Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Networking Part I: Binary

This is a diagram to explain binary in as quick and efficient of a way as I could think of:

Networking 101 coming up next!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A year at Microsoft & what I've been up to & travel tips

I crossed my one-year mark at Microsoft a couple of months ago, and it's been a fun time! 

I work as a Premier Developer Consultant, so we typically take on short-term work where we help a customer out with something small like a proof of concept, code review, or workshop on specific technologies we choose to specialize in.  We can choose any technology to specialize in (keeping in mind, certain technologies are more in demand than others and we do have to spend a certain amount of hours a year working with customers). I ended up choosing Blockchain, Containers, Azure App Services, and VSTS/DevOps as my main areas.

I swear I haven't disappeared, I have been doing some posts to MSDN and you can see my blog posts here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/premier_developer/tag/crystal-tenn/ (some of these are replicated on my blog, some are not!)

I created on a full tutorial for Azure App Services.  This is a step by step, with screenshots, tutorial of how to create a Web App, API App, and Azure SQL DB in Azure and to deploy each piece.. plus how to do the CI/CD (Build and Release) from VSTS to your Azure resources (full blog post on this to come soon): https://github.com/catenn/ToDoList

Also really cool, Michael Crump helped bring some folk to the ToDoList tutorial by posting on his blog Azure Tips and Tricks: https://www.michaelcrump.net/azure-tips-and-tricks101/ Thanks Michael!!!

And lastly, I worked on a Blockchain project with my colleague here, if you want to see a full step by step on setting up a Blockchain app that keeps track of Wikipedia changes go here: https://github.com/razi-rais/eth-wikipedia-changetracker

Now, talking about travel: I've been to so many places as a traveling Consultant, and eaten as much food as I could get my grubby hands on in each city.  This year, for onsite work visits I have been to: Alpharetta, Las Colinas, Minneapolis, Philly, Phoenix, Seattle, Burbank, NYC, DC, Ottawa, Miami, Austin, Orlando, Lake Mary, and Portland. 

Travel tips:

  • If you hate cold, buy an electrically heated jacket! Mine is called: "Ororo Heated Jacket" and it was from Amazon, they have it for both men and women. TSA is okay with it as long as you tell them ahead of time what it is or can explain it if they ask about it.. wired jackets, I'm sure, look a little scary under the scanner. 
  • If you hate dealing with luggage, buy an Underseater.  I bought this one, it fits under every seat (aisle, middle, window) on Southwest, United, Delta, and American Airlines as long as you only pack it 80% full.  I can get 2 laptops (MSI gaming + surface), tablet, 4 days of clothes, and all toiletries into this: http://a.co/3BYqnmH 
  • Airline rewards are a joke.  You'll be lucky if you can take 20 trips and get 1 free one for vacation out of it, buying airline tickets from work are severely discounted (half what you pay for personal flights), and don't add up to much.  Better seats are kinda worth it, maybe, if you need to bring luggage.  If you get an "underseater" bag like mentioned above, you never need to worry about overhead space anyways.  You are probably better off taking different airlines to get non-stop flights than trying to get rewards out of one airline taking you a long roundabout way.  I think my time is worth more than their terrible rewards points that net very little. 
  • Renting a car is a pain, it takes 30 minutes sometimes to take a tram/walk from the airport gate to the rental car center.  Take uber/lyft/cabs to save time. 
  • Hotel rewards are baller, and my goodness you can rack up points fast. If you get the credit card too, oh my gosh, hello free hotels for every vacation!
  • Hotel points go on sale and you can catch them on Slickdeals sometimes.  These are worth buying when you can get them 30% off.  You can also use hotel points to get hotels that are priced at a premium due to an event because while the $ amount goes up, the points value always stays the same.  
  • Marriott has the best Wi-Fi speeds, period, hands down.  I've gotten so many Marriotts (ranged from low budget to nicer ones) with 10-80mb/s down and up speeds and played DOTA 2 on it happily on the free Wi-Fi, not even paying for the "good" Wi-Fi.  Hyatt's Wi-Fi sucks, forget playing games online you usually get .1-2mb/s up and down. Crowne Plaza Wi-Fi ain't bad. I don't know about Hilton, never really stay there, but I think that is the only chain that allows pets.  
  • Airport food sucks 95% of the time.  Same for the food in hotels. Local food tastes the best.  Chain food is the safest and least likely to mess up your stomach. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

70-534 Azure Certification Study Guide + Tips

Hi there!

I just passed my Azure cert 70-534 and wanted to share my study guide.  Please click here to see my guide. It is a 35 page long PDF. I basically took the outlined points from the official Azure exam outline and added in notes between them.  Most of the notes are copy pastes of relevant information from the Azure documentation.  The notes from the Azure documentation and outline from the Azure exam are current as of August 2017 -- so take note that if you are reading this a year out that some of the exam has probably changed. 

 Please also utilize the Measure Up 70-534 practice exam along with studying + doing things on Azure.

Notes after taking exam, I think that you should…
  • Know the difference between page and block blobs.
  • Know when to use A series, D series, DS series, G series, GS series VMs and approximate size/RAM
  • Know ARM templates very well and the pieces in it
  • Know a lot of Azure AD stuff
  • Know security stuff for DBs, VMs, other Azure resources etc.
  • Know on-premises & communicating with Azure
  • Know Traffic manager and CDNs very well
  • Know Federated Stuff
  • Know Azure Batch.
  • Know what Chef or Data Lakes or all these other technologies do at a basic level.

General Exam Observations
  • I had about 2 hours and 45 mins (I think, it was definitely between 2.5-3 hours) for the exam, 50-60 questions total
  • I had 4 cases + the rest were multiple choice (31 multiple choice)
  • There are a lot of stupid multi-part questions, usually if it's a 3 part answer each part is scored individually.
  • There are a good amount of "order the steps to do such task" with 3-5 steps in it, no idea how this is scored.
  • Small amount of Azure CLI / Portal / Powershell / C# specific questions, I think about 5 total.
  • I had about 1.5 hour to spare at the end, after obsessively slowly double checking everything. Might be unfair though, was a med student so I take exams extremely, extremely quickly. I did not feel any time rush at all. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

What do I do, how do I start? Guide to being a C# web developer.

Welcome to the “What do I do, how do I start?” relatively all encompassing guide to becoming a C# web developer.

If you want a copy of this from Google Drive that you can download, please go here.

These are very solid step by step directions. Use it as you wish and feel free to sub out whatever. I figured it is easier for someone in the industry to give advice having done it than for someone to try to guess what they need to do. This kinda pairs up with my C# study guide in another blog post.

Completing the entire guide will cost you $30 for a month subscription on one JavaScript website.. And everything else on here is all free applications and materials to learn.  You can sub out that JavaScript section for free materials too if you really want to do it all for free, but that site is just awesome and interactive and worth it.  

  • Everything without “optional” you really, really need to know to be a web developer. Note there are obviously other tracks you could do like Java etc., this is just a specific set of steps to get to a specific job as a “C# full stack web developer”.  I went in the order you should do everything, top down. A lot of getting an interview depends on on how well your resume is written, how well your cover letter is written, and what kinda of GPA/job experience (did you hold jobs for a long time? Did you have gaps between your jobs? etc.) you have and how consistent it is… also if you have a well written nice looking blog and if you have a GitHub with projects on it.  Boring generic resumes and cover letters get thrown in the trash.  You NEED to have a very powerful set of both.  A lot of getting a job will be your people skills, communication skills, ability to show your understanding, breadth & depth in certain topics, and how well you know all the technologies they listed on the posting. I believe getting a job is more dependent on your competition and not you individually.
  • I am biased in this guide and picked one option for technology / blog choice / IDEs.  It is just easier this way and I don’t want to explain all of the options out there, this is a quick start guide.  Also if I get questions from you, I can answer them because these are all things I have used / use currently.  Yes, you can use Wordpress or Java etc. instead.
  • Yes you can do Mobile, Machine Learning, Desktop, or whatever else instead. I just am not one of those developers and cannot write you a guide for that. I have no idea what you need to know to get those kinds of jobs. Just writing about the area I know about.

Open up accounts
  1. Open a Blogger account
    1. Install SyntaxHighlighter to your Blogger http://alexgorbatchev.com/SyntaxHighlighter/integration.html

Download software
  1. Download Notepad++

Learn HTML:
  1. Go to the following: http://www.htmldog.com/guides/html/
  2. Complete all of the Beginner tutorial section
  3. HW/Project: Create a sample website using Notepad++ about a Nintendo hero.  Save it as a .HTML page.  When you are viewing the file on your Windows Explorer, right click to see in a Browser to view as HTML and right click to Edit/View in Notepad++ to edit the HTML code.  As you change HTML code in Edit mode you can hit save, then refresh your Browser viewing the HTML page to see the changes.  
    1. Include a photo of the Nintendo hero, the name in bold, then a link from the hero’s name to any Nintendo hero guide, 3 paragraphs with random text, and a bulleted list of your favorite items/powerups/whatever to get on this hero.
  4. Complete all of the Intermediate tutorial section
  5. HW/Project: From your previous HTML page, put your paragraphs inside of div tags and give them an ID or a class name. Make a short blog post about something you learned about in HTML, a screenshot of your HTML page, and use the syntax highlighter to post your HTML code online.
  6. Complete all of the Advanced tutorial section
  7. HW/Project: Make a blog post about how to target HTML to different versions of a browser and a few examples of when/why this would be very useful.  

Learn CSS:
  1. Complete all of the Beginner tutorial section
  2. HW/Project: Take that same HTML page you were working on before. Add style tags “<style>” inside of your “<head>” tag and add some global CSS to change the background color of the page.  Add some inline CSS to change the colors of each paragraph to be different.
  3. Complete all of the Intermediate tutorial section
  4. HW/Project: Add the same class selector to each div holding a paragraph.  Also give each div a unique ID.  Add a background image of some pattern you can find on Google images.  
  5. Complete all of the Advanced tutorial section (these are not as commonly used but you need to know the extent of what CSS can do so make sure you read through all of it and try a few things out in your sample html page)

Learn Twitter Bootstrap:
  1. Go to the following: http://getbootstrap.com/2.3.2/
  2. Use this as a reference: https://www.w3schools.com/bootstrap/
  3. Learn about Responsive Web design: https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_responsive.asp
  4. Build yourself a responsive webpage using Bootstrap, with just HTML and CSS.  You should be able to shrink down your page to mobile size and it still looks decent.

Download software
  1. Download Visual Studio Code.  This is an IDE:  http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/definition/integrated-development-environmentThis is for front end code only (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) AKA client side. You would use this for making front end only projects or if you were to break your project up into a front or back end portion.  Code is a much more lightweight program and often more liked that the full Visual Studio, it is much quicker.

Learn JavaScript:
    1. It used to be free long ago but it’s killer good site, it’s put out by PluralSight.  It is $30 for a month. I would recommend paying this once and completing the full JavaScript course in a month. It is worthwhile and the only thing on my guide that will cost any money. Complete the 5 JavaScript language courses and the 2 jQuery courses in one month and cancel your subscription.

How to use Google Debugger
  1. Understand HTML and CSS in the Chrome Debugger: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/tips-debugging-html-css
  2. More HTML and CSS Chrome Debugger stuff: https://developer.chrome.com/devtools/docs/elements-styles
  3. Go through this tutorial: https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-devtools/javascript/

Download software
  1. Download Visual Studio Community 2017. This can hold all of your code front and back end (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C#, additonal frameworks, unit tests, connections to databases, config files, everything..).  
  2. Download Fiddler

Open up accounts
  1. Open a Github account
  1. Open a Stackoverflow account

Learn C#:
  1. Go to the following: http://www.learncs.org/
  2. Go through all the exercises.
  3. Go to the following, you need to know all of these topics in order to do well long term with programming. It will be hard to fully understand until you start working, but conceptionally get as strong of a grasp as you can, then come back to this site and go over it again and again in your first year of dev. This site is very crucial and everything on it is important: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/csharp/index.htm
  4. Go through other problems on this site:http://www.codekatas.org/casts/tagged/csharp
  5. Optional, take a free Coursera course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/game-programming
  6. Build a simple calculator with addition / subtraction / divison / multiplication and no order of operations. Then try it with order of operations.
  7. Do the first 10 problems on Project Euler: https://projecteuler.net/
  8. Build yourself a small app that takes in multiple inputs from a user, utilizes a list internally, then will read off to the user from the list what numbers they entered.
  9. Build a simple 2 player tic tac toe program. UI can just be console printing out ASCII characters. For ex. http://mmnaviwala.com/images/ttt_5.PNG
  10. Try to build an unbeatable tic tac toe program (1 player).

Learn REST APIs:
  1. Go through this site and video: http://www.restapitutorial.com/

Learn LINQ:

Learn Unit Testing:

Design Patterns:
Learn SOLID Principles:


Learn Gang of Four (super optional, nice to have):
  1. http://www.blackwasp.co.uk/gofpatterns.aspx

Learn SQL:
  1. Know these charts (this always comes up in interview + is important to understand): https://www.codeproject.com/Articles/33052/Visual-Representation-of-SQL-Joins

Learn Agile:
  1. Look at this page, read all of the sections.. The links are in blue on the right side of the page: http://www.agilenutshell.com/

Learn SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle):
  1. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQPTB0ygYfY
  2. Learn how software is made: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/sdlc/sdlc_overview.htm

Interview Practice Questions
Study ALL of these. If you don’t know anything about any of the questions, go study all of it until you really understand it. Not joking, most of these will show up in an actual interview. Do not just memorize stuff, use it as your guide to learn all about these languages.

Read about the following so you know what they are
By this I mean spend 1-2 hours and summarize 3-4 sentences about each topics so you can at least intelligently speak about it if you hear it in an interview, on the job, talking with other developers, etc.. and so you have a background of what is upcoming and what development was like before. If any of these technologies are listed on the job description then definitely dig into it much more!!!
  • General/new stuff: ASP Core, Test driven development, Azure (web/worker roles, general technology offerings, how the cloud works), version-control like VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) and TFS (Team Foundation Server), Node JS, Angular JS, React JS, Entity Framework Content Management System (CMS, like SiteFinity or SiteCore), Dependency Injection, Automated Testing, Performance Testing, know all the roles in a software team (Business Analyst, Quality Assurance Analyst, Project Manager, Database Administrator, Test Engineer)
  • Legacy / “old” stuff: WebForms, Access (the database), VB, VB.NET, F#,   

THESE MATTER!!! This will determine whether or not you get an interview. If you are applying to small places and not getting an interview, then work on making these better.
  • Build a strong resume
    • Explain on every job what the company does and what your role was as the first sentence
    • Explain why your role was important and what you brought to the table
    • Highlight your accomplishments
    • Explain specific technologies / etc what you worked with (very industry specific and varies a lot depending on what kind of job it was)
    • Do not make the text eensy weensy
    • Get a good structure/format for your resume
    • Put the months and years for everything
    • Do not add colors or crazy designs. Clean, simple, black text, white backgrounds. People print resumes. People don’t want to run out of ink printing resumes.
  • Build a strong cover letter
    • Write about why you care about working at this company at this position
    • Write about why pick you
    • Write about solid things and steps you have taken to be competent
    • Write about your passion
    • Thank them for their time and be very passionaite and positive about the whole process

Practice Interview Skills

  • Confidence
  • It’s good to say you don’t know and be honest when you don’t
  • Questions are open ended, if you don’t know the answer then talk about what you do know about the technology
  • Never interrupt the interviewer
  • Explain things with a summary first, then dive deeper into what you know. Don’t go off on tangents. Learn to be able to explain anything well to a 5 year old.. If you can’t do that you aren’t explaining it well enough. You should always be able to tell a non-technical person what you are doing at a high level so they understand what is going on
  • Always ask questions at the end about things that were said during the interview
  • Always ask questions about the job in general so you understand exactly what you will be getting into and what it will be like to work for a certain company