Archives / 2014
  • Updating My PHP for WordPress

    A few years ago I moved my blog to an Azure VM and it has been running flawlessly ever since. Thanks to WordPress' update process and automatic Windows Updates, there really wasn't much for me to manage. I have zero complaints.

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  • Azure, IoT, Maker, Free and Other Such Buzzwords

    A few months back I got into a discussion with a coworker around the cloud and the Maker community. The question, was Azure (any cloud service really) too cost prohibitive an individual developer to justify? I didn't think so but to prove it I decided to skip any “back of the napkin” calculations (since napkins are notoriously unreliable finks when it comes to architecture and finances) and move directly to building an app.  My criteria was simple, stand up an app on Azure that could communicate with 15-20 “things” for less than $12 per month. I determined this amount scientifically; it is what it costs for a  Netflix family account.

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  • Hello Azure, My Name is Pi

    I’ve been working on a little project at home recently and I needed to get data from some remote sensors in to the cloud. I also happened to have a couple of Raspberry Pi units begging me to do something fun. So with an Azure account and Raspberry in hand it was time to write the next killer app, Hello World with Azure in the middle.

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  • Awesome Android with Xamarin

    I’ve been publicly developing an application I call RMV Awesome on this blog over the last few months. Since the initial release of the Windows 8.1 app we’ve migrated code to a Portable Class Library, ported to Windows Phone 8, added monetization, integrated Azure Mobile Services and tackled geo-location. Today we’ll take a look at bringing this awesomeness over Android using Xamarin.

    The Worlds Most Simplistic Xamarin Overview

    Xamarin has deep roots within the C# and .NET community. They are the same...
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  • Multiple Apps, One Azure Mobile Service

    “Multiple Windows 8 apps, can they share the same Azure Mobile Services backend?”

    This was the question I was looking to answer this week. I did the prerequisite search of the interwebs and found that this question has been floating around for a while now. What I didn’t find was a definitive answer. Let’s start off by solving that problem:
    Okay, with that out of the way I need to add a bit of a caveat:
    Let me explain

    There are multiple scenarios that...
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  • Location, Location, Awesome Geo-Location

    I’ve been publicly building an application called RMV Awesome for the last several months on this blog. Since the initial release of the Windows 8.1 app we’ve migrated code to a Portable Class Library, ported to Windows Phone 8, added monetization and integrated Azure Mobile Services.  Next we’ll tackle geo-location.

    Since RMV Awesome is all about wait-times at various branches around Massachusetts, location is a logical feature. It makes a lot more sense to order the branch list based on distance...
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  • Solving an and Outlook Authentication Problem

    I’ve been trying off and on for some time now to add my account which I use for personal email to Outlook 2013 so that I can see both my personal and professional calendars side-by-side in Outlook. I’ve used this set up for years but recently it stopped working. Every time I tried to add it Outlook would return an error.
    Log onto Exchange ActiveSync mail server (EAS): The username or password you entered isn't working. Please try typing them...
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  • Awesome Azure Mobile Services

    I love talking about Azure Mobile Services. It is one of those services that developers are always shocked is available from Microsoft. Why shocked? Well, Azure Mobile Services is a fully-baked backend for apps that delivers data storage, custom API's, scheduled jobs, authentication (Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google) and push notifications. Further more, it is truly cross-platform with SDKs available for Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, Xamarin and Unity 3D. Oh, and did I forgot to mention that the pricing...
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  • Monetizing RMV Awesome!

    NOTE: This is part of a series covering Windows Client development. Our sample application is RMV Awesome, an ironically named Modern UI application for keeping tabs on the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. In this article we'll look at monetizing our creation.

    Now that we have our Awesome app on both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 we should consider monetization. Monetization is the marketer's term for "make money with this thing". Money? Money sounds good, let's do that.

    Disclaimer: Monetization is...
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  • Monetizing Apps

    Monetization is one of the most important and confounding choices a developer has to make. I spend most of my day working with developers and organizations building commercial software. App monetization is one of those topics that seems to come up fairly regularly.

    The art of monetization lies in striking the right balance between the app's perceived value and the customer's cost (in money, time or effort). The rub of course is that both the perceived value and the customer's cost are...
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  • The Magic of Font Icons

    With the release of Windows 8.1 came a little noticed addition to XAML called FontIcon. It is a rather simple XAML tag designed to show a glyph from a specified font. At the same time came two other tags in a similar vain (SymbolIcon which shows a glyph from Segoe UI and PathIcon which displays a path).

    On it's own, FontIcon isn't extremely useful. Most of the basic glyphs are already part of Segoe UI and most of the other symbol fonts...
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