Thursday, April 30, 2015

Red Shift vs. Azure SQL Data Warehouse

In recent times both and Microsoft have made bundles of cash with their cloud assets. Amazon had the advantage of being the first to get into action (2 years earlier) with Red Shift. In the Data Warehouse scenario Microsoft’s Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Red Shift are clear competitors.

Now Scott Guthrie has challenged Amazon's Red Shift ( According to Scott, Azure allows you to make adjustments to compute in just seconds that is beyond the capability of Red Shift.

The other Azure capabilities are,
• can pause/resume a cluster
• can be turned 0ff so you only pay for storage
• can be deployed and run from on premises
Read more here:

Watch this Red shift video


Tuesday, April 28, 2015 project provides a jumping board to Microsoft Azure IoT

Event Hubs, Stream Analytics, Azure HDInsight and Machine Learning are the components of Microsoft's way of doing IoT. However these 'words' may be little too much for those who want to toy with IoT and somewhat intimidating.

With, an open source project initiated by Microsoft Open Tech a playground is available to get started with Microsoft Azure Services  IoT projects. Makers, IoT geeks, systems engineers and enterprise developers can all participate. The cloud is the brain. provides simple, step-by-step procedure to connect your device to Microsoft Azure via RaspberryPi and Arduino Interfaces. The next example is from SLAC at Stanford University where a huge amount of data is being sent to Azure Cloud for Analysis. This 'Proof of Principle' should encourage all National Laboratories to come on board with their control rooms replaced by simple, multiple connected handhelds.

Microsoft has demonstrated the hooking up the Microsoft wand (device) to Microsoft Azure. Read here:
Read more here:

The project has boiler plate codes to connect devices to Azure services mentioned earlier and help coming up with a website to show the response from the devices. Of course data-analysis is an integral part of the project.

The project is expected to grow as more sensors/devices are developed

Begin here to learn:

Hands-on Learning Event in Honolulu 1: Introduction to Structured Query Language

This was offered once in 2012 and once in the beginning of this year and was a total success. It is offered once again to those who could not make it.

Please register at the PCATT.ORG site.

New in 2015: You will also get an introduction to Windows PowerShell. SQL Server 2012 Express will be used.

For details you can also write to: with course name in the Subject line.

Monday, April 27, 2015

WinJS 4.0 is in preview. Get it now!

WinJS is a cross-platform JavaScript library for building HTML5/CSS/JavaScript applications across devices. When it was announced first in 2014 it was Open Sourced. The version in preview is 4.0.

The feature set got beefed up with the following: (
  • Universal experiences: UI controls will scale or translate among various devices without having to go through significant rewrites.
  • Addition of controls: ContentDialog, SplitView, AutoSuggestBox and ToolBar controls are now available; Hub and Pivot controls and other controls are updated.
  • AngularJS Support: An AngularJS-WinJS wrapper allows WinJS-originated code to be used in AngularJS projects.
  • ListView Improvements: "ListView is a signature control for WinJS," according to the Windows blog. As such, its capabilities have been streamlined to work almost identically from mouse- to touch-enable device: multi-selection, lists in alternating stripes, progressive loading of elements in a list, to name a few.
You can (WinJS4.0 and full feature list) download from here ().

There is also an online playground here:

 Get all my JavaScript related articles here:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Get yourself PowerShell 5.0 February 2015 Preview

PowerShell 5.0 February preview is available to download from here:
 February 2015 includes the following:
  • Updates to Windows PowerShell,
  • Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC)
  • Windows PowerShell ISE
Plus new CMDLETS
  • OneGet
  • PowerShellGet
  • Network Switch
Supported OSs:
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2012
February 2015 preview updates the November 2014 preview with a few more new features detailed
here (only two of them stable):
  • Develop DSC resources with classes in Windows PowerShell - Stable
  • Remove DSC documents delivered to a system - Stable
  • Support for inheritance with classes in Windows PowerShell - Experimental
  • DSC resource script debugging - Experimental
  • Support for new RefreshMode - Experimental
  • Partial configurations support mixed RefreshModes - Experimental
  • PSScriptAnalyzer: static code analysis of  Windows PowerShell artifacts - Experimental
Details to appear on my other blog:


Friday, April 24, 2015

Moving data to Azure DocumentDB

You may need to move data from various sources to DocumentDB and the Azure DocumentDB Migration Tool can be used if your source is in the following form:
  • CSV file or files
  • JSON file or files
  • SQL
  • MongoDB
  • DocumentDB
The file details are as follows:
Version 1.0   4/7/2015
File name:
DocumentDB Data Migration Tool.docx (1.6MB)

It does not appear to be supported on Windows 8.1 but supported on Window 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or SP2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista SP2
The download contains both a GUI as well as a command line tool. The document contains valuable information of using the GUi with various databases.
For further details:


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Azure App Service is ready to roll

No matter what type of App, no matter what platform, you can use Microsoft Azure App Service to develop.
Image Source: Visual Studio Magazine
Microsoft is known for its relentless pursuit of its chalked-out path, be it Windows, be it Office and be it Cloud services. With Azure App Service which debuted today you can build cross-platform/cross-device apps from Microsoft Azure.

Azure App Service draws upon all the best of breed Microsoft technologies, Azure Web Sites, Azure Mobile Services and Azure BizTalk Services and you can build apps for Web, Mobile, Logic and Apps.

You can build web apps now which are automatically scaled based on need and are fully managed. You can use prebuilt tools from an exhaustive gallery and use versioning, authentication, performance monitoring etc.

Read more here:


Would you pledge $50 to buy UDOO Neo?

Looks like an ideal hardware to have in your collection and used for developing IoT projects.

UDOO (sounds like voodoo) Neo seems to hold best of all stuff for IoT development. UDOO is in the Kickstarter stage and you could be an early well-wisher.
Their email shows that it has all of the following:
• Raspberry PI
• Arduino
• Wi-Fi
• BT 4.0
And Oh! Sensors.
Looks like they garnered $15k in under 11 minutes.
Coming to realities, it is credit-card sized, low-cost, low-power guzzler and Open source and can run both Android and Linux &&& Arduino-compatible.

It can be used 3 ways:

• As a Full-fledged computer
• As an Arduino compatible micro-controller
• As an embedded computer -IoT

It comes in flavors, UDOO Neo Basic and UDOO Neo with very little pledge range.
Even the features of the basic unit are attractive:
• 512 MB Ram
• One USDB Port
• One Micro-USB OTG Port
• HDMI Video Output  for LVDS
• Wi-Fi module
• Bluetooth 4.0  module
• Analog & Digital camera connection
• 54 GPIOs
• Micro SD card for OS
In addition to all of the above, the UDOO Neo also has fast Ethernet and 9-axis motion sensors embedded with 1GB RAM instead of 512 MB.
If all of this are present, I think I would pledge.
For specific details go the originators at these sites:, and of course,

Here is  UDOO Video n You Tube.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Google's Project Fi takes off

This has been in the works for long and now it is ready. Are you paying for set bulk rate for data from the likes of AT&T and Verizon? Well it worked but not for those who want to pay for what they use. Project Fi does it for you what AT&T and Verizon do not. It will even reimburse for data not used.

Right now you ask to be invited to join the program but later it is for all who wants it. The free software model starting with Android was a huge success and as Android is a global market leader for smart phones it will be easy to get them on to Project Fi.

The seamless transition from cellular to Wi-Fi is a very attractive feature, a feature that all smart phone manufacturers should emulate.

Read more here and here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I am a Windows Insider but..

 I have only Nokia Icon.

Microsoft has released the 2nd Windows 10 build for phones.

It supports most Microsoft and Nokia Phones but will not support Nokia Icon. There was almost a year delay even to get Windows Phone 8.1 on Nokia Icon and now this.

List of supported phones:

    Lumia 1020
    Lumia 1320
    Lumia 1520
    Lumia 530
    Lumia 530 Dual Sim
    Lumia 535
    Lumia 620
    Lumia 625
    Lumia 630
    Lumia 630 Dual Sim
    Lumia 635
    Lumia 636
    Lumia 638
    Lumia 720
    Lumia 730
    Lumia 730 Dual SIM
    Lumia 735
    Lumia 810
    Lumia 820
    Lumia 822
    Lumia 830
    Lumia 920
    Lumia 925
    Lumia 928
    Microsoft Lumia 430
    Microsoft Lumia 435
    Microsoft Lumia 435 Dual SIM
    Microsoft Lumia 435 Dual SIM DTV
    Microsoft Lumia 532
    Microsoft Lumia 532 Dual SIM
    Microsoft Lumia 640 Dual SIM
    Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM

The good news is that there will be a fix (?) although release date is TBD.

Here are the new things in this build:

Project Spartan - The killer rendering engine a great fit for mobile web. It can exist with IE11.
New Calendar and mail apps
New Phone and messaging app - Changing message to voice is not sweat.
New People app
New maps app - Voice guided navigation
App Switcher update

Read more at the link above.

OSISoft PI System; Microsoft Azure Fabric & Microservices

Microsoft is releasing in the near future Azure Service Fabric as a preview beta (

Azure Service Fabric is built to run microservices - a complex application consisting of smaller, interlocked components that enables updating components without disrupting service. Microsoft has used this over the past few years internally for many of its own applications and the new release is for general use, a new product.

OSIsoft is an early adopter of this system and run with it to expand into the exploding IoT market.
OSISoft's PI:

PI is a system envisaged to bring sensor data directly to the board room minus the human middle man. This is one embodiment of IoT to not only get the data but analyze so as to provide deeper insight and provide operational intelligence.

Here is OSIsoft overview (from OSIsoft site),

"OSIsoft, a global leader in operational intelligence, delivers an open enterprise infrastructure to connect sensor-based data, operations and people to enable real-time and actionable insights.--"
Read more here:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Microsoft Visual Studio to develop IOT projects

You need the Windows Developer program for IoT Developer Tools besides the hardware (Intel Galileo board). You will be obviously using Microsoft Visual Studio.
Before you download the necessary .msi file you need to go to Microsoft Connect site ( and join the program.

Visual Studio 2014 and Visual Studio 2015 are not supported and you need the WindowsDeveloperProgramforIOT.msi file which you can download from Connect site.

Moving towards IoT: 5G challenges and trends

5G is not just faster data and/or higher capacity only. It is much more than these obvious characteristics.

For one thing for IoT to succeed; the grand vision created for its debut on a universal scale, 5G is a must. More users; more devices interconnected at any instant of time. The 5G must address the issues arising out of interconnected devices in addition to only users. Also for IoT to succeed additional items like coverage of the serviced region (Can you hear me now!) and more efficient networks.
The data rates required by 5G are some 1000 times that provided by 4G to make things happen with low latency. One immediate challenge is the unavailability of spectrum (700 MHZ to 3 GHZ). Two options open to work on are,
• Explore new spectrum
• Innovate usage of existing spectrum to send out more bits
Explosive growth of connected devices both arising out of human interaction as well as from embedded devices. The connected devices are heterogeneous in nature with low as well as high bandwidth which can presents significant design challenge to work in unison. This impacts deterministic response time and must be well understood to realize the full potential.
Moving towards 5G
• Overcoming the limitation of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing - exploratory generalized orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (GOFDM) as demonstrated by University of Dresden, Germany providing 30% more data rate than 4G designed by using National Instruments RF tools and LabView.  -Reference:
• Increasing the number of access points (densification)- Use of Multiple input, multiple output(MIMO) base stations' promise of increased efficiency and better energy efficiency - Lund University MIMO experiments demonstrate date rates some  100 times
• Using wavelength region not heavily populated like the 28GHZ, 38GHZ and the 71 to 76 GHZ range - usability demonstrated by NYU Wireless and Nokia has prototypes a mmWave communication link achieving some 100 times 4G rates.

It may not just one of these will pave towards 5G but a combination of these and yet to be made new developments will ultimately steer 5G towards the future.

This post was motivated after reading the PDF document from National Instruments (NI) and draws heavily from its content. The added references are for those who may want to read more.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Voice biometrics in Financial Institutions - ENacomm

Biometrics to complement or add-on to authentication has a large following.

India's Aadhar Project is one prime example for large scale implementation of Biometrics. 

As voice biometrics (bio-behavior) is getting popular in Financial institutions for voice-based authentication many more players are in the field.
Enacomm is a player in this field and they are presenting their application at the
Payments 2015 Conference in New Orleans, LA between April 19-22.

This is what they are talking about:


Here is a video that goes move general than the technical talk above:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Getting the Dream Factory backend - Part 2

The Dream Factory provides RESTful services for your applications. Given a datasource, any datasource The Dream Factory generates a comprehensive, secure REST Api which will be your backend that you can use to build frontend applications. It provides for scripting and customization.

You can get started at this site here:

You can develop on your own computer or if you have a Cloud Platform subscription such as Windows Azure, Google or Amazon you can develop it there.

After starting from the above link you need to register to use the platform as well as download SDKs. The following couple of screen shots shows the steps.

You first get an instance of the DreamFactory Service Platform(DSP). You can customize name or use the one provided (default)

Click CreateDSP. The dsp-hodentek-45946 gets created.

Click Launch in the above screen. You need activation and provide the username, password you provided earlier while interacting with the site.

Click Activate.

You may have to provide login info one more time. It takes a little while processing the credentials.
 Now you are in. You have to choose an Application ID and choose how you want to create the app, Native or browser based.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Semtech's Wireless IoT Product

Semtech has a large repertory of products encompassing Broadcast, Circuit-Protection, Power management and a host of others. LoRa system is one of their wireless/rf products that addresses long range solutions and forms the basis of their IoT applications.

LoRa is ideally suited to eliminate repeaters, extend battery lifetime and improve network capacity. The following image from one of their pdf documents shows some applications built around LoRa.

 Here is a little more informative schematic of how LoRa system works.

Read this informative pdf document (from which the above images were copied) that provides comprehensive information of some of the IoT products.

Watch LoRa related Semtech Video


Open Source Mobile Backend - The Dream Factory

The Dream Factory provides RESTful services for your applications. Given a datasource, any datasource The Dream Factory generates a comprehensive, secure RESTApi which will be your backend that you can use to build frontend applications. It provides for scripting and customization. You have support for all of this:

  • Client SDK
  • Single sign-on
  • jQuery
  • Angular JS
  • Sencha
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
You can install on any server including your humble desktop. If you can afford you can install on any of the following:

Why wait? Test Drive today starting from here:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

IoT Foundation service on IBM's BlueMix gets a boost

IBM recently boosted its support for its IoT Foundation Service by setting up a dedicated IoT business practice with funds totaling $3B. This will bring together clients, partners and stake holders to integrate dispersed sources, sensors, devices, business operations to glean real-time intelligence. This IoT ecosystem partnership will include The Weather Company that provides a strong bearing on anything related to weather on business.

IoT Foundation Service makes it easy to access IoT via Cloud API's. The cloud platform will further add:
  • IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries --IoT apps for Cloud based customers
  • IBM BlueMix IoT Zone - IoT Integration with Cloud based apps
  • IBM IoT Ecosystem --Eco-system to include chip; device manufacturers as well as partners that includes ARM, AT&T and Semtech and the more recent The Weather Company.

A gun mounted camera as an IoT device

It will be interesting (perhaps quite easy) to develop a tamper-proof Gun mounted camera which can automatically log all activities and stream load data to a Cloud Service. Such a device should be a standard official issue. In fact as gun related violence has been on the radar, it should be mandatory for all registered guns. Protection Status