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Space shuttles aren't built for rocket scientists, they're built for astronauts. The goal isn't the ship, its the moon.

Copyright: Rick G. Garibay

Thank You to All of My JDRF Ride to Cure Supporters

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 22:33:45 GMT

On November 19th, I joined nearly 10,000 cyclists in Tucson, AZ for the 33rd annual Tour de Tucson. Each cyclist participated in the distance of their choice, ranging from 27, 40, 55, 75 and 100 mile rides. The distance chosen by each cyclist is as varied as the reason they ride. Some ride for health, others to compete and many ride for a cause that is near to their hearts. I ride for Sarah. So much has changed in just over two years since Sarah’s diagnosis on October 20th, 2014. Sarah is growing into a beautiful young girl, and is already halfway through 6th grade. Now 11, Sarah is just like all of her friends. She’s a great student (currently straight A’s) into music, art, and continues to compete in Traditional Irish Dance. In fact, the same weekend of El Tour, she was in San Francisco competing in Oireachtas (regionals). Sarah worked hard all year to qualify and finished 47 out of 80 girls from around the country in her solo dance and placed 12th in her Céilí (group) dance taking home a medal for her Bracken School of Irish Dance. Needless to say, Sarah has not let Type 1 Diabetes slow her down! Despite having to constantly monitor her blood glucose levels and administer insulin throughout the day, Sarah is an amazing girl who has shown me a strength and resilience that inspired me to join the JDRF cycling team in 2015 as a rider and this year as a coach. This spring I studied for and completed the requirements for obtaining my USA Cycling Level 3 coaching license and spent 20 weeks training with and supporting fellow team members who are fully committed to finding a cure for T1D. My team included athletes with T1D and friends and family of people with T1D. In addition to riding 20, 30, 40, 50+ miles almost every weekend, each team member also committed to a fundraising target and raising awareness at El Tour by donning our official JDRF team ride jerseys (the picture included is of the 40 mile team I led in Tucson right before the start). This has been an amazing role that has enabled me to apply my community evangelism talents with my passion for cycling to have a greater impact in the research community. The road to the event and ride day itself was an incredible experience and while Sarah could not be there with me physically, she was in my heart as I trained, coached and rode with the JDRF cycling team for every pedal stroke and mile until we crossed the finish line. Joined by my Mom and Ricky (now 9), it was a beautiful day of fellowship, camaraderie and celebration with each athlete achieving their personal distance targets beating 20 mph head winds and telling their T1D story along the way. Simply put, this ride and this experience would not have been possible without your support. Thanks to your generous contributions I was able to exceed my fundraising goal by 184%, raising a total of $4,600 towards $56,080 raised by my Desert Southwest Chapter for a total of $675,002 raised across all participating chapters for Type 1 Diabetes research! These numbers matter. I am more confident than ever that every dollar we’ve raised will take us one step closer to finding a cure for Sarah and I believe that JDRF is our best hope in getting there. Inspiring this confidence is JDRF’s influence, funding and impact is the recent breakthrough announced on September 28th with the FDA’s approval of the first ever artificial pancreas. This closed loop system was funded largely by JDRF and is the first ever approved to automate the dosing of insulin to manage and regulate insulin levels by enabling a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump (see images left and right respectively) to communicate with each other and make decisions based on current blood glucose levels. Sarah has been wearing a CGM (which reports her blood sugar level every 5 minutes via a sensor that is inserted just under her skin) and an insulin pump (which inserts a tiny needle into her skin that serves as a port for insulin delivery) every day of her life for the last year and a half. While this technology is AMAZI[...]

JDRF & Body Focus Fitness & Performance Partner to Hammer Out Type 1 Diabetes

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 18:45:41 GMT

At Amazon, we focus on our customers and work backwards. One of the common tools we use to do this when coming up with a new feature or product idea is what we call a forward looking press release. Often abbreviated as “PR FAQ”, the forward looking press release sets the vision for the product or feature based on the customer benefits and business outcomes achieved following the launch. While it may seem a little strange or counterintuitive to write what happened before it’s actually happened, I’ve found it to be a great tool to think about the impact an idea can have, how customers will react (customer obsession) as well as how to define and measure its success (right a lot). The PR FAQ typically includes “audacious goals” (think big) an FAQ that includes a list of questions that provide additional clarity on strategy, execution and metrics (John Rossman has a good explanation of this mechanism in his book “The Amazon Way” which is a great and fairly accurate read: I recently partnered with Kevin Freeland, founder of Body Focus Fitness & Performance and JDRF to plan a fundraiser in October and thought I would dog food this approach outside of work to try to sell the idea and get two different organizations aligned and committed to a shared goal. I’ll spare you the FAQs, but hope I can count on your support for this fun event on October 22nd at the Body Focus Fitness & Performance studio in Tempe. You can learn more about the event and register here: +++ October 22, 2016 - Tempe AZ On Saturday, October 22nd, JDRF teamed up with local fitness icon Kevin Freeland of Body Focus Fitness & Performance for a chance to take a swing at Type 1 Diabetes. Over 80 members of the local Phoenix community participated in a fun filled morning that provided each participant with an opportunity to swing a large sledgehammer against massive tractor tires to determine who could achieve the most swings within a 5-minute period. Eager participants began lining up outside of the Body Focus Fitness Studio in Tempe at 7:50 AM for the first of 8 time slots running from 8 AM through noon. Categories for wielding a sledgehammer of various sizes included men’s (16 lbs.), women’s (12 lbs.), youth (5 lbs.) and male/female tandem teams with prizes including fitness assessments (a $30 value) a full private workout ($60 value) an Amazon Fire tablet and two Amazon Fire TV sticks. "This is a great opportunity to partner with a local fitness organization that has a history of not only developing some of the valley's strongest athletes but also has a track record of consistently giving back to the local Phoenix metro community" said Peter Ferry, JDRF Development Manager, Desert Southwest Chapter. Prior to this year’s event, Body Focus Fitness and Performance hosted “Hammer out Hunger” wherein the entry fee was a frozen turkey to benefit Andre House, a local ministry to the homeless and poor populations of the Phoenix area. “Building on the success of previous fundraising events, this is an opportunity to both provide awareness and raise funds for critical research that aims to well, hammer out Type 1 and I am honored to be a part of it” said Kevin Freeland, founder of the fitness studio in Tempe. The event met and exceeded expectations, raising nearly $1,900 for the annual JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes as part of the annual Tour de Tucson on November 19 which draws over 10,000 cyclists from around the country. This event is JDRF’s second largest fundraising effort behind the annual One Walk held in the spring. Did you know Type 1 Diabetes: 1. Is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin – a hormone essential to turning food into energy. 2. Affects 1.25M Americans living with T1D including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and over a million adults (20 years old and older) 3. Strikes both children and adults suddenly and is unrelated to diet and lifestyle. 4. Requir[...]

I Ride (and Coach) for Sarah

Sat, 11 Jun 2016 22:51:31 GMT

  I joined JDRF AZ Riders last year for the Tour de Tucson where I rode 55 miles for my daughter Sarah. It was an amazing experience in which I got a chance to get to know this awesome community of cyclists focusing their energy and love for cycling on one thing: finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Together, the Desert Southwest Chapter, led by the JDRF AZ Riders team raised over $57,000 towards $880K to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes in 2015! In getting to know the coaches for the Southwest Chapter, PK Steffan and Scott Pahnke, we saw an opportunity to provide more ride options and locations as the JDRF Southwest chapter continues to grow. With over 60 JDRF AZ Riders across the Phoenix Metroplex and Tucson, nearly 33% are in the central/east valley, and with me living in Ahwatukee and working in Tempe, focusing on adding more ride options in central/east Phoenix made a lot of sense. Having obtained my USA Cycling Level I Coaching license, attending safety training and obtaining coaching insurance, I am thrilled to share that I am now an official JDRF cycling coach! I am grateful for the trust that JDRF, PK and Scott have placed in me in providing the opportunity to combine my passion for cycling with raising awareness and helping to find a cure for T1D. This is a privilege that I take very seriously and I am very much looking forward to supporting and growing our community of riders as we train and get stronger for the upcoming Ride to Cure Type 1 Diabetes at the 2016 Tour de Tucson on November 20th. I Ride for Sarah   Sarah was diagnosed with Type 1 in October 20th, 2014. One September afternoon while my wife was taking Sarah to a routine dance practice (my daughter is a competitive traditional Irish dancer for the Bracken School of Irish Dance) they were T-boned by a big white van. The car was totaled but fortunately both where OK. A doctor follow up the next day revealed abnormal weight loss since her last birthday check up in May and a family vacation gave us the proximity to notice extreme thirst and frequent bathroom visits. The accident was a blessing in disguise as it gave us initial awareness there might be something off, without which the diagnosis could have been much more tragic. As a I discuss here, the road has not been easy but Sarah is an amazing girl who has shown me a strength and resilience that has inspired me to apply my technical and community talents coupled with my passion for cycling for the most important cause I have ever been engaged with in my life. We need YOU! While I have over a decade of experience working within the technical/development community, this is the greatest, most important cause I have ever been involved in. As with any community, we can only be successful if we continue to grow and with ever new rider that joins our team, we are raising awareness and moving one step closer to a world without finger pricks and needles. Whether you are a seasoned veteran cyclist or are brand new and want to join an amazing community of athletes that ride, train and have fun together and most importantly have each other’s back to ensure that every rider crosses the finish line in November, then the JDRF AZ Riders team is the team for you! We publish a training calendar on the team website ( as well as events on our Facebook page (yes, I have finally joined Facebook specifically for this new role, so you KNOW my heart is in it!). There are several options for riding both in Phoenix and Tucson with the option to ride with the north/west or central/east valley groups. Our goal is to provide you with flexible locations that are most convenient for you and ensure that there is always a ride available every weekend as well as alternating between Saturday and Sunday rides.    On that note, I will be hosting our first official JDRF central/east valley training ride tomorrow at 6:30 AM at the 40th Street & Pecos Park & Ride. This will be a relatively flat 22 mile ride (we can do less [...]

I’m Hiring in Phoenix/Tempe!

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 21:44:39 GMT

Over 2MM Sellers in 10 countries (and growing) depend on the Amazon Marketplace Listings Platform to list their products for sale on to more than 200M customers (and growing) around the world. Located in Tempe, AZ, my team provides APIs that manage the ingest of millions of listing requests per day in a horizontally scalable, secure and durable manner. We also provide asynchronous orchestration for dozens of internal Amazon Partners that rely on our platform to compose work on behalf of our Sellers ensuring that the right data is routed to the right Partner at the right time. In addition, we serve internal tenants that make up some of the flagship Amazon brands you know and love such as Kindle, Audible, Amazon Fresh, and Zappos. Together with our Sellers, internal tenants and Amazon Partners, we power the Amazon flywheel driving earth’s largest selection, lowest prices and availability. Over 55% of Amazon units sold flow through our platform and our job doesn’t end there. From exposing APIs that help our Sellers list, manage and fulfill their inventory to serving the secure ingest and workflow needs of various teams across the Amazon ecosystem, our mission is to provide the most innovative, scalable, and reliable systems in the world. We’re looking for Software Development Engineers (SDEs) with at least 5 years of software development experience across the software development lifecycle. If you are fanatical about your customers and an owner that is passionate about distributed computing at true cloud scale, please read on. At Amazon, we own our customer experience which starts with every line of code you write. Building on AWS services you may already be familiar with, you will start with the customer and work backwards to design and deliver innovative new features that make listing on Amazon as frictionless for our Sellers as possible. Joining a team that upon hitting sprint goals, reaches for even higher velocity and greater customer impact, you will collaborate with peers to maintain a high bar on engineering excellence ensuring that your code and tests meet your team’s definition of done. Relentlessly focused on scale and continuous improvement, you will consider the cost and trade-offs of implementing one feature over another and commit every 3 weeks to delivering on shared goals while releasing new software to Production several times a week/day.  At Amazon, we also own our team’s operations. As a member of our team, you will focus on the health of your platform, APIs and components. Working with state-of-the-art monitoring infrastructure, you’ll focus on ensuring the platform is humming along by adopting an ambient operational mindset, challenging anomalies by diving deep and when there is a problem, you’ll be a member of rotation of first responders responsible for mitigating customer impact within minutes and identifying root cause and proposing long-term remediation for eradicating recurring root causes. At Amazon, we are: Entrepreneurial –We build solutions for all Sellers, regardless of size. Innovative – Our problem space evolves every day due to scale, new categories and new geographies. There is no playbook for a Marketplace of this size, so innovation and creativity are a must. Passionate – We are passionate about our customers, both Sellers and Buyers. Everyone’s an owner at Amazon, and our team is no exception. Our business is growing fast and the pace is even faster. Leaders – We recognize the desire for people to lead, whether it is the development of a new feature or ownership of a new category. We invest in our team members, providing challenging roles with significant responsibility. Coaching and mentoring is taken seriously to ensure we continue to build a company we can be extremely proud of. The ideal candidate will have a mix of strong soft and technical skills: Desirable Soft Skills Strong sense of ownership, urgency, and drive. Ability t[...]

High Performing Teams

Wed, 28 Oct 2015 04:27:49 GMT

At Amazon, we live and breathe our Leadership Principles.

This year, we introduced a new Leadership Principle: Learn and Be Curious.

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves.

They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.


I’ve been encouraging my two teams to really take some time to think about how they want to execute on this principle by either taking on a goal (we are very goal-oriented at Amazon) that they will work on individually (outside of Scrum) or, use this goal to drive new innovation and opportunity(image) within our platform within our Scrum team.

For the former approach, I asked each team member that has presented a Learn and Be Curious (L&BC) goal to me to back out the time they want to invest from our Sprint capacity. For example, if the Sprint capacity is usually 220 hours, and two team members are working on a L&BC goal, our capacity is adjusted to 180 hours to provide both engineers 20 hours across 3 weeks to deliver on their personal L&BC goal.

Early on in the Sprint, I noticed that the burn down was trending nicely (we use the burn down as just one of many information radiators on my team). Then I noticed a sharp dip over about 3 days which is not unusual for this team. About a week in, the sharp dip continued so I asked about the burn down at the end of stand up one morning wondering if they needed more work.

On the contrary! The team had self organized to ensure that they had enough time to work on their L&BC goals without having to be randomized between the core Sprint work and the L&BC work. This way, with the Sprint goals well in sight, they could take much of the last week to work on their L&BC without having to task switch between Sprint work and their personal goal work.

When you have the privilege of leading a high performing team, they will self organize to optimize for the most efficient and friction free outcome.

As a leader, it is important that you have the right metrics and data to ensure that you can audit as needed and ask the right questions. But, most importantly, stay out of their way and let them do what they do best.


Restarting Heroku Dynos for NightScout (or other Adventures)

Sun, 25 Oct 2015 17:20:11 GMT

The great folks at Nightscout recently published an update to members/subscribers regarding another breaking Mongolabs change. (image)

In a nutshell, recently, Mongolabs updated their MongoDb database to 3.0.7 which appears to be breaking Nightscout and other clients. My guess is that the fix recommended below ensures any pooled and or unauthenticated connections are released, but I haven’t dug deeper to verify.

If you host your Nightscout Website or Bridge on Heroku, keep reading. My intent in this post is to provide a simple way to restart your app without a lot of technical experience required.

If you are hosting the Nightscout Website or Nightscout Bridge on Heroku, you may stumble to figure out how to ‘restart’ the apps, called “Dynamos” (Step 2 on the right). On Microsoft Azure, it’s very simple to restart an Azure Website but Heroku is a bit more subtle.

A few Google searches reveals the heroku restart command line command, but I doubt most  NightScout users are going to take the time to download client SDKs, set up Procfiles, etc. and there does not appear to be any documented way to restart a Dyno from the UI/Dashboard.

Poking around a bit, I found the solution is simple:

1. Click on your Dyno (i.e. this will be the app that is either running your Website or Bridge) to bring up the setting page.

2. On the settings page, Click Edit:


3. Once in “Edit” mode, you can switch your Dyano off


4. Be sure to hit Save.

5. Repeat Steps 2 and 3, turn the Dyno back on and hit Save.

Note, I did not have to wait 10 minutes for the fix to take effect. You should be able to refresh your website and it should work.

Hope this helps anyone needing to “restart” a Dyno. If it doesn’t work for you, please drop me an email or hit me up on twitter: @rickggaribay


Joining Amazon

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:53:53 GMT

In 1999, I started my career in software development as kind of an accident. Just out of the Army I was hired by First USA Bank (now JP Morgan Chase) to answer phones for their burgeoning customer service center in Austin, TX. The job paid $10.40 an hour, providing additional income to help cover what little the very generous GI Bill didn’t. Together, it was enough to cover full tuition at St. Edward’s University, rent for a one bedroom apartment and live and eat pretty comfortably for being 24. About 3 months into my job as a Customer Service Representative, I was selected for a “special project”. These typically ran from anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple months and were an opportunity to get off the phones for a bit and learn the business while doing fairly clerical work for busy managers. In this case, I had lucked out with an opportunity to work for the Operations Manager for the Austin site who had the then very progressive idea of putting his Ops manual in HTML so that his team could easily refer to it without having to flip through a big three ring binder. Through this process, I taught myself basic HTML and CSS and got really good with MS Word and Power Point. Thanks to him and a little bit of chutzpah on my part, I never answered another customer service call again. This project ignited a passion for writing code that JP Morgan Chase would continue to very generously fulfill for over four years. I learned VBA, Access Forms and graduated to Classic ASP (thank you Scott Mitchell) and SQL Server 7. I was doing BI (dynamic, hand coded reports using ASP 3.0) before the term existed for the credit card operations business which at the time was pretty innovative. So much so, that we had teams from American Express and Bank of America visit our team to learn how we were doing it. I also dabbled in DNA and COM+ while at the bank but thankfully realized that .NET was the path forward and got pretty good at full stack web development with ASP.NET. I built one of the company’s first intranet portals for the auto and home lending operations group on ASP.NET 1.1. From there, I moved on to DriveTime where I learned enterprise mobility, EAI and SOA working on a major fleet management system we built on Windows Mobile 5, .NET 2.0 and BizTalk Server from the ground up. I learned enough to become dangerous with BizTalk Sever 2004 from Todd Sussman (who we hired as a BizTalk consultant-Todd had just moved from Israel to join Neudesic) and Brian Loesgen’s “BizTalk Unleashed” book (pretty much the BizTalk bible at the time, maybe still). Within no time, my team and I were doing messaging and eventing work and designing orchestrations that talked to RPG programs running on the IBM iSeries as well as consuming C++ modules exposed as Web Services in a fleet management package called Maximus. I would soon scrap all of the ASMX and .NET Remoting services we’d written in favor of Indigo/WCF. Thanks to Juval Lowy’s incomparable books on the subject and patient mentoring, I got pretty good with WCF forming a bias for WCF and WF for messaging and workflow that I’d pretty much keep thereafter. By 2006 I was very deep in integration technologies and was regularly speaking at local user groups and code camps. Shortly after joining ESS (now IHS) as an Architect and PM later that year, I published my first paid article focused on EAI with BizTalk. I further honed my WCF skills by implementing automation and workflow features for ESS’ Essential Suite product. The company had an amazing work-life balance which allowed me to get more involved in the community but consequently resulted in some restlessness that invariably led me to follow Todd Sussman to Neudesic where I joined the Connected Systems Development (CSD) practice (I would end up running this practice as General Manager for over 3 years). Shortly after joining the company, I was awarded my[...]

Type 1 Diabetes, Open Source Software and The Internet of (life saving) Things

Tue, 20 Jan 2015 01:38:10 GMT

Some of you may be aware that my 9 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. To say that the time since has been an emotional roller coaster would be a gross understatement but thankfully she is doing great and adjusting really well. While huge strides have been made in the treatment of T1D, one of the main things that the disease steals from you and your family is time and peace of mind. Finger pricks, injections, treating lows all occupy time away from living a regular life. What most people don't know is that with type 1, going low (i.e. blood sugar dropping) is far more dangerous that being high. Type 1 Diabetes is a Family Disease When you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn't produce insulin so you have one choice: Add insulin via injections or die. Pretty much that simple. The irony is that while we can't live without insulin due to its critical role of delivering energy (sugar) to our cells for normal brain and bodily functions, too much insulin can also kill you because it is incredibly efficient at delivering the sugar in your bloodstream to hungry cells (or fat storage if they’re well topped off). Without sugar (glucose to precise) your body, starting with your brain, literally shuts down. But too much sugar in the blood stream (which someone with T1D will always have without supplemental insulin) causes damage to organs and over time can lead to impaired eyesight, nerve damage and a host of other issues. So the key is to maintain a balance of external sugars (carbs) and insulin since your body (specifically, your pancreas) is unable to do so. The problem is that we make crummy substitutes for doing the important work of the pancreas. The result is life that feels like your constantly walking a tightrope where one miscalculation in the amount of insulin administered could quickly turn into an emergency situation. Most families are very good at detecting the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Irritability, perspiration, nervous shakes and confusion are common indicators that someone with T1D is “going low” and so far my daughter has been really good about detecting these symptoms by staying in tune with her body and her feelings and being super responsible about her tests. We are extraordinarily fortunate to have an amazing care team including teachers, nurses and faculty at school, dance instructors, piano teachers and relatives who have learned the symptoms and can act in the event my daughter doesn’t realize she’s going low (sudden confusion is a common symptom). Maintaining this balance is especially frightening at night during sleep because it is possible to go low without recognizing the symptoms (the person is peacefully sleeping) and the family and care team are also asleep. Far too many children, young adults and grow ups have sadly died in their sleep because they didn’t realize they were going low and before they could medicate- as simple as drinking a juice box or eating a snack size pack of Skittles- its too late. The cure for parents of children with T1D is to set the alarm clock for 2 or 3 AM (a new routine in my home) and do a test to ensure that if she is low we can get her back up. 9.9 times out of 10 she is fine, right within range but we have had a couple of near lows. This is especially important on high exercise days like dance or running club because the body consumes more sugar (energy) during times of peak activity that can sometimes gradually bring sugar surplus down. In the event that someone with T1D is very high in the middle of the night (again, despite the utmost care, unlike the perfect pancreas and liver team, we can and will make mistakes in calculations) he or she must take insulin to bring the blood sugar down to non-damaging normal range, and that means a pretty awful, sleepless night with more finger pricks.  As you can imagine, this is not fun[...]

Visual Studio Live Washington, D.C. – Xamarin + Azure Mobile Services

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 00:32:16 GMT

Long overdue, here are my slides from VS Live DC last month.

I plan on getting my demos up on Gitbub and will update this post when I do.

Secure, federated identity. A durable, reliable and scalable backend. Scalable messaging fabrics that unlock assets both in the cloud and behind the firewall. All of these are table stakes when delivering modern mobile enterprise applications. Whether you are building responsive web apps for devices or targeting iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Windows Store apps, as a mobile developer, you must focus on delivering a beautiful and functional user experience if you want your apps to be adopted. What if you could have all of this plus the power or Visual Studio 2013 and Windows Azure? Well, now you can! Instead of reinventing the wheel each and every time you need to target a new device platform, learn how Visual Studio 2013 and Xamarin allow you to target iOS, Android and Windows devices while promoting reuse of code assets across platforms. And when you're done with the front–end work and are ready to wire up your mobile app, come see how Microsoft Azure Mobile Services provides a simplified stack that tackles security, durability, reliability and modern messaging all with just a few lines of code. In this session, you'll learn how you can harness the power of Visual Studio 2013 with the flexibility of Xamarin and the power of Microsoft Azure Mobile Services to tackle all of your cross platform and back end chores quickly and easily so you can focus on what your users really care about.

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Visual Studio Live D.C. – BizTalk Services Bridges & Hybrid Connections

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 00:28:16 GMT


Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services is a new breed of PaaS middleware capabilities (iPaaS) for building a new generation of applications and solutions that extend beyond the traditional business, network and security boundaries of the enterprise. More than just messaging, MABS delivers robust routing, transformation, mediation and enrichment capabilities to your hybrid applications enabling a whole new generation of connectivity across the enterprise, devices and clouds. In this session, we'll wire up a responsive mobile web app to a back-end application residing behind the firewall using a low friction, RESTful approach. We'll cover how to map from your application domain to other system, application APIs and options for pushing data to multiple destinations including Microsoft Azure, Web Services, and FTP. You will learn how MABS can take the pain out of sharing information behind the firewall, support many of the rich mapping capabilities you've come to expect from BizTalk making integration with 3rd party service providers and assets behind the firewall a breeze.

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Service Assisted Communications on Microsoft Azure

Tue, 11 Nov 2014 23:20:51 GMT

I had the privilege of presenting at Azure Conf in Channel9 studios a couple of weeks ago. This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure to present at AzureConf (see my 2012 talk on WebSockets here:

I covered a ton of content in just over 60 minutes including a command demo with a Fez Spider board and Azure Service Bus and a sneak peak of Azure Device Gateway (code-name Reykjavik) deployment on my Azure subscription to demonstrate deployment, telemetry, inquires and commands with a software emulator.

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Direct Link to Channel9

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Visual Studio Live Redmond – 8/18 to 8/21

Mon, 11 Aug 2014 23:38:01 GMT

The Goods... Thank you Redmond, 1105 Media, Microsoft, fellow speakers and all attendees for a great show. I had a blast! height="400" marginheight="0" src="//" frameborder="0" width="476" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no"> Code:   height="400" marginheight="0" src="//" frameborder="0" width="476" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no"> Code: +++   I’m thrilled to be speaking at VS Live Redmond next week. The show starts on Monday August 18th and goes through Thursday the 21st on Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. Events in Redmond are always a special treat as it gives everyone a chance to see the campus, interact with product team members and as always, meet and hang out with some of the best, most recognized speakers in the industry like Ted Neward, Michael Collier, Brian Noyes, Eric Boyd, Rachel Appel, Miguel Castro, Rocky Lhotka, Andrew Brust- the list goes on. I’ll be delivering two Azure focused presentations on the Internet of Things and API development with NodeJS. Since there is only so much space available for the abstracts themselves, I thought I’d elaborate a bit on what you can expect from each session in this short post. You can find more details about both talks on the VS Live Redmond website or go directly to the abstracts by following the links below. From the Internet of Things to Intelligent Systems: A Developer's Primer In this talk, I lay the foundation for IoT and why you, as a developer should care. I’ll show off a handful of devices ranging from Arduino, Netduino and Fez Spider and demonstrate a number of common patterns currently in the wild including default communication, brokered and service assisted. We’ll explore the challenges that exist today in supporting commands, notifications, inquiries and telemetry. I’ll then spend some time giving you an in-depth tour of Reykjavik, Microsoft’s code name for its reference architecture focused on delivering highly scalable messaging fabrics for modern IoT solutions. We’ll take a look at the reference architecture and how it maps to components on Microsoft Azure. I’ll then demonstrate what a first-class Reykjavik device looks like and demonstrate live telemetry and commands for an end-to-end tour of Reykjavik. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Clemens and team over the last several weeks so this promises to be an inside look at the reference architecture and general shape of things you're unlikely to find publically anywhere else. Learn more about this talk here: or follow the conversation on Twitter #VSLTH04 Building APIs with NodeJS on Microsoft Azure Websites This is a talk that I’ve been working on for several months now and continues to evolve. As I discuss in my latest article in CODE Magazine, it started off as a spike for teaching myself basic NodeJS and kind of evolved into a little project for work that needed a hosting environment. After exploring various options, Azure Websites made the most sense and this talk focuses on the key features and functionality of a little URL shortening API along with key ALM considerations like IDE, unit testing, continuous integration and deployment. I’ll walk you through each step I took in building this API from scratch and deploy it live to Azure Websites as well as show you some really cool things you can do with the Kudu console when things go awry (as they almost always do in a live demo :-)) More about this talk here: or follow the conversation on Twitter  #VSLW09 If you plan on a[...]

Building a Simple NodeJS API on Microsoft Azure Websites from Start to Finish

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 19:41:14 GMT

NodeJS is a powerful framework for building IO-centric applications with JavaScript. Although it hasn’t yet reached a major version number (as of this writing, the latest build is 0.10.28), the level of developer, community, and industry support for NodeJS is nothing short of astounding. From Wal-Mart to LinkedIn, NodeJS is powering more and more of the experiences with which you interact every day.

Although there are many options for hosting NodeJS applications, Microsoft has been an early supporter of NodeJS from the beginning by making direct investments in the framework and demonstrating a commitment to making NodeJS a first class citizen on Windows, both on-premises and on Microsoft Azure.

In my new article for CODE Magazine, I provide a lap around NodeJS and Microsoft Azure Websites by showing you a simple but functional API that I recently developed from the ground up. I’ll start by discussing the design of the API, go on to reviewing implementation details, and then proceed to pushing the API live on Microsoft Azure Websites.

You can read the article here as well as on Amazon and at your local news stand.


Visual Studio Live Chicago Recap: Building APIs with NodeJS on Microsoft Azure Websites

Sat, 10 May 2014 00:10:11 GMT

My first talk at VS Live Chicago this week (if you’re looking for my IoT talk, please click here) was based on a talk I started doing last year demonstrating fundamental unit testing techniques with NodeJS and Mocha. Since then, the code and the talk has evolved into a real API currently is early alpha at Neudesic.

In this session, we started with looking at the problem – and opportunity- with long, ugly URLs and how most URL minification APIs like, tinyurl, etc. solve the problem today.

From there, we looked at why NodeJS is a great choice for building a Web API and proceeded to build the 3 key APIs required to fulfill the most fundamental features you’d expect from a URL shortening API including:

  • Shorten
    • When I submit a long, ugly URL to the create API, I should get back a neurl.
  • Redirect
    • When I submit a neurl to the submit API, my request should be automatically redirected.
  • Hits
    • When I submit a neurl to the hits API, I should get back the number of hits/redirects for that neurl.

With the API up an running on my laptop, we proceeded to create an Azure Website and push the Node app via my local Git repository, taking it live. All was not well unfortunately as initial testing of the Shorten API returned 500 errors. A quick look at the log dumps using the venerable Kudu console revealed the cause: The environment variable for the MongoDB connection string didn’t exist on the Azure Website deployment which was quickly remedied by adding the variable to the website from the Azure portal. Yes, this error was fully contrived, but Kudu is so cool.

With the API up and running, we exercised it a bit, verifying that the Redirect and Hits APIs were good to go and the scaled out the API from one to six instances with just a few clicks.

As the API continues to mature, I’ll update the talk to demonstrate how this level of indirection brought forth by virtualizing the actual URL (as with traditional services and APIs) introduces many opportunities to interact with the person consuming the API (all via URIs!) as they take the journey that starts with the click and ends with the final destination.

Without further ado, the code and more details on the talk can be found below.



Speaking of which, if you haven’t already, why not register for Visual Studio Live Redmond or Washington DC? Early bird discounts are currently available so join me to see where we can take this API from here! h


Visual Studio Live Chicago Recap: From the Internet of Things to Intelligent Systems - A Developer's Primer

Fri, 09 May 2014 23:41:19 GMT

I had the pleasure of presenting at Visual Studio Live! Chicago this week. Here is a recap of my second talk “From the Internet of Things to Intelligent Systems- A Developer’s Primer (if you’re looking for a recap of my “Building APIs with NodeJS on Microsoft Azure Websites” you can find it here). While analysts and industry pundits can’t seem to agree on just how big IoT will be in the next 5 years, one thing they all agree on is that it will be big. From a bearish 50B internet connected devices by 2020, to a more moderate 75B and bullish 200B, all analysts agree that IoT is going to be big. But the reality is that IoT isn’t something that’s coming. It’s already here and this change is happening faster than anyone could have imagined. Microsoft predicts that by 2017, the entire space will represent over $1.7T in market opportunity spanning from manufacturing and energy to retail, healthcare and transportation. While it is still very early, it is clear to see that the monetization opportunities at this level of scale are tremendous. As I discussed in my talk, the real opportunity for organizations across all industries is two-fold. First, the data and analytical insights that the telemetry (voluntary data shared by the devices) will provide will change the way companies plan, execute and the rate at which they will adapt and adjust to changing conditions in their physical environments. This brings new meaning to decision support and no industry will be left untouched in this regard. These insights will lead to intelligent systems that are capable of taking action at a distance based either on pre-configured rules that interpret this real-time device telemetry or other command and control logic that prompts communication with device. As a somewhat trivial but useful example, imagine your coffee maker sending you an SMS asking you permission to approve a descaling job. Another popular example of a product that’s already had significant commercial success is the Nest thermostat. Using microcontrollers very similar to the ones I demonstrated, these are simple examples that are already possible today. Beyond the commercial space, another very real example is a project my team led for our client that involved streaming meter and sensor telemetry from a large downtown metroplex enabling real-time, dynamic pricing, up-to-the-minute views into parking availability and significant cost and efficiency savings by adopting a directed enforcement approach to ticketing. So, IoT is already everywhere and in many cases, as developers we’re already behind. For example, what patterns do you use for managing command and control operations? How do you approach addressability? How do you overcome resource constraints on devices ranging in size from drink coasters to postage stamps? How do you scale to hundreds and thousands of devices that are sharing telemetry data every few seconds? What about security? While 75 minutes is not a ton of time to tackle all of these questions, I walked the audience through the following four scenarios based on the definition of the Command message pattern in the "Service Assisted Communications" paper that Clemens Vasters (@clemensv) at Microsoft published this February: 1. Default Communication Model with Arduino - demonstrates the default communication model whereby the Arduino provides its own API (via a Web Server adapted by zoomcat). Commands are sent from the command source to the device in a point to point manner. 2. Brokered Device Communication with Netduino Plus 2 - demonstrates an evolution from the point to point default communication model to a brokered approach to issuing device command[...]