Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Get Web Platform Installer and get all the latest web related Tools/Programs

Web Plagtform Installer (Web PI) is a free tool and a treasure house for those interested in developing for the web. It is the source to get some of the free stuff for Microsoft Web Platform components like Internet Information Services, SQL Server Express, .NET Framework, Web Matrix
and a host of other development related resources including third party/Open Source programs. It is well suited for blogging, content management, learning and you can use the Windows Web Application Gallery.

Get Web Platform Installer 5.0 from here:

When you install the Web Platform Installer (wpilauncher.exe) you always get the latest version. You can get it in the language of your choice from among 14 languages:
  • English, German, French, Spanish, Italian,
  • Czech, Polish, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian,
  • Chinese Simplified, Japanese,  Korean, Chinese, Traditional, Chinese,  Turkish
It has a tiny foot print but does great thingswith this size. The program requires one of the following OS plus connection to the Internet:
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista with SP2
  • Windows Server: 2003 with sp2+, 2008, 2008R2 and 2012
Even Windows XP is listed but support for XP does not exist. You also need administrative rights to the computer/server.
I recently installed WebMatrix3 from the installer:


During this installation I could install many more items besides WebMatrix to have a complete set of tools/programs to build and maintain web sites, database applications etc. These applications are in spotlight:


These are products available. Click on the navigation items in the left to review the details:


You can have a host of other programs (Drupal, Joomla, WorkPress, etc.). You can pick and choose:


Good luck!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Azure Logic Apps and IFTTT

The Azure App Service consists of Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Logic Apps and API Apps.

You can start configuring using the Azure Portal as shown (preview portal).

The Logic Apps in Azure allows you to configure work flows that run automatically every time the app calls an API; makes changes to data in a database; or polls on a timer and takes appropriate action like send a text message or email to configured email address, etc.

 Creating a workflow is easy with a declarative JSON file or using the Logic/Workflow designer in the Azure Portal. Here is an example of such a workflow from Scott Guthrie's blog (http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu).
The basic resource is to pick up from a number of Built-in API connectors (shown here taken from the same blog) and configure your workflow.

Well this would be very useful to businesses as long as they have all the connectors they need at their disposal. The workflow may itself be trivial and can be done fast, but to get to that stage of having appropriate connectors may involve other registrations, configurations etc. It is true, however that assuming you have the required connectors creating a workflow is easy and fast.

Conceptually IFTTT (If This The That) offers a similar service, perhaps not enterprise quality and does not encompass all the sophisticated connectors but good enough for most non-enterprise and web users and perhaps even small businesses.
Here are two workflows I created using IFTTT which of requires that I have a blogger account, a twitter account, an email address etc.

 I do not know the details of the premium service of IFTTT but perhaps that can do a lot more.


Am I comparing apples with apples? No. Azure's strength comes from its elasticity, the cost-effectiveness for enterprise; the rich eco-system built around it.


On the fly Azure SQL Data Warehouse data analysis using ClearStory Data

The plot is getting thicker.

As soon as Azure SQL Dataware House was announced  there was an announcement of a data loading business(Attunity CloudBeam) and now we have a high speed on the fly data analysis solution ready.

ClearStory Data pairs with recently announced Azure SQL Data petabyte Warehouse to provide business insights on the fly, at ultra-speeds  for large data volumes. This highly scalable data analysis platform is based on Apache Spark Speed.

Key features of this pairing:
1) Out-of-the-box fast data access and data prep – ClearStory provides highly scalable and fast, Spark-based access to data in Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Upon accessing data from these sources, ClearStory’s Data Inference Engine determines attributes in the source data to accelerate data prep and data harmonization, eliminating traditional, lengthy, complex data prep operations.
2) Rapid diagnostic, exploratory and ad-hoc analysis – Users can ask more questions, blend and harmonize new data on the fly, and uncover deeper insights. Insights evolve as new data is discovered and update as your data updates without needing human intervention or more data modeling cycles. The business benefits from deeper insights, on more data, that update intraday, daily, weekly or whatever speed
3) Business consumption of insights via Interactive, Collaborative StoryBoards™ – Business users view StoryBoards to spot insights as data updates, capture and maintain analytic context, and collaborate in real-time to speed consistent, data-driven decisions. At any point, a StoryBoard can be augmented with more data to answer a bigger question, without requiring old-style data modeling and data wrangling

Read more here:

About Apache Spark from here.
"Apache Spark is a fast and general-purpose cluster computing system. It provides high-level APIs in Java, Scala, Python and R, and an optimized engine that supports general execution graphs. It also supports a rich set of higher-level tools including Spark SQL for SQL and structured data processing, MLlib for machine learning, GraphX for graph processing, and Spark Streaming."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Loading data to Azure SQL Data Warehouse- Attunity CloudBeam

Things snowball fast in the cloud.

Just a short time ago the Azure SQL Data Warehouse was announced. It is still in public preview and
you already have Attunity lining up to load your data to the warehouse.

Read more here.

Actually Azure SQL data Warehouse is their latest offering and they already have a similar service for:
  • Amazon Redshift
  • Amazon RDS
  • Amazon S3
Attunity CloudBeam beams up your data to the Azure SQL data Warehouse from many enterprise databases quickly, easily cost-effectively.

Here is the big picture.
Read key features and benefits here:


Azure SQL Data Warehouse Service is now in public preview

Following on the heels of April's Build Conference Microsoft has announced the enterprise-class elastic data warehouse as a service- the Azure SQL Data Warehouse available for public preview.

 The driving forces are of course the super elasticity and cost effectiveness. If you have already invested in Azure cloud you have at your disposal Azure related tools, utilities and skills.
Azure SQL Data Warehouse Service is based on massive, parallel processing architecture and integrates with PowerBI and Azure Machine Learning for advanced analytics. It also integrates with Azure Data Factory for event processing and its big data offering, the Azure HD Insight.

Here is the big picture:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


IFTTT stands for the conditional statement "If this then that'. It is a web based service with a simple workflow. Flow of work (action, that) is created by a trigger based on a condition(this), like say,'If it rains take the umbrella'. This service was provided in some cases, such as the various financial services that you could get an email if your chosen stock price reached a new high, etc. They were called alerts and they are also used by banks and credit card companies.

As most of our actions and those of the 'Internet of Things' are condition-based, IFTTT is expected to grow and expand deep into IOT.

What IFTTT has done to simplify this process is by offering a web interface to set up triggers and take appropriate actions. Both the trigger and the actions that follow the trigger have their own channel and every IFTTT recipe is tied into these channels.

Let us say, I choose to get an email into my Gmail account when the Microsoft stock price exceeds a certain value. Then there are two channels lined up, the Gmail with its account and the financial site providing the financial information (IFTTT uses Yahoo Finance). If you set up the recipe (a 7 step process) right then when the Microsoft stock rises above 50 (assumed value) then an email is triggered to send it to your recipients.

I suppose the site is swamped as my attempts set up recipe was not successful.

More details here:

The complete steps to create a IFTTT recipe is detailed here:

IFTTT has both recipes and the more recent addition, the Do buttons.

A simple work flow tied with a condition tying a trigger channel with an action channel


There are lots of trigger channels and you can choose, weather is just one of them


As I mentioned the service is under going maintenance.

I will follow this up when the service returns to normal. Check status here: http://status.ifttt.com/

Here are some stock recipes.


There are recipes that you could use with your Android or iPhone. 

For example some of the the conditional actions that you can perform with IF for Android are:

If your battery power is low turn off Bluetooth
When you plug-in your phone, mute it
When you unplug, unmute your phone
When at home turn-on WiFi for data

There are recipes for IOT based bulbs, air-conditioners and many others.

Microsoft Office Suite is ubiquitous and universal

Microsoft Office Suite is out of the windows into the wide world.

Microsoft Office Suite is (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) now available on not only Windows but also on iPads, and Androids. It first started on Android tablets early this year and a smart phone preview in May. This is similar to what is now available for iPads and iPhones. If you want to use more mobile features or want to use the desktop version you will be better of getting an annual subscription for Office 365.

This availability of Office on platforms other than Windows makes it ubiquitous and may discourage other contenders who have tried hard to break into this market. Although this should have come earlier, it is never too late. This move also highlights Cloud as the future like Apple, Oracle and others. I also believe that subscription model will also discourage pirating of software.
I have a monthly subscription for Office 365 but certain features I wanted on Excel are not available such as Power Pivot. In order to use Power Pivot I have to have the add-in which is not available for my subscription.

I am mostly using it for Word and a little less for others. 
Where is Google Docs going? What about Libre Office and other similar products?
Here is what Libre office advertised:

"LibreOffice is an office suite that will provide you with almost every office tool that you could possibly need. The difference between LibreOffice and some of the big boys though is that LibreOffice is completely free and open source. No longer do you have to spend hundreds of dollars just to own an office suite."

Well, LibreOffice has still few more items not on Office suite and it may still be attractive especially if you are the true believer in Open Source.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

M of the MEAN Stack - MongoDB

MySQL has been the favorite but will it continue in the future.

MongoDB has all the desirable features for the expanding cloud frontier:

Flexible data Model- Collections do not enforce document structure
Allows any type of data structure
Schema modifiable dynamically
Built for Cloud
No tables, no joins

Highly Scalable
Cloud and Mltiple datacenter deployable
From single server to thousands
Custer support out-of-the-box

Robust Operational Tools
Just use MondoDB Management Service and Ops Manager
Do every thing you want: deploy, monitor, backup...

Expressive Query Language
Drivers fro many programming languages
Fortified JSON called BSON

Secondary Indexes
Fully consistent indexes on any field including  Geospatial
Text search and TTL indexes

The adoption and so do the community growing. More than 40 Million downloads.

Get MongoDB and start programming:
Download the current stable version (3.0.4) here:

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Orleans hosting Collision 2016

Irish origin Europe's web summit will have its American version- Collison in New Orleans, April 26-28, 2016

More here:  https://websummit.net/
Collision 2015 had impressive attendance:

7500 attendees
89 countries
1000 startups
450 tech investors
200 world-class speakers..

Collision is a platform where investors meets startups and strike deals. If you are of either type perhaps this conference is for you. You could also watch Shark Tank, but then it is so limited.


Here are named partners:


Sunday, June 21, 2015

The telecom market place that you should know about

The GSMA Market place is a new online commerce site that connects buyers and sellers of telecom related items. It has more than 1500 sellers and 400 buyers.

According to GSMA Market Place,
The buyers can:

The sellers can:
The product/services:
Details here (Watch the video): https://www.gsmamarketplace.com/

Read about GSMA event here:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

GSMA's Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2015 and IoT

MWCS 2015 will be held in Shanghai, China during 15-17 July of 2015. MWCS is one of the minor events of the Mobile World Congress.

  • IoT Summit 2015
"The IoT Summit will lead you to explore IoT technology which brings the concept to reality, and showcase how the technology applies to different scenarios. The summit will consist of four sessions covering the topics includes Cellular IoT technology, LPWA, Enterprise IoT, IoT Security, IoT Networks, Embedded SIM and cross-industry case studies."
  • Smart City Summit 2015
   "Smart Cities Summit, 2015 will see an expanded programme delivered. The Smart Cities Summit at Mobile World Congress Shanghai will bring together international pilot smart cities representatives, government & enterprise delegations, top managers from integrators, urban design institutions, financing organisations, and digital (ICT/Telco) infrastructure suppliers. The event aims to tackle the long-term and short-term challenges that governments and municipalities currently facing, define working business models, explore success stories and make suggestions for future Smart City Projects."
Innovation and App Labs, a part of the program  must be very interesting.
Read more here by downloading this file:


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sensor Data to Sensor Intelligence using Microsoft BI- 1

Extracting intelligence from Sensors of all kinds starts with collecting raw data from the sensors. This is followed by processing of some kind. In Microsoft Azure sensor data is moved to blob storage (Azure Data Tier) and then to the HDInsight Hive tables. Once data is in the tables one can connect these tables to Microsoft Excel using Hive ODBC Drivers. Once there one use the powerful BI features including PoweView. You can now visualize data from the sensors.


The first step in implementing sensor data visualization is to use the HDInsight service on Microsoft Azure. Of course you need to have a Azure subscription even before that. logging on to Windows Azure you can get started with your HiveInsight as shown here:


You can click on HDInsight to begin creating a HDInsight cluster as shown:


HDInsight is a compute cluster that uses Apache Hadoop.

Click on Create a HDInsight Cluster in Microsoft Azure to open the following dialog:


As you can see that before you can create a clusteer you need know where you are placing the raw data from sensor. This means you require a storage account before you create a cluster. As there is a lot of support for 3rd parties and Open Source the clusters can also be created on Linux, but this is still in preview (probably will change).
As the cluster storage of this kind is only possible at selected data centers you should create the Azure Blob storage at one of those centers.
to be continued..

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Internet of Things, Arduino and Blynk

Blynk is a another platform with iOS and Android apps to control Arduino. Raspberry Pi and others.

It is a digital daskboard where you drag and drop widgets and get things going reapidly. It's like 5 minutes the advertiesment says (http://www.blynk.cc/).

Looks like it is transparent to the type of board or shield(hardware). Arduino or Raspberry gets linked to Internet over WiFi, Ethernet or the new chip ESP8266. You are set,ready and Go.

Blynk is for iOS (ver 8 or higher) and Android, sorry Windows Phone users. You need to install Blynk Library from this site:http://www.blynk.cc/getting-started/

All you need to do is to start Blynk and add widgets. Build

Here is a simple Blynk program from their site:


Friday, June 12, 2015

At last, you can multitask on an iPad

Apple was loved by the masses in hordes but it lacked features to attract enterprises. Multitasking is something you do routinely on PCs and on quite a few tablets. In its latest embodiment (iOS 9) the Apple iPad has provided multitasking capability. Now enterprises can work with multiple apps at the same time.

With the Slide Over feature, you could split the screen display and look at two different apps.

There is also the pic-in-pic feature which allows you to see video and another app at the same time.

All these features will be available in the following:
  • iPad Air
  • Air 2
  • Mini 2
  • Mini 3
Finally Apple has gotten itself ready to provide features that are available in Windows Surface and Samsung Android.

Review all iOS 9 features here (pics above from here):

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Microsoft's new star Windows 10

Verily, I say unto you, out of chaos a star is born

Microsoft created a number of OSs to address diverse devices it had to contend with. This has resulted in a number of OSs with their own toolset and deployment strategies: such as,
  • Windows CE
  • Windows Embedded
  • Windows Mobile
  • Windows Desktop
  • Windows Server
  • Xbox OS
Windows 10 has boldly replaced all of them with UAP, the Windows 10 Universal Application Platform. With UAP you need only to build once and it would run on any Windows 10 device.
However devices are not built the same way across device types.

In addition to Windows 10 UAP you would also need to target your application to specific device family be it desktop, be it mobile, or something different. So one way to address this is by adding reference to extension SDK for the device family.

Here is how you would add a reference to Windows Mobile extension SDK from an article by Nick Randolph

In a real world diverse devices exist with their own specificities driven by economic, manufacturing, cultural diversities and UAP by itself cannot address all the myriad variations.

Hence, for example going forward one may need to do further by providing a device targeted XAML in addition to a default XAML page so that User Experience is fully optimized.

As a device may or may not support a feature (depending on the vendor) a logical question like, IsTypePresent would determine upfront how to go forward with coding.

I would recommend reading Nicks' article in Visual Studio Magazine alluded earlier to get a full picture of where we are heading.

Teradata is gearing up embracing Presto

Teradata has joined the open source Presto community. Presto is the distributed SQL query engine used by big data innovators/users like Facebook, Netflix and others. Presto is almost a universal SQL query engine that supports any Hadoop distribution.

Justin Borgman's post cites Facebook as the heavy user with impressive usage statistics. Presto is not only SQL for querying Hadoop but querying all kinds of data platforms (MySQL, Postgres, Kafka, and Cassandra) in data lake* including mash ups of data from diverse sources.

Teradata has a multiyear roadmap to make it enterprise ready and it should be ready in 2016, that's not so far away either. Of course Teradata will be looking forward to contributions from the open source community.
You can download the version of the initial software from here.

SQL Server 2016 with its Polybase can also query Hadoop with T-SQL and is very flexible. It can use the splendid BI capabilities built-in to SQL Server 2016 and is ready now. Besides Microsoft there are many others as well to take Big Data,  and slice and dice.

*data lake: A massive, easily accessible data repository built on (relatively) inexpensive computer hardware for storing "big data". Unlike data marts, which are optimized for data analysis by storing only some attributes and dropping data below the level aggregation, a data lake is designed to retain all attributes, especially so when you do not yet know what the scope of data or its use will be.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Arduino's analog serial readout with PowerShell

This is one of the example sketches (AnalogReadSerial) which reads out the potentiometer setting on Arduino Uno. The sketch is simple as shown below (some parameters may be different):

void setup() {
// initialize serial communication at 4800 bits per second:

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop()
  // read the input on analog pin 0:
  int sensorValue = analogRead(A0);
  // print out the value you read:
// delay in between reads for stability

Once you connect the Arduino to the USB drive with the potentiometer powered 0 to 5V
you can run the project in Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition. You can display the potentiometer setting in the Serial Monitor.

Trying to run a C# project reading the serial port also works but the ReadLine() of the Serial Port method gives ambiguious Values and not very consistent. I am not sure what the problem is. Still working on it.

However PowerShell offers a convenient way of reading the value on COM3 port connected to the potentiometer.

For monitoring I am still using Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition, which allows be connect and disconnect from the port easily form the Serial Port Monitor.
Connecting to read the Serial Port from PowerShell is very easy with few lines of code. However, one problem I have seen is to read a changed value of potentiometer, a new PowerShell session must be started, Not just closing and opening the port.

Reading the first setting of the potentiometer:

1. Start Visual Studio  after connecting to the Arduino set up to read the Analog value.
2. Build and run to display the potentiometer readout on the Serial Monitor in Visual Studio
3. Disconnect the port from the Serial Monitor


4. Start a PowerShell session by launching PowerShell or Windows PowerShell ISE
Run the code shown in the following image:

5. Connect to the Serial Monitor and change the Potentiometer setting
6. If the serial montior does not display, build and run
7. Disconnect from the serial monitor
8. Start PowerShell and run code again

 Note that PowerShell code and SerialPort Monitor cannot both connect to COM Port.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Apple's 2015 WWDC Conference: Apple on the go

June 8 through June 12 Apple Developers will be meeting in San Francisco's Moscone West for the annual POW WoW. There is scheduled more than 100 technical sessions and spear heading are a thousand Apple engineers 
Some highlights collected from different sources;

Apple Music
Music streaming (after acquiring Beats) will be launched. Probably iTunes will make way for Apple Music. iTunes accounts will go over to Apple Music. It will also be a part of the new OS. Since Apple Music is not available in all countries there will some concerns.
iOS 9
Concentration will now be one security, stability and improvements to the interface. Apple will be using the San Francisco type face for the iOS.
Apple Maps
Making it better than Google Maps (obvious). Public transportation will get into the map features, whether or not worldwide remains to be seen. Apple Maps may become a cross-platform if one were to base on job openings 
New Apple OS
The new Apple OS , El Capitan may not look different from the OS X Yosemite but has many features that users always wanted. Some of these are:
  •  1.4 times faster launch
  • App switching 2 times faster
  •  Opening a pdf is 4 times quicker
  • Search tool Spotlight will use natural language
  • Ability to mute audios from web sites especially those that play in the background
  • In ‘homage’ to windows there will be 'split views' to display two apps in one display
El Capitan is free for developers.

Apple WatchOS

Apple WatchOS is getting an update, the AppleWatch OS2 which can be used to develop Native Apps.  This de-links and cuts off the umbilical cord with iPhone making the watch react faster. However the battery life will be compromised.
Apple also introduced new watch faces that can feed from users' iCloud archive. Looks like developers can build their own 'complications' (What a word!) such as timers and stopwatches, calendar schedules etc. Quite a lot of these are going to have telling effect on battery life if not properly designed. Apple borrows from Sci-Fi to add the TimeTravel feature. Well you cannot physically move to another time as in '12 Monkeys', but just the ability to scroll backwards using the watches’ crown. You can buy an Apple Watch at any Apple Store now. 
Full details here.
Proactive addresses four core areas combining the best of Siri, and Spotlight. iPad will now have multi-tasking capability with new Maps and Notes features. Passbook now replaces the Wallet
Full details here:
iMessage and Keyboard:
Some usability enhancements and improvements to ambiguity of using the SHIFT key

Hardware for home use such windows (not Microsoft's) shade control, motion detectors, smoke detectors etc. HomeKit is scheduled support for the fall. Home appliances can be accessed via iCloud. Also Apple Watch can directly work with Homekit not needing iPhone to finish the job. There will be a new 'Home' app to go with Homekit devices you have. Do not miss this image on this site where a grown up lady goes near a light asking Siri to switch off the light.

 Wall Street analysts think Apple Stocks are still very cheap.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

This Google browser finder for the smart phone does not cut

I was wondering what type of browser I have on my Nokia Icon and I came across this Google site which autoomatically finds the browser on your phone.

When I tried it on my Windows Phone (Nokia Icon), I got a response which wa somewhat surprising.

This is not obviously correct.
After searching more I found this site which returned the correct answer.


Get the latest release of Intel XDK and start building cross-platform apps

Version 1995 of Intel XDK was released on May 12, 2015. If you have an earlier version you will be asked to update when you start Intel XDK. Otherwise you can download from Intel site here.

For details about previous version and examples of building apps go here:

For what is new in the latest version read here:

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Internet of Things and SAP HANA Cloud Platform

It almost looks like Internet of Things really came into existence because of the Cloud. It is the most reasonable way (probably the only cost effective way) to operate the IOT.

SAP Hana Cloud Platform also offers the IOT Services a la Cloud. SAP Hana in-memory IOT Platform helps you to quickly develop, deploy and manage your IOT Projects and machine-to-machine applications.

You can use the platform to "automate processes at the core and connect to almost anything at the edge of your network."

You can carry out all these SAP stated objectives:
  • Harness the core capabilities of SAP HANA – such as geo-spatial processing, series data, and location services
  • Manage and monitor remote devices while gathering real-time insights
  • Create next-generation, real-time, machine-to-machine and IoT applications
  • Develop IoT solutions for various line-of-business and industry use cases
The platform is quite comprehensive. Here is how SAP-Hana Cloud is configured to work with IOT. The image is extracted from this pdf:



Monday, June 01, 2015

Windows 10 will be available soon

Terry Myerson of Microsoft today announced the release date. The wait is over, it will be available starting July 29. In fact Cortana told me this morning (if you do not have Cortana you can hear here: http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/06/01/hello-world-windows-10-available-on-july-29/).

It will be first available for PCs and Tablets on Windows 7 with SP1 and Windows 8.1. For the Windows Phone there will be a delay, probably within the year.

It will be really available on all Windows devices. Review this quote,

“We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things."

The Start menu is back and many of these are upgraded or new:
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Cortana
  • Office on Windows (Office 216 + universal Windows Apps for office [available separately])
  • Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App
  • New Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail & Calendar apps - all content synced through OneDrive.
  • Windows Continuum-responsive design across devices
  • Windows Store supported by Global Payment methods.
Plus updates as they appear.
How do you get the upgrade?

The following system tray icon will appear when it debuts. Just click on the icon on July 29.
This CNET post gives you more on free upgrading to Windows 10

Also this,

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