Category

Microsoft

Azure Cloud Failure

Disappointing Azure Cloud Failures

By | Azure, Events, Microsoft | One Comment

I have been a big fan of the Microsoft Azure Cloud.  Here at Falafel we use it on dozens of projects for our valued customers and internally as well, but unfortunately Sunday Feb 19th 2017 was a bad day for the Azure cloud if your services, VMs, jobs, IoT and other services were running in their “West US 2” region. EventsXD One of our products, EventsXD experienced total failure around 5:00 am PST on Sunday while multiple conferences around the world were using the platform for their events.  Immediately, we were notified by our systems that connections to the Hosting…

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Read/Write data from/to USB thumb drive on a Windows IoT Core device

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

Currently, universal apps are sandboxed to the point of blocking you from reading/writing data files to a removable USB drive on Windows IoT Core devices. This post will show you a work around if you really need to do this. Now, understand that this is not for store apps. If you submit an app using this work around, it will likely get rejected. However, for internal projects, it will definitely work, and work well. This is a great way of reading application initialization data and writing log data in a test apparatus and laboratory setting. Particularly when a network or…

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C# Windows IoT Core Serial Communications with an ESP8266

By | Blogs, C#, ESP8266, git, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Multi-Device, News, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | No Comments

Windows IoT Core is great for connecting single board computers such a Pi2 to an ESP8266, via a serial link. The hardware for such a link can be found in my previous post here. The details for a basic serial communication C# framework are detailed in this post. If you have an ESP8266, there are numerous ways of communicating with them such as LuaLoader. However, I needed to communicate with my ESP8266 through a Pi2 running Windows IoT Core. This is part of a larger automated test project for an upcoming consumer project we’re developing. In this post, I’ll cover…

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SMTP4Dev Local SMTP

Test Sending Email Without an SMTP Server

By | .NET, ASP.NET, C#, Microsoft, Tools | No Comments

When working on a project, I had the need to locally test the sending and formatting of an email from an application. The only downside is that I don’t have an SMTP server on my workstation, and I wasn’t about to start setting up IIS with all that ceremony. Luckily there are a couple tools that can help with this problem. Neptune The first tool I tried was Neptune. It doesn’t have source code available, but if you need a way to see if an email has been sent, it will show up with a notification in the system tray. You…

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What’s it Like to Take an Online Proctored Microsoft Certification Exam?

By | Microsoft | No Comments

Each year for the past several years, I have set a personal goal to get developer certified or trained in something new. Sometimes that is a Microsoft Exam, sometimes it is some other certification, such as Kendo UI certification. In previous years, I have had to travel to a test center to take certain Microsoft Exams, but the test center closest to me closed in 2014. The next closest location is over 2 hrs away, which was pretty much a deal breaker for me, and I had almost given up this year on meeting my goal for 2016. But, instead I decided to try something new: an Online Proctored Microsoft Certification Exam.

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Software PWM at 0.35 Duty Cycle

Windows IoT Core: Software PWM

By | C#, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | No Comments

One of the gaping holes in my opinion is the availability of PWM when working with Windows IoT Core on the Raspberry Pi. There are two approaches to solving this problem, one is with additional hardware to provide PWM functionality, the other is to achieve PWM with software. This article will focus on Software PWM. A Convenient Software PWM Library In poking around the web, I stumbled across this convenient library for Windows IoT Core. One of the implemented functions in this library is support for Software PWM. This library is also available as a package through NuGet. To demonstrate…

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ZombieSmack-by-falafel

Falafel Releases ZombieSmack, a Free Game for Microsoft Hololens

By | HoloLens, Microsoft, News, Windows | 3 Comments

At Falafel, we’re always in the mindset that we need to innovate and test the boundaries and possibilities of new technology. So, when Microsoft announced the release of the HoloLens, we  just had to get our hands on it and start developing for it. And so we did… Announcing the release of ZombieSmack, the first HoloLens game from Falafel with many more to come. If you own a HoloLens, you can download and play ZombieSmack for FREE. For those of you who do not have a HoloLens, ZombieSmack is our take on the old school arcade game whack-a-mole game and since Halloween…

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Single DC Motor Control Wiring Diagram

Windows IoT : Bi-Directional DC Motor Control

By | C#, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Raspberry Pi | No Comments

In many IoT scenarios, it is possible that automation will be required to physically move something. In order to do this, you will need to utilize some type of motor. In this example, we will control a single DC Motor using the L293DNE chip and the Raspberry Pi 2 running the Windows IoT Core operating system. Materials Required Raspberry Pi 2 running Windows IoT Core Pi Cobbler with Ribbon Cable (optional) L293DNE chip DC Motor (6v motor) One 4xAA battery pack (to power the motor) Breadboard Various M-M Jumper wire Hardware Setup Wiring Details Cobbler 5v to the Breadboard Power Rail #1 Cobbler…

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Microsoft Research Video Commentary – “Towards Better User Interface for 3D”

By | Blogs, Hardware, Microsoft, Multi-Device | No Comments

Being one of those media consumers that have cut the cord with the cable company and consuming media strictly online, I’ve been managing my YouTube subscriptions judiciously. Channels with a low-signal-to-noise ratio get axed quickly. A few months ago hundreds of videos started flooding my feed. The culprit was Microsoft Research. They are publishing videos at a mind-blowing rate. I counted over 1600 videos uploaded during one WEEK in August. Not year, not month, but in one WEEK. The range of the subjects are vast. A random selection of a few are: System Design for Cloud Services – Part 1 GeoS Video…

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Loading Components on Demand – An Introduction to Angular 2

By | Angular 2, Google, HTML5, JavaScript, Microsoft, News, Web | One Comment

This is post 11 of 11 in the series “An Introduction to Angular 2” Background Components are the building blocks of any Angular 2 application. We usually create our components and then define where and how they are included. A component is loaded using either an HTML tag (following the component’s selector) or by using a router outlet if we have routing in place (You can read more about Routing in a previous post). In many cases, we find ourselves needing to load components dynamically (on demand) by following a certain criteria or state that is not represented by route. Cases when we don’t…

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Working with HTTP – An Introduction to Angular 2

By | Angular 2, HTML5, JavaScript, Microsoft, News, Web | No Comments

This is post 9 of 11 in the series “An Introduction to Angular 2” In a previous article, we discussed RxJs and how we can use it with Angular2. In this post, we will take a closer look at HTTP and some of the key differences in using HTTP with Angular 2 vs Angular 1. Background jQuery came up with a very intuitive way of dealing with HTTP requests (XMLHttpRequest (XHR) and JSONP). It introduced a $.ajax() method which takes a request configuration and returns a promise. Many JavaScript frameworks followed the path of jQuery and Angular 1 was no different. While similar…

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Language Options – An Introduction to Angular2

By | Angular 2, CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, Microsoft, News, Web | One Comment

This is post 2 of 11 in the series “An Introduction to Angular 2” Before you start developing an Angular2 application, there are a few selections that you have to make. One of those choices is the programming language that you want to use with Angular2. While Angular2 is a JavaScript framework at heart, there are nevertheless, a few options to choose from. In this column, we are going to look at the options and examine the differences in syntax, to help you make that choice. Background The JavaScript language specification standard is called ECMAScript, or ES.ECMAScript is standardized by the ECMA International standards organization and…

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Build 2016 and the Upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Goodies

By | Events, Microsoft, Windows | One Comment

Last week I had the truly great honor and privilege of attending my very first Microsoft Build conference. It was an incredible experience; surrounded by developers, creators, architects and dreamers who share the same passion for Windows and all things Microsoft. There were enough sessions, labs, and exhibits to fill the day ten times over, and of course not enough time to see them all! There were many fantastic announcements, which have certainly made the rounds on the web. I’m not going to try and duplicate that content (although if you are looking for a thorough recap, your best place…

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Falafel Software named one of the 30 fastest growing companies of 2016

By | Azure, Microsoft, News, Training | No Comments

Falafel Software is named one of the 30 fastest growing companies of 2016 by The Silicon Review. With Lino Tadros, CEO of Falafel Software at the helm, the company has expanded to provide world-class consulting in Colorado, Texas, Washington, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Oklahoma and North Carolina. The award-winning consulting, training and mentoring programs include major Microsoft platforms and technologies including Azure, Web, MVC, Silverlight, WinForms, WCF, WPF and SQL Server. Falafel has experience with mobile app development using native iOS, Android and Windows Phone SDKs along with other cross-platform tools like Xamarin, Cordova, Ionic and the Telerik Platform. Falafel Software has…

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Running Resource Intensive Jobs Using Azure Batch

By | .NET, Azure, Batch Processing, Microsoft, Visual Studio | No Comments

This is post 29 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Running Resource Intensive Jobs Using Azure Batch Azure Batch Services provide a framework for resource or computationally expensive jobs. When I say “computationally expensive”, think 3D rendering for Pixar, engineering stress analysis, or calculations for fluid dynamics. The DIY approach starts with “I’ll add a ‘for’ loop and kick off some background executables”. But once you start to scale in any direction, then you’re off to the races building infrastructure to handle generic plumbing needs like… Install apps and dependencies. Dispatch, queue and start…

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Azure Preview

Using Azure Media Services to Encode, Host, and Transcribe Video

By | ASP.NET, Azure, HTML5, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, Tools | One Comment

This is post 16 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Azure Media Services has proven to be a one stop shop for all of your video needs. Azure Media Services includes encoding, encrypting, transcription and hosting services, basically it does everything except for shoot the raw video. Choose to deliver video on demand or stream video live, both of these delivery scenarios provide adaptive bitrates for optimal viewing. Consuming video in your applications couldn’t be easier than using Azure Media Player, as it brings a multi-device, multi-browser supported media player. Azure Media Services also…

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Breadboard Diagram

Azure IoT Hub: Managing and communicating with IoT devices

By | Azure, C#, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Raspberry Pi | 3 Comments

This is post 15 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Officially declared Generally Available (GA) on February 3rd, 2016, the Microsoft Azure IoT hub aims to help ease the software development burden by providing foundational tasks when it comes to building an Internet of Things system. With device provisioning, monitoring, management and system updates provided by the Azure IoT Hub, you are free to concentrate on coding your device’s core functionality. Another alluring aspect of Azure IoT Hub is that there is a free tier that allows an account to provision and maintain up…

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Migrating from Mobile Services to Mobile Apps, when you should consider it

By | .NET, Android, Apps for Office, Azure, Microsoft, Mobile, News, node.js, Office365, Visual Studio, Web, Web & Mobile | 4 Comments

This is post 13 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” In this column we are going to discuss the difference between Mobile Apps and Azure Mobile Services,. Azure Mobile Services allows you to add a cloud-hosted scalable backend to your connected apps within minutes. Whether you’re building apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS or Android you can take advantage of the Azure cloud to streamline your data and provide a robust, reliable and cost-effective platform to support your application. Mobile Services has been around since 2012 when it was in preview, and has seen many version updates and…

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Twitter Connector Data

Azure Logic Apps : Orchestrating business processes and systems integration

By | Azure, Microsoft | 6 Comments

This is post 5 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Note: Azure Logic Apps is currently in Preview state. Things may change prior to it’s official release, and you may encounter bugs as well. Most systems that exist today are data-focused CRUD applications (Create, Read, Update, Delete). In an organization you typically find multiple of these applications supporting various lines of business. These applications typically play a part in satisfying an over-arching business process. Various methods exist to cobble systems together in order to solve a business need. Some integration strategies include (but not…

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What to love and hate about Azure’s DocumentDB

By | Azure, C#, Data & Storage, JavaScript, Microsoft, News | 8 Comments

This is post 4 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Azure DocumentDB is Microsoft’s fully-managed document-oriented NoSQL database service that is built to work within the Azure Cloud ecosystem much like SQL Azure, SQL Storage, Azure search, etc. DocumentDB is relatively a new player in the NoSQL world (it was released for general availability in April 2015). It comes with an impressive list of features and has gone through several version updates. It also has its limits (the list hasn’t been updated for a while so make sure you read the comments section). In this post we are…

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Using the Azure Resource Manager: Part 2 Networking Templates – 29 Days of Azure

By | Azure, Microsoft, Visual Studio | 2 Comments

Now that we have deployed a simple Azure Resource Manager template from Visual Studio in Part 1, let’s look at just how simple it is to use that method to deploy a network of VMs using networking templates. If you aren’t a networking expert (and I am admittedly not), the configuration options for virtual networks is pretty daunting. But the availability of networking templates can be a great way to learn.

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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 | 4 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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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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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 | 9 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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