Introducing the ESP8266-12 Module

By | ESP8266, IoT | No Comments

This is post #2 of 2 in the series “IoT with the ESP8266” Don’t let the $2-3 price fool you: there is a lot of functionality packed into the ESP8266-12 module by Chinese manufacturer AI-Thinker. The ESP8266EX itself is a System on Chip (SoC) produced by another Chinese manufacturer, Espressif. Within this tiny 5mm TSLP package is: a 32-bit 80 MHz microcontroller based on the Tensilica LX106 64 KB of Instruction RAM, 96 KB of data RAM Built-in 2.1 GHz 801.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi interface (TR Switch, Balun, LNA, Power Amplifier, and Matching Network) 17 GPIO pins with internal pull-up/pull-down resistors…

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Azure Mobile Services HTML/JS Client & Auth0

By | .NET, Azure, C#, JavaScript | 2 Comments

This is post #9 of 9 in the series “Azure for Developers” You probably already know what Azure Mobile Services is, but you may be wondering what Auth0 is. I’d describe Auth0 as a complete authentication SaaS product. Auth0 offers integration with dozens of social and enterprise authentication systems, has its own full-featured authentication and management APIs, a management UI, good documentation, and even client-side login libraries. Auth0’s documentation already contains some helpful advice for integrating with Azure Mobile Services, but the only sample code is for a C# Windows application, so it took some homework to gather all the necessary information…

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Heart Rate Display with a Photon and a Microsoft Band

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft Band, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows Phone | 2 Comments

Those who know me, know I love sensors, and doing things with sensors. I’ve published many posts on accessing the various sensors on the Microsoft Band: Accelerometer & Gyroscope, Ultraviolet, Skin Temperature, and Galvanic Skin Response. One subject that I haven’t gotten to is the heart rate sensor. I’ve also started to publish a few IoT posts. For this post, I thought it would be fun to integrate the Band’s heart rate sensor with a Particle Photon so you can visualize your heart rate with an RGB LED. The LED pulses at the same rate as your heart and will shift…

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Why is IoT so Expensive? Hint: It Doesn’t Have to Be!

By | ESP8266, IoT | One Comment

This is post #1 of 2 in the series “IoT with the ESP8266” So often today, I see the Internet of Things (IoT) as being associated with small form-factor general-purpose computers, like the Raspberry Pi 2, the Intel Galileo, and the MinnowBoard MAX. Don’t get me wrong: these are all great platforms for prototyping just about anything, offering fast multi-core processors, a reasonable amount of RAM by today’s standards, a plethora of I/O, and external removable storage (i.e., SD card) all at a reasonable cost if you are buying one or two… but at $35, $45, and $145, these are…

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Wiring Diagram

IR Break Beam Hot Wheels Car Speed Track

By | C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, News, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows | No Comments

Today I bring you a fun little project. The goal of the project is to measure the speed of toy cars as they run the length of a track. Kids and adults can compete to see who has the fastest car. What you’ll need: Hot Wheels Cars A track – I used baseboard molding from a home improvement store Two 5 mm IR break beam sensors Your existing Windows IoT Core setup Wiring Diagram Wiring Details (x2) IR Break beam transceiver black wire to GND (x2) IR Break beam transceiver red wire to 5V (x2) IR Break beam receiver black…

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PIR Sensor with a Photon, Particle Cloud, and a UWA

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | One Comment

My latest sensor experiment involved the PIR Motion Sensor (HC-SR501) that comes with the Photon Maker Kit. The motion sensor didn’t have the best English documentation; however, there were enough translations and fragments out on the Internet to get the job done. I decided to interface the motion sensor with a Photon, and then feed the sensor output to a UWA through the Particle Cloud by using a Particle Event Stream. The sensor has two potentiometers on its PCB. One controls the sensitivity of the sensor and the other controls the output latch delay. Turning the sensitivity down essentially limits the…

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Get your Windows 10 Developer eBook here!

By | News | No Comments

Recently Falafel published a series of blogs to help Windows 10 developers build awesome apps leveraging Visual Studio and Universal Apps and MVVM Techniques. This series takes you all the way from getting everything installed to building responsive UI’s. To make it easy for you, we followed that up with an eBook that you can download and take with you to get started with Windows 10 development on the Microsoft platform. Whether you are just getting started or a pro Microsoft developer, there is something in this eBook for you. Some of the highlights for this eBook are: Hello, Windows 10: Getting Started Upgrading…

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Touchscreen Panel Application

Windows IoT Core : A Philips Hue Touchscreen Panel Application

By | C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Multi-Device, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | 6 Comments

Philips Hue is a fabulous lighting system. It is a hub based system that discovers when new bulbs are added, allowing you to grow the collection of smart bulbs in your home organically. Hue also has apps available on some mobile platforms that make customizing and controlling your lights an easy and visual task. These are all fine and dandy, as long as you have a mobile device with you at all times. Hardware switches are available to circumvent that need, but they have limited functionality and in all honesty, they aren’t all that flashy or futuristic looking. I thought…

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Azure Mobile Apps: Writing a Fast Custom DomainManager, Part 3

By | Azure, C#, JavaScript, SQL Server | One Comment

This is post #8 of 9 in the series “Azure for Developers” Picking Up From Last Time Last time, I finished the overview of the helpers afforded by the MappedEntityDomainManager and how they could be used to easily implement a custom DomainManager that maps an ITableData DTO class to a database table with an integral primary key, and I profiled the SQL that was generated by performing an ID lookup as well as the SQL that was generated by querying the OData endpoint of a TableController that uses this custom DomainManager. I explained why the SQL generated by this custom…

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1- Create service

Using Azure DocumentDB with Cordova Tools in Visual Studio (or any JS client)

By | ASP.NET, Azure, Cordova, HTML5, iOS, JavaScript, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, node.js, Tools, Visual Studio, Web | 2 Comments

Abstract A few weeks ago, I set on a mission to learn more about Azure DocumentDB. My end goal was to use Azure DocumentDB with a JavaScript client application specifically with a Cordova app built with the new Tools for Apache Cordova or TACO which the team introduced a while ago. Background In April 2015, Microsoft officially released DocumentDB, its cloud, document oriented, NoSQL database (It was in preview since 2014). Azure DocumentDB, a new player in the NoSQL market, is built to work within the Azure Cloud ecosystem much like SQL Azure, SQL Storage, Azure search, etc. You would use DocumentDB…

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Remote Debugging Azure Websites – Day 31 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | 4 Comments

This is post #31 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” In this post we will learn about how we can debug a site that is hosted in Azure using Visual Studio 2015. Remote Debugging Azure Websites has been around since Visual Studio 2013, as a feature of Azure SDK 2.2. So to use Remote Debugging following the steps below, you have to install Azure SDK 2.2 or later. Using Azure SDK you can debug a published live website on Azure and debug any issues that may only come up in your production environment. To…

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Controlling an RGB LED on a Photon with a UWA Color Picker

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | 2 Comments

The Particle Photon makes it easy to control the color of an RGB LED. There are a number of color picker controls you can use in Windows apps. I wanted to see how easy it was to hook a Photon RGB LED up to a Windows app color picker. It ended up being a snap by using the Particle cloud functions. In this project I wrote a simple UWA that calls a Particle cloud function called “setRGB” on my targeted Photon whenever I change the selected value on the color picker. Then I implemented an event handler on that Photon’s…

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Build in Visual Studio Online – Day 30 – Visual Studio 2015

By | News, Visual Studio Online | No Comments

This is post #30 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” Build Build has been a solid mainstay since the early days dotNet. It provide a reliable method of reliably building applications in a consistent manner regardless of the machine running the build. Like its predecessor make and other current products such as ant it’s operation can scripted to significantly customize its execution. Its capabilities have grown over the years, but being designed as a tool for converting dotNet code and supporting files into applications, libraries, et cetera it can be rather cumbersome to use when…

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GitHub Integration – Day 29 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | 3 Comments

This is post #29 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” git I do not miss the old days of source control tools. Using source control was arguably the poster child for benevolent evil, or to some Lavful Evil. The value of maintaining good source control discipline has always been immense, but the client tools have historically varied from awkward, to buggy, to 2:00 A.M. musings as to whether XCOPY and Robocopy weren’t actually a better idea; if not evil themselves then certainly tainted with an evil aura. And let’s not forget buying everyone on the…

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IntelliTest – Day 28 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Testing, Visual Studio | 2 Comments

This is post #28 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” One of the drawbacks to unit testing has always been that you, as the developer, actually had to code the unit tests.  In complex scenarios writing unit tests to exercise all the different permutations of logic can become very tedious and time consuming.  I’ve often thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was tooling built in to Visual Studio that could automatically generate a unit test suite?”.  In Visual Studio 2015, with the introduction of IntelliTest (formally known as “Smart Unit Tests”), this is…

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Generic UI Testing with Coded UI – Day 27 – Visual Studio 2015

By | .NET, C#, News, Testing | 5 Comments

This is post #27 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” As we all know, testing is one of the hardest parts of delivering quality testing. What I really mean by testing is Automated Testing. Sure, we all test our code as we develop, but having a comprehensive suite of tests to run as part of a CI Build or Deployment is key in delivering quality software efficiently. As part of Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft released a Coded UI Testing Framework that had lots of promise. There have been some updates since then, but IMHO…

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Azure Mobile Apps: Writing a Fast Custom DomainManager, Part 2

By | Azure, C#, SQL Server | 3 Comments

This is post #7 of 9 in the series “Azure for Developers” Picking Up Where We Left Off Last time, I wrote about how to develop a custom DomainManager to plug into an Azure Mobile Apps TableController. The goal is to implement a DomainManager that works seamlessly with the Azure Mobile App client SDKs, enables CRUD against database tables with non-string keys, and generates good SQL that can be supported with ordinary general-purpose indexes. I covered which class to inherit from, the methods you’ll need to implement, and some of the helpful utilities that the parent class affords you. In this…

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PerfTips – Day 25 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | One Comment

This is post #25 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” One of the coolest new enhancements to the debugging experience in Visual Studio 2015 is something called PerfTips. These tips provide timing information as you step through code in your application. Unless today is your first time debugging an application in Visual Studio, you’ve probably used a Stopwatch or Timer at some point in your career. In the past this was the simplest and quickest way to diagnose how long a block of code takes to execute. Not anymore. With PerfTips, this information is tracked and…

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Performance Diagnostics – Day 24 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | No Comments

This is post #24 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” Yesterday we took a quick look at the memory profiler included in Visual Studio. Today I’d like to introduce you to the other side of that coin, the performance diagnostic tools. You can monitor application performance as it runs using the new Diagnostic Tools window in Visual Studio 2015. This window shows memory and CPU utilization, among other things. While this may not seem extraodinary at first, it can actually be very useful when debugging your application. For starters, the CPU graph only displays…

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Wiring Diagram

Windows IoT Core : Inter-Application Communication using App Services

By | C#, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, News, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | One Comment

Windows IoT Core applications fall into two categories. Headless applications, also called Background applications, and Headed applications which are applications that expose a user interface. The Windows IoT Core device as a whole can also be run in a headless or headed mode. You are still able to run any number of background applications on a device that is configured in headed mode. These background applications may also be deployed alongside a currently running headed application. It is important to note that there can only be one running UI application at a given time. Background applications can be thought of…

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Memory Diagnostics – Day 23 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | One Comment

This is post #23 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” One of my favorite debugging features in Visual Studio 2015 is the integrated performance diagnostics tools. If you’ve ever used a commercial profiler like Telerik JustTrace or RedGate ANTS Performance Profiler then this will look familiar. While not as full-featured as the available commercial products, it’s nice to have such a tool integrated into the Visual Studio debugging experience. To use the new built-in memory profiler you don’t have to do anything special. Simply start a debugging session for your application and there should be a…

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Breakpoint Actions & Conditions – Day 22 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | No Comments

This is post #22 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” For .NET developers everywhere, a new version of Visual Studio brings with it the promise of increased productivity. I think that one of the best ways to increase productivity is to provide greater insight into how our applications behave, and that is why I am the most excited about the debugging improvements delivered in Visual Studio 2015. One such improvement to the debugging experience is how we apply conditions and actions to our breakpoints. When setting a breakpoint we see a new toolbar that allows…

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Live Code Analysis – Day 20 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Visual Studio | 3 Comments

This is post #20 of 31 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” Visual Studio 2015 features live code analysis, powered by Roslyn (.NET Compiler Platform). You can write your own analyers, or access existing analyzers as NuGet packages, including the (still prerelease) FxCop Analyzers published by the Roslyn/Microsoft team. One such third party set of rules and fixes is called Code Cracker. Also currently in pre-release, you can install the C# analyzers using:

Once installed, the light bulbs and quick actions will pick up the rules (over 20 different rules at the time of publication)…

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