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Tech Tips 53 posts

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Heartbleed bug: What you need to know

By Troy Hunt on April 10, 2014

Massive. Huge. Catastrophic. These are the words being used in headlines to describe the Heartbleed bug, and the articles they lead are basically declaring that internet security as we know it is dead. What is the Heartbleed bug and is it really that bad? Here’s everything that you need to know.

4 time management tips for remote workers

By Adam Bertram on April 7, 2014

So you’ve finally achieved the freedom that comes with working remotely. Congratulations! Whether the Man is letting out some slack on your leash and allowing you to work from home, or you’re out begging for contracts as an independent freelancer, working remotely has some unique challenges.

Best DIY electronics and programming kits for kids

By Pam Selle on April 3, 2014

If you’ve seen your kid take to your iPhone like a fish to water, maybe you’ve thought about how to get them interested in DIY, or introducing technology as something they can do not just something they use. Luckily, there are plenty of kits and tools out there making it a lot easier to get someone introduced to the wide world of electronics (or robotics, or gaming, or mobile development).

Are you ready for SQL Server 2014?

By Jeff James on March 27, 2014

Microsoft recently announced that SQL Server 2014 has been released to manufacturing, and that this latest upgrade to Microsoft’s popular relational database management system (RDBMS) will be widely available for download on April 1st, 2014. SQL Server 2014 has dozens of new features and improvements, but which are most noteworthy?

Is being busy the same as being productive?

By Craig Golightly on March 26, 2014

There are many ways to stay busy at work, but do they really add value? Does “busy” mean “important”? You can wear yourself thin with email, todo lists, organizing your desk, instant messages, phone calls, text messages and social media and still not really accomplish anything in a day. All of those things have their place but sometimes they are nothing more than productivity thieves.

How Office 365 can eliminate daily business frustrations

By Ron Schindler on March 21, 2014

In businesses small and large, there are areas of frustration that we find ways to ignore or patch but never actually get taken care of. Picking the right business partners, location or even employees will remain as challenging areas, but some of the others can be addressed through technology.

When support for XP ends, should you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8?

By Sean Wilkins on March 17, 2014

With support for Windows XP soon ending, those who have waited until now to upgrade (a whopping 30 percent of the market) will need to decide if they’ll risk running a potentially vulnerable operating system that no longer receives security updates, or if they’ll upgrade to one of the modern systems. But the question is which one? If you’re in this camp, should you be looking at the more current OS from Microsoft, Windows 8, or should you be thinking about a shorter jump from Windows XP and consider moving to Windows 7 instead?

5 reasons to use Xamarin for cross-platform development

By Jim Wilson on March 12, 2014

Xamarin is a product that brings .NET/C# to both Android and iOS. Xamarin is pretty amazing in that it’s fully .NET while being able to produce true Android and iOS apps at the same time, and apps that are compliant with the distribution requirements of both Google Play and the iOS App Store.

Top 5 hackathon survival tips

By Pam Selle on March 3, 2014

Hackathons are more popular than ever. Whether you’re thinking about going to your first hackathon, or you’re a veteran participant, here are a few important tips you can use to ensure you get the most out of your day or weekend.

Is Bing Code Search ready for everyday use?

By Paul Ballard on February 28, 2014

Microsoft recently released a new add-in for Visual Studio 2013 that allows you to run a Bing search that returns code snippets directly in the source code editor. The add-in claims to use contextual elements including the project type, semantic context via C# compiler services (Roslyn) and “a few other sprinkles of Microsoft Research magic” to search partner websites to return code snippets that are suitable for direct embedding into your code.

How Gherkin can help you build the right thing

By Jason Roberts on February 26, 2014

We’re using the best tools. We have great programmers. We’re doing test driven development. We have continuous integration servers. We have 100% code coverage. We’re doing pair programming. We are following the best software engineering practices. We are building our software correctly, it’s awesome. But… We’re building the wrong thing.

Not unit testing your databases? You should be

By Dave Green on February 18, 2014

Releasing a product without testing it is generally accepted as an unforgivable sin in the software development world. And frankly, there really isn’t an excuse not to test when we have whole suites of testing tools available to us – tools which allow us to examine our applications for speed and functionality, and perform unit tests.

Why you should develop Windows Phone apps

By Lars Klint on February 14, 2014

Whenever I’m on the train or walking down the street, I’ll look around and notice that most people with smartphones are still using either an iOS or Android device. But that’s about to change. The investment from Microsoft, and to an extent, Nokia, is starting to really show. Contrary to popular belief, the Windows Phone ecosystem is very much alive and growing.

Workflow in SharePoint 2013: More options, easier solutions

By Andrew Connell on February 5, 2014

In the latest release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft made some dramatic changes to the workflow engine, how it interacts with SharePoint and how customers can create custom workflows. Prior to SharePoint 2013, Microsoft implemented workflow by having SharePoint host the Workflow Foundation runtime. This meant that workflow scaled as SharePoint scaled and anything customers wanted to do with workflows, such as start new instances on a list item or interrogate the runtime for currently running workflows, or even to get telemetry data on previously run workflows, all had to be done through the SharePoint.

4 reasons to use Android Fragments

By Jim Wilson on January 30, 2014

Although Fragments have been part of the Android API for nearly three years, I find that developers still often struggle to understand their value and purpose. A common explanation of Fragments, and one I sometimes even use myself, is: Fragments group user interface components and their associated logic. That explanation is accurate. However, if someone is struggling with how to apply Fragments in a practical sense, that explanation is about as useful as teaching someone how to tell time by explaining the finer details of Swiss watch construction … sometimes you just want to know what time it is.

ASP.NET web API 2 OData enhancements

By Brian Noyes on January 28, 2014

Along with the release of Visual Studio 2013 came a new release of ASP.NET MVC (called MVC 5) and ASP.NET Web API (called Web API 2). Part of the enhancements to the Web API stack include some much needed features for OData that were missing in the initial release of the ASP.NET Web API OData that came out in June 2013. There were four new OData capabilities added in this release: $select, $expand, $value, and batch updates.

How to prepare for software audits

By Mary Branscombe on January 22, 2014

How many copies of Office or Photoshop or SQL Server has your company paid for? How many are you actually using? If the numbers don’t match up, you’ve either wasted money because you’ve paid for more licenses than you need, or you’ve caused an unexpected expense in having to catch up with all the installed copies you don’t have licenses for. And worse yet, if an auditor finds this out before you do, you could get slapped with a nasty fine.

Going open source at work: How to convince your boss

By Jack Wallen on January 21, 2014

Open source is more prominent than ever – especially in the enterprise level. It’s creeping onto desktops, serving up web sites, managing content, and even hosting the largest web site on the planet (Facebook). Many administrators want to bring open source into their workplaces, but are finding that those who sign the checks are often unwilling to make a move on software they have deemed unworthy and unproven. You know they are wrong, but you’ve yet to convince them so.

Standing desks: Hip or hype?

By Jack Wallen on January 6, 2014

Over the last year it’s been reported (by numerous sources) that excessive sitting has become the “new smoking.” In other words, it’s quite bad for you. Nearly every study (much of the initial work coming from the Mayo Clinic and James Levine’s intensive study of inactivity) linked excessive sitting to weight gain and obesity, and that’s a fairly logical conclusion to draw — if you sit around all day and night, you’re going to gain weight

5 tips for writing effective emails

By Jason Alba on December 16, 2013

Do you start your day by checking your email? Even though time management gurus caution us to only check email once or twice a day, for many of us regular email checking is so addicting (and we’re so afraid to miss something important) that we check for email every few minutes.