Become a Git Wizard with 7 Simple Tricks

With git, it’s possible to do things that must be considered pure magic for anyone using older version control systems. Learn 7 simple tricks that will help you take the leap beyond commit, push and pull and let you leverage the powers of git. With these 7 tricks, you will be the git Wizard of the office.

This is a summary of my talk at Tech Days Sweden 2015. The explanations here are very brief, if you would like me to explain anything of this in more detail in a separate post, please leave a comment.

Verify Database Access with PowerShell

Even though there is no SQL Client tooling installed on a machine, PowerShell can be used to execute SQL. I recently had to verify that I had been granted Dbo rights on a database that was on a server only reachable from a web server. The web server of course had no SQL tooling whatsoever installed. To do that I created a small Powershell script that only relies on the .NET Framework.

The typical recommendation for executing SQL commands from powershell is to use the Invoke-Sqlcmd cmdlet. I’m sure its a good tool, but unfortunately it isn’t installed by default. Sometimes installing extra software is not an option, so instead I’ve used PowerShell’s built in capability to create and use .NET objects. The Sql client objects are included in the default .NET framework installation, so this should work on any Windows machine.

Android Photo Frame

photoframeWe share pictures of nearly every moment of our lives (and our kids’ lives) through social media. That’s great for distant relatives that can handle a smart phone, but what about those that can’t? I recently setup a cheap Android tablet as a remote controlled digital photo frame.

I wanted a setup where the user wouldn’t have to do anything at all. The photo frame should start automatically in the morning, show photos during the day and shut down in the evening. No user interaction should be required at all. I also had to make everything remote controlled as it would be located about 500km away, without anyone nearby that could handle any tech support. Last, but not least, it’s important that it’s as easy to share to the photo frame as to any other social media from a mobile phone.

Posted in Other on 2015-09-29

TLS on Azure with Legacy Android

In a recent project using Azure, SSL worked perfectly on all devices – but those running Android 2.X. It turned out that legacy Android has limited support for modern SSL/TLS features such as SNI and subject alternative name.

2015-09-08 09_08_05-WebmailGetting TLS configuration right nowadays can be quite tricky. Google Chrome is aggressively pushing for deprecation of old insecure standards by showing warnings or even errors on sites using deprecated https settings. Using a certificate issued merely two years ago, with the standards where common then now shows an error because the SHA-1 algorithm is not considered to be safe for the two remaining years of the lifetime of the certificate. The Google Chrome team is definitely pushing hard for moving web cryptography to safer grounds.

On the other end of the scale (no, I won’t be complaining about Windows XP, it’s not that much of a problem any more) is another Google product: Android. Even with the blazingly fast technology development, people are (IMHO rightfully) expecting a multi €100-device to last for more than a few years. That means that a lot of devices out there are still running Android 2.X. In this particular project, the target audience are not that tech-savvy. A lot of the users even have had to invest in their first smart phone, making their call-and-sms-only phones to history. With that audience, we had to support those old devices. On the other hand SSL warnings or errors in Chrome was unacceptable, so we had to find something that worked for all those platforms – and we did. Oh and by the way, the budget was really, really tight, so we had to find something that wasn’t too expensive.

Software Development is a Job – Coding is a Passion

I'm Anders Abel, a systems architect and developer working for Kentor in Stockholm, Sweden.

profile for Anders Abel at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

The complete code for all posts is available on GitHub.

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