Monday, September 22, 2014

VS 2013 HOL/ALM VM now with Update 3 (VS 2013.3)

Brian Keller - Now Available: Update 3 refresh of Visual Studio 2013 ALM Virtual Machine

I’m pleased to announce that today we’ve published the Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 ALM Virtual Machine. This includes several updates to the hands-on-labs / demo scripts to show off some of the new capabilities which have been added in Updates 1 – 3.

With the continuous stream of great updates coming to Visual Studio every few months I haven’t been able to update the virtual machine with each new update, so I didn’t publish a new VM for Updates 1 or 2. But with Update 3 we hit critical mass of some great ALM capabilities which demanded an update.

For people who are interested in this level of detail, I’ve included a high-level changelog below which details the updates we’ve made in this version of the VM and labs. You can download the latest version of the VM and corresponding hands-on-labs / demo scripts at http://aka.ms/vs13almvm. You can find a list of our other ALM VM’s at http://aka.ms/ALMVMs. As always, we love hearing your feedback.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Virtual Machine

  • Upgraded to Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Applied all recent Windows Updates
  • Increased the size of the VHD file to account for the updates
  • Added TFS 2013 Power Tools
  • Other smaller fit-and-finish fixes and updates based on user feedback

...

image..."

Want to play with the latest production release (for now) of VS 2013 and TFS, with a ton of great HOL's, with everything all setup for you to learn and explore, data and all? You know the drill, head over to http://aka.ms/ALMVMs and get your download on...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
24! [Hands-on-Labs and Demo Scripts now available in the big BK Visual Studio 2013 ALM VM] + [Bonus: Azure'ing it too...]
Happy VM Day! The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is now available
The HOL "Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012" thing
Featuring Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with TFS2013 in these Hands On Labs
Visual Studio 2013 ALM and HOL VM now available...
VS2012 Update 1 ALM VM and HOL / Demo Scripts now available
The VS 2012 ALM Virtual Machine and VS 2012 Update 1 (In short, there's an updated VM coming, don't install it on this VM if you don't have too)
The big BK has updated the Visual Studio 2012 RC ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs
VS 11 ALM DemoMates updated for the Beta
Visual Studio/TFS11 ALM Demo's... Mate! See the VS/TFS 11 ALM's hands-on-labs in DemoMate form
Visual Studio 11 ALM VHD's, VirtualBoxed (and even on x86 hosts too)
Want to play with Visual Studio 11 & TFS 11 Dev Preview but don't want to install it (and have access to a Hyper-V server)? Here's a VHD just for

VS 2013 Update 4 CTP2, TFS 2013.4 CTP2, Team Explorer Everywhere 2013 Update 2 and VSTU 1.9.1

The Visual Studio Blog - Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 CTP 2 (And More) Available

We have four releases today. First, Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 CTP 2 is available, including a few features (e.g. performance improvements for the Visual C++ browsing experience) and some bug fixes. Second, there’s also a CTP available for Team Foundation Server. The release notes have the complete list of features and fixes for both these releases.

Third, we also released Team Explorer Everywhere 2013 Update 2, which, among other things, improves how TEE stores credentials (making sign on to Visual Studio Online much easier) and adds the capability to browse Git repositories within TEE. Will Smythe has a full post here.

Finally, we released the Visual Studio Tools for Unity (VSTU) 1.9.1 on the Visual Studio Gallery: VSTU for VS 2013, VSTU for VS 2012, and VSTU for VS 2010. This release fixed many of the issues you reported on Connect in version 1.9.

...

image

..."

I wonder if we'll see more CTP's this week? Seems like a while since we got a VS "14" CTP... :P

Humans 0 - Robots 0. It appears MSR Robotics Research Team is no more... :(

Microsoft Research - Robotics Research

Results and resources from our robotics initiatives

The robots are coming! Actually, they are already here...

Yeah, maybe not so much.

Saw the first news about this yesterday;

The Humans Are Dead

Sadly, Microsoft has decided to kill the MSR Robotics team... My last day is today.
All that remains is a bunch of robots...

...

Here's a bit more information/tweets/etc

microsoft-news - Microsoft Kills The Microsoft Research Robotics Team

...

Microsoft Robotics products and services enable academic, hobbyist and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 is a popular product from that group which is a .NET-based programming environment for building robotics applications. It can be used by both professional and non-professional developers as well as hobbyists.

As part of the recent layoffs, Microsoft has decided to kill the Microsoft Research Robotics studios. Team member Ashley Feniello tweeted about this recently. MSR Robotics team were focused on the following,

...

image

..."

RDS is still available, Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, but it's 2 1/2 years old now and only for VS 2010.

I always thought this an awesome product/area/team/thing and a bunch of fun to play with. Now with the IoT and Maker stuff, you'd think more would be invested this, not less, let alone killed. :(

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

.NET Universe Poster, 2014

Microsoft Downloads - .NET Universe Poster - 2014

image

.NET Universe Poster (2014) showing the main .NET SDKs, libraries and packages classified by application type and package type (NuGet, official support, etc.)

Version: 2014

Date Published: 9/15/2014

File Name: poster2014_.pdf, 14.6 MB

This poster shows how the trends are changing in .NET as we´re moving from a single large .NET Framework to a more loosely coupled and autonomous libraries and sub-frameworks, many of them even published as NuGet packages and evolving continuously. The number of those libs and packages is evolving and growing, so having a visual photo of it can be helpful. The main idea of the poster is to show that you can create any kind of application with .NET, from the largest applications to the smaller apps: in the cloud, on the web, on desktops, tablets, phones, and in embedded environments (even watches!). Any of those application types is shown as category/bucket in the poster and within each bucket we´re tossing the main libraries/SDKs/packages out. Then we´re also showing cross-cutting concerns buckets like Security, Data Access, and .NET Extension libs.

The main categories are the following:

- Emerging application patterns (Mobile, Web & Cloud)

- Established application patterns (Desktop and Embedded)

- Cross-Cutting concerns Finally, the poster is putting a check/mark on every lib/SDK bullet depending if they are or not complaint with the following:

- NuGet package

- Open Source

- Microsoft Official Supported

You can print it out or use it as in electronic format (.PDF). Using the electronic format (.PDF) allows you to access each content URL/page related.

Interesting growth and evolution from last year (The .NET Universe Poster for 2013 is now available)..

 

Related Past Post XRef:
The .NET Universe Poster for 2013 is now available

Does your SQL Smell? The free "119 SQL Code Smells" eBook might help you sniff it out (and fix it)

simple talk - 119 SQL Code Smells

Written with advice, help or contributions from over 25 SQL professionals
Download the free PDF: from Red Gate

Once you've done a number of SQL code-reviews, you'll be able to identify signs in the code that indicate all might not be well. These 'code smells' are coding styles that, while not bugs, suggest design problems with the code. In this PDF, Phil's put together 119 of those code smells so you can see what to avoid and why.

Kent Beck and Massimo Arnoldi seem to have coined the term 'CodeSmell' in the 'Once And Only Once' page of www.C2.com, where Kent also said that code ‘wants to be simple’. Kent Beck and Martin Fowler expand on the issue of code challenges in their essay ‘Bad Smells in Code’, published as Chapter 3 of the book ‘Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code’ (ISBN 978-0201485677).

Although there are generic code smells, SQL has its own particular habits that will alert the programmer to the need to refactor code...

...

imageimageimage

...

One can be a bit defensive about SQL code smells. I will cheerfully write very long stored procedures, even though they are frowned upon. I’ll even use dynamic SQL on occasion. You should use code smells only as an aid. It is fine to ‘sign them off’ as being inappropriate in certain circumstances. In fact, whole classes of code smells may be irrelevant for a particular database. The use of proprietary SQL, for example, is only a code smell if there is a chance that the database will be ported to another RDBMS. The use of dynamic SQL is a risk only with certain security models. Ultimately, you should rely on your own judgment. As the saying goes, a code smell is a hint of possible bad practice to a pragmatist, but a sure sign of bad practice to a purist.

In describing all these 119 code-smells in a booklet, I’ve been very constrained on space to describe each code smell. Some code smells would require a whole article to explain them properly. Fortunately, SQL Server Central and Simple-Talk have, between them, published material on almost all these code smells, so if you get interested, please explore these essential archives of information.

...

nuff said...

Logikcull is trying to help make eDiscovery logical... and giving you a free eDiscovery Education and sandbox to play in too!

Logikcull - Logikcull Launches On-line e-Discovery Education for the Legal Community. And it’s Free.

WASHINGTON, DC, September 15, 2014 - Logikcull announced today the launch of its e-Discovery Education for Everyone initiative. With this initiative, lawyers around the world will be able to learn e-discovery by performing e-discovery, for free, and without the need for special software or hardware. Simply log-in and Logikcull will automatically teach you how to do e-discovery. Each free Logikcull account comes with a set of “sandbox-data” that lawyers can use to learn about metadata, de-duplication, and many other technical aspects of e-discovery.

Understanding e-discovery is becoming increasingly important to the legal community. For instance, California has an open ethics opinion that states lawyers that don’t attempt to learn about e-discovery may face malpractice claims. The Logikcull e-Discovery Education for Everyone initiative hopes to mitigate that risk for attorneys everywhere.

“E-discovery education is vital for lawyers practicing in the 21st century—which is to say, all of us. The time is nigh when not understanding e-discovery will be malpractice; but why wait until then? If you want to remain competitive and competent, you’d better know about it now.” said Mark Wilson, writer for Findlaw.com who recently wrote about “Is Not Understanding e-Discovery Unethical?”

One of the problems with learning about e-discovery is just that: you learn about it in the very traditional CLE-way. But usually, you don’t actually get to practice e-discovery until it’s too late. And if it’s too late, you may end up making poor e-discovery choices that can result in professional misconduct. With Logikcull, lawyers can learn e-discovery by doing e-discovery in a safe and real-world environment. This learn-by-doing environment will better prepare legal professionals when e-discovery demands arise.

..."

This is a first I think, a public eDiscovery sandbox to learn and play in. You know I've said, over and over, that even if you're not in a legal firm/department/etc, that even if you're just an IT guy and gal, if you have "customers" then there's a chance your firm might be involved in a legal matter one day. The more you know about what this "eDiscovery" thing is the better you'll be able to help your firm (or at least understand what your lawyers are asking for and why...)

One thing to understand, this is a "request" for a sandbox. It's not immediate (though the automated emails come in fast...). I'm hoping this is sales-hands-off and just a site/service I can use, learn from and play with. If this is just a "demo-with-data" that "we'll walk you through..." i.e. salesware, I'll be disappointed. But these guys seem be pretty unusual for a firm (see the XRef's below), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Something we all need sometimes, some “Logik Redaction”
Every industry deserves it’s own apparel, doesn’t it? Now there’s apparel for the EDD Guy or Gal in you…

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remember...

13 years seems like a long time, and it is.

My son was 7. He's now serving in Afghanistan. His entire generation has been impacted, changed, warped by what happened 13 years ago. He's never been on a plane without going through TSA. His only memory of the World Trade Towers is of them burning and falling. He doesn't really remember a time before the wars...

Today, let's remember what happened then and lets not let it happen again. One generation of 11'ers is one to many...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's new in C# 6, VB 14? VS 14? Think "Developer Productivity versions"

Kathleen Dollard - Video Series on C# 6.0, Visual Basic 14 and Visual Studio 14

Video Series on C# 6.0, Visual Basic 14 and Visual Studio 14I am really excited to be sharing a series of short videos on C# 6.0, Visual Basic 14 and Visual Studio 14. The series will be free and available at www.WintellectNOW.com

The first video is “The New Compilers” and is an overview of the next releases.

The second video “Simplifying Classes with C# 6.0” shows how to use auto-property initialization, getter-only auto-properties and primary constructors to create classes with simple code and immutable or mutable properties.

Next week I’ll dive deeper into auto-properties and primary constructors in C#.

Visual Basic folks can watch these videos for the basic concepts in this release, and I’ll focus some upcoming videos on Visual Basic 14 features.

..."

image

BillWagner  - Overview of C# 6 language enhancements

I was interviewed by Carl and Richard on .NET Rocks a bit ago to discuss the new features in C# 6, the upcoming version of C# that will ship with the next version of Visual Studio (link goes to CTP 3, current as of Aug 2014). You can learn all about the new version of C# at the Roslyn CodePlex site.

The initial buzz about the next version of C# centered around the implications that this compiler was a complete rewrite, written in C# from the ground up. You’ve probably heard quite a bit about how you can use the Roslyn APIs to inspect and modify code models programmatically. That is super cool, and much easier than using the earlier CodeDOM and Reflection.Emit functionality. It’s also an edge case for most of us. I’ve written very little code that uses either CodeDOM or Reflection.Emit. And, while it is also very cool that the C# compiler is now self-hosted (meaning it is written in C#), that will have very minimal affect on you either.

So what is new?

...

image..."

C#6/VB 14 are shaping up to be "the" developer productivity version. The scary thing? This wheel has just started rolling and we're just starting to see the promise of Roslyn/.NET Compiler Platform. The next couple years are going to be very exciting in the .NET world.

Visualizing Database Schema changes, with a little help from the Google Charts API

Maria Zakourdaev - Using Google Charts API to Visualize Schema Changes

Last week I have worked on the new email report using Google Charts and liked it so much that decided to share it here with anyone who finds it useful.

I have a Schema Changes Audit table which is being maintained by the DDL Trigger. The relevant record is added to this table every time anyone changes objects on the server

image

image

..."

I just thought this something interesting, kind of cool and different. I'd have never thought to use the Google Charts API (or other charting API) like this...

So you want to create LEGO models all day, and get paid for it? There's a job for that!

Brothers Brick - Do YOU want to be a professional LEGO builder?

This may be your chance. Carl Greatrix, who has been working for Tt Games since 2009 (after responding to an advert on this blog) has been in touch. Tt Games, who produce computer games for LEGO, are looking for a new Model Designer to strengthen their team.

LEGO Model Designer
Location: Knutsford (UK)
Advertisement publish date: 10/09/14
Start date: ASAP
Salary: £Competitive + benefits
Duration: Permanent

We are looking for a LEGO Model Designer with a keen interest in Tt Games LEGO Console Games. This is a rare opportunity to become part of the team responsible for bespoke LEGO Models as seen throughout our multi award winning published titles.

You will join the LEGO Models team and work together with designers and technical artists to provide quality LEGO Designs such as creatures and vehicles for in-game use, as well as props of all sizes as used by the Cinematic and wider LEGO Construction teams.

...

image..."

If only I lived in the UK (and didn't suck at design and like stuff)...

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Building a Niven Ring (aka. Ringworld), PopMech goes around...

Popular Mechanics - Could We Build a Ringworld?

In our cosmic megastructures series, PopMech explores some of the key engineering and design challenges in constructing gigantic structures for use by humankind in space. Today: a Niven Ring or Ringworld, an enormous slice of real estate encircling a star.

Name: Niven Ring, or Ringworld
Named for: Larry Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld and its sequels.
Selected Science Fiction Portrayals: Besides those featured in Niven's novels, similar but smaller structures, called Halos, appear in the Halo video game and media franchise. Also, the Orbitals of Iain M. Banks' Culture novels and short stories.

Someday, when humankind outgrows planet Earth, we might aim to build a habitat so vast we could never overpopulate it.

Sci-fi author Larry Niven conjured up...

image..."

Being a Science Fiction nut (You've seen my Good Reads widget on my site, so this isn't news to you... ) I love the Ringworld series. It's also interesting seeing the impact it' had on later works. I love seeing continued references to like structures (Rings, Dyson Sphere, Dyson Swarms, etc) in later works (Halo anyone?). Oh sure, we're not going to be building these anytime in the near future (heck we can barely got off this rock, let alone...) but a boy can wonder and dream.

This PopMech article is great and also reminds me of the many days I used to spend reading the mag every time the mailman dropped off the latest edition. Remember when we used to get magazines in actual paper and print? :P

Anyway...

If you're a science fiction reader, Niven fan, space nut or science geek, this is an interesting read.

Driving IE with the Web Driver Tool and Code Sample too

Microsoft Downloads - IE Web Driver Tool for Internet Explorer 11

The IE Web Driver Tool enables developers to create automated tests that simulate users interacting with webpages and report back results in Internet Explorer 11. It can also manage testing across multiple windows, tabs, and webpages in a single session.

Version: 1.000

File Name:

Windows8.1-KB2990999-x64.msu

Windows8.1-KB2990999-x86.msu

Date Published: 9/3/2014

KB Articles: KB2990999

The IE Web Driver Tool implements many of the high priority features from the W3C spec to allow developers to open a session, automate basic functionality against the pages, and return the results of the tests. The IE Web Driver Tool differs from JavaScript unit tests because it has additional access to functionality and information in the browser, and it can more accurately simulate user events or OS-level events.

...

MSDN Code Gallery - WebDriver Sample - Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (KB2976627)

WebDriver is like a remote control for Internet Explorer and allows developers to create automated tests that go beyond simple JavaScript unit tests. In Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 11 (KB2976627), the WebDriver API demonstrated in Internet Explorer Developer Channel comes to general release.

Building the Sample

Because WebDriver gives any app that knows how to use it the ability to control your browser, it is not completely installed with Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (KB2976627). To install and enable the remaining components, please follow the instructions in the Developer Guide.

Following that, you will be able to use the Visual Studio solution in this sample as a jumping-off point to build your own apps using the WebDriver API. However those apps will only run on systems specifically enabled to use the WebDriver API.

Description

The WebDriver sample provides a small example application that opens Internet Explorer, navigates to Bing, locates the Bing Search Box, types "WebDriver" into it, and executes the search. With dozens of commands available, this provides an excellent starting point for exploring the WebDriver API in Internet Explorer 11.

Source Code Files

  • IEWebDriverExample.zip

..."

Remember the days/weeks wasted and many tools we've used to "automate" UI testing of our web sites? Maybe, finally, those days are behind us? We can only hope...

git tf whining about ".. not a valid URL"? Richard Fennel shows how to kick its ASCII

But it works on my PC! - Getting ‘… is not a valid URL’ when using Git TF Clone

I have been attempting to use the Git TF technique to migrate some content between TFS servers. I needed to move a folder structure that contains spaces in folder names from a TPC that also contains spaces in its name. So I thought my command line would be

git tf clone “http://tfsserver1:8080/tfs/My Tpc” “$/My Folder”’ oldrepo --deep

But this gave the error

git-tf: “http://tfsserver1:8080/tfs/My Tpc” is not a valid URL

...

The answer was to use the ASCII code ...

image

..."

I've run into this a few times during my Coding4Fun blogging quests and end up being lazy and getting the code other ways. In this post Richard shows just how lazy I really was...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Using Brent Ozar's magic SQL steps to query and find unanswered StackExchange questions

Brent Ozar Unlimited - Finding Unanswered StackExchange Questions with SQL

You love Q&A sites like StackOverflow.com and DBA.StackExchange.com, but sometimes it’s hard to find interesting questions that need to be answered. So many people just sit around hitting refresh, knocking out the new incoming questions as soon as they come in. What’s a database person to do?

Use the power of the SQL.

Data.StackExchange.com lets you run real T-SQL queries against a recently restored copy of the StackExchange databases. Here’s my super-secret 3-step process to find questions that I have a shot at answering.

Step 1. Find out how old the restored database is....

...

Step 2. Find questions everybody’s talking about....

image

...

Step 3. Find questions that people keep looking at....

...

image..."

Why web query when you can just SQL your way through StackExchange? I don't know about you, but I often dream in SQL (no lie.. sigh), so this approach to StackExchange struck a cord for me. Now, if only I was actually smart enough to provide good answers... :O

 

Related Past Post XRef:
SELECT * FROM StackExchange. There's the easy way and the hard, yet much more data fun, way...
Stacks and stacks of data - Your copy of the Stack Overflow’s (and family) public data is a download away

The Stack Family (StackOverflow, SuperUser, etc) gets OData’d via Stack Exchange Data Explorer
Build something awesome with the new StackExchange v2 API and win something awesome...
Stacking up the Open Source Projects, Stack Exchange is...

Sando Code Search Tool gets revved up! (In more ways than one...)

David C. Shepherd - Searching the Linux Source Tree in 0.5 Seconds

Our recent work on the Sando Code Search extension, a tool which leverages Lucene to search code, has been focused on making it more scalable and robust. To demonstrate our progress I'll provide demos of both Sando and FindInFiles (i.e., a grep-like feature in Visual Studio) searching the entire Linux kernel. As you'll see, there's a fundamental difference between Lucene-based search tools and regular expression based search tools.

Before we begin, let's first briefly examine the Linux source tree. At the time of our demo it contained 47,528 files which occupied 1.71 GB on disk. Most of these files were C code, yet there was also a fair amount of documentation and configuration files. Sando and FindInFiles both search all text files.

Searching the Linux Source Tree with FindInFiles

To use FindInFiles I configured it to search the directory containing the Linux code, entered my search, and selected Find All. In this running example the user is searching for encryption algorithms, specifically those related to AES, and thus they use the regular expression query "encrypt*aes". Executing this search caused FindInFiles to run its regular expression matching algorithm against every line of every file in that directory, recursively. As you can see in "Starting the Search", this utilized about 50% of the CPU on an eight core machine for a considerable amount of time.

Starting the Search: Notice when the FindInFiles search begins the CPU utilization becomes 50% on a 8-core machine.

After about one minute and forty seconds the search completed, having searched 47,407 files. Unfortunately, no lines matched this particular search (see "Finishing the Search"). As often happens with a regular expression based search, the word ordering in the query did not match the word ordering in the code. In this situation the user would likely have to run another search with re-ordered search terms (e.g., "aes*encrypt") to find relevant code.

image

Finishing the Search: After about 1m 40s the search completes; no results were found after searching 47,407 files.

Searching the Linux Source Tree with Sando

Next we searched the same Linux source tree using Sando. Unlike FindInFiles, which is based on regular expression matching, Sando is built upon information retrieval technology (think Google). It leverages Lucene.NET to pre-index source code and provide ranked results almost instantly. Typing in the same query as before minus the regular expression syntax (i.e., "encrypt aes") you can see below that results are returned almost instantly. Just as importantly, the most relevant results are returned first with less relevant results toward the bottom. Additionally, in Sando's UI, selecting a result in the list provides a preview of the program element with matching terms in bold.

image

Searching with Lucene: The same search returns almost instantly when using Lucene-based searchers.

Of course, there is a cost to pre-indexing. For the Linux source tree that cost is about 50 minutes of low CPU background processing. Fortunately, this only happens once  after which incremental updates and switching branches trigger at most a few seconds of indexing. Additionally, for most medium-sized projects initial indexing completes in a matter of seconds. For instance, Sando can index its own source code in less than ten seconds.

..."

David reached out to me today with news about the updated Sando Code Search Tool/VS Extension and I just loved how he used VS and Sando to index and search the Linux source tree...

Also make sure you click through to the full post to not only see the pretty animated Gif's but to all see a number of other code search tools for VS and beyond. I dig that he took the time to highlight other similar tools.

Finally the source for this project is also still on CodePlex, https://sando.codeplex.com. :)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Revisiting Sando - Full Text Index and Source your Source, while never leaving Visual Studio...
Code Searching with Sando, because "Code search sucks and Find & Replace is from the 80s..."

Security/hacking got you a little freaked? Moving to Two Factor Auth? Looking for a WP8.x "Google Authenticator App"? Microsoft has got your back...

7Tutorials - Are You Looking for a Google Authenticator App on Windows Phone?

We all know the strong competition between Microsoft and Google and how ruthless it is at times. Because of it, Google has chosen not to develop Windows Phone apps for most of its services. Therefore, the Google Authenticator app that's requested by many services for two-step verification is missing from Windows Phone. Since two-step verification is a very common method for securing all kinds of accounts, being able to use a Google Authenticator clone on Windows Phone is very important. Fortunately for us Windows Phone users, Microsoft has our backs and they have developed their own Authenticator app and published it for free. Here's how it works:

Why So Many Websites & Services Ask You to Install the Google Authenticator App?

Because Google was one of the first big tech companies to implement two-step verification for their customer's accounts. They also developed a Google Authenticator app that's available on almost all mobile platforms except those developed by Microsoft. Since Android is so huge in terms of market share, the Google Authenticator app has become a standard in people's minds and everyone recommends that you use it.

Technically speaking, there's nothing special about this app because it uses a documented standard for two-step authentication: the Time-based One-time Password Algorithm (TOTP). Therefore anyone can make an app using the same algorithm.

According to this standard, the Authenticator app provides a random six digits one-time password that you enter in addition to your username and password, to log in to all kinds of services, including Google's and Microsoft's services. This six digits password is valid for 30 seconds. If an attacker steals it then, within 30 seconds, it will be useless. This is great from a security perspective.

When a website mentions using a Google Authenticator app, don't despair. You don't really need Google's app, only an app that uses the same algorithm to generate passwords.

Where to Find Microsoft's Authenticator App

On the Windows Phone Store, if you search for Google Authenticator, you will find lots of apps made by different developers and companies. Some of them are not even free. Most probably they work just as well, because they use the same standard as Google does but why use them if you have a free app, developed and actively maintained by Microsoft?

In the Windows Phone Store, search for Authenticator and tap the app made by Microsoft Corporation. You will find it here: Authenticator.

Authenticator.

...

image..."

With all the hacking/etc. news I decided it was time to finally make the move to Two Factor Auth. Yeah, I know I'm a little behind (little?) but, hey every journey begins with the first step, etc.

Today I was looking for a Windows Phone app to help with a site that uses Google Auth. Well there isn't one, at least from Google. But, as you've seen above, we don't need no stink'n Google Auth App! The Microsoft Auth app works just fine. And I've confirmed that, it does indeed work just fine and is really easy to setup and use.

In short, if you've not made the move to Two Factor, it's really not that scary at all. Do it... DO it... DO IT!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Alas YUI, I knew you... Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI) is officially dead in the water.

 Yahoo! Engineering - Important Announcement Regarding YUI

The Yahoo User Interface library (YUI) has been in use at Yahoo since 2005, and was first announced to the public on February 13, 2006. Although it has evolved tremendously since that time, YUI has always served the same overarching purpose of providing a comprehensive toolkit to make it easier for developers to create rich web applications. As such, YUI is an important part of Yahoo’s history: millions of lines of code relying on YUI have been written and are still in use at Yahoo today. However, it has become clear to us that the industry is now headed in a new direction...

...

Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to immediately stop all new development on YUI in order to focus our efforts on this new technology landscape. This means that, going forward, new YUI releases will likely be few and far between, and will only contain targeted fixes that are absolutely critical to Yahoo properties.

...

I've been following YUI since it went public in Feb 2006 (I blogged about it the day after it wen OSS, Yahoo! UI Library Released as OSS). I always thought it cool that Yahoo had released and improved it over time. But time matches on, and all that, and if you look at the web between now and then, it's a whole new world (Yeah, I've got my Capt. Obvious hat on again). Eight years? In web-time that's like 97 years or something... :/

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Free Yahoo UI JavaScript Hosting
Yahoo! UI Library Released as OSS

Sparking the dreams and imagination of young dev's with DreamSpark...

Canadian Developer Connection - What does Back to School mean for coders?

"...

Did you know DreamSpark gives students access to Microsoft developer software for free? That includes Visual Studio. Since not all schools teach .NET languages, it’s important to know that Visual Studio isn’t just a code editor for C#, you can use Visual Studio to code HTML& CSS, C++, Python, Unity, even nodeJS.

...

Another great way for students to stand out is the Imagine Cup. For coders and non-coders this is an opportunity to showcase their talent and potentially win a trip to represent Canada at the World finals at Microsoft headquarters in July 2016. For the coders there is usually a games category, innovation category (for all those great business ideas), and World Citizenship category (for those who want to help others). For the non-coders watch out for things like a pitch video challenge or the user experience challenge for those with a passion for design! Last year a team of students from New Zealand won $50,000 at the World Finals in the Innovation category for an app that allows you to see how far away your friends are when you meet up. I’ve seen lots of students building similar apps at hackathons, do you think they had any idea if they finished and polished up their app it could have put them on stage at the world finals? We will be announcing specific details for this year’s Imagine Cup soon!

..."

Dream the dream, my young dev's...

image

Building/Documenting a site? Want to see one example of a "site software guidebook?" techtribes.je example software guidebook is free and open...

Coding the Architecture - Free and open source example software guidebook 

A software guidebook for the techtribes.je website

It needs a little updating (isn't that always the case!), but I've moved the example software guidebook (previously an appendix in my Software Architecture for Developers book) into a separate free and open source book on Leanpub.

techtribes.je is a side-project of mine to create a content aggregator for the tech, IT and digital sector in Jersey, Channel Islands. The code behind the techtribes.je website is open source and available on GitHub. The source for the software guidebook is also open source and available on GitHub.

The techtribes.je software guidebook is based upon the concept of a software guidebook as described in my Software Architecture for Developers book; the software guidebook is a lightweight, pragmatic way to document the "big picture" of a software system. In essence, it's my simplified version of many "software architecture document" templates you'll find out there on the web.

techtribes.je - Software Guidebook is available to download for free from Leanpub. I hope you find it useful.

techtribes.je - Software Guidebook

About the Book

This is the software guidebook for the techtribes.je website; a content aggregator for the tech, IT and digital sector in Jersey, Channel Islands. The code behind the techtribes.je website is open source and available on GitHub. The source for this book is also open source and available on GitHub.

This book is based upon the concept of a software guidebook as described in my Software Architecture for Developers book, which is also available on Leanpub. The software guidebook is a lightweight, pragmatic way to document the "big picture" of a software system.

image

How often do you re-invent the specification/documentation/guidebook wheel? Yeah, me too. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be many "real" ones that are open and available for free. Sure every corp has one, but those are often IP...

Here's one that's "real" and might give you some good ideas for your next project.

image

Hey, Windows Installer old enough for a Drivers Permit! Happy 15th Windows Installer

BetaNews - Windows Installer celebrates its 15th birthday

"With many businesses still focused on the "end of XP", an important milestone in the story of software integration will slip by largely unnoticed this year, but it should be celebrated by anyone involved in end user computing.

2014 is the time to appreciate that Windows Installer (MSI) technology is 15 years old and still going strong. That is a very long time for a technology to be as relevant and as useful in today's enterprise environments as it was when it was first released in 1999. Originally developed to facilitate the installation of Microsoft Office 2000, there remains a surprising multitude of reasons it's stuck around for so long

...

The principles that underpin MSI technology are the template for the next generation of software delivery methods and formats, specifically sequencing of software within the virtualization space.

As one example consider the App-V virtual bubble; this was first seen in MSI technology as the isolation technique, and is the next-gen version of that idea.

15 years is a lifetime in technology, but it seems that Windows Installer is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It's evolution (now 5.0) continues to set the standard as the most complete method for application integration, and is the barometer by which all other formats should use to measure their competency against. That is why this year we should all be celebrating the creation of our old friend, Windows Installer.

image..."

Love or hate Windows Installer, the world before Windows Installer/MSI's is a nightmare that we've thankfully said goodbye too long ago. Funny how time flies... <oldgeekguyrant>I remember when... You kids don't know how good you've... yada, yada </oldgeekguyrant>

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's good to live in Los Angeles if you Newegg. LA gets same day Newegg deliveries...

Socaltech.com - NewEgg Launches Same Day Delivery In LA

City of Industry-based online retailer Newegg said Monday that it has begun testing same-day delivery in Los Angeles, allowing consumers to order electronics and other items from the company by 11 a.m., for delivery before 6 p.m. NewEgg said that it will start delivery in "select communities" in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. According to NewEgg, if the same day delivery goes well, it plans to expand the service into new delivery areas....

..."

All Aboard the Newegg Express: Tomorrow’s Tech Delivered Today

"image

...

And today, we’re proud to announce our latest solution to satisfy online shoppers’ needs: same-day delivery service.

“Testing same-day delivery for our LA-based customers is something we’ve been excited about for many months. If all goes as planned, we will expand into new delivery areas.”

– Soren Mills, Chief Marketing Officer of Newegg North America

Taking advantage of Newegg’s same-day delivery service is both easy and affordable.

How ‘Newegg Express’ Works

  • Select ‘Express Delivery’ at checkout before 11:00 a.m.
  • Pay $19.99 to have your purchase delivered the same day
  • Wait for the ‘Newegg Express’ to deliver your purchase before 6:00 p.m.

All Newegg customers that live within 50 miles of our City of Industry warehouse will be able to take advantage of the ‘Newegg Express’ if they make their purchase before 11:00 a.m. We also guarantee these orders will arrive at our customers’ homes before 6:00 p.m. And don’t worry, spotting the ‘Newegg Express’ delivery vehicle on your street won’t be difficult because it also happens to be one of the coolest-looking fleets you’ll ever see.

...

image

I talked about how awesome my recent Newegg purchase experience was (here) now it sounds like it could get even better. Same day? That's pretty cool, but of course you do pay for that coolness. Still, if you've got to have it today... :)

[Cool Feed Reader of the Day] rssheap - The web based feed reader for dev's...

Mike-Ward.Net - Friday Links #317

...

RSS Reader for Developers

...

rssheap

image 

rssheap is a web based reader for software developers

You subscribe to tags you are interested in (c#,java,ruby,...) and we find great articles for you to read

How does it work?

You read high quality content based on what you like, here is how:

  • Users upload feeds

    You can upload feeds from your favorite reader or, if you don't have any – no problem, we already have lots of cool feeds and articles from other users that you can read.

  • You subscribe to interesting tags

    You subscribe to tags you are interested in and we show you articles based on that. Articles are sorted by how many votes they have, so you will always read high quality content.

  • You vote and tag while you read

    You are the moderator of the site – as you read, you tag and vote on the articles and we give you reputation for that. The better reputation you have, the more things you can do on the site.

Try it out, it's free!

4801 users / 6944 feeds / 97291 articles

Here is a glimpse of what happens after you log in:

..."

Here's what I see when I log in...

image

Don't think I'll leave my fav reader, NewsBlur, but I still think this is kind of neat and an interesting way to feed my feed addiction... :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Localization for .NET Succinctly"

Syncfusion - eBooks - Localization for .NET Succinctly

Learn to write applications that support different languages and cultures, with an emphasis on .NET development. With the help of author Jonas Gauffin, Localization for .NET Succinctly will help you become an effective developer in the global community.

..."

NOTE: Ignore the Table of Contents on the above web page... They are already working to fix that. I know it confused me too

image Doh!

Here are some snips of the real ToC from the PDF;

imageimageimage

Introduction
This book will introduce you to the world of globalization and localization. The goal is to give you a deeper understanding of how to write applications that support different languages and cultures. I’ll guide you through the basics and then go into different implementations.

The book is primarily focused on .NET.

The book also contains strategies for web development. The examples for web development are written using ASP.NET MVC and JavaScript/Globalize. You can however apply the sample principles in any other type of application.

In the book I’ll be using .NET 4. There are some minor changes compared to earlier versions. You can for instance assign a neutral culture to CurrentCulture (see first chapter for more information). There are also some new features in .NET 4.5 that have not been included in this book.

Throughout this book I’ll skip the terms localization (i10n), internationalization (i18n) and globalization. If you look them up, you’ll find as many definitions as there are developers.

...

Another link for you the author's, Jonas Gauffin, blog and post on this book.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
"Visual Studio 2013 Succinctly" free [reg-ware] now available from... you guessed it, Syncfusion
"Windows Phone 8 Succinctly - The practical approach to Windows Phone 8 development" eBook (Reg-ware)
Succinctly eBook of the Day: "Twitter Bootstrap Succinctly" [Reg-ware]
Need some help up the WPF learning curve? "WPF Succinctly" from Syncfusion is now available (and free :)
TypeScript Succinctly - Free [Name/email-ware] eBook
Getting sharp with F# with the free "F# Succinctly" eBook [reg-ware]
Syncfusion helps shed a little succinct light on LightSwitch with "LightSwitch Succinctly" (Reg-ware)
"JavaScript Succinctly" - Another free (reg-ware) eBook from Syncfusion
Get into sync with HTTP with the new free (reg-ware) Syncfusion Succinctly eBook, "HTTP Succinctly"
Spelunk the technical details of the PDF format with "PDF Succinctly" from Syncfusion (Free/reg-ware PDF/Mobi ebook)
"Git Succinctly" Free/reg-ware PDF/Mobi ebook)
jQuery Succinctly - Free eBook (reg-ware, PDF and/or Mobi)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Conference networking for Geeks and Dev's err... I mean, "Conference networking for the socially awkward"...

simple-talk - Melanie Townsend - Conference networking for the socially awkward

Do you approach a room full of strangers with excitement at all the new people you’re going to chat to over coffee and a muffin as you swap tales of how you convinced your manager to give you the day “off”? Or, do you find rooms full of strangers intimidating and begin by scouting out a place you can stand quietly and not be in someone’s way until the next session begins?

If you’re on the train to extrovert city, that’s great, well done, move along.

If, on the other hand, a room full of strangers who all seem to inexplicably know each other already is more challenge than opportunity, then making those connections with other professionals can be more difficult. So, here’s some advice, some gleaned from other things I’ve read online when trying to overcome my own discomfort in large groups (hopefully minus the infuriating condescension), others are just things I’ve found helpful over the years.

...

Everyone’s got their own coping technique. Some people are able to remind themselves that “humans are fundamentally social creatures” and somehow that helps them, others drink which is not really something I recommend for professional conferences but to each their own, and some focus on the fact that networking can play a big role in their career path. Just do what works for you, and if there’re any tricks you’ve found helpful over the years, please share em.

image

..."

It's not that I am social awkward.... um... it's that.... um... well.... you know... people... um...

yeah...

Actually the key thing is to remember that your conference peers are probably as "awkward" as you. As is said, "Fake it until you make it." Just pretend you're comfortable, that all these people around you are not really staring at you, wondering what planet you just arrived from (and you KNOW you took a shower, so it's not THAT) and, well.... Ah hell...

Tell you what. Start with a smile and say "Hi" and see where it goes from there. Remember every journey starts with that first step...

Is the Eaton Collection, the largest science-fiction public collection in the world, in danger?

blastr - The largest public sci-fi library in the world is under threat from new management

If you’re a sci-fi or fantasy fan who loves to read, there’s no cooler place than the massive Eaton Collection library at UC Riverside — but all that could change soon.

Housed in the UC Riverside Libraries' Special Collections and Archives in the Tomás Rivera Library, the Eaton Collection is touted as the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian literature in the world. But a professor who works with the collection claims new management might tear it all apart.

Science fiction author Nalo Hopkinson, a professor at UC Riverside, has posted a public plea claiming that new library management plans to drastically slash the size of the collection, and those decisions have already led to several resignations and problems among the staff.

If this comes to pass, it’ll be a heartbreaking loss for one of the genre’s greatest assets. Check out an excerpt from Hopkinson’s letter below for the firsthand account:

...

Nalo Hopkinson - Concerned about the Eaton SF/F archive at UCR

...

Up until recently, the collection was being developed and managed by an extraordinarily capable and visionary staff who made the collection the wonderful resource it is. They are known and trusted in the greater SF/F community, which is a large part of the reason the Eaton has been able to attract such priceless donations of materials. It's been nothing short of a pleasure to work with the staff, and to be at an academic institution which values science fiction and fantasy and the invaluable contributions made to the genre by writers, artists, researchers, and devoted fans. In 2013, UCR approved a cross-disciplinary programme in Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies, supported by the Eaton Collection. The graduate and undergraduate courses I teach in writing science fiction and fantasy are part of the SFTS programme. We in the community know how precious and rare such institutional support is.

So I'm sad to have to report that new library administration doesn't seem to appreciate the value of the Eaton Collection or the expertise that goes into it. Since spring of this year, their accomplishments have included driving out staff members and pushing changes to collection policies that would reduce the Eaton's holdings, its value to researchers and as a repository of our community's history, and its standing as a world-class archive. Meetings with the staff of the Eaton have been productive, collegial gatherings. Meetings to negotiate with the new library administration, not so much. It's putting the faculty of the research cluster in the alarming position of having to protect the very collection we're charged with fostering. We're dealing with the new library admins' efforts to split up the collection and change priorities for what to collect (eg, e-text over print) without consulting scholars in the field, and with what we'd characterize as harassment of staff, who've demonstrated extreme competence over the years. My research cluster colleague Rob Latham has also posted about this on Facebook. (If you're on FB, you should be able to find it here.) It's time to alert the community to what's been going on, because we may need your help very soon. We're not recommending any action on your part at this point, other than spreading the word. For those who aren't on Facebook, I've replicated Rob's post below:

...

Why is it you never to places that are close to home? I've known about this collection for a bit now, but have yet to make my way there. By the time I build up the "want-to" I hope it's still there and available... :(

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Want the world's best Science Fiction And Fantasy Library? Come to LA... The Eaton Collection @ UC Riverside

The .NET Framework has LongPath (> MAXPATH) support? Yes! Well, kind of, it's private...

Did you know the .NET Framework has classes to handle "Long Paths" (i.e. Paths > MAXPATH)? How long have we been hoping for that? A decade+ (Look at my XRef below, been blogging about this since 2004... sigh). So when I saw them, I jumped for joy. Finally! Woot!

The problem is is that we can't use them! sigh...

They are private and not exposed for us to use, i.e. they are only .NET internal usage. And guess what? Had to chuckle at this, the .NET team uses them in the IsolatedStorage system. They handle their possible long path issues, but don't share. Didn't they go to kindergarten? Sharing is good! LOL

Think I'm smoking dope? Check this out...

system\io\longpath.cs

image image 

image

imageimage

.NET Framework Team, you guys are such a tease...  :)

Lets hope that maybe we'll see this, or something like it, publicly one day. We can only hope. In the mean time, there's a number of libraries you can use. I use AlphaFS mostly and while it's been around for a while, it's still alive and updates and fixes are still being checked in.

UPDATE (8/20/2014)

On the train into work today I realized that the LongPath.cs is focused on local drive only. It doesn't support file shares (i.e. \\?\UNC\...). Which makes since given its current use case, isolated storage (which is always local).

If you're spelunking that its source, keep this implementation limitation in mind...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
MAX_PATH got you down? Zoom over to the Zeta Long Paths project

AlphaFS v1.5 Released (think "The 'Long Path' IO support the BCL doesn't yet have..." or "Don't 'W' [Wide/Unicode API/etc] P/Invoke your Path API's when AlphaFS has done it already for you..." or "How I learned to love and use Volume Shadow Service paths from .Net")
AlphaFS – Some Max_Path, Transactional NTFS, hard links, and more .Net System.IO.File/Path/Directory Help (alpha)

Powering into RoboCopy with the PowerShell RoboCopy clone, RoboPowerCopy (which even includes Long Path support...)

The Long Path for the BCL Team
Introduction of the BCL CodePlex project (code samples, previews, prototypes, etc from the BCL team) – Includes “Long Path” library direct from the BCL Team (think “Breaking out of MAX_PATH”)

Subsytem for Unix (SUA) Utilities and SDK For Windows 2008 and Vista SP1
The PInvoke tool you've been looking for all this time... the "PInvoke Interop Assistant"
Using GetFileAttributes to Test for File Existence
Unicode Path Fun...