Author Archives: MattG

Using PowerShell with RESTful API’s – BirdDogHR API Module

In the last few months at work we have been putting a concentrated effort on integrating different cloud hosted systems with our on-premise systems. This usually means using some kind of ETL Tool to interact with an API and either use an API with the on-premise application or dumping directly into a Database.

When we decided to start automating some of our Onboarding Processes the hurdle came up that the ETL Tool isn’t going to trigger Account Creation and other IT related actions. My logical thought was I can interact with an API using PowerShell! I had done this a little bit in the past but nothing significant – so I had a bit of learning to do!

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Life Update

This blog has been quite dead for a while now. Never fear I am still around! Life has been busy, work has been busy, and I really took a step back from being on the computer 24×7.

I took a new job back in 2015 which lead me to believe I would have tons of free time – not the case; but not exactly a bad thing. Being out of consulting did free up a lot of my schedule and gave me a chance to focus more on my social life and my personal health. In-fact after settling into my new job (About 6 months!) I decided to put a huge focus on my weight. I had gotten all the way up to 245-250 lbs., I had low energy, it was extremely hard for me to do anything due to weight in combination with my Muscular Dystrophy and enough was enough. I started exercising using a manual chair around the house in late January of 2016 – I took a serious focus into my diet in early March of 2016. I am happy to say I am down to 185 lbs. I have had a hard time since December of last year losing weight and I am going to be putting a big focus into dropping another 20 lbs.

Now that my health is in better shape, I am spending tons of time with friends and exercising semi-regularly. With the weight loss I am not having nearly as much of an issue with my muscle weakness from my Muscular Dystrophy and I am even walking around the house/neighborhood and shopping some!

Last time I tried kick-starting this blog was with the HoloLens – it was a fun experience but quickly died off due to the learning curve to get into programming and me trying to balance my health/social & work life. Keep in mind this blog is completely outside of my work life and tends to consume into other parts of life that I just couldn’t dedicate to.

I am not going to commit to regular updates on this blog; however, I do have some stuff I’ve been working on recently that I am going to be posting in the coming weeks. So please keep tuned to this blog!

My Microsoft HoloLens Adventure – Updates on Studying

A couple of weeks ago I made a post on the study materials I planned on leveraging to learn how to program for the Microsoft HoloLens. Well this weekend was the first time I finally started really digging in and I quickly identified that the videos I intended to use may have been a bit off on exactly what I wanted to learn.

In an effort to be open and honest with everyone with my adventure I wanted to share this and point you towards the resources I’ve decided to leverage instead. As I had mentioned in the last post My Microsoft HoloLens Adventure – Preparing Study Resources I had looked over some Basics videos back in March when I first started looking into this, I haven’t really touched those since March as I was getting kind of board with it and it was all stuff I had done when I was in college.

The next section in that post was Universal Apps, which I had never worked with. I started watching the Developing Universal Windows Apps with C# and XAML video and quickly realized it was going to be too high level for me since I had such a limited experience with it. I tried searching for the videos they mention at the beginning of that course but was unable to find them on MVA. I was however able to find Windows 10 Development for Absolute Beginners – in the first 10 minutes I was able to figure out how to get my first 2D Application running for HoloLens… yes all it was is a button that shows text that says Hello World, but it was an app!

 

My Microsoft HoloLens Adventure – First Impressions of the HoloLens

it’s been over two weeks since my last post; however I have an excuse! It may not be a good excuse, however I went on a vacation to beautiful Las Vegas and shockingly decided I didn’t want to do anything computer related while out there (who would have thought?) Also before you ask – no I didn’t take the HoloLens to Vegas with me – in retrospect I think I could have made some decent money if I had and let people take pictures with it, everyone dressed like Mickey Mouse and Minions on the strip seem to make a good of enough of a living!

Matt in Las Vegas riding the High Rider

On the High Roller in Las Vegas

Anyway, I have now been back to reality for about a week and it is time to get my butt back in gear! So let’s talk the well over-due first impressions I need to share regarding the Microsoft HoloLens.

Disclaimer: Before we dive into my first impressions I do want to call out that this device is designed as a developer build – this is by no means a final release of the system or designed for consumer use I will reference this throughout my comments because I am not being as critical as some may have been on this device.

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My Microsoft HoloLens Adventure – Preparing Study Resources

As I continue my adventure of learning how to program for the HoloLens, the first step is actually learning how to program! I am lucky enough that I took some programming classes while in College and I’ve done a lot of Scripting in Windows PowerShell – this helps me understand programming constructs. I just need to become more well-practices in the area of Object Oriented Programming and understanding the C# Syntax.

visual-studio-2013-logo

Basics:

To do this I actually started digging in a bit back in March covering some of the basics to refresh my memory. One of my favorite resources is the Microsoft Virtual Academy. I haven’t watched much but the first video I started watching was Bob Tabor’s C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners. As the subject says this is for absolute beginners so I’ve done a bit of skimming on a lot of the videos, but it gives a good introduction if you haven’t programmed before. I most likely will continue to skim these videos occasionally just to keep my mind fresh since I haven’t written a full blow application before.

Universal Apps:

The next video series I intend to watch is the Developing Universal Windows Apps with C# and XAML. The reason I am wanting to check with video out is my applications I want to have work across all Windows Platforms – this is something I’ve never done so it’ll be a challenge to pick it up. The nice thing about using this as a stepping stone is Universal Apps will not only work on HoloLens but also Windows 8+ Windows PC’s and Windows Phones.

HoloLens Apps:

When developing for the HoloLens there are two different types of app models, let’s explore each one.

2D Apps:

2D HoloLens apps will be the easiest ones to build – at least I think it will be for me. These apps are just like any other Windows Universal App, except the HoloLens will project the 2D App on a wall, or in front of you while using the HoloLens.

To make 2D Apps on the HoloLens I am intending to heavily rely on the Developing Uniersal Windows Apps with C# and XAML that is referenced under Universal Apps section.

In addition to the video the Microsoft Dev Center also has a couple of pages on building 2D Apps.

Building 2D apps
Current limitations for apps using APIs from the shell

Holographic Apps:

Holographic Apps are a very new concept – this is what makes the HoloLens a truly magical experience. You will see 3D renderings throughout your house, office, or where ever you are using the HoloLens at.

To start developing for HoloLens you must understand the different ways to interact with the HoloLens. This includes

World coordinates
Gaze input
Gesture input
Voice input
Spatial sound
Spatial mapping

To get a better understanding of the ways you interact with the HoloLens I suggest taking a look at the Development Overview video from Microsoft.

As I continue my adventure with learning how to develop for HoloLens I’ll make sure I share more information as I find it.