Category Archives: Video Tutorial

//Build Reaction – Cortana and the Bot Framework

Microsoft Bot Framework

Bots (or conversation agents) are rapidly becoming an integral part of your users’ digital experience – they are as vital a way for users to interact with a service or application as is a web site or a mobile experience. Bots can also integrate with digital assistants like Cortana. Developers writing bots all face the same problems: bots require basic I/O; they must have language and dialog skills; and they must connect to users – preferably in any conversation experience and language the user chooses.

In this video, you’ll learn the basics on how to build and connect intelligent bots to interact with your users naturally wherever they are, from text/sms to Skype, Slack, Office 365 mail and other popular services. I explore the new Microsoft Bot Framework recently announced at Build 2016, which provides just what you need to build and connect intelligent bots that interact naturally wherever your users are talking.

Through simple demos I cover the Bot Builder SDK with C# (Node.js is also supported), the Bot Framework Emulator and I also explore how to handle natural language input from the user with the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) from Microsoft Cognitive Services. Every business needs bots to provide a more personal experience to its users and customers. This video gives you the basics to get started in just 30 minutes, and then points you in the right direction to learn much more.

You can watch the video using the embedded player below or directly on Channel 9 here.

You should also check out my colleague Jennifer Marsman’s blog post and reaction video about machine Learning at Build here.

Additional References – Cognitive Services & LUIS

To learn more about the Microsoft Cognitive Services (aka “Project Oxford”) and the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS), you can watch the following sessions from Build 2016:

Building a Conversational Bot: From 0 to 60

Microsoft Cognitive Services: Give Your Apps a Human Side

Microsoft Cognitive Services: Build Smarter and More Engaging Experiences

Cortana Extensibility

Cortana – Microsoft’s Digital Personal Assistant for Windows 10, iOS and Android – is evolving from reminding users about things to helping them get things done. Cortana can now proactively surface your app to users in the right context, and provide your app with relevant information to act on, making it quick and easy for the user to work with your app, or even complete tasks on the user’s behalf. You can watch breakout sessions from Build 2016 for a walkthrough of these new Cortana capabilities, and how your existing UWP apps – with minimal effort – can use them to increase engagement and discovery.

Personal Assistants: The New Context-Aware Digital Runtime

Cortana: Learn How Cortana’s New Capabilities can Proactively Drive User Engagement with Your Apps

Cortana Futures: Step-by-step on How to Teach Cortana to Proactively Engage with Your App

If you have any questions, you can post them in the comments section below, or you can contact me on Twitter at @ActiveNick.

Your Employer Owns Your Job, but YOU Own Your Career: Why Mobile Dev Matters

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Have you ever built and published a mobile app? Maybe you’ve tried and abandoned the idea because you didn’t make any money. Maybe you gave up before even trying because it’s a saturated market and making money is hard. Forget the app money, mobile development can be your path to a better career, and yes, that will bring you more money too.

In this video I walk you through the list of skills you will build by becoming a mobile developer. These skills will improve your technical profile as a developer, and at the same time increase your value with employers. Even if your apps make no money, you will get a clear benefit out of them by improving your technical profile, and therefore increase your value as a developer.

Don’t wait for your employer to assign you to a better project, take control of your career and get started now. Head over to Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn mobile development. Build mobile apps, build your skills, build your resume, go get more money, and go get the job of your dreams.

Watch the video on Channel 9 or using the embedded player below:

If you have questions on how to get started or want to discuss this topic, you can find me on Twitter at @ActiveNick. Be sure to let me know once you publish some apps, I’d love to check them out and help you promote them.

Other Learning Resources

The Maker Show: Episode 4 – Building and Printing a 3D Model to Fit a Real Component

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A week ago I blogged about The Maker Show, a new Channel 9 show for makers. The Maker Show is an informal dive into the exciting world of makers. Each week, one of our expert makers will go hands-on with techniques, how to’s, tips & tricks in various maker areas including electronics, programming tools, hardware boards, components & sensors, connectivity, building hacks & gadgets, 3D printing, manufacturing prototypes, and other cool yet useful topics.

The show is published every week and we’ve had great episodes so far:

  • In episode 0, we explored why developers should become makers, what’s the opportunity, what to build, what to buy, and where to go from here.
  • In episode 1, David Crook gave us a cool introduction to electronics, starting with how to make electricity from lemons!
  • In episode 2, Brian Sherwin started working with the Arduino, blinking LEDS and working with potentiometers.
  • In episode 3, Sam Stokes covered a lot of the theory behind servo motors when applied to Arduino hacks.

This morning, my colleague Jeremy Foster just posted Episode 4, titled Building and Printing a 3D Model to Fit a Real Component.

Often times, when you are designing a 3D part to print, you’ll need it to marry up to an existing part or assembly. Perhaps you need a motor to be mounted on the part, or perhaps the part is going to integrate with a home power outlet cover. This is such a common case, that we wanted to take an episode to discuss how Jeremy has found to get this done quite elegantly.

Jeremy covers the use of his favorite 3D modeling tool – Autodesk Fusion 360. He uses this in concert with GrabCAD (grabcad.com) to find existing parts. Once he pulls his existing part in to Fusion 360, he has very good control over interfacing with all of the shapes, faces, and features of that existing part. It’s quite exciting.

Once you finish and print your part, then, you’ll be confident that it will be ready to be mounted or have your existing parts mounted on it. You can even 3D print receiver holes for screws.

Watch the new episode using the embedded player below, or on the Channel 9 show page.

Make sure to bookmark http://themakershow.io for new episodes every week, typically posted on Thursdays in the morning. If there is a specific topic, product or tech you’d like us to cover on the show, let us know by tweeting to @TheMakerShow, commenting under the latest episode on Channel 9, or email us at themakershow@microsoft.com.