Sunday, April 13, 2014

Microsoft Store is coming to a Mall near me, The Oaks in Thousand Oaks gets Microsoft'd

Kurt Shintaku's Blog - NEWS: Microsoft Store coming to Thousand Oaks, “The Oaks Mall”–May 13th, 2014

A Microsoft specialty store is opening on May 13th, 2014 at The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, CA. – one of 15 new locations coming.

Date:

  • May 13th, 2014

Location:

  • The Oaks Mall – Lower Level, near Center Court
  • 350 W. Hillcrest Dr. Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360
  • Phone: (855) 270-6581

Web Page:

[GD: Post Leached in Full]

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The closest store to me right now is Century City, which is a 405 required drive and I really hate that freeway. This new store is pretty darn close and in a Mall we go to fairly often (okay it's been many months, but still it's a heck of allot closer... :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

[Book Review] Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

The team at Packt have given me another opportunity to review one of their just released titles, Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook. As I usually do, I'm not going to give you a chapter-by-chapter review or rundown. Instead I'm going to give you my overall feelings and impressions about the book, what I liked and didn't and why you might want to check it out yourself.

Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

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  • Provides you with coverage of all the new Visual Studio 2013 features regardless of your programming language preference
  • Recipes describe how to apply Visual Studio to all areas of development: writing, debugging, and application lifecycle maintenance
  • Straightforward examples of building apps for Windows 8.1

Preface
Chapter 1: Discovering Visual Studio 2013
Chapter 2: Getting Started with Windows Store Applications
Chapter 3: Web Development – ASP.NET, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript
Chapter 4: .NET Framework 4.5.1 Development
Chapter 5: Debugging Your .NET Application
Chapter 6: Asynchrony in .NET
Chapter 7: Unwrapping C++ Development
Chapter 8: Working with Team Foundation Server 2013
Chapter 9: Languages
Appendix: Visual Studio Medley

Let's start with the bad...

I usually don't write "bad" reviews ("If you can say something nice..." and all that) and I'm not this time either. BUT you have to understand the intent of the book before you get it. Based on the title and chapter headers, I got something different than I expected and that colored my initial feelings.

Frist off, I think the book is good and has a great information, but the description and information on its page might led to confusion about its actual content.

I thought I was going to be reading a book about Visual Studio 2013, the IDE. Recipes on using it, tips and tricks for getting the most out of VS itself.

It's not that.

It's more a book about learning to cook with the new technologies available in VS 2013 than about VS 2013 itself. Does that make sense? It's more about what you can make with a stove, not really about the stove itself.

For example, here's a snip from the book's description page;

What you will learn from this book

  • Customize the editor’s new abilities to fit your development style
  • Create apps for Windows 8.1
  • Use Visual Studio to debug parallel and concurrent programs
  • Integrate .NET Framework 4.5.1 effectively
  • Learn about both the Express and premium editions of Visual Studio
  • Maximize Visual Studio's C++ tools to make development easier
  • Put TypeScript to work in your web applications
  • Protect and manage your source code with Team Foundation Server
  • Learn about Visual Studio Online

This might lead you to believe that the book is indeed about VS itself. I know I thought so. But then see the lines, "Create apps for Windows 8.1 " and "Put TypeScript to work in your web applications." THAT is what I talking about as being what you can make with VS 2013, not being about VS 2013 itself. And a many of the chapters are like this. Using VS 2013 to build WinStore App's from a template, creating a WCF Service, Adding a Ribbon to a WPF App, etc, etc.

Don't get me wrong, there are many parts that help you learn to use VS 2013, but my impression is it's 50/50, VS verses Cooking with VS...

My suggestion to you is too really read the FULL chapter descriptions and check out the preview before purchase, so you understand what you are jumping into. DON'T be like me and stop at the chapter headers, but continue on down the page and look at the chapter contents.

Enough whining, now the Good...

If taken as a "What can I Cook with VS 2013," this book provides a great survey of many of the new capabilities and features now available. The cookbook format is used well and provides nice bite sized chunks of digestible information.

The book is also very current and up to date. For example, the name change of SkyDrive to OneDrive is noted in the book. Also VS 2013 Update 2 Beta is  mentioned (not VS 2013 Update RC of course, as that was just announced last week)

The breadth of covered technology is also nice. WPF, WCF, WinStore, TFS, etc is all covered. It's a great survey of what you can do with VS 2013.

Should you get it?

If you have VS 2012 and are wondering what you can do once you VS 2013, looking for reasons why to upgrade, this looks like a great book. Again, make sure you look at the chapter details, but if you are using VS 2012 and are trying to convince someone, yourself, co-workers, boss, etc on why you might want to upgrade, what you'll be able to build and do once you get it, yeah, you should look a long close look at picking this book up.

 

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.

Related Past Post XRef:
[Book Review Preview] Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Roslyn gets Mono

http://tirania.org/blog/ - Mono and Roslyn

Last week, Microsoft open sourced Roslyn, the .NET Compiler Platform for C# and VB.

Roslyn is an effort to create a new generation of compilers written in managed code. In addition to the standard batch compiler, it contains a compiler API that can be used by all kinds of tools that want to understand and manipulate C# source code.

...

Roslyn on Mono

At BUILD, we showed Roslyn running on Mono. If you want to run your own copy of Roslyn today, you need to use both a fresh version of Mono, and apply a handful of patches to Roslyn [2].

...

Adopting Roslyn: Mono SDK

Our goal is to keep track of Roslyn as it is being developed, and when it is officially released, to bundle Roslyn's compilers with Mono [6].

But in addition, this will provide an up-to-date and compliant Visual Basic.NET compiler to Unix platforms.

Our plans currently are to keep both compilers around, and we will implement the various C# 6.0 features into Mono's C# compiler.

...

Mono Project and Roslyn

Our goal is to contribute fixes to the Roslyn team to make sure that Roslyn works great on Unix systems, and hopefully to provide bug reports and bug fixes as time goes by.

We are very excited about the release of Roslyn, it is an amazing piece of technology and one of the most sophisticated compiler designs available. A great place to learn great C# idioms and best practices [5], and a great foundation for great tooling for C# and VB.

Thanks to everyone at Microsoft that made this possible, and thanks to everyone on the Roslyn team for starting, contributing and delivering such an ambitious project.

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VB.Net on Linux? Awesome. Xamarin really is exciting to watch. I love those guys (and it's not just the free booze from their Build talking either... well.. much... ;)

First Moon meal was? [Drum roll...] Bacon!

Gizmodo - Bacon Was the First Thing Ever Eaten on the Moon

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Setting foot on the moon for the first time was perhaps one of the biggest technological, scientific and political achievements of our age. So what better way to celebrate, after exploring that new lunar landscape, than with bacon?

...

Image by Orin under Creative Commons license

Popular Science - When Bacon Flew to the Moon; or, #spacebacon

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The first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, had the least variety in its meals. But bacon was a key food in three out of four breakfasts. The astronauts’ first meal on days 1, 5, and 9 of the flight consisted of peaches, eight bacon squares, cinnamon toasted bread cubes, and breakfast drink. Breakfast on days 4 and 8 were with Canadian Bacon and applesauce, strawberry cereal cubes, cinnamon toasted bread cubes, and more breakfast drink. Only days 3, 7, and 11 were bacon free.

And, it seems, the crew liked the bacon squares. Towards the end of the eleven-day mission, Walt Cunningham commented to Capcom Bill Pogue during breakfast that “Happiness is a package of bacon squares on day 10.” Bacon squares may have been a hit, but on the whole the crew came home feeling like they’d brought too much food that was too sweet.

...

The bacon squares that were a staple on Apollo missions actually predate the lunar program; they debuted during Gemini mission where they were a breakfast staple. And bacon squares lived on after Apollo. In the 1990s, NASA astronauts also had bacon squares as part of their meal options. A meal plan from 2002, however, had a distinct lack of bacon. Today on the ISS, the closest thing astronauts have is a freeze-dried sausage pattie they rehydrate with hot water.

Sources: NASA; All Apollo mission press kits (Apollos 7-17); All Apollo spacecraft and air-to-ground transcripts (Apollos 7-17). Thanks to William Jeffs for the update on sausage patties in space. And for those interested, here's a list of common foods eaten on Apollo missions.

Bacon, the astronaut approved meal... ummm.... bacon...

19 Tips and Thoughts Toward Developer Productivity

Jon Gallant - My Thoughts on Developer Productivity

The best developers optimize every aspect of their lives. Optimization is built into their DNA. We are always looking for ways to not repeat ourselves and strive to make everything we do faster. Everything from doing the dishes to serialization. If it’s not as fast as it possibly could be, then we spend countless hours making it so. Now as a manager I get to code a bit, but a big part of what I’m responsible for is optimizing developer productivity. I have a long way to go, but I have definitely improved as a manager over the last 10 years, so I thought I would share what I have learned. Hopefully this will help the newbie and seasoned managers alike.

SNAGHTML628d9b4

Hours

The first thing you want to do is set the expectation that your developers will be working very long hours. They should be working from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep. If not coding that whole time, they should at least be thinking about code. I find it best to set mandatory in-office core hours from 8am to 8pm. That way they get in a solid 12 hours a day in the office and then they can make up the remaining 4 hours of their 16 hour day on their own time. It’s fine if they chose to come in earlier or stay later, but everyone must be in their office for core hours. Try roaming the halls at the start and end of each day and take notes on who is and isn’t in their office. That way you know who the really productive people are. You could also go the punch card route or you could require them to install a service that monitors their activity and alerts you when they aren’t meeting their numbers.

Meetings

....

Do not do “No meeting Fridays” or “No meeting afternoons” and put a 30-60 minute gap in between meetings so they can get a good 20 minutes of coding time in between them. At the end of the day they should spend 80% of their time in meetings and 20% of their time developing.

WFH

Working from home?….it should be…..“Xboxing from home” because you know that’s what they are doing all day. It’s a trick. Don’t fall for it. You can let them have every other Sunday to themselves if they are hitting their “lines of code” count and code coverage percentage for the month. But, never on a regular basis.

When someone says they need to work from home immediately schedule an early morning meeting and require them to be there in person.

Software

Cloud

DevOps

Hardware

Process

Quality

TIP (Testing In Production) is cool, but TIP-WAU (Testing In Production With Actual Users) is even cooler. If you want to know where the bugs are in your software then just ship it. Users will report any bugs. That way you don’t need to distract developers from what they do best...creating new features. Those new features may break other features, but as long as the new feature somewhat works it’s all good.

Rewards

Fun

Furniture

Food

Personal

Reviews

Training

Credit

Vision

Visions are overrated. You want to keep them guessing about what you are thinking. ...

Attrition?

...

The above was fun to write, but it is obviously very bad advice. Keep reading to see my honest take on developer productivity.

SNAGHTML6292e1e

Hours

On my team the expectation is that you’ll work roughly 8 hours a day, but it is very self-managed. Some days you’ll work 10, some days you’ll work 6. I never track developer hours. The code you produce speaks for itself. I work an hour or so in the morning, get in around 9:30, leave at 4:30, then I’m back at it for a bit before I go to sleep. That allows me to eat breakfast and dinner with my family on a regular basis.

...

The funny part, in a sad way, is I'm not sure which is more valid in the real world, the first set or the last... :/

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Providing your users some DBaaS (that's Database as a Service)

Microsoft Downloads - Database as a Service Reference Architecture Guide: SQL Server 2014

Explains how to build an infrastructure for hosting Microsoft SQL Server Database as a Service by using the features of SQL Server 2014 and Hyper-V virtual machines with Microsoft System Center 2012.

Version: April 2014

Date Published: 4/7/2014

Database Hosting Reference Architecture Guide_SQL_2014.docx, 302 KB

This guide explains how to build an infrastructure for hosting Microsoft SQL Server Database as a Service (DBaaS). By using the features of SQL Server 2014 and Hyper-V virtual machines with Microsoft System Center 2012, a hosting service provider can start with very small tenant databases and scale to meet the needs of the largest and busiest SQL Server applications. This reference architecture includes information about hardware, software, system design, and component configuration.

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1 Overview

This guide to building the infrastructure for hosting Microsoft® SQL Server® Database as a Service (DBaaS) is not limited to a particular type of hardware. By using the features of SQL Server 2014 and Hyper-V® virtual machines with Microsoft System Center 2012, a hosting service provider can start with very small tenant databases and scale out or scale up to meet the needs of the largest and busiest SQL Server applications. This reference architecture includes hardware, software, system design, and component configuration.

2 Hosted Services

Database as a Service, for the purposes of this reference architecture, is a multitenant offering with isolation at the SQL Server database level. Many tenants can share an instance of SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition, each tenant with its own database. SQL Servers are hosted on Hyper-V virtual machines running Windows Server® 2012 R2 or using Windows® Core services. Hyper-V virtual machines are managed and monitored by System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager and Operations Manager.

A hosted service provider (HSP), the intended audience for this guide, may offer a single server or many hundreds or thousands of servers. Servers may be in the same data center or distributed across data centers for load balancing and disaster recovery.

As an HSP, you make individual SQL Server databases available to the tenant with an agreed-upon maximum size and an agreed-upon amount of resources available. You are responsible for maintaining the SQL Server instance, the virtual host, and the physical host compute, network, and storage infrastructure.

You can secure a single instance of SQL Server easily. When you use the Partially Contained Database and Contained Users features of SQL Server 2014, a database can be made into a secure environment. Users cannot access other databases or the metadata about tenant databases.

You can also use the SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Resource Governor to prevent a single user or a single tenant from using too much of the available resources, and resource usage can be balanced among tenants.

In a SQL Server 2014 DBaaS environment, each tenant is responsible for the data in his SQL Server database. Tenants create the database architecture consisting of objects that store data and application code to maintain and search data and return results to clients. Within the database, a tenant database administrator (DBA) can set permissions enabling subsets of tenant users and groups to carry out these tasks.

The architecture of the database and how well the tenant optimizes code that performs searches will have a direct impact on performance and resource usage. You may wish to offer services to help tenants to optimize design and code to improve response times and minimize resource usage.

As the HSP, you are responsible for Windows and SQL Server maintenance and your standard agreement to provide hosted SQL Server services should define your maintenance windows. You may patch SQL Server and Windows on the virtual and physical hosts, migrate the database to a new virtual machine host when resource requirements require it, and migrate the virtual machine to a new physical host during routine maintenance.

You may also perform certain database-level services on behalf of the tenant, such as running scheduled jobs and backups. Scheduled jobs can run common maintenance tasks like Update Statistics or large scale data modification and aggregation, such as month-end processing. You may also make tools, such as an API or a self-service control panel, available to the tenant to manage such jobs while restricting the tenant’s access to only the data she needs.

You can automate provisioning services by using management APIs and offer features like self-service provisioning to your customers. Such services reduce operational expenses for both you and your tenants.

You can monitor usage at a very detailed level with tools like Microsoft System Center Operations Manager and the SQL Server Management Pack. Tenants can be billed according to very broad guidelines or for only what they use.

Customers will see lower capital expenditures and total cost of ownership when they consolidate database servers, reduce the proliferation of on-premises applications, and share the cost of administrative expertise with other tenants. Tenants can take advantage of advanced solutions without having to buy and administer an entire enterprise solution.

By leasing SQL Server DBaaS, the tenant can pay for only those resources required for an application with the option to scale up in the future. There is no need to over-provision for what might or might not happen in the future, because when more capacity is needed, the hardware will be available.

...

While targeted at hosted service provider, I still think this has value for large organizations or those dealing with SQL Server Sprawl... SQL Server Enterprise isn't cheap, so ensuring that you're using it to its maximum is important for everyone. IT groups like to say they are "service providers." Doing something like this makes that a real statement, without them giving away the keys to the store...

Here comes the Sun? The Cloud is becoming less scary for businesses, according to this survey at least...

eDiscovery Daily Blog - Cloud Security Fears Diminish With Experience - eDiscovery Trends

One of the more common trends identified by thought leaders in our recently concluded thought leader series was the continued emergence of the cloud as a viable solution to manage corporate big data.  One reason for that appears to be greater acceptance of cloud security.  Now, there’s a survey that seems to confirm that trend.

...

Forbes - Cloud Security Fears Diminish With Experience, Survey Shows

Security is always the leading fear among companies just starting to dip their toes into the cloud computing realm. However, as time passes and they gain experience, their security worries vanish.

That’s one of the takeaways from a recent survey of 1,068 companies conducted by RightScale, Inc. The survey’s authors report that while the benefits of the cloud increase with experience, the challenges of cloud show a sharp decrease as organizations gain expertise with cloud. Close to one-third of executives and professionals who have not yet implemented cloud say security is their top concern, a number that diminishes to 13 percent of seasoned, heavy users of cloud services (and is only the fifth-ranked concern on their list).

One-fourth of respondents did not have clouds in place, while another 22 percent were seasoned cloud veterans, the survey finds. The reduced concern about security reflects a comfort level that increases as the time spent with cloud engagements increases. That doesn’t mean slacking off on security, of course — ultimately, security is the responsibility of the end-user company.

...

Rightscale - 2014 State of the Cloud Report: See the Latest Trends on Cloud Adoption

The RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report includes data and analysis on cloud adoption by enterprises and SMEs in a dozen industries.

Download the report to find out:

  • How you compare in cloud adoption relative to other companies
  • What progress enterprises are making in the journey to hybrid cloud.
  • Key challenges in enterprise cloud strategy and governance.
  • How DevOps and Self-Service IT align with cloud initiatives.
  • Why competition among cloud providers is heating up and how you can benefit.

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Executive Summary

In February 2014, RightScale surveyed 1068 technical professionals across a broad cross-section of organizations about their adoption of cloud computing.

The 2014 State of the Cloud Survey identified several key findings:

Cloud adoption reaches ubiquity.
• 94 percent of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service.
• 87 percent of organizations are using public cloud.

Hybrid cloud is the approach of choice.
• 74 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy and more than half of those are already using both public and private cloud.

Enterprise cloud governance lags adoption.
• Less than a third of organizations have defined such critical aspects of governance as which clouds can be used, disaster recovery approaches, and cost management.

The challenge of cloud security is abating.
• The number of respondents who regard cloud security as a significant challenge has decreased among both cloud beginners and cloud pros.

Next-generation IT shapes up as Cloud + DevOps + Self-Service IT.
• Cloud-focused companies embrace DevOps (71 percent) and Self-Service IT (68 percent).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to dominate public cloud adoption, while other vendors battle for second place. Key findings include:
• AWS adoption is 54 percent – 4x the nearest competitor.
• Rackspace Public Cloud is second within the SMB segment.
• IaaS offerings from Google and Microsoft are gaining the interest of cloud users, with Azure leading among enterprises and Google Cloud Platform among small and midsize organizations.

The battle among private cloud technologies is shaping up as a clash of cultures between the open-source OpenStack and proprietary solutions from VMware. Findings include:
• Thirty-one percent of enterprise respondents view their VMware vSphere/vCenter environments as a private cloud.
• OpenStack is well positioned to unseat vSphere in private cloud – coming in first in interest and second in current usage.
• Microsoft System Center is waiting in the wings with a strong third position among enterprise users.

...

Key for this post, "The challenge of cloud security is abating." Interesting thing is that I got the same feeling in talking with my co- attendees at Build, that there's a growth in acceptance, usage and interest. interest was VERY high at the individual level, with many talking about how they are going to use their MSDN Azure allowance to at least play with it...

Heartbleed in eight minutes, what it is, it's impact and more, Khan Academy style

TechCrunch - What Is Heartbleed? The Video

You’ve probably heard about Heartbleed. You’ve probably been told that, as far as security vulnerabilities go on the Internet, it’s pretty damned scary.

But what is Heartbleed? How does it work? Why is it something that you should care about? This Khan Academy-style* video tries to break it all down.

Made by Zulfikar Ramzan, MIT Ph.D. and CTO of cloud security firm Elastica, this video does a great job of explaining the bug at a pretty high level. Its still got a whole lot of acronyms and jargon thrown into the mix (so don’t expect an Explain-Like-I’m-Five explanation here), but it does a good job of explaining the bug’s ins and outs in a way that more people should be able to grasp. [GD: Post leached in full]

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Don't know if you've been following this, that the OpenSSL/Heartbeat/Heartbleed apocalypse is upon us, or not, but if you're like me and want a short brief about what the heck is going on, what it is and why it actually is pretty darn scary, this video is a must watch.

Windows 8.1 Update for your business users, four videos and a hand-out

Microsoft Downloads - Windows 8.1 Update how-to videos for business users

A series of short videos designed for business users to learn about basic Windows 8.1 features and capabilities via guided, step-by-step instruction. These videos can be used as self-learning tools for users and facilitate Windows 8.1 adoption.

Date Published: 4/2/2014

Windows 8.1 Update_How-to Videos for Business Users.zip, 256.9 MB

Windows 8.1 brings together devices, apps and services so that they work intelligently and are a beautiful fit for the way your live and work. Put what matters most right on your Start screen, and get instant access to your favorite apps, sites, and more, so you can spend less time searching and more time doing. Whether you’re collaborating on a large project, preparing for an upcoming conference, or traveling for work, you can use touch, mouse, and keyboard together–seamlessly–to do what you want, the way you want. This quick guide will show you how to get around, navigate, manage apps, work on desktop, and personalize your Windows 8.1.

Rob notes that the zip contains these four videos;

  1. Welcome To Windows
  2. The Charms
  3. The Familiar Desktop
  4. Customizing your Windows

(via The blog of Rob Margel - Windows Help - Download 4 Windows 8.1 Update how-to videos for business users)

Microsoft Downloads - Windows 8.1 Update Power User Guide for Business

This 20 pages brochure-type guide is designed for end-users who want to learn more about the advanced features of Windows 8.1, such as Taskbar customization, Task Manager, Internet Explorer 11, Mobility Center, Windows To Go, Miracast, OneDrive for Business, and File Explorer. Power users will enjoy learning about how they can get the most out of their Windows 8.1 devices

Date Published: 4/2/2014

Windows_8_1_Power User Guide.pdf, 876 KB

With the new Windows, you have everything you need to work efficiently. Your familiar desktop is better than ever with advanced functionalities, like the new Task Manager and streamlined file management. Internet Explorer 11 gives you instant and fluid access to the world. And best of all, you can do it all feeling confident that your important data is secure. With the advanced features of Windows 8.1, you can get the most out of your device.

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Now that Windows 8.1 Update is rolling out everywhere and people see how it makes Windows 8.1 that much more mouse/keyboard friendly, there's going to be somewhat less friction in getting it into the enterprise. These videos and guide will help you easy your training burden.

These are also pretty great for friends and family too... :)

(via The blog of Rob Margel - Windows Help - Download the Windows 8.1 Update Power User Guide)

"Visual Studio 2013 Succinctly" free [reg-ware] now available from... you guessed it, Syncfusion

Syncfusion eBooks - Visual Studio 2013 Succinctly

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Visual Studio 2013 brings many new improvements to the popular integrated development environment, including the long-awaited synchronized settings and notifications. With author Alessandro Del Sole as your guide, you will learn how to harness these features for increased productivity and efficiency. For novices and returning experts alike, Visual Studio 2013 Succinctly offers a point of entry into one of Microsoft’s most powerful tools.

Table of Contents

  1. Synchronized Settings and Notifications
  2. The Start Page Revisited
  3. Code Editor Improvements
  4. IntelliSense Improvements
  5. Visual Studio 2013 for the Web and Windows Azure
  6. New and Enhanced Tools for Debugging
  7. Visual Studio 2013 for Windows 8.1

125 pages of succinctly Visual Studio 2013 information.

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BTW, if you like this, make sure you check out this Build 2014 sessionTips and Tricks in Visual Studio 2013. Like this eBook, this session is pretty "dense," fast paced and filled with a ton of great tips...

(via Tatworth - Free book from Syncfusion on Visual Studio 2013 Succinctly)

Monday, April 07, 2014

Mads Must Have Web Dev Visual Studio Extensions List

Mads Kristensen - Visual Studio extensions for web developers

This year at the //build/ conference I gave a session on Visual Studio Web Tools and Web Essentials. It’s now online on Channel 9 in case you want to watch it.

I was using a few extensions that are great for any web developer using Visual Studio 2013. I’ve compiled the list of extensions here and added a few additional ones that are really useful as well.

  • Web Essentials
  • SideWaffle
  • File Nesting
  • WebJobsVS
  • SlowCheetah – XML transforms
  • GruntLauncher
  • Mexedge Stylesheet Extension
  • PHP Tools for Visual Studio
  • Cobisi Routing Assistant
  • CssCop – FxCop for Stylesheets
  • Node.js Tools for Visual Studio

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[Click through for the descriptions and download links]

Must review list of Visual Studio extensions for those who Web Dev (or who want too). If there's anyone who's a good curator for these kinds of extensions, it's Mads, so check them out... you still here?

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 lets you build your own Scaffolder

.NET Web Development and Tools Blog - Creating a Custom Scaffolder for Visual Studio

With the release of Visual Studio 2013 last October, we introduced the concept of Scaffolding to Web Application projects. Scaffolding is the framework on which code generation for MVC and WebAPI is built. For more information on Scaffolding or the MVC Scaffolders check the following blog post: http://www.asp.net/visual-studio/overview/2013/aspnet-scaffolding-overview.

However, the true potential for the scaffolding framework comes from the new extensibility surface released in Update 2. With this new functionality, any VSIX can code against the Scaffolding API surface and have their scaffolds added to the Add New Scaffold Dialog. This blog post will walk through the creation of a custom scaffolder.

To get started make sure you have the following installed on your machine:

Creating a New Scaffolder Project Using Sidewaffle

  1. Go to create a new project.
  2. Click on the C#->Extensibility->Sidewaffle Node.
  3. Select new “Basic Scaffolder”.
  4. Input the desired name of your Scaffolder.
  5. Create the Project.

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...

Next Steps

Now that you have the basics of creating a scaffolder down, here are some additional resources for what to do next:

Additionally you can look to create more complex scaffolders using the following services:

  • ICategoryRegistrationService – to add new Categories in the Add Scaffold Dialog

  • IServiceRegistrar – to add new ActionServices that you can invoke during scaffolding

  • IRollbackService – to make the services registered above be able to use the Scaffolding rollback feature

  • The Scaffolding.EntityFramework dll – to help with the processing of EF models (this is used by the MVC and WebAPI Entity Framework Scaffolders to create the controllers and for MVC the views)

ASP.NET Scaffolding in Visual Studio 2013

Overview

ASP.NET Scaffolding is a code generation framework for ASP.NET Web applications. Visual Studio 2013 includes pre-installed code generators for MVC and Web API projects. You add scaffolding to your project when you want to quickly add code that interacts with data models. Using scaffolding can reduce the amount of time to develop standard data operations in your project.

...

Tutorials

To customize the generated files, see How to customize the generated files from the New Scaffolded Item dialog.

For an example of using scaffolding with Database First development, see EF Database First with ASP.NET MVC.

For an example of using scaffolding in an MVC project, see Getting Started with ASP.NET MVC 5.

For an example of using scaffolding in a Web API project, see Create a REST API with Attribute Routing in Web API 2.

This was pretty lost in the Build news stream, but I think this is going to spawn some very interesting Extensions in the near future.

Succinctly eBook of the Day: "Twitter Bootstrap Succinctly" [Reg-ware]

SyncFusion Succinctly eBook Shelf - Twitter Bootstrap Succinctly

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Twitter Bootstrap (TWB) is a free front-end framework built by Twitter developers to ensure visual and functional consistency across websites and applications. In Twitter Bootstrap Succinctly, Peter Shaw explains what makes up a consistent, attractive UI, and why having one is important. He then walks you through the basics of adding beautiful, user-friendly components to your projects with only a few lines of HTML and CSS. You'll learn how to add TWB to an existing project, and use it to customize attractive buttons, tabs, breadcrumbs, dropdowns, and more. There are even chapters dedicated to optional JavaScript and TWB extensions for when you're ready to take your UI's appearance a step further.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Twitter Bootstrap?
  2. Adding Bootstrap to Your Project
  3. Twitter Bootstrap Scaffolding
  4. Twitter Bootstrap Base CSS Classes
  5. Forms
  6. Buttons
  7. Components
  8. Twitter Bootstrap JavaScript
  9. Extending Bootstrap

If you've been hearing about Bootstrap but weren't sure what it was or how to get started with it [insert usual "this ebook is for you" statement here]

(via expression{web.blog} - Twitter Bootstrap Succinctly)

Free eBook of the Day: "Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014 - Technical Overview" [Keyword: "Overview"]

Microsoft Press - Free ebook: Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014

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We’re pleased to announce our next free ebook – Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014 – by Ross Mistry and Stacia Misner.

Introduction

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 is the next generation of Microsoft’s information platform, with new features that deliver faster performance, expand capabilities in the cloud, and provide powerful business insights. In this book, we explain how SQL Server 2014 incorporates in-memory technology to boost performance in online transactional processing (OLTP) and data-warehouse solutions. We also describe how it eases the transition from on-premises solutions to the cloud with added support for hybrid environments. SQL Server 2014 continues to include components that support analysis, although no major new features for business intelligence were included in this release. However, several advances of note have been made in related technologies such as Microsoft Excel 2013, Power BI for Office 365, HDInsight, and PolyBase, and we describe these advances in this book as well.

Who should read this book?

This book is for anyone who has an interest in SQL Server 2014 and wants to understand its capabilities. Many new improvements have been made to SQL Server 2014, but in a book of this size we cannot cover every improvement in its entirety—or cover every feature that distinguishes SQL Server from other databases or SQL Server 2014 from previous versions. Consequently, we assume that you have some familiarity with SQL Server already. You might be a database administrator (DBA), an application developer, a business intelligence solution architect, a power user, or a technical decision maker. Regardless of your role, we hope that you can use this book to discover the features in SQL Server 2014 that are most beneficial to you. [GD: Post Leached in Full]

You heard that SQL Server 2014 became available for download last week, April 1st (no fooling), right? And now that it's available, you're ready to really invest a little time and learn more about it? This free ebook is for you then...

Get it from the Microsoft Virtual Academy eBook Shelf

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I'm cheating a little, but here are the direct download links...

Here are some snaps from the PDF;

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Who should read this book?
This book is for anyone who has an interest in SQL Server 2014 and wants to understand its capabilities. Many new improvements have been made to SQL Server 2014, but in a book of this size we cannot cover every improvement in its entirety—or cover every feature that distinguishes SQL Server from other databases or SQL Server 2014 from previous versions. Consequently, we assume that you have some familiarity with SQL Server already. You might be a database administrator (DBA), an application developer, a business intelligence solution architect, a power user, or a technical decision maker. Regardless of your role, we hope that you can use this book to discover the features in SQL Server 2014 that are most beneficial to you.

Assumptions
We assume that you have at least a minimal understanding of SQL Server from both a database administrator’s perspective and a business-intelligence perspective, including a general understanding of Microsoft Excel, which is often used with SQL Server. In addition, having a basic understanding of Windows Azure is helpful for getting the most from the topics associated with private, public, and hybrid-cloud solutions.

Who should not read this book
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of this book is to provide readers with a high-level preview of the capabilities and features of SQL Server 2014. This book is not intended to be a step-by-step, comprehensive guide.

Related Past Post XRef:
Six videos toward helping you upgrade your inner DBA to SQL Server 2014'ness
SQL Server 2014 RTM's, available for download on the worse possible day (no fooling)?
"SQL Server 2014 Developer Training Kit"
"Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP1 Product Guide" - One new SQL Server, 12 PDF's...
"How the heck is Hekaton part of SQL Server 2014..." More on SQL Server 2014's In-Memory Tech
Can you Hekaton? Intro to the SQL Server 2014 Analysis, Migration and Reporting tool...
Playing with SQL Server 2014 (and VS2013) the Azure VM way
Dev:"But it's new and shinny! Let's upgrade!" DBA:"Over my..." - Preparing to upgrade your SQL Server
TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bug Me at Build!

Posts will be light this week, I'm at Build, attending sessions, networking, (cough... hung over from the parties... cough), etc.

If you're there and see me, please say Hi. Heck, I might even buy you a beer or three! :)

If you see this guy around, again, introduce yourself and lets geek for bit.

Profile-Shaved-500x473

Won't be there? You can catch much of it streamed live, or the sessions 24-48 hours after they given. The live streams will be on the Channel 9 homepage, http://channel9.msdn.com/ and the on-demand sessions, http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"What is Open Source..." the LEGO movie

What is Open Source explained in LEGO

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Have you ever wondered - What is open source?

We made this stop motion video in an attempt to explain it for anyone. This, simply to help scale the positive principles within the open source paradigm.
The video itself is open for everyone to use, modify and share. So feel free to do that!

We made this video to explain the idea of Open Source. We wanted it to be easy to understand - even for people with no prior knowledge of Open Source or Free Software. However, history is never simple. We can only urge people to do further research into the history and as such the development of open source.

Kræn Hansen wrote this blogpost to explain our thoughts behind the video: http://blog.bitblueprint.com/now-anyone-can-help-everyone-understand-open-source/

Please visit http://bitblueprint.com/ for more information on how to apply the open source paradigm to your organization. Visit http://movingmonday.com/ if you want to learn more about this awesome video production!...

If you're having a problem getting the idea of open source across, there's nothing like a fun video to help... and hey, it's LEGO's!

(via 404 Tech Support - Explaining Open Source with LEGO)

Search SQL scripts simply with the SQL Scripts SSMS plugin

simple talk - Tony Davis - D.R.Y. with SQL Scripts

Developers strive to write well-tested, reusable code with well-defined interfaces so that when they need to update the functionality, they need do so in one place only. It is the principle of ‘Don’t Repeat Yourself’ (D.R.Y.).

However, it is common for developers to be poor at applying D.R.Y. to their own past work. When it comes time to implement some complex new routine, a faint bell rings in their mind…didn’t I write something similar for that CRM project? What year was that…? If a brute-force search through their chaotic script archive doesn’t unearth it, within a few minutes, they then roll up sleeves, crack knuckles and set about writing it again from scratch, convinced they will do a better job of it this time, anyway: And, after all, it’s fun.

However, what if you really don’t have time to write the code from scratch, or need some pointers to get started? You might trawl a few of your favorite blogs, or find something on Stack Overflow. After all, many developers and DBAs blog all sorts of snippets and scripts, suggesting hopefully that they may be useful to others, but admitting that their main motivation is to know where to come the next time they need it themselves!

Another option, when in need of SQL code, is to search a public script archive such as the one on SQLServerCentral.com. This always used to be a tricky operation. If, for example, we wanted a string-splitting function, we’d need to type into Google something like ‘site:www.sqlservercentral.com/Scripts/ list split‘. Now it is so much easier, with the addition of a small SSMS plug-in called SQL Scripts.

...

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In addition, you can search the whole archive directly from within SSMS, as well as add scripts to your briefcase and to the archive as a whole.

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If you’re an occasional or frequent miner of the SSC script archive, we’d love you to try out SQL Scripts and let us know what you think. How much might it help you reuse the code of others, as well as find and reuse your own?

We just don't see SSMS plugins often enough. This one looks interesting and pretty useful for both the DBA and SQL Dev...

Making your application stand out... LEGO'ize your resume!

technabob - LEGO Job Application Set: You Just Lost Your Chances with Mega Bloks, Kid

If you work in HR and you start receiving LEGOs with resumes, blame – or thank – Leah aka Pastlightspeed. The Redditor and aspiring intern wanted to stand out to prospective employers, so she made a LEGO version of herself along with matching packaging and a pamphlet. I guess she’ll be known as LEGO Leah wherever she gets hired.

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It’s not in these pictures, but Leah said she also wrote assembly instructions that also highlighted her skills.

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How awesome it that! Forget resume infographics, papercraft, etc. Imagine crafting yourself and resume as a LEGO project. That's just cool... Why can't I think of stuff like this? (Not that I need a job... um... err.... um... yeah.... ;)

NuGet, Open Wrap, NPanday, Chocolatey, Chewie, Ninite, top Package/Dependency Management for .Net tools

Visual Studio Magazine - 6 Top .NET Package- and Dependency-Management Tools

They may not be sexy, but package managers are an integral part of every developer's work -- using the right ones can make you more productive. Read on to find out what -- and where -- they are.

...

For the app developer or system admin, however, the process of getting utilities, libraries and frameworks installed, along with any required dependencies -- particularly when dealing with the huge ecosystem of open source software -- represents a bigger problem. And this is where package management comes to the rescue.

Package managers help you download, install, configure and update software "packages" from repositories. A package contains the software itself (possibly as source), plus metadata specifying the locations of any dependencies that need to be installed and instructions for automatic compilation, when necessary.

... Here are some great package- and dependency-management tools created specifically for Windows-based development.

...

NuGet
NuGet is probably the best-known package and dependency manager for, in Redmond's words, "the Microsoft development platform including .NET." As with the other tools I've mentioned here, NuGet helps you find, install, update and remove packages. However, similar to CocoaPods, NuGet focuses primarily on package and dependency management at the development-project level.

...

Open Wrap
OpenWrap is another popular open source package-management sytem for .NET programmers. Created by Sebastien Lambla, OpenWrap is command-line only and supports both OpenWrap and NuGet packages. OpenWrap also includes ReSharper integration, so ReSharper knows about the packages you've installed and doesn't throw up spurious warnings.

...

NPanday
NPanday is an Apache Incubator project "to integrate Apache Maven into .NET development environments." Maven is more of a build-automation and dependency-management tool, and also developed more specifically for Java-based development, but developers have figured out how to Maven build for .NET applications.

...

Chocolatey NuGet
So, those are the big, established players in package management on Windows. But they're not the only options. Chocolatey is a general-purpose "tools enabler" and "silent application installer" for Windows, modeled after apt-get.

...

Chewie
Chewie is yet another NuGet offshoot that attempts to incorporate some features of the Ruby Bundler gem manager into the package\-management workflow on Windows.

...

Ninite
OK, Ninite isn't really a package manager in any typical sense of the word, and unlike the rest of the apps I've discussed, it's neither open source itself nor open source focused. But it is a handy utility and it does fall into the same general category as apt-get and Chocolatey.

...

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You mean there's more than NuGet? No, say it's not so! Kidding aside, this is a great article of tools you might not of heard of before. Make sure you click through to read the details.

Jetting to the new home of ManagedEsent, a new v1.9 and MSDN Doc's too!

JET - Welcome to the home of the JET (aka ESE or ESENT) team

The Extensible Storage Engine (ESE/ESENT), also known as JET Blue, is an Indexed Sequential Access Method (ISAM)data storage technology. Its purpose is to allow applications to store and retrieve data via indexed and sequential access.

ESE provides transacted data update and retrieval. A crash recovery mechanism is provided so that data consistency is maintained even in the event of a system crash. Transactions in ESE are highly concurrent making ESE suitable for server and client applications. ESE caches data intelligently to ensure high performance access to data. In addition, ESE is lightweight making it suitable for auxiliary applications.

The ESE Runtime (ESENT.DLL) has shipped in every Windows release since Windows NT 3.5, with native x64 version of the ESE runtime shipping with x64 versions as well (including IA64), and ARM. ESE is available on Windows, all flavors (server and client) and SKUs....

JET - ManagedEsent 1.9.0.1 is released

... To download the latest ManagedEsent version, visit the nuget project page at http://www.nuget.org/packages/ManagedEsent/

JET - ManagedESENT documentation now available on MSDN!

Check out the new ManagedESENT documentation on MSDN at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dn375980(v=exchg.10).aspx. This documentation covers over 300 public methods exposed by ManagedESENT.

How is the ManagedESENT library different than ESENT?

ESENT is an embeddable, transactional database engine that allows you to create custom applications that need reliable, high-performance, low-overhead storage of data. The ESENT engine can help with data needs that range from something as simple as a hash table that is too large to store in memory, to something more complex, such as an application with tables, columns, and indexes. To create an application with ESENT, you use the esent.dll DLL that is part of the Windows operating system and write your code with C/C++. For more information about ESENT, see Extensible Storage Engine Reference.

ManagedESENT is built on top of esent.dll, which is part of Windows, so there are no extra unmanaged binaries to download and install. With the ManagedESENT library, you can create your application by using a managed language such as C# instead of C/C++. ...

Extensible Storage Engine Managed Reference

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If you're using ManagedEsent, have heard of it but haven't started yet, or never heard of it before, you've got a new shiny blog, NuGet version and doc resource...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Easing into the Extensible Storage Engine on Windows 8 with ManagedEsent v1.8
ESE C#/C++ Toolkit v1.2 for Microsoft Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) (ESE is the database engine that's been in the box since Windows 2000)
Did you know Windows (since Windows Server 2000) comes with a transactional database engine already baked into the OS, which you can use in your applications today, no download required?
Managed ESENT v1 released – Managed/.Net access to the free embedded database (“Extensible Storage Engine/ESE”) that ships with Windows

"Explore SharePoint 2013" eBook (Not a market-book, but complication of TechNet articles)

Microsoft Downloads - Downloadable eBook: Explore SharePoint 2013

Download this free eBook to learn more about what's new in SharePoint 2013.

Version: Mar2014

Date Published: 3/28/2014

Explore-SharePoint-2013.doc, 4.2 MB

Explore-SharePoint-2013.epub, 247 KB

Explore-SharePoint-2013.mobi, 354 KB

Explore-SharePoint-2013.pdf, 1,018 KB

...

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Abstract
This book provides information about what's new in SharePoint 2013. The audiences for this book include application specialists, line-of-business application specialists, and IT administrators who want to know more about SharePoint 2013.

The content in this book is a copy of selected content in the SharePoint 2013 technical library as of the publication date. For the most current content, see the technical library on the web.

 

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If you're trying to sell an internal upgrade, this free eBook might come in handy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

OneNote Dev isn't dead by a long shot! The OneNote team opens up about their near-term API roadmap

OneNote Dev Blog - OneNote API Near-Term Roadmap

Hey folks, this is James Lau - I am the Lead Program Manager on the OneNote API team. In this blog post, I’d like to share with your our near-term roadmap and get your feedback.

Last week, we launched the initial version of our API. The first set of features are focused on scenarios for creating pages in OneNote: mobile app scanners, hardware scanners, save-it-for-later for newsreaders, etc. Of course, we are far from done, and we have already started are busy working on the next set of features. Instead of "going dark" and then shipping features that we think you want, we would rather have a dialog with you on what we are building.

One of the core principles we have on our team is customer transparency. We understand that you are trusting us and taking a bet on our platform when you use our API. As such, not only do you deserve to know what we are planning, but you also deserve to have a say in what we do! We have set up a OneNote API feedback site so you can participate in our planning, vote on features and submit your ideas.

Here is a list of the capabilities and features that we are planning to deliver over the next 3 to 6 months. That is a very rough timeframe, and priorities can change at any time, so please don't base your plan on this timeframe. The features below are also not listed in strict priority order. We have multiple teams tackling this list simultaneously, so some of these will be built in parallel. Nonetheless, we would love to get your feedback on their relative importance to you.

...

Please let us know of anything you want that's missing and vote on the ones that you really want *right now*! Your feedback will really help us prioritize and influence what we work on next.

Other than transparency, our team also believes in delivering customer value early. That means we are going to be delivering new features as they are completed and not take a "big bang" approach. We do daily deployments to our service too, so there are tons of opportunities to get these features out on a regular basis.

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Looking forward to these features. The current API is a good starting point, but just that, a starting point. I hope they can keep the momentum and cadence up.

A long, long time ago... Windows 8 Telnet Tip

The Windows Club - Watch Star Wars in Windows 8 using an old trick

You can unlock an old hidden trick on your Windows 8 computer. Fans of tricks on Windows operating systems will doubtlessly be aware of being able to watch Star Wars movie in ASCII using the Telnet service. Despite the trick being well known in earlier versions of Windows, if you’ve been trying to find it in Windows Vista and later versions, you may have ended up a little lost. The reason is that by default Telnet is turned off.

The Telnet Client is used to connect to a remote machine by using the Telnet protocol. It allows a computer to connect to a remote Telnet server and run applications on that server.

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This is the same one that's been available for like a billion years? Anyway... ah, the memories...

BTW, while your there, also check out, Blinkenlights.nl

A lot of interesting command line programs get overlooked, I find it a nice idea to place these things online, accessible through telnet.

Starwars Asciimation : Port 23

The though work was done by simon jansen, he made it into a java applet. This is the same thing, but now via telnet.

Marvin, the paranoid Android : Shut Down

This an Eliza like bot, that tries to emulate marvin the paranoid android from the hitchhikers guide. The bot is Splotch, the eliza like bot, coded by Duane K. Fields and Mark Rages. The dictionary is a mixture of the one from elizatalk and the one from bitchbot, an irc bot, by pim van riezen.

The Bofh Excuse Server : Port 666

This service spits out an excuse based on the bastard operator from hell stories, I find it quite useful while dealing with my daily work. This brilliant list/script is created by Jeff Ballard

 

Related Past Post XRef:
You've heard of ASCII Art? How about DNS Art!?
These are the papercraft you've been looking for... "Star Wars Papercraft..."
This is the infographic you're looking for... A Star Wars Infographic/Flowchart for every episode and more
[Hardware Music Hack] Star Wars Imperial March theme played by dual floppy drives
Star Wars Day – The Revenge of the Crafts!
Now this is the kind of vinyl I can appreciate... Self-adhesive vinyl Star Wars Return of the Jedi decals for living room/office that has everything...
“This is some rescue…” bookends for the Star Wars fan who has everything…
I'm not too old to have a Piñata at my next birthday.. am I? I wanna Death Star Piñata!
I think I want this for Valentine's Day...

[Infographic of the Day] Speaking of dragons, building your own Iron Throne Infographic!

tor.com - Avoid the Hassle of War and Dragon-Breeding By Building Your Own Iron Throne!

Obviously we all want to win the Iron Throne, but who wants to go through the trouble of actually winning it? All the subterfuge, murder, scheming, murder, manipulation, dragons, murder, and murder. Over on Mental Floss, they’ve taken steps to streamline the Throne acquisition process by publishing a handy guide to building the Throne. They turned to a real swordsmith, Jack Powning, who created a detailed inforgraphic on the process.

...take about 700,000 hours, so you’ll need to start soon. First, forge each of swords. Feel free to refere to Powning’s site for tips. ...

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... Check out more of Powning’s swordsmithing here, for further info on forging blades for gun and profit!

700,000 hours... wow. But it's the Iron Throne! Who wouldn't want one of these (well, except my wife... son... daughter... just about everyone at work... whatever ;)