Bing is filtering searches they suspect of being for crackers

So I posted a search on Bing today, so check some statistics , like I would with Google.  You know, you search for a unique term, and then search for it in conjunction with another unique term, and you look at the denla, and you learn something.

Well I learned something alright.  Lo and behold, Bing didn't like my search.  Instead of results I got a plain white page that said:

We are seeing an increased volume of traffic by some malware software. In order to protect our customers from damage from that malware, we are blocking your query. A few legitimate queries may get flagged, and for that we apologize. Please be assured that we are hard at work on this problem and hope to get it resolved even better as soon as possible.

Imagine my suprise.  I wonder if there will be a large collection of blue towncars and Bill Gates dressed like Wolverine in my driveway in the next ten minutes.  Seriously, if I vanish, check for pieces of my DNA in Steve Ballmer's bathroom.

This is a lesson to those of use looking to the Internet to be the be-all and end-all of storage devices.  Remember, you don't OWN crap.  Jason Scott said it best in his blog post Fuck The Cloud, so I won't repeat it here.  Be warned that if you post something that someone doesn't like, and they own the box, no law on earth is going to keep them from doing damn well what they want with it.

For now, my default search engine is Google, and I publish my information to servers I can touch.

Cloudcamp Columbus

So I am sitting here at TechColumbus watching the Unpanel at CloudCampColumbus.  Everyone here has a very good perspective on cloud and the problems and benefits.  The list of unpanel topics reads like a collection of general questions about cloud.

  • Auto scaling
  • Server huggers
  • Hybrid Clouds
  • Encryption
  • Security
  • Compliance
  • The business case
  • Disaster recovery
  •  Scalability Planning

 I think we just about covered it.   We are picking sessions now.

  • Intro to cloud
  • Architecture for the cloud
  • What and When to move to the Cloud
  • Examples of cloud apps
  • Enterprise Utilities
  • Clous OS Security
  • Cloud Storage
  • App and Data Cloud Concerns

Proof that the unconference idea works?  Who knows.  Decided on the Architecture group, and now am sitting with a bunch of people smarting than me.  Bummer.

So anyway, there is some meta comversation revolving around cloud computing that I have yet to completely master, but I think I am getting the idea.  People are wrapping th ebig providers around themselves.  For instance, ShareThis, who is talking right now, is an EC2 partner, and they just resell the service.  They don't really make or provide anything at all.  It is an ISP reseller.

This begs the question - is this just hosting.  That's all it is.  Noone is really using this for anything significant yet, at least not at this level.  Right now, they are just providing site hosting for applications that go viral.

So what is the highest level of cloud?  What can be done with this other than scalability?  Funny, they are talking about the same scaling problems that everyone has now - caching, bad code, weak queries.  Cloud won't help there!  What is it REALLY for?

That meta question brought a lot of interesting answers.  Brian Prince brought up the reality of disposable computing.  I thought that was a good point - you can treat the computing resoruces as temporary assets.  Where does that lead us?  No answer yet.

Microsoft Windows 2008 Server Licensing For Dummies

I was honored to be asked late last year to write Windows Server Licensing 2008 for DummiesWin2k8LicensingFDSmall as a joint project with Wiley and Microsoft.  This is a custom book – an eighty-six page minibook specifically for Microsoft to give to customers working on licensing Windows Server 2008.  I finished it in March, and finally got a few copies.  If you want a copy, you have to ask you local Microsoftie!

Anyway. the book came out very well.  The people in the licensing office are so very knowledgeable and easy to work with; the project was a complete joy for me.  What’s more, I think it really is a win for the average IT manager – the book is readable, easy to understand and accurate.  Licensing is foreign to many people, but with a few basic points in mind, you really can keep legal and save yourself some money!

I think the custom book concept is a real win for Microsoft too – they get a great, well known format for not much more cost than it takes to develop and print all of those whitepapers that no one ever reads.  People actually real dummies books, you know what I mean? 

Anyway, they gave them out at TechEd, and I think there will be more at PDC when the time comes.  Drop by the Windows Server book and snag a copy in November.

Liveblogging setting up data storage for Sharp

After uploading the basic services to Azure early this morning, I felt the need to finish, and actually set up some kind of data storage for the system.  After all, the services are only useful if the data is actually accessible, and eventually I plan to resubmit this as my certified app for POINT's ISV certification.  So I squandered one of my two storage service keys to Sharp's database in the cloud.

At first blush, this seems straightforward.  I logged into the Azure dashboard at https://lx.azure.microsoft.com and provisioned a new storage services account.  This required only a unique name and a description.  In exchange, Azure provided me with three endpoints:

  • the blob services;
  • the queing services; and,
  • the table services.

OK, right now I need tables.  I am essentially going to move the simple 4 table schema for Sharp into the cloud for this first version - we'll look at sophisticated use of property bags and whatnot at a later date.  I have my primary access key; time to move to Visual Studio.

 

Seeking name for new Rye/Wheat blend

I decided that I wanted a simple Rye/Wheat blend for the end of summer, so I constructed this fairly simple recipe.  I think I might have underhopped it, especially considering the Rye character which at first take seems to demans a little more upfront bitterness.  We will have to see though - I put it down in primary on Sunday.

I'm also looking for a name for it - apparently they were all of of Creativity at the homebrew shop.  Thoughts?

Wheat/Rye

Wheat/Rye
American Wheat or Rye Beer

 

Type: Extract

Date: 6/17/2009

Batch Size: 5.00 gal

Brewer: Bill sempf
Boil Size: 3.25 gal Asst Brewer: Gabrielle sempf
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Brew Pot (4 Gallon)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: -
Taste Notes:
 

Ingredients

Amount Item Type % or IBU
7.00 lb Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 87.50 %
1.00 lb Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM) Grain 12.50 %
1.00 oz Mt. Hood [5.30 %] (60 min) Hops 12.1 IBU
1.00 oz Saaz [2.50 %] (15 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
0.75 oz Orange Peel, Bitter (Boil 5.0 min) Misc  
1 Pkgs American Hefeweizen Ale (White Labs #WLP320) Yeast-Wheat  

 

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.580 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.016 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.160 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.99 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 62.65 %
Bitterness: 12.1 IBU Calories: 7,560 cal/pint
Est Color: 8.0 SRM Color:
Color

 

Introducing: C# 2010 All In One Desk Reference For Dummies!

I’m pleased and proud to announce that I’ll be migrating the fantastic C# 2008 for Dummies book by Steve Davis and Chuck Sphar to an All In One format for the release of C# 4.0 and VS 2010.  All of the goodness in the 2008 Dummies book, plus the bonus chapters on the site will be in the all-in-one.  Alongside, there will be tons of new information on Windows and Web programming, new features and fun stuff.  There will be nine (!) books in one cover for this all in one, including:

  • Book 1: Basics of C# Programming
  • Book 2: Object Oriented C#
  • Book 3: Designing for C#
  • Book 4: A tour of Visual Studio
  • Book 5: Windows Programming (Winforms and WPF)
  • Book 6: Web Programming
  • Book 7: Service Oriented Development (ASMX and WCF)
  • Book 8: Neat Stuff (Robotics, Graphics, AI and Compilers!)
  • Book 9: C# 4.0 New Features

 

The book will be available everywhere right around the release of Visual Studio 2010 in late fall or early winter. 

Shameless self promotion

I have set up a number of conglomeration sites in the last week, which I thought I would share with the interested.  One relates to books, one to articles, and one to speaking.

The first is FiledBy, at http://www.filedby.com/author/bill_sempf/.  It is a managed site with books of mine that are still in print.  Neat concept, and I look forward to using it.

The second is SpeakerSite.  Set up by my friend Artie Isaac, it is a conglomeration of a lot of speakers on different topics.  My site is http://www.speakersite.com/profile/BillSempf and I have posted a video to my recent cloud computing presentation.  After my C#4.0 presentation Tuesday, I'll post a video to that too.

The third is Ulitzer.  This one is pretty cool.  Back in 2000 -2001 timeframe, I wrote a number of articles for Sys-Con media.  After I started my contract with MSDN I kinda dropped off their map, but I didn't lose touch with the people involved.  Now, it turns out they are a big power in publishing for cloud computing, along with their other assets.  Anyway, they have these customizable author sites, and mine is http://williamasempf.ulitzer.com/.  I'll be adding articles and linking up this blog to it shortly.

Anyway, I usually just write about technology, and this is not specifically VB technology, but it is cool use of the media so I thought I would share.

Economics of Cloud computing presentation for the ACM

I presented a paper last month for the ACM and IEEE that will be published in the Cloud Computing Journal next month.  Thought I would post a few links here for those who are interested in cloud - I did cover Azure.  I'll do a blog post for Azure and VB when I manage to upload SHARP to the cloud, like I plan to.

The slides are on the IEEE site: http://www.ieeecolumbus.org/node/97

The presentation video is at my SpeakerSite: http://www.speakersite.com/profile/BillSempf

The article will be on my Ulitzer site: http://williamasempf.ulitzer.com/

I hope you find the information as interesting as I did!

My Visual Studio 2010 presentation for ICC

Just finished up a presentation on Visual Studio 2010 for ICC's MS Dev special interest group.  A good time was had by all.  I used the card deck that is in the Training Kit, and added a few salient slides.  We had a lot of conversation about Linq, WPF and the lifecycle integration.

My slide deck can be downloaded here, and I also wanted to post a few links that I mentioned in the talk.


I hope to get some comments back - feel free to email me, especially if they are bad.  (heh)  Thanks to all for attending!

Live blogging a XAML project with CodePlex - handling failure

I bet you all think that I mean failing at writing  the game, didn't ya?  Hmm?  Ha!  Not so fast my friend, I mean handling the last requirement in the project - failing the press the correct letter before the letterbox hits the bottom of the screen.

So what I want to do is check on timer click of the letter has hit the bottom, and if it has then fire off a new message (Oh no instead of Wow) and get a net letter at the top,  Should be good enough for a three year old, I figure.  As I get better in XAML I can make more features, right?

To start off I will modify the ShowWow so that it accepts a TextBlock and renders its transform no matter what it is.  I changed the name of the function to ShowMessage and used the VB refactoring feature to change all references.  Then I altered the signature to accept a textblock as a parameter, and used that object in the code instead of WowTextblock.  Finally, I changed the calling function so that it passes un WowTextblock.  Sounds like a lot, but it just took a second.  ShowMessage now looks like this:

Public Sub ShowMessage(ByVal blockToTransform As TextBlock)
    'Make an animation for the scale
    Dim blockAnimation As New DoubleAnimation(0, 100, New Duration(New TimeSpan(0, 0, 3)))
    'Make another for the opacity
    Dim blockOpacity As New DoubleAnimation(1.0, 0.0, New Duration(New TimeSpan(0, 0, 3)))
    'Go grab the ScaleTransformation from the XAML and se tthe properties
    Dim blockTransform As ScaleTransform = DirectCast(blockToTransform.RenderTransform, ScaleTransform)
    blockTransform.CenterX = 11
    blockTransform.CenterY = 7
    blockTransform.ScaleX = 1
    blockTransform.ScaleY = 1
    'Then run all of the animations
    blockTransform.BeginAnimation(ScaleTransform.ScaleXProperty, blockAnimation)
    blockTransform.BeginAnimation(ScaleTransform.ScaleYProperty, blockAnimation)
    blockToTransform.BeginAnimation(TextBlock.OpacityProperty, blockOpacity)
End Sub


Alright, now I need to add a XAML element that has the Oh No! text in it.  I think I'll make it red.  I just copied the Wow! textblock and edited it.

<TextBlock x:Name="ohNoTextblock" Opacity="0" Foreground="Red" HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center" Text="Oh no!" Visibility="visible">
    <TextBlock.RenderTransform>
        <ScaleTransform></ScaleTransform>
    </TextBlock.RenderTransform>
</TextBlock>


So now clockCheck looks like this:

Private Sub ClockCheck() Handles gameClock.Tick
    letterBoxTop = letterBoxTop + 10
    letterBox.Margin = New Thickness(letterBoxLeft, letterBoxTop, 0, 0)
    'Check to see if it is at the bottom
    Dim bottom As Double = gameBoard.Height
    If letterBoxTop + letterBox.Height > bottom Then
        'It has hit the bottom.  
        gameClock.Stop()
        scoreCount = scoreCount - 1
        'Fire the Oh No message
        ohNoTextblock.Opacity = 100
        ShowMessage(ohNoTextblock)
        'Restart the letter
        SetupLetterBox()
        gameClock.Start()
    End If
End Sub


And there we are!  Kid tested, mother approved too.  I'll post a video of Adam playing it this weekend, when I do my post about further enhancements.  Also, I will check in the changes to CodePlex right now before I forget.

To create a release in CodePlex, I just had to go to the releases tab and Add a New Release.  That gives me a really nice little mini-wiki for the release, and an upload facility for the binary.  I made a few notes and loaded it up!  CodePlex is a really nice, simple facility for opensource work - better than SourceForge for simple projects.  I like it a lot.

I hope this little series has been helpful to everyone - it sure has for me.  I think that XAML is likely the future of Microsoft UI programming, so it behooves us all to get our feet wet as soon as we can, to make the curve less steep when our projects make the move.  Please leave any thoughts in the comments.

Bill Sempf

Husband. Father. Pentester. Secure software composer. Brewer. Lockpicker. Ninja. Insurrectionist. Lumberjack. All words that have been used to describe me recently. I help people write more secure software.

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