Book Update: On the Launch Pad!

 
PowerPivot DAX Book for Excel People

Check Out the Cover!  Note the Optical Test Strips Along the Edges.

The Endgame was Long, But Low Intensity

I was “done” with the book about a month ago.  Everything since then has mostly been waiting.  Waiting for the next layout draft for instance – something that takes a skilled pro many hours to produce, but only takes me thirty minutes to review.  But it comes in on a Saturday morning when I have a full day of kids’ soccer and home improvement and Gator football to attend to.  So I get to it Saturday night, the layout person isn’t available again until Monday, etc.

Communication:  not just the dark matter of BI projects.  It’s the dark matter of book writing too Smile

But the important thing now is this:  EVERYTHING is in the hands of the printer.  And when they fire up the presses, it only takes 48 HOURS to crank out the entire first print run.  That might even happen next week!  I am SO stoked.

Planned for 150 Pages, Became 238+

Yes, the Amazon page will update shortly to reflect the accurate page count of 238 pages (plus “prologue” pages and index).  Here’s the full table of contents:

PowerPivot DAX Book Table of Contents

PowerPivot DAX Book Table of Contents

My Usual, Visual Style

Readers of the blog will know right away that there was no ghostwriter employed here Smile

It’s very much like the blog:  heavy on pictures and common sense explanations, but a bit more detailed than usual – I didn’t let myself skip steps like I sometimes do on the blog.

Here are a couple of screenshots of the final PDF that went to the printer:

PowerPivot DAX Book Sample Pages

From Chapter 14:  Intro to Time Intelligence

PowerPivot DAX Book Sample Pages

From Chapter 18:  Time Intelligence with Custom Calendars

Oh, and I kept the same informal writing style too, rather than “professionalizing” it – so for instance, yes I use smilies Smile

And I use words like “gonna.”  And I start sentences with words like “and” and “but.”  But I don’t think that will bother anyone.  Heh heh.

Electronic Version?

Yes, this is coming too.  I think it will be available at the same time as the physical book, near the end of the first week of November.  Checking with Bill on timing, as I have nothing to do with that process.

Companion Reference Card!

PowerPivot Book Companion:  The PowerPivotPro Quick Reference Card:  Coming Soon to an Online Store “Near” You

The PowerPivotPro Quick Reference Card:  Coming Soon to an Online Store “Near” You
(Both Sides Shown – Camera Phone Pic)

A few things converged here:

  1. That laminated Excel tip card that held my book out of the #1 spot for a day (before I passed it for a bit) – I found that whole thing interesting, but I moved on to other stuff.
  2. Someone suggested that I do one of those, too – a quick reference card of key concepts and functions.  I ignored this of course because I was worn down.
  3. Then Bill and I were talking about something we could include for free with copies of the book purchased direct from his site.  I suggested a sticker.  He suggested…  a tip card!

This will be available on Amazon and MrExcel.com for about $2.95, but will be included free with copies of the book ordered directly from MrExcel.com (once the book is available there next month).

My First Professional Interaction With the Physical World Since 1994!

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Optical color and alignment symbols in the edges!

This is awesome.  When they fire up the presses to churn out pages or covers, the results at first are all wrong:  misaligned, too dark, too light, too much orange, not enough orange, etc.

And even though the presses are SUPER fast, they have to make the adjustments WHILE THE PRESSES ARE RUNNING.  They can’t stop the press, make an adjustment, and restart it.  So while these pages (or covers) are spitting out of the machine at high speed, optical sensors are reading the strips in the margins, providing feedback to the operator who keeps making adjustments until everything looks good.

The first several hundred copies to come out of the machine are thrown away.  Fascinating, at least if you’re me.  And then, the resulting sheets are trimmed of their borders – you know, by an automated machine with a huge knife in it.

I got to watch this happening for other books and magazines when I visited the print factory with Bill a few weeks back.  And sometime soon, I get to witness it for MY book, since it’s just one hour from my house.  I will take video Smile

The last time I worked professionally with anything “real” was when I worked construction in my summer jobs in college.  During construction of Disney’s All-Star Resort, I installed erosion barriers to protect the trees, safety railings to protect my fellow workers, and vanity skirts to protect future guests from seeing unsightly plumbing.

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I learned a million interesting things out there.  A few highlights:

  1. Florida construction crews have a pretty rigid caste system that was a huge surprise to me:  Carpenters, Laborers, and MexiKids.  If you were a Mexican or a college kid, you were in that third caste – paid like a Laborer (or a Carpenter’s Assistant), but asked to do things that Laborers didn’t do, like vanity skirts and safety rails.  The whole 3-caste arrangement seemed about as politically incorrect as could be imagined, but everyone out there just took it as a given.  To this day I still find the whole thing incongruous.
  2. Being a “MexiKid” turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I was nervous at first – some of my coworkers dressed like banditos from old Westerns (complete with neck bandannas!) and I was the only kid at first, but they were the warmest and most welcoming group of human beings.  Gaspar and Luis, I miss you guys.
  3. Theft on a construction site is a felony, but as long as it’s stealing from one company on behalf of YOUR company, and you don’t get caught, it’s kinda… expected.  In fact our foremen instructed us to do so.  I got to say the words “OK I’ll drive the getaway truck this time.”
  4. Manual, repetitive labor under time pressure (only allowed 4 minutes per room to install vanity skirts, and you do it all day every day for weeks at a time) is the worst torture I’ve ever endured.  Yes, it’s been a sheltered life.

Very much an enriching couple of summers Smile

2 Responses to Book Update: On the Launch Pad!

  1. Jeff Standen says:

    My name! On a book! That literally some people will see! My fifteen minutes has come at last!

  2. Lee Derks says:

    Congratulations Rob on your book! Such a huge accomplishment. I remember similar feelings when my book was finally published. I can’t wait to get a copy of your book, it will be a great reference and read. Keep up the great work.

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