Friday, December 19, 2014

Packt's 5 Buck eBook Bonanza is back!

$5 eBook Bonanza – Every title, every topic

5D Twitter Cover

Treat yourself to the eBook or Video of your choice for just $5 and get as many as you like until January 6th 2015. To get you started, we've put together the Top 20 Titles of 2014 for you to pick up here. But don’t forget, you can get ANY eBook or Video for $5 in this offer.



With all $5 products available in a range of formats and DRM-free, customers will find great value content delivered exactly how they want it across Packt’s website this Xmas and New Year. From Thursday 18th December, every eBook and video will be available on the publisher’s website for just $5 until 6th January.

You guys know how much I dig Packt and their catalog. So when they do their $5 deals I always jump in and empty my wish list... :)


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bruce Clay (go local biz!) provides a free SEO Power Tools and SEO Tutorial

PR Newswire - Free SEO Power Tools Now Available In the Most Complete SEO Tutorial on the Web

Bruce Clay, Inc. brings free, online SEO tutorial completely up to date with five critical search engine optimization concepts absent from other popular SEO guides. No email, login or download required to view and use the step-by-step tutorial and free integrated tools.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's digital world everyone is a marketer to some extent. Bruce Clay, Inc. has published an SEO tutorial that publishers of all technical levels may find bookmark-worthy due to free, embedded tools. Online marketing and public relations professionals, website and blog owners and content marketers can use the hands-on resource to check the SEO efforts on their own pages and their competitors'.


The Bruce Clay, Inc. SEO Tutorial, spanning 20 webpages, stands out among other online SEO educational resources available. It's the only SEO tutorial that includes free tools anyone can use, no sign-up, login, download or trial required.

And it includes vital SEO concepts not covered in any other popular SEO tutorial, not even Google's:

  • Tools to monitor backlinks and the process for pruning backlinks
  • Mobile SEO and user experience optimization by device
  • Competitive analysis and tools to do competitive research
  • SEO for video, audio and podcasts
  • Tools to do on-page optimization analysis

The free SEO tools integrated throughout the tutorial include:


I don't usually blog about SEO stuff, but this is a local company, one I walk by every so often, and they are giving away free stuff! So it's a win-win in my book :)

Predictive Models? Machine Learning? .NET App? Free Redist? Syncfusion has something you might like...

Deploy predictive models inside .NET applications

Dear customer,

We are excited to announce that we have shipped a breakthrough product that allows you to deploy predictive analytics solutions inside .NET applications.

Predictive modeling

What if you could use existing information to make predictions? Predictive modeling is truly one of the best-kept secrets. It has been used for decades by the largest firms in the world, enabling them to make smart, data-driven decisions. However, in spite of such tremendous benefits, few organizations have been able to justify the costs associated with modeling and deployment.

Times have changed. There are now a variety of modeling environments available to suit every budget. R is completely free and can produce excellent models. SPSS and SAS are leading commercial options.

Once you build and validate a model that works for your needs, you will need to deploy it within your .NET application. This task is often challenging and one in which the most fees lurk. You have to invoke the modeling environment’s runtime in most cases, and this often presents expensive commercial licensing costs and significant technical hurdles.

Essential Predictive Analytics changes everything

Essential Predictive Analytics from Syncfusion changes all this. You can now build models using any environment including R, SAS and SPSS, and then deploy with no dependency on these environments. The developed model are serialized in the open Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) format. Essential Predictive Analytics includes a .NET execution engine that can execute the PMML model and provide real-time results from within your .NET applications without any third party dependencies.

Essential Predictive Analytics is included with Syncfusion Essential Studio Enterprise Edition (ESEE). As with the rest of ESEE, there are absolutely no runtime fees or royalties whether you deliver to a small group of users or to millions around the world....

Syncfusion - Essential Predictive Analytics

Make data-driven decisions

In today’s data-driven world, the most successful companies will be those that utilize available data to make timely data-driven decisions. A common example would be to analyze the purchasing habits of shoppers and providing relevant coupons to get them to buy related products. Another example – what if you could build a model that could accurately predict which of your customers are likely to stop using your product or service? You already have information on customers who stopped using your service in the past. What if you could build a model that learns from past data and can then be put to work to stop churn before it happens? With Essential Predictive Analytics, you can.


Model using R, SAS, and SPSS and deploy using .NET

Easily develop powerful models to predict the future based on past data using R, SAS, or SPSS. The developed model can then be serialized in Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) format. Essential Predictive Analytics includes a .NET execution engine that can execute the PMML model and provide real-time results from within your .NET applications without any third-party dependencies.


Absolutely no deployment fees

Essential Predictive Analytics is included with Syncfusion Essential Studio. As with the rest of Essential Studio there are absolutely no runtime fees or royalties whether you deliver to a small group of users or to millions around the planet. Also, because there is no third-party dependency once the modeling is done, you pay no runtime fees to any other vendors. You simply produce the model using the environment of your choice and Essential Predictive Analytics will take it from there.

Truly useful models

Predictive modeling is truly one of the best kept secrets around.Companies that use predictive modeling are smarter than those that don’t. They know the right answers based on data. They make smarter decisions. In spite of such tremendous benefits, predictive modeling has long been the preserve of a select few organizations that were able to afford modeling and deployment solutions. Today, there is no reason to wait. R is completely free and can produce excellent models that can be deployed with ease using Essential Predictive Analytics.



Now that's different and could be very, very awesome. While there are open source like solutions, I don't know if there's anything like this. It's part of their $1995 Syncfusion Essential Studio Enterprise Edition, which isn't cheap, but it IS a free redist, which is huge AND compared to other commercial solutions, pretty cheap (and plus you get everything else that's in that suite too!

To get a nice feel for this, check out their demo;


I'm hoping to take a much closer look at this in the coming weeks... :)

Navy Ship, Laser, Drone, Gamepad, Explosion, Check!

Defense Tech - Video: Navy Brand New Laser Protects Ponce in Persian Gulf

Navy admirals showed off the laser mounted to the USS Ponce Wednesday to the Pentagon press corps as the Navy announced it was confident the laser could protect the sailors aboard the Ponce, which is deployed to the Persian Gulf.

As part of the media blitz, the Navy released this video showing the litany of testing the 30-kilowatt laser executed before Navy leaders felt comfortable make the declaration. The video shows sailors shooting down small drones and hitting targets on fast attack boats — two of the major threats Navy surface ships face.


The video is below or you can click here to watch it.







I want one...


Related Past Post XRef:
The USS Ponce gets some Laser punch! As in a drone killing laser...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Visual Studio Online Gets Cheaper...

Brian Harry’s blog - More pricing and licensing changes coming

Earlier this year, we started a process of reviewing our pricing and licensing for Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online.  Our intent was to review all of the customer feedback we’ve received to look for changes that would simplify purchasing and make it more affordable for teams to include everyone in the broader organization who needs to interact with the development team.


Let’s look at the changes:

Release Management


So, we are changing it.  As of January 1st, 2015, you will no longer have to pay any per-processor (or any other per deployment environment) charge for Release Management.  ...

Test Execution


In response, we’re making two licensing changes that I believe will help with this greatly: ...

Cloud Load Testing

It didn’t take long after we released our cloud load test pricing for me to realize that we had gotten it wrong.  We originally priced it by...


So, we decided we needed a tiered model that would give good price breaks as load test usage got higher.

Our new pricing model for VS Online Cloud Load Testing is as follows: ...

So, in the scenario above, the customer would pay 20,000 * $0.00 + 1,980,000 * $0.0004 + 8,000,000 * $0.0002 + 71,000,000 * $0.0001 = $9,492 per month.  That’s $162,000/$9,492 = 17 times smaller.  ...

VS Online Build Service

We’ve gotten feedback on our build service pricing that it has a similar “scaling” problem as our load test pricing, though not nearly as big.  To make the build service more affordable for teams running many builds, we are introducing a tiered pricing model there as well.

The VS Online build service pricing will be: ...

Visual Studio Online Professional

One of the offerings for Visual Studio Online is Visual Studio Online Professional which combines a VS Online basic license with a monthly license to Visual Studio Professional.  Since its inception, we’ve had a 10 user limit on this product because it’s really designed for small teams (whereas MSDN subscriptions are the solution for larger teams).  However, after we got enough people asking for the 11th user, we realized that the complexity just wasn’t worth it and that 10 seemed pretty arbitrary.  As a result, we are eliminating the 10 user limit – though...


We are not done looking at pricing and licensing, of course.  We are continuing to look at feedback and look for opportunities to remove friction and simplify.  We always want to hear what you think and will do our best to make you happy.


When this was announced at MVP Summit and it was greeted with applause (and getting applause from the VS ALM MVP's is not an easy thing)...

Visual Studio 2013 Community, Azure VM style...

Just Monday I blogged about playing with Windows 10 on an Azure VM, Want to play with Windows 10? Have Azure? One quick VM Gallery Visit and you're in..., now here's an example of how you can play with the new Visual Studio 2013 Community edition on a Azure VM too...

Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition Azure Virtual Machines

We recently announced a new version of Visual Studio.What was interesting in the announcement of Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition which would replace the existing Visual Studio Express and Professional and that it would be a free development


Well we ended up hosting Visual Images in the Azure Image Gallery so now you can spin up an image in the Microsoft Azure VM portal which has Windows Server 2012 R2 and Visual Studio Community Edition 2013 so even if you don't have a Windows 8 desktop you can us your MacBook or even a iPad or Android Tablet to build and deploy apps across all platforms using Visual Studio


Getting Started

So its really easy to provision a Windows Server 2012 R2 with Visual Studio Community Edition already installed what neat is that the VM has all the Windows 8 and Azure SDK installed.

Windows Server 2012 R2 is pretty close to Windows 8 So you get a very modern development environment so you can build apps for Windows phone, Windows 8, Android and iOS.

So is it difficult to setup as I don't use Windows 8?

To set this up it takes around 9 clicks and a short wait of between 5 and 8 minutes…."

BTW, as you can see in the above snap, you can play with the latest beta of Visual Studio 2015 on a VM too... :)

"SQL Server Execution Plans" free eBook from Red Gate

Red Gate - SQL Server Execution Plans

Improve the performance of your .NET code – even if SQL Server is slowing you down

Download your free copy of SQL Server Execution Plans, the only in-depth look at how to improve your query performance through careful design of execution plans.

Then, isolate the problem that's causing pain in your own application, with a 14-day free trial of new ANTS Performance Profiler 9, which now includes a detailed view of SQL Server execution plans.

Narrow down the problem to your .NET code or SQL Server database in a single profiling session. Get line-level timings for slow code, and full execution plans for your queries, with expensive or slow operations highlighted for you automatically.

1. Free eBook: SQL Server Execution Plans

  • Free 321 page eBook that covers execution plan basics, how to interpret plans, complex queries, and how to optimize execution plans.
  • Includes 169 SQL code samples & 173 illustrations.
  • Written by SQL Server MVP Grant Fritchey, the SQL Server community's leading authority on execution plans.
  • Yours free – normally $29.99

2. Free trial: root out .NET & SQL Server performance problems with ANTS Performance Profiler


image ..."

NOTE: This is dated September 2012, but was also modified June 2014...


I thought I had blogged about this, but didn't so I might as well now! I mean, who doesn't need 322 pages on SQL Server Execution Plans?

Liked how the eBook download already included the example files...


Word to XAML, the next generation... "Xaml Generator" App for Office

Synergist - Xaml Generator – a New App for Office

A few years ago I build and shared the source code for a Word to Xaml Converter, a Word 2007 add-in that developers could use to convert Microsoft Office Word documents to Xaml for WPF and Silverlight applications.  Since it was originally published, the solution has been downloaded more than 3,000 times and I’ve received lots of feedback on it, progressively enhancing it to handle more Word features in the Xaml conversion.  I built the converter as a .NET library and a Word COM add-in, both built in C#. 

Apps for Office

Now with Office 2013 and Office 365, there is a new development model where developers can build “Apps for Office” using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build apps that can be added to Microsoft Office.  With this, Microsoft also launched an Apps for Office store where these apps can be listed and sold.  I was able to take what I built earlier as a Word add-in and move it to the cloud with Microsoft Azure Websites and listed it in the Apps for Office store.  This enables users of Office 2013 and Office 365 to now use the Xaml Generator in Microsoft Office Word wherever they are seeing it.

Xaml Generator

With this new App for Office, you select the text that you want to convert in Microsoft Word and then press the [Generate Xaml] button.  The generated text is then put in the task pane which you can then copy to Visual Studio to use in an app.  With this new release, I added Windows Xaml which can be used for Windows Universal Apps released for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.


To use the Xaml Generator in Word 2013


If you are creating complex XAML text runs, this looks like a tool you should really have in your tool belt. That said, the coolest thing is how this app shows off the new power behind the new Office app building API. No stinking DLL's or add-ins here and works in the native and web Office. Now that's cool... :)


Related Past Post XRef:
Word to XAML Converter Updated to support WPF 4,Silverlight 4 and Word 2010 (Think “File/Save As XAML…”)

Microsoft Flight Simulator X takes flight on December 18th



CHATHAM, KENT – December 9th, 2014 – Dovetail Games, the multi award-winning developer and publisher of the Train Simulator series and Dovetail Games Fishing, today gave flight sim fans a lift for the holiday season with the announcement that Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition will launch on December 18 at a spectacular introductory price.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition delivers an authentically accurate aerial experience for simulation enthusiasts and those with a passion for all things flight.  Pilots can climb into the cockpits of over twenty aircraft, from commercial and fighter jets to single-engine private planes and helicopters. More than 80 missions will test players in a variety of ways, including search and rescue challenges, test pilot scenarios, races and more. The game features updated multiplayer functionality, Windows 8.1 support and over 24,000 airports, delivering a beautiful, connected world and vast horizon begging to be explored.

First released in 2006...

Okay, so I'm old! There, I said it, you happy? [insert old guy, "I remember playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on my IBM PC..." note here] Still, it's good to see this franchise alive and well, no matter who's coding it...


Related Past Post XRef:
A nose dive for Microsoft Flight
Coolest Download of the Day, no not Win8 CP, not VS11, but Microsoft Flight! (Free to play)
Fly like a [beta test] Eagle... Microsoft is looking for Microsoft Flight Beta testers...
Microsoft Flight, coming as a free game in Spring 2012

FlightGear takes flight with v3.0
Jump!!! FlightGear lets you get out of the cockpit, literally!
FlightGear takes you into space...
FlightGear, the open source flight simulator, releases version 2.4

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Lucian Wischik highlights the new features in Visual Basic 14

The Visual Basic Team - New Language Features in Visual Basic 14

"Visual Basic 14" is the version of Visual Basic that will ship with Visual Studio 2015. In this blog post I'll talk specifically about the VB language improvements in this release. (Separately, there are a whole host of IDE and project-system improvements as well). There are two overall themes to the language improvements:

(1) Make common coding patterns a little cleaner, with easy-to-grasp syntax

(2) Fix up some irritating corners of the language that you probably already expected to work.

This release will be easier to digest than was Visual Basic 12, with its introduction of async! (The version number of Visual Basic has gone straight from 12 to 14, skipping 13. We did this to keep in line with the version numbering of Visual Studio itself.)

I'll only talk here about the most important new language features. For a full exhaustive list, look at > Documentation > Language Features.

(Note: I've used animated gifs in this blog-post because the language features shine the best when you see them in action. The longest gif is only 8 seconds so if you miss the start, keep watching! If you don't like the animation, please see the version of this post with still before/after pictures.

The ?. operator

The new ?. operator is an easier way to check whether something is null before dotting into it. ...

The NameOf operator ...

String Interpolation

String interpolation is my favourite feature this release. I know that ?. is more powerful, and nameof() will make my code more robust, but every time I type an interpolated string it gives me a little shiver of excitement! Here's how it looks: ...

Multiline Strings

You used to have to use cumbersome workarounds to get multiline strings in VB. Thankfully VB14 now supports multiline strings literals directly: ...

Readonly Auto-properties

We've made it considerably easier to write readonly auto-properties. Here's how you do it:...


Comments are now handled better in statements that split over multiple lines. This is particularly nice for LINQ expressions. Look at these "before" and "after" videos... previously it was simply an error to include these comments: ...


Love to see VB continue to get some love... :)

Two Tasty NuGets - "Create and Push NuGet Package in Visual Studio 2013" & "NuGet 101 – A Bootcamp"

Visual Studio Gallery - Create and Push NuGet Package in Visual Studio 2013


In this article we will see how we can create NuGet Package after each build and push the package to NuGet in Visual Studio 2013.


NuGet: NuGet is a Visual Studio extension that makes it easy to pull in libraries, components, and most importantly their configuration into your visual studio project. This is a tool that is installed with MVC 3 and it is used to bring in various components to make developing on MVC easier. These components are called NuGet Packages and they can include .NET assemblies, JavaScript files, HTML/Razor files, CSS files, images, and even files that can add configuration to your projects web.config. The goal of NuGet is to make is super easy to bring in or update a component in your existing projects.

More info-

First of all let’s make an mvc project –

Getting Started



David Whitney - NuGet 101 – A Bootcamp

I’ve been running and recording a lot of workshops over the last couple of months – here is one on NuGet packaging for beginners – starting out as a slide deck then moving into a practical demo.


Slide deck 

  • History
  • What’s a package
  • So it’s a zip file right?
  • Why should I use them?
  • An open source mentality
  • Disadvantages
  • Realities


  • Directory topologies of a library package
  • Adding packages to your solutions
  • Pairing nuspec files with csproj’s
  • Replacement tokens for metadata
  • The NuGet docs
  • Package dependencies
  • Dependency discovery and bundling
  • Versioning and SemVer
  • Package sources
  • NuGet.config



Yes, there are still dev's out there that don't know about, use or get NuGet. If you know of one, here are two posts you can use to help them help themselves...

Your one stop web designer cheat sheet stop? (If not, it's close...)

Designer Daily - The best cheatsheets web designers will need

Despite of years of practice and coding, it’s impossible for any designers to remember and know absolutely everything required for their work. The technology and trend is never constant. Whether it’s a programming language, CMS or any other framework, they need to refer the official document and a handy cheatsheet for best outcome in any design and development work.

In this today’s post, here we have collected the best cheatsheets that any web designers will need. Have a look at it below and enjoy your work!

1. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

2. Popular CSS Frameworks

3. HTML – HyperText Markup Language

4. JavaScript & jQuery

5. PHP

6. WordPress

7. Joomla!

8. Drupal 7

9. SEO

10. Adobe Photoshop

11. Adobe Illustrator


[Insert my usual, "One of these days, I'm might have to play web, so am going to cache this for future reference" statements here]

(via Infragistics - D-Coding - Developer News - What's IN with the Infragistics Community? (12/1-12/7))

EA, via Origin, giving away (as in $0) SimCity 2000

PCWorld - Free game alert: EA's giving away SimCity 2000 (a.k.a. The Best SimCity)

EA's unveiled the latest game in its "On the House" promotion, and it's SimCity 2000 a.k.a. The Best SimCity Ever Made and I Will Brook No Argument On That Point. The On the House program lets you pick up games to pad out your Origin library for free, the catch being that you have to own an Origin account in order to take advantage.


I've not used Origin since they gave away Sims 2 (nor for other games) so was surprised how well they wrapped up DOSBox with this SimCity distort... Now, if only it worked a little better in a window on a high DPI screen. But hey, I can't complain about the price! :)


Monday, December 08, 2014

Want to play with Windows 10? Have Azure? One quick VM Gallery Visit and you're in...

You don't have an extra PC/notebook/what-ever laying around and don't have access to one with Hyper-V (or other hypervisor) but you have access to Azure via MSDN (or other route)? Then you can start playing with Windows 10 in about 5 minutes...

Microsoft Developer Switzerland News - Try the Windows 10 Technical Preview now without having to install it first!

If you are willing to try it out without having the hassle of upgrading one of your PCs, you may want to consider the possibility of having it running “in the cloud” and accessing it through a remote connection on your PC. This very little invasive approach requires only the Remote Desktop client and minimizes the requirements on your hardware.

All you need is a valid MSDN subscription and access to Microsoft Azure.

On Microsoft Azure you can find a fully preconfigured virtual machine, to which you can connect in just a few clicks. Below, you can find the required steps.

First, you need access to Microsoft Azure. If you don’t have a subscription yet, fortunately there are a few ways to do so for free.

How to gain access to Microsoft Azure for free:


... and this post walks you through all the steps (and it's not hard at all). I did it while on the train home today, how cool is that? :)

Channel 9 Series of the Day: Visual Studio Time Savers (aka VSTips)

Channel 9 - Visual Studio Time Savers

Visual Studio guru, Susan Ibach, is a master of finding ways to save minutes. In this video series, she shares some of her favourite time saving tips. Give them a try and let her know what you think. There are more coming, so make sure to check back often or subscribe to the RSS feed to get her tips as soon as they are posted.

If one of these has helped you become more productive, make sure to comment on and share the videos.


Don’t Touch … Unless you want to, in which case go for it!

Microsoft recently released the Visual Studio 2015 preview. So, naturally, I had to share a Visual Studio 2015 tip! With more and more of us using touch devices as our primary laptops for development, we find ourselves naturally reaching for the screen instead of the mouse. Well, the Visual Studio team has added some nice touch support features to the code editor in Visual Studio. Check it out! If you want to check out the Visual Studio 2015 Preview, you can download it at


if you're a Visual Studio user, this is one of those must subscribe series...

Did you know every GPS Sat has a "Nuclear Detonation Detection System" on it?

Defense Tech - Air Force Breaks 30-Year Record for GPS Satellite Launches

The Air Force deployed four global positioning satellites into space this past year — the most it has put up in a single year in more than three decades.


Within each satellite is a secondary payload called the Nuclear Detonation Detection System, Air Force 2nd Lt. Christopher Phillips of the 2nd Special Operations Squadron, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, said in a statement released on Dec. 7.

“NDS performs an important mission,” he said. “It helps verify the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963. It makes sense. The whole reason the GPS constellation has these nuclear detonation sensors is because it provides global coverage. We can see every part of the planet.”



... I didn't. Like the article says, it makes sense though. And it's not like some future bad guys aren't already going to do their best to shoot them down anyway during the next big conflict (which we hope never happens, but humans being humans, and governments being governments...)

But makes you wonder what else might be on them [Putting tin hat on now!]

[Officially "wrong"][But still funny] LEGO Strip Club...

This Is Why I am Broke - Lego Strip Club

Things in LEGOville just got interesting now that the LEGO strip club set up shop. This childhood ruining set includes everything your LEGO people need for a good old night of debauchery including shapely exotic dancers, a world class DJ, and stacks of cash.



Again, that's just wrong. The price shock you? Hello... strip club...

Actually, it's the custom paint, but still... lol

Saturday, December 06, 2014

[Personal] Welcome Home!

My son returned home today from his nearly year long deployment to Afghanistan. I'd like to thank everyone for your support of him and us during this time. Your love, support and caring made this difficult period a little brighter. 

Welcome home son, we love you...



Related Past Post XRef:
[Personal] That's my boy!
[Personal] Supporting my son in my own weird little way...

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Video to help you create videos... How to create community help, how-to or tutorial videos

Community Video Production - Masterclass


This special programme was recorded at the 2014 MVP Global Summit in the Microsoft Conference Center, at their international headquarters in Redmond (WA), USA. It also features a special appearance from Clippy!

Are you interested in, or do you make help, how-to or tutorial videos for the community? In this special session Mike Halsey MVP will show you how to get started with, and how to get the best from video production. Subjects covered include screen capture, using free and paid for video editing software, presentation skills, camera and smartphone use, microphones and sound editing, green screen, location filming, how to use innovative ideas, special effects, titles and more to make your videos more engaging and how to effectively distribute them online. In this session we had special prize giveaways from Sony, Adobe, FusionIO and JVC.

This is a MVP Summit 2014 session I really wanted to go to, but in the end couldn't. And while we'll not get the giveaways we get the best part, Mike's how-to on creating how-to's!

Getting Git and a GitHub VS Extension too!

You've Been Haacked - Git and GitHub Resources

Learning Git and GitHub can be daunting if you're new to it. I recently gave a small presentation where I pretty much firehosed a group of people about Git and GitHub for one hour. I felt bad that I could only really scratch the surface.

I thought it might be useful to collect some resources that have helped me understand Git and GitHub better. If you only read one thing, read Think like a git. That'll provide a good understanding and maybe motivate you to read the others.


Visual Studio Gallery - GitHub Extension

Manage GitHub issues for repositories that you have commit access to. You can filter and view issues for a repository, edit issues, add comments and close issues.

Access and manage GitHub issues for repositories that you have commit access to. You can filter and view issues for a repository, edit issues, add comments and close issue.

This is a beta release, more features are coming. For more information, to report bugs or to suggest features, see this project on GitHub.


  • To view a list of open issues, go to View | Other Windows | GitHub Issue List (Ctrl+W, Ctrl+G)
  • Log in to GitHub by clicking the logon icon at the upper right of the issue list window
  • Open the issue window by double clicking an issue in the list, or by going to View | Other Windows | GitHub Issue Window (Ctrl+W, Ctrl+H)
  • Add a new issue to the selected repository with the + button in the issue list, or from Tools | New Issue on GitHub (Ctrl+W, Ctrl+I)
  • Edit an issue with the edit button on the Issue window
  • Add comments to, or close and issue with the comment button on the issue window

Two Factor Authentication

We do not currently support GitHub's Two-Factor Authentication system. However, you can generate a Personal Access Token to log in to your GitHub account instead.




Getting Git'd is at the top of my dev to-do list. And GitHub is the new shiny, so I need to cache these two posts for near future reference. And the GitHub VS Extensions being open source too is icing on the ....

Seven LA Arcades for adults (No, not that kind of arcade... we're talking video games here...)

laist - 7 Places Where Grown-Ups Can Play Video Games In Los Angeles

Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you have to stop hitting up the arcade. In fact, it only gets better because now you can drink at the arcade. Here are some of our favorite places in L.A. to drop a few quarters, sip a beer and level up.



Shame I don't live near any of these (the only arcade, let alone one for grown-ups, in my outer suburb closed down a couple years ago). There is one near where I work through and it's open during the day... Hum, sounds like a great lunch place doesn't it?

Mine[craft] your Azure - Minecraft servers now in the Azure Marketplace

Kurt Shintaku's Blog - INFO: Minecraft Servers added to Azure Gallery/Marketplace

Do you have an Azure account or an MSDN subscription?
Do you or folks in your family play Minecraft?



Microsoft Azure Marketplace - Minecraft Server

Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things.

It can also be about adventuring with friends or watching the sun rise over a blocky ocean. It's pretty. Brave players battle terrible things in The Nether, which is more scary than pretty. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea.

This gallery package will set up a preconfigured Minecraft server running on Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS. You can connect to it using the DNS name (e.g. of the virtual machine on port 25565.


Ahhh.... So we finally know why Microsoft has been working so hard to add Linux support to Azure... :P

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

So you want to write and publish an XBox One App? Well, you can, but...

Dave Voyles - How do I publish apps on Xbox One?

I get this question all of the time, and I end up answering it in email on a pretty consistent basis, so I thought it was about time I made a post to point developers towards.

What is the team looking for?

They are looking largely for MEDIA applications. Take a look at what is currently on there, to get a better gist. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Twitch, etc. They want experienced developers. If you haven’t written an application before, they will likely not consider you.

They prefer that you use their HTML5 / JS framework. It is based on WinJS, so basically WinJS + some Xbox One specific things. I’d *STRONGLY* encourage you to start writing your app in WinJS if you want to be considered. There is no WebGL on Xbox One’s version of IE at the moment.

Which languages can I use?

I discussed this in detail on Scott Hanselman’s podcast in February.


What types of questions will they ask?

When you reach out to them, here is what they will ask for:

They will respond with the following questions (and a few more):


There's always a but and they always stink (sorry for the boy humor... ;) So, while "Universal Apps" have a promise and we were teased about building XBox One apps a the last Build, it looks like, well you can see, it's still very controlled and selective. I guess that's good as we don't, don't, don't need a zillion XBox One Fart or Flashlight apps...

Still this bugs me a little as I REALLY want an great Weather App on my XBox One, powered via Kinect/Voice. I just want to say "XBox Weather"... A "Big Screen" Weather app could be awesome... :)

Oh and I want the XBox One to be Miracast enabled. And I want a Twitter Sidebar app. And... and... lol

XML Notepad (fka XML Notepad 2007) gets some rev love, now v2.6 (& .NET 4.0 and bug squashing)

Software Complexity - Update to XML Notepad

As  XML has exploded across the planet I continue to get many requests for improvements to my XML Notepad of 2007.  The tool has been downloaded over a million times, so I figured it's time to show it some love and fix some bugs.  In the process I updated it to NET 4.0 using VS 2013.  I was amazed how everything from back then still works, including the Unit Tests.  That is pretty amazing platform compatibility.  Windows is a great platform and Visual Studio is still best of breed for software development, and I still love C#.


You can download it from here; Welcome to Microsoft XML Notepad

Microsoft XML Notepad is a lightweight and fast tool for editing XML documents. XML has proliferated the planet and XML Notepad has been downloaded over a million times!

Or you can head over to the Project's CodePlex repo;

XML Notepad

XML Notepad provides a simple intuitive User Interface for browsing and editing XML documents.

This application is built using .NET Framework 4.0 in C#.

See XML Notepad Design for information about how this application is built.

The downloadable installer for the latest version is available.


When I find an interesting project I'll usually try to grab an Feed for it, so I can track updates, releases, etc. I was pleasantly surprised when the CodePlex feed for this project suddenly became active with check-ins, and then this official release.


Related Past Post XRef:
XML Notepad 2007 Source Now Available on CodePlex
XML Notepad 2007 2.3 Released

TFS Word Add-In is now an OSS "Sample"

Willy's Reflections - Visual Studio ALM Rangers - Team Foundation Server Word Add-in goes OSS as a “sample”

We are pleased to announce that the release of Team Foundation Server Word Add-in as a sample solution, based on a prototype, not a production solution. Moving to OSS will allow the community to use it in their own ways


Team Foundation Server Word Add-in - Version 1.2 OSS Word 2013 TFS 2013

Release Notes

Welcome to the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Word Add-in
The Team Foundation Server Word Add-In is a sample solution, based on a prototype, not a production solution. Moving to OSS will allow the community to use it in their own ways.
Review these and other solutions, if you need a production Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Word integration:

Also bookmark Visual Studio ALM Community Widgets for community widgets and tools.

Source Code
This package contains the same code which was checked in to version control when we released the source code. This is the only and last download package for this project.

Supported Environments

  • Microsoft Office Word 2013 (32-bit, 64-bit)
  • Team Foundation Server 2013 Object Model



Given the commercial products that do what this Add-in does and more, and that it had kind of been languishing for a bit, I think it's pretty cool that the ALM Ranger Team bit the bullet and instead of just killing it, released it as OSS/Prototype/Sample/Example-ware. I did have to laugh at the emphasis on "as a sample solution, based on a prototype, not a production solution." That so sounds like some of the utilities/apps/etc I've released. :)

Look, if you don't want to pay for a solution (we'll leave it aside as to why is there a supported/free Excel Add-in for TFS and not one for Word... grumble... grumble) you now have this, with the source, so run with it...


Related Past Post XRef:
From TFS to Word and back again... AIT WordToTFS 2010 (Reg-ware)
“Team for Word” hooks Word to Team Foundation Server for free (source available too, GPLv2)
Access TFS from Word 2003...

Monday, December 01, 2014

Visual Studio 2013.2+ and 2015 Child Process Debugging Power Tool

Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management - Introducing the Child Process Debugging Power Tool

We’ve heard your feedback that you want the Visual Studio debugger to support child process debugging. Child process debugging means that when the application you are debugging creates another process, Visual Studio will detect this and automatically attach a debugger to the newly created process as well. To address this we’re releasing a power tool for Visual Studio that will enable you to do just this. Some important things to note:

  • Download the tool from the Visual Studio Gallery
  • The power tool requires at least Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 (will work with any higher update version and Visual Studio 2015)
  • The tool works for both launching projects (F5), and for attaching to processes
  • It requires a native debugger. This means if you are debugging .NET code, you must choose to enable mixed mode debugging (so managed and native)—this is done from the “Debug” tab on the project properties page (for most managed project types this is done by checking the “Enable native code debugging” checkbox under the “Enable debuggers” section of the page)

Once you install the power tool from the Visual Studio Gallery, a new menu item will appear on the “Debug” menu under the “Other Debug Targets” sub-menu.




This is one of those tools where if you've wanted it you have REALLY want it, and if not, you could care less. If you are one of the "Care Less'ers," just favorite this for now, you might very well need this one day (I don't need to tell the Care'ers because they left this page at first read to go download it... :)

Two Microsoft RIP's today - Public Office 365 Sites and Office Clip Art

Microsoft Will No Longer Offer A Public Site Option in Office 365 As Of Dec/Jan

RIP: Office 365 Public Sites!

Microsoft is throwing in the towel on the Office 365 public site option. According to a Msft source, it will be removed from the Office 365 Sharepoint Online offering as of an update scheduled for Dec 2014 / Jan 2015. Existing accounts using the public site will not be affected by this dramatic change, but can expect the already lacklustre support to dwindle further.


I've seen many asking for confirmation about this, but no official response yet, so take it with a grain of salt (but it sure rings true...). The next RIP story is official...

Office Blogs - Clip Art now powered by Bing Images

Starting today, customers searching for Online Pictures in Office desktop products worldwide will view and download royalty-free images curated through Bing Images.  The Clip Art and image library has closed shop. Usage of Office’s image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines.

Bing Image Search has higher quality images that are more up-to-date. For example, searching for “cellphone” gives more variety and modern looking phones instead of the old-school bricks from Clip Art. Also, Bing uses a copyright filter based on the Creative Commons licensing system.  These are images you can use, share, or modify for either personal or commercial use (settings can be switched to Show all web results to view more images).


As I usually say when these RIP type stories come in, maybe it's better to acknowledge it's dead and kill it than let it linger on in a zombie like afterlife (insert "SilverLight" cough here...)... um yeah... I guess.

If the public Office 365 site info is true (I have one and I've not seen any notice yet) that would be kind of stinky. BUT again, if Microsoft isn't ready to truly invest in it and given how far behind they are falling in this space, maybe it is better to kill it, IF they partner with a real player and help people move their sites. If they don't help people move, that would be very Closing Google Reader of them.

Thinking about developing for Windows Phone 8.1? Here's a great learning roadmap for you...

myamama - Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Roadmap

Finally, I managed to put the time to complete the updated version of the Window Phone 8.0 Developer Roadmap and compile the Windows Phone 8.1 version of it.

For those of you who are new to such developer roadmaps, it’s simply a compilation of lots of Windows Phone 8.1 developer resources represented in hyperlinks with some checkpoints that should help you getting started with the platform (Learning, Porting, Designing, Building, Testing, Publishing, and Monetizing your app)


You can download the roadmap from here.

Kindly share with your developers and community.

Make sure you click through as the PDF is fully hyperlinked, etc....

Your Sysinternals EulaAccepted reg reference - SysinternalsEulagoogoolizer.reg

Sysinternals’ Eulagoogoolizer

Sysinternals tools are great, but since Microsoft took over most of these software gems have been Eulaized – a pretty annoying thing, especially if you want to run them on a remote system. While some of the tools now accept the accepteula command line argument, sometimes it’s just handy to accept it all in one go.

The below reg file does exactly this; you can also edit it and cherry-pick those apps you need.

Note: It will only work if you save it as SysinternalsEulagoogoolizer.reg


While the trick to REG ADD for the EulaAccepted for Sysinternals has been around for a while, Use the Sysinternals Utilities? The EULA bug dialog you? Then try this…, this post puts them all in one nice place, all ready to be reg filed.


Related Past Post XRef:
Don't make them squint, ZoomIt!
ZoomIt, the must have technical presentation tool, get’s a major update (with added Win7 coolness) – ZoomIt v4 released

"Sysinternals Primer: TechEd 2014 Edition"
Mark TechEd's you... See all four of Mark Russinovich's recent TechEd North America sessions
The “Windows Sysinternals Primer: Process Explorer, Process Monitor, and More” from TechEd 2010 North America

How-To schools you on SysInternals, "Using SysInternals Tools Like a Pro"
"Utilizing SysInternals Tools for Windows Client" - The Seven Part Series..
A "Windows Sysinternals Administrator's Reference" book by Mark Russinovich? You had me a $30 pre-order special price (and Sysinternals... and Mark Russinovich... and... )
Sysinternals 101 – “Notes from the field,” a quick intro to a few Sysinternals utilities (Process Explorer, TCPView, Process Monitor, VMMap)
Hands On Learning How to Use the Sysinternals Process Monitor Utility

Process Explorer v16.0 is out and now cooking with VirusTotal
Disk2vhd turns 2, v2.0 that is, and a few more Sysinternals utility updates
New Sysinternals utility released today, Disk2vhd v1.0 – Yes ...

A Sweet Summer Sysinternals Suite Refresh
It's a sweet suite! Windows Sysinternals Suite gets a summer refresh [August 3, 2012]...
Sysinternals Suite 2010 Refreshed - All the latest versions, one 12.4MB zip…
Sysinternals Suite Refreshed – All the latest Sysinternals Utilities, one tiny zip (well 10MB zip…)
Sysinternals Suite (8MB of Complete Sysinternals Goodness)

Mesh'ing, using Vista Scheduling and Robocopy|
A handy PowerShell script to keep your Sysinternals Suite up to date
The latest Sysinternals utilities are just a URL away,

Use the Sysinternals Utilities? The EULA bug dialog you? Then try this…

More desktops for Windows 8 with Sysinternals Desktops v2.0
It's a sunny day when we get a new Sysinternals utility...
It’s a new Sysinternals Tool Day! RAMMap v1.0 released!