Monday, November 30, 2015

New Microsoft Software-as-a-Service: PowerApps

 Mobile First, Cloud First --> Repeat this mantra three times, breathe deep each time

That is what Microsoft is doing by developing PowerApps. This is presently in limited preview (by invite only) being developed by a small team at Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group. Microsoft believes that there is a huge bundle to be made.

PowerApps service can used for creating,sharing and managing mobile business apps on iOS, Android and Windows devices. It is really apps development for dummies kind of thing. Developer need not be a coder and it is best suited and used by those who have a business need but no programming skill. This app is supposed to provide a quick fix for app creation in these days of skilled developer scarcity without having to worry about security and other details.

Basically PowerApps,

  • Turn data into apps
  • Mobilize your systems - Sharepoint, SQL Server, Oracle databases, SAP and Custom business Systems
  • If you have Microsoft Office Skills you can create apps
  • Professional developers can use Azure App Service
  • App sharing is as easy as an email
  • Device neutral- smartphones and tablets from Apple, Android and Microsoft

Read more here:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fixing App tiles that disappeared from Winows 10 on x32bit laptop

I am not sure what the problem is and if app tiles disappear you are not exactly pleased because your laptop became less than a Windows 7.

I searched for this problem on Bing and sure enough it had been noticed by others. Coming immediately  on the heels of a Windows Update, it was quite discouraging.  Finally there was a post here that claimed to solve the problem which I pursued. Here is my experience.

In order to use this procedure you need to start Powershell (Preferably with administrative privileges). When you get the Powershell prompt type in the following statement and enter.

$manifest = (Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.WindowsStore).InstallLocation + '\AppxManifest.xml' ; Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $manifest

Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) 2015 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 Deployment operation progress: C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsStore_2015.21.25.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe\Appx
Add-AppxPackage : Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073D02, The package could not be installed because resources it modifies are currently in use.error 0x80004004: Unable to install because the following apps need to be closed
NOTE: For additional information, look for [ActivityId] 527897a4-2a3c-0000-8a0c-79523c2ad101 in the Event Log or use
the command line Get-AppxLog -ActivityID 527897a4-2a3c-0000-8a0c-79523c2ad101
At line:1 char:94
+ ... fest.xml' ; Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $manife ...
+                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (C:\Program File...ppxManifest.xml:String) [Add-AppxPackage], Exception
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DeploymentError,Microsoft.Windows.Appx.PackageManager.Commands.AddAppxPackageCommand

Stopped the Windows Store and tried again. Since it did not solve the problem, I restarted the computer and the app tiles did not show up. I ran the statement once again, and it looked like the procedure ran successfully and the shell prompt returned. I restarted the computer one more time and I could see that tiles had come, but after a brief pause disappeared. The Windows Defender came up and displayed the presence of a Trojan. Unfortunately the display showed two identical line items for the Trojan with one removed, the other quarantined. I ran a full scan and chose the remove it. It appears it removed the quarantined Trojan.
Here are Windows Defender screen shots:


I chose to remove the trojan.
 I tried this removal action couple of times like this one here:

 Well finally it might have been removed.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What! Computer for $5!

Raspberry Pi ()has come up with a computer for $5.

Well, even the other Raspberry PIs were not very expensive($20 ~$30). It also attests to the fact that IoT is catching on. It has become so cheap that some magazine (MagPi) gave it away to its readers bundled with the issue.

Image source of of Raspberry Pi Zero with MagPi is here.

According to a article (IDG News Service)  it uses a 1 GHZ ARM processor from Broadcom (BCM2835). It has 512MB RAM with the OS loaded on the micro-USB card. It has Micro-USB sockets for data and power including a mini-HDMI socket as well. It has a 40-pin GPIO and the circuit-board may require soldering by customers.

Here is a PDF document  for BCM2835 Processor.

Here is the YouTube video:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A brief look at IBM MobileFirst Platform

The ever increasing role of mobile devices in both personal and corporate spheres has pushed companies to come up with a wide range of ideas. There are many perceived challenges and each company has its own set of strategies based on the mobile user needs and company resources.

IBM MobileFirst covers all platforms from desktop to cloud. IBM's purchase of Worklight in 2012 and the Cloudant database as a service in 2014 were all instrumental in structuring the IBMFirst Mobile Platform .

Here is a screen shot of the slide show. It is good mix of IBM Bluemix, Worklight Platform and Cloudant (Database as service).


The above slides are from a slide-show by Derek Baron on IBM MobileFirst Platform

IBM's MobileFirst platform takes into consideration the needs and addresses them by its unique platform features.

How is the app doing/ does it deliver what the user wants?
    App management-Single console to manage app versions and security; Push updates to hybrid apps by passing app stores
    Operations Analytics- Diagnose device, app and version for app performance; Measure app user behavior; Monitor security issues
    In-App Feedback and Crash analysis- Troubleshoot and diagnose, bug track
    Sentiment Analysis-App store review analysis, automated analysis
What about mobile app security?
    User authentication-existing or 3rd party security systems (Certificate-based, touch ID, LDAP Server etc); Multi-factor authentication; Disable app version, specific user or device using console
    App Authenticity-intellectual data, back-end data
    Encrypt local data-user identity to encrypt data
    Application scanning-hunt for code vulnerabilities; offer remediation

Device's context based personalization is highly desirable
    Location engagement- rules correlating local events with other data sources
    Location Analytics - customer/employee behavior and movement patterns
    Geo-spatial enabled query- Complex Geo-spatial queries and advanced relations
    Push notifications across device platforms
App experience; storing data or integrating data
    Cloudant NoSQL DB-distributed data store
    Back-end integration-HTTP, SAP,SQL,JMS,Custom; Server-side code in Java or     JavaScript
    Use open standards (REST, OAuth)
Offline sync - Disconnected experience, simplify replicating offline

Watch the IBM MobileFirst Video here:

Get free trial here:

Monday, November 23, 2015

End of support for SQL Server 2005

It is sunset time for SQL Server 2005 as it reaches end of life  (EOL). While EOL may be an extreme word to use, it is going to be End of Support (EOS) by Microsoft beginning April 2016.
SQL Server 2005 was the beginning of a new era for SQL Servers and according to information available on the Internet, SQL Server 2005 is still used extensively tied up with Windows Server 2003.
There are a couple of upgrade options and probably most go for either SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014. Perhaps it may be better to go the whole 9 yards and get SQL Server 2016 which is in CTP right now.

The good news (for me) is that SQL Server 2005 will continue to stay for few more years and I can still sell my book.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

HeidiSQL is a very useful Open Source client to SQL Server

It is nice to have access to SQL Server from an Open Source program and HeidiSQL nicely comes in handy. It is free and Open Source. HeidiSQL can handle a surprisingly large number of tasks. Review this list:
•Connect to multiple servers in one window
•Connect to servers via command-line
•Connect via SSH tunnel, or pass SSL settings
•Create and edit tables, views, stored routines, triggers and scheduled events.
•Generate nice SQL-exports, compress these afterwards, or put them on the clipboard.
•Export from one server/database directly to another server/database
•Manage user-privileges
•Import text-files
•Export table rows as CSV, HTML, XML, SQL, LaTeX, Wiki Markup and PHP Array
•Browse and edit table-data using a comfortable grid
•Bulk edit tables (move to db, change engine, collation etc.)
•Batch-insert ASCII or binary files into tables
•Write queries with customizable syntax-highlighting and code-completion
•Pretty reformat disordered SQL
•Monitor and kill client-processes
•Find specific text in all tables of all databases of one server
•Optimize and repair tables in a batch manner
•Launch a parallel mysql.exe command line window using your current connection settings

In addition to Microsoft SQL Server you can also connect to PostgreSQL and MySQL. From the list above it can be seen that HeidiSQL can do things that SQL Server Management Studio cannot.

HeidiSQL may be downloaded from here by using any of the options.

Downloading and Installation is described ( from an installer) here in detail.

Connecting to SQL Server 2012 using HeidiSQL is described here.

Here is a named instance of SQL Server 2012 accessed on HeidiSQL.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Installing XAMPP on a computer running Windows 10

While looking for installing MariaDB, I came across a suggestion that installing XAMPP would be the best way to download and get MariaDB (as it is one of the programs on XAMPP)
MariaDB does lot more than MySQL and it is MySQL's challenger arising out of MySQL (MariaDB is MySQL's fork). MySQL in LAMP stack has been replaced by MariaDB. The download link for XAMPP with MariaDB  is here. MariaDB is a truly open source with many advantages.

The download versions of XAMPP are v5.5.30 and v5.6.14 (both x32bit). These versions have  the following components and they can be downloaded from here


These are all the programs in this download of XAMPP.

Updated PHP to 5.5.30 / 5.6.14
Updated Apache to 2.4.17
Updated MariaDB to 10.0.17
Updated phpMyAdmin to

After downloading double click xampp-win32-5.6.14-3-VC11-installer.
Bitnami shows up. Bitnami is very similar to Windows Platform Installer for Microsoft and some Open Source programs. Here are some screen shots of the installation.


Click Next to select components to install.


Choose the components you want installed. Since I had installed PHP recently, I chose to install only Apache and MySQL servers only. Clicking Next takes you to the next screen.

There was an advice not to install on C:\drive and so created a new drive J: for this installation.


After choosing installation folder click Next. The Bitnami set up for installing XAMPP gets displayed as shown.


Click Next. The Ready to Install window is displayed together with the windows command program as shown. I am not sure why this comes up. I did not close the this window going forward.

Click Next. The unpacking and installing processes begin as shown.

After a while Completing the XAMPP Setup Wizard is displayed.


Click Finish. You are done installing XAMPP.

After this installation you get  an app on your Windows 10 computer as as shown.


Click on the XAMPP Control Panel to bring up the control panel as shown.


Although the XAMPP details in the beginning of this post indicated that MariaDB is packaged with this install it can be seen that it is still MySQL. Of course to run Apache needs some more configuring specially, as the port 80 is already used by IIS and or Skype. The other complication is that there was already an MySQL from a previous installtion from Oracle. After modifying these (essentially changing port assginments and removing previous version fo MySQL), I may be able to work these servers and see MariaDB.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Create amazing mobile HTML apps using Meteor

It appears Meteor can provide a radically simpler way to build real time mobile and web app using only JavaScript from one code base. I have not used Meteor and the content for the post came from here.

Here are some Highlights:

Universal JavaScript
Same code from client to cloud; from packages to database apis; from browsers to mobile devices via Meteor's unified isobuild system

Mobile and Web apps
As Installable iOS and as Android app
As a web app that loads on demand

Reactive Rendering
While being thin,  gives a thick client feel and look using Meteor's Blaze Framework with AngularJS and ReactJS

Meteor's Cloud Platform Galaxy
Deployment, scaling and monitoring for connected clients
Provides actionable metrics to stateful connected client apps
One command to update all connected browsers and apps (Hot Deploy)
Coordinated version updates

How is it different from AngularJS and ReactJS?
Meteor has Blaze library and is full stack, while AnjularJS and ReactJS are JavaScript UI frameworks. These frame works can be used in conjunciton with Meteor.

More details and Q&A here. I will give it a try one of these days.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cortana can handle most languages...

 Not right now but in the future. She probably does better than Siri in the number of languages with voice commands, but if web search is the mode she can handle a lot more languages than Siri.

Well first of all language settings for Cortana is supported in couple of countries like UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and perhaps few other countries. Let us say you travel from US to France and you want to find things there, using Cortana. Then you can switch the language that Cortana understands by default (US English in USA) to French. I assume you can access Cortana on your Windows 10 Desktop, If not go here.

In Windows 10 Desktop you can open Control Panel and choose to change your language preferences.


In the above, I have added couple of languages ( this means I have downloaded the necessary language packs) and I have also set the default as French. You can add another language by hitting the Add a Language button. You may have to download the language pack.

With just this setting my Cortana settings in Windows 10 desktop is as shown.


 Of course you cannot use it in USA and you will have to be in France.

Now I move up Japanese to the top in 'Change your language preferences'  as in the following:


Voila! Cortana language settings has changed as well.


You return to USA and you want to restore. It is just as easy. Just bump up English(United States) to the top (you need not restart the computer).

How about voice commands to Cortana? How about in Windows Phone? Well you will have to work with speech and speech recognition settings.

Come back again to learn, How.

SQL Server Integration Services then (2005) and now (2015)

In 2005 there was no program called SQL Server Data Tools and Microsoft had just come up with .NET based technology. Microsoft Business Intelligence’s SQL Server Integration Services had Visual Studio components that had replaced the Data Transformation Services of SQL Server with tighter integration with SQL Server 2005. It was a big leap. I wrote my first book on SQL Server Integration Services 2005 during 2007. It had a lot of reviews good/bad but it survived and quite a good number of folks thought it was useful and it still sells.

Fast forward to 2015, a lot of data related methodologies has changed. In the interim, I have not paid attention to the details although I am aware of the changes. In the intervening years technology has been on a rapid pace with the advent of Cloud Services, Streaming data, BigData, NoSQL etc.

It is no wonder that Microsoft has worked on their tools to address these developments and fortify Visual Studio Tools. This post is about a comparative look at the Toolbox items then and now.  Of course there is lot more to it than just adding new tools.

In Visual Studio 2005 IDE there were a set of Business Intelligence project templates to address the various needs at that time:

•    Analysis Services Project
•    Integration Services Project
•    Report Model Project
•    Import Analysis Services Database…
•    Report Server Project Wizard
•    Report Server Project

The Visual Studio 2005 IDE, a very thorough discussion of this in video format may be found here.

The full comprehensive and detailed use of the Visual Studio 2005 IDE is described in my book, "Beginners guide to SQL Server Integration Services 2005" published by Packt Publishing Inc. The book has 20 of the more commonly used SSIS tasks that you may come across in your developmental work. Targeted to beginners as well as for those moving from DTS to SSIS, the book is essentially hands-on with screen shots that explains the subject matter. By the end of the book you would have learnt those 20 tasks and ready to probe more on your own.
- See more at:

In the case of Integration Services, basically the project was based on Packages that used Data Sources, Data Destination and transformations that worked between the Sources and Destinations while Data Flow Tasks did the actual task of moving the data based on the choice of data flow task.
The package was an assembly consisting of several objects and, other packages could be nested as well.

Specifically, a package can consist of:

•    Connections
•    Control Flow Elements
•    Data Flow Elements
•    Event Handlers
•    Variables
•    Configurations

Here are a few images relevant to Integration Services 2005 for Data Flow:
Data Flow Sources

Control Flow Tasks


 Data Flow Transformations

Data Flow Destinations

In Visual Studio the appropriate tool for working with SQL Servers as described here is the SQL Server Data Tools to match the version of Visual Studio edition. A stand-alone version is also available which gives access to Visual Studio Shell.

The download mentioned here gives access to SSDT that can work with SQL Servers from version 2005 to SQL Server 2016 CTP3:

•    SSDT Preview for Visual Studio 2015
SQL Platform support:
SQL Server 2005 – 2016 CTP 3.0
Analysis Services for SQL Server 2008 - 2016 CTP 3.0
Integration Services for SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0
Reporting Services for SQL Server 2008 - 2016 CTP 3.0
Azure SQL Database
Azure SQL Data Warehouse

The following paragraphs use the above preview installed on a Windows 10 (x64) OS platform on a Toshiba Laptop.

Herein follows a description of the Toolbox of the Integration Services for SQL Server 2016 CTP3.0. The Business Intelligence templates in this version of SSDT is shown in the next image.


The two Analysis Services project refer to two modes of working with the services. Examples in my Reporting Services 2012 book provide specific examples of these two types of projects.

The Reporting Services Wizard gives guidance at each step,  you can also use the Report Server Project to fashion your own.

Herein we look at the Toolbox items in the SQL Server Integration Services arsenal to compare with those in SSIS 2005 and identify the new ones.

Common folder in Data Flow  (Click Data Flow tab in designer):

Other Transforms group in Data Flow :

Other Sources group in Data Flow:
 Other Destinations group in Data Flow:
 Control Flow Tasks (access the following when Control Flow Tab is chosen in the package designer) in SSIS 2005:
The following image shows the Control Flow items in the SSIS 2005 designer:
controlFlow 001.jpg

Visual Studio BI 2005 also had a Maintenance Plan related controls as shown here.
MaintenancePlan 001.jpg

In SSDT 2015 the tasks are divided into two groups, Common and Other Tasks. The following image shows the tasks in the two groups. Those highlighted in light blue are the same ones found in the Maintenance Plan tasks in 2005 and the ones in Yellow are those related to Control Flow Items in SSIS 2005.



The For Loop Container, ForEach Loop Container and Sequence Container in the Control Flow Items of VS 2005 have been placed in a separate Containers category as shown.


Visual Studio has gone through many iterations from 2005 to 2015 and some of these changes have entered the IDE during this period.  While there are additions to the toolbox there are no removals with many of the items rearranged or grouped differently.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cortana on your desktop Windows 10 will add to productivity

 As a means of saving what you were looking for there is nothing better than a single place and Cortana will make it happen. All these and more will get into you NoteBook.

It was a sensation on Windows Phone 8.1. It is not in the All Apps group on desktop running Windows 10 OS. . If you type 'Cortana' in the 'Search the web' on your desktop running Windows 10 OS you get the following:


Click 'Cortana Search and Settings'(system Settings)


Turn OFF to ON.

Cortana welcomes you and before proceeding you need to agree to her terms.


Click I agree and she is ready at your bidding.


Before asking for license agreement she may ask to use the 'Notebook' where user items are stored. If you do not want to use 'Cortana' just turrn it off, but the Notebook items will be saved but not accessed.

These are the items that go into Notebook.

Now your 'Search the web' at the bottom of screen, it will read 'Ask me anything'

If you hit the microphone you get the following and you may need to follow her advice before she can listen to your voice commands.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015 Conference in Honolulu _Come bask in the sun

Mark up the dates: November 17-19, Honolulu, Also enjoy the daily rainbows, if you are rainbow lover like myself. Every year I attend this conference about this time of the year. In fact, it is a very important technology related conference in this holiday town.

Defense has a big presence with emphasis on security and so are the security ware vendors. There are a number of Continuing Education courses that are a big attraction as well. So it is not just the wind and surf but also listen to the winds of change. There is not much on IOT in this conference but a single vendor from California.

Here is what this conference about:

"TechNet Asia-Pacific, now in its 30th year, is co-sponsored by AFCEA International and AFCEA Hawaii. It is the largest event in the Pacific Rim focusing on regional defense issues. Keynote speakers, panel moderators and panelists will discuss defense policies and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and their relevance to both Industry and Government.  Industry exhibitors will demonstrate products and solutions to meet the Services' requirements and needs. " Protection Status