Clint Patterson's Blog

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Clint
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Clint's Blog

.NET Open Source and the .NET Foundation at MSBuild 2019
.NET Open Source and the .NET Foundation at MSBuild 2019

.NET FoundationDNN is an open source .NET CMS and application development framework that is a member project in the .NET Foundation. As the DNN Ecosystem Manager I am well aware of the benefits that our community reaps from the .NET Foundation. Last year I articulated several of these benefits in a blog titled “5 Reasons Why We’re Glad to be a Part of the .NET Foundation”.

Promoting Open Source & the .NET Foundation at Microsoft Conferences
Not too long after I posted that blog, I got an email that included a call for volunteers to help staff the .NET Open Source booth at Microsoft’s Build Conference. I responded to this call for assistance as I felt it was a great way to give back to the .NET Foundation since we receive so many benefits from it. A few weeks later I found myself at the conference and I was telling the story of DNN’s journey in open source. I spoke with attendees and articulated how the .NET Foundation plays a big role in the DNN Community’s ability to sustain and thrive.

Jon Galloway at the .NET Open Source Booth at MS Build 2019

The call for volunteers came again this year and I returned and it was apparent that developers in the .NET ecosystem are more aware that the .NET Foundation exists, but they may or may not know exactly what the foundation does or why they should be a part of it. Now that the .NET Foundation has a board in place it is a great opportunity to continue the messaging of the value the foundation provides.

DNN: A Great Case Study Example for the .NET Foundation
As I engaged with attendees over the past 2 years it became clear that DNN is a great case study example of why the .NET Foundation exists. It’s one thing for someone from Microsoft to explain what the .NET Foundation does and it’s a completely different thing for someone who is a member project of the foundation that represents the “living and breathing” example to be there on-site to convey the value and benefits the .NET Foundation provides. Telling the DNN story to attendees helps them understand a “real life” example of an open source project that’s reaping benefits from the foundation.

I think it’s somewhat of a poetic justice that DNN is the prime example of an open source project in the .NET Foundation given DNN’s history of being one of the earliest, if not the first, open source project in the .NET space.

Developers Love Open Source!
Another trend I noticed was the increased energy, appreciation of, and momentum around the open source movement at Microsoft. We had several people come up and show appreciation for how Microsoft is embracing the open source movement and for the role the .NET Foundation plays in that movement. It’s great to see this energy and it’s neat to help turn the lightbulb on for those who weren’t completely aware of what the .NET foundation is doing to help continue the OSS movement at Microsoft and in the Microsoft ecosystem.

.NET Foundation Panel on MSDN Channel 9 Live-Stream from MS Build 2019
If you’ve never been to Microsoft’s Build conference it is pretty big-time production. That is, everything is live-streamed and you commonly see video crews following people around, interviewing speakers/attendees/thought-leaders, and setup all around the stages for the keynotes. There is also a big stage where the cameras are permanently set-up and interviews and panel discussions take place. This year the stage was set up in a corner of the convention center not too far from our .NET Open Source booth.Sometimes you just end up at the right place at the right time and that is exactly what happened to me on the last day of the conference. There was a session scheduled to discuss the .NET Foundation which was slotted for the last day of the conference in the late afternoon. As things turned out, Jon Galloway, Executive Director of the .NET Foundation, had to leave early which left an open seat on the panel. Beth Massi felt bad for me and so I got to be the Jon Galloway stunt double on the panel. You never know where you’ll end up! The panel was more about the .NET Foundation in a broader sense rather than DNN specific, but it was still fun to represent the DNN Community on the panel.

You can find info from the session on the Channel 9 site and you can check out the replay below:


Using the Defective Pixel Repair Feature in Pulsar Thermal Optics
Using the Defective Pixel Repair Feature in Pulsar Thermal Optics

Have you ever seen a small pixel in your Pulsar Thermal optic’s screen that you wish wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb? If you fire your gun a lot these pixels-that-need-repair occasionally occur, but fear not, Pulsar has anticipated this and provided a way to resolve it. I had one on my screen for a few months before I investigated it and the good news is that it’s simple to correct!

What is a “Defective Pixel”?

A “defective pixel” is a pixel within your viewfinder or screen that is “degraded”, sticks out, and won’t go away even after your scope calibrates. I’ve owned a Pulsar Trail XP-50 for over 2 years and in this time, I’ve only had 2 defective pixels. Though, when it does happen, over time it will bother you enough to want to know how to fix it.

Here’s a screenshot of one of my defective pixels while in “White-Hot” mode

Screenshot of a defective pixel in a Pulsar Trail XP-50 Thermal scope

In this screenshot, the defective pixel may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re hunting and looking through the viewfinder it can become distracting to your eye over time, especially if it’s near the crosshairs. While hunting with the defective pixel shown in the screenshot above there were several times I panned the horizon and mistook the small white dot for being an animal that was a great distance out.

How to Repair Defective Pixels

The first thing to do if you notice a defective pixel or something that doesn’t look correct in your viewfinder is to calibrate the optic. If you haven’t changed any settings on your scope then your Pulsar thermal optic will automatically calibrate every so often to ensure what you’re seeing is accurate, clear, and crisp. Calibrating the optic makes the clicking sound that you may have grown accustomed to hearing by now if you own a thermal optic.

These calibrations can be forced by pressing the power button in the Trail models. If my screen ever gets hazy or I notice something not sharp in the viewfinder I simply calibrate the scope. With all that said, the first thing to do if you notice a defective pixel is to force a calibration because generally that will fix it.

If calibrating the optic doesn’t resolve the issue then repair the defective pixel by going to one of the last menu options in the menu system, the “Defective Pixel Repair” option.

Screenshot of the Defective Pixel Repair menu option in a Pulsar Trail XP-50 Thermal Scope

Once you choose this option it’s simple. The system presents you with a pixel selector and provides you with the ability to move the X & Y coordinates. This task feels very similar to sighting in the scope.

Screenshot of the defective pixel XY Coordinate selector in a Pulsar Trail XP-50 Thermal Scope

Just move the X & Y coordinates until you are right on top of the defective pixel. As you update the values for the X & Y coordinates the pixel selector will move across the screen as shown below. The pixel selector surrounded by the box is like the Picture-In-Picture feature and is a magnified (zoomed in) version of the pixel selector.

Animation showing the XY cordinate selector in a Pulsar Trail XP-50 thermal scope

The goal is to move the defective pixel selector on top of (or as close as possible to being on top of) the defective pixel.

Screenshot of the defective pixel in the middle of the XY coordinate selector in a Pulsar Trail XP-50 thermal scope

Once you have the defective pixel lined up you then need to hit the record button, yes, the record button. The system will repair the pixel and respond with an “OK” message.

Note: You can also use the remote control to do this as shown in this video by Michael Bennett

Screenshot of the pixel repair confirmation message in a Pulsar Trail XP-50 thermal scope

And that’s all there is to it! Note that depending on your unique situation, it may take repairing multiple pixels to get the screen back to the desired state. In one of the previous defective pixel scenarios, I had to repair 2 pixels before it was back clear, and the pixel was no longer bothering me.

I also made a quick video walking through this process. You can see the video below:

I hope you found this content helpful. If so, leave me a comment below.


7 Benefits of Having a Thermal Monocular
7 Benefits of Having a Thermal Monocular

A thermal monocular offers several benefits, some of which you may not initially consider. After having used a thermal monocular for over 2 years, I’d like to share some of the ways I use it to get an edge in the field and some ways you may not have thought about using a thermal monocular before.

A thermal monocular offers several benefits some of which may not initially obvious. After having used a thermal monocular for over 2 years, I’d like to share some of the ways I use this recent technology to get an edge in the field and beyond and some ways you may not have thought about using a thermal monocular before.

HUNTING

As a hunter, I am always looking for ways to gain an edge. It didn’t take me long to appreciate the benefits gained from using a thermal monocular. I primarily hunt deer, hogs, coyotes, and turkey. Finding ways to use a thermal monocular to gain an edge hunting each of these species was easy. Let’s get to it…

No More Spooking Deer on My Way In or Out of the Deerstand
One of the first benefits I realized a thermal monocular brought was that it provides me the ability to enter and exit the woods without spooking any deer. That is, when I start out to my stand I scan with my monocular. When approaching the stand if I see any deer on the corn pile I simply stop and lean on a tree or sit on the ground until they leave. Without this ability to see into the dark I wouldn’t have a clue that deer were anywhere around, and I’d be climbing in my stand only to hear the deer blowing and running off – that doesn’t happen to me anymore. Likewise, when the sun sets, I always scan before exiting the stand. There have been plenty nights where I sat in the dark for 10 or 15 minutes until a deer exited my area. Deer are no longer aware of my location simply because I was making noise in the dark and didn’t know they were close by. This is solely because of the thermal monocular giving me vision where I previously didn’t have it.

Track Deer More Efficiently
The thermal monocular also comes in very handy when trailing or tracking a deer. If you’ve ever shot a deer right at dark, you know that it can sometimes be challenging to track them. If you made a good shot, then the thermal monocular will likely save you some time. Yes, you should get on the blood trail as you normally would, but also use the thermal monocular to scan the general direction the deer ran in and you may be surprised at how much more efficient your tracking becomes. I’ve got friends who call me to come help them track deer simply because they know I’ve got a thermal monocular.

Locate Turkeys on the Roost More Easily
Turkey hunting is also one of my favorite things to do. There’s nothing better than watching a big gobbler strut and there’s nothing more depressing than not being able to locate any birds. If you know the general area where turkeys are roosting, then a thermal monocular may provide you with an edge in this scenario as well. Now days I always take the thermal monocular with me when we go in before dark. I scan the tree tops to see if I can see any turkeys roosting. Admittedly, turkeys are a little more difficult to pinpoint because their heads are usually the only part that shows a sharply contrasting heat signature and during the spring the trees provide them with more cover. Though, the thermal monocular still provides the opportunity to spot them. This again gives me an edge and as you would imagine we take it and use it as much as possible. Locating birds is half the battle and a thermal monocular can help you locate them more easily.

Our Primary Use – Scanning for Hogs & Coyotes
Pulsar Helion Thermal ImageThe most obvious time when we use the thermal monocular is for coyote and hog hunting at night. We set our guns on tripods and use the monocular for scanning and locating. As soon as we locate then the game we get into the scopes. If you don’t have a scanning monocular you will quickly learn that it saves your back big time because you don’t have to constantly be hunched over scanning in circles in the scope. Also, the monocular is safer to scan with. That is, if we are spinning circles with our guns, we are pointing the guns in all directions which inevitably become close to other hunters and that’s not a good thing. Since the monocular is obviously not attached to a gun it’s the safest route for detecting game.




Want to see footage from thermal monoculars & scopes?
Check out our thermal playlist on YouTube

Easily Locate Rabbits
For you rabbit hunters, I know it’s all about the dogs but if you want to easily see rabbits that are hiding in the edge of briar patches there’s no better way than with a thermal monocular. We constantly see rabbits in the edge of brush, in straw, and alongside fields while hog and coyote hunting. Want to get your dogs pointed in the right direction… try a thermal monocular.

SURVEILLANCE

Pulsar Axion Thermal MonocularSomething I noticed while looking at all kinds of things with my thermal monocular is that I can use it for surveillance if needed. If a group of cars is parked around a house, I can easily tell which cars have been there the longest (they are cooler) and which ones have just arrived (they are hotter). If you ever have out-of-place individuals lurking in the shadows they are easily picked out with a thermal monocular. There’s not much hide and seek when it comes to thermal technologies. The only area this isn’t 100% effective is in scenarios where there are windows. Thermal detection doesn’t work through glass, other than that it’s awesome to use to see into the night and get whatever info or recon you need.

 

 

HOME AND MECHANICAL INSPECTION

Thermal image of a houseOne of my friends is a home inspector. Sometimes he’s looking for locations where hot or cool air may be escaping a house. A thermal monocular is a great tool for this type of scenario.

Imagine an HVAC system that wasn’t installed correctly or if a pipe was leaking. A thermal monocular is a great tool in these scenarios. Also, one can easily spot the hottest or coldest parts of any machine that could be “running hot”. Wherever temperature matters a thermal monocular could potentially be useful.

 

BUT WHICH THERMAL MONOCULAR?

Wondering which device you should use is a common question. After all, these devices are not cheap and as such these are decisions that shouldn’t be made lightly. Since the purpose of this blog is to provide insight into ways one can use a thermal monocular, I’m not going to compare all the options out there. A simple Google search will show you the brand leaders and products on the market.  

I’ll simply say that I am on the Pulsar Pro-Staff and I use Pulsar products. I’m a fan of the Pulsar Helion XP-50 and it’s what we use on all our hunts. Pulsar recently announced the “Axion” line of monoculars as well. I encourage you to do research and go with the device and manufacturer that is the best tool for your job.

Pulsar Helion Thermal Monocular

Picture referenced from GunTrader.uk


Adam Smith & Clint Patterson Named to 2019 Pulsar Pro-Staff
Adam Smith & Clint Patterson Named to 2019 Pulsar Pro-Staff

We are excited to announce that two of our WeHuntSC.com members are now Pulsar Pro-Staff members. Adam Smith and I were recently selected to the Pro-Staff team and we are excited to see what 2019 has in store. As you may have seen in our posts, our team has been doing a lot of night hunting lately and we use Pulsar scopes on our setups. We’ve been putting a lot of time into the images and videos we share from the hunts and Pulsar has recognized.

Adam Smith 2019 Pulsar Pro-Staff Member    Clint Patterson 2019 Pulsar Pro-Staff Member

Adam and I look forward to learning more about Pulsar’s vision for the future of night hunting, thermal optics, and to learning more about Pulsar products. If you are interested in Pulsar’s products and/or want to know more about our setups feel free to reach out.

Learn More:


Scratching the Surface with Blazor
Scratching the Surface with Blazor

Scratching the Surface with Blazor Summary ImageRecently I presented on one of Microsoft’s latest technologies, Blazor, at our Southern Fried DNN User Group meeting. DNN, like many ASP.NET web applications, is looking for ways to get more modern and I believe that Blazor and Razor Components could play a big role in DNN’s journey to .NET Core. In this meeting I presented an introductory level session on Blazor. 

Topics reviewed were the What, Why, & How followed by demos of each Blazor project type... client-side, ASP.NET Core hosted, & Server-Side. We looked at components, routing, parameters, parent-child components, and dependency injection throughout the demos. The group, which was in-person and online, consisted of some highly skilled developers in the DNN Community, DNN integrators, one of the DNN Co-Founders, and the former VP of Product at DNN. Everyone was intrigued by Blazor and we had some good dialog and conversation around the future. We are all excited to see where this goes!

Relevant Links:


2018 Halloween IOT Clown Brought to you by Particle, DNN, and Open Source!
2018 Halloween IOT Clown Brought to you by Particle, DNN, and Open Source!

I need to start out by saying that I’ve been inspired to do all this by some great guys in the Charlotte area and they are Dan Thyer, Mike Linnen, and Jay Ziobrowski… thanks for the motivation guys! I am either copying something creative I’ve seen them do or trying to imitate their passion, talent, and drive for Halloween and/or IOT projects. One day I hope to be as sharp and creative as they are.

Halloween & IOT
In 2016 I made a flame throwing pumpkin (copy-catting one of Dan’s inventions) and let’s just say some of the parents weren’t too keen on fire being near their kids and I also didn’t make any fans on the community’s HOA! Though, we all must start somewhere. In 2017 I went the safer route and made the AirGhost which is very similar to this year’s project.

The IOT Clown
This year I have created an IOT Clown. I did some testing and iterating on various ideas and concepts and there’s just no way to get around it… the thrust of compressed air brings a startling surprise and the best part is that it’s safe. We have tons of young kids in our neighborhood and moving a skeleton bone (which I debated in this early prototype) could likely hit someone, cause a toddler to fall, or trip someone up which could potentially lead to a spill on the concrete sidewalk. I don’t want to injure anyone or have some local parents mad at me, so I reverted to the compressed air, but then added a few more movements and changed the medium from a ghost to a clown.

Here’s a quick video of the end-product prototype just to show you where we’re heading… I’m going to dress it up a little more by Halloween, but you’ll get the gist.

Parts Used
Here are the main components I’m using for this project:

Here’s a video “talk-through” of the mechanical parts and power supplies being used.

Let’s Talk About Particle
Particle's Photon The Particle platform is awesome! Check out this video of the Particle platform to learn more. I am admittedly a little bit behind all of Particle’s new innovations. I still need to learn about their Mesh and Argon solutions. Even though I’m not 100% up to speed I know you can do tons of creative stuff with the particle platform, their multiple IOT devices, and their integrated IDE. Since I’m using the Particle photon, we’ll start with it.

The Particle photon is a small IOT (internet of things) device that makes it easy to bring real world objects online. Particle makes it easy to setup the device and to connect to Wifi via a mobile app. If you want to know more about initially connecting and getting up and running with Particle they have some of the best documentation I’ve seen check out the doc, tutorials, and guides.

For this project all I really want to do is to move 3 servos… one for the head to spin, one for the head to roll, and one to push the handle on the air compressor. To do that we need to use the components I listed above + Particle’s platform + some code. I’ve listed out the components and just introduced the photon… now let’s look at some code.

Let’s Look at Some Code!
Particle’s platform is awesome, but we need some code to make things happen! I could easily copy and paste code here, but that wouldn’t help you understand the “why” and “how” behind some of the concepts. I hope to help you connect some dots here and as such I’ve cut a video walking through how I’m doing some of this stuff. The video shows code and includes videos of the device in action.

To all you senior devs… yes, the code shown in the video could be much better. I have not refactored anything yet, so the code is not nearly as efficient as it could be. And yes, I showed my handy Particle access token in the video… no worries though, by the time you read this I’ve already recycled it and created a new one.

Here are some relevant links:

So, with some disclaimers down and links shared let’s talk through the code some…

If you take the sum of all the info presented here that is how I’m making this happen!

And We Wait on Halloween!
Halloween is just about a week away at this point. If you have any questions or issues filling the gaps in this high-level tutorial, please reach out and ask your question. I plan on trying to video some of the fun at Halloween and posting any interesting reactions here just below this section… so stay tuned!

The Halloween Video
Check out some of the reactions we got from kids and a few adults!


Microsoft, Open Source, & Why It's a Great Time to Be a .NET Developer
Microsoft, Open Source, & Why It's a Great Time to Be a .NET Developer

Microsoft Loves Open SourceAs an open source enthusiast and a .NET developer I’ve been watching the transformation of Microsoft happen and it has been great to watch. You see I’m an avid user of DotNetNuke and if you know anything about DNN’s history you know that DNN was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, open source project in the .NET Ecosystem. From 2003 on DNN has been a pioneer in the .NET open source world.

A lot has happened and several trends have come and gone in the Microsoft world since 2003. As an open source project built on Microsoft technology the notion of being open source wasn’t always a popular conversation topic. Being open source wasn’t “cool” and sometimes negative perceptions about open source solutions were visible.

Boy have times changed!

Microsoft is Serious About Open Source… and It’s Not Just Lip Service
One of my college football coaches always said “Your words don’t mean anything, but your actions mean everything.” Actions are a really good sign of what someone really believes. Microsoft’s strategic shift to embracing and focusing on open source over the past few years has been such a refreshing transition to see, feel, and experience for me and my fellow DNN’ers because of the actions we are seeing.

If we look at the recent and strategic moves Microsoft has made it’s easy to see that Microsoft is indeed serious about open source. If you aren’t convinced that Microsoft is serious about open source or if you are not keeping up, let’s look at some of the actions Microsoft has taken related to open source. And these are just the ones I have observed… I’m sure there is even more evidence out there.

  • Open Sourcing of .NET Core - One of the recent Microsoft technologies in the web world is .NET Core. .NET Core is a cross-platform, open source, re-implementation of the .NET Framework and it offers some great features. Releasing .NET Core as open source was a major sign that Microsoft is serious about open source.
  • .NET Foundation Providing Resources For OSS Projects - The .NET Foundation is not technically owned by Microsoft, but it is led by very well recognized names in the Microsoft ecosystem. The .NET Foundation fosters and facilitates open source by providing resources to projects within the foundation. You can find a full list of the resources on the .NET Foundation website and you can see how we in the DNN Community benefit from these resources in my recent blog “5 Reasons We’re Glad to Be Part of the .NET Foundation”.
  • Buying GitHub - In buying GitHub not only did Microsoft make a strategic purchase, but it reiterated the commitment to open source as GitHub is the world’s most popular place for open source.
  • Strategic Position of .NET Open/Source Booth at Build & MS Ignite - I helped out with the .NET Open Source booth in the Expo area at Microsoft’s Build conference and at the recent MS Ignite conference. With all the amazing new technologies and top notch vendors one may think the open source booth would be somewhere stuck in a back corner. Quite the contrary, the .NET Open Source booth was dead in the middle of the action at both events. At MS Ignite, if you came to the expo there’s a high percentage chance you saw the open source booth. This strategic positioning and messaging from Microsoft to developers and IT Pros was simple - Open Source is important to us.
  • Open Sourcing Patent / Joining ION - In another bold move Microsoft open-sourced it’s patent portfolio. OIN (Open Invention Network) is an open source patent consortium and Microsoft just brought 60,000 patents to it. This move is a big one and protects open source projects from patent lawsuits. Here again the messaging is clear, we are serious about open source.

Why It’s a Great Time to Be a .NET Developer
There has never been a better time to be a .NET Developer. Literally everything you need to get started building is online and free to use and even better it’s likely open source. Anybody, anywhere can download code, look at it, enhance it, modify it, and submit it back to the projects if desired. If you can dream it, you can build it and you may build an online team of users and contributors to assist you in the process. Microsoft is literally making it easy to build open source projects via the technologies and resources they are providing. They are removing roadblocks for developers and being 100% transparent.

Consider the following capabilities anybody, anywhere has...

  • Want to collaborate on a project - Create a GitHub account and get going
  • Find a bug - Make a pull request
  • Need help - Connect with the developers working on the project or in the open source community
  • Got a Popular OSS project - Join the .NET Foundation
  • Worried about transparency - Everything is developed in the open

In Conclusion
I referenced one of my college football coaches earlier, but he wasn’t the only one to to impart wisdom during my athletic days. My high school coaches had more one-liners than anyone could remember. One line that stuck with me was “If you do the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” Microsoft is not only doing the big things, but they are also doing the little things that continue to reinforce their seriousness about open source.

We are watching a culture and paradigm shift occur in real-time and it’s awesome. By going “all in” on open source Microsoft is not only winning the hearts of developers, but they are making it easy for developers to get started with their technologies! I think the strategic decision to embrace open source will have a big impact for Microsoft in the long term.


Why Businesses Should Contribute to Open Source Software
Why Businesses Should Contribute to Open Source Software

The huge MS Build banner at Microsoft Build 2018

Last week I attended Microsoft’s Build Conference in Seattle. I was helping at the .NET Open Source booth which promoted the .NET Foundation and all things open source. The conference was very nice, and the energy level was high. I had conversations with a wide variety of people during the conference and it is obvious that Microsoft’s strategy of embracing open source is welcomed by developers.

I Want My Developers to Contribute to OSS… but

During one of my discussions a gentleman told me that his organization uses open source software (OSS) and he wants to allow his developers to contribute to OSS, but he needed to be able to justify it to his corporate leadership. His organization is a large, global organization so he needed solid and clear reasoning for why contributing to OSS is something his company should support.

He asked me if I knew of any blogs or resources that could provide insight into this topic. I thought about it and while I’m sure there is info somewhere, I wasn’t aware of any specific blogs or content about this subject. I am obviously biased about this topic, but let’s consider some reasons why a business should support OSS… especially if their organization is using OSS-based products.

Before we list out reasons we should first define what “support” means. When business people hear the term “support” they generally think about money, cost, or financial implications. Though, in the open source world it’s not necessarily about money as support can come in many different forms. Of course, the obvious need for any OSS project is code contribution, but there are more ways to contribute than one may initially think. As examples outside of the code, organizations could allow their developers to assist in marketing and promotions of sub-projects, conferences, user groups, GitHub repos, project documentation etc. Developers could also volunteer in any area of the OSS project as well as exchange knowledge online via forums, blogs, StackOverflow, and others. Organizations could also open up their offices for user group meetings, donate swag & door prizes, or sponsor the food at meetings. Any step taken to help move the the OSS project forward is a form of support.

MSFT Loves OSS on a TV at Microsoft Build 2018

Why Should Businesses Support Open Source Projects?

Now that we know that support can come in forms outside of financial contributions let’s get back to the subject. If you are faced with the need to justify supporting open source software to your business leadership here are some thoughts and ideas to consider:

  • New Features: If a business need arises within your organization that doesn’t currently exist within the software, having the capability and knowledge of how to make contributions to add those features is a great way to give back to open source projects and communities. In the DNN ecosystem we recently saw this happen with the contribution of PolyDeploy by Cantarus. They needed the software to do something that it wasn’t so they built it out and contributed it back as open source to the DNN Community. As a business you can shape the future roadmaps and feature sets of OSS projects by having your employees involved.

  • Locate Talented Developers: Attending and speaking at conferences and meetups is a great way to connect with developers of all levels. Connecting with talent in these locations is a great way to find potential new hires for your organization. Perhaps one could tell their company’s HR department that supporting OSS is a form of recruiting. After all, do you know who some of the top OSS user group meeting sponsors are… recruiting agencies!

  • Brand Promotion: Being actively involved with open source projects helps promote your organization as one that supports OSS which enhances brand reputation and increases the reach and awareness of your organization among developers.

  • Snowball Effect: Actively maintaining and contributing to OSS projects helps show activity around project(s), creates energy and momentum, encourages others to get involved, and extends the longevity of the solution by helping shape perceptions of interest levels of the project.

  • Take and Give: If your organization is using OSS then you are already standing on the shoulders and contributions of others. Every time I use DNN I am well aware that I am achieving things through the software that I could never have done alone. Along with helping extend the project’s lifetime, giving back to the community who has freely provided functionality that your organization uses is the “feel good” thing to do. You freely take and use the software, why not give back with the same frequency?

  • Opportunity Cost: Let’s consider the opposite perspective for a moment. What would it ultimately cost your organization if you don’t give back to an OSS project that you are using? That is, if you’re running on OSS software and the project loses momentum, developers abandon the project, and then it stagnates… what would the cost be to your organization for having to switch solutions or maintain it on your own moving forward? These costs come in man hours, sometimes they come in paid license costs, and time spent learning/training your developers on new solutions. Would the “cost” of contributing along the way and continuing to make the solution better be less than the cost of the solution ceasing to exist?

  • Free Cross-Training & Knowledge Exchange: Once your developers get involved in OSS projects and communities they will inevitably meet other devs who are well-trained in the technology. These seasoned devs are great developers to learn from. Your company will likely become better simply by exposing your team to other developers in the OSS projects space. I learn new things every week and month at user groups, in forums, Slack channels, conferences, etc.

  • Increase Efficiency: How long does it take your developers to solve issues within open source software? If your developers are active in OSS projects and communities their networks will be filled with subject matter experts who can assist in resolving issues. This easy-access network of experts essentially allows developers to leverage the knowledge and experience of an ecosystem, which is very powerful. Instead of Googling and searching for answers developers now can tap the minds and experience of people very close to the information they seek. And who doesn’t like efficiency in the business world?

  • Developer Mentors: In my experience it’s easier to find mentors around OSS projects. Generally speaking, developers involved with OSS projects are some of the most giving and generous people you will meet… it’s just the nature of the open source environment. When senior developers see motivated and passionate younger developers entering their communities they enjoy connecting to ensure new members are onboarded correctly and aware of all available resources. Would an organization benefit from their employees learning from more senior developers and finding mentors who can help them do their jobs better?

  • Creative Outlets for Developers: Sometimes developers who have been around a while get mentally drained or tired of working on the same projects. These individuals are great examples of how allowing developers to work on OSS projects can serve as a creative outlet and break up the monotony of constantly working within the same “box”. Have a developer who likes to feel challenged and learn new things… let them contribute to an OSS project and you’ll likely keep them around longer.

In Sum

In this blog I’ve summarized my thoughts around why it’s important for organizations to give back, be active in, and support OSS projects and communities. As one considers justifying OSS participation to the business side of an organization much of the conversation will center around educating the business-side on how OSS ecosystems function. Communicating the potential positive benefits will be what’s needed to help bring on a change in perspective or cultural shift within the organization.

In my mind there are only positives to gain from contributing to OSS projects. Your developers will learn more, be empowered, meet new developers of all ages and skillsets, and your organization will be more efficient, and will likely be viewed as a great organization to work for.

If you don’t want to jump in head first then just try this one small thing to get your feet wet - if your developers have “down time” then simply encourage them focus their energies and time to assisting with the OSS project in any area they choose and watch what happens to your company in the months ahead. Be sure to pay attention to job satisfaction levels, quality of incoming new hires, general passion for work, and the perception of your organization among developers in your space.

After all, have you noticed that OSS projects that thrive are the ones with active community support? Who doesn’t want the project they use to not thrive? From my perspective the benefits of contributing to open source software far outweigh the drawbacks of not contributing.


5 Things I Learned at Microsoft’s Build Conference
5 Things I Learned at Microsoft’s Build Conference

Last week I attended Microsoft’s Build Conference in Seattle. It was my first time attending so I was excited and didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t take long to realize that Microsoft puts on a top-notch event. From DJ’s playing music during the waiting line, to the constantly available live-stream piped everywhere throughout the event, to “cuddle-corner” where attendees could pet animals and relax, to the awesome expo, and non-stop new features and functionality being rolled out one could easily be impressed.

It was indeed a great event and I’d like to share a few things I learned from having attended the conference. These items will be more high-level and conceptual things I noticed versus down-in-the-weeds technology specific items.

1. You Better Embrace the Cloud!

Azure signs at Microsoft Build 2018

As attendees listened to live-streamed sessions and keynotes the word cloud and “Azure” was prevalent throughout. I spent a lot of time in the expo hall of the event and I must have walked around it 6 or 7 times looking and booths and talking with Microsoft staff. Each booth has a navy-blue sign with white letters at the top indicating the technology being demonstrated at the booth. It was very eye-opening how many of the booths started with the word “Azure”. Sure, Azure has been out for a while now and that’s nothing new. I’m just communicating that walking around the expo and listening to sessions and keynotes it is crystal clear that Azure is a major component of many Microsoft technologies.

Take Home Point: If you are reading this and are hesitant to embrace Azure, you should re-think your position, or you’ll soon be left in the dust.

2. Microsoft is Investing More in IOT

Azure Sphere at Microsoft Build 2018

At the event Microsoft released “Sphere” which is a solution for creating highly-secure connected microcontrollers (IOT devices). And you guessed it… they connect to Azure! Many of the highly attended sessions and one of the most highly-trafficked booths all centered around Sphere.

As an IOT hobbyist I spent some time at the Sphere booth asking all kinds of questions about the Sphere Development Kits. I think the devices will be high-powered and offer a lot of functionality, but right now the price-point seems high in comparison to competitor solutions and the device that was being demo’d only connects to wi-fi currently. I imagine in the future they will connect to cellular via a SIM as well. One could argue that the increase in cost is the tradeoff for security as Microsoft touted how secure these devices are.

While micro-controller devices were being demo’d it’s important to note that Microsoft is not making the micro-controllers, rather they are working with established vendors in the industry to do so. Microsoft is collaborating in the design of the devices and helping align them with their IOT strategy for the future.

Take Home Point: Microsoft is continuing to invest in IOT, is linking devices to Azure, and is promoting the security of their IOT solution.

3. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Everywhere

ML & AI at Microsoft Build 2018

Another common thread throughout the event were the words “ML” and “AI”. You could hear this being presented in several sessions, keynotes, and there were booths discussing and demoing these topics as well…. and it makes sense. If your overall strategy is the cloud (Azure) and now IOT devices are easily connected to the cloud and sending tons of data to the cloud, then what will you do with all the data? The answer: you will learn from it and use it to make better decisions and become predictive.

An example demo showed a DJI drone flying over the top of a building looking at HVAC pipes analyzing them for inconsistencies or anomalies. Within seconds the drone was able to pick out the pipe that had the issue and show it to the audience in real-time. One can easily see the benefits of equipping the drone with AI capabilities.

But it doesn’t stop there… Microsoft is making it easy for developers to tie into their ML and AI capabilities in Azure. If you’ve got data stored in Azure, chances are leveraging the ML/AI capabilities offered to you by Microsoft could help your organization.

Take Home Point: Don’t write “ML” and “AI” off as just buzzwords. If you are using Azure then you may be surprised at how ML and AI can already help you. Give it a look!

4. Renewed Energy in the Microsoft Space

Embracing OSS has created new energy at Microsoft Build 2018

One thing that also stuck out to me at the conference was the energy and level of enthusiasm of attendees and exhibitors. And I’m not just talking about Microsoft fan-boys. There were a lot of non-Microsoft developers at the event which was interesting and served as proof to me that Microsoft is on the right track strategically speaking.

As of late Microsoft has been heavily promoting open source and being open in general. From the open-sourcing of many of their .NET Technologies, to embracing non-Microsoft technologies (think running Linux in Azure) Microsoft is earning the respect of developers. But this stuff doesn’t just happen by luck. Microsoft has taken a different strategic stance and it is paying off… you could easily “feel” it while at the conference.

Take Home Point: This ain’t your granddaddy’s Microsoft!

5. Build is Awesome!

Attendees watch a demo at Microsoft Build 2018

I’m glad I went to Microsoft Build. I’ve been to several conferences over the years (including South by Southwest) and Build was by far my favorite. Yes, the content was great, but the conference experience extended beyond the content of the sessions and was woven all throughout all touch points of the event.

Everything was well-planned, organized, and first class from what I could tell. The registration process went smoothly, swag was everywhere, food and drinks were easily available, “Flow” of the expo was easy and open, the venue was great, several hotels were close by, the new technologies and content was awesome, and the Microsoftees were friendly. I didn’t see any attendees who had issues connecting to the internet or complaining about the typical things you’d see at conferences. All the details seemed to have been handled.

After all, where else could you hear about the latest and greatest technologies, pet dogs/rabbits/miniature horses, get free massages, meet the leaders of Microsoft, and have bottomless refreshments and snacks all in the same room?

Take Home Point: If you haven’t been to Build, you should go. It’s a great event.


Big & J Hog Attractants Strike Again
Big & J Hog Attractants Strike Again

If you keep up with the blog or the SC Hog Removal page you know we’ve been getting calls from local farmers with hog problems. We’ve been staying after these hogs as it seems they can reproduce nearly as fast as we can get them off a farmer’s property. It’s a full-time job to keep them at bay and we are having fun with it.

Big & J Hog Attractants We have been using the Big & J hog attractants Hogs Hammer It” and “Pigs Dig It” in combination with corn and I can tell you that the hogs do like it! When they come in they stay until all the corn is gone and leave the place looking like a tractor had plowed through it. Here again leading up to this hunt we’d put out the corn and attractants and hoped things would line up.

Big and J Hog Attractants with Corn Streak

Big & J Hog Attractants

Labor Day Weekend I had to hang around for a day or so this Labor Day weekend and so why not see if the hogs were moving I thought. It was also the first day of deer hunting season in my game zone so I went deer hunting before dark, got some food afterwards and then headed out for hogs.

As it was a holiday weekend some of my hunting partners were unable to go, but at the same time some of my friends were back at home for the holiday. I was able to talk Garth Knight into going hunting with me. I let him know the hogs had been acting oddly lately as far as their feeding schedule so I was not sure what would happen.

A Short Hog Hunt! Garth and I set up overlooking a field that was not far from a swamp. We’d been getting hogs on camera at all hours of the night. Sometimes they would be solo and sometimes they’d be about 15 of them so I didn’t know what to expect. We got there and got setup around 9:15 or so. I was telling Garth about all the lessons we’d learned with night vision technologies, guns, and the way the hogs had been acting lately.

Every few minutes I checked the bottom of the field looking for heat signatures. We’d been there about 45 minutes when I was telling Garth about how the scope can live-stream hunts to the phone. I got up to turn the Wi-Fi on and as I looked through the scope I saw some bright spots coming through the woods. I told him they were on the way! So we finished streaming the video to the phone and just watched as the hogs approached.

I wanted to give the hogs a few minutes to ensure there were no more coming because sometimes there would be large groups trailing the hogs. So we watched the hogs eating the corn for a few minutes. Nothing seemed to be coming behind these hogs so I decided it was time to take action. I asked Garth if he wanted to shoot and he said he’d hold off this time. It took me a little bit to pick out which hog was bigger and I flipped into black hot mode once to see if that would help. Finally, I was able to figure out the hog on the left was the bigger hog and I told Garth to get ready.

A few seconds later, thanks to the Anderson Rifles AM-10 308 Hunter + Pulsar Trail XP 50, the bigger hog was on the ground! Not bad for the first day of deer hunting season right ??

Clint Patterson with Hog

WeHuntSC Hog Close-Up

Garth Knight with Hog


Clint Patterson

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