What the heck is Xamarin?

Xamarin on the Rise

By mid-2014 Xamarin is starting to pick up some traction in the market. There are more Xamarin jobs (paying very well) then there are programmers to do the work. So I get a lot of questions from recruiters and students about “What the Heck is Xamarin”?

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So What the Heck Is Xamarin?

If you are a Microsoft shop C# is likely your language of choice. And Visual Studio your choice of IDE. Xamarin is two things:

  • a Visual Studio add-on so you can program Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps* in C#.
  • a IDE for the Macintosh and Linux so you can Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps in C#. (Visual Studio does not run on Mac or Linux)
  • an alternative to learning Objective-C and XCode on Mac or Eclipse and Java on Mac or Linux or Windows to program Android apps.

* even if you only use Visual Studio on Windows to build iOS Apps, you will need a Mac that will be used to compile your iOS code.

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So Why Choose Xamarin?

There are several compelling reasons

  • You are a Microsoft shop and a C# Zealot you have to build Android and/or Mac and/or iOS apps.
  • Learning Eclipse, Objective-C, Swift, XCode scares you to death. A Mac or Linux machine is not your cup of tea.
  • You did not like the price tag of my favorite tool  Rad Studio from Embarcadero Technologies  to do this although it’s C++ orientation (Delphi is available too, a language invented by the C# creator Anders Hejlsberg).
  • Because Microsoft told you too! (don’t laugh that has worked for them for decades with developers).

So these are all legit reasons, and they are why Xamarin’s star is rising.

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So Why Not Xamarin?

There are good reasons to not use Xamarin as well.

Rad Studio from Embarcadero Technologies may be more expensive (almost 5 x the cost fully loaded) but ITS MORE EXPENSIVE FOR A REASON.

  • XCode and SWIFT rock for iOS programming.
    • If you are a C# programmer get out of your comfort zone and try an Angel you don’t know, and don’t waste too much time griping its not the devil you know.
    • Even Objective C is nice compared to C++. So while it is a bit dated it is a nice superset of C and C++.
    • More frameworks and 3rd party libraries and open source libraries available than with Xamarin.
  • Eclipse and Java is multi-platform (and while it is worse than VStudio with the right add-ins it can be quite nice) and learning new stuff is always fun unless you are stubborn.
    • Its not THAT hard its just difference. Hard is macro-assembler or VI. Eclipse is easy.
    • More frameworks and 3rd party libraries and open source libraries available than with Xamarin.
  • You have Simpler Cloud and iOS and Android needs that can be met with
    • PhoneGap
    • Icenium

The above frameworks and code-generation tools do a LOT of the work for you and are built on HTML 5 and JavaScript instead of low-level code with all that implies good and bad.

 

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How do I learn it? What does it cost?

Well the good news is there are not many books, so you won’t go broke buying every Xamarin book. The bad news is since there are not many books you better be great at Googling and teaching yourself. As for the cost at the time of this writing the Xamarin IDE for Linux or Mac costs about $83/month (about $1,000 a year).

  • Renowned author Charles Petzold wrote a book that you can get a free preview edition of here @
    Petzold-Book-232x300
  • The Xamarin cookbook by Dimitris Tavlikos focusing on iOS is good @
    ios-Cookbook

If you have any favorite Xamarin books or learning resources, please share it in a comment so we can add it here.

My Xamarin predictions

crystal-ball-future-quote

Xamarin is young and with 30+ years in the computer field and business/marketing prediction field I can safely give you a roadmap of Xamarin’s future:

  • Microsoft will buy it or clone/steal it.
  • If MS clones it, it will take the form of a Mac and Linux VStudio first with a FREE Xamarin add-in before they ditch it for a “built in house” replacement.
  • The cross platform Framework may catch up to Rad Studio from Embarcadero Technologies in a few years.
  • Basically the need for a MAC will go away because they will invent a Virtual Cloud Mac that transparently compiles it for you via WebService.

These predictions were made on November 2014 and will be updated as they occur, or something happens that proves they will never occur.

Embarcadero Rad Studio: What the Heck Is It?

 

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What the Heck is Rad Studio?

Embarcadero Rad Studio which is a IDE and several Framework that allows you to write one set of code that compiles and runs on

  • Windows Desktop app
  • Mac Desktop app
  • iPhone app
  • iPad app
  • Android phones and Tablet
  • Blackberry
  • Windows Store 8
  • Cloud website

One Code Base for many Platforms and Devices

Yes really one code base for all those platform, yet generating native code on each. It also

  • handles WebServices and Json and connecting server databases to Tablets and Phones better than any MS tool I know
  • Integrates with Interbase an obscure but very powerful light database (very old and respected has been around over 30 years) that competes with mySQL, SQL server Compact, SQLlite in the embedded front.
  • Offers a C++ or Delphi edition (Delphi was invented by Anders Hejlsberg inventor of Turbo Pascal, Turbo Modula and C#)
    Anders_Hejlsberg
    Anders Hejlsberg

I went to a 6 hour demo one Saturday in mid November 2013 and it was amazing to watch. It truly offers a really lightweight set of tools and Frameworks to build core code that runs on many platforms, then write any platform specific code or APIs as needed when the Framework does not offer something.

keep-calm-and-choose-wisely-33 so-why-choose-us

Why Use Rad Studio?

  • You want quick results and you need to support more devices and platforms than Xamarin or other cross platform Frameworks support.
  • Efficiency of code size, database size, compiled code size matters, i.e. you are very old school and want your redistributables as small as possible in Disk and RAM consumption.

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Why Not Use Rad Studio?

  • You are a language bigot so you think C# or Java is the ONLY language you will code in so C++ 11 or Delphi are something you just are not comfortable doing. There are cross platform frameworks for Java and C# so you are welcome to go that way. I plan a round up of them soon in a future blog entry.
  • Some people despite the power and elegance of Interbase may feel SQL Lite or other Databases are a better choice. In that case use them, heck use SQL Server or Oracle it has superb support for client devices talking to server databases via Web Services in a very easy way. Even can generate the Web Services if you are too lazy or just don’t have time to write them.
  • You think $5,000 is too much for a multi-device programming tool and would rather use open source frameworks or “roll your own”. Well if so go for it, but remember your programming time translates to a chunk of your life and high billing rates for client, so as the Japanese say “sometimes the FREE thing is the most expensive” or “some times the short cut is the long way”.

Happy Coding on all your Platforms – Charles Carroll

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DRAFT Racism, Cops, Privilege

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Privilege – White Privilege – Its a “Thing”

This is a complex subject to tackle. This article works hard to do so at risk of great controversy, and risk of turning off my readers on the other side of this complex issue to ever reading anything I write. Of course the death of so many young black Americans at hand of citizens (Zimmerman) without prosecution,  and at the hands of so many cops who also evade prosecution (Garner “I can’t breathe” in New York) has put this all in mind first and foremost.

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Did you or kids or Grand kids ever break the law?

If you are a human with compassion think about the white kids that shoplift, are drunken disorderly occasionally and even do drugs. You may have, your kids or grand kids may have. But it did not result in death at the hands of the cops, and hand wringing that “they were criminals and deserved it”. These are the same cops that apprehended, not killed more dangerous people.

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If you think you are safe because your kids or you follow the law the scary site
http://www.copblock.org/
will open your eyes those same cops escape prosecution when they shoot sleeping children (not kidding here), the elderly, mentally challenged people, and raid the wrong house and kill or maim non criminals in raids to the wrong address. Cop privilege (the ability to kill and maim without prosecution by incompetent cops who did not assess risk and f’ed up) is REAL and we should not be silent about it.

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My conclusions after much research

When I was in my teens and 20’s I believed:

  • Reverse racism existed is what I believed in my teens and 20s. I now recant my opinion on that. Reverse racism is the belief that any minority that is given an opportunity takes it away from a white person who deserved it instead.

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  • White privilege was not a thing  is what I believed in my teens and 20s. I now have seen it all first hand and I was wrong to believe that.

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  • The effects of slavery and oppression was in the past and cannot affect the present is what I believed in my teens and 20s. The fact is as white people our relatives had advantages that ripple down into present is what I learned.
  • The effects of prejudice do not ripple into nor affect the present is what I believed in my teens and 20s. I have seen and read enough by experts to know better now. Do you think the fact that we gave away land to all White male settlers and no women or blacks or freed slaves did not start a pattern of wealth distribution and inheritance that affected their ancestors?

America-Immigration-Bigotry-Family

Now I believe all the evidence I have read leads me to this conclusion

  • White privilege exists.
    • Cop privilege is even scarier than that. It thrives in people not believing how bad it is if it did not happen to them or someone they know, and in believing a cops job is so dangerous they are allowed to make mistakes and kill. If a cop makes the kind of mistakes that kill innocent Americans or Americans committing minor crimes because they do not know how to use a taser, call for backup, etc. police work is not for them.
    • White male privilege is powerful as well.  (If you are white and male and think it does not read http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person with an open mind).
    • Rich <any non-white> privilege is next in the power hierarchy.
    • Rich white male privilege trumps all. Think Dick Cheney, Donald Trump, etc.
  • The media portrays black people, poor people, rape victims differently than more privileged people.
  • Slavery, Prejudice and oppression was recent that some people still practice it without realizing it.
  • Slavery, Prejudice and oppression was not experienced by many white people’s ancestors who got one time bonuses that were never then available to minority’s ancestors.

I f you want to know why I changed my opinion, keep reading. If your mind is closed, do not bother.

A basic primer by Illustration

Here are some cartoons I gathered that cover this topic quickly.

First of all the media uses different language to describe black and white people. It is quite upsetting.

58b022235   lootingfinding

If you are white your relatives benefited greatly from things that helped your family get way ahead:

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People get very worked up by images that may not reflect reality:

a-real-example-of-racism-img-from-google-images

Reverse racism is often a scapegoat but the facts do not support it:

cartoon-colorblind-scholarships

A misguided belief that a few victories means all Racism is over.

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The reality is that ignorant people still use racist terms to demean a black president and his wife. People who showed no such major disrespect to white presidents they disliked.

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Poor black people are still treated very badly in a way that middle class, upper middle class and white people cannot imagine by cops and courts/judges.

Racism-Stole-Jacket   fa16b4ad22707b2fcd8f53de679c0d17

The bogus idea that white people are so law abiding that is why they never get stopped, frisked, shot, choked, jailed, etc.

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“Race cards” people play that are nonsense.

Conservative-Race-Card

I hope this artwork gets your brain in the right mindset to process some new viewpoints.

Code Words and Bogus Arguments that sneak in

Since we cannot say certain words we invent words that change the tenor of the discussion and bias it.

  • We call black people “thugs”, “criminals”, “felons”, “drug addicts”, “alcoholics” when white people (even serial killers and richer white people) get characterized as “had minor brushes with the law”, “problems with the police”, “convicted of ___ crime” and had “substance abuse problems” and “drinking issues”.
  • We use those code words with poor people, female rape victims and it helps establish the idea that whomever was on the other side of the dispute is the better more just person. “Gold digger”, “Fame Seeker”,
  • Bogus arguments like “black on black crime” is the real problem. It is as bogus as “Indian nations were always warring with each other”.  The British Empire was not dispensing hugs and chocolates to conquer most of the world. Genghis Khan was hardly a benevolent kind leader.

racism-white-on-white-crime

  • Black people that riot are ALL looters and criminals. This despite the fact that there have been absolutely silly riots that degenerated to some theft and property damage with no provocative deaths or escapes from justice.

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More Reading Online

I recommend the following articles that changed my mind once I opened my mind to them.

My First Hand Experiences with Racism

I am 50 and reached my conclusions based on my life experience, and also read quite a bit. 28 book shelves of books (although now I read all new books on a Kindle Paper White). In the neighborhoods I grew up (middle class suburbs in Maryland) they were mostly white, with a very few black families in the county, most middle class or upper middle class. People in the surrounding area receiving government assistance are all white – a lot of them could work but do not.

 

  • I saw racism in how my late GF’s (she died at 35 in her sleep) Jamaican family was treated. My GF’s father was a upper middle class accountant in his early 50’s whose wife also worked 12+ hour days and pursued advanced degrees that were living in an upper middle class neighborhood. He was a super nice Jehovah’s witness who immigrated here legally and they worked very hard to put his children into best schools. When his car broke down a few miles from his home in the nice neighborhood he lived and he and his young daughter (this happened when my GF was in her teens, I knew her in early 30s) knocked on a white neighbor’s door for help in his suit and tie. He was greeted with a shotgun when the door opened. His daughter never forgot that. A white guy in shirt and tie with teenage daughter would not be greeted like that.
  • I have seen racism first hand in North Carolina (a place where I visit my relatives several times a year). No black families live in the small town in NC I visited because this century. Those that moved in briefly had crosses burned on their lawns. I heard those stories being told with pride at the local filling station 🙁
  • We have a lot of racists in my neighborhood who say some really horrible things about the black kids that walk to school through our neighborhood. Older white people many on disability for over a decade or 2 yet have very active hobbies like 12 hour days Deer Hunting yet can’t work, and even younger white people are on welfare.The older white people who can work do so “off the books” to continue collecting entitlements.
  • I hire people off Craigslist to help me with a project clearing the woods on the lot next to my house and cleaning out an old basement. Only twice was I stolen from – both were white guys one stole $1,500+ of my tools. The White guys who came to work for me tended to arrive late, leave early and interrupt work to talk on their cell phone and had ‘entitled’ attitudes so were hard to supervise. The black guys I hired showed up on time and early, worked harder, required less supervision, and worked longer hours and were more reliable. When I changed my subsequent ads to say “because a person I hired stole from me everyone who works for me on Craigslist must show ID first – Drivers License and SSN before starting work” I got an email from a Craigslist user saying “That is why I shouldn’t hire niggers”. 

These are a small sampling from my life. I will add more.

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Please Comment

Please leave any comments about these topics that will help improve this article and answer your questions on this complex topic.

LMT: Collective Hysterics

Collective Hysterics or folie à deux

Collective Hysterics or folie à deux is a term for many things.

At its heart is the idea that people that act uncharacteristically, regressive, crazier about or around a character a person/place/thing. Its a form of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as well.

For example

  • a person i.e. “My Dad drives me crazy”, “Whenever I talk to my ex I just get mad and want to yell at them”, “whenever I see that ex-friend the hurt and betrayal is all I feel and I freak out”
  • a place i.e. “whenever I go to the school where that person molested me I get chills down my spine”
  • a thing i.e. “whenever I see that shirt I get flooded with unpleasant memories and freak out”

Usually closure and/or time will reduce that effect.

More Examples

Here are some examples

  • People going home for family visits or on holidays
  • People who just broke up and have not fully processed the pain or gotten closure.
  • People dealing or discussing someone who is a crazy maker for them
  • Toxic couples i.e. people who are more or less normal separately but when together become very
  • People who date rape or molest or rape because their sex drive overcomes their sanity

Other great articles on this…

What usually accompanies it?

Collective Hysterics usually never travels alone.

  • mild but temporarily strong Alexithymia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexithymia) the inability to recognize ones own emotions or emotional state. This is very time limited not a high value or chronic version (link to be added here). Since this creates cognitive dissonance and shame the person will be very uncomfortable accordingly.
  • mild but temporarily strong Anosognosia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anosognosia) the inability to recognize a physological condition one has.
  • Confabulation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confabulation sometimes encouraged by friends who disliked/misunderstood/felt disrespected by that person.
  • So much shame that narcissistic amnesia even among people who are not narcissists kicks in. In order to not process shame narcissistic behavior includes completely minimizing, forgetting or denying shameful acts someone does. One narcissistic behavior in a crisis does not make one a narcissist but briefly they are quacking like a duck and might as well be  duck if only for a few seconds/minutes.

Hope this helps you understand why it can be so difficult as these conditions gang up.

What to do to avoid it?

This is a bitter pill to swallow

 

What not to do?

There are some really bad things you can do:

  • Shaming yourself.
  • Shaming them.
  • Shaming any past mutual activities. You are a pervert because you like ___. You made ___ mistakes which proves you are a bad person.
  • Mind Reading intent with certainty. I know you “meant”  this by this action.
  • Confabulating past incidents with certainty.
  • Collapsing several issues.

Stay away from this. Easier said than done.

How it makes everyone feel

Many people caught up in Collective Hysterics will use the defense of “I Do Not do that except with that [Person|Location|Situation]” rather than recognize they are doing it. This is textbook denial and comes from the cognitive dissonance of temporarily crazy statements and actions a normally sane person is making.

They do this as an ego defense because they have not fully understood a “Good Person can do bad things” so denial is necessary to not seem to be a bad person or sink into depression.

Streaming TV Comparison: Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku

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Reviewing TV Streaming Devices

I should preface this by saying I own all 4 and use them for a variety of tasks so I think my experience is pretty complete. I love my streaming TV solutions to watch NetFlix, HBO-To-Go, Amazon Prime Movies and TV, listen to Pandora and Internet Radio (listen to NPR and Music Radio Stations on my TV is nice).

Questions?

If you have questions, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TVStreamingAppleTVRokuEtc/info is the place to ask them.

Roku-3-channel-grid

Roku HD

Here is what distinguishes Roku from the others:

  • The best remote (at least the HD version). Best feel. Includes headset support.
  • Excellent Remote apps for Android and iDevices.
  • More apps (which they call Channels) and better apps than all others.
  • Better on screen keyboard for password entry (although app can be used too)
  • Worse sound quality than Apple TV, close to same picture quality.
  • Best search in terms of being able to search for contents across multiple apps.
  • Amazon Prime app (the main thing Apple is missing among others)
  • Dedicated Ethernet port (can reduce traffic on your WiFi to use it, plus unless you have gigabit Wifi, out performs WiFi)

If one can only buy one, Roku is a GREAT choice. Many more Apps/Channels than anyone else has. Dedicated Ted Talks, College Classes, CrunchyRoll, Silent Movies, Crackle, etc. You name a content item and Roku has a channel for it. It even has private channels see http://www.dailydot.com/entertainment/best-of-roku-private-channels-guide/.

 

Apple TV

Here is what makes Apple stand out:

  • Best sound quality
  • Decent remote. The lack of key labels and back button makes it a bit clumsy if you are spoiled by Roku remote.
  • Less Apps than Roku most importantly missing Amazon Prime*
  • Purchase support via iTunes is multi-device and Apple’s cloud more likely to be here in a decade or 2 compared to Roku cloud apps.
  • Airplay (playing screen from Mac, iPad, Phone) and playing screen from Windows or Android is most mature here. It has to be with the shortage of apps.

Fire TV

Fire TV is about same price as Roku and Apple TV. the stick version is way cheaper but also crippled so I feel not worth it.

  • Remote is better than Apple (more and better buttons, right “feel”) and worse than Roku.
  • Have not tried the remote apps no opinion yet.
  • The UI is a bit clunky and treats content and apps as equal which is a blessing or curse. In other words if you play 3 albums and 6 movies and access 5 apps you will have 14 choices on screen as if the content is an app. Neither Roku or Apple TV does that.
  • Less Apps than Roku, less apps than Apple TV. The Amazon Cloud player is much much much better than the Roku one. The Amazon Prime player has a clunkier UI and information overload compared to the Roku app/channel.
  • Better on screen keyboard for password entry than Apple (although app can be used too)
  • Picture and sound quality are very good.
  • Voice search rocks! Needs to be copied by Roku and Apple.
  • Dedicated Ethernet port (can reduce traffic on your WiFi to use it, plus unless you have gigabit Wifi, out performs WiFi)

Chromecast by Google – a dissapointment by comparison

  • No Remote 🙁
  • Ties up your Android device or PC when playing content (Roku and Apple TV do not)
  • Disconnects a lot.
  • Way less Apps than Roku, less apps than Apple TV. The Amazon Cloud player is much much much better than the Roku one.
  • Only works with Chrome browser extensions. NO Airplay (playing screen from Mac, iPad, Phone) and playing screen from Windows, unless its a Chrome browser tab. Android airplay yes.
  • Picture and sound quality are decent, not as good as Apple TV.
  • No content search!
  • No dedicated Ethernet port (can reduce traffic on your WiFi to use it, plus unless you have gigabit Wifi, out performs WiFi)

Stick TVs in General

Crippled version of above but cheaper. Not recommended unless you are really broke and cant afford Roku HD or Apple TV. The stick Roku and Fire are still both better than Chromecast.

Conclusions

Roku TV is the winner. Apple TV and Fire TV are very good. Chromecast is far from it’s potential and the wrong kind of device – remotes DO matter.

streamingTV

 

What Do Other Reviewers say:

They come to similar conclusions and offer some more depth if you need even more data:

Buiid your own Streaming Box

There are a few mays for the patient, frugal, super skilled types:

Hopefully you have all the data you need to make an informed decision.

Help-Wiley-Coyote

Need any Questions answered or help using the device?

If you have questions,
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TVStreamingAppleTVRokuEtc/info
is the place to ask them.

DRAFT – Bootstrap: CSS, Open Source, Developers should use it!

Bootstrap-3-Swipe-Support

What the heck is Bootstrap & why should I use it?

A way to create a site with a set of CSS styles, selectors that are well designed and well documented. Building a website becomes about learning how to use very high quality professional styles, selectors and icons instead of creating your own, and then having to maintain and document them. Too lazy to even customize Bootstrap? Templates FREE and cheap everywhere are built in Bootstrap. Build a site with Bootstrap and your site has a great foundation that is documented by 100s of sites, and tutorials abound.

I consider Bootstrap usage one of the fundamental Litmus tests for a good Web developer.

Bootstrap helps

  • Make a site usable on all device sizes (Phone, Phablet, Tablet, Retina Displays, et al)
  • Make a site accessible easier
  • It gets maintained and improved several times a year based on how websites use it worldwide? Do your home brewed CSS get improved that frequently?

Bootstrap has a lot to offer the Developer with an open mind who wants his/her work to be maintainable by many on the team or succesors.

 

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Bootstrap Tutorials Online

These sites are the “cream of the crop” for using Bootstrap:

Be sure and share your favorite tutorial sites in the comments.

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Books to learn Bootstrap

You can learn via book as well my favorite way of learning.

Be sure and share your favorite tutorial sites in the comments.

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Videos to learn Bootstrap

For those who prefer to learn visually:

Be sure and share your favorite Video tutorial sites in the comments.

 keep-calm-and-choose-wisely-33

Why Not Bootstrap?

I am not going to sugar coat it, I find most of the arguments against Bootstrap disingenuous.

  • You hate open source. Good luck on that. Even the biggest most stubborn commercial companies embrace it (Microsoft with great fanfare, Apple with less fanfare, IBM, etc.).
  • You hate using other people’s libraries and frameworks unless made by XYZ company (Microsoft, Apple, Sun, etc.). You may not have a valid reason there, just Fanboy syndrome.
  • Because you want to use a competing CSS style sheet collection

But if you have an edge case where Bootstrap provides no value, and use it in most of your projects you probably made the choice thoughtfully. If, however, you are just making excuses not to use bootstrap on all your projects, maybe Web Development is not the career for you.

Where to get Bootstrap Questions answered?

Here are some of my favorite places:

Be sure and leave your favorite Bootstrap Q&A sites in comments so we can update the blog with them.

Bootstrap your site starting TODAY – Chaz

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Windows – what is still Missing! Free + cheap must-haves!

Must-have-Windows-8-apps-for-your-PC-or-tablet

Window 10, Windows 8.x, Windows 7, Windows XP Users!
We have a LIST for you…

I find it a bit surprising I have to download so many things for a 30 year old OS. Microsoft has plenty of money to buy all of these and bundle into the OS. But here is what I download on any new Window installation. It makes Windows a lot more productive, powerful and friendly.

Advanced Users (novices ignore): Rather than install these one at a time go to https://ninite.com/ and let it install many of these at once, and keep them up-to-date all at once 😀

Very Good Lists (with different choices) on others Blogs!

The downloads divided into groups

Everyone will want to download the Productivity group. Other groups just depend on how you use your Windows machine.

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Productivity

  • Clipmate – because cut and paste in Windows is very limited. This fixes all of that in a dreamy way.
    Download @ http://www.ClipMate.com
  • Chrome by Google – because IE sucks. Chrome is much more secure than IE and FireFox. patched faster for years in response to new threats. Blocks malicious software if users download and try to install.
    Download @ http://www.google.com/chrome/

  • Search Everything – because Windows search sucks. This is tiny and super fast. can find anything on your disk durn near instantly with very little overhead.
    Download @ http://www.voidtools.com/
    Read more about it @ http://techsuperheroes.com/?p=361
  • EverNote – a good cloud note taking system to keep lists and notes on your Windows that you can get to on your phone, tablet, Mac, work PC, etc.
    Download @ http://www.EverNote.com
  • FireFox – because IE sucks, and FireFox has a few add-ins I still need that Chrome do not.
    Download at http://www.GetFireFox.com

  • FoxIt PDF Reader – a FREE lighter, faster version of Adobe Reader. More secure. Uses less memory. Loads faster.
    Download @ http://www.foxitsoftware.com/Secure_PDF_Reader/
  • GoScreen Wish you had 2 or more monitors but cannot afford them? Way better than Windows 10 virtual desktop. Way Better. Virtual Monitors done right for people with only 1 monitor.
    Download @ http://www.goscreen.info. Not FREE, but under $30 and worth every penny.
  • TextPad+ – Because Notepad sucks. Only needed by people who edit tons of text files.
  • Download @ http://www.Textpad.com
  • Tor Browser – Allows you to browse sites your company forbids and blocks. Hides the site you browse from everyone who monitors your network. For something even better than Incognito/Private mode (some corporations may not allow this)
    Download @ https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
  • UltraMon – If you use 2 or more monitors this setups 2 or more separate task bars with relevant programs on the correct task bar (not all same programs lumped on several taskbars).
    NOT FREE – approximately $40 but I love it.
    Download trial @ https://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/
  • XMind – I think MindMapping is even better way to take notes than Notepad 😀

IE-Browsers

Web Browsing!

Here is the list anyone serious about browsing the Web and Safety needs to have:

These should really make you able to browse with more power (and safety) and speed.

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Graphics and Photos and Webcam Goodies

I have picked the programs that are easiest to got started with graphics, photos, and your webcam.

cloud-computing

File & Disk Management & Backups & Cloud – oh my

If someone else manages your computer, you do not need these. But if the person managing your computer is not using these, you may need a new computer person 😀

computer-mechanic   Computer-Woes

System Maintenance / Troubleshooting

If someone else manages your computer, you do not need these. But if the person managing your computer is not using these, you may need a new computer person :D

  • Belarc Advisor – must have for system survey. Not sure what hardware or software you have. This makes a nice multi-page report including product keys, product version numbers, etc. Allows you to answer anyone’s questions aobut “what kind of machine?”, “what software is installed”, etc.
    Download @ http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
  • Long Filenames or Pathnames keeping you from deleting, copying or renaming a file?
    Get help @ http://longpathtool.com/
  • PC Decrapifier – remove all the extra junk software the PC makers added to your machine to save disk space and memory. Easy to use. Eezy peezy Japaneezy.
    Download @ http://pcdecrapifier.com/
  • Process Lasso – because Task Manager is sucky and weak and missing key features.
    Download @ https://bitsum.com/processlasso/
  • Oracle Virtual Box Not for everyone, for people who want to install other operating systems on their computer (other versions of Windows, Linux, hacintosh). Because free Virtual PC is too weak and VMWare is too expensive.
  • Registry Workshop to make registry editing a dream @ http://www.torchsoft.com/en/rw_information.html
  • Speccy – detects some things that Belarc Advisor does not. Gives you every technical spec on your system if any tech support asks you what your PC model, graphics card, disk drive, etc. is
    Download @ https://www.piriform.com/speccy
  • Take Ownership – when Windows screws up a file permission set so bad you can’t open a file. Read the fix @
    http://www.askvg.com/add-take-ownership-option-in-file-folder-context-menu-in-windows-vista/ (the fix works for Win 7/8/10)
  • Unlock Files that will not allow deletion or rename or the like – see the article @
    http://www.howtogeek.com/128680/how-to-delete-move-or-rename-locked-files-in-windows/
  • TeamViewer If you try to help family and friends far away this lets you take over their machine, see what their monitor sees, use the keyboard and mouse on their machine as if you were there. Because the Windows remote desktop client is stone age compared to this and hard to setup and use. And decent multi-monitor support if the target machine has 2 monitors. It is multi-platform. Nothing new to learn on other platforms. iPad or Android can control a Windows machine and vice versa.
    Download @ http://www.TeamViewer.com

Music, Movies, Music and DVDs and CD Goodies

Yeah music and multimedia rocks and here are the ways to get your computer rocking, dancing and singing (well rocking and singing at least):

* If you do not know what an ISO File is, you may not need this. But it is a pretty amazing thing I will attempt to explain here. Rather than load a CD/DVD into your computer’s drive to install software, you can transfer the CD or DVD into an ISO file (CD Burner XP is one way to do this). Or if a boss or co-worker wants you to install something rather than a CD or DVD they may just give you an ISO File. ISO mounting software lets you double-click on the ISO file and make ti pretend to be a CD/DVD drive then you install software while putting nothing in your CD/DVD drive. Very nice huh?

Why so many Add-Ons?

These tools should be built into Windows. Its a question people should be asking to Microsoft employees, at press conferences, in blog comments and when being begged to get excited about buying yet another site license and upgrade.

We are at Windows 10 by 2015 and after 30 years I should not need these many add on products to make it usable.

When this kind of consumer neglect kills Windows, I will not grieve for the lack of interest in Windows machine (and people using their phone as a PC or tablets, or buying Macs or Chromebooks) because this was easy and cheap to fix.

 pcguy_death

Windows still missing some BIG STUFF Microsoft

What I wish Windows had built in that sadly it still does not. Such huge omissions after 30+ years of Windows and over a decade of DOS are one of the many reasons people won’t trust or buy MS Operating Systems any more for personal use:

  • Security – unfortunately your newly purchased Windows 7/8/10 is still highly insecure. If you want security for your PC, friends or family, there is a WHOLE other set of Security add-ons you must download for free and/or buy and learn how to use.
    • MS spent billions fighting DOJ and Europe to force a browser on you even after FireFox and Chrome are way better, so you do not need IE.
    • MS threatens Dell and HP and all PC makers to not dare install a better browser for you that makes IE look bad, but does not stop them from installing so much crapware that  PC Decrapifier  @ http://pcdecrapifier.com/ is a THING you must download.
    • MS won’t fight DOJ or Europe to make your PC Windows as safe as Mac, Linux, iOS or Android. But instead they will spend a few hundred million encouraging their staff and loyalist bloggers to spread very inaccurate FUD about Mac and Linux and Android (and running Ads that Windows 7/8/10 is the most secure Windows ever).  But apparently the world’s safest OS needs another set of FREE and paid downloads to protect it.
  • Partition recovery tool – Every fricking tool that fixes this costs $50-$200 and you will use it for an hour. You will not need it again for years. And its all because the stone age MS partitioning tools do not support an Undo.
    • I guess Microsoft missed that day at “we care about the user” school.
    • Many Live Linuxes have this. So a bunch of hippies deliver something free a company with several billion does not?
  • File recovery tool – Many Live Linuxes have this. So no matter how much you pay for Windows, your boss pays, and your PC maker pays Microsoft does not care if you lose your files but a bunch of Linux hippies do… In fact Microsoft thinks if their OS loses your files with no UNDO you should pay a $50-$200 penalty and have to buy something to fix a Windows you pay for, your boss pays for, and your PC makers pay for. Pay for many upgrades by 3 sets of people and Microsoft could not put a crowbar in their wallet and recover your files they allowed you to delete without an undo feature? FT.
  • Basic Cleanup Toolssee this post!
  • A Desktop App Store (the Mac has one) – you should be able to buy Windows apps (not Metro/Modern apps) in their own store.

They have OUR Money and Profits! Spend some on Windows

I hope the new Microsoft CEO that replaces Steve Ballmer fixes 20+ years of neglecting customer needs on Windows. So far he does not seem to be, as Windows 10 has none of this. They can spend billions on Skype, AQuantitive, losing tons on Xbox and not spend a few million on either making all this unnecessary or just buying and integrating these products.

Still Using XP on a Machine – we got your back and some advice

This is what we have for you:

Hope this LIST makes your Windows more productive – Charles Carroll

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Tech Recruiter Meetup – 3rd Wednesday night every month

 Recruiting-Corporate-What-my-friends-think-I-do-What-my-mom-thin-316ffa

Recruiters – Learn great Tech Recruiter tactics!

Once a month I hold a speech (with Q&A) geared towards recruiters! You will learn valuable tips to do your job better!

When?

3rd Wednesday of every month!

How Do I sign up?

Click here: http://www.meetup.com/Peoples-Technical-Training-PTT/

Where?

For now slightly south of Baltimore. If you want me to do it in your area email me at seniorprogrammerguru@gmail.com and provide me with a location with projector and I will travel to you.

Seasons Pizza in Linthicum Maryland

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Seasons+Pizza/@39.224934,-76.663601,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c81d69d6245857:0x4d607618cc5ce148

recruiters-what-i-do

Meeting Details

The meeting presents the best way to

  • Recruit talent without paying an arm and a leg on hourly rates
  • Recruit talent for hard to find jobs
  • Best technical interview strategies to find the masters, and weed out the less effective candidates
  • Finding out how to fill impossible job requirements for highly specialized computer professionals
  • Learn how C# and Java relate to each other and what will replace them in marketplace (no programming knowledge required)
  • Learn why ASP.net MVC differs from ASP.net WebForms and why it is hot now  (no programming required)
  • What the heck is Haddop, MongoDB, Hbase, Big Data and how are they related to SQL Server. How do I find qualified candidates.