dotNET Developers

ZeFrank on Beginnings

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 10, 2012 - 9:03am

So many great quotes…but you really need to just watch it.

Hat tip to Joe Morel of link.

PageKite

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 10, 2012 - 8:56am

PageKite is a hosted TSL (SSL) (Transport Layer Security) service[1]. Or put more simply:

A very easy way to share your local development server with the world.

Previously I had used the following similar services:

  • ShowOff - a beautifully packaged service with abysmal support. I had to cancel my account on principal.
  • LocalTunnel - free service which works pretty well for the price. I find the lack of a dedicated address very frustrating (not to mention the errant requests to old addresses).[2]

Back to PageKite:

  • Pay for only what you use is a nice touch
  • SSL support
  • Easy setup (at least on OS X)

And my absolute favorite feature: It Just Works.

I have been using it for all of 60 minutes, but so far it appears to be very solid. In addition, the founder of PageKite appears to be dedicated and engaged.

If you need a dedicated ‘tunneling’ service, I would recommend checking out PageKite.

[1] Bjarni corrected me in the comments that PageKite uses TLS instead of SSH which allows it run in places SSH may not be an option (Windows, Android, etc). It is also available via OSS if you want to run it on your own.

[2] LocalTunnel is also OSS, so you could host your own instance, but as I have stated before, I have zero desire to actually ever manage a server on my own again.

Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone Now Available at AT&T

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 9, 2012 - 12:34pm

It’s finally here!  Nokia has just launched it’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone in the US.  The phone is available at AT&T for $100 with a new 2-year contract.  There are other offers where you can get it for even less.  

I’ve had a Nokia Lumia 800 (the smaller version sold in Europe) for about a month now as a test device at work.  I’ve been ‘drooling’ to get my hands on the bigger Lumia 900. I’m hoping to do that sometime this week.   It’s been getting some great reviews that you can check out here.

Check out the HUGE party Nokia threw in Times Square on Friday night April 7th:

Visual Studio Live! in NYC: May 14-17, 2012 – User Group Discount Available!

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 9, 2012 - 11:08am

Last month, I announced here that Visual Studio Live! is returning to New York on May 14-17th, 2012.  Andrew Brust, who is the co-leader of the NYC .NET Developers Group (and newly minted ZD-NET “Big Data” blogger), is one of the co-chairs of the Visual Studio Live! conference.  Andrew has just passed along a great offer to me.  If you register today and use promo code UGNY1, you will receive an exclusive discount available only to user group members – you’ll save $400!

REGISTER HERE!

From Andrew:

Visual Studio Live! features some of the best content and speakers you will find at a technical conference. I should know: Rocky Lhotka and I work to determine the content coverage and select the speakers. For May’s event, we’ve put together an excellent lineup of sessions on Visual Studio 2010+ and .NET 4+; HTML5; the Cloud; Windows Phone 7, Silverlight and WPF; Data Management; Windows 8 and WinRT.

The full agenda, organized by topic, is posted here:
http://vslive.com/events/new-york-2012/tracks/track-list.aspx

Visual Studio Live! will be hosted at the Brooklyn Marriott in Brooklyn, NYC

For all of those folks in Jersey, don’t let that discourage you. It’s just one subway stop beyond lower Manhattan if you’re coming into the city via train at Penn Station.  That’s how I’ll be arriving.  And, assuming the weather is nice in May, you should make a point to walk back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge at some point during the conference.  It’s one of those quintessential New York “things” that sometimes us suburbanites need to do!  (The base of the bridge is just steps away from the Marriott.)

I’ll be speaking at VS Live! myself on Windows Azure.  Hope to see some of your there!

@home with Windows Azure: Using the Folding@home SMP Client

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 6, 2012 - 11:11am

My teammate Brian Hitney has just posted a new article on some minor updates we have made to the @home with Windows Azure application.  Two minor changes have been implemented to allow new options for Folding@home “pros”:

  • You can now use Stanford University’s Folding@home SMP client to achieve better results with multiple CPUs in Windows Azure.
  • You can now configure the @home with Windows Azure application to set team membership the Folding@home client.

We have made these changes in response to feedback from those wanting to get ‘more’ out of their 90-days of free compute time from Windows Azure.

Folding With Multiple CPUs

On March 19, I wrote a post detailing whether you can run multiple-instances of the @home with Windows Azure application.  The answer is yes, but you will burn through your monthly allocation free compute time in less than a month, resulting in your account being disabled until the following month when you receive a new allocation.  This would be an example of scaling out in Windows Azure by running the Folding@home client on multiple single CPU machines.

It turns out that Folding@home rewards speed over quantity. It is better to complete a single work-unit faster than to work on multiple work-units at a slower pace.  This is an example of where scaling up in Windows Azure with a larger VM with multiple CPUs is a better solution.  For this to work, you need to use the SMP version of the Folding@home client. 

We had previously only included the single threaded version of the Folding@home client in the @home with Windows Azure application. With this update, the SMP client is now included, allowing you to scale up to multiple CPUs if you choose.  However, as with running multiple instances, this involves a tradeoff of burning through your monthly allocation of free compute time in less than a month.  Brian details how far your monthly free allocation will go with multiple CPUs in his post.

Folding for Your Team

By default, when you run the @home with Windows Azure application, your Folding@home contributions are reported back to Stanford as part of team “Windows Azure” (#18415). We’ve heard feedback from participants that they may already be folding for Stanford as part of another team.  In addition, to receive credit for your ‘speedier’ efforts, Stanford offers a passkey that uniquely identifies your contributions.

The @home with Windows Azure application now contains additional configuration settings that enable you to provide an alternative team name and a passkey.

For full details on how all of this works, see Brian’s post:

Folding@home with the SMP Client in Windows Azure What is @home with Windows Azure?

Microsoft provides a 90-day free trial of Windows Azure where you can learn to kick the tires and run an application in the cloud 24x7 cost-free.  The @home with Windows Azure project is an online activity where you use those 90-days of free compute time(or your MSDN Subscriber benefits) to contribute to Stanford University’s Folding@home distributed computing project.

The Folding@home project helps scientists provide insight into the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow disease, ALS, and some cancer-related syndromes, by running protein folding simulations on thousands of machines world wide,

You deploy Stanford’s Folding@home application to Windows Azure, where it will execute protein folding simulations in the cloud, thus contributing to the research effort. In essence, your participation is a donation of your free compute time to the Folding@home project!

Additionally, from the start of March 2012, Microsoft is donating $10 (up to a maximum of $5000) to Stanford’s Pande Lab for everyone that participates!

You can learn more about the project at: http://distributedcomputing.cloudapp.net

27 million users is actually very tiny

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 5, 2012 - 5:01pm
27 million users is actually very tiny:

This goes in the top 10 of the dumbest things I have ever heard:

27 million people is not too shabby, but it’s nowhere near the scale you need to make a massively large business.

Instagram may prove me wrong and end up being a huge financial success…but I doubt that is going to happen.

The first thing that comes to mind after watching that video is they are scared. What if they get it wrong? What if people are really just using them because they are free? What if no one wants to interview them anymore?

What’s even worse are the number of people who look up to this ‘lottery’ business model.

Build something of value. Charge money for it. Build it some more. Have the guts to say I built something and it is worthy of your time and money in return.

New: Windows Azure Trust Center

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 5, 2012 - 4:57pm

A couple of new Windows Azure announcement were made today.  As my colleague Bruce Kyle covered earlier, the Windows Azure team announced the availability of two new datacenters in the US:  East US & West US.  For what I assume are security purposes, the exact location of these data centers was not released.  (I’m guessing they are east & west of the Mississippi River respectively.)

Speaking of security, the Windows Azure team also announced something that I’m sure will answer a lot of frequently asked questions I get when speaking about Azure with customers: A shiny new Windows Azure Trust Center on WindowsAzure.com! 

One of the most frequent category of questions I get about Windows Azure relates to the general topic of security:  Is my data safe technically?  Physically (data center)? What regulations and certifications does Azure comply with?  etc, etc.   Now you can have all of those questions answered in one location!

Check out the new Windows Azure Trust Center at: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/trust-center/ 

 

Creating Value

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 5, 2012 - 4:49pm
Creating Value:

…creating value is unrelated to busyness.

NYC Women in Tech Connect Event – Saturday, May 5th, 2012

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 5, 2012 - 4:21pm

Just got word that my teammate Rachel Appel, and Melissa Demsak (of NJ SQL fame) are hosting a Women in Tech event in NYC on Saturday, May 5th, 2012.  Back in November, I wrote about “Keeping it Professional in Tech” and the importance of supporting women in the technology industry. I’m excited to hear about this event.  Details below from Rachel…

Women in Technology NYC Connect (FREE) May 5th at Microsoft NYC

1290 Ave of the Americas, 6th Floor, NY NY 10104

REGISTER HERE

Featuring presentations on Technology, Personal Growth and Perspectives to propel us into the future.

Why? Because when we connect, we become inspired and we can accomplish anything!!

Who should attend: Any Technical Women in the NYC Metro Area. College students are also strongly encouraged to attend.

Speakers: Email Melissa Demsak (melissa.demsak@gmail.com) or Rachel Appel (Rachel.Appel@microsoft.com) with your topic, abstract, speech length and bio by 4/9/12.

Volunteers: If you have an interest in volunteering to make this event the best it can be, please email Melissa or Rachel.

Agenda:
8:30am: Registration
9am-11:30am: Kick-Off/Presentations
11:30am-1pm: Lunch on your own / Networking
1pm-3pm: Presentations / Closing

Event Site: http://njwomenintech.wordpress.com/

Linux Dig Command

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 5, 2012 - 10:17am
Linux Dig Command:

Dig has probably been around forever, but this one is new to me. Really helpful information.

You Must Read: The Little Redis Book

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 5, 2012 - 10:00am
You Must Read: The Little Redis Book:

Speaking of Redis, every developer needs to read Karl’s book, The Little Redis Book.

I learned so much reading this and I use Redis just about everyday.

Indexing with Redis

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 5, 2012 - 9:57am
Indexing with Redis:

Skip the first 10 minutes or so (*cough* Kill Your Introduction)

I use Redis a lot, but apparently there is a lot I still need to learn. Lots of interesting stuff in Paul’s talk.

@home with Windows Azure Webcast: – Debugging and Troubleshooting in the Cloud

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 4, 2012 - 2:55pm

Tomorrow (Thursday, 4/5/2012) at noon ET (9am PT) we have our fourth screencast in the @home series: Debugging and Troubleshooting in the Cloud!

During the first week of March 2012, my teammates Brian Hitney, Jim O’Neil, and I announced the re-launch of the @home with Windows Azure project. On March 15, we hosted a kick-off webcast providing an overview of the project.

This is the fourth in a series of five where we’ll dive into various aspects of Windows Azure.  In this fourth webcast, we’ll explore how you can debug, troubleshoot, and monitor your applications in Windows Azure.  From the abstract page:

In this fourth webcast episode, we talk about debugging your application. We look at debugging locally and how the emulator works for local development, and we talk about configuring diagnostic data to capture logs and performance counters. For the especially tricky troubleshooting issues, we discuss IntelliTrace, an advanced debugging tool, to gather more information about your application—essentially building a timeline of events that can be examined to quickly find the root of a problem. We also look at remote desktop options for troubleshooting.

WATCH THE WEBCAST at 12:00pm EDT 4/5/2012

If you can’t make this one, be sure to check out the rest in the series by watching the @home with Windows Azure website – there’s one more left in the series scheduled for next week on 4/12/2012 at the same time. You can also watch the recordings of these webcasts as they become available on the site.

What is @home with Windows Azure?

Microsoft provides a 90-day free trial of Windows Azure where you can learn to kick the tires and run an application in the cloud 24x7 cost-free.  The @home with Windows Azure project is an online activity where you use those 90-days of free compute time(or your MSDN Subscriber benefits) to contribute to Stanford University’s Folding@home distributed computing project.

The Folding@home project helps scientists provide insight into the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow disease, ALS, and some cancer-related syndromes, by running protein folding simulations on thousands of machines world wide,

You deploy Stanford’s Folding@home application to Windows Azure, where it will execute protein folding simulations in the cloud, thus contributing to the research effort. In essence, your participation is a donation of your free compute time to the Folding@home project!

Additionally, from the start of March 2012, Microsoft is donating $10 (up to a maximum of $5000) to Stanford’s Pande Lab for everyone that participates!

You can learn more about the project and sign up to view a series of web-casts we will be delivering over the next month at the project’s website:

@home with Windows Azure

Hope you will join Brian, Jim, and I tomorrow!

Flat Icons & Icon Fonts

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 4, 2012 - 2:40pm
Flat Icons & Icon Fonts:

Massive list of awesome icon fonts.

How to Appologize For Downtime

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 4, 2012 - 9:52am

This my dear readers is how you issue an apology.

We are committed to making myBalsamiq known for its uptime, but clearly we have a long way to go. We are learning, and I feel very sorry that our early adopters have to pay for our inexperience. :(

They go on to offer an extremely generous credit for the downtime as well. However, to me that is secondary. All I think users really want to hear is that you are honestly sorry and that you will make your best effort to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Healthy Products Remove Broken Features

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 4, 2012 - 9:11am

One really good sign of a healthy product - The ability to remove features which don’t work and/or cause more harm than good.

Spring Cleaning

Today we’re removing two features. They’ve been gathering dust for a while and it’s time to throw them out.

Don’t ever think you cannot remove crappy features. This is a horrific myth perpetuated from the enterprise software world.

It is much better to have customers angry at you for removing a frustrating feature than to keep it around and let it slowly chip away at your credibility.

More money from fewer sales

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 3, 2012 - 3:43pm
More money from fewer sales:

AKA - The best damn post EVER about pricing

…price should be a consequence of value. When creating products, we should first focus upon the customer, what they need, and how we can provide value. Then, we should learn what our solution is worth to them and charge accordingly.

Less customers is OK. I don’t get this obsession (especially in the startup world) with massive scale.

Find a group of customers and serve the bejesus out of them and grow from there.

SQL Azure Saturday: April 21, 2012 @ Iselin, NJ

JrzyShr Dev Guy - April 3, 2012 - 3:23pm

I’m happy to announce that on Saturday April 21, 2012, the New Jersey SQL Server user group will be hosting a “SQL Azure Saturday” event!  This will be a FREE full-day event on SQL Azure & data in the cloud related topics.  The event is something that I have been working with the group’s organizer, Melissa Demsak, to produce.  The NJ SQL user group has hosted & sponsored many great SQL Saturday events in the past.  This new SQL Azure Saturday event should be just as great!

Registration is now open on Eventbrite:

REGISTER HERE!
Microsoft NJ - 101 Wood Ave S, Iselin, NJ 08830 Event Details

General Agenda:
8:30am
- Registration
9:00am – 12:00pm – Kick-off/Presentations
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch / Networking
1:00pm – 3:00pm – Presentations/Closing

Location:
Microsoft NJ Offices
101 Wood Avenue South, 9th Floor
Iselin, NJ 08830

Topics
  • Intro to Azure Platform
  • Intro to SQL Azure
  • Migrating to SQL Azure
  • Performance/Scale in SQL Azure
  • SQL Azure Reporting
  • Intro to NoSQL and Big Data

Note: exact agenda times TBD

Speakers

Peter Laudati - The "JrzyShr Dev Guy," is a Developer Evangelist with Microsoft, based in the New York/New Jersey area. One of his roles is supporting and educating developers working Microsoft technologies. Peter supports the developer community in the NY/NJ Metro area by speaking at user group events, Code Camps, and various tech conferences. Peter is also the co-host of the “Connected Show” (www.connectedshow.com), a podcast focused on the cloud and connecting Microsoft technology with non-Microsoft technology. His blog can be found at http://www.peterlaudati.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Jrzyshr.

Jim Priestley - Microsoft, Azure Technical Solution Specialist -  Jim recently joined Microsoft as an Azure Technical Solution Specialist in the Mid-Atlantic District.  Jim has spent the past two years hands-on successfully migrating an e-commerce solution to Windows Azure (www.plccenter.com).  He enjoys sharing the lessons he has learned and spreading the knowledge about Windows Azure.

Don Demsak- An Advisory Solutions Architect at EMC Consulting, based out of New Jersey, who specializes in building enterprise applications with .Net. He has a popular blog at www.donxml.com and is a former Microsoft MVP. He is currently immersed in building cloud based applications on Microsoft and non-Microsoft cloud stacks. @DonXML

The Second Conversion

Ancora Imparo - Scott Watermasysk - April 3, 2012 - 10:27am
The Second Conversion:

While it’s certainly good that people are taking an interest in your start-up, you’ve overlooked a critical element of the conversion process: Getting referrals.

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