Google mail) automatically in a notebook (invoices, license information etc.)
  • Save all starred articles from Google Reader to Evernote

There are quite a few other useful applications of IFTTT but these are my current Evernote related ones.

Skipping mail in Sweden

The Swedish postal service manages mail for a lot of customers. The corporation will send the information it needs to send you to the postal service electronically and the postal service will print it and carry it to your mail box.


Since I will scan it anyway and put it into Evernote, I signed up for their e-mail postbox (ePostBoxen) (a SharePoint implementation btw =) ) where I can sign in and pick up the electronic copies of the mail instead. From there I can save it to Evernote directly. Someone should write an automation channel for IFTTT of Wappwolf etc for this service so that I can get it to where it should be without intervention.

Standard features not to forget

While I’m writing, here are some plain old standard features I like.

Send email to Evernote.

Your Evernote notebooks have an email address that you can use to send information directly to. Its very easy to use when sending mail, just add the evernote address as a BCC and it will be automatically stored. If you send a mail directly to Evernote, you can also specify notebooks, tags etc in the message header. Don’t use this when BCC’ing, it will be very confusing for your recipient).

You find you Evernote email address alongside your account information.

Using Google search to search your notebooks.

You can let Google/Bing search search your notebooks at the same time as you search the web in Chrome. Very easy to find already compiled information while searching as usual.

You find this information in the Evernote Web Clipper add on.

google search in evernote

Image: sample (in Swedish) of Evernote search integration in Chrome Google search

Scan directly to Evernote

I also use Evernote to store all my incoming papers. All normal scanners have the possibility to send the scanned result directly to an application and this works well with Evernote. I just put my papers in the scanner and press one button to get them into a notebook. If you want to get a scanner, make sure it has a proper paper feeder and can scan both sides of your document in one go.

Choosing between Evernote and OneNote

I have been living with Evernote and OneNote for quite some time. They are both very good at what they do but neither one fully supports my needs.

Here are some of my thoughts about choosing between Evernote and OneNote. The main reason I use both is that the note editor/note creation experience in OneNote is outstanding and that the automation features and unstructured information storage features/search features are very good in Evernote.

Editing notes

Evernote has one of the poorest featured editing environments I have ever seen outside a text editor. Sometimes when I paste some text with embedded formatting, I end up with such a poorly formatted note that I need to start over. It is impossible to edit the formatting apart from the most basic of html formats. Compared to OneNote, that has an extremely rich editing environment, Evernote feels 20 years to old. If I paste an image in an Evernote note I am unable to scale it to fit my screen or my note. If I paste it in to OneNote I can format and move it around as much as I want. From an editing perspective its like night and day and its is the main reason I still use OneNote to capture notes in meetings.

onenote editor

Image above: sample OneNote editor. very rich, even complains about me writing in English and not in Swedish

evernote editor

Image above: Evernotes editor with plenty of potential for improvement.

OneNote’s integration into the rest of the Office environment is very good. When I use Office I can directly create notes from appointments and have a very rich environment for note taking including links to attendees, agenda etc.

outlook onenote

You can even share notes as an event organizer.

meeting notes

There is an Outlook plugin for Evernote that made it easy to transfer information to Evernote but it was more for storing/archiving than for active work. And it doesn’t work with the current preview of Office 2013 so I cant use it at all at the moment.

The Evernote 3rd party integration to Google calendar etc are as poor as the general editing environment.

Tagging and searching

OneNote is a very structured storage container for notes. You create notebooks, in them you create sections and in them you create pages. You can create page hierarchies for more complex scenarios, but they are always stored in their hierarchies. very good for storing highly ordered information such as managing project notes etc. You can create and work with tags integrated in the notes in a very advanced way but its not as easy to use them to find diverse information as it is in Evernote.

my saved searches

Image Above: Saved searches in Evernote.

Evernote has very limited structured options. You create notebooks that can be placed in one level of stacks. In the Notebook you store your notes. No hierarchies to be found. Evernote organizes content by search and by tags. By saving searches you create your own view of your information. Since I like to store lists and to-do’s etc. in separate items I find it easier for me to find and manipulate my information in Evernote at the moment. A nice touch is that my saved searches from my PC appears in the mobile app as well.

Finding information on my phone

I currently use an HTC One X mobile phone and with Evernote I can create links to custom saved searches directly to Icons I can have on my start screen. This means I can tap one icon and find all my current to-do’s for work without even starting the application. I can also search all my information as I  please, including OCR’d text from .pdf’s or scanned documents. OneNotes mobile application doesn’t support search at all so you really need to have your information structured to find it. (To be fair, OneNote supports OCR at the client so you can search at your PC. Evernote will OCR in the cloud so you can also find information that has been added through services).

evernote in android

Above: Screenshot of my mobile Evernote list collection (Android). direct access to the family grocery list as well as my to do list at home and at work.

Both applications have the same basic and poor editing environment in their mobile apps. Both apps lets me check to-do check boxes directly in the note without going into edit mode. very useful for checking of the family grocery list in the store. (And both apps support sharing notes so that the family can collaborate on the list from any PC/phone before I go to the store)

If you are a widget type of person, note that there are widgets for Evernote but not for OneNote .

Online options

There are quite a few options to integrate online services with Evernote (such as Wappwolf and IFTTT). I still haven’t found a single one that works with OneNote. This might improve in the future with Windows 8 and Office 2013, but then again, who knows what will happen tomorrow.

In general, both applications will store my information in the cloud and make it available everywhere, in applications, mobile apps and through a web browser interface.

Non-Issues for me


They both cost money, I need the Premium version of Evernote that charges by the month and I need the OneNote application that you purchase as part of Office. I noticed that the new Android Evernote app also costs SEK40 ($6’ish) if you want to use it with more than 500 notes. Either way I don’t mind paying for what I need and use.

Mobile apps

Both OneNote and Evernote now support Android. They both work ok and I get access to all my notes. They also both work on Windows Phone 7 and iPhone so when I change phones it shouldn’t matter. The only issue I have is with the OneNote implementation that I wrote about above in regards to finding your stuff. This issue is more on how you store and process your information and how well the app supports your needs.