Fun With FOIA: How I Created a City of Chicago FOIA Dashboard using Power BI

I was inspired by my colleague Neal Levin’s recent blog posts where he combined his passion for data and insights with interests in other areas. I’m passionate about government transparency so I wanted to see if I could build a dashboard that would shed some light on the City of Chicago’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests using Power BI.

This blog walks through how I built my solution. I plan to do a follow up post on the insights.

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Fun With FOIA: Downers Grove Public Library

Since late last year I’ve become very interested in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). If I had to point fingers, I’d have to say that Jason Leopold’s reporting has really made me aware of not only what I can get from FOIA, but also his reporting illustrates the frustrations of a reporter as government agencies try to obfuscate, redact, and be obstinate.

I took the dip this year and started writing some FOIA requests of my own. This new series will document my experiences with FOIA.

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One On The Way

People always ask if I have kids. I used to reply “Just a dog.” A lot of people liked that.

Chloe flaunts it all the time.

Now that my wife and I are expecting, when asked the same question, I reply, “One on the way!” to which is almost always followed by, “Oh – is this your first?”

I think “one on the way” succinctly answers their question. If I had more than one, wouldn’t I reply  ,”A two year old and one on the way” or “Yes. I have n  many children”?

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Correlation Errors in Office 365: Cute as a Button, Still Useless

This morning I was doing some configuration in a client’s Office 365 tenant when I saw this cute little guy this morning.

At first I was like “Huh – that’s new.” But then I got mad.

After years of not having meaningful error pages in O365, Microsoft gives us this cartoon animal instead of the error message. What a rip off! What product team approved this? You can’t tell me there is some UserVoice out there that said “Create non-fugly error pages” and everyone upvoted it three times. Some cute cartoon animal is not going to make my anger dissipate because an error occurred.

I believe this update is spiteful to all the developers and admins out there who have been grinding away in O365 for years and still do not have effective error pages.