Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Another sign of the "new" Microsoft. Internet Explorer Web Dev Support moving to Stack Overflow

Internet Explorer Development - IE Web Development Support Moving to Stack Overflow

The Internet Explorer team is excited to announce that web-development support is moving to Stack Overflow.

With over 40-thousand questions tagged "Internet Explorer", and dozens more asked every day, it has proven to be a great place to find reliable help.

If you're not already familiar with Stack Overflow, you can get started today by taking a tour, and asking your first question. If you would like to browse other Internet Explorer questions, those results are available as well.

Many of us on the Internet Explorer team have been using Stack Overflow for years, and are committed to watching incoming questions very closely, offering timely support, and actively maintaining the Internet Explorer tag itself.

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Interesting. Microsoft seems to be opening it's doors and accepting "not invented here" more and more. OSS, GitHub and now one team moving to Stack Overflow. Interesting...

Monday, November 24, 2014

RDCMan gets a Rev (and more)

Microsoft Downloads - Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.7

RDCMan manages multiple remote desktop connections

Version:2.7.1406.0

File Name: rdcman.msi

Date Published: 11/18/2014

File Size: 1.1 MB

DCMan manages multiple remote desktop connections. It is useful for managing server labs or large server farms where you need regular access to each machine such as automated checkin systems and data centers. It is similar to the built-in MMC Remote Desktops snap-in, but more flexible. The RDCMan 2.7 version is a major feature release.

New features include:

- Virtual machine connect-to-console support

- Smart groups

- Support for credential encryption with certificates

- Windows 8 remote action support

- Support for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Ben Armstrong’s Virtualization Blog - Update for RDCMan

Anyone who is familiar with RDCMan will be thrilled to hear that there is an updated version available!

For those of you who are new to RDCMan – it is a tool that allows you to easily manage multiple remote desktop sessions:

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250 Hello - Remote Desktop Connection Manager Download (RDCMan) 2.7

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Installation Pointers

There are a couple of things worth noting about the tool:

It will install into the x86 Program Files folder on a x64 machine: 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\Remote Desktop Connection Manager

Do not save your custom RDG files in the installation folder, just in case your local workstation dies and the file is gone. I always keep my .RDG files in a  subfolder of My Documents, which is a redirected folder to a file server. 

The RDG files are portable, and you can share them within your organisation.  For example, when you get a new admin give them a copy of the RDG files and they are able to review your list of servers and get connected easily – assuming they have the permissions….

The help file is located in a sub directory called Resources,  - unsurprisingly this is called help.htm

2.7 Fixes & Features

From the above help file.  Please review the help file for details. 

New features

Virtual machine connect-to-console support

Client size options come from the application config file (RDCMan.exe.config) rather than being hard-coded.

View.Client size.Custom menu item shows the current size

View.Client size => From remote desktop size

Option to hide the main menu until Alt is pressed. Hover over the window title also shows the menu.

Added Smart groups

Support for credential encryption with certificates

Better handling of read-only files

Added recently used servers virtual group

New implementation of thumbnail view for more predictable navigation

Thumbnail view remembers scroll position when changing groups, etc.

Performance improvements when loading large files

Allow scale-to-fit for docked servers (Display Settings.Scale docked remote desktop to fit window)

Allow scale-to-fit for undocked servers (Display Settings.Scale undocked remote desktop to fit window)

"Source" for inheritance in properties dialog is now a button to open the properties for the source node.

Focus release pop up => changed to buttons, added minimize option.

Added command-line "/noconnect" option to disable startup “reconnect servers” dialog

Session menu items to send keys to the remote session, e.g. Ctrl+Alt+Del

Session menu items to send actions to the remote session, e.g. display charms

Domain="[display]" means use the display name for the domain name.

Bugs fixed

Application is now DPI aware

Undocking a server not visible in the client panel resulted in the client not being shown in undocked form.

Ctrl+S shortcut didn’t work at all. It now works and always saves, even if there are no detected changes to the file.

Shortcut keys didn’t work when focus was on a thumbnail.

Add/delete profile in management tab. In same dialog instance, profiles are not updated. Similarly adding a new profile from combo doesn’t update the tab.

Window title was not updated when selected node is removed and no new node selected (open a file, close the file.)

Connect via keyboard didn’t always give focus when it should.

Connected Group would always show itself upon connecting to a machine, regardless of setting.

Selecting a built-in group then hiding via menu option didn’t work properly.

Editing server/group properties did not always mark a file as changed.

Non-changes could result in save prompts at exit. This should no longer happen.

Activating the context menu via the keyboard button was not always operating on the correct node.

Changing a server/group name doesn’t change window title if the server/group is currently selected.

ALT+PAGEUP and ALT+PAGEDOWN hotkeys were switched. This is fixed for new installs—for existing files you’ll want to change on the [Tools.Options.Hot Keys] tab.

/reset command line option wasn’t resetting all preferences

“Server Tree” option from “Select server” focus release dialog didn’t show the server tree if it was hidden.

New file directory now defaults to “Documents”.

ListSessions dialog sometimes popped up in a weird location. Now placed within the main window

Lessons Learned - Importing Azure RDC Files into RDCMan.exe’s RDG

This is really over-engineering.  Azure’s “connect” link sends you a .rdc file to download or open.  The registered handler for .rdc files is mstsc.exe, a.k.a. Remote Desktop Connection.

The key line in the .rdc file is “Full Address:s:FQDN:PORT”.  The ‘s’ column in the colon-delimited value is short for ‘string,’ nothing more.  What we want are the FQDN, the port, and the .rdc file’s name.  Why the filename?  It turns out that the Azure Cloud Service is the FQDN in the .rdc file.  The machine name is just the filename.  In other words, if all your VMs are in the same Azure Cloud Service, then the FQDN for each .rdc will be identical.  Only the port will differentiate one VM from the other.

Anyhow, all this does is look for the Full Address line, extract out the FQDN and port data, then create a server element under the specified group in the RDG file.

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Lessons Learned - Hotkeys and RDC Man

There are days I seem to live on RDC Man.  One day, I might try setting my Shell= to RDCman.exe.  On a VM, of course.

At any rate, there are times I need to switch back to the host machine.   While I would like to just see a ‘minimize RDC Man’ hotkey, I’ve had to make do with The Big Hammer: Ctrl-Alt-Del.  This brings up the ‘Windows Security’ screen (not my name: see for yourself at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa383500(v=vs.85).aspx)

A simple Ctrl-Alt-Del isn’t sufficient.  Exiting the Windows Security screen will drop you back into RDC Man. Starting a Task Manager (or switching to it, if already started), will send keystrokes to the host machine.  If you’re an old-school Unix-head like me, the mouse is The Absolute Last Resort.   So, I hit Alt+T to start taskmgr.exe.

Wait, there’s more!  You need to release the Alt key between Ctrl-Alt-Del and Alt-T.

===

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That should be enough RDCMan for you today...

Hoping Santa was going to bring you a Microsoft Band? Hope he doesn't shop online then...

Email that just came in (and it looks legit)

11/24/14
Dear Microsoft Store Customer,
Thank you for your interest in the Microsoft Band. Due to customer response, we no longer have any available for online sale. However, your local Microsoft Store may have some in stock through the holidays. Visit or call your local store. Find a store

To make it right, we're giving you a one-time promo code good for $10 off your next purchase of $50 or more from the Microsoft online store.* ...

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While this kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, I do appreciate the honesty that we're SOL if we were hoping to get one online before the holidays. I'm sure there will be all sorts of venting/commenting/etc. around the blogs so I'll spare you. All I have to say is... :(

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Windows "Command Prompt Here" Generator - Now with VS2015 Support

Travis Illig - VS2015 Command Prompt Here

If you're a user of those right-click "Command Prompt Here" context menu utilities... I just updated my Command Prompt Here Generator with a developer prompt for Visual Studio 2015. Head over there to get an installer for "VS2015 Prompt Here" (or any other prompts you might be interested in).

Windows "Command Prompt Here" Generator

This wizard allows you to generate a custom "Command Prompt Here" context menu item for Windows. After selecting the prompt and customizing text, a small installer will be generated for you so you can use your prompt.

First, select the command prompt you'd like to appear in the context menu.

Command Prompt
PowerShell Prompt
VS 2003 Command Prompt
VS 2005 Command Prompt
VS 2008 Command Prompt
VS 2010 (x64) Command Prompt
VS 2010 (x86) Command Prompt
VS 2012 Developer Command Prompt
VS 2012 Native x64 Command Prompt
VS 2013 Developer Command Prompt
VS 2015 Developer Command Prompt

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It's the simple things that I like, like a web site that generates INF files that help me add "Command Prompt Here" Explorer right-click/context menus...

Hey, there's a Macro in my Visual Studio! (Well, there will be if you install this extension...)

Visual Studio Gallery - Macros for Visual Studio 2013

An extension for Visual Studio 2013 that enables the use of macros in the IDE. The extension can record most of the features in Visual Studio including text editing operations.

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Macros for Visual Studio 2013 is an extension for Visual Studio 2013 that enables the use of macros to automate repetitive tasks in the IDE. The extension can record most of the commands in Visual Studio including text editing operations.

Features

  • Record and playback active document operations and Visual Studio IDE commands

  • Playback multiple times

  • Manage and persist macros with a Macro Explorer

  • Assign keyboard bindings to any macro

  • Macros recorded as JavaScript files that call VS DTE APIs

  • Macro editing in Visual Studio with DTE IntelliSense

  • Stop playback

  • Sample macros

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Getting Started

After installing the extension, the Macro menu will appear under Tools > Macros. Under this menu, you'll find commands to record and playback a macro.

Current macro

The Current macro is a temporary macro that holds the last recorded macro. To persist it, use the Macro Explorer toolbar command Save Current Macro (or right-click the Current macro). Name the new macro and assign a shortcut if you wish. The new macro will then be persisted on your file system.

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Sample macros

Accessibility

  • Decrease Font Size
  • Increase Font Size
  • Maximize Tool Windows

Documents

  • Close Except Active: close all files in Visual Studio except active file
  • Headify All: insert header into each C# file in the solution
  • Remove and Sort All: remove unused usings and then sort, for each C# file in the solution

Editor

  • Beginning of Function: moves cursor to the beginning of the current function
  • Insert Date & Time
  • Insert Date
  • Insert Header: insert header into current C# file
  • Insert Time
  • Pane Center Screen
  • Pane Top Screen
  • Save Backup: saves active document as .bak file in current directory

Snippets (inserts code snippet)

  • For Each Document: to iterate through each open document in Visual Studio
  • For Each Window: to iterate through each open window in Visual Studio
  • Properties: grab one of the properties in Tools >> Options
    For example, (show/hide status bar):
    var property = dte.Properties("Environment", "General"); property.Item("ShowStatusBar").Value = true
  • Undo Context: encapsulate a single undo in macro script

Utilities

  • Find Line: queries find tool for current line
  • Toggle Line Numbers
  • Toggle Word Wrap

Caveats

The following are not supported by the extension right now:

  • Recording interaction with dialogs
  • Recording of 'async' commands like Build may not execute as expected
  • Execute a macro inside another macro

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If you present, this might be a huge time saver for you. If you do the same thing, over and over in VS, this might be a huge time saver for you. If you just like the idea of have Macro's in your VS, this...

Now, we just need a "store" or gallery and/or an easy means to share our Macro's and I think we'd be good. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

With VS 2015 and Android development in VS... "The Secrets to App Success on Google Play"

I Programmer - Free Guide For Android Developers

Google has produced an 80-page booklet to help and encourage developers to publish apps on Google Play. You can download it as pdf or from Google Play, or even request a printed copy sent by mail.

The final option, which involves filling out a form, only applies if you are in the US or the UK. Only a limited number of copies are available and once the supply is exhausted the form will no longer be accessible.

Although the booklet is free, any download from Google Play requires you to provide a payment method. This has led to negative comments from devs who have experienced problems. Other criticisms are the the font sizes are small, requiring zooming on many devices.

So the trouble-free option is the pdf, although even here the use of color makes it slow to download and render and less easy to read.

So much criticism of a freebie!

So what doe it have to offer?

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Android Developers Blog - Introducing a New Guide, “The Secrets to App Success on Google Play”

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The guide is separated into the following sections:

  • Publishing on Google Play — using the Google Play Developer Console to distribute your app to over 1 billion Android users worldwide.
  • Quality — The fundamentals of building a great app and an insight into the Google Play guidelines and policies.
  • Discoverability & reach — Maximizing your app's discoverability and reaching the widest audience possible.
  • Engagement & retention — Converting installations into active users and improving user retention.
  • Monetization — Monetization strategies to generate ongoing, growing revenue streams.
  • Measurement with Google Analytics — Understanding your users and improving your app experience, conversions, and marketing.
  • Going global — Launching your app in local markets around the world.

Download the guide now in English (PDF, 11MB) or get it on Google Play. We’ll release the guide in more languages in the coming months. If you’re in the US or the UK, we also have a limited number of printed copies that we are offering to send for free. Request a printed copy here.

Now that Android dev is that much easier in VS 2015, thought this guide might come in handy for many of you...

Introducing "Office 365 Video" not "Introducing Office 365" Video

Introducing Office 365 Video

"...

Today, I’m excited to announce Office 365 Video, the first of many NextGen Portals landing in Office 365. Initially, we will roll out to Office 365 First Release customers. We then expect to be fully deployed worldwide to all Office 365 customers by early calendar year 2015.

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A beautiful user interface with an easy-to-manage approach

Video is one of the most powerful mediums of communication. Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content. From onboarding new employees, to distributing a CEO message company wide, to community contributions, video is now a first-class citizen to power and enrich your internal communications.

With a beautiful user interface and intuitive content management options, Office 365 Video is designed to meet the requirements of IT and win the hearts and minds of users. Powered by Azure Media Services—the same service used during the Olympics (6,000 plus hours of video in 18 days)—Office 365 Video benefits from adaptive smooth streaming technology optimizing video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. It, too, leverages Yammer and the Office Graph to deliver a social, personalized experience within Office 365.

Let’s take a moment to explore four core elements of Office 365 Video: 1) simplicity, 2) discoverability and share’ability, 3) mobile and 4) built-in security and easy to manage.

Simplicity. To upload a video, content owners simply drag and drop their video files into the web user interface—or upload from their mobile device—type a title and description, and let the service take care of the rest. You can upload a wide variety of video file types. The service then generates a standardized set of playback files for fast, easy viewing.

Discoverability and share’ability. Videos are easily searchable via enterprise search, with a dedicated search experience in the video portal already scoped to show only video results. All uploaded videos are discoverable in Office Delve (similar to documents, videos are automatically fed into the Office Graph).

...

Mobile. People will be able to view and share videos within Office 365 on any device. They can easily navigate the home page and channels to find and view content, and even upload new videos from their device. We’ll share more news in the next few months about how you can best interact with your video portal from your mobile device.

...

Built-in security and easy to manage. It’s very easy to set the permissions for the home page leveraging the same Active Directory powering authentication in all areas of Office 365. This same governance model enables admins to manage permissions for each channel. Channels are easy to create and assign delegated owner(s)—or channel managers—who can then manage their own content and specific set of permissions.

...

To sum it all up

Your business flourishes when all employees are informed, working together and aligned to the same important goals. Office 365 Video is just the first of numerous NextGen Portals to come to Office 365—portals to best support your corporate intranet needs, your knowledge management requirements, and facilitate how people and groups can best represent themselves—all designed to be mobile, engaging, intelligent and ready to go–for you. We’re excited to start this journey, to help you build less and use more.

..."

When I saw this, I saw "Introducing Office 365" Video and so skipped over it. Funny how titling a post can change its draw...

Once I figured out they meant Introducing "Office 365 Video" I took another look and found it pretty cool and interesting. One more draw to the cloud and Office 365.

HTML5 Cheat Sheet

{quicklycode} - HTML5 Cheat Sheet

More info

Posted: November 18, 2014

Author: websitesetup.org

Website: http://websitesetup.org

It comes helpful when you are creating or re-designing pages and sites in HTML 5.

Whether you are a beginner or more advanced web developer, you can feel free to download the image (.png) or .pdf file to your personal desktop.

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Website Setup - HTML5 Beginner’s Guide

The ability to make compelling, beautiful web pages is a useful skill to have. It allows you to present information you care about whilst capturing the attention of those who visit your web page.

If you don’t want to use website platforms (such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla) to build your website and you want to learn the basics of HTML5, then this is a right guide for you.

And oh, once you have learned the ropes of a HTML5, I highly suggest you to check out my “HTML5 Cheat Sheet” below

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Website Setup - HTML5 Cheat Sheet

Here's a really useful HTML5 TAG CHEAT SHEET.

I originally made it for myself, but eventually wanted to share it with others.

It comes helpful when you are creating or re-designing pages and sites in HTML5.

Whether you are a beginner or more advanced web developer, you can feel free to download the image (.png) or .pdf file to your personal desktop.

image...

Nice HTML5 Cheat sheet from a normal, not SEO hunting, site.

Google goes Git and GitHub with Go

Info - Go Language Moves to Git and GitHub

Rob Pike, lead designer of Go at Google, announced on Go's Google Group that Go language is moving to Git and GitHub. "All data will be preserved," said Rob, but GitHub will not be used to handle pull requests and code reviews. Google's own Gerri will be used instead because it fits better the requirements of a large project such as Go, explained Google engineers.

...

The main reasons behind the decision to adopt Git and GitHub, says Rob, are the availability of a Git-based code review system that fits the Go team workflow and the fact that a large part of the Go community is currently using Git and GitHub. As mentioned, a Google-hosted instance of Gerri will be used for code reviews. In a separate discussion about the use of Gerri, Andrew Errand, Google Go engineer, explained that Gerri has several advantages over Godthab's code review tool:

...

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Mostly I just wanted a post with that title... :P

But I did find it interesting how much uptake Git and GitHub are getting. Microsoft and Google both on GitHub? I have to wonder, who's going to buy GitHub?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting started with AzureML with the End-to-End tutorial...

Continuous Learning - End-to-End Predictive Model in AzureML using Linear Regression

Machine Learning (ML) is one of the most popular field in Computer Science discipline, but is also the most feared by developers. The fear is primarily because it is considered as a scientific field that requires deep mathematical expertise which most of us have forgotten. In today's world, ML has two disciplines: ML, and Applied ML. My goal is to make Machine Learning easier to understand for developers through simple applications. In other words, bridge the gap between a developer and a data scientist.  In this blog, I will provide you with a step-by-step guide for building a Linear Regression model in AzureML to predict the price of a car. You will also learn the basics of AzureML along the way, as well as its application it in real-world by creating a Windows Universal Client app.

What is AzureML?

AzureML is meant to democratize Machine Learning and build a new ecosystem and marketplace for monetizing algorithms.  You can find more information about AzureML here.

Why AzureML?

Because it is one of the simplest tools to use for Machine Learning. AzureML reduces the barriers to entry for anyone who wants to try out Machine Learning. You don’t have to be a data scientist to build Machine Learning models anymore.

Logical Machine Learning Flow

Figure below illustrates a typical machine learning process with end result in mind.

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Conclusion

AzureML is a new and highly productive tool for Machine Learning. It may be the only tool that lets you publish a machine learning web service directly from your design environment. Machine Learning is a vast topic and Linear Regression models discussed in this article only scratches the surface of the topic. In this article, I went over a stale dataset to showcase AzureML as a predictive analytics tool. You can apply the same procedures and components for Classification and Clustering models. Finally, my goal was in writing about Applied Machine Learning. I am not a Data Scientist, but now with all the productive tools, I feel that I can put to work some of the great algorithms that scientists have already invented.

Some more Datasets you can play around with

  1. Daily and Sports Activities Data Set link
  2. Farm Ads Data Set link
  3. Arcene Data Set link
  4. Bag of Words Data Set link

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There's a free tier for Azure ML that was announced week before last, so if you've been yearning to play in a Machine Learning sandbox, Azure ML and this post will get you started!

The USS Ponce gets some Laser punch! As in a drone killing laser...

NextGov - This US Navy Ship Is Now Armed With a Drone-Killing Laser Beam

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The U.S. Navy now has a ship in the Persian gulf armed with a “laser gun.” That’s how the U.S. chief of naval operations described it, in passing, to a congressional hearing back in March.

The Laser Weapons System, as it’s officially called, has been mounted on the USS Ponce, which is a kind of floating helicopter pad designed to transport marines and equipment for amphibious assaults....

...

 Naval Technology.com - Laser quest: Phalanx, LaWs and the future of close-in weapon systems

...

The US Navy is set to take CIWS technology into unchartered territory this summer when it sea-tests a revolutionary directed-energy laser weapon on board the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.

Scientists working under the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Quick Reaction Capability programme have proved that targets identified by a Phalanx CIWS can just as easily be tracked using the Laser Weapon System (LaWS). In 2011, an earlier version of the high-energy laser was used to defeat small boat threats from a destroyer and the following year LaWS downed multiple unmanned aircraft.

The system comprises a single laser weapon control console manned by a surface warfare weapons officer on board the USS Ponce, who can operate all functions of the laser and, if commanded, fire the weapon. Using a video-game-like controller, that sailor will be able to manage the laser's power to accomplish a range of effects against a threat, from disabling to complete destruction.

Experts believe that high-energy lasers now offer an affordable way to target asymmetric threats such as unmanned aircraft and small attack boats at the speed of light and with extreme precision.

...

My son-in-law is current in the Persian Gulf area so got excited when I saw this and had to double check which ship he was on. Nope, this isn't his... :( But hey, it's still lasers being deployed for "real"... :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

[Personal] That's my boy!

This would have been cool to post on Veteran's Day, but hey, when you're active or a vet, every day is Veteran's Day :)

Here's my boy, who's still deployed to Afghanistan, but we're hoping will be home (or at least in the States) for Christmas...

 IMG_20141024_172222

I so want one of the MRAPs. I'll see your Hummer and raise you an MRAP. lol

 

Related Past Post XRef:
[Personal] Special Microsoft This Week on Channel 9 Shout Out to Jacob
[Personal] Supporting my son in my own weird little way...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who's codealiking now? Limited number of Premium Access tokens for you? Gordon Beeming, that's who!

<gordon's blog/> - My Experience with Codealike

I have been using Codealike for a while now and thought I'd share my experience and things that I like about codealike with everyone. I did mention codealike on This Week on Ch9 when I hosted it last week with Greg Duncan.

What is codealike?

Codealike is a service that tracks your activity while you code normally. Once you've installed and signed in in your preferred IDE, the plugin will track, process and send the data to our servers so you can visualize it anytime you want to learn how you work and how to improve through trustworthy data.

...

Why should you use it?

As you can see from above there is a bunch of useful information that you can get out of codealike. If you have navigated to the codealike features page you would see that some of the cool features are premium features which you would normally need to pay about $12 a month or $100 a year. But if you email me I have a limited number of tokens that I am able to give out for Premium access to codealike, so what you waiting for? Send an email to me at [click through to his blog, please....] with preferable a link to who you are (blog, twitter, other social media, etc.) and if I have tokens left I'll forward them on to you =D.

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First listen to Gordon chat about this on This Week on Channel 9 ([20-15]). Then read his post. And then [note to self] go get it! Even if he runs out of tokens, there's still the free version... :)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Look who's talking now? My first primary hosting for This Week on Channel 9, "TWC9: Two Geeks and a Cube"

MVA (Microsoft Virtual Academy) Monthly - What's coming this month...

MVA Monthly: November 2014 Preview

Jerry Nixon and Colin Lyth are back and in this installment of our MVA Monthly series they discuss what’s new and upcoming for the month of November.

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MVA (as you can see below) has been something I've been watching for a while now. And let me tell you, you are GOING to be seeing much more from them. They have very aggressive growth plans and are working hard on getting more courses, authors and content out to us... All still at the same price as today, free.

One tip, add their recent releases feed to your reader of choice. That, and Jerry and Colin's MVA Monthly series, will help you keep in the MVA loop...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Look, Microsoft Virtual Academy has a new look!

Microsoft Press Free eBooks now have a home in the Microsoft Virtual Academy
//build/ –> //learn/-> //publish/ -> //your free new training sessions/
11 for 12... 11 Free SQL Server 2012 Microsoft Virtual Academy Classes
Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) provides free Microsoft Cloud Tech training
Congratulations you can become a Microsoft Licensing Expert and earn MS Licensing Accreditation (no lie)
Developing with HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 Jumpstart from the Microsoft Virtual Academy (free and a free exam voucher too!)
8 x 2 = 16 hours of instructor lead virtual Windows Phone 8 Dev training (That's free too!)
"Office 365 for the IT Pro - Platform" course now available on MVA
Microsoft Virtual Academy - Announcing the Release of the ‘Office 365 for the IT Pro – Platform” course to the
WAMVA - Windows Azure Microsoft Virtual Academy courses... (which are free of course)

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) provides free Microsoft Cloud Tech training

Make sure you Connect(); On Demand. There's so much more than what was live streamed...

Sure, all you've been hearing about for the last couple days is the news and announcements from the Connect(); virtual event. You might have watched the live stream and read the many related posts.

But did you know there's a ton, I mean a boat-load ton, of more on-demand connect? We're talking 80 sessions... 90% all available now (the last 10% should be available tomorrow'ish)

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Add the event feed to your feed catcher of choice, add them to your Channel 9 queue image or use the cool C9 apps, there's a great deal of free content here that will keep on top of the current wave...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Connect(); Build, Ignite- It's Conference Announcement Time!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Microsoft gets wild on GitHub - Repo-repo of the Day: microsoft.github.io

microsoft.github.io

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Now that's allot of repo's. I had to smile that the code behind microsoft.github.io is, of course, hosted on GitHub.

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So do you believe yet that Microsoft, well at least DevDiv, is going all OSS out?

DARPA wants to build “Aircraft Carriers in the Sky”

DARPA News - Wanted: Ideas for Transforming Planes into “Aircraft Carriers in the Sky”

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DARPA invites input on how to enable existing large aircraft to carry, launch and recover multiple unmanned air systems for a variety of missions

Military air operations typically rely on large, manned, robust aircraft, but such missions put these expensive assets—and their pilots—at risk. While small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can reduce or eliminate such risks, they lack the speed, range and endurance of larger aircraft. These complementary traits suggest potential benefits in a blended approach—one in which larger aircraft would carry, launch and recover multiple small UAS. Such an approach could greatly extend the range of UAS operations, enhance overall safety, and cost-effectively enable groundbreaking capabilities for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other missions.

To explore and expedite the possible development of these potential benefits, DARPA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (http://go.usa.gov/AWpm) seeking technical, security and business insights addressing the feasibility and potential value of an ability to launch and recover multiple small unmanned air systems from one or more types of existing large manned aircraft, such as C-130 transport planes.

“We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky’,” said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager. “We envision innovative launch and recovery concepts for new UAS designs that would couple with recent advances in small payload design and collaborative technologies.”

The new RFI invites short (8 pages or less) responses that must address three primary areas:

  1. System-level technologies and concepts that would enable low-cost reusable small UAS platforms and airborne launch and recovery systems that would require minimal modification of existing large aircraft types. This area includes modeling and simulation as well as feasibility analysis, including substantiating preliminary data if available.
  1. Potentially high-payoff operational concepts and mission applications for distributed airborne capabilities and architectures, as well as relative capability and affordability compared to conventional approaches (e.g., monolithic aircraft and payloads or missile-based approaches). DARPA hopes to leverage significant investments in the area of precision relative navigation, which seeks to enable extremely coordinated flight activities among aircraft, as well as recent and ongoing development of small payloads (100 pounds or less).
  1. Proposed plans for achieving full-system flight demonstrations within four years...

Heck if we can jump out of C130's (Been there, done that) then it should be able to release and recover small drones, you'd think? Well get your thinking caps on, DARPA things so too!

Check it out there's a roadmap for WPF (and no, it's not to the cemetery ;)

.NET Framework Blog - The Roadmap for WPF

When we introduced WPF back in 2006 (.NET 3.0), the response was absolutely phenomenal. Enterprises, ISV’s, and Microsoft Partners have made the technology central to their business, building amazing vertical solutions and mission critical applications for their customers. This momentum carries forward to today – 10% of all newly created projects in Visual Studio 2013 over the past 60 days are WPF. WPF has amassed a passionate, vibrant, community that uses it to build data-centric desktop business applications on Windows. A recent example of this would be a new WPF application that was developed by our partners at InterKnowlogy. This application was recently used by CNN producers in the mid-term elections to upload, validate, and configure the data seen in the on-air election application. The election data is presented on CNN’s Magic Wall, which Microsoft’s Bing Pulse team helped to develop.

This post will address the roadmap for the WPF platform, including areas of investment we’re prioritizing and tooling improvements for upcoming releases of Visual Studio.

Areas of Platform Investment

Based on a survey we conducted at the //build conference earlier this year, UserVoice suggestions, and interviews with a large number of WPF developers across a variety of market segments over the past few months, we’ve prioritized the following areas for future investments to make WPF a better platform.

Performance: While WPF is actively being used to build large-scale, high performance applications like Visual Studio and Blend, further improving the performance of the platform based on customer feedback is a priority for us. Some key scenarios we are looking to optimize in this context are application startup, scrolling and virtualization performance of ItemsControls.

DirectX interoperability: The primary scenario of interest here is to make it seamless for WPF applications to interoperate with newer versions of DirectX.

Supporting modern hardware: Technologies like touch and high density displays are ubiquitous on modern devices. To support upgrading to newer hardware, it’s important that existing WPF applications can adapt to new hardware capabilities coming to desktop machines.

Tooling: We will continue to co-evolve the tools for WPF when appropriate, alongside new platforms like .NET/WINRT. This commitment is reflected in the tooling investments section of this post.

Investments in some of these areas might introduce dependencies on a particular OS version and/or have compatibility risks. For these cases, the features will light up based on the host OS and/or might require you to opt in to use the feature.

Current Progress on WPF

Let’s first address a common question regarding support: WPF is a quintessential part of the .NET Framework. The .NET Framework is defined as a component of the operating system, instead of an independent product. So, support for .NET Framework is driven by the support lifecycle policy of the Windows operating system. Extended support for the current recommended version of .NET (4.5.2) on Windows 8.1 is available till 2023. We will continue to fix security issues and bugs reported by customers that impact a large cross-section of our WPF customers.

... [Click through for the rest]

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Okay maybe this isn't a ringing endorsement or announcement for a big bang release, but heck at least there IS a roadmap and we ARE getting fixes and features! I think this is the first WPF news, truly WPF news, that I've seen in a while and it's good to see... :)

Who can use VS 2013 Community Edition for free? (No, it's not everyone) Here's the official word...

Earlier today the Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition was announced, This IS the Visual Studio you've been looking for... Hello Visual Studio Community Edition!. The question is, who can legally use this edition?

Well funny enough, there's a new version of Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing White Paper that covers just that...

Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing White Paper 

This white paper provides an overview of the Visual Studio product line, including MSDN subscriptions, and the licensing requirements for those products in common deployment scenarios.

Version: 1.0

File Name:

Visual Studio 2013 and MSDN Licensing Whitepaper - November-2014.docx

Visual Studio 2013 and MSDN Licensing Whitepaper - November-2014.pdf

Date Published: 11/12/2014

This white paper provides an overview of the Visual Studio product line and the licensing requirements for those products in common deployment scenarios. For a definitive guide to licensing terms and conditions for products licensed through Microsoft Volume Licensing, see the Microsoft Licensing Product Use Rights (PUR) document and applicable licensing agreements. For retail customers the license terms are specified in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) included with your product or with your MSDN subscription.

Here's a snip directly from the doc;

Visual Studio Community 2013

Visual Studio Community 2013 is a free, full-featured IDE for any developer building non-enterprise apps across any platform or device. It includes all the capabilities needed to create compelling non-enterprise applications, including powerful productivity features, mobile development tools for Windows, iOS and Android, and access to thousands of extensions.

Who can use the software

Rights to use Visual Studio Community depend on the customer segment and usage scenarios as explained below.

Individual developers

Any individual developer can use Visual Studio Community, to create their own free or paid apps.

Organizations

· An unlimited number of users within an organization can use Visual Studio Community for the following scenarios: in a classroom learning environment, for academic research, or for contributing to open source projects.

· For all other usage scenarios: In non-enterprise organizations up to 5 users can use Visual Studio Community. In enterprise organizations (meaning those with >250 PCs or > $1M in annual revenue) no use is permitted for employees as well as contractors beyond the open source, academic research and classroom learning environment scenarios described above.

Example 1: A University wants to use Visual Studio Community 2013 for training students enrolled in the “Data structures and Programming” course and for a “Big Data” academic research project that requires building a cross-platform mobile application. Further the University also plans to customize its ERP software and automate processes through its internal LOB applications. Visual Studio Community 2013 use is allowed by academic institutions for classroom learning environment and academic research and hence the University can use the software for its coursework and the research project. However Visual Studio Community 2013 cannot be used for developing and testing its internal LOB applications.

Example 2: A Fortune 500 firm has outsourced the development of its store-locator mobile application to a small agency. The application is not an open source project. The agency has 5 employees working on the project and would like to use Visual Studio Community 2013. Since the agency is a contractor developing this application for the Fortune 500 firm, and since the application is not an open source project, the agency cannot use Visual Studio Community 2013 for developing and testing the application.

Example 3: A Fortune 500 ISV is working on a mobile application which is released under the Open Source Institute (OSI)-approved open source software licenses. Employees and contractors developing and testing this application may use Visual Studio Community 2013.

...

For more information, details, TFS, VSO and more, please check out the entire 37 page document...

 

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This IS the Visual Studio you've been looking for... Hello Visual Studio Community Edition!

While Visual Studio Express (Web, Windows, Windows Desktop) is nice and better since they moved from Language Express editions, the fact that the Express editions have always been pretty locked down only a very few VS Extensions were available made them kind of half-empty editions.

Today that changes.

The three Express editions are still available but we now also have a new expanded, and extendable, Visual Studio Community Edition (VSCE)! Best of all VSCE is available at the same price point of the Express editions, that is, free!

Free for indie's, single programmers, oss and such. Enterprises? You (we) still need to buy Pro/Premier/Ultimate to comply with the license.

This is essentially VS Pro, but free. Now, no more barriers, get your coding on!

Visual Studio Community 2013 with Update 4

Download Visual Studio Community for a free, full-featured IDE with powerful coding productivity features, cross-platform mobile development tools for Windows, iOS and Android, and access to thousands of extensions. This edition of Visual Studio is available at no cost for non-enterprise application development.

Sign in to Visual Studio within 30 days with your Microsoft account to synchronize your settings across multiple machines and register your product.

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Look who's talking now? My first primary hosting for This Week on Channel 9, "TWC9: Two Geeks and a Cube"

While up at the MS MVP Summit last week, I had the opportunity to be the primary host for This Week on Channel 9. With me was Gordon Beeming where we geeked out for 20'ish minutes in one of the cooler spaces available, the Microsoft Maker Garage.

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I've got to thank Jeremy Foster for suggesting this space, getting us in and to Matthew Pew for his awesome recording and editing. He made us look like pros!

Anyway, here's the show... :)

TWC9: Two Geeks and a Cube

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Microsoft MVP Summit (If you're there and you see this guy, say Hi!)

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This week I'm at my first Microsoft MVP Summit (woot!), here to as much attend the sessions as to try to network. As I look at the MS MVP roster, as I've said before, it's pretty darn humbling. I mean, these guys and gals are pretty darn awesome! Maybe if I hang out with you/them long enough, some of that awesome will rub off. :)

If you see me, please say "Hi" (if I don't say howdy first ;) and let's chat. And let me buy you a beer or two...

 

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[Bucket List item checked off] I'm the DZone Featured MVP of the week!