Clint Patterson's Blog


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Clint's Blog

2021 FunHouse Halloween IOT Project

This year I took the same clown head and built a body around it that can move and added in some fog machine love and set it all on a table to troll the kids in our neighborhood.

If you're interested in previous years implementations check them out below:

Here's a behind the scenes video showing the backside in a tweet..



And here's a video showing the reactions from the kids

Is Your Chauvet Fog Machine Not Working on Arrival?
Chauvet Hurricane 1000 with top off

Pictured Above: Hurricane 1000 with the top off focusing on the problem part, which was the pump.

Recently I received a brand new Chauvet Hurricane 1000 Fog machine. I opened the box, filled it with fog juice, plugged it in, let it heat up, then all it did was make an odd rattling sound. After a lot of research and tinkering I have fixed it and it's a pretty simple fix. I have posted this page and video in hopes of saving someone some heartache of their machine not functioning on arrival.

And here's a video talking through what I did to get it working



2020 Halloween IOT Coffin Clown
2020 Halloween Summary Image


In 2020 I updated the Halloween IOT setup to be a clown in a coffin that was controlled remotely from my site. We had a great time with it.


If you're interested in previous years implementations check them out below:

Here's a video walking through this year's setup


My Interview on Podcast
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Clint Patterson on the SoloCoder Podcast

I was recently contacted by long time DNN'er and Solo Coder podcast creator, Aderson Oliveira, about an interview for his podcast. It was like many of my speaking engagements... someone's tight on speakers or had a recent cancellation and I get to stand in as a stunt double.

It was good to connect and talk with Aderson. After recording the podcast Aderson shared some insight based on our conversation which has made me reflect differently on some things so it was a win/win.

Thanks to Aderson for having me and check Out the podcast below or on the SoloCoder website

Also, check out the podcast on the following...


Top 5 Questions Asked During Intranet Demos
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The solution consulting team at Simpplr has given tons of demos over the past few years. These demos have all centered around one main topic - employee engagement. While old-school and out-dated intranets are still easily found in the wild, modern intranets that drive employee engagement for distributed, agile, and mobile workforces are alive and well. And those aren’t my words - those are the words of analyst firms like Gartner & Forrester!

Trends in the Questions Asked on Demos
Over time, our team has noticed trends emerging from the questions asked by organizations who are looking to drive engagement in today’s modern era. These questions provide insight into the top internal engagement challenges that leaders are looking to solve. So let’s look at the top 5 questions we get asked on demos...

The Top 5 Questions We Get Asked on Demos

  1. How do you authenticate users?
    User authentication is always asked because organizations not only store their user’s information in various types of identity and single-sign-on solutions, but they want to make sure that logging in to an intranet environment is as frictionless as possible. The first barrier to engagement is being able to easily authenticate, which is why this question always comes up.

  2. Can we create targeted content without needing help from IT?
    The term “targeted content” translates to mean personalization. Nobody wants to spend time sifting through content that’s not relevant to them. To keep engagement high, intranets should remove the clutter and provide an efficient experience through personalized content. The phrase “without help from IT” is code for please give us an easy to use system and remove our dependency on the IT department. Who wants to create content if you have to wait on IT to approve it before it can be seen? If you’ve got a system that makes content creation easy and provides automatic personalization then you’re on the right path.

  3. Do you have a mobile app?
    As companies become more distributed and mobile in nature, the ability to connect from any device, at any time, and in any context is critical for success. Having a responsive intranet is good, but it’s not good enough. Modern intranet solutions ship with a mobile app that leverages the device’s native capabilities to drive the highest levels of engagement. For example, can you one-click tap and call or email your co-worker from the org chart in your mobile app - or - can you take a picture and instantly upload it to your intranet?

  4. What integrations do you ship with?
    Organizations are using cloud tools, products, and services now more than ever. Along with being able to have a frictionless login process, organizations want to provide seamless access and integrations with the tools, services, and file shares that they use every day. These are integrations with systems such as Okta, AD, Workday, ADP, OneDrive, SharePoint, Box, Teams, Slack, ServiceNow and the list goes on. Given that we’re using so many services and tools these days, the ability of your intranet to easily integrate with external solutions is critical for success.

  5. Do you have an org chart?
    As companies embrace the trend of a more distributed workforce, remote employees are more prevalent. Whether your organization is large, distributed, or both - the ability to easily locate co-workers and find information about them is crucial. Dynamically created org charts help employees understand where they are located in the hierarchy of the organizational structure and helps them easily find and connect with employees who can give them info they need. Have you ever struggled to find the contact info for someone in your organization? If so, this is where a dynamic org chart could have saved you time.

In Today’s Modern Workforce Engagement Matters Now More than Ever
The questions I’ve just outlined are frequently asked on demos and they reveal what’s important to modern employees. They also relay that leadership understands that ease of use, clear communications, targeted messaging, and driving positive culture are critical factors for success in today’s competitive market.

Luckily for our team, Simpplr makes it really easy to answer these questions and more!

2019 Particle Powered Fright Props
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When we moved into the neighborhood everyone told us “Just wait til Halloween”. Well, they were right! Our friend up the street, Jay Ziobrowski, is super passionate about Halloween and turns his garage, driveway, and entire front yard into a magical haunted house that’s free to kids in the neighborhood. After doing this for several years, everyone in the neighborhood and surrounding area knows about this and the result is that our street gets blocked off by cops and is absolutely flooded during Halloween. It’s non-stop action from 4:30 to somewhere around 10pm and it’s a really fun time.

After running out of candy in the first 2 hours on year 1 we knew we needed to step it up in following years. So, each year I’ve tried to contribute to the energy and excitement on our street by creating some type of Particle-based IOT Halloween device. Check out the devices from previous years:

Halloween, a Great Opportunity to Get Kids Involved & Learning IOT!
Over the years I’ve had my friend’s kids help me with the setups. That is, since these devices are mobile controlled, I enlist kids to push the button on their mobile phones while I record the reactions of trick-or-treaters from my phone. One of the kids has taken an interest in wanting to know how to build these things, so this year I’ve been working with my friend’s son to both build the devices and teach him along the way. I even gave him a Particle dev kit. It has been a fun project for everyone. I’ve also been overwhelming him with text messages and videos as I make incremental progress on each device. Now he’s using Particle at his school for his science project!

Here are some pics from when we first got started…

A kid learning IOT at Halloween

A kid learning IOT at Halloween

Compressed Air, The Key to Speed & The Key to Scaring People!
After doing this for a few years I realized that HOA’s don’t like fire breathing pumpkins and that the best way to scare people is by using compressed air in some shape, form, or fashion. Geared motors just don’t move fast enough … or … if you do make them move fast enough, they are too dangerous and could potentially hurt someone. So, for the past two years I’ve been using a servo to press the button on an air hose to blow air out and move some spooky object toward trick-or-treaters. Nobody gets mad about getting hit with a gust of air!

Last year, right after Halloween, I decided to try something new. I ordered a pneumatic cylinder and solenoid kit from FrightProps. I had no idea how to really make it work, but I wanted to try and low and behold I was able to figure it out. It was way easier than I thought and FrightProps even provided very helpful videos to walk through the hookups for everything. Just a few weeks after last Halloween my mind was already spinning about next year’s Halloween. The pneumatic cylinders with solenoid kits move a lot faster, you can control the speeds, and they use less air. The only negative is that these could potentially be more dangerous. Though, I’m countering the danger by creating physical space around the implementations so that no one will get close enough to be hit or injured. So, I’m happy with the tradeoff and will take extra precaution in the initial setups.

Here's a picture of the solenoid kit from Fright Props

Solenoid kit pic from FrightProps

Quick Show of the Headless Clown & Trash Can “Slimer” in Action

The (Main) Parts
There are a lot of parts used in these devices. Of course, you must have wires, wifi, power, and all the normal things you would anticipate. However, I’m going to just list the main items below. If you have questions about other parts or want to build your own, just submit an email to me through this website and I can connect with you and help you with the smaller details. That said, here is the basis for both IOT Halloween devices:

The Build
One thing to note is that these devices are using the exact same principles, concepts, and code to make them work. At a high level the solenoids just need to be hit with a 12-volt current to make the pneumatic cylinder fire. To bring the pneumatic cylinder back in, simply turn off the power.

To do this we are using a relay that can be controlled by a Particle microcontroller, a Photon. The relay essentially breaks the circuit of the 12 volts going to the solenoid. Then, whenever we call the cloud web service endpoint in the Particle cloud, it invokes a function in the microcontroller which sends the relay a signal. The relay then completes the circuit which allows the 12 volts to flow to the solenoid which consequently causes the cylinder to fire. We let it fire for a specified period of time (say .200 of a second) then we cut power which causes the head to go back in. We control the speed going both in and out via the speed control valves on the solenoids. So, if you had to draw one negative of the solenoid it would be that you can’t programmatically control the speed.

The Slimer in the Trashcan implementation is such that the cylinder needs to be stabilized yet, due to the Slimer mask and body we couldn’t have any support mechanisms coming from the sides to stabilize the cylinder. Since the Slimer ghost must move up and down vertically we need to allow it room to do so. What this means is that the cylinder needed to be stabilized from the bottom. The cylinders I ordered are threaded at the bottom with 3/8 of an inch thread. This happened to match to some steel plumbing pipes that you can find at your local Lowes or Home Depot. So, I bought a few pieces to connect and make it stand up on its own. After that I added in weighted sandbags to keep the cylinder from wobbling whenever it fires. I attached velcro to the solenoid and breadboard and have the parts sticking to the inside of the trashcan walls. You will see these in the build pics below.

The Headless Clown implementation uses actobotics for its internal structure. Actobotics are awesome and are basically like metal legos that you can easily configure however you would like and mount anything you want to them. I’ve mounted the cylinder, hoses, and breadboard setup to it. I stuck the actobotics down into 2 bales of hay for stabilization.

Here are some pics from the build out(s):

The Code
The code to make this work is very simple. I have identical code running on both devices to make these things work. The only thing that is different is the device id!

In Particle – I’ve written a simple program that creates a cloud function which invokes a function on the Photon and all that function does is write a pin from low to high… that’s it! What we’ve done is inject a relay into the circuit of the solenoid which allows us to use some logic to complete or short the circuit.

Here’s the firmware (code) that I’m using for the Particle Photons:


On the Web – I’ve written a basic jQuery AJAX function to call these web API (services) when buttons are clicked. Maybe jQuery is not cool anymore, but it’s pretty simple to implement so it works for me!

Here’s the code I’m using to make an HTTP Post request when a button is clicked. And if you’re worried about me showing you my access token below, no worries… I’ve already recycled it!

Structural & Electrical Video Walkthrough
In this section I aim to give you a structural overview of the devices. Both devices use pneumatic cylinders but are being stabilized in different ways.

Code Video Walkthrough
In this section I walk you through the setup of the devices and the code that I’m using to make them work. The whole point here is… if I can do this, then you can too!

The Halloween Reactions
In my area we currently have an 80% chance of rain on Halloween night so I'm not sure if we'll have any trick-or-treaters at all. I guess we'll see. If the weather cooperates, I will update this page after Halloween with a video showing reactions we get from trick-or-treaters and their parents. Stay tuned for the hopeful post-Halloween-video update!

Next Steps
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I first bumped into DNN around 2005 while working at a local university in the Charlotte area. At that time, I had no idea what DNN or open source was or the impact it would play in the next decade and beyond of my life. Since then I’ve met awesome and generous people, ended up in places I never expected to go, made a lot of friends, and have learned a lot along the way. The DNN platform and community have definitely impacted my life.

Around 2 years ago I was contacted with the challenge of re-engaging with, empowering, and reinvigorating the DNN Community. This happened as the acquisition occurred. Of course, these were all things I wanted to see happen and to get to be a part of it was even better. And while there may have been some bumps in the road, we have come a long way since then.

We’ve Made Great Progress and We’re Just Getting Started
Since re-joining DNN Corp 19 months ago as Ecosystem Manager, the DNN Community has made great strides. DNN Corp leadership followed through on the promise to empower the community and we’ve seen the community undergo an exercise in self-organization and take complete ownership of the source code. We’ve joined the .NET Foundation which ensures the code base will always remain open source and the community now drives the roadmap for the platform. Further reinforcing the progress and contrasting from years past, DNN TAG leadership now has “owner” rights to the DNN platform GitHub repo and can build releases at will.

Outside of the code, the MVP Program was turned over to, and MVPs were elected by, the community. Community members are also running the annual DNN Website Awards Competition. And as of this past week’s DNN-Connect conference in Switzerland, the community has launched its own site, And last but not least, the documentation center was turned over to the community and is now live and in preview mode.

We have indeed come a long way and made great progress since the acquisition. I’ve tried my best to meet the challenge of re-engaging with and empowering the community. Hopefully I’ve played a small role in bringing on some of the positive change in the community. It’s been great to watch the community respond, take initiative, and step up. We still have a way to go and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the journey with the community.

Transitioning Back to DNN Community
I will now return to full time community member as I recently accepted a new role and will be transitioning out of DNN Corp. Moving forward, although I’ll no longer be at DNN Corp, I’ll still be active in the DNN Community. That is, I’ll still be involved with DNN Association, DNN Summit, the DNN Docs team, the Charlotte-based Southern Fried DNN User Group, .NET Foundation activities, and you’ll see me online as well!

Next Steps
I’m excited to have accepted a role as Senior Solutions Consultant at Simpplr. Simpplr is a SaaS based intranet solution with a lot of similarities to DNN. If you are looking for a modern intranet, that is indeed simple to use, feel free to reach out!

Oddly enough, the US-based Simpplr office is located in San Francisco not too far from the old DNN Corp offices. So, I’ll be riding down El Camino Real again soon and for any old DNN’ers let’s connect when I’m in town.

32 Tips to Rock Your Online Sales Demos
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rock your online sales demos

As a sales engineer, I do a lot of online presentations for clients, prospects, colleagues and partners. When conducted well, online presentations and demos can be very effective sales tools. We strive to make our demos interactive.

The sales rep and sales engineer work together like a well-oiled machine throughout the demo. We encourage interaction and strive to be most efficient and effective as possible within the given timeframe.

Each presentation follows the same schedule. There are things to do before the demo, during the demo, then after the demo. In this post, I’ll share 32 tips to help you rock your online presentations.

Before the Demo

1) Prepare

Preparation is an obvious step. I mention it as a reminder that attendees are giving you their time, and their time is valuable. Be respectful of their time by thoroughly preparing and providing value to them. Ultimately a demo is like anything else in life: if you put your time and energy into it, then it will turn out well!

2) Agree on the Agenda Beforehand

Agreeing on the agenda beforehand helps set expectations, reduces wasted time on the demo, and ensures that we only review functionality in which demo attendees are most interested. Since there is generally an hour or so for the demo, we need to make sure we hit the mark given the allotted time. By agreeing on the agenda beforehand, we drastically increase the productivity of the demo.

3) Restart Your Computer Before the Demo

I learned this one the hard way. I had a webinar to present with a few hundred people waiting on me and as soon as I was made the “Presenter” my machine’s memory overloaded and I got the blue screen of death as my computer crashed. I had been working in numerous programs before the demo and apparently had nearly maxed out my memory and making the presenter passed the tipping point resulting in a few hundred people waiting awkwardly on me to reconnect. Now I restart my computer before demos so that my memory is not used up.

4) Know Your Monitor Names

At some point, the presenter role will be passed to you. When his happens, the software (GoToMeeting,, or whatever you use) will ask you which screen you want to share. If you have a multi-monitor setup, this can become challenging if the monitors aren’t numbered or have similar names. Knowing your monitors names beforehand can reduce missteps. You don’t want to accidentally share to the wrong screen!

5) Clear Your Desktop Background

Be sure to reduce the number of potential distractions. Ever been on a demo and as soon as the leader shares their screen, you see their desktop icons and you start looking at all their files to see what they’re interested in? You are not alone, as everyone does it (admit it!).

In order to remove this distraction, be sure to hide your desktop icons or demo from a monitor that doesn’t have any application or document icons on the background. With fewer things to look at, your attendees will be more focused on what you show them.

6) Disable All Pop-Ups

Along the lines of removing distractions, you should turn off all pop-ups that occur on the screen from which you are presenting. The last thing you want is a sales person to send you a Skype message cracking a joke and have it show up during the demo. If you do leave Skype (or any messaging application) on, be sure you know the monitor on which the pop-ups occur.

7) Mute Cell Phones

Everyone knows it, but I’m still listing it here. Mute cell phones so that while you’re presenting there is not a constant vibration happening anytime someone emails or calls you.

8) Empty Browser Cache

If you use the same environment over and over, your browser’s cache can become corrupted. Browsers often try to remember passwords, cache content, cache URL paths, etc. and these cached items can sometimes trip you up. I usually clear my cache before each demo to ensure everything is fresh.

9) Have Water Nearby

Just when you think you’re getting in the groove you will get a “tickle in your throat” and get choked up. You’re going to be talking a lot and a glass of water can save you in long-winded demos and in the moments that you may need to wet the whistle.

10) Have a Back-up Environment Ready to Go

I always have a backup environment prepared should something go wrong with the primary environment. This takes more time up front, but it’s worth it. Having that backup environment can be worth its weight in gold.

11) Have Back-up Internet Access

Have a back-up plan for getting online. Yes, it only happens once in a blue moon, but what if you are scheduled to give a demo on that particular blue moon? Having a My-Fi or hotspot is well worth the investment.

12) Know the Audience

Before the demo, try to find out who will be attending, so that you can speak the right language to them. You don’t want to talk about server architecture if you are demoing to the marketing team; you don’t want to talk to the server guys about lead generation. Tailor your story based on our audience.

13) Have Your Site "Warmed Up"

This won’t apply to all of you, but I demo websites and online communities. I make sure I have my site up and loaded in memory by the time they make me the presenter. I don’t want any time wasted on something to load up. So I keep my site “warm” just minutes before the demo so that the site is up and ready to rock by the time I get controls.

14) Remove Requests to Third Party Services

Some sites load URL’s from third party services, such as Google Fonts, Facebook, and Twitter. In my demo sites, I try to remove these external calls, so that if Facebook is having a bad day, it won’t affect my load time on the demo. There are scenarios where you have to rely on these external calls, but reduce them as much as you can.

During the Demo

15) Take Notes During the Introduction

During the introduction, attendees will tell you new information. In some cases the information shared during the intro can drastically alter what you present.

16) Listen

Listening and waiting to talk are two entirely different things. By listening, you can pick up things that may alter your demo. You can also pick up on personality traits, the mood in the room, and social queues that may help you better connect with the demo attendees. Listening carefully can help you establish better rapport with demo attendees throughout the demo.

17) Roll Call

We like to do a roll call during the intro of a demo as well. It never fails that there is someone in the room that we didn’t anticipate being there. It may be some manager, marketer, or developer who just happened to have another meeting cancel and was able to attend, but usually there is somebody either there or not there that we didn’t expect. This again helps us to more accurately hone in the demo. If all of a sudden the CEO shows up on the demo, then we’ll be sure to add in the value proposition and benefits of each feature as executives don’t necessarily like to know the nuts and bolts, but ask the “why’s” and the “what results can we get” or “what does this help us do” type questions. Taking roll call will help you be on point with your delivery.

18) Time Management: Ask if There Are Any Hard Stops

I ask the question early on as to whether or not the attendees have a “hard stop.”. This helps me know whether or not we can get long-winded with explanations or if we need to be very mindful of the time. Attendees may have an extra 10 to 15 minutes at the end and when that happens we know that we have more time for questions. Finding out the exact ending time of the demo early on can help you better manage time.

19) Smooth Transitions

One thing I strive for is smooth transitions throughout the demo. Whether it’s transitioning from one subject to the next, transitioning from me talking to the attendees talking, or the transition of the “passing of the presenter role,” we want everything to flow as smooth as silk. I ensure that our sales reps know how to pass the presenter in the meeting software we use.

I also tell them to pass the presenter as they are finishing up their last few points. This gives me time to get the presenter role and share the correct monitor. Otherwise, there is an awkward pause where everyone waits on me to get the presenter controls.

20) Set the Tone

People present in different ways and that’s a good thing. Some like questions and interactivity and some don’t. Whatever your style is, set the tone early so that demo attendees know how to act and what to expect. I encourage questions, interruptions, and interactivity, so I put that fact out there very early on in the demo. Setting the tone will eliminate any guessing on the part of your attendees.

21) Questions

I encourage questions during the “Setting the Tone” stage because I want attendees to feel comfortable asking questions. At the same time, each question equals an interruption. The more questions there are and the more disruptions there are, the less smooth the demo goes. Over time, you will begin to see where similar questions get asked. After you denote a trend in the same question being asked then just go ahead and answer the question before it gets asked. This will help things flow more smoothly. So, again, while I encourage questions, I hope to give such a thorough presentation that I remove questions just before they get asked!

22) Control

On some occasions, there will be an attendee who is determined to get you hung up on some very minor technical detail. In these situations, it is your job to control the demo and not let the train de-rail. When these scenarios happen, it’s good to schedule these topics as “follow up” topics so that you can get your demo back on track.

23) Inject Humor

Ever listen to a very dry presenter and wanted to be somewhere else? Don’t be that presenter! When appropriate, I like to inject humor. I crack jokes on the sales guys or on my own Southern accent. Your attendees will relax and build a stronger rapport and maybe even remember you more as a result.

24) The Echo

Oh the echo, ooo… ooo… ooo… You know the echo that I’m talking about! We’ve all been on meetings where one person is using their speakers and their microphone picks up on the sound from the speakers which creates an echo effect. The person usually denies that it’s them, it makes things awkward, and then you have to recover and make things un-awkward again.

So what can you do about this? One option is to mute your participants. You can see which participant is making the noise and then mute them. In some meeting software, you can mute all attendees.

25) Intentional Pauses

You may have heard of the “Power of the Pause” before. If we are presenting a demo and the attendees are not very lively, then I will show a feature and then ask them what they thought about that feature. Sometimes these pauses seem like an eternity and I just let the awkwardness hang until someone responds. While it seems like a long time on my end, I know that attendees may be in a meeting room with the phone on mute and they may be talking to each other or going around the room seeing if anyone has a question.

26) Not Knowing

When I first started giving demos I was scared to death of not knowing something. Though, not knowing something is perfectly fine. If someone asks you a very technical question there is nothing wrong with saying “Hey, I don’t know that answer, let me check with our engineers and then we’ll get back to you.” Admitting that you don’t know something lets the attendees know that you are human, builds credibility, and it also gives you something to follow up on. Following up continues the conversation and gives you another touch point with the lead.

27) Tell a Linear Story

Just as I’m doing here in this blog post, tell a linear story. Build on top of things you’ve already covered. Telling a sequential or linear story makes it easy for attendees to follow you and better consume the information you are presenting to them.

28) Describe Complex Concepts in Many Ways

There will come a time when you have to present or demo something that is complex in nature. When this happens it’s best to try to describe these via multiple concepts. Sometimes people refer to concepts differently so using multiple descriptions can help ensure clarity and that everyone understands and is on the same page.

29) Leave Time for Questions

As you get close to the end of the demo, be sure to check on the clock. If you have a hard stop, you may have to cut a feature set short so that you can leave time for questions. Q&A is critical to the demo because there are some people who will remain quiet until everything is over and then they speak up. We want to ensure that we give those people ample time to voice their thoughts because they can provide great insight.

After the Demo

30) Get Feedback

This is a chance for you to get vital information about the demo. Attendees’ comments can be key indicators as to the demo’s effectiveness and whether or not the lead is ready to move forward.

31) Solidify Next Steps

After the demo is over, we work hard to solidify next steps so we can keep the process moving forward. Identify any “deliverables” that you need to follow up on. Often times these deliverables are PDF documents, blog links, or videos. Summarize the set of deliverables and let attendees know when they can expect them.

32) Follow Up

Once you’ve established those deliverables be sure to follow up in a timely manner. This will help you keep the process moving forward while things are fresh on the demo attendee’s minds.


The reason we conduct demos is to progress a sale forward. If the demo is effective then the lead will want to continue the conversation. Ultimately the demo is a reflection of the presenter and the organization they represent. By fine tuning the process of a demo you can better move your deals forward! I hope these tips have given you some insight into things you can do to have your demos and presentations at their best.

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

Clint Patterson

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