Quick Introduction to the Computer Vision API

Brad Kirtley .NET, Technology Snapshot, Tutorial Leave a Comment

Machine learning is a hot topic these days because the biggest tech companies are focused on taking this technology to a new level. For instance, to help develop autonomous driving cars, better interaction between you and your house with products like the Amazon Echo.

Machine learning is a core sub-area of artificial intelligence. Machine learning enables computers to self-learn without being explicitly programmed. As new data comes available, the computer has the ability to learn, grow, change, and develop itself to make better decision in the future. This technology will help reduce the workload and possible incorrect diagnoses when radiologist read films, reducing the amount of accidents on our highways caused by human error, possible reduction of inappropriate message / images / videos from bullying on social network sites.

This article will touch on one of the many Artificial Intelligence API’s that Microsoft has built for public consumption. We will specifically focus on the step-by-step process of uploading a picture, passing that picture onto the Microsoft Cognitive Services – Computer Vision API, and retrieving different attributes about that image. This is an aspect of AI technology that companies like Facebook & Google are using to try to stop bullying and other issue within social networking. Let’s get started…



Using ELK In .NET Applications

Chase Aucoin .NET, Microservices, Technology Snapshot Leave a Comment

This article is part of a series of articles about modern tooling and techniques for building distributed systems in DotNet.

In our first article, we saw how easy it was to set up a full ELK stack by leveraging pre-built containers. In this blog, I show how to leverage ELK in a .NET application and aggregate our logs into a single place. You will see just how simple it is to start getting some insights into your application. Let’s get started…



Containers For .NET Developers

Chase Aucoin .NET, Docker, Microservices, Technology Snapshot Leave a Comment

This is going to be the first post in a series of articles about modern tooling and techniques for building distributed systems. In this post, I will show how to use Docker for Windows to set up an ELK (Elasticsearch, Kibana, Logstash) server that we are going to use in future articles. The series is particularly geared toward traditional .NET developers. Let’s get started…



Creating A Custom Amazon Alexa Skill

Ryan Nguyen .NET, Programming, Tutorial Leave a Comment

With the explosion of the internet of things (IoT), many companies are competing to create the best smart home ecosystem for consumers.

Amazon Echo, for instance, is a robust system that allows the user to interact with their smart devices via voice command. Alexa is the application that the Echo communicates with, essentially the brain of the Amazon Echo. It controls how your Amazon Echo communicates with your other smart devices and services. It can sync with a variety of smart devices including switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, door locks, music streamers, news outlets, and more. It also allows the third-party companies to create custom skills which are then accessible through the Amazon Echo.

In this blog I will discuss the Amazon Echo and its Alexa application. We will go through the process to create a custom Alexa skill about the Keyhole blog, paying particular attention to keywords you’ll need to understand when you create your own Skill. From there, we’ll show how to test a Skill via simulators and deploy it to your Amazon Echo.



How Can AutoMapper Help You?

Justin Armstrong .NET, Technology Snapshot 2 Comments

There are many times that when developing when you need to map an object to another object. When these situations occur, AutoMapper is the answer. It can be used for a one-to-one mapping out-of-the-box or you can easily customize the mappings to meet your needs. This also helps with only having one place to make changes when objects change or grow and more mappings are needed.

This allows just having one place to translate the objects instead of possibly many places scattered throughout the code. There will only be one place that needs to be updated when or if the objects get updated in the future. AutoMapper can also be used to combine fields such as First and Last names from one object into a Full name field in the mapped object.

In this blog, I talk about how to get started with AutoMapper for one-to-one, dynamic mapping. I’ll show an example of using AutoMapper with a basic mapping and to create a custom mapping….