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We're talking IT

Sparkhound consultants are knowledge-seekers, skill-builders and problem-solvers by nature. This is where we share what we've learned and what we think about what's new (and next) in our industry. If anything you read sparks a question, fire away.

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How to Create Single-File .NET Applications

Have you ever been working on a remote computer and suddenly found your favorite tool (notepad++, 7-zip, etc.) was not installed? It can be a real bummer to stop what you're doing in order to find and install that program, assuming that you even have the rights or permission to do so. Tools like this feel like they should be very portable, perhaps just a single...

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Setting up an ASP.NET Core Project with Angular 2 Utilizing Angular CLI

We all reach a point in our software development careers where we want to pioneer some new technology that is in preview or has just hit full release. The problem we often run into is the lack of resources and documentation because of its newness. These resources are often critical whether you are troubleshooting a minor bug or setting up an entirely new project that...

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The Importance of User Experience

As technology keeps expanding and increasingly more of our everyday tasks are being automated, there are lots of companies turning to custom application development for business solutions. Custom development is a great way to create applications that are personalized for your company and task, but all too often the users are overlooked in the process. As an Application Development Consultant, I have seen project teams...

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The Importance of Marketing Yourself

In your professional field, who are you? Do other professionals know who you are? If you were to go on an interview right now at another company in your local area, would they have at least heard of you beforehand?  Take a second and Google yourself. Now, search for your name plus what you do. Keep it kind of generic, like "seth valdetero developer". What do...

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Intentional Networking

How many of you receive this same email two or three times a day: "Hello, we have 24,683 qualified (insert technology name here) leads just ready for you close, please contact me ASAP to see how we can help you close more business!" It must be effective at some level because someone is buying this line, but good grief, there are so many better ways...

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Sparkhound at SQLSaturday Birmingham THIS WEEKEND!

(The massive boardroom at Sparkhound corporate headquarters in Baton Rouge, tucked deep inside an active volcano.) "Birmingham!? This is LSU Tiger country!" "I know, right, why'd we even open an office there?" "Because of all the quality client relationships we've esta-" "Nevermind that! Let's send our two most unpronounceably named consultants to speak, that'll show em!" "Hey, instead, and hear me out... why don't we send our top SharePoint consultant and our...

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Detect Image File Types Through Byte Arrays

      Have you ever needed to know the file type of an image?  Did you know that certain image file types when read as a byte array have the same collection of bytes every time?  Instead of checking for an image type by looking for the extension in the file name it’s best to look at the byte array making up the file and...

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When Automapper Is Not 'Auto'

When mapping between two different objects, like domain objects and DTOs, Automapper is one of the tools you can use. In theory, Automapper saves developers time and code by “auto” mapping objects they specify. Without Automapper, developers would have to create logic to map every property of their objects together. Automapper works great when the properties of the mapped objects have identical names and types...

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What Can Azure Do For Your Data?

In 2010, Microsoft released what they called at the time “Windows Azure”, a service-providing Windows Server operating systems in the cloud.  In 2014 the service/product was rebranded as Microsoft Azure because it became so much more than simply offering Windows in the cloud. Fast forward to today, Microsoft Azure provides companies with over 600 Azure services in the following main categories: Infrastructure, Platforms, Development, Mobile, Storage...

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Tax Season = Scam Season

I'm sure everyone is aware that taxes will be due in a little over 2 months; corporations, small businesses, and individuals are scrambling to collect documentation to file on time. In all the mass confusion and stress, there are thieves plotting against you to steal your data. Sparkhound just wanted to send out a quick reminder to spark conversation and awareness in your organization.

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Automatically and Dynamically Adjust AllowedMPs Registry Key

NOTE: This blog entry and these configurations are specific to only a few versions of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 (CU3, CU4, and CU5). If these configurations are done on any version of ConfigMgr before CU3, they will simply be ignored. If these configurations are done on any version of ConfigMgr after CU5 (2012 SP2 or 2012 R2 SP1 and above), they will...

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What is Cyber Liability Insurance and Do I need it?

Over the last few years, one of the more frequently mentioned topics among Boards of Directors and Executive Management has been Cyber Liability Insurance.  Many Information Security and Risk Professionals have been aware of this product and its benefits, and in most situations, were the ones who brought it up to BODs and Executive Management. This post is intended to give a brief overview of Cyber Liability Insurance, why it...

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ADFS 4.0: Now Allowing You to Authenticate via LDAP

While speaking with an IT buddy of mine the other day, a topic of ADFS came up. My buddy had told me he had some struggles getting a SharePoint farm to authenticate with ADFS. His situation was as such: 2 domains – One called EXTERNAL (where vendor accounts are stored) and one called INTERNAL (where internal users are stored)1 SharePoint 2013 farm – Farm is...

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Streamline Methods with a Generic Response

         Building software applications requires planning, communication, and organization.  Developers are sometimes left to make their own coding decisions without having any team standards.  Some development teams like unit testing, some teams like everything dynamic, some teams like agile, and some teams have short projects that only last a few weeks.  It can be difficult to create an efficient development process in...

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Using PowerShell to Convert Exchange Distribution Groups to Office 365 Groups

Back in May 2015, during the Microsoft Ignite convention, there was a session called “Evolving distribution lists with Office 365 Groups” (available online). The session described the integration with Outlook 2016 (no plans exist to back port the technology to Outlook 2013) and then went on to investigate how Microsoft views Office 365 Groups as a better alternative to old-style distribution groups. Distribution groups have...

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Azure MFA – A Cloud Solution that can also fit on-premises

Let's start with a little hypothetical story… You are an IT admin and are heading to work on what should be a typical Tuesday. You sit in traffic, grab your favorite coffee or energy drink, and pull into the parking lot to discover that you must park on the other side of the campus and walk to the front door, in the pouring rain. To top it off...

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3 Ways to Expedite SharePoint ROI

A recent Microsoft study placed ROI on an average $200,000 SharePoint deployment at 12 months.  So why do more than 35% of SharePoint projects lose momentum after launch? With the basic SharePoint value proposition of “The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts” and companies looking to level their individual silos of data storage and collaboration, more CIOs are looking to...

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Forging a Defense against Cross-Site Request Forgery

Modern web development is a constant battle against fire-breathing dragons and undead zombies! Ok, maybe that description is a bit of an exaggeration, but we certainly fight our fair share of security pitfalls and shady agents looking to utilize weak links for nefarious purposes. One small mistake is all it takes to cause data to be leaked, money to be lost, and customers to become unhappy 😞 (sad customer). But like...

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Keeping Your Data in Order

Data, data, data.  It seems to be all around us now. Everywhere you look there is data stored electronically.  Storing this data is easy, but retrieving the data sometimes can be slow and painful.  An efficient way to SELECT this data is the use of indexes: clustered and non-clustered. By default, SQL Server will insert a row of data into the table as it is...

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