Scott Hanselman

Free ASP.NET Training Videos from aspConf now available for download or streaming

July 26, '12 Comments [15] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET Ajax | ASP.NET Dynamic Data | ASP.NET MVC | Open Source | Speaking
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There's lots of goodness happening in the .NET and ASP.NET community right now. If you're not plugged in, you can follow ASP.NET on Twitter or Like ASP.NET on Facebook and we'll keep you up to date with all the great goings-in. You can visit, bookmark and subscribe to the newly revamped and oft-updated ASP.NET website. The new site is lovely on various phones and pads and has loads of content, both textual and video as well as HOURS of free training videos from Pluralsight. There's also an excellent Daily Community Spotlight on the home page there you can also subscribe to in Google Reader that is curated by our very own Jon Galloway.

The ASP.NET Webstack is Open Source now as is the Entity Framework. There's goodness happening from the new MS Open Tech organization and there's also the burgeoning goodness from the newly-created "Monkey Square" non-profit, the same organization that runs the Monospace Conference (follow MonkeySquare on Twitter) started by Joseph Hill, David Nielsen, Dale Ragan, Louis Salin, Phil Haack, and myself, dedicated to open source on .NET. If you haven't registered for Monospace, consider it, as it's a high-signal, low-noise boutique open source .NET conference out of Boston this October. You could even speak!

Download or Stream all these ASP.NET Conference videos and training sessions for free.

But, enough of that, let's talk about videos and education. Just last week we held aspConf, a a free, virtual conference dedicated to ASP.NET organized by and for the community, and all free. It was the sequel to mvcConf and mvcConf 2 and was this year expanded to two full days of great content on the entire ASP.NET platform. There were over 60 presentations from amazing speakers both inside and outside of Microsoft. I was fortunate enough to present the teams' and my vision for "One ASP.NET" in this silly keynote that was presented from the comfort of my home office to over 1200 of you Dear Readers.

aspConf 2012 is now a collection of videos for you to download or stream online in all the usual formats. There's dozens of them to check out and they are excellent. Some of my favorites are:

  • Next Generation Visual Studio Web Tools - Building websites has become more and more important for most businesses worldwide, and with the introduction of HTML 5 we now have more possibilities than ever. Join Mads on a journey through the features of the upcoming version of ASP.NET and Visual Studio to get a sneak peak on the new abilities ...
  • Introduction to the ASP.NET Web API What is REST? and a RESTful API? How does the ASP.NET Web API fit in? How does the ASP.NET Web API work? How can it be consumed by clients such as ASP.NET MVC, Win8/Metro, etc.? In this session, John discusses how to get up and running with the ASP.NET  Web API thorugh practical examples.
  • Async in ASP.NET Async is here and it's awesome, but how do you leverage for maximum affect in a server environment? When should you use async and what shouldn't you do to avoid headaches? Hear from the ASP.NET team about async support in ASP.NET, the features, the pitfalls and most importantly the use cases that ma...
  • Modern Web Development  In this talk, Shawn will walk the attendees through the new way that web applications are being built today using the latest in client-side development the best practices of how to carry that out with ASP.NET MVC.
  • Ask the Experts - Here's your chance to get answers to your deep technical questions about SignalR, MVC, Web API! With Damian Edwards, Brad Wilson and Marcin Dobosz.

Have fun!


Sponsor: My personal thanks to DevExpress for sponsoring this week's feed! Check out their new stuff, it's amazing! DXperience 12.1 helps you realize your creative vision. Beautiful design and rich user experiences are at the center of the modern development conversation. From iPads to mobile phones, focus on great design. Try Now.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Is Daddy on a call? A BusyLight Presence indicator for Lync for my Home Office

July 19, '12 Comments [27] Posted in Lync | Remote Work
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Daddy is busyConsider this the first in a series of posts on using Lync effectively as a Remote Worker.

I've blogged about building and wiring my home office, working from home remotely, and even done a video with Chris Sells and Rory Blyth walking through the house ("Geek Developer Cribs"). Last week I put my Lync 2010 Super Simple Auto Answer Video Kiosk with Full Screen on GitHub. That software replaces the "Embodied Social Proxy" software I was running before. That solution was too complex.

I've got folks in Seattle who are interested in my "presence" and I've also got folks here at home who are interested. Specifically, it's a problem when my kids don't realize (or respect) that Daddy is on a conference call or that Daddy is recording a podcast. It's a problem even for my wife who has recently gotten in the habit of texting me from outside the door to see if I was busy.

I had an old radio On Air light that kind of worked but I never hooked it up to Lync, which is my primary source for presence and availability. Since Lync is also available on iPhone, iPad and Android, it really is the best way for anyone inside the company to know if I'm "available."

I'd consider building a system with LEDs and Netduino but the folks at BusyLight beat me to it. The BusyLight is a nice simple plug-it-in-and-forget-it light that integrates with Lync to provide a visual indicator of my presence. It installs itself as a USB HID (Human Interface Device) so it's likely possible to talk to it directly and make a presence system for other IM clients like GChat or Skype.

Lync availablity is broadcast to all clients

Any system I put in place needs to just work. I don't want to have to click anything more than I already do. I don't even bother to set Lync's status myself because it does a fine job of doing it on its own. It automatically marks me as busy when I'm in a meeting or presenting or on the phone. If I leave my computer for a while it turns yellow to indicate I'm away. When I do need to change it manually (for recording a podcast, for example) I can also just use my iPhone. Any change in my availability from my iPhone is automatically (and instantly...like 100ms instantly) broadcast to all my Lync devices including the BusyLight and my Polycom CX600 IP telephone.

I combined the USB BusyLight's already super-long USB cable with a 16-foot USB2 Active Repeater Cable in order to get all the way down the wall, over and up into the corner of my door. The BusyLight included a 3M adhesive and it's happily stuck up there and the door still closes easily.

The BusyLight changes color instantly as Lync presence changes Daddy is not busy

I will also be taking a BusyLight up to my remote office and hooking it up so that folks can see when I'm "in the office" or available for a call.

So far I'm thrilled with the results. I recorded a podcast today and I could hear the boys outside whispering to each other "ssh, it's red! Daddy's on the phone!" Ok, I could hear them, but at least they made an effort!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Entity Framework Magic Unicorn (and much more!) is now open source with take backs

July 19, '12 Comments [25] Posted in Data | Open Source
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The Unicorn is fineAlmost exactly two years from the day we announced Entity Framework "Magic Unicorn Edition" and just a few months after open sourcing of ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET Web API, and Razor we're happy to announce we will release the source code for the Entity Framework under an open source license as well!

This is cool for a number of reasons. The EF team is continuing to move forward with a commitment to transparency. The community will be able to not only watch the check-ins and monitor the progress of the project, but also get involved themselves, submit pull requests for bug fixes, use daily builds and give feedback much more efficiently.

Just like the open source ASP.NET components and open source Azure SDKs, Entity Framework will continue to have the same full-time Microsoft engineers working on the project and will remain a fully supported Microsoft product that will ship both standalone AND with Visual Studio.

The code being open sourced includes the Entity Framework Runtime and NuGet packages, Code First, the DbContext API, the Entity Framework Power Tools as well as pieces that shipped originally with the .NET Framework. The team is also working to open source the EF Designer surface in the future as well.

By open sourcing EF we open up the design and development process that started the EF 4.1 preview builds. People who are interested can get nightly builds, see the source code changes, and engage in discussion about the design and implementation. The EF team is committed to opening up the development and involving the community and are going to work hard to make that happen.

Entity Framework will live in a Git repository at http://entityframework.codeplex.com and you're welcome to follow, fork, discuss and file bugs against it as you see fit. You could fork it just to fix a bug quickly to unblock work that uses EF, or you could create a custom version of EF with different capabilities. Since the changes can also be contributed back this gives people a lot greater flexibility in how they develop with EF.

Again, we've previously open sourced the Azure SDKs, the ASP.NET Web Stack, and now Entity Framework. These products all have the same teams assigned (and in most cases have more resources than before), the same developers coding and the same support guarantees. They are open source projects but they are also supported and released Microsoft products suitable for use in any company. They'll continue to ship with Visual Studio as well as standalone as packages in NuGet. The investment in all these technologies has been significant in the past year and investments will continue going forward with new versions and even more cool features.

Async - My Favorite New Entity Framework feature

Just as an example, I wanted to show a new feature in the upcoming EF6 that the team is hard at work on for release next year. Visual Studio 2012 introduces the Aync and Await concepts that make asynchronous code much easier to write (and understand). Damian, Levi and I talked about async and the surrounding concepts in this week's Hanselminutes podcast.

EF6 will introduce support for the new task-based asynchronous pattern when querying and saving data. You can actually look in the open source code base today and find the first parts of this feature are already checked in! ;)

As an example, using EF5 you could define a helper method that will find the store closest to a given location. Any code that calls this method would need to wait while it executed.

public Store FindClosestStore(DbGeography location)
{
using (var context = new StoreContext())
{
return (from s in context.Stores
orderby s.Location.Distance(location)
select s).First();
}
}

But in EF6 it is easy to turn this into an asynchronous method that can be left to execute while the calling code continues on with other tasks.

public async Task<Store> FindClosestStore(DbGeography location)
{
using (var context = new StoreContext())
{
return await (from s in context.Stores
orderby s.Location.Distance(location)
select s).FirstAsync();
}
}

This is just one feature but it's my favorite. You'll also soon see mapping of Stored Procedures as well as support for custom conventions using the Code First API.

Be sure to follow the Entity Framework Repository and subscribe to the check-ins via RSS to stay up on the latest features and improvements to EF! Also, do go chat directly with the Entity Framework team on Jabbr (powered by SignalR and Azure) in their room: http://jabbr.net/#/rooms/EntityFramework

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Sponsor: My personal thanks to DevExpress for sponsoring this week's feed! Check out their new stuff, it's amazing! DXperience 12.1 helps you realize your creative vision. Beautiful design and rich user experiences are at the center of the modern development conversation. From iPads to mobile phones, focus on great design. Try Now.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Google+ Plus offers a Sophie's Choice to early adopters of Google Apps via an incomplete Takeout Migration Tool

July 16, '12 Comments [11] Posted in Musings
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You can only move your circles but no content.I'm a long time Google Apps for Your Domain (GAFYD) user. That means that hanselman.com email, calendars, etc is all handled by Google Apps. I've got dozens of other Hanselpeople (relatives and others @hanselman.com users) on this system and it works nicely.

When Google+ came out I signed up, but for the first several months the Google+ social network didn't allow Google Apps users to signed. Only Gmail.com users and folks with regular Google Profiles could sign up. So, most of us with Google Apps created temporary Google profiles or throwaway Gmail accounts in order to sign up. We were told that there'd be a migration tool "in a few weeks."

It's been almost exactly a YEAR from the first time this was announced. Last week they announced a migration tool via their "Google Takeout" system.

Fast forward several months and Google has announced the migration tool for Google+ users who want to migrate to another account. The tool is under the Google Takeout system which "Google Takeout allows you to download a copy of your data stored within Google products."

Unfortunately this new migration tool only supports downloading and migrating your Circles, but not your posts, comments or +1s. Compare this moving accounts or URLs under Facebook and Twitter, each of which allows you to change names without losing followers or posts/tweets/notes.

So, this means that while I can move my Google+ account and followers/encirclers over to a new account, all my posts will remain on a vestigial parallel-universe Scott Hanselman who will live forever. I've got a year of posts, great comments and thousands of +1s that are trapped in another social walled garden. I'm forever Scott Hanselman on Google+, except when I'm Scott Hanselman on Google+.

Even worse, my existing Google+/Google Profile account is already associated with all my blog's content on the Google Search Engine. This now makes one wonder if I move my existing authorship metadata to the new account will it work? Blog authors rely on rel="author" as a way to indicate their legitimate content is written by a human.

I've posted my dismay on my Google+ account. Google Developer Evangelist Chris Chabot kindly responded and said:

Posts and comments are not lost, they remain as they were - what is the case is that we don't rewrite history by changing the name above those comments. ie if you commented as "Scott Hanselman" then that name will remain above the comment / posts you did.

I imagine that otherwise it would get pretty confusing if we did try to rewrite history - for instance if someone responded to your comment and said "Hey Scott Hanselman thanks for the info!" but the comment now had "Bob" as a name on it, there's no correlation between your posts, comments and their replies anymore.

So - nothing is lost or removed, there's just the side note that we also don't go back and try to rewrite every post, every reply and +mention that was ever done.

However well-meaning, I think Chris is missing the point of the audience who needs this feature. No one is trying to "rewrite history." We're just trying to move an account from one login to another. Even better if we don't need to change ANY URLs. I don't want to change URLs, move my profile or anything. I just want to login with different credentials.

Here's my response to Chris and Google, reprinted here.

This is a permalink issue not a "rewriting history" issue. I'm Scott Hanselman on a throwaway gmail. That's me here. I want to move to my Hanselman.com account where ALL my social media is (until g+). That is your primary use case and primary reason a GAFYD user would move. I want to simple change my login, from my perspective. For you, it appear this is a data migration issue as you're making week-long data moves. We just want to change a profile login.

Secondarily, I've got rel=author working nicely in google today. If I move, I'll need to change my authorship and hope Googlebot notices it in a few weeks. This is a perfect example were a 301 redirect from my old profile to my new one would go a long way.

Does this help clarify my position? I'm absolutely convinced this is the primary way folks would use this migration and I can say that all my peers and folks I've talked to expected a cleaner migration.

I want to move from my throwaway to a paid GAFYD account and it's [not really] acceptable to have hundreds of posts laying around NOT attached to my legit and primary account.

There are also a number of unanswered questions. What if someone finds some G+ posts from the last year and encircles my OLD account? Are they redirected? Likely not. I have hundreds of links pointing to my profile on the web. Why not 301 redirect those? Or, better yet, don't change the URL!

I believe that Google+ really needs a better system for their early adopters like myself. I've got a year worth of content and almost 40k followers on Google+ and I just want to login with my primary Google Apps account - the account I use for everything.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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HOW TO FIX: Toyota Entune 2.0.1 Update breaks Internet Tethering over Bluetooth

July 7, '12 Comments [28] Posted in Musings
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Toyota Entune 2.0.1 USB Stick UpdateIn April I blogged about my disappointment with the state of car dashboard technology in "My car ships with crapware." I recently bought a Toyota Prius with "Entune," an in-dash software system that includes things like Pandora and Bing.

Imagine my surprise today when Toyota shipped all its Entune users an update on a USB Stick. This update promises new applications like IHeartRadio, OpenTable and MovieTickets.com. Updates can't be a bad thing, right?

I put the USB key in while the car was parked and running. It prompts me to update and starts a straightforward process. You're told not to be driving around so I just waited a bit and it worked.

Entune: Update software from 1.7.4 to 2.1.0?

Entune: Overall Progress bar

When it was done, I ran the new MovieTickets.com app and was immediately given the warning: "Unable to connect to the Internet. Ensure the Entune Application is running."

For the last few months I'm used to not having to connect my iPhone physically to my car with a USB Cable. I don't have to run an application to "tether" and give the Toyota internet access. You CAN do this if you want. You plug the phone into the car and run the Entune application and you're all set with internet.

However, in this case my first reaction was "CRAP. Toyota went and BROKE the thing with this new update and now they expect me to run the Entune iOS application when I want to tether. Oh, HELL no." This has been the response and belief of a bunch of folks in the Prius Chat and Toyota Forums as these updates are rolling out.

I thought about this for a while and realize that what's actually happened is that the software has reset to defaults during the upgrade. You can still connect to a wireless hotspot like the Personal Hotspot that many of us have on our iPhones, Androids or Windows Phones. It's just that the language used by the Entune dashboard software isn't intuitive.

From the Setup Menu, go to Bluetooth. You'll see that your phone is likely connected for Phone and Music but not Internet.

Entune Pairing Options 

Don't click Connect for Internet. That will get the error message and frustrate you. Instead, click the small Gear Icon to the far right of the same line.

Entune DUN/PAN Connections

From here, click "DUN/PAN Connections" (intuitive, eh? That means Dial Up Network or Personal Area Network. It should just say "Wireless" but that would make far too much sense.)

Entune Connect to Internet screen

Here, under Provider Username, that's your Wireless Hotspot SSID. For iPhones it will be something like "Name's iPhone." Use a standard ' from the symbols menu on the on-screen keyboard. Spaces matter also. Enter your Personal Hotspot password in the password field.

Confirm, then enter your Entune web account name and password if it's not there.

Enter your Entune account details

At this point you can go back and click Connect for Internet

Entune Establishing Connection Entune My Phone is connected for internet

After you're connected (and this should happen automatically from now on) you should have your new Movies, OpenTable and other applications on the other screens. If you keep your Personal Hotspot running all the time then the Entune system should connect to your phone automatically for things like Pandora or iHeartRadio just because your phone is in the car.

Entune update 2.0.1 includes OpenTable, MovieTickets, IHeartRadio and more Entune showing movies near me

I hope this helps alleviate some potential frustration to Toyota Entune users.

If you liked this post, read my screed essay on my the state of in-dash stock Car Software in 2012 and follow me on Twitter.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.