Splunk Enterprise Software

What is Splunk?

Splunk Enterprise Software (“Splunk”) is a powerful tool for searching and exploring data.

Splunk is often used by system administrators, network administrators, and security gurus, but its use is not restricted to these audiences. There is a great deal of business value hidden away in corporate data that Splunk can liberate.

Who uses Splunk?

Splunk is a powerful platform for analyzing machine data, data that machines emit in great volumes but which is seldom used effectively. Machine data is already important in the world of technology and is becoming increasingly important in the world of business.

It’s used by:

  • Security offices
  • Marketing departments
  • System administrators
  • Network administrators
  • Application development teams
  • Application support teams

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How does it work?

  • Splunk begins with indexing, which means gathering all the data from diverse locations and combining it into centralized indexes.
  • Using the indexes, Splunk can quickly search the logs from all servers and hone in on when the problem occurred.
  • Splunk can then drill down into the time period when the problem first occurred to determine its root cause. Alerts can then be created to head the issue off in the future.

Splunk provides one repository, data indexing, search & visualization for your data.

What are the potential Splunk data sources?

During indexing, Splunk can read machine data from any number of sources. The most common input sources are:

  • files: Splunk can monitor specific files or directories. If data is added to a file or a new file is added to a monitored directory, Splunk reads that data.
  • the network: Splunk can listen on TCP or UDP ports, reading any data sent.
  • scripted inputs: Splunk can read the machine data output by programs

or scripts, such as a Unix® command or a custom script that monitors sensors.
Technically speaking, retrieved events from your indexes are called “events.” If those events are transformed or summarized so that there is no longer a one-tone mapping with events on disk, they are properly called “results.”

Announcements at the Splunk 2015 Conference in a slide

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SPL (Search Processing Language)

The Search Processing Language encompasses all the search commands and their functions, arguments and clauses. Search commands tell Splunk Enterprise what to do to the events you retrieved from the indexes. For example, you need to use a command to filter unwanted information, extract more information, evaluate new fields, calculate statistics, reorder your results, or create a chart.

Some search commands have functions and arguments associated with them. Use these functions and their arguments to specify how the commands act on your results and/or which fields they act upon. For example, use functions to format the data in a chart, describe what kind of statistics to calculate, and specify what fields to evaluate. Some commands also use clauses to specify how to group your search results.

There are four broad categorizations for all the search commands: distributable streaming, stateful streaming, transforming, generating.

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Where can I find more information?

http://docs.splunk.com
http://docs.splunk.com/Documentation/Splunk
http://splunkbase.com
http://docs.splunk.com/images/a/a3/Splunk_4.x_cheatsheet.pdf
http://answers.splunk.com/
Reference Guide http://www.splunk.com/web_assets/pdfs/secure/Splunk_Quick_Reference_Guide.pdf
Educational Videos http://www.splunk.com/view/education-videos/SP-CAAAGB6
Splunk Blogs http://blogs.splunk.com/
Splunk Wiki http://wiki.splunk.com/Special:SplunkSearch/wiki?q=your-query
Certification and education http://www.splunk.com/view/education/SP-CAAAAH9

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The Difference between Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS

At the end of 2013 Microsoft became a visible cloud provider and Amazon was already leader. In July 2014 the two leaders in the market of public Cloud are Amazon and Microsoft. In the future Google and IBM are probably going to join the hyper scale cloud providers (Amazon and Microsoft).

AWS Free Tier vs. Azure Free Trial

An Amazon AWS free tier and a Microsoft Azure free trial are offered. It’s easy to sign up for both– you need only an email, phone number and a credit card. You will have limited instances and resources but it’s great for training or a test. You will have a basic support and access to resources like forums.

The AWS free tier is a monthly recurring program. You can use EC2, ELB, EBS, S3 for up to 12 months. It allows for Micro server (with Windows and Linux, EBS, Cloud watch, billing alerts, ect.). The charges over  the free trier will be automatically charged to the credit card.

The Azure free trial is a 30 day trial of $200 worth of services for 30 days. When you exceed $200 you will not be charged automatically, the resources will be decommissioned but they are not gone. An MSDN subscription includes $100+/month Azure services and a discount on VM’s.

Features

The naming of features is different but here is the mapping.

AWS EC2 = Azure Virtual Machines
AWS VPC = Azure Virtual Network
AWS RDS = Azure SQL Database
AWS ELB = Azure Traffic Manager (load balancer)
AWS Route 53 = Windows Azure name resolution (DNS service)
AWS EBS/S3/Glacier = Azure Storage
AWS Direct Connect = Azure ExpressRoute
AWS IAM With MFA = Azure Multi Factor Authentication
AWS Security Groups (more advanced than Azure EndPoints) = Azure EndPoints
AWS SNS/SES = Azure Service Bus
AWS EC2ConfigService = Azure VM Agent
AWS SQS (simple queuing services)/Auto Scale (more advanced than Azure) = Azure Scheduler
AWS CloudFormation/CloudWatch/AutoScale (more advanced than Azure) = Azure Automation

Both support license mobility (bring your own license)- except the OS license. Both support Puppet and Chef integration from automation and scripting perspective.

AWS RDS vs. Azure SQL Instance

Both provide hosted managed database; both simplify management, deployment and automatic snapshots/backups. Both provide multi availability zones alternatives. Both have the option to BYOL (bring our own license). AWS provides MySQL, PostgreSQL and Oracle, Azure SQL is only one.

AWS VPC Peering vs. Azure Site-to-Site

AWS allows connection between two VPC using private subnets. No transitive peering allowed. Azure security is done through ACL and Windows Firewall, uses VPN to connect.

AWS Reserved Instances vs. Azure Commitment Plans


AWS Reserved Instances (EC2)
are in three tiers (Low, Medium, and High). There is an upfront fee with a discounted rate per hour. Offer 1 to 3 year term with upfront fee. You can sell them on the Marketplace.

Azure Commitment Plans are based on a monthly pay commitment. The minimum is $500/month on Pay Monthly Plan- discount between 20-32%. It applies to all resources except Storage. It’s simple to use compare to the AWS reserved instances. They are non-refundable.

Cost Structures

You need to compare the AWS reserved instances with Azure Commitment Plans. If an instance doesn’t fit you- change it! Monitor your cost and usage.

You need to approach the Cloud- it’s not enough to be a technologist, you need to be a business analyst too. The benefit of public cloud is a known cost. You need to calculate in minimum and maximum, not at an exact cost. Both Amazon and Microsoft will provide you with calculators. AWS is slightly cheaper but it depends on your commitment plan and your MSDN subscription.

AWS will bill you per hour; Azure will bill you per minute (but cash per hour is not your main factor). You should look at discounts & features.

Monitoring and Alerting

AWS offers CloudWatch:
– free monitoring with up to 7 metrics, every 5 min
– paid 10 alerts, 1 million API requests per 1 min
– ELB have active service monitoring
– Metrics for Billing
– Notifications using SNS, SES
– Provide Phone app for basic monitoring and management

Azure Monitoring:
– Basic monitoring included (CPU, Data In/Out, Disk Read/Write Throughput every 3 min)
– Verbose monitoring pulls performance metrics from server instance every 5min, 1h and 12h

Support

Free Support
27x7x365 AWS customer service (not tech. support). Technical support – some with AWS, none with Azure.
Developer Tier Support
AWS $49 per month, Azure $29 per month but you get different thing. AWS will give you Architecture Support, Best practice guidance, Client Side Diagnostic Tools- you don’t get that from Azure.
Medium Tier Support
You get Architecture Support and IAM & API for support access with AWS but that feature is not available for Azure.
High Tier Support
It’s comparable between the two.

Security Access

MFA is an absolute must for both.  Azure lacks a bit the granularity for the users and roles.

AWS offers IAM with MFA:
– Highly detailed delegation (user, role, federation)
– Security keys for SDK/command tools/PowerShell access
– Use SSL Cert for identification thru SSH or password retrieval
– Built in support for clearing local password on boot

Azure offers Highlights – MFA:
– Admin, O365, SDK
– Federation access
– User account thru PowerShell
– OTP thru mobile app, phone call, SMS – Security reports

Compliance AWS has a lot more compliance than Azure (ex. SOC 3). AWS has a government cloud.

SLAs

It’s measured in 5 min intervals. AWS will not declare an outage unless you designed your platform properly. When the service goes down, you will get a credit for the time the service was down.

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Public Cloud vs. On Premise Servers

In the last 20 years we have mastered building and operating the infrastructure, now we at IT are broker of services. You are managing the service between Microsoft or Amazon and end users.

On premise we scale-up, on the public cloud scale-out. On premises we assumed a reliable infrastructure (we designed, configured, manage it this way), on the cloud we should expect infrastructure failure.  In service oriented architecture (SOA) the application is aware of the infrastructure, knows how to reconfigure or recalibrate (ex. If it requires more databases- it can make database services requests). Traditionally on the premise the application is completely unaware of the infrastructure.  In order the service to be service oriented and the application to be designed for the public cloud, it needs to be written that way -the application to manage them and understands infrastructure.

On premise is fixed cost, buying upfront. With the public cloud is usage-based cost. On the cloud there is a lot of automation of the management of the instances.

Are there really cost savings OpE vs CapEx? With on premise servers we are used to overprovision. If we learn the differences between the public cloud and the on premise- we can save money.

The flexibility and elasticity of the Cloud is very helpful- you can change hardware at a reboot.

Security and Compliance

If you don’t secure the public cloud is your fault. You are provided but you have to implement it.

Hybrid Cloud

Currently there are around 94% machines on the premise vs. 6% on the public cloud.

Having servers on premise and in the public cloud (the hybrid model) is most likely the future. The cost for the public cloud is continuously going down. The public cloud will be the default and the exception will be the on premise.

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Microsoft Game Jam for Kids 2

February 22, 2014

At the Microsoft Office in Playa Vista, CA
Two outstanding Microsoft evangelists- Daniel Egan and Bret Stateham.
Sponsors: Microsoft, Boon Staffing, Doris Aves, Universal Music Group.
Organizer Nia Angelina Samir.

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50 lucky and bright children. Most of the children are 6th graders at the Walter Reed IHP and Humanities Academy. In the middle of the photo is one remarkable teacher who cares and works hard for her students. Gratitude to Mrs. Shahine.

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9 amazing volunteers from Universal Music Group. Doris Aves, JB Marsh, Lazslo Pinter, Lana Osnas, Brian DeRue, Igor Marchenko, Meenakshi Ganesh (MSG), Bharath Chekuri, Nia Samir. As well as other volunteers who made this possible like Svetoslav Todorov, Erik Gracia and others.

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Big smiles from all the children.

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We had a audio recording room.

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The children were focused and worked hard.

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The children had a chance to present the games and art work they created.

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The volunteers.

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The children raffled prizes from Universal Music Group. (with Ina Samir)

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Car racing for fun. The cars are controlled with a Windows phone.

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Of course what’s an event at the Microsoft Office without a game on the Xbox.

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Thank you to all of you, sponsors, volunteers, participants and teachers!

Nia Angelina Samir

Yours Truly

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ASP.NET MVC Training

November 2014

I took 1 week training “Developing ASP.NET 4.5 MVC Web Applications – 20486” and I liked it. It’s an instructor-led class but it’s all done remotely. I was alone in an small office. Technically I don’t need to be in the course provider’s office but I find it convenient. It was my second class with ONLC and with this format of training. Everybody is remotely and all around US. Because of the East Coast participants the classes start way too early but they end early too. This time my class was Monday to Friday, 7AM-1:45PM PST. The class instructor MJ Parker was in NYC and she did a fabulous job.

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There were 11 other participants. Some of them I wish I met in person and at least one I wish was never part of the class.

What I liked about the class:
– I like the convenience. This format offers a lot of freedom.
– You get the best instructors as they are not limited by the geographical location.
– I find it amazing that you can take the class as many times as you like in a year.

What can be improved about the class:
– There were way too many technical difficulties with the remote machines, conference bridge, Internet (the building I was in lost Internet for an hour or more and of course that means no phone, no labs, no instructor).
– The class format doesn’t facilitate you to network with the other participants and I’ll never know or connect with the people I spent a whole week on the phone with.
– Some participants are encouraged by the impersonal setting of the class to ask shameless and stupid questions.

This time I got a printed book from the class and I needed a lot of coffee. I love the book. I hope to get some time around Christmas to look at it some more.
MVC Training

The class doesn’t just cover designing and developing models, controllers, views for the web applications.

Here are the highlights on what else the class covered:
– Testing and Debugging.
– Front end development with CSS.
– Security.
– Using JavaScript and jQuery.
– Using SQL Azure.
– Creating/consuming Azure Web Services.
– Calling and developing Web APIs.
– Deploying web applications.

You get 1 month of free Azure account with the class. A lot of fun.
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The bottom line is I loved it. Unfortunately because of the remote setting I was still able still to work half of the time and not to pay attention to the class but I’m thankful for the class and the knowledge.

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Warner Bros. Studio Tour

We went on the VIP Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Burbank, California. $55 per person.
Sunday evening, the last tour of the day at 4PM.
If you plan to take the tour and have the opportunity I would recommend you go during the week when there is a chance to see the stars in action. You need to book in advance to secure your spot but you can buy the tickets when you get there.

The tour is 2 hours in a group of 12 and this is the transportation:
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We learned about the ‘green department’ at Warner Bros that sometimes needs to color every leaf to match it to the season they are filming in.
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The tallest sound stage in North America. The biggest sound stage in the World is in Canada.Microsoft Field Trip

The workshop.Microsoft Field Trip

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The Transportation Museum with the Duessenberg of Leonardo Di Caprio from the Great Gatsby in the forefront and the “Shaguar” from the Austin Powers movies behind it and the “General Lee” of the Dukes of Hazard in the back.
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Ford requested their logo to be removed for the movie, can you believe it?
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Now filming on the Warner Bros. Lot – television shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Conan, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Mentalist, Two and a Half Men, Pretty Little Liars, Mike & Molly.

The stage for the 1 billion a year show ‘Friends’. It’s the most watched show ever, even now. Every minute of every day somebody around the World is watching ‘Friends’.
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The actors of ‘Friends’ get 24 million a year each till the end of their lives…
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The office and parking spot for Ellen:
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We visited the Warner Bros. Museum. There are two floors and the second floor is dedicated to Harry Potter. Superman’s costumes and other clothes are on the first floor.
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You are not allowed to take photos in the sound stages but we visited many of them… Ellen, Tow and a Half Man, The Big Bang Theory…
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At the Transportation Museum we were able to take a photo in a green screen. At the end of the tour we were offered to buy it for $5.40. I thought it’s worth.Microsoft Field Trip

Here is the website for Warner Bros Studios tours.

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The Microsoft Field Trip (part 2)

October 26, 2013

The Mictosoft Store Field Trip, Century City, CA

6th grade students are here to take a tour and a class.

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3D printing with Windows 8.1

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Taking a class on Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

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Creating art with Windows 8 apps is what everybody wanted to do.

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The 3D printer is exciting!

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It’s all smiles after an awesome Saturday at the store.

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Thank you, Microsoft and the wonderful staff at the store!

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The Maurice DiMino’s Million Dollar Message Boot Camp Experience

Maurice DiMino is a fantastic trainer, mesmerizing public speaker and an outstanding sales person.
Maurice Boot Camp

He teaches you how to create your perfect pitch. He calls it the ‘Million Dollar Message 3 day Boot camp Intensive’. For me it was a weekend of hands on training, learning and getting inspired.

I took my 11 year old daughter Ina with me. Maurice was right when he said there are three generations of people in the room. There were 50 of us at the camp excited and eager to learn- from all different walks of life and for different reasons. The most amazing part is that around 30% of the people in the room were taking the class for the 2nd,3rd or n-th time. Maurice definitely has a raving fan club.

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Hypnotists, wellness instructors, personal coaches, end of life caregivers, marketing people, business owners and others. I have been trying to find the right description for the event as I don’t think you can figure it out from Maurics’s sales sheet. My description for the event is an entrepreneurship workshop.

I met some very nice and interesting people. Half of the room were Toastmasters and I’m a Toastmaster. Cheering, supportive and social. Maurice’s family is addictive.

Maurice is an incredible trainer. Maurice is generously giving, speaking from his heart. He doesn’t need coffee. He walks around the room as a panther. Energy flows around him. Don’t believe him when he says he is lazy.

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Maurice made the room feel like a home, people in the room as family and you as being part of one whole. He encouraged people to talk to each other, to make friends, to make connections. That’s genius because it makes you enjoy the experience and it helps Maurice as we all can support him in the joint venture.

The first day Friday was specifically intensive. Maurice taught us his template. It’s an exceptional smart format to present and make a sale. It starts with getting the attention of the public, thanking the host and the opportunity, presenting yourself and proving your expertise, bringing a story, seeding, explaining the problem and the solution. It ends with your offer, the bonus, the limitation, special offer, call to action and thanks. It’s a 26 point golden template. This day is worth the whole boot camp. Maurice gave each participant a notebook and even my daughter wrote many pages of gold. This is a template for a 30 min talk or a 3 day event.

The second day, Saturday, was deluded sugar. We still got awesome information but I got annoyed by the overselling and cheesy moments. It wasn’t just Maurice selling his Master Program but we had other speakers. Craig Duswalt talked to us about his rockstar’s ways of marketing. I thought Craig has brilliant ideas and I learned from him but it was a lot of selling of his seminar. Craig Duswalt’s seminar teaches and inspires you to write and publish your book in 30 days! This is exactly the case when I say- I was interested of coming to your seminar until you started selling. I like your ideas but I’m not going to pay to listen 50% of the time about you. I like you but don’t shower me with information and pictures about yourself. Let me work for that and be an enigma.

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Maurice gave us something very valuable. He gave us a template to create our verbal business card. It’s a 1 minute introduction ready for the case when everybody in the room introduces themselves. The advice is to go after everybody else introduces themselves as they will pay more attention after they say their own introduction. The template contains getting the attention of the audience, your name, your product (slow down and smile at that time), benefit story, include your audience, call to action, offer and repeat your name and product.

The third day, Sunday, was more fun and more selling. I have to admit unfortunately I had to leave early and I missed the marketing presentation from Jennifer Bagley. Day three of the boot camp is about how to make money. In the morning we had a great presentation on sponsorship from Ron Seaver.

Every speaker Maurice invites to his camp is selling something. It looks like every one of them follows the same format. My service is $5,000 but just for you right now I’ll sell it for 40% of the price. It’s too intrusive for my taste but that didn’t stop people from buying. For me that was a turn off even if I wanted to buy their service. My taste requires to prove me you are an expert and give me your website. I’ll come to you when I’m ready as I’m not an impulsive buyer.

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Maurice calls them the Mama Mia Moments. The bottom line is what I learned and what got engraved in my mind. Do you think that’s enough of value for a weekend?

– I started feeling well about writing my speeches in advance. Maurice calls it crafting. Write down your speeches, craft your speech.
Training should be a conversation, training session should be conducted Maurice’s way- engaging the public and making them work.
– Graig Duswalt believes we all have a book inside us and we should publish it. A book gives you an instant credibility. Everybody should and can publish a book!
– When you are in front of the room, you are contagious.
– Emotions sell more than logic. Stories sell, facts tell.
– When somebody asks a question, go to the opposite side of the room. When answering, go to the center.
Have a verbal business card ready.
– Acknowledge what’s happening in the room.
– If you want success in addition to your branding, website, blog, social network, you need to get on radio, TV, write a book, create web seminars, and have a college gig, corporate gig, events.
– Create your fan club that will rave and sale for you.
– Everybody needs a mentor.
– Big part of organizing an event is getting sponsorship.

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My action list after this weekend:

– Use Maurice’s template.
– Publish a book in 12 months.
– Craft my own quotes and make my own quote collection.
– Write down my stories and make a story collection.
– Read Napoleon Hill’s ‘Thinking Grow Rich’.
– Have my verbal business card that I crafted this weekend, practiced and ready.
– Research Google hangouts and blog talk radio.
– Research book publishing with Kindle Direct Publisher, Nook Press and Lulu.

This is my advice and wish list for Maurice:

– I would like Maurice to open a personal coaching academy.
– I would like to be invited to Maurice’s corporate training on leadership, communication and team work.
– I would like Maurice to make a boot camp on ‘How to teach and train others.’

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My most valuable lesson this week:

Perfect training is when somebody engages you. Maurice gives us a template – one that nobody can fail to use. Maurice gave us 30 minutes of practical information, 15 minutes of crafting and a lottery who will get to the front of the room on that hour to present their message. The chance that you will be called in front of the room to present for 50 people what you have learned is a big motivator to never get distracted. When Maurice teaches, I pay 100% attention. That excludes the time when he sells- I shut down 100% at those moments. I like the seeding- seeding gets to me but I hate the 20 min sales pitch.

From now on I don’t like training that a person stands up in front of the room and talks for more than an hour without asking for action from me because we both know my attention span is 10 minutes if no results are expected from me.

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What do I want to be when I grow up?
I want to be a great teacher and trainer just like Maurice DiMino.

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Overview of Icenium Graphite

The installation of Icenium Graphite took me less than 5 minutes. You have multiple options how to login to this cloud based development environment. You can use your Telerik, Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Live ID.

5 minutes and I’m ready to create an application that will work on iOS and Android devices! It cannot be easier to get started.

There are 3 templates you can use for your project. All of them are Apache Cordova cross-platform based projects. The jQuery project has already the jQuery libraries imported into your project. Here is an overview of what the Kendo project can offer you- mobile widgets and frameworks.
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The work space is clean and intuitive. You will be creating an HTML5 application. The Graphite editor offers IntelliSense.
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You can customize your environment.
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The Menu options:
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The simulator has the same minimalistic and clean feel. You can simulate the GPS location. The same project can be run in iPhone, iPhone 5, iPad, Android Phone and Android Tablet simulations.
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HTML5 Resources

HTML5HTML5 = JavaScript + CSS3 + HTML

You can build web applications for any browser and you can build mobile applications for Android, iOS and Windows 8 using HTML5.

HTML5 includes the fifth revision of the HTML markup language, CSS3, and a series of JavaScript APIs. Together, these technologies enable you to create complex applications that previously could be created only for desktop platforms. (html5rocks.com)

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language.

JavaScript (JS) is an open source programming language commonly implemented as part of a web browser in order to create enhanced user interfaces and dynamic websites.

jQuery is a multi-browser JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML. It is the most popular JavaScript library in use today. (jquery.com)

Modernizr is a JavaScript library that detects the availability of native implementations for next-generation Web Technologies. These technologies are new features that stem from the ongoing HTML5 and CSS 3 specifications.(modernizr.com)

JSON or JavaScript Object Notation, is a text-based open standard designed for human-readable data interchange. It is derived from the JavaScript scripting language for representing simple data structures and associative arrays, called objects. Despite its relationship to JavaScript, it is language-independent, with parsers available for many languages.

You can use any text editor to write HTML5 (yes, even Notepad).

Resources

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