Made in USA: Enterprise Application Services

Blog • Page 18 of 26 • Ayoka - Made in USA Enterprise Application Services

Real Time Web with SignalR and Comet

April 17, 2014
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SignalR provides API for building real time web functionality in the ASP.NET applications. Real Time web functionality is the ability to have server side code push content to the connected clients as it happens in real time.

The most common examples of real time web applications are Facebook’s news feed and Twitter, or features like chat and search, where the user gets the notification in the browser’s document window as the event happens in the form of a message, alert, update, or link to an article with decreased server load time.

signalr, websocket

To do this, SignalR must take advantage of HTML5s API that includes WebSocket, which takes an advantage of several packet transports by automatically selecting the best available transport given the client and server’s best available transport. When the technology isn’t available, it will gracefully fall back to other techniques, making sure the application code remains the same. SignalR will use HTML5 to transport WebSockets, utilizing its bi-directional communication line between the client and the server with server-to-client RPC (Remote Procedure Call). The RPC allows an inter-process communication line to be opened and lets the code call a subroutine to be executed from a different client remotely without the developer having to execute the subroutine from a specific location or compromise load time. Unfortunately for the outdated client, WebSocket is only available in later versions of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox, with partial implementation ability on Safari and Opera. SignalR provides this RPC that call the JavaScript functions from .NET code on the client side. It also provides an API for connection management for grouping connections or connect and disconnect events. It starts out first as an HTTP, and is then promoted to a WebSocket if the bandwidth is available. WebSocket is the best use of (the small amount of) memory that will be allocated.

In comparison, the Comet web application model will support an HTTP request that is held open for a long period of time during which time the server can send data to the client without the client knowing it may need to request it. For Internet Explorer, the Forever Frame, which creates a hidden iFrame that opens a connection that acts as a one-way connection from the server to the client. To get back the other way, from client back to server, a standard HTML request is posted and a new connection must be created per data packet to be sent. For other browsers, Ajax is implemented to poll the server with a request that stays open until the server responds and closes the connection, instantiating a request to open another connection.

Monitoring how your packets are transported can positively or negatively impact your code reception by users accessing and using your real-time web environments through browsers. The most successful real-time web environments were able to adeptly anticipate and implement their users’ propensities and seamlessly integrate those practices to create a true real-time web environment that can be accessed from anywhere with any device.

How Has Heartbleed Hurt You?

April 15, 2014
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If you’ve gotten an email requesting that you change your password from your Pinterest, Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Dropbox, or even your domain registrar, GoDaddy, then you’ve probably already heard of the OpenSSL’s Heartbleed bug. OpenSSL is the go-to open source cryptographic library and protects email servers, chat servers, and even Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

The Heartbleed bug got its name from the implementation of OpenSSL’s cryptographic security extension, called Heartbeat. Since it turned out that Heartbeat exposes serious vulnerability in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of the Applications Layer in the Internet Protocol Suite, which is the designated protocol for providing and maintaining security on the Internet from the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) to HTTPS (the ‘S’ stands for secure), the bug was called Heartbleed. OpenSSL’s found vulnerability means that encryption keys, security certificates, user names, passwords, and other sensitive information on your favorite social media site, your company’s commerce site, sites you download software from, and even government registered sites are susceptible to their data being compromised. The most interesting part is that there is no trace logged when a breach was made from a malicious attack since the primary and secondary keys (the aforementioned encryption keys and other top-tier security information) were compromised, allowing the attacker to impersonate the compromised service. Not even certificate authentication can reduce the chance of a user being notified of the site being compromised. There is debate on whether or not the NSA has known of and exploited these vulnerabilities to collect account information on patrons of the affected sites, totaling as many as two-thirds of the websites on the Internet.

Heartbleed was actually brought to the attention of OpenSSL back in late 2011, but after rigorously testing the patch for leaks (including OpenSSL attacking themselves!), the patch has been made available as of the 7th of this month. This means that, to stop the leaks, vendors need to implement the fix and alert their users, hence why you may have received an email notification with a short synopsis of what Heartbleed is and a suggestion to change your passwords. Service providers and users themselves need to install the fix as it becomes available to their operating systems and software they use.

Microsoft Finally Drops IE6, so What Browsers are Popular?

April 10, 2014
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With cross-platform browsing becoming more and more relevant, Microsoft dropped support for IE6 after usage in the US dropped below 1%. This begs two questions: Who was using IE6 for so long, and what are browsers are being utilized now? Chrome is definitely on the up and up, being utilized by over 40% of users, and IE11 is declining as 2013 ends, which is coincidentally when users started to use Chrome and other browsers more often. Firefox use has been consistent, showing some decline through the end of 2013 and making a comeback in the first quarter of 2014. Safari is showing some growth at the last quarter of 2013 and continues to increase through the first quarter of 2014, although it’s not as significant as the other three browsers. The combined others, illustrated as the dotted line, are barely above the 0% mark, which is still above Opera usage. Opera seems to keep changing the use of its User Agent string, which names the browser the user is in, making it difficult to properly identify what browser is officially being used, slightly skewing the statistical results.

browser-stats

It seems like with the decline of Internet Explorer comes the burgeon of the other browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Other users are taking the initiative and choosing a browser more fitting to them rather than use the familiar IE. The desktop operating system usually dictates what browsers are utilized by the user. For instance, the Safari browsing application comes on all iOS desktops, laptops, and devices, while Internet Explorer is the default browsing application for Windows Operating System. Internet Explorer is fighting its own previous versions, like IE6-IE8, since a lot of desktop users are set in their (outdated) operating system, such as Windows XP, which ultimately impairs the growth of usage of their newer browsers.

Desktop internet usage is at 76%, bringing Mobile internet usage to account for the other 24%. Mobile internet usage is increasing and with different mobile browsing applications hitting the market as well as devices coming equipped with browsing applications themselves, the game will be changed for classic internet browsers altogether.

mobile-vs-desktop

150x Faster than its Competitors, Google Fiber Zooms to Austin!

April 8, 2014
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Austin, Texas is known as a creative hub of musicians, artists, and techies, and is home of the University of Texas. Its habitants are always on the move and eager to take on new experiences, like the food trucks or Pedi-cabs! It’s no wonder why Google named Austin as one of the first cities for implementation of its new fiber-optic Internet Service, Google Fiber.
google fiber austin texas speed
Google’s goal is to integrate home internet service with mobile cellular service as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that will span across the area giving public institutions like schools, libraries, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations selected by the city, up to a Gigabit (that is about 1000Mbps) of bandwidth for free and will be coined as a ‘Community Connection.’ Small businesses will have the opportunity to take advantage of the affordable high-speed service in 2014 before it will finally be released to Austin’s residents mid-2014.

What does this amount of bandwidth offered by Google Fiber mean for the existing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Time Warner Cable and AT&T that offer 15Mbps as a standard bandwidth? Well, they seem to be lowering their prices and upping their standard bandwidth in an attempt to retain their existing customers, as well as make a point to commit other Austin residents to their service before Google Fiber hits the local market.

Google Fiber is being laid down in Austin, unlike Provo (another chosen area for Google Fiber implementation), where they purchased an existing fiber-optic network that needed upgrading. Not only is Google’s implementation of such a high bandwidth in the community a kind of self-serving cause from a business standpoint, but it is also pushing growth and endorses the future of technology, ultimately benefiting us as a society. This carefully planned implementation of new Google Fiber in the Austin-area fills the residents with feelings of excitement and anticipation, leaving us in Dallas wondering when it will come our way!

In Development Nothing is Certain…Except Paper.

April 1, 2014
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In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin is credited with this line to a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789.

I’ve learned that in the world of software development we could create a similar phrase about bugs and printable forms. No matter how far removed our society attempts to move away from printing paper, organizations, companies and government entities hold on to the idea that having a physical piece of paper in hand, means more. What this means in to developers is finding a way to take whatever you create electronically and be able to print it in a nice, readable format; sometimes under very strict formatting guidelines.
paper to electronic form
When this happens, I have found that using a library that allows print to PDF an extremely helpful tool. Currently, my favorite is called iTextSharp, which can be found through nuGet or through a download at source forge.

iTextSharp gives you a vast array of options when creating your PDF and I have had projects where we’ve done all of it: building html from scratch (which is slightly difficult due to the lack of CSS control), building reports and charts while working with MS Chart Control, over writing background images and simply editing an editable PDF. The last one, for me has proven the most helpful, especially in those forms where those strict guidelines exist.

The use of Adobe Live Cycle Enterprise Suite alongside iTextSharp cuts what used to be a painstaking process in half. You can take any PDF into Live Cycle and draw each type of input field (text box, text area, check boxes, radio buttons, etc.), label them and then in your back end code you can recall all of those fields and map them to data with iTextSharp. The final product is the exact form, in the exact format the client needs without the need for recreation or the time and effort to plot coordinates on a background image to try and match where data should go. Of course, you or your client still have to dedicate the time to creating the editable PDF, but it’s a pittance compared to other options I’ve found.

iTextSharp is far from perfect, but it goes a long way in taking a difficult, and certain task (in the software world) and making it much more manageable.

The Battle for the Cloud!

March 27, 2014
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In this corner we have Microsoft, in this corner we have Amazon, and in our final corner is Google. Yowza the big boys are at it again. And yes I know there are not 3 corners in a boxing match…work with me people!
Google Micrsoft Amazon Cloud Battle
Despite its hype, the cloud still accounts for just 4.8% of the overall enterprise IT spend. http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2613015 Gartner estimates the worldwide market for public cloud services for 2013 to be at $129billion, representing less than 5% of the total IT market of $2.7trillion in 2013. Now that is something to fight over!

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the incumbent, is losing traction as Google and Windows Azure convince large enterprise clients access to their private, public and hybrid cloud offerings. Google recently cut storage prices for the second time in a week. This only a day after Amazon cut its S3 storage prices by 25 percent. Hit’em in the pocket boys, just keep it above the belt!

Microsoft on the other hand has some work to do to keep up with the competition. They no longer can be stuck in Windows world. They are working feverishly to welcome non-Windows-oriented toolsets and languages. The rumored launch of Office for the iPad could help put to rest the Windows only mindset that Microsoft has embraced for decades. Way to come out of the box Microsft, hope it isn’t too late the fight started years ago!

So how will this battle pan out? Only time will tell. But isn’t it fun to watch these megalomaniacs fight to the bitter end!  Okay not the bitter end because let’s get real…they all win in the end!

Is the Smartwatch Really Smart or Just Dumb Fun?

March 20, 2014
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According to Wikipedia a smartwatch, is a “computerized wristwatch with functionality that is enhanced beyond timekeeping, and is often comparable to a personal digital assistant (PDA) device.” Of course the almighty Google has its hands or should I say wrists all over the smartwatch revolution. Google has announced Android Wear, a version of its mobile operating system tailored for smartwatches and other wearable devices. Google is currently working with companies including Asus, HTC, LG, Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, and Fossil Group to release Android Wear smart watches this year.

LG confirmed, after much speculation that they were were partnering with Google to design an Android smartwatch. The LG G Watch is expected to arrive in the second quarter of this year and will work with “a wide range of Android smartphones, this will be the key to the watch’s success.

Also on Tuesday Motorola, owned by Google, exhibited its upcoming smartwatch, the Moto 360, which also runs on Android Wear.  The buzz about the Moto 360 is intriguing based on the photos and description released on the 18th.  The watch not only keeps you on time, but also keeps you informed via subtle alerts and notifications allowing users to see who’s emailing or calling, the time of your next meeting is or a friend’s latest social post.  Moto 360 also responds to voice commands. Just saying “Ok Google” allows users to ask questions like who won a game or what time their flight leaves, etc.

So how smart is the smartwatch? Clearly not as smart as Google who partnered with all of the top technology companies by introducing Android Wear…but I digress! I was quite the skeptic of these smartwatches, especially since nobody wears a watch any more thanks to cellphones. However, I especially like the voice command…this feature makes me happy every time I use Google. But, I must admit that the watches look really sleek. So I guess the watches are pretty smart, but can we get some that look a bit more lady like…right sisters?

Are Electric Cars Passé?

March 13, 2014
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I am a proud Prius driver and was shocked to hear that my little electric car is supposedly out of style…what the F#$%? This obviously needs a little more investigation!

At a renewable energy conference scheduled for this April, scientist Mehrdad Ehsani, from Texas A&M University will explain why the future is dim for electric vehicles. Dim…ugh! Ehsani is director of the Sustainable Energy and Vehicle engineering Program at A&M, leading the Power Electronics & Motor Drives Laboratory. He further speculates that Electric vehicles will never replace the internal combustion engine.
electronic vehicle
Prius electric vehicle

According to Davis Swan an important question to ask is whether or not internal combustion will replace powered vehicles or will they represent a “green” niche market for decades to come? The IEA, reports that over the past few years, electric vehicles (Evs) have seeped into public consciousness. Those endorsing Evs advertise them as essential for reducing dependence on oil and reducing the world’s CO2 emissions. But is that really the case? Or will they only play a small role in improving energy security and winning the battle against global warming?

The questions about Ev’s go far beyond the impact on the automobile manufacturing industry. BTW, the automobile manufacturing industry is one of the largest industrial concerns worldwide. However, there is an impact, both positive and negative, upon electricity utilization and the grid that will in many ways shape future decisions about generation and grid management.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate our use of hydro-carbons, including gasoline. This is only achieved by pure Evs, such as the Tesla. The Chevy Volt can travel approximately 45 miles on battery power alone under good conditions. The Plug-in Hybrid version of the Toyota Prius is rated at 14 miles. The Tesla on the other hand has its shortcomings. The struggle to provide charging stations across the country has this Ev parked.

So what is a girl to do…my Ev really may be a passing fad! Who wants to go up against the automobile industry? Much less the almighty oil industry! The odds may be stacked against Evs, but I will stick with my 14 miles of electric energy, thank you very much!

SXSW 2014 Tech Talk!

March 11, 2014
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SXSW has hit the streets of Austin and everyone is swooning about the music, art and culture of this annual event. However, this development diva is primarily interested in the tech aspect if the gathering. Some of the hottest new ideas for wearable technologies were presented to a packed crowd at the South by Southwest Interactive festival on Saturday (Mar. 8), in a conference room at the Hilton Austin Downtown. From a device that could verify your identity based on your heart rhythm to a swanky handbag that can charge a smart phone, some of the hottest new ideas were on display.

sxsw interactive mobile, wifi, tracking device

The SXSW Accelerator competition has technology experts, members of the media and venture capitalists giving tech startups a chance to pitch their products to an audience. The competition will conclude on Sunday, when a winner is selected from among the eight finalists within the wearable technology category, and five other categories. So let’s dish about the competitors!

One of the interesting competitors was the Toronto-based company Bionym, which is developing the “Nymi,” a wristband that the company says will use the wearer’s unique cardiac rhythm to confirm identity, saving you the trouble of a password or pin number.

One company was a Staten Island-based startup developing a fashionable handbag that could charge your phone or tablet, and light up inside when opened. Another cool submission was San Francisco-based Fashion Discovery Labs that launched an app that could allow Google Glass wearers to take a picture of someone’s clothing and instantly shop for the item online. Toronto startup, Kiwi Wearable Technologies, showed off the “Kiwi Move,” an all-purpose tracking device that the company says will contain motion sensors, temperature and air pressure sensors, a microphone and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

Wearable handbag that charges your phone.

So these are some of the front-runners at the SXSW Accelerator competition! I failed to mention the prices of some of these gadgets, but let’s just say they are out of most of our price ranges. Who cares right…it’s just fun to hear about these new technologies! Over time hopefully they will become available and affordable to us working folk 😉

Connected Cars…Apple takes a bite!

March 4, 2014
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In the world of connected cars Apple has announced their latest addition to the dashboard. At the Geneva Auto Show, Apple reveled CarPlay, the application that will put more apps into the dashboard and connect millions of iPhone users to their cars. This is Apple’s first taste of the car industry and hopefully we will all benefit from this long overdue technology.
apple dashboard android
CarPlay will not dominate the dashboard however. It will have to share space with the existing auto information platforms.  Apple’s CarPlay has 11 automotive partners, including GM, Honda, and Hyundai. All of which have a framework of their own that Apple will have to integrate with. Apple will have to run in tandem with the existing software. Apple will also have to compete with the Android market, as connected cars integrate this technology also.

Apple’s CarPlay Connects your iPhone to your car.

So Apple’s CarPlay has a long road ahead to make it into your car! Buckle up it may be a while before you are texting from your dashboard console or googling while driving. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait!

Hunker Down with Technology

February 25, 2014
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So, with reports of another ice storm possibly headed our way (we are in TX btw), along with the absolute havoc winter weather has wreaked throughout so much of the U.S. this winter, I’ve been thinking about what a difference a few years can make…
voip and web integration brave the ice
Not all that long ago, a winter storm meant I was dead in the water productivity-wise. I couldn’t get out and see clients. All my systems/info were at my office (which I couldn’t safely get to)! And even if I had the necessary contact with me, you didn’t want to make business calls from your home phone.

Fast forward to earlier this month. Our “Ice Day” was one of the most productive days I’ve had in a long time. I still couldn’t get out, of course; but I had access to everything I needed! I locked myself in my home office, hunkered down, and focused. For like 6 hours!!! This worked because all our systems are virtual. I have access from anywhere with a web connection, which is practically anywhere. And there happens to be a damn good one at my house. (Thanks, AT&T U-verse!) Plus, with VoIP technology, you can call from all sorts of places, from your laptop, smartphone, maybe even your tablet, and it looks like you’re sitting at your desk. Not only that, but enough other people are also using these solutions that you can actually reach someone. Someone who is also probably sitting at home in sweatpants, but creating the illusion that they’re in the office, too. All through the miracle of modern science. And with things like Google Voice, ZoHo, Dropbox, Sugarsync, Google Apps, Office 365, etc. it doesn’t even have to cost an arm and a leg. Heck, some of those are free.

Guess what? This stuff isn’t just good for ice days. It’s 2014. You pretty much have to be productive and effective outside the office. Do you know ANYONE who goes to the office and sits at a desk for 8 hours a day anymore? Yeah, me neither.

A little research and some cheap/free tools can turn you into a remote beast!

Enjoy the weather.

Lenovo Buys Motorola and Fort Worth May Be in Trouble!

February 13, 2014
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Lenovo recently purchased Motorola from Google. The 2.91 billion dollar transaction may bode well for the 400 employees located the upscale Chicago suburb Libertyville, but right here at home in Fort Worth things a looking a little dismal. The folks in Fort Worth that depend indirectly on Motorola for a paycheck may be a tad nervous.  The people working the Moto Xlen assembly line, run by a subcontractor called Flextronics may be in trouble.
lenovo and motorola
On the conference call following the announcement Lenovo was vague about their plans for the Fort Worth manufacturing plant and its employees. The implications were that the relationship with the Fort Worth Flextronics facility may not continue. This announcement certainly leaves employees feeling tenuous about their jobs.  However, Flextronics tried to ease their fears, when the CEO claimed that they had a “fabulous relationship” with Lenovo. However these smoking mirrors do not mean that jobs at the Fort Worth assembly line are safe. We are all waiting with bated breath to see if Fort Worth jobs will go down with this deal!

Watch Out Criminals…Google Glasses are Gonna Get You!

February 11, 2014
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“Project Google Glass (sometimes referred to as “Project Glass“) is one of the most innovative feats the search Giant has undertaken. It is the idea of a wearable accessory (much like glasses) that will allow you to interact with your device and surroundings through augmented reality.” This

See video here.
This cybernetic eye-wear seems to be perfect for cops. The NYPD has already started using the glasses to have the ability to record audio/video during investigations or interactions with suspects or the public. However, this technology comes at a high price… so high the NYPD can only afford a few pairs. The hope is for the NYPD to develop their own glasses to pull up police records, warrants, etc. and distributing it internally.

Of course the civil liberty folks are in an uproar protecting criminals…shocking! Look I want a pair to protect me from everyone… criminals, sick people, mean people and the list continues! Google can you please lower the price so we can all feel protected!

What Are 3 Basic Steps to Test Driven Development (TDD)?

February 5, 2014
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Test driven development is a programming technique that emphasizes writing tests that will check the functionality of the application’s code before you actually write it into the development application. Explicit by the name, we will let the test drive our development. Basically, the idea is that, we write testing code before we start to write the REAL code and the only goal for our REAL code is to make the testing code pass. The basic 3 step process will be as follows:
1). Write a test that specifies a bit of functionality.
2). Ensure the test fails. (You haven’t built the functionality yet!)
3). Write only the code necessary to make the test pass.
So why do Test Driven Development or TDD? What do we gain from using TDD?
Here are 2 points:
1). When our tests pass without errors or failures, we can be certain that our application works just as we want it to—given that we wrote our tests well!
2). Second, by first setting the goal (the testing code) and then implementing it, it will make the coding a lot easier and concise.  To understand the idea of TDD is extremely important.
Make sure you understand it, and then let’s start

Visual Studio and jQuery

January 30, 2014
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Microsoft will be partnering with the jQuery team and shipping jQuery with Visual Studio in the near future. The addition of web elements, jQuery and the project architecture makes for an interesting combo. Also, jQuery intellisense annotation support will be available as a free web-download. Barely a few weeks after the announcement, Microsoft during the PDC event, announced that Visual Studio 2008 now supports jQuery Intellisense through an additional file available from jQuery. This file can be downloaded from here.  BTW, the PDC conference is sold out…but you can get on the wait list 😉
There are over 130 code snippets for jQuery included. You can view a listing of all of these snippets on the Visual Studio project wiki here.

MVC and Entity Framework

January 29, 2014
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We love Microsoft’s Entity Framework and the MVC framework. Put together, they make development a lot easier because they take care of a lot of the heavy lifting. As a bonus, they help make applications more structured, more easily testable and more fun to work on.  Below are some steps for setting up a Code First entity framework MVC4 project in Visual Studio:
1. Define the model
2. Create the DBcontext
3. Add a connection string
4. Add a data initializer
5. Set the initializer in global.asax.cs
6. Add the DBcontext object to a view order to test

As with all technologies, it takes a while to get comfortable with how to apply these steps in an accurate manner. This is in part because most tutorials focus on the details. They explain how to use a given technology, pattern or framework, however it is often hard to find a practical ‘use case’.

Here is a link to some practical use cases:
1. Scaffolding
2. Unit Testing
3. Paging ans Sorting

How to Develop Websites Using ASP.NET

January 28, 2014
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ASP.NET is great for building standards-based websites with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. ASP.NET supports three approaches for making web sites. ASP.NET Web Forms uses controls and an event-model for component-based development. ASP.NET MVC values separation of concerns and enables easier test-driven development. ASP.NET Web Pages prefers a single page model that mixes code and HTML markup. You can mix and match these techniques within one application depending on your needs – it’s all One ASP.NET.

To create a file system Website
1. Open Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 or Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express.
2. On the File menu, click New WebSite.
3. Under Installed Templates, click Visual Basic or C# and then select ASP.NET Web Site.
4. In the Web Location box, select File System, and then enter the name of the folder where you want to keep the pages of your Web site.
5. Click OK.

Here is a link to some free ASP.NET templates

Vegas Goes Electronic!

January 27, 2014
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The introduction of the bitcoin, a digital currency may change the way the chips fall!  Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money.  Last week, The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will begin collecting the digital currency that merchants increasingly are starting to accept.  The two downtown Vegas properties, which share an owner, will accept the currency at five locations, including their front desks and the D’s Gift Shop. Guests also can use the currency at the D Hotel’s American Coney Island hot dog shop and Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.

Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.

The Bitcoin purchases will be processed through BitPay, which allows merchants to accept Bitcoins just as they would Visa, MasterCard or Paypal.  Bitpay offers an easy bitcoin shopping solution.  Bitcoin has been around for years, but it is slowly gaining traction among mainstream merchants. Last week, online discount retailer Overstock.com began accepting Bitcoins. Will this be the end of cash and chips?

Google Really Does See All!

January 24, 2014
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I am going to my grave thinking that Google sees and knows everything about me! Maybe I am paranoid, but anyway, this new project is really cool!  Google[x] has announced new project: smart contact lenses that can detect glucose levels via the wearer’s tears and alert them when levels dip or rise.  Cool huh?
Google-smart-contact-lens-prototype-Graphic-635
According to project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz in a blog post, “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease,” The lens works via a small wireless chip and glucose sensor embedded between two pieces of soft material. The current prototype puts out a reading once a second. Google is also interested in integrating an LED light, which could light up to alert the wearer of dangerous glucose levels.

I told you it was cool…beat that Apple, Facebook…whoever!  Good ol’ Google giving back to the community they know all about. 🙂

Connected Cars

January 16, 2014
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Forget horsepower. The connected car is becoming the hottest model on dealer lots. In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of car buyers today. This is more than twice the 14 percent who say their first consideration is traditional performance measures such as power and speed, according to a study that consulting firm Accenture released in December. That’s why cars that talk, show drivers the way and steer them from harm will cover the floor of next week’s Detroit auto show.

Automakers at the show will be looking to push beyond what’s on the road today such as Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s Model S, with a large tablet computer on its dashboard that runs a jumbo-sized version of Google Maps for navigation, and Ford Motor Co. (F)’s Sync system, which the company credits for attracting customers even as it’s been criticized for imperfections.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, General Motors Co. (GM) will tout its 4G LTE-connected Chevys while Ford introduces more applications that work with its voice-activated Sync system, including those that allow drivers to activate a home security system from the car.

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