Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting to know DocumentDB - Part 2

For Signing up for DocumentDB read here:

Getting to know Document DB - Part 1 here:

In Part 1 we found that we need to install Microsoft Azure DB Client Library.

In this post we will install the client library as well as look at the Microsoft created sample which is perhaps the best way to look at the details of DocumentDB.

Installing Microsoft Azure DocumentDB Client Library
Client Applications connect to Azure DocumentDB service using Client Library.
In order to install Microsoft Azure DocumentDB Client Library you need to run the command:
PM> Install-Package Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client-Pre

PM is the Package Manager Console. If you do not know how to get to the console read here.

  •  Launch Visual Studio 2013 Express for Web Update 3. -Run as administrator
Make sure you have the NuGet properly installed. If not get it from the Gallery Tools | Extensions and Updates...
  • Click Open the Packet Manager Console

Type in the install script mentioned above and you will get an error message as there is no solution yet.
  • Download the C# Sample from here:
Download, extract and open it in Visual Studio.

When you build you may get some 12 error messages.
Now in the Package Manager Console run the Install again as shown
PM> Install-Package Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client -Pre
Attempting to resolve dependency 'Newtonsoft.Json (= 4.5.11)'.
Installing 'Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client 0.9.0-preview'.
You are downloading Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client from Microsoft, the license agreement to which is available at Check the package for additional dependencies, which may come with their own license agreement(s). Your use of the package and dependencies constitutes your acceptance of their license agreements. If you do not accept the license agreement(s), then delete the relevant components from your device.
Successfully installed 'Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client 0.9.0-preview'.
Adding 'Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client 0.9.0-preview' to DocumentDB.Samples.DatabaseManagement.
Successfully added 'Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client 0.9.0-preview' to DocumentDB.Samples.DatabaseManagement.
Build the project again:
Now you are still showing six errors.

Some of these are related to missing references:

I guess the latest SDK (Microsoft Azure SDK 2.4)  is needed.
Go to notifications area and install the latest SDK.

Download the SDK

Run the SDK
Web Platform Instlaler takes over.

Now you are ready to install MSFT Azure SDK for .NET (VS2013) -2.4
Click Install.

Once you download the Microsoft Azure SDK, the errors go away and the build succeeds.

We look at the details of the project in the next post here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Azure SQL Databases going to cost even lower after September 2014

Another name is price war and the battle is on going on all fronts. There has been news on the
internet regarding Microsoft's pricewar with Amazon and Google vis-a vis its cloud offerings.

Although Cloud business (the thriving one) is only a small part of Microsoft right now it makes sense to make it invincible.

Old prices and service tiers here:

Come September the price for Azure SQL Databases will be  slashed.
Reduced pricing and enhanced SLA available in September. Read here:

The new pricing is as in the following image from the above site:

Note that a new S0(S-Zero) performance level has been added in the Standard tier meant for lower-cost entry point.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Updating the Windows* Phone 8.1 Update

In my previous post here I ranted on the Nokia Lumia Icon I bought from Verizon.

In this post I will describe what else has happened since.

I have not been able to find anything about Nokia Lumia Icon alias Nokia Lumia 929. I have posted the question to the Windows Phone Central.

When I bought the Nokia Icon phone from Verizon the OS version was 8.0.10521.155

Then I installed Windows 8.1 Preview for developers and this version was 8.10.12397.895

There has been other updates. The following were the updates I agreed to install on the same day.
8.10.14147.180;  8.10.12400.899; and 8.10.14157.200

The update 8.10.14147 appears the latest according to:

Is it? I have 8.10.14157.200.

The last updates took quite a bit of time that included updating some 20 files.

This is OK. I am still puzzled whether I am still in the 'Preview Park' or the 'RTM'. Another frustrating thing with the updates is that no reason is given for these updates. Things need to be transparent.

At least with Visual Studio updates, you do get some idea of what has been updated.


Here is an alternative to YouTube

I recently received an email from a Los Angeles public relations firm about the debut of the newest version of DotStudioPRO, a platform that supports distribution, sharing and monetizing of videos having an all-in-one digital ecosystem, taking channel to multi-platform.

The interesting message was that content creators have an option other than YouTube where the content creator is in complete control from distribution to monetization.

Read more here:

Monday, August 25, 2014

$33 SmartPhone with Mozilla OS debuts in India

The price is low enough to get customers in droves considering that India is the fastest growing market for smartphones. Mozilla OS can easily benefit and get a significant market share and it has already made its mark in over 15 countries.

Cloud FX smartphone just costs Rs 1999 and at that price quite a significant numbers can afford. Facebook and Twitter makes it all the more attractive. Presently English, Tamil and Hindi are supported and I am sure more will be supported in due course.

Here is a picture of the phone:

Cloud FX phone is manufactured by Intex Technologies, India(LTD) and the phone is sold through

More details and features here:


Getting to know DocumentDB

Presently these are the services in my Azure account.

Although I signed up for DocumentDB, I do not have any clue where it is in the Azure Portal.
I suppose since I have not configured a service I may have to go to the preview portal. You may have to sign in again to get into the preview portal.

Well, here is what my status looks like as far as DocumentDB is concerned.

I take the quick root as always. Click on Quick start. The next screen is displayed. This screen is the one to master if you want to work with DocumentDB. It has everything that you need as the content says.

First thing first, let us get the URL and the Key. Click on Get your URI and key in the above screen. Copy the information and keep it in a safe place, just in case. Click on the icon for copying and paste it to Notepad.
Note: I have masked the keys
There are 4 different tools available. I suppose either (or all if you like) of them will do. I just
chose javaScript to keep it simple. Click on Install JavaScript SDK and it takes you to
this URL:

Looks like it is not ready yet.

Well, my next try is to Install .NET SDK. This takes me to the URL:

You need to get the Microsoft Azure DocumentDB Client Library.

---to be continued...

Friday, August 22, 2014

How do you sign up for Azure DocumentDB?

You need to get to the Azure preview portal here:

Of course you would be needing an account on the Microsoft Azure.

You could also start here:

Once in the preview portal click on the Azure Gallery at the bottom of the page shown in this partial screenshot.

Gallery listing gets shown.

In the gallery listing shown click on Data storage, cache, +backup
Another set of related list of services gets displayed.

Click on DocumentDB.

DocumentDB is displayed with some summrized information. You can also create a DocumentDB service.

Here is the pricing information for DocumentDB presently only avilable in US West and European datacenters.

Click create to open the window for filling in details for the service you want to create. Name field has restrictions (Small ccase, numbers etc.)

Click create after filling up details.
Th program starts creating a service in the preview portal as shown.

After may be 20 minutes or so, the service was created

Read forth coming posts here and here.


NoSQL Azure Service DocumentDB as a service announced

Azure platform is going all out and it is burgeoning.

"Microsoft Azure DocumentDB is a document-oriented, NoSQL database service
designed for modern mobile and web applications"

The above from Microsoft site.

Microsoft beefs its Azure Services portfolio with yet another service. Azure
DocementDB service is which also serves as a search tool. Searching stuff that
goes into NoSQL should be very useful. It is presently available as a technology
preview product and developers will be able to run SQLesque queries on  JSON data
and supports transactional consistency.

Under the hoods it uses the in-memory technology and includes important libraries like .NET, Node.js, JavaScript and Python. DocumentDB is presently strictly Microsoft but it intends to make it Open source.

All this enhancements / additions are going to provide a tough challenge to AWS
and which has also seen strong challenge from Google.

Read more here:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

General Availability of Azure Mobile Services updates announced

Recent updates to Azure Mobile Services address the scalability of mobile apps and their real-time behavior.

This was achieved by the following:
  • .NET backend became generally available and can be used in production. This makes it possible to add a mobility layer to backend easily.
  • Recent update to .NET enables using ASP.NET SignalIR for bi-directional communication with apps in real-time.
Details are here.
The integration with SignalIR Hubs confers the following to Azure Mobile Services:

  • Unified Authentication with a simple Authorize Level
  • Dependency Injection
  • Web API Integration -
  • Automatic Scale-out
Well what is SignalIR?

SignalIR is claimed to be incredibly simple real-time web for .NET. It is another facet of ASP.NET -ASP.NET SignalIR. ASP.NET Signal IR helps developers to simply add real-time web funcitonality to apps, the ability to have server-side code push content to connected clients in real-time.

SignalIR leverages WebSockets, the HTML5 API for bi-directional communication.

All this is said to quickly, but you must review SignalIR and its context with Html5/Javascript here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Project Options for cross-platform apps with Intel XDK

In a previous post the interesting aspects of developing cross-platform apps with Intel XDK was described . It was also shown how easy it is to install the XDK. You can review the post if you missed it.
Cross-Platform Apps are easy with Intel XDK - Part 1

There are several options available for creating projects with Intel XDK.
Double click the icon, or click the XDK icon on the taskbar to open the Welcome to
the Intel XDK Pane as shown (it is assumed that you have installed the Intel XDK, if not review the link above).

Click on the Visit to Intel XDK Introduction and the Intel XDK Documentation gets
 displayed. This is quite a comprehensive documentation that discusses all aspects of Intel XDK including developing cross-platform HTML5 based apps for
smart phones and tablets; deploying to devices, monetizing etc.

In the left hand side there are different ways to work with projects. You could create a blank project but then you do not get many of the design editors you find in others such as Start with App Designer etc. If you already have created a project you could open it. You could also import an existing app into the IDE. In order to test drive you could also use the option, 'Work with a Demo'.

Here are the options:
  • Starting with a blank project
  • Work with a Demo
  • Start with a Template
  • Import an Existing APP
    If you have created an HTML5 application you could import it into the IDE as
  • Use App Starter
  • Start with App Designer
Continued in the Mobile specific blog here:


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What version of PowerShell do you have on Windows 8.1?

I purchased a Windows 8.0 laptop and a few days later it was upgraded to Windows 8.1. There have been many Windows Updates since I bought the computer and I am not sure if a version of Powershell was installed.

Also a few months later I installed SQL Server 2012 Developer Edition. After looking through I discovered that I have two versions 2.0 and 4.0 and they can exist side-by-side.

Details here:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Event Stop: IT/Dev Connections at Las Vegas, Sept 15-19, 2014

This a learning event if you have cash(convince your boss!). These are the main sessions that are included:

  • Development
  • Exchange
  • SharePoint
  • SQL Server
  • Windows
There is also a less expensive Online access for the sessions at $295 discounted.

If you are a developer for mobile platform may be this is not for you. There are one or two sessions quite tangential to Mobile platform and none for IoT.

There are a couple of interesting sessions under SQL Server and SharePoint.
You can review them here:

There are also number of interesting sessions on Power Shell:

Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Power Shell--Kaido Jarvemets and Greg Ramey
A Power shell Toolkit to Secure a Post-Snowdone World--Jeffrey Snover
Power Shell Desired State Configuration for Securing Systems-Jeffrey Snover
Using Power Shell to Manage and Monitor Exchange -Siegfried Jagott
Manage SQL Server Efficiently with Power Shell Remoting-Allen White
Automate your ETL Infrastructure with SSIS and Power Shell-Allen White
Basic Custom Tools Using Power Shell -Kaido Jarvemets and Greg Ramey
Power Shell Tricks and Tips for Exchange-Jaap Wesselius and Michel de Rooij
Getting Started with Power Shell 4.0- Jeff Hicks

A memorable evening listening to Patrick Ki

Patrick Ki is the son of our friend and neighbor, the Vietnam veteran Mr. Herb Matsuo.
Patrick is originally from Hawaii (listen to his Kailua Days album) now lives in Sedona Arizona entertaining and delighting people with his fabulous guitar and ukulele. 

This past weekend he came down to Honolulu to celebrate his father's birthday and that's how we were able to listen to him live. It was a treat and he played ukulele delighting us with many of his favorites.

Herb Matsuo, Burt Shimoda and Patrick Ki
Listen to this haunting music...

From Patrick's Greatest Hits album: Besame Mucho, one of the most famous boleros

Visit his web site here to find out more about Patrick Ki and his albums.

These patches from Microsoft may be harmful for your computers, uninstall them

According to Woody Leonard's post on InfoWorld, the following recent patches do more harm then good.

It appears that Microsoft has taken them out of its site. If it is installed uninstall them as they may cause Windows to freeze creating Blue Screen horros in Windows 7 and Balck Screen horrors in Windows 8.1. Windows updates causing problems (sometimes) is not new to me.

KB 2982791
KB 2970228
KB 2975719
KB 2975331

In Windows 8.1 search for Windows Updates from Search in charms and pick up view installed updates history.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ayla: Cloud platform for Internet of Things

Featuring PaaS for Internet of Things

Connecting and controlling any device on the internet is easy and cost effective if you can buy into Ayla's IOT Cloud Platform. Cloud based services on the Ayla IoT Cloud Fabric are invoked by software agents embedded in the IoT Connected devices and the mobile device apps.

Since this is a complete end-to-end scalable solution Ayla Networks provides a number of benefits for the customers:
  • Simple to implement
  • Accelerate development
  • Lower Cost
  • Scalable
  • Reduced risk
  • Agility
Read details here:

Well there are quite a few venture capital companies funding Ayala that includes CISCO, SAIF Partners from China; International Finance Corporation; Voyager Capital; Crosslink capital and SJF ventures from NC.

There will be no dearth for the market and it is deemed to be the next big thing in Industrial revolution:
  • Connected homes
  • Personal use - Health monitoring
  • Building monitoring and control
  • Industrial Users
  • Laboratories
  • Retail market
Here is a screen shot of the Ayla IoT Cloud Fabric

Platform Components:
At a high level IoT devices talk to the Ayla through its Cloud PaaS via Wi-Fi, Cellular, Ethernet and WPAN. The Applications on Mobile devices connect through application APIs and the Enterprise Web apps connect to the Cloud PaaS via Ayla Restful APIs . Third party Cloud Apps can also connect to the Cloud PaaS. The following picture shows the Platform components.

Read more about the key capabilities here:

Here is video showing how it all works:

Well if you decide to check it out you can order the Ayla Design kit and start right away:


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jump start your Cross-Platform App Development skills with Intel's XDK

In my previous post some of the cross-platform app development tools/programs were described in a general way.  In this post I describe the Intel XDK tool which does not require skills except HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript.

From here you can jumpstart your App development skills after downloading the Intel XDK. You can write once and deploy to several platforms.

It is generally argued that while HTML5/CSS3/Javascript is a good option to create cross-platform apps it is only suitable for some simple, inexpensive apps. In order to buld more complex apps you need a single language to access the 'native apis'. Hardware specific apis are accessed
by a variety of languages like Java, .NET, Objective-C etc. There does not exist a single language to access the machine specific information for all platforms.

However, a large number of Apps fall into the 'inexpensive/simple apps' that integrate many of the social media applications and in these cases the Html5/CSS/Javascript is more than adequate. Apps based on HTML5 can also contribute to the number of apps in a store to improve the perceived lack of apps for Windows for example. Well at the end of the day quality and not quantity of apps that matters

What is Intel XDK?

Open Source PhoneGap ( technology was instrumental in getting AppMobi ( to use HTML5 for App development. Intel came along and acquired AppMobi and it was renamed XDK. Perhaps it then went rounds of revisions and tweaks to become Intel XDK. Right now in preview but will be a full fledged tool one day soon.

This video explains the Open Source PhoneGap.

BTW PhoneGap is free and you can download from the PhoneGap Site.
Here is a screen shot of Intel XDK homepage:

Intel XDK is free and can be downloaded from here,

for Windows 7, Windows 8, Apple OSX and Ubuntu Linux.

The installer Intel's Software Install Assistant installs xdk_web_win_master_0876 (~90MB); file version
Just double click the installer.

After extraction is completed the Welcome page is displayed.

In the Welcome Page click Next. Here you choose the destination. Default was chosen here.

Click Next to get to the installation summary page.

Click Install.
Installation begins..

Pretty soon it is completed. Very uneventful installaiton.

Click Finish and you are done.
The first time you use it you will have to login into Intel XDK.
Then provide the required information

That's it. Now you are ready to develop.
Watch future Intel XDK posts on and/or


Friday, August 15, 2014

Samsung jumps on the IoT bandwagon

There was news today that Samsung has acauired SmartThings, a start up that will operate all your home appliances including garage doors with a router that sends out commands that you send over the Internet.

Right now SmartThings have stuff for iOS and Android only.
You can buy your stuff now to remodel your home.!/

Google of course started the ball rolling, buying up Nest, the smart-home thermostat and the Dropcam via Nest to monitor homes with a Wi-Fi camera.

I believe Samsung ($200 Million) made a much better deal than Google ($3.2 Billion).
Read this informative article on the Forbes magazine.

Best wishes to my Indian friends on this very important day

I wish my friends and relatives a very happy August 15. It is a memorable day when India gained independence.

There was peace, there was bloodshed, there was mass migration, there was sorrow and there was happiness.

The country has come a long way, a very long way in the intervening years. It has been a great achievement, thumbs up for democracy. I hope India remains secular, what we want is what Nehru called, Unity in Diversity.

This was the beginning in 1947.

This is how it is now in 2014

Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Update 3 may present this problem

In the previous posts we looked at installing Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 here,

and Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Update 3 here.

The latter is the tool to develop Windows Store Universal Apps. In addition to the above if you install Web App Template of correct version as described here:

you should be able to create Web Apps (convert your web site to an app) as described here:

In this post the following problem occured when Update 3 was applied to an existing Visual Studio 2103 Express for Windows Update 2 with Web App Template extensions installed.

1. When a new project was created there were no Web App Template
However by going to Tools | Extensions and Updates.. did show two installers available, Web_App_Template_installer versiosn 1.1 and 2.0 but they could not installed because there were only two options disable/uninstall

Solution was found after interacting with the ASP.NET Forums. The suggested cure was to delete several files below in the following folder:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.WindowsAzure.Contracts.dll
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.WindowsAzure.Explorer.dll
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.Internal.Contracts.dll
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.WindowsAzure.Impl.dll  (should not present, just in case
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.WindowsAzure.pkgdef  (should not present, just in case)
In the present computer only two files were present:


These were moved over to a different location (just in case!) and the VS2013 was restarted, the templates appeared in the New Project window as shown:

These are the template files presently available in Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Update 3:
Web App Template for Universal Apps -Ver 1.2
Web-App-Template -ver 1.1

In the Tools | Extensions and Updates..., the two files mentioned previously remains with the same options disable/uninstall

Follow the threads on ASP.NET forums here:

and here:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Excel-based app for Oracle and SAP

Excel is the number cruncher par excellence. From just a spreadsheet that replaced lotus1-2-3 it turned into a behemoth. The various add-ons to EXCEL has enormously enhanced the product to what it is today. An Excel based unique product exceL4apps brings them together. Here is the homepage for this Excel solution.

There are products separate for Oracle and SAP.

GL Wand Oracle
Budget Wand Oracle
Reports Wand Oracle

Report Wand SAP

You can download free trials and here is what GL Wand for Oracle solution provides:
It is an Excel-based financial reporting solution to use with Oracle e-Business Suite 11i or 12. It claims, "GL Wand enables highly efficient and secure financial reporting, shorter month ends, and faster refreshes with ad-hoc inquiry and drill downs."

The best way to know about it is to download (from the link at the beginning) and check it out. The trial is free and if you do not have the mentioned Oracle products you can use the online data.

Here is a demo video of exceL4Apps real time reporting:

Review some popular Excel related posts on Hodentek here:

Also check out the Hodentek books on the Hodentek Blog.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Microsoft , OPC (OLE for Process Control) and IOT

Object Linking and Embedding is a Microsoft developed technology for the Windows OS. Most of you must have used it one time or another. OLE Client and OLE Server based technology that was present in most of Microsoft products.

The OPC Foundation started by industrial automation vendors took OLE, COM and DCOM one step further to create the basic specification for OLE Process Control which is Universal.

Basically the standard focuses on interoperability of device instrumentation; controllers that utilize device information output; software and enterprise systems.

There are several specification groups in the OPC standards such as:
OPC Data Access
OPC Alarms and Events
OPC Batch
OPC Data Exchange
OPC Security
OPC XML-Data Access
and many more including a Certification Process. Read more about certified products here:

Read more here:

Pioneering the 4th industrial operation, the OPC Unified Architecture making the IoT to happen.
Make sure you get this PDF from here: Protection Status