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Archive for the ‘video' Category

Tutorial: Opening/Importing and Saving/Exporting Data

Friday, February 6th, 2009

We've got another tutorial video which we think you'll find useful. The first thing anyone ever wants to do after installing Strata is to get some of their data in. This video will quickly show you the various ways to get data in and out (hint — it's easier than just using the Import/Export functionality):

Play Opening and Saving Video Tutorial

Also, for future reference, all of our tutorial videos can now be found in a single location:

Tutorial: Creating Calculations and Cleaning up Dirty Data

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Continuing with our video tutorial series, here's one on creating calculations and using formulas. This one briefly looks at how to create calculated fields, but quickly delves into more complex formulas and functions. This one would be worth watching, even if you're an expert — it may give you a few new ideas.

Play Calculations Video Tutorial

More Tutorials Videos: Sorting and Filtering

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Just wanted to get out a couple more tutorial blogs to everyone before the final page gets published:


Play Video


Play Video


Tutorial: Getting Started with Strata's User Interface

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

We're in the midst of putting together video tutorials that cover each of Strata's main features. I figure I'd leak some of these ahead of time on this blog, as many may find them useful.

This first video is sort of a basic “rules of the road” for getting around the Strata interface. It's a little over 3 minutes long and covers things like using tabs, panels, various views, and controls in the table view like moving columns and editing.

If you're an expert Strata user, you've probably already got these bases covered. However, there's a good shot that many people will probably pick up at least one thing new.

Play Video

More rogue tutorial videos to be posted soon…

Exploring Calculated Fields: Part I - The Basics

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Screenshot Thumbnail - Calculated FieldCalculated fields are one of the cornerstones of data analysis. It's just one of those tools that you end up using again and again. And, if you can master the functions and formulas and make them do your bidding, you'll be well on your way to becoming a data Jedi. This article begins a multi-part blog series on using calculated fields in your projects.

Calculated fields are nothing more than a way to apply a formula to existing columns or fields. (As a quick aside, spreadsheets use the terms row/column, whereas databases use the terms record/field — there are some technical differences, but for our purposes here, they are very similar). A poor man's calculated field is found in a spreadsheet; you create a formula in a blank cell and then drag the cell down to apply it to the other rows. The more traditional calculated field is found in the database world. Here you create a new field that encapsulates a calculation and then you run it across the entire table.

With Kirix Strata, you get a calculated field like that found in the database world, but with the dynamic/instant properties you get in the spreadsheet world. So, when you create a calculated field in Strata, you get a calculation that applies to the entire data set instantly — whether its 10 rows or 10 million. In addition, these fields behave like regular ol' fields, so you can reference them in other calculated fields or use them in your sorts, filters, groups, relationships, queries and other operations. Of course, the actual data can't be edited like in a regular field, but the underlying formula can be tweaked — with the results showing up in your view in real-time.

Let's create some simple examples to show how calculated fields work. We'll look at the historic stock prices of Apple Computer (to try this yourself, just click the “Download to Spreadsheet” at the bottom of the web page and it will open up into a table in Strata):

APPL stock data


Watching Reruns: Strata Tutorial Videos from the Archives

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Movie IconIt's been almost one year since we released the beta version of Kirix Strata to the public. During that beta cycle, we provided several videos and screencasts via our blog to emphasize different things the software could do.

Thankfully, even though the videos show the beta version in action, almost all of the content is extremely relevant for the final version of Strata as well. The only variance really has to do with the user interface; we ended up moving around icons and toolbars and menu items quite a bit until we got something that seemed to work best. Oh, and you may see the original Strata logo that we threw together for the beta.

So, maybe you can consider this blog post your Tivo or on-demand video page for “Season 1″ of Kirix Strata. Here are the five links, with details and highlights of each one below:


Researching Problems in your Apache Web Log Activity

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

So I came into work the other day and the first thing one of our web admins says to me is, “Were we Slashdotted yesterday?” I had just been reviewing our web activity and didn't think that was the case. However, I did a quick check on our Google Analytics account and, as expected, nothing was out of the ordinary.

The reason he asked the question was that our Apache log file that day was over 10 times the size of the file from the previous day. It sure looked like the server was getting hammered.

So, I decided to take a look and see what the problem was. I pulled down the Apache log and imported it into Strata. See the video below for a step-by-step look:

Play Video

(And here's an embeddable YouTube version…)

Now, as an aside, if you've ever tried to look at a raw Apache log in Excel or notepad, you'll see that it is space-delimited and the date/time format is not trivial to deal with. Not only that, but the sheer size of a log file makes them almost impossible to handle in a spreadsheet. The one I was dealing with was over 100,000 records long — and that was just one day.

Strata can easily handle the data size, but the format is enough to give any software fits. So, we wrote a quick Apache log parser extension that makes it really simple to just point the software to your Apache log and import it. The resulting table is nicely formatted and everything is ready to go (including those pesky date fields). You can get the extension here.

So, back to the issue at hand… after I imported it, I played around with the data to identify what was causing the problem. I grouped the IP addresses together to see if I could pinpoint a few culprits. And, indeed, I found two:

  • An unknown bot
  • Our own server

After a little more research, I found out that the bot was searching for all kinds of non-existent URLs and was basically appending one path to another to get some really bizarre URLs:


I then took a look at the records from our own server and saw that for each of these non-existent URLs, we were serving up a “Not Found” page, thus doubling the trouble this bot was causing.

In the end, I had our web admin look into the problem. It turns out we were poorly formatting some of the URL paths on the site. Most bots can handle both absolute and relative paths, but some can't. These bots that can't handle the relative paths end up going a little nuts as they spider the website. (I couldn't find a really nice, clean explanation of this issue via Google, but this thread is close enough for those who are interested.)

Anyway, it was nice to be able to just pull out Kirix Strata and, within a few minutes, figure out what the issue was. For those of you who are interested in your web logs, give the Apache Web Log import extension a spin and let us know what you think.