Today’s Google Starred Items: “Streaming Blobs To and From SQL Azure”

Wayne Walter Berry: “This article provides a SqlStream class written in C# code. The class implements the abstract Stream class for the varbinary(max) data type on SQL Azure; Stream is an abstract class defined in the .NET CLR that is well supported and very versatile. The SqlStream class provided when used with SQL Azure allows you to manipulate a single blob a chunk at a time.”

“Getting Started With PowerPivot and SQL Azure”

Wayne Walter Berry: “One big advantage of using SQL Azure as a data source is that it can be accessed anywhere there is Internet connectivity, and you can store large amounts of data securely and with high availability. Your PowerPivot users can run their reports on the road, without having to VPN into your datacenter. Also, they do not have to travel with a snapshot of data, which is outdated the minute after the snapshot.”

“WordPress Now Runs on SQL Server and SQL Azure”

Sarah Perez: “To get started with WordPress on SQL Server or SQL Azure, you need to download the SQL Server distro or patch. Then you can check out the Getting Started page to get everything properly set up. ”

“Optical character recognition (OCR) in Google Docs”

Jaron Schaeffer: “For the technically curious: we’re using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that our friends from Google Books helped us set up. OCR works best with high-resolution images, and not all formatting may be preserved. The original images will be included in the new document to make it easier for you to correct mistakes. Supported languages include English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with more languages and character sets on their way. We’re looking forward to get feedback from you while we keep improving the feature over the next months.”

“Google releases command line tool for accessing Web services”

Ryan Paul: “Although modern desktop computing is increasingly dominated by graphical user interfaces, command line tools are still extremely useful for rapid interaction, simple programmatic automation, and remote system management. GoogleCL will make Google-hosted data more accessible to common command-line workflows. The GoogleCL tool offers an easy way to pipe your GMail contact list into sed and awk, or use a shell glob to specify which photos and movies to batch upload to Picasa and YouTube. It also supports Blogger, Google Calendar, and Google docs.”

“Pivot, OData, and Windows Azure: Visual Netflix Browsing”

Steve Marx: “I’ve put together my own example of using the new PivotViewer control at http://netflixpivot.cloudapp.net. It lets you browse the top ~3,000 movies that Netflix has available to stream online. I really encourage you to click through to the demo… it’s a fantastic way to find a movie to watch.”

“Installing, Configuring and Using Windows Server AppFabric and the ‘Velocity’ Memory Cache in 10 minutes”

Scott Hanselman via Chris Alcock: “The Velocity Caching Service needs to know where to get its configuration and it can get it from one of two places – either a database or an XML file on a share. If you use the XML file on a share, you’ll need to make sure the service account has access to the share, etc. I’ll use a database. The config wizard can make it for you as well. Click Next then Finish up the configuration.”

“SQL Azure and Windows Azure”

Wayne Walter Berry: “SQL Azure is independent from Windows Azure. You don’t need to have a Windows Azure compute instance to use SQL Azure. However, SQL Azure is the best and only place for storing relational data on the Windows Azure Platform. In other words, if you are running Windows Azure you probably will have a SQL Azure server to hold your data. However, you don’t need to run your application within Windows Azure account just because you have your data stored in SQL Azure. There are a lot of clients and platforms other than Windows Azure that can make use of SQL Azure, including PowerPivot, WinForms applications (via ADO.NET), JavaScript running in the browser (via OData), Microsoft Access, and SQL Server Reporting Services to name a few.”

In the Cloud without a Notebook

Haansoft(한글과컴퓨터) ThinkFree Office Live 사업실 Director : Benedict My current W2 assignment involves pre-release stuff from Microsoft. What this means is security and non-disclosure—and more security. Eventually, as things ramped up, we were told that bringing private “external devices” (like notebooks and storage keys) was not going to be allowed. This effectively forces me to experiment with using the cloud—stuff like Google Docs and Office Live. So, these are the reasons why Google Docs did not work out for me—sure it works for you but not me:

  • Google Docs HTML is not “clean”—it even uses <font /> tags for some reason. The app is not designed to copy/paste markup from one system to another.
  • The ‘publish to Blog’ functionality simply did not work for me. The login test to WordPress worked but the actual post did not—no messages about success or failure from Google—which is a serious turn off for company as big as Google.

So I’m actually in the Microsoft Word Web App from Office Live because I’ll be able to use my unreleased version of CleanXHTML (for Word 2007) to post to WordPress. So here are some notables about Office Live:

  • I would rather use the full Word application but I cannot until the Office Live Spaces upgrade is over. According to TechCrunch, “Microsoft didn’t provide a solid timestamp for when the automatic upgrade will occur, only saying that it will come in the ‘coming months’, and that it will be opt-in.”
  • I notice that my favorite keyboard shortcuts are not working in the Word Web App (like Ctrl+Shift+N and Ctrl+Shift+L). I need to read this.
  • My use of Custom XML is not available in Word Web App but is preserved and marked with the message “Word Web App can’t display this item…”
  • I am very impressed with the preservation of my document styles—which are available in the More Styles section of the Styles area in the word Web App Ribbon.

It must be said, however, that Google Reader is vastly improved (it no longer chokes on my rather large OPML file of feeds)—and, by the way, I am writing with Word Web App in Google Chrome.