Microsoft and Linux Developers in the same sentence?



Crazy Talk!


Bash on Windows, Microsoft & Linux and uproarious applause at Microsoft conference, these are things I expect to happen when pigs fly.  Well, cover your heads and look up because…Microsoft is reaching out to Linux developers in a way that the company never has before. “The Bash shell is coming to Windows. Yes, the real Bash is coming to Windows,” said Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo on stage at today’s Build 2016 keynote. The announcement received an uproarious applause from the crowd. The new functionality will be enabled as part of this summer’s Anniversary Update to Windows 10.

“This is not a VM. This is not cross-compiled tools. This is native,” he said. “We’ve partnered with Canonical to offer this great experience, which you’ll be able to download right from the Windows Store.” Third-party tools have enabled this sort of thing for years, but a direct partnership between Microsoft and Canonical should offer even more flexibility and convenience for developers who prefer using these binaries and tools.

Special thanks to Verge for this article.

SQL or NoSQL what a tangled web we’ve weaved


Back in the days time four, I was a hierarchal database specialist.  Anyone remember hierarchal, flat files or indexed sequential access (ISAM)?  When relational DBMS took off, back in days times two, I became a relational convert and preached the benefits of SQL in all of it’s English like glory.  Then I suffered through DDL hell and mapping madness, but I stayed true to the cause.  Well,  now I’m a Not Only SQL (NoSQL) first level apprentice and speak the Mongo and Hadoop chapters of the Database bible.  What’s worse is that I’m a flip-flopper between the relational and document worlds.  What I’ve learned is you don’t have to pick the Right side or the Left side, you will end up eating both sides eventually.

Take some time to learn the NoSQL side of the database house.  Install Mongo on your system, get a few sample NoSQL databases,  use the Mongo command line just to learn some of the syntax.  There are a ton of YouTube videos and Udemy courses on this stuff.  Once you’ve created your first table (Document) without the Create Table… you might like it.  Mikey did, he likes everything.

This article from Lisa Vass is a good introduction as to why and when you should choose.  It’s not surprising that relational databases are not doing as much of the lifting as they have in the past.

Angular 2, just as I was mastering Angular 1


Just as I was cutting my chops on Angular 1 and two-way data binding and all sorts of cool stuff along comes Angular 2 and rains on my happy parade.   The Angular folks said we don’t need to be backward compatible with Angular 1 because we are making Angular 2 so damn awesome.  I could just wait for Angular 3 before I get started in the JS full stack stuff but until then this tutorial written by Matt Raible is a great introduction to Angular 2.  I’ve noticed recently there are quite a few video tutorial on Angular 2 on YouTube as well.  Right now Angular 2 is one step away from the production world, we shall see, we shall see.

Kanban, Scrum aren’t equal to the Agile Manifesto


No truer word are spoken than these, “The Agile Manifesto is simple, clean and doesn’t enforce any methods.”  This opinion piece by Yusuf Autas is right on the money.  Less is more, less meeting, less new roles, less new terminology.   Focus on building something quickly, refine it until the customer says “Wow”!  Some of the Scrum disciplines are just in place so management can see a process they might be able to interject new goals and visions.  I like to use Kanban Tool to organize my projects.  This is simple and to the point task management system.


Larger projects may require some better tasks tracking in which case I would use Atlassian’s JIRA and its boards.  It is possible to connect these two tools together to take advantage of the best features of each of them.

jira.jpgI am currently working on some presentation and course material on putting the Agile train back on track after the Scrumnado wrecks I have witnessed.  I will post them here at GeekMustHave.



Databases Too many choices, oh what shall I do?

MextGenDB.jpgI suggest read a book before you dive headlong into the next shiny bright thing in databases.  This book appears to be a good read, I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle and started it.  So far it is very interesting and easy to read.  If you don’t have any background in databases I would suggest reading an entry level book first.  This review by I Programmer is a much better review than I would ever write, give it a quick2-minutee read.  We are truly in the “next Generation” of database evolution, you need to pay close attention to what going on right now, or be stuck in the dBase/Paradox past again.


FREE!!! Photo Editing Windows & Mac

Google is giving it away for free!!  Google just announced that it’s making its Nik Collection of desktop photo editing software 100% free.  The Nik Collection has 7 desktop plug-ins that provide a wide range of photo editing features, including mimicking the look of old cameras and films, retouching and correcting photos, darkroom retouching, adjusting color and tonality, HDR, image sharpening, and noise reduction. Get some of this.

Power-BI, not your Grandfather’s BI anymore


When I tell customers to consider using Power-BI for doing business intelligence I typically get a “Microsoft isn’t in that marketplace”.  I hate to say this but “This isn’t your grandfathers Microsoft anymore.”.  We have been doing some pretty serious BI work with Power-BI for $10/month per user.  Blair’s article in ComputerWorld outlines some new features including Excel integration and 3D data visualisation ala “SandDance”.  Power-BI isn’t a Tableau level tool but, Microsoft doesn’t take a stock pounding when they miss a projection like Tableau has recently.  Take Microsoft Power-BI for a test drive and when you show off the results be prepared for “That’s not a Microsoft!”.


I often had difficulties explaining to customers how the integration magic used to work and how it has changed.  Most didn’t care as long as their stuff kept working.  I have heard from government customers they use SOAP because it is more secure than REST.  Really?  Duncan has written this article which is an excellent introduction to the two protocols and should be given to anyone who asks “What is ….”.  I’ve been RESTing for awhile now, and I don’t plan on getting clean with SOAP anytime soon.

Who reads Terms of Agreement & Legal Stuff

Digital Ocean.png
Well in the case of Digital Ocean you may want to.   It’s very impressive they have taken the complex, and wordy legalese you often see in legal agreements see below…


..and posted is side by side with the contract language so that ordinary folk can read it, see below.


Something else that is very curious, DigitalOcean is very transparent about the requests they get from the government for your stuff on their systems.  You will probably start seeing more of this behaviour as more companies realize that it does matter to us who looks at our stuff in the name of the law and terrorism.


DigitalOcean also publishes the forms required by law enforcement and the courts for getting access to resources on their servers.  Who does this?  Take a few minutes to read the DigitalOcean Terms of Agreement and the other tabs to see how one company stands up for our privacy that isn’t in the news every hour, they just do it quietly in the background, on our behalf.

Disclosure: I use DigitalOcean droplets for doing all sorts of testing and development work.  Prices are inexpensive; access is awesome, and they give me a good feeling about the privacy and security of my stuff.  I don’t get a dime for saying this.



Mobile Development As A Service (MDAAS)

Mobile Development as a Service MDAAS.  The form of cloud services allows you to develop mobile applications to work on IOS, Android and Windows mobile devices.  This helps to reduce all the infrastructure headaches including hardware, supporting software, REST & API interface maintenance and possibly even an IDE for visual development.  This across all your developers operating systems Windows, Mac and Linux.  A web-based development environment would even support development using the lowly ChromeBook.

I know part of the magic for some developers is getting all the little parts and wiggly widgets working in their own domain and under their control.  However if you don’t have time for all this then a MDAAS is a consideration.

One of the providers of MDAAS services is Appery.IO they have a YouTube channel YouTube channel which explains the services their platform delivers.  If I needed a MDAAS I would go here.  Disclaimer: I have no relationship or agreement with these folks.

Good Stuff

  • Web-based full development life-cycle environment
  • REST, API and Web Hooks
  • Andriod, IOS and Windows device support
  • NoSQL / JSON native database support
  • Other database API access supported
  • Native device support (Cordova) Camera, GPS, Camera as a Bar code scanner, etc
  • Application builder
  • Various JavaScript libraries support
  • Visual Development environment, no client requirement
  • Application templates to help you get a prototype up quickly
  • Visual Data Binding
  • Server-side JavaScript environment including testing
  • Public cloud, private cloud and host-it-yourself options
  • jQuery mobile, Ionic and Angular (Don’t know which version yet)
  • Enterprise level development environment
  • Discount for educational groups, two thumbs up for this

Fair Stuff

  •  No free plan, just a free short-term trial (Minimum cost $30/month, paid annually or $45/month no annual requirement)
  • Makes the DIAY Do It ALL Yourself developers sad, they don’t get to create and manage the whole stack and operating system, it’s done for them.
  • Yet to be determined items, I’m in the process of checking it out and will update this post