Category Archives: Articles

Unplugging to Reconnect – The Technology Sabbath

It Started With a Game …

By now, you’re probably familiar with Pokemon Go, the game where people search for Pokemon characters around town with their smartphones. In 2015, I played a forerunner of this game called Ingress. The basic idea was the same – run around town accessing game spots, collect digital items, compete with other players for territory, etc..

At first, the game seemed like a great idea. I figured it would get me out for some desperately needed exercise and it did. I found out some of my favorite walking routes had a bunch of game spots I could access while  walking and I was out there at 6 a.m. every morning … willingly! It was a miracle!

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ASP.NET for Beginners

31dfef58-1812-4523-ab35-c8bf20fcfd83If you’ve been wanting to learn how to design websites with ASP.NET, here’s your chance! Check out my latest three-part series on OcalaITPros.com where I explain the basics of Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework and how it’s used to create dynamic websites. This series will guide you through creating and publishing a sample application completely from scratch. The series is based on my speaking notes from a recent meeting of the Ocala I.T. Professionals.

Part I – What is ASP.NET?
Learn about the difference between static and dynamic websites and how ASP.NET is used to serve dynamic content.

Part II – Getting Started with Visual Studio and ASP.NET
Installing Visual Studio 2013 Community and starting your first ASP.NET project.

Part III – Building and Publishing Your ASP.NET Application
Completing your ASP.NET project, testing it on on your local machine and publishing it to a hosting service.

 

8 Questions to Ask When Starting Your Meetup Group

Introduction

meetup

Meetup.com is a popular social networking site which makes it easy for people to organize groups in their local area.

Unlike social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, sites such as Meetup.com and EventBrite actually focus on bringing people together in person and helping them find other like-minded people they might never have met otherwise. While book groups and church clubs existed long before the Internet, these sites provide a set of tools that make it much easier for you to bring a group of people together and continuously promote that group. For people moving to another area or developing new interests, it’s easier to find new friends by looking up local groups they might like to join.

My Background

Several months after joining Meetup.com and making a few friends, I checked out a new programmer’s meetup group in Gainesville, Florida, Frontend Awesome. Ocala had no active computer clubs at the time and I’d been thinking of ways to put together an organization of some kind for local I.T. experts, independent programmers and others in the field. That’s when I made the connection and decided to do it through Meetup.com.

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Learning a New Language Online

Learning a new language has always been a challenging task whether you’re satisfying a class requirement in school, moving to a new country or adding a new language for work or recreation. The fact is that we take years to become proficient with our first languages from the time we’re learning to recognize language as infants through the time when we’re able to string sentences together as we reach school age. The expectations are much higher with a second or third language as most people would not want to take three or four years to be able to speak basic sentences and longer to communicate effectively in writing.

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SQL Server for Beginners: Part V – Using SQL Server 2012 LocalDB

In a previous chapter, I described the installation process for SQL Server 2012 Express which included all the bells and whistles of the advanced services package. While it’s great to have all the tools at your disposal to learn from, some people might not want such a large installation on a particular machine or the administration that goes with it but might still want the basic database capabilities of SQL Server on their desktop. In this case, SQL Server 2012 offers a new edition called LocalDB.

LocalDB is a minimized version of SQL Server Express specifically for developers who still need all the programming features including the ability to create stored procedures and other objects within an instance of SQL Server. It has a few restrictions that the average beginner probably won’t be bothered by and you can connect to it with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or other tools to create and manage databases. You can even install the AdventureWorks sample database to work with through an instance of LocalDB.

In this article, I’ll describe the process of installing both LocalDB and SSMS in order to create a small desktop database environment to work with as a developer or a beginner in database design.

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SQL Server for Beginners: Part IV – The AdventureWorks Database

In the last part of this series I wrote about SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), the interface that enables you to work with SQL Server objects such as databases and tables. The program enables you to do quite a bit with a SQL Server installation. You can create entire databases and manipulate all the objects within them just through context menus.

Having a graphical interface is nice but the real work of SQL Server is done through commands issued to the service which the menu options in a program like SSMS often do for you. If you really want to be knowledgeable about SQL Server, it’s important to learn the syntax of these commands and how to write and issue them on your own.

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SQL Server for Beginners: Part III – SQL Server Management Studio

Once you have SQL Server and all the necessary updates installed, the next step is to learn how to create databases and work with them. The easiest interface available to the beginner is Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), a graphical environment where you can view and manipulate all of the databases and other objects on your SQL Server instance and perform other advanced functions.

If you installed the Express edition with Management Tools or Advanced Tools as detailed in the last chapter, you should have SSMS installed and showing in the Program Menu under whichever version of SQL Server you have installed. Just click on the program to open it.

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SQL Server for Beginners: Part II – Installing SQL Server Express

Just like with any software, SQL Server uses a standard installation program to install its components on your system. Depending on the edition that you’re using, you will be installing it from media that you purchased or from the free install packages that you can download from Microsoft’s website. Unlike other installs, the SQL Server installation can be a long process as there are a number of components, requirements and options to consider, many of which I’ll be detailing in this article.

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SQL Server for Beginners: Part I – From Desktop to Network

In an earlier series of articles, I wrote about getting started with Microsoft Access, which is one of the foremost desktop database packages available and an excellent tool for small to mid-size database projects. While it was not the first database software that I used, it was the one that took me from novice to professional status. Once I reached that level, however, I had to start learning more advanced tools in order to advance in my career and take on new projects. One important set of tools was Microsoft SQL Server which remains one of the most popular network database systems on the market.

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Getting Started in Software Development: Part IV – Long Term Strategy

In the last chapter, I talked about some of the current options when it comes to getting started in the programming field. I mentioned several development tools that you can get familiar with to decide what path you want to take as a software developer but getting started is only half the battle. As I said, the field is constantly changing and with so much evolving technology, it can be hard to keep up even if you’re working with it every day. When planning a career, there’s also a desire to have some idea of what things will look like five years down the road and where you should be in relation to them. That’s harder to do in the I.T. world but there are some things that you can plan on and overall strategies that you can use to develop a solid foundation of knowledge.

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