Sunday, March 29, 2015

Go to an Intel IoT Roadshow and get in the basement

Attend an Intel IoT Roadshow and enrich yourself.

It is planned in several countries,

and at several locations in USA (Seattle, Mountain View, Boston and New York, only New York and Mountain View still available). Registration may already be closed in some of them hurry up!


In three days you will be doing a lot of stuff from training to hacking and who knows your team may win! Bring your own computer with enough memory. Free developer kits will be given away to the first hundred. In Brazil there will be no contest and no cash prizes either.

Some interesting posts can be found here:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Abacus - Investing Software on Azure Cloud

You can now manage your investments with SQL Server 2014 backend using Abacus.

Prism Cybersoft has launched an Azure Cloud based investment accounting software with SQL Server 2014 backend. It will cost you $600/yr.
The novelty is it is cloud based. Is security a problem, Perhaps?

With Abacus you can monitor your investment portfolio across various asset classes like equities, derivatives, mutual funds etc. and generate various kinds of reports. Managing it is easy from manual to file uploads or direct integration with stock brokers back office sync.
According to the CEO of Abacus,
“Abacus allows investors to monitor their financial assets across various asset classes like equities, derivatives, mutual funds, and bank fixed deposits. It also generates various financial statements like balance sheet and profit and loss account,”
More here:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Creating a Azure App Service

Read about the Azure new App Service here:

and the pricing info here:

You need to get to the Azure new portal here:
which takes you to the secure site here:
I assume you have an Azure subscription. The site appears as shown.


The first thing you need to do is to click on +New at the very bottom at this
secure site.

Items that can be created in the new portal gets displayed as shown.


Click on Web+mobile. The items related to the new apps appear as shown.


Let us create a Mobile App to see what is needed. Click on Mobile App.
New Mobile App window is displayed as shown.


The exclamation mark in the Name field means that this has already been taken by
Microsoft. You need to create a new one. By providing a name you will be creating
a new API instance.

You can provide your own name and in the Package Settings you will be guided to a
UserDatabase for which you need to create one if you don't already have. Of course
you need to choose a Service Tier as the following image shows:


The pricing information is dispalyed for Premium, Standard and Basic. Here is
screen capture for the price range.


I do not see the Free and Shared ( I drop-off here!) perhaps you have to go back to the main site and
click on free trial. If you are ready to charge it to card go ahead and choose a tier appropriate to your needs.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Azure App SVC Pricing highlights

If you are in the business of building enterprise-ready apps in a well-built development platform then Azure App Service provides in addition to building apps a common management and billing model. The choice is yours to pick items from a large menu. You can start off experimenting for free (or shared) and then upgrade to Basic, Standard or Premium tiers.

The new Azure App Service details are here:

Quoting from Microsoft (,

"Azure App Service is a one-of-a kind solution that brings together the tools you need for building enterprise-ready apps around a common development, management and billing model. You can choose from a rich ecosystem of pre-built apps and API services as well as a unified set of enterprise capabilities including mobile backend services, turnkey connectivity to SaaS and enterprise systems, and workflow-based creation of business processes"

The following image details the Service Capabilities

The following image details the App Capabilities

The pricing depends on geographical location of the data center

If you are serious about using this service, perhaps the best way to go about is to try the Free and Shared option shown here:

The details of Basic (1,2, or 4 cores 10GB each), Standard Tier (1,2,4 cores 50GB each) and Premium Tier(1,2,4 core 250GB each)  are available at the link mentioned above.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Microsoft rolls out new Azure App Service

Microsoft ties up three of its offerings (Azure Web Sites, Azure Mobile Services and Azure BizTalk Services) into a new Azure App Service to provide a unified expereince ofor the developers.

This is achieved by the following 4 key components, the last one being the connectivity platform for systems both on-premises and the cloud:
  • Web Apps
  • Mobile Apps
  • Logic Apps
  • API apps
Web Apps (Azure web sites) provides support for .ENET, Java, PHP, Python and other languages through integration with Visual Studio OnLine, GitHub, Bitbucket etc.
Mobile Apps provides backend capabilities for not only native Windows but also for Android and IOs mobile platforms cvia Xamarin and Cordova.
Logic Apps can be created by developers for automation of process execution across various services akin to BizTalk services for enterprise integration.

Read more here and here and here.

Some interesting posts can be found here:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Debut of Windows 10 IOT: Get a head start

Although Windows 10 is not RTM yet, the following are the rumored version:

•Windows 10 (for inexpensive tablets; possibly called Windows 10 RT)
•Windows 10 (for traditional PCs)
•Windows 10 Enterprise

Read here:

However Microsoft is extending the reach by adding Windows 10 IoT to the above list. It  is Windows 10 for embedded and supports universal apps and drives and can work for the whole spectrum of devices from simple devices to complicated industrial devices. With this additional version the Windows 10 is surely driving towards the OnePlatform concept.

Read here:

In the previous link you find a whole lot of links to Windows 10 and IoT that you should review to see how deep are the roots.

If you want to be in the game get youreslf a Raspeberry Pi2 ($35) which is selling like hot cakes. I am not exaggerating. Go and purchase here:

Before you order get to know some of the facts about what you get for $35 from the previous MSDN blogs link.

After buying it go this site and register yourself as a Windows Developer here:

Read the two popular posts on hodentek here:

Legal note: I am not receivng even a cent from either Microsoft or Raspberry.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Connected experience by Rockwell Automation and the IoT

Rockwell Automation (Ticker Symbol:rok) has taken the connected experience concept to reality and beyond. This could not have been possible without the convergence of IT, OT and the IoT. Of course Azure IoT Services must have played a major part.

This video from YouTube shows the connected experiencce by Rockwell Automation addressing the Petroleum Supply Chain.

Read press release here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Problems you may encounter installing Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 - Resolved

The problem has been fixed according to Microsoft.
As to my second question whether installing again would fix the problem has not been answered.


Microsoft Azure IoT Services update

At Convergence 2015 in Atlanta, GA Microsoft outlined Microsoft's vision of IoT on 16th March. Convergence is actually showcasing of Microsoft Dynamics CRM products but as PowrBI is very much a part of IoT a large part of the talk from the CEO was on 'Azure IoT Suite' and how Windows 10 will play out in IoT.

Here is the complete Azure IoT Services suite, some production worthy(almost) and others in preview:
Preview Stage-Likely to enter GA stage next month
  • Azure DocumentDB
  • Azure Stream Analytics
  • Azure Machine Learning
  • Power BI
In general availability(GA)stage
  • Azure Notification Hubs
  • Azure HDInsight
  • Azure Event Hubs
Then there is the 'Azure Intelligent Systems Service' consisting of:
  • PowerBI
  • HD Insight-Microsoft's Big Data Offering via Microsoft's Hadoop which is later expected to debut as a comprehensive  Azure IoT Suite
Here you can find lot more details on most of the above:


Machine Learning



Azure Event Hubs: 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Android apps using Visual Studio? - Part 3

Now that Xamarin is installed take a look at the WebView template. Created AndyWebView project using the WebView Template. There are a few others.

This is what you will be seeing in the Solution Explorer.

This is all like in all VS templates.

Here is the exploded view of the folders:

The Object Explorer shows more on the 'Mono.Android' items here:
Mind you, this is only a part of the listing.

This project does not build for the following reason:

Xamarin.Android for Visual Studio requires Business account or greater. Please log in with your Xamarin account to proceed.

Well, well my starter kit is no good. I am not ready to shell down
Business edition $83/month for Business Edition
and $158/month for Enterprise edition

That's a lot to just write in my blog posts.

I will stick to IntelXDK for now or plain vanilla Visual Studio 2015 Express if it makes a debut.
If you want to pursue developing for Android and iOS read more here regarding XAMARIN and MonoDevelop:

Skype on modern windows is minimalist

I tried to look back on one of my posts a year ago here
but could not locate the toolbar.

On my Windows 8.1 Skype (comes in as default when you upgrade to Windows 8.1) I could not see the Tools menu and a few other things. In addition to the Skype app I also downlaoded Skype for desktop (SkypeSetupFull) and now I have the tools menu with advanced settings, connecting port info etc.

Skype for TV works but you need a camera if you do not have a built-in one on your SmartTV. If you have a not so smart HDTV, you can buy a TV CAM such as the one here:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Android apps using Visual Studio? - Part 2

You can create an Android app in Visual Studio 2015 CTP6. Such as XamarinTest as in the next image (Please refer to the first image in Part 1).


There are only two items in the Solution Explorer as shown:


In order to proceed you need Xamarin and when you access to learn more about Xamarin you will be taken to the Xamarin site here:
The details of what Xamarin download gives you are shown here:

You need to provide some info before you can download.
Double click the Xamarinisntaller.exe to begin installing Xamarin (installs with Admin rights). It first tries to locate the Android SDK location and finds it on the computer here: (Note a few screens before the next image are not shown here)

In order to proceed further any running Visual Studio instance needs to be closed and the installer closes the Visual Studio if you ask it to force it.
There are lot more requirements shown here when you proceed to install hitting Next button.

You need to agree for more terms next to proceed. If you do agree the download of the above starts as shown:

You may have to close out IE browsers as Java requires it. You get a series of messages that browser is closed while installing JDK but you will see the browsers are still open and unless you close it yourself, the program is unable to close browsers.
 Xamarin studio 5.7.2 (windows installer kicks in) gets installed. Finally after a while you get the final screen that allows you create 'amazin' apps.

The installation  has installed the following items to your programs as seen in control panel:

The installation continues without the JDK warnings to close the browsers.
Android SDK form 22_r3 gets installed. Many other versions of Android SDK (4.4.2,etc) gets installed. Installation is quite slow. The Android NDK r8d is admittedly slow.
Now if you launch Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 and try to create an Android app you will see few more items as shown.
Xamarin Studio also gets installed. Which one do you use, Xamarin Studio or Visual Studio 2015 CTP6? 

That's all for now

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If you work with SQL Servers and PHP Applications get these drivers

Microsoft recently (like yesterday) released Microsoft PHP drivers for SQL Servers. Microsoft drivers 3.2,3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 for PHP makes it easy to connect to SQL Servers from PHP Applications.
Download the drivers from here:

This download has many drivers and you choose the version to match up with your PHP version.
I am having PHP 5.6 and will be using driver version 3.2

More details here:

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Android apps using Visual Studio? - Part 1

Review this regarding cross-platform app development and Xamarin connection:

Review regarding XAMARIN:

Now in Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 you have the Android app under New Project in C#. Sorry, not available for VB. Not only you can work with Android but  also with iOS apps in Visual Studio 2015 CTP6. Review this following screen shot:


Herein you can write Anroid apps in C# and share your code with iPhone, iPad and other .NET languages.

However, there are no built-in templates but there is a link in the previous window at the bottom which will take you to the templates (if any) on the Internet.

In your search, look for Samples and under samples C#. Filter the results for Android. You will see the following.


If you place your cursor on the description of the app you will see there are a lot of XAMARIN related samples. Some are XAMARIN based and the others are based on Apache Cordoba Framework.

However, if you go this way you may have to deep search and you may not find a sample immediately that you could bring in and look at.

I tried with one of them and reached a point where I could not proceed as it needed many more items and allowed me to create only Windows based application.

If you start the other way, starting from scratch which creates a XAMARIN project, then you will have to buy into it (download XAMARIN, install etc.)  if you do not have Xamarin on your computer. Visual Studio seems to depend entirely on Xamarin to proceed forward.
We look at it both ways later.


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Problems you may encounter installing Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 - Part 2

In Part 1 here,  the problems encountered were described.

There was yet another option, to skip the files the program could find neither on the file system nor on the Internet.

The installation was continued choosing this option. The program stopped couple of times (hiccoughing) and finally the installation was completed. Although there were warning as it was suspected some functionality was lost, especially related to Windows Phone.

The following files were not found :
In addition to the one in Part 1.
Here is the final installation screen and you notice that a number of files could not be found.
Here is a list of files not found prepared from the above:
Windows Phone SDK 8.0
Windows Phone 8.1 Tools for Visual Studio 2015 CTP
Windows Phone 8.1 Tools for Visual Studio 2015 CTP -ENU
Windows Phone 8.1 Tools for Visual Studio Professional 2013-Language Resources 
[Note that the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 can be downloaded from here:] but as to the others information is lacking]
As suspected in the beginning the Windows Phone 8.1 functionality is perhaps absent.
The programs installed by this installation is quite large as can be see here even without the contributions from the missing files:

With this sorted out the application can be launched as shown. Here is the first screen where you can choose the theme.:

Some interesting posts can be found here:

Friday, March 06, 2015

Problems you may encounter installing Visual Studio 2015 CTP6

The desire to test drive resulted in downloading this file.

Before installing the program by choosing the Typical method which installs defaults, the C: drive was checked for 9GB space. The available 120Gb was more than sufficeint. Double clicking the file in the downloaded location started the typical acquiring/applying type of starting. However when the install button was clicked in the initial screen, the desktop went blank (Windows 8.1 Professional) and screen came back asking whether the installation is to be cancelled. However after going this step couple of times, it started acquiring and applying mostly C++ related files and framework 4.6 (I beileve so).
During the installation the program required a file, MobileTools_WPSDKCore_net.msi which it could not find on the computer. The suggestion from the program was to get it from the Internet using the button provided for this purpose. The said button when clicked came back with a short response that the file could not be found. Yet another option was to 'skip' this file and proceed with the rest of the installation. 'Skip'ing would perhaps results in loss of funcitonality for Windows Phone apps.

Search on the Internet for MobileTools_WPSDKCore_net.msi drew a blank including Microsoft Windows phone related sites. Left a question on the forum and reported a possible 'bug'.

Here are some screen shots from this installation:


Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 is out take it to a test drive

Visual Studio 2015 Community Technology Preview (CTP6) became available on February 23, 2015.

It includes the latest innovations and improvements such as:

  • New tools to debug XAML UI
  • Control Flow Guard Security tool and
  • ASP.NET feature updates
Download Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 here .

This is a CTP and therefore it is not intended for testing and should be used for providing feedback only. This is not production worthy and should not be used to create applications or code based on this version. Of course it is free.

Here are more details on the new features in the CTP as well as the features that were introduced in CTP5. Each feature merits its own dedicated post.

This version has a bunch of stuff and if you are contemplating staying with Visual Studio as your chosen environment, it is recommended to download and test drive. Things change very fast. Protection Status