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Month: July 2018

Amazon Releases AWS Cloud Development Kit to Preview

Available now as a developer preview, Amazon has released the AWS Cloud Development Kit to GitHub. Get it from GitHub: AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) The kit includes both a command-line tool and a construct library. The AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) is an infrastructure modeling framework that allows you to define your cloud resources using an imperative programming interface. The CDK is currently in developer preview. We look forward to community feedback and collaboration. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

Review: Anker’s Alexa Car Companion, the Roav VIVA

A few months ago, I tested and reviewed the Muse device. It was a gadget that installed in the car and connected with the smartphone to deliver Alexa voice capability in a car. It was a neat device, but eventually, the glaring caveats won over and we stopped using it. The caveats were poor listening capability and long delays in responses. At the time I chalked these up to road noise and Bluetooth inadequacies, but after installing and testing the Roav VIVA, I can now clearly see that those Muse caveats were due to bad design. The VIVA is able to eliminate road noise and its responsiveness is exactly like what you’d expect from a standard Amazon-designed Echo speaker sitting in the house. I had noted in the Muse review how that device incorporated a wired microphone so you could hand...

Alexa Development Comes to Visual Studio

For those that work and develop within the Visual Studio platform, Amazon has just made it easier to develop and deploy Alexa skills. Available in Beta, the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Toolkit is now downloadable from the Visual Studio Marketplace: Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Toolkit (Beta) ASK Toolkit for Visual Studio Code (Beta) is an extension that that makes it easier to develop and deploy Alexa Skills. You can use the ASK toolkit to call the ASK command line interface (CLI) from within VS Code, and can see the results in VS Code’s integrated terminal. This allows you to perform nearly all skill development actions within VS Code. Using the ASK toolkit, you can: Discover ASK commands by typing “ASK” from the VS Code command palette Create a skill using templates Generate code snippets for...

Tip: Using PowerShell to Get the Running Windows 10 Power Plan

If you want to know the Power Plan that is running on a Windows 10 PC, use the following PowerShell query: Get-WmiObject -Namespace root\cimv2\power -Class win32_powerplan In the image example above, the Power Plan is Balanced. The following options are available: Balanced – Offers full performance when you need it and saves power when you don’t. This is the best power plan for most people. Power saver – Saves power by reducing PC performance and screen brightness. If you’re using a laptop, this plan can help you get the most from a single battery charge. High performance – Maximizes screen brightness and might increase PC performance. This plan uses a lot more energy, so your laptop battery won’t last as long between charges. Ultimate Performance –...

Microsoft Tries Again with a New .NET Framework Patch

About a week ago, Microsoft stopped distributing an update for its .NET Framework due to problems. The company recommended staying away from this patch and even uninstalling it. Then, a few days later, a new .NET Framework patch was delivered, but this one only covered older versions of Windows. Now, a new .NET Framework patch is available, and Microsoft promises it contains fixes. The company says it includes quality and reliability improvements, but we’ve all heard this before. Details on the new patch are available here: .NET Framework July 2018 Update A recent survey of Microsoft customers by Susan Bradley, shows that customers are mad and fed-up with Microsoft’s patches and fatigued over new features that provide no business value. Some are going as far as considering othe...

Amazon Adds Automatic Endpoint Management for Third-party Alexa Device Developers

Amazon has added new functions to its Discovery API that will allow developers to produce devices and skills that ease the burden and eliminate steps for device discovery, updates, and deletions. Proactive endpoint management means that when a customer adds, updates or deletes a device from their account, you proactively send a message to let Alexa know to associate, update or disassociate this endpoint. This means customers can skip the discovery step and the device automatically appears in the Alexa app. For proactive discovery to work, the customer must have a smart home skill enabled and account-linked to an account with your system. Details for developers: How to Proactively Manage Endpoints Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? ...

FAQ: Is the Surface Go Compatible with the Surface Dock?

Those interested in Microsoft’s latest tablet, the Surface Go, come from two camps. Those that are interested in buying a Surface device for the first time, and those that already have Surface devices already and have the accessories to go with them – including the Surface Dock accessory. Those that already own a Surface Dock ask… Q: Is the Surface Go Compatible with the Surface Dock? A: Yes. The Surface Go comes with the integrated Surface Connector and works with the Surface Dock. The Surface Go works with the dock out of the box.   Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

Troubleshoot Windows Virtual Machine Performance Problems in Azure with PerfInsights

Microsoft has released a tool to allow for troubleshooting VM problems in Azure. PerfInsights collects various information about the virtual machine, disks/storage pools configuration and performance logs such as: System event logs Network status for all incoming and outgoing connections Task list for all applications currently running on the system SQL Server database configuration settings and error logs (if the VM is identified as a server that is running SQL Server) Storage reliability counters Important Windows hotfixes Installed filter drivers Firewall Rules   Download: PerfInsights  Microsoft recommends running PerfInsights before calling support. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas...

Surface Go Now Available for Pre-order from Amazon

There are multiple ways to get your hands on one of Microsoft’s latest tablet iterations including Costco, Best Buy, and the Microsoft Store. However, for most, Amazon remains the best and most preferred option. Amazon has now unveiled its Surface Go product pages. The online shopping behemoth is taking pre-orders for shipping on August 2, 2018. Pricing starts at $549 for the base unit with a type cover and moves closer to $700 with the keyboard. On Amazon: Microsoft Surface Go (Intel Pentium Gold, 8GB RAM, 128GB)   Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

Tip: Enabling and Using Tap to Alexa Mode on an Echo Show or Echo Dot

Intended for Accessibility functions, Amazon has added a Tap-to-Alexa mode for its screen-enabled devices. To enable it… Go to Settings – Accessibility on the Echo Show or Echo Dot and locate the Tap to Alexa option. Once you toggle the Tap to Alexa option, you’ll be presented with the getting started screen. Enabling this option adds a touchable icon at the bottom right of the Home screen. Tapping the Tap to Alexa icon takes you to a screen with two pages of pre-filled actions.   On this screen you can Add your own… You can also tap the Manage option to delete any of the touchable actions. To add a new one, tap the Add option, and enter your command using the supplied on-screen keyboard. Next, provide a name the your new command. …and, assign it an icon....

Twitter’s API Changes Essentially Killing Popular Tweetium App for Windows 10

For those using one of the cooler apps for Twitter on Windows 10, you should be aware of changes coming – and in respect to this, should look to start using something else. On Twitter…   Notice: I’m sad to announce that Tweetium Pro is no longer being offered due to Twitter’s impending shutdown of their Streaming API. Existing Pro users will continue to enjoy benefits until Twitter’s change goes into effect. After that, push notifications and Connect+ will break. — Tweetium app (@TweetiumWindows) July 29, 2018 Additionally, it looks like other apps may not be a good alternative…   Other functionality such as multiple account support will continue to work after that. However, at this time, most Windows users will want to check out Twitter’...

Tip: Casting Music to an Alexa Device Using the Amazon Music App

Amazon has now added a personally requested feature to its Amazon Music app. The feature is a logical next step, and probably should’ve existed already. However, you can now use the Amazon Music app to “cast” music to an Alexa-enabled device you own. To use the feature, locate an album or song in the Amazon Music app, tap the “cast” button at the bottom of the display, and then choose your Alexa speaker from the registered device list supplied. Once the song is playing on the Alexa device, you can then use the normal music controls (play, fast forward, rewind, etc.) to manage the audio.   Alexa is available for Amazon devices Echo, Echo 2, Dot, Tap, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Look, Echo Connect, Dash Wand, Amazon Cloud Cam, Fire tablets, and Fi...

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