Thursday, May 30, 2013

Windows 8.1 (Blue) Start Button

Here's how the new Windows Blue Start Button may work | ZDNet

"Microsoft officials have said they plan to make a public preview of Windows Blue available on the first day of the Microsoft Build 2013 show, on June 26."

Monday, May 27, 2013

book: Decisive - Heath Brothers

podcast interview with authors: Chip and Dan Heath | Daniel H. Pink

Decisive - Heath Brothers

W.R.A.P. framework

Widen Your Options
  • Avoid a Narrow Frame: Make sure you consider other options besides what seems obvious. Instead of whether/not and either/or, try and.
  • Multi-track: Try out several good ideas at the same time. Have a Plan B running at the same time as Plan A, that way you aren’t screwed if/when Plan A fails.
  • Find Someone Who’s Solved Your Problem: What it says on the tin.
Reality-Test Your Assumptions
  • Consider the Opposite: Get a devil’s advocate to knock some sense into you. You’re probably ignoring important details.
  • Zoom Out, Zoom In: 1) You are not a special snowflake, so stop asking experts what they think will happen for you. Ask what usuallyhappens for people like you. 2) Ask people for the gory details they won’t tell you in the job description/want ads/brochures/Google.
  • Ooch: Try it out. Run a mini-experiment.
Attain Emotional Distance
  • Overcome Short Term Emotion: Let’s say you did it. How do you feel ten months from now? Ten years? What would you tell your best friend to do?
  • Honor Your Core Priorities: Which decision matches your core values? (If you don’t know what those are, you should probably find out.)
Prepare to Be Wrong
  • Bookend the Future: Figure out what you need to make back-up plans for, and make back-plans for them. Give yourself some breathing room in case things go horribly wrong (or unexpectedly well).
  • Set a Tripwire: Once you’ve made your decision, how will you know when it’s time to turn back and try again?
  • Trust in the Process: If you’re making decisions with other people, make sure everybody feels good heard moving forward.
@ Google Books

reveal.js - The HTML Presentation Framework

reveal.js - The HTML Presentation Framework:
"reveal.js is a framework for easily creating beautiful presentations using HTML. You'll need a browser with support for CSS 3D transforms to see it in its full glory."

Observed on edge.js intro page...

After 20 years, web technology is becoming great.
As it should be :)

More interesting things:


Another simple intro

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Apple's tax numbers

Apple's tax testimony ahead of Senate hearing: By the numbers | ZDNet:

Around $6 billion paid in taxes to the U.S. Treasury in the 2012 fiscal year — around $16 million per day — which according to Apple accounts for $1 in every $40 in corporate tax the U.S. collected in 2012

Out of its estimated $145 billion overseas cash pile, Apple would see a 35 percent reduction after paying tax on its repatriation

Apple paid or collected and remitted more than $1.3 billion of U.S. state sales and use taxes

More than $9 billion paid out to third-party developers in connection with app sales

On the other side, if Apple was treated as a person,
it would need to pay the tax for all the money abroad also.

Corporations as using some legal rights as people when convenient,
and when it comes to tax they are treated differently.

Or maybe on this level of income person would form a corporation,
so he or she can get benefit from such status.
So it is recursive: a lot of money means even more money. :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Samsung $800,000 app contest for Galaxy S4

Samsung launches $800,000 app contest for Galaxy S4 | TechHive

"Smart App Challenge 2013" must make use of the Samsung Chord SDK (software development kit). Chord is a software interface for creating wireless connections directly between Samsung smartphones, without the use of an online server or mobile phone network.

Xbox One

Exclusive First Look at Xbox One | Gadget Lab |

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Web Flowchart Software: Lucidchart

podcast: @ hanselminutes

A "pure web" based drawing app, similar to Vision.

Free Flowchart Software & Flowchart Examples | Lucidchart

This tool and the demo is PHENOMENAL!

The same app also works as "plugin" to Office 13 (and Office 365),
as well as Google Apps (Docs), and can keep data on Google Drive.

Even more, it allows for online collaboration.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Microsoft Business Intelligence - Excel Data Explorer, GeoFlow

Microsoft "Big Data" solution on server side starts with Azure HD Insight,
and on client it is based on Excel 2013 and plug-in tools

Office 2013 | Microsoft BI

""Data Explorer" provides an intuitive and consistent experience for discovering, combining, and refining data across a wide variety of sources including relational, structured and semi-structured, OData, Web, Hadoop, Azure Marketplace, and more. Data Explorer also provides you with the ability to search for public data from sources such as Wikipedia."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gesture user interface !

podcast conversation with Tim Huckaby @ .NET Rocks!:

New Xbox is coming tomorrow, and it will likely have Kinect embedded and improved.
That will likely enabled "gesture" interface with TV.

There are also alternatives to Kinect

  • LEAP motion
    $79, coming July 22.
  • SoftKinetic
  • Panansonic D-IMager $3000

    This technology is phenomenal.
    Like "touch" has changed the way mobile device are used, "gesture" is the next wave.

    New Samsung Galaxy S4 also has some kind of "contact-less touch".

  • Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Dell's Android thumb PC, $100

    Dell's Android thumb PC to ship in July - AfterDawn

    Plugging into a display's HDMI port, the PC can run applications and access files that have been stored remotely. Additionally, it will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support
    will turn any display into a PC, a basic gaming console or a set-top box
    The device will have access to the Google Play Store, giving users access to 800,000 apps and movies, TV and music. Because Android has Netflix and Hulu Plus apps, users can stream films and TV, as well.



    is a professional tag based icon search engine with more than 330,000 icons for web developers, end users and graphic artists

    HP "Android tablet + notebook (laptop)"

    HP SlateBook x2 Overview - Android Tablet Notebook | HP® Official Site

    "100% tablet, 100% notebook, 100% Android"
    Starting at $479.99
    10.1" Android Detachable
    1080p HD display
    2 Batteries
    "Available August 2013"

    This is $200 less that Microsoft Surface,
    has a battery in the keyboard, and full HD screen.

    Android has become a hedge against Microsoft and Windows

    HP Split x2

    13.3" Windows 8 Detachable
    "Available August 2013"


    Saturday, May 18, 2013

    Windows Store Apps Security?

    On a The Tablet Show podcast somebody mentioned that Windows Store apps on Windows 8 / RT are not completely protected, and it is possible to access and hack app's files. That is not surprising since after all they are just files (if they are just files, and apparently they are), and the user is (can be) admin.

    A quick search finds the details...
    How to Access Metro Style Apps Installation Folder in Windows 8
    \Program Files\WindowsApps

    Why is this a problem?
    Because it is easy to turn a trail to a full app, or to remove adds, or to hack apps.
    NEVER save any server access code or password to an app, in particular not well encrypted.
    This similar to "rooting" a mobile phone or a tablet.

    Let's hope that Microsoft will do a better job protecting the apps on Windows 8.1. Keeping "mobile" OS separate from "desktop" would be better. If Microsoft has created WinRT as a virtual machine on "Windows 8 Desktop", upgrade from Windows 7 would be trivial decision (no big changes), and all "goodness" of WinRT Apps would still be there on every desktop... Anyway...

    There is a reason why iOS is separate from OS X...

    One ASP.NET

    ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 : The Official Microsoft ASP.NET Site

    Leverage Multiple Code Frameworks with One ASP.NET

    Windows Store App making $30,000 a Month

    There are iOS apps that are making $ millions.
    Likely there are some such Androids apps, too.
    Windows (8/RT) Store apps are still catching up,
    but there are some some success stories like this:

    “Windows 8 Brings Me $30,000 a Month,” Says Happy Developer

    Since this app was making money on adds, and there are rumors of add rates going down, it is not clear how long this would last...

    WebP: A new image format for the Web

    WebP — Google Developers

    "WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller in size compared to JPEG images at equivalent SSIM index. WebP supports lossless transparency (also known as alpha channel) with just 22% additional bytes. Transparency is also supported with lossy compression and typically provides 3x smaller file sizes compared to PNG when lossy compression is acceptable for the red/green/blue color channels."

    WebP (pronounced "weppy") is developed and used by Google on a large scale. So it must be good :)

    SSD without enclosure

    SSD is not a "disk", it is a memory, but for compatibility it was so far "packaged" into standard 2.5" HD enclosures with SATA connector. Now, there is SSD that is much smaller (1/8 of the size), with mSATA connector.

    The primary purpose is for untrathin laptops (ultrabooks), and mini-PCs

    price: $60 / 32 GB, $80 / 64 GB, $120 / 128 GB, $200 / 256 GB. Crucial m4 128GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT128M4SSD3: Computers & Accessories

    @ Newegg

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Advice by LinkedIn's Founder

    A nice presentation, indirectly promoting LinkedIn services

    Amazing Career Advice For College Grads From LinkedIn's Billionaire Founder - Business Insider

    • Build your NETWORK


    podcast & book: E.O. Wilson On ‘Letters To A Young Scientist’ | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

    This famous scientist and naturalist has quoted Confucius:
    "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
    and explained how current education system is wrong
    by insisting on learning many details
    before doing what one cares about the most.
    He would like this changed, to focus on passion first
    and training to supports that, not the other way around.

    Google I/O 2013: For the developers

    Google I/O 2013: For the developers - Google Developers Blog

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Focus, Motivation: promotion (greed) vs prevention (fear)

    book: Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence: Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D., E. Tory Higgins Ph.D.: 9781594631023: Books

    "We all want to experience pleasure and avoid pain.
    But there are really two kinds of pleasure and pain that motivate everything we do.
    If you are promotion-focused, you want to advance and avoid missed opportunities.
    If you are prevention-focused, you want to minimize losses and keep things working.

    And as Tory Higgins has found in his groundbreaking research,
    if you understand how people focus, you have the power to motivate yourself and everyone around you."

    podcast: The Secret to Effective Motivation @ Harvard Business Review

    In "Promotion" focus, pleasure comes from doing making changes, and no changes is a pain.

    In "Prevention" focus, pleasure comes from stable, no changes, and a change is a pain.

    Knowing this, the point of view can be adjusted to emphasize what is important in given situation.
    For example, "if we do not change products, will lose market share".
    So change then becomes acceptable in "prevention focus", to keep stable market.


    Plastic SCM - distributed version control system (DVCS)

    Plastic SCM - distributed version control system (DVCS)

    Free for up to 15 users, written in C#, supports Windows, Linux, Mac

  • Visual Merge
  • "Semantic Merge"
  • Integration with Visual Studio, Eclipse, Git, TFS
  • Image preview & diff

    podcast @ .NET Rocks
  • LibUsbDotNet C# USB Library

    LibUsbDotNet C# USB Library | Free software downloads at

    .NET C# USB library for WinUSB, LibUsb-Win32, and libusb-1.0. Using the common device classes, applications work with all operating systems and drivers without modification. Lots of example code.

    GPLv2 & LGPLv2 licenses

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    ILSpy, JustDecompile (substitutes for Reflector)

    .NET Decompiler

    ILSpy is the open-source .NET assembly browser and decompiler.

    Development started after Red Gate announced that the free version of .NET Reflector would cease to exist by end of February 2011.

    ILSpy requires the .NET Framework 4.0.

    (by Telerik)
    Unrivaled decompiling power.
    Proven 10 times faster.
    Free, for everyone, forever.

    Monday, May 13, 2013


    "Two.js is a two-dimensional drawing api geared towards modern web browsers. It is renderer agnostic enabling the same api to draw in multiple contexts: svg, canvas, and webgl."

    Pebble Watch: Smart Watches Reviewed

    Smart Watches are finally going to happen - Pebble Watch Reviewed - Scott Hanselman

    Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive

    Google, Microsoft Make Improvements to Drive, SkyDrive

    15 GB now shared between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos (free)
    100 GB: $4.99 / Month

    New features unlimited web hosting: $3.99/month
    Obviously, this is not the same, no redundancy, tools, etc.
    But better price for large storage.

    Book "Decisive" by Chip and Dan Heath

    Video Review for Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath-'Chapter 1' - YouTube


    ...bad decisions are all too common in business and personal decision making. 40% of senior level hires by companies don’t work out within 18 months, 83% of mergers don’t create value for shareholders, and personally we all make bad investment and relationship choices all the time.

    While incomplete information is sometimes to blame, the process used for making the decision is about six times more important. To put it bluntly, our processes for deciding are usually wrong, and they cite four main villains:
    • narrow framing,
    • confirmation bias,
    • short-term decision making, and
    • overconfidence.
    Our brains are simply not optimally wired for making complex decisions. We can’t eliminate our biases, but we can plan for them and try to counteract them. To counteract these villains, there are four steps we should apply that encompass a number of specific tactics to improve our outcomes. The steps are described in the acronym WRAP:
    • Widen your options
    • Reality-test your assumptions
    • Attain distance before deciding
    • Prepare to Be Wrong

    Saturday, May 11, 2013

    Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S

    Tesla Model S outscores every other car in Consumer Reports ratings | VentureBeat

    “This car performs better than anything we’ve ever tested before,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of testing says. “Not just the best electric car, but the best car. It does just about everything really, really well.”, Generic Hypermedia APIs

    Finally, some attempts to "properly" define (Service) APIs based on "vocabulary"
    of known, shared, concepts.

    SOAP web service have significantly delayed optimization of web services,
    and now with REST / "Hypemedia" there are attempts to make service more evolve-able and generic.

    Full Hierarchy -

    presentation: Generic Hypermedia and Domain-Specific APIs: RESTing in the ALPS @ InfoQ

    Microsoft vs.Google Docs / Drive

    Microsoft: Google Docs Is Not Worth The Gamble, Makes You Less Productive | TechCrunch

    In reality, format of MS Office documents is just too complex.
    Plain HTML is much better, with styles separated from content.
    Getting text and data from Office is difficult.

    Is format of Google Docs / Drive better and more "open?"
    In fact it is, at least in simple cases.
    All formatting is defined as CSS classes, at the start of the document.
    So it is a better separation, and cleaner HTML format.

    Yahoo! Mail + Dropbox

    Yahoo! Mail Partners With Dropbox To Add File Attachments, Can Help Bring New Audience To The File Hosting Service | TechCrunch

    US Housing Market Rebounds?

    podcasts: Should A Home Be An Investment As The Housing Market Rebounds? | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

    Karl Case — professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley College — and Professor Mayer also spoke to a 34-year-old caller’s concern that home-ownership as an investment goes against the central tenants that guide retirement investing: “diversity” and “reduce fees:”

    As usual, this is a "Big Data" question.

    And as usual, this is also "social / social" question, since people are not quite rational...

    How Global Tourism Changes The World

    podcast: How Global Tourism Changes The World | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

    "In 1960, we humans, from all over, took 25 million trips abroad. 
    Last year?  2012?  We took, collectively, one billion foreign trips. "

    Tourism "industry" is 11% of economy, with many positive and also many negative "side effects"

    Paris alone is making more on tourism than whole of USA.
    And that is deliberate, planned, and managed.

    New Book Will Open Your Eyes About Travel @ National Geographic Traveler

    book: @ Amazon

    Professional Productivity (Part 2.3) - Scott Hanselman

    Professional Productivity (Part 2.3) - Scott Hanselman - YouTube:

    NoSQL Databases comparison

    Two names that are easy to be confused:  Riak Versus Redis

    Redis is primarily something you’re going to use to move data in and out at crazy fast speeds. (C/C++)

    Riak isn’t always the fastest database, but it’ll withstand serious hits and still maintain integrity of data. (Erlang / C)

    Another nice list and comparison of most of popular NoSQL databases:

    Cassandra vs MongoDB vs CouchDB vs Redis vs Riak vs HBase vs Couchbase vs Hypertable vs ElasticSearch vs Accumulo vs VoltDB vs Scalaris comparison :: Software architect Kristof Kovacs:

    (He also has a list of things before he dies :)

    Thursday, May 09, 2013

    Microsoft's Android profit: $3.4B

    Microsoft's most profitable mobile operating system: Android | ZDNet

    "Microsoft has had trouble getting people to use its Windows Phone operating systems, however, it might make as much as $3.4 billion on Android phones.
    Where do these profits come from? Patent licenses.
    Today, only Motorola Mobility, a division of Google and Huawei, remains free of the Microsoft-Android intellectual-property (IP) tax.

    Metaprogramming in .NET

    book: Manning: Metaprogramming in .NET

    T4 (Text Template Transformation Toolkit) Code Generation - Best Kept Visual Studio Secret @ Hanselman

    T4: Almost Complete

    Is metaprogramming possible in C#? @ StackOverflow

    podcast: Mårten Rånge Takes Advantage of Templates @ DotNetRocks

    Wednesday, May 08, 2013

    Sorting Algorithm Animations

    A very nice and educational site to demonstrate sorting.
    It is using animated gifs, no JavaScript :)

    Sorting Algorithm Animations

    Why is sorting interesting now?

    Big Data. Even "medium size" data. Performance, and memory usage.

    @ StackOverflow

    Facebook Mobile "Native vs. Web"

    The second coming of Facebook - Apr. 11, 2013:

    "Back in 2010 Mark Zuckerberg made a very bad decision. Instead of building separate apps for iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, Nokia devices, and, yes, even Microsoft phones, he put his engineers to work designing a version of Facebook that could operate on any smartphone. In effect, he was betting that as different operating systems jostled for control of mobile devices, standalone apps would go away and soon we would surf websites on our phones, just as we do on PCs.

    Zuckerberg was wrong. Google's Android and Apple's iOS quickly became the dominant mobile operating systems, and Facebook's applications, which were built with its CEO's web-centric worldview in mind, didn't work well on either platform. They were buggy and slow, crashing often. A 2011 update garnered 19,000 one-star reviews in the Apple App Store within the first month. "It's probably one of the biggest mistakes we've ever made," Zuckerberg tells..."

    Some web experts disagree with this assessment.
    Web technology based mobile apps could be indistinguishable from "native",
    but they do require more knowledge and care when dealing with lot of content.

    It is a little bit strange that Facebook could afford not to try and compare
    many or all options before doing "serious commitments"...

    Is Pinterest the next Facebook?

    Is Pinterest the next Facebook? - Fortune Tech

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013

    The Most Important Interview Question of All Time

    LinkedIn is becoming a content/news publisher from a "social network".
    I guess after a while links to other people alone are not sufficient enough
    to keep people coming back (and view adds that make money :)

    The Most Important Interview Question of All Time - Part 1 | LinkedIn:

    "What single project or task would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far?"

    Answer ... detailed enough to take 15-20 minutes to complete
    The details underlying the accomplishment are what's most important. This is what real interviewing is about – getting into the details and comparing what the candidate has accomplished in comparison to what needs to be accomplished

    Monday, May 06, 2013

    Only Four Types of Jobs?

    There Are Only Four Jobs in the Whole World – Are You in the Right One? | LinkedIn

    "Everything starts with an idea. This is the first of the four jobs – the Thinkers.
    Builders convert these ideas into reality. This the second job.
    Improvers make this reality better. This is the third job.
    Producers do the work over and over again, delivering quality goods and services to the company’s customers in a repeatable manner. This is the fourth job. 

    ... And then the process begins again with new ideas and new ways of doing business being developed as the old ones become stale.
    Recognize that every person is comprised of a mix of each work type, with one or two dominant. Likewise for every job..."

    Part 2, clarifications

    "people grow by first becoming technically proficient at something – the Producer role – then evolve into one or more of the other work types. This is an inside-out progression. 

    Companies on the other hand, grow outside-in, starting with an idea, building it, improving it, and then producing it in a repeatable manner"

    While this categorization may be true in most cases, the best results for "creative workers" come when skills are combined, I think.

    Sunday, May 05, 2013

    Windows Azure SDK 2.0

    Announcing the release of Windows Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET - ScottGu's Blog: "new capabilities include:

    • Web Sites: Visual Studio Tooling updates for Publishing, Management, and for Diagnostics
    • Cloud Services: Support for new high memory VM sizes, Faster Cloud Service publishing & Visual Studio Tooling for configuring and viewing diagnostics data
    • Storage: Storage Client 2.0 is now included in new projects & Visual Studio Server Explorer now supports working with Storage Tables
    • Service Bus: Updated client library with message pump programming model support, support for browsing messages, and auto-deleting idle messaging entities
    • PowerShell Automation: Updated support for PowerShell 3.0, and lots of new PowerShell commands for automating Web Sites, Cloud Services, VMs and more."

    Azure SDK Downloads

    7", 3x4, $169 Android Tablet: Acer Iconia A1

    Acer Iconia A1 - Tablets - CNET Reviews

    This is 1/2 of iPad mini price, and has almost the same features.
    3x4 screen is better for reading documents, such as PDF files.
    This is getting close to real "peoples" tablet.
    In fact the only "problem" is Android GUI,
    that is too crowded, less intuitive than iOS.

    Apache Mahout - Machine Learning

    What is a Mahaut?

    A mahout is a person who rides an elephant.

    This is also a "machine learning" tool that works with Hadoop,

    a tool that got a name from a toy elephant

    podcast interview Episode 193: Apache Mahout | Software Engineering Radio:
    "Grant Ingersoll, founder of the Mahout project, talks with Robert about machine learning."

    Saturday, May 04, 2013

    Elon Musk (Tesla Motors, SpaceX) stories

    Interview with Elon Musk

    Next big things:

  • Electric airplanes
  • 5th mode of transportation ("hyperloop" 1/2 hour from LA to SF)

    Announcement: Tesla Unveils Revolutionary New Finance Product - YouTube:

    Blumberg interview:
    Elon Musk: "How I'm Guaranteeing Tesla Model S Car (resale value higher than Mercedes S class)

    Tesla Motors Inc(NASDAQ:TSLA)

  • Free Video: SPA Primer, by John Papa

    Free Video: SPA Primer with Durandal, Knockout and Breeze | John Papa

    John has a very good and popular SPA class on Pluralsight,
    and now there is also a bit shorter "free version".

    By the way, he also just released a The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations

    class @ Pluralsight.

    Alexa Top 500 Global Sites

    Alexa Top 500 Global Sites

    1. Facebook
    2. Google
    3. YouTube
    4. Yahoo!
    6. Wikipedia
    8. Windows Live

    free download: Top 1 million web sites list , updated daily