Fastest Way to Get Started with OpenGraph from Facebook

I made SpiveyWorks Notes to give people the power to create notes the fastest and easiest way while using the latest technologies. Today, SpiveyWorks Notes is the fastest way to get started with OpenGraph from Facebook. No programming needed. You can start creating content and adding OpenGraph semantics in 10 minutes!

Details on adding OpenGraph semantics to a SpiveyWorks Notes page can be found in these instructions.

Sample Windows Azure Blob VB.NET Code

To easily upload byte arrays to Windows Azure blobs using VB.NET you will need to download the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio. After installing the SDK add a reference in your VB.NET project to the Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient.dll assembly. This will give us an easy way to upload a byte array to blob storage.

An example of writing to Windows Azure Blob storage you will need to add the following Import statements to your code: 

Imports Microsoft.WindowsAzure
Imports Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient 

To upload bytes to a blob write:

Dim storageAccount = New CloudStorageAccount(New Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageCredentialsAccountAndKey(_AccountName, _Key), New System.Uri(_BlobAddress, UriKind.Absolute), Nothing, Nothing)

Dim client = StorageAccount.CreateCloudBlobClient
Dim container = client.GetContainerReference(_ContainerAddress)
Dim blob = container.GetBlobReference(_Filename)

If blob IsNot Nothing Then
     blob.UploadByteArray(bytes)  
End

Windows Azure Cloud Storage

Windows Azure is new, but a great way to differentiate your skillset. This is a post for developers interested in storing blobs of data on Windows Azure. Windows Azure has an API for storing blobs in the cloud. I will go over the basics of getting setup in this blog post and do a followup post with some sample code to access the blob. First, you will need a storage account in Windows Azure. Following these steps to get started.

  1. Create a Windows Azure account.
  2. Sign in and create your first project through the http://windows.azure.com website.
  3. Click the New Service link and create a Storage Account.

The storage account is programmatically accessible once you have the entry point ( http://[customname]/blob.core.windows.net ), the Primary Access Key and the account name. Before I tried writing code to access the blob storage I first downloaded the free Cloud Storage Studio so that I could easily browse my storage account. When I started writing code to manipulate the blobs then I would use Cloud Storage Studio to see those changes and know that my code was working correctly.

Admit your weaknesses and become stronger

I was reading a Twitter post recently that said “Admit to being frightened, & your courage will grow. Admit to not knowing, & you will learn. Admit your weaknesses, & become stronger.” Being honest can keep us growing, learning and stronger. Without honesty we won’t feel the people around us forever, but we will fool ourselves.

The Freedom of Games

Have you ever played a strategy game with friends? I love to play a real-time strategy game called Age of Empires III. What’s interesting is the freedom with which my friends and I play it. When we’re playing the game we try new strategies, we conquer, and we have fun. Yet, when it comes to our careers we have the constant temptation of being tugged back into timid obedience, afraid to shake things up too much, we find it more difficult to get things accomplished because we might approach things from a cautious, wait-and-see approach. When we play the game everyone jumps in and wants to learn more right away. In our professional careers there’s easy excuses we can play if we want to rationalize our paralysis. An example of paralysis is, “I would have to get a certification before I start doing this.” The most rewarding times in my professional life are when I approach it like the game I love playing, when I’m dynamic, changing strategies, building and conquering. It’s good to have friends that will keep pushing you to play the game, not letting you rest with comfortable routines.