SSL Requirements for InstaTech

Occasionally, I run into this situation: Someone wants to install InstaTech Server to evaluate it, but they get stuck at the SSL certificate installation part. InstaTech currently enforces SSL, so the certificate installation is necessary. I’m happy to help people get a free Let’s Encrypt certificate installed, but it’s not always possible.

I made encryption mandatory because I didn’t want to put anything out there that had any potential for being used in an unsafe manner. My thought is that someone who is less informed about the importance of encryption may opt to skip it if allowed and put themselves and their customers at risk.

I attempted to make this as easy as possible, though. After running the installer, a quick start guide opens, and the first thing is a link to http://certify.webprofusion.com/.  This is by far the easiest way to get a certificate installed on an IIS server, in my opinion.

But recently, I’ve been thinking about those who are aware of the security implications, but simply want to test it internally first.

The first idea I had was to allow an unencrypted connection, but throw up huge warning messages. The second was to only allow it if it’s on the same subnet or domain (or some other manner of determining if it’s on the LAN).

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.

Oh yeah, I forgot!

I was doing some work on one of my new projects in the wee hours of the morning, and I decided to tinker with an old, under-powered tablet we have laying around. Windows 10 doesn’t run well on 1GB of RAM (read “hardly at all”), so I’m going to try various Linux distros to see if I can get any use out of it.

I wanted to remote into it from my laptop to do some clean-up on it first, since dinking around with it using touch is slow and tiresome. Neither Remote Desktop nor Remote Assist was working, and I was about to download Team Viewer on it when I realized, “Oh yeah! I made my own screen sharing app!”

While Team Viewer Quick Support certainly gets the job done just as quickly, there was an unique satisfaction in using my own application for real work. I can’t wait to see it in action when the full InstaTech service goes live!

Remoting into a tablet.
Remoting into a tablet.

Another Project

I figured I should do a quick post about what I’ve been working on. I recently started a new project, which I’m calling InstaTech (https://instatech.org). It’s going to be a website for remote computer support, and I just completed the screen-sharing tools.

I’m kind of on overdrive with this project at the moment, but once I’m at a good “cruising point”, I’ll divert some time back to After.

Emails Haven’t Been Received Lately

Hey, all.

Well, this is a rather embarrassing post I have to make, so I’ll just come right out with it.  When I transferred my site to the new hosting provider, I messed up some of the new code for processing emails.  It worked fine during my tests, but apparently I haven’t been receiving any emails from the contact page for the past couple months.

I sincerely apologize if anyone has tried to reach me and hasn’t gotten a response.  Unfortunately, the issue wasn’t caught by my error handling, so I have no idea how many people that might be.

The issue has been fixed, though, and I hope anyone reading this will resend any questions or comments they may have sent previously.

Thank you!

Windows 10 Development

It’s been a while since I posted an update.  Wow, almost 4 months already?  I’m definitely overdue to inform my avid followers on my recent activities.  (I’m laughing maniacally to myself in a dark room downstairs while writing this to myself.)

I’ve been hard at work on my first Windows Store/Windows Phone app.  I started with the Windows 8.1 framework, but since the Windows 10 UWP (Universal Windows Platform) has recently become available, I ported it over to that.

I’m almost finished, but there are a few features I won’t be able to test until the Windows 10 Store becomes available in 4 days.  Hopefully I’ll have it wrapped up and out the door quickly.  I’m excited to experience the new Windows marketplace from a developer’s perspective!

After that, I’ll be diving into the creation of a game for the Windows 10 platform!

Edit: Oh! I almost forgot to mention. My application was accepted by Microsoft BizSpark, and they are \”sponsoring\” me in the creation of my game and other apps. They gave me a free 3-year subscription to MSDN, which lets me download and use all kinds of software for free. I also get $150 a month to spend on Windows Azure services. With Windows Azure, I can create virtual machines and other cloud services. I’m currently running 2 VMs, one to run as a server for my game and another as a development test environment. Microsoft is really kinda awesome!

Going, Going, Going… Global.

Another day, another update!

I’ve been working with Microsoft’s Multilingual App Toolkit, learning how to translate my applications to various other languages.  IFFY was the first app I was practicing with, and I’ve been successful in adding support for 11 different languages.  Only the standard, installed version has the additional language resources.  The portable version is only available in English.

On a similar note, I added a translation widget to my website.  See, up there, to the left?  That’s it.

Thanks, Bing!

Just in time for Christmas…

Happy Holidays, everyone!

With Christmas almost upon us, it’s been all kinds of busy.  I think my wife and I are ready for a vacation.  =)  But I’ve still managed to make some progress on Photo Manager!  The \”Group by Event\” feature is almost completed, and I’ll be releasing a new version as soon as it’s done.

I’ve also got some new ideas brewing.  On top of the serverless chat program idea, I’ve also been thinking about creating a \”Copy Anything, Paste Anywhere\” program.  Kind of like an unlimited clipboard that can store formatted text, which could then be pasted anywhere.  For me, it’d be a place to merge a bunch of templates for various programs and provide \”templates\” for applications that don’t have any, such as things like Lync.

I also want to do a network speed tester, a WIM-mounting tool, and a tool I made at work for storing alternate credentials (administrator credentials, primarily) and launching applications in an elevated process.

Another project that may or may not come to fruition would be on Windows 8.1/Windows Phone and would involve a volume meter.  More on that later if it looks like it will pan out.  =)

For now, enjoy the holidays!

Feedback on Photo Manager

I’ve gotten some good feedback on Photo Manager already. One of the major suggestions to leave files in their current subdirectory without pulling them out. I had it doing this by design, but it poses a problem when someone doesn’t know this behavior will occur, and they sort a folder that has pictures organized into subfolders by topic.

Instead, I’ll have it create the date-named folders within the subdirectories. Or I’ll try to find a non-confusing way of prompting for a selection.

This also led me to a few more thoughts. I could create an “Undo Last Sort” button. It’ll be a little tricky to create, but I think I can do it. I also realized I should include a “current directory” property in the Advanced mode, which would give the option to control the above behavior.

Lastly, I’m testing the ClickOnce technology for application installations. What it would mean is that the applications would require an install, but there wouldn’t be any security issues, and the applications would auto-update when I release new versions.

The Beginnings

Finally, the site is almost functional. I have all the main pieces laid down. The CSS stylesheet and external JavaScripts are done, all the pages are created (if not fully fleshed out), and the contact form is was working. I’ll use an embedded FoxyForm until I figure out what’s going on.

Also, Photo Manager is ready for beta testing and is available for download! While it may seem a little sad that there’s a whole website sitting here for one application, I know I’ll be whipping out more stuff in no time. Check out the Projects page for the ideas I have cooking.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or find any bugs in Photo Manager (and any future applications). Feedback helps a lot!

– Jared