Connecting to SQL Express on Amazon AWS EC2

by Idaho Web Designer 9. September 2011 20:00

I've been playing with the Amazon Cloud servers just to see what they have to offer.  I thought I would set up a quick little SQL Express database and then connect to it remotely just to play around.  It turned out to be a bit of a pain and so I though I'd share what I did in order to be able to connect to it remotely using management studio. 

After the database was setup and running I made sure that it would accept remote connections (Connected to the Database in Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio -> Right Click Database Instance (localhost\sqlexpress) -> Properties -> Connections -> Make sure "Allow remote connections to this server" checkbox is checked) .  I then tried connecting using Port 1433 and my IP address (We'll pretend my IP is for this entry), but was never able to connect.  So I tried using the command prompt and entering: telnet 1433 and still got nothing.  So the first obvious thing to me was that the port was not listening for my connections. I logged back in to the database and ran the command:

use master
exec xp_readerrorlog

on my database and found my database was listening on a dynamic port (Text read Server is listening on ['any' <ipv6> 48231].)

I logged on to the EC2 machine and opened the Sql Server Configuration Manager (Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 -> Configuration Tools -> SQL Server Configuration Manager).  Then I opened SQL Server Network Configuration ->Protocols for SQLEXPRESS. Open TCP/IP by double clicking.  Then selected IP Addresses tab -> Scroll to the bottom under IPAll.  Here was my dynamic port reading TCP Dynamic Ports 48231.  Under it was a blank TCP Port.  So I added TCP Port 1435 (No rhyme or reason for that number).  I went back and rand the xp_readerrorlog and found that my database was now listening on any <ipv6> 1435 in addtion to the 48231 now.  I thought I was good to go.  NOPE!

I logged in the AWS Management Console and selected Amazon Elastic Cloud Computer EC2 at the top of the screen.  I then see my two instances listed by clicking on instances.  I clicked on the instance I was having trouble with and scolled to the bottom to find my Public DNS  (If you don't see your instances, make sure you select the right region on the top left, mine defaults to East region and my instances are in the west). 

I now tried to connect with telnet by using: 20-10-20-105 1435.  Still nothing!  I was getting very frustrated at this point, but then I remembered the security groups.  Amazon has security groups under the AWS Management Console as well.  I clicked the Security Groups link on the left and opened the security group my instance was on.  At the bottom of the screen I saw two tabs "Details", "Inbound". I opened the "Inbound" tab and found some ports that were open.  I created a new Custom TCP rule with the port range of 1435 and Source: (I don't recommend using the, it opens your port to every IP address, but I was just playing.  Open it for just your IP address if possible.)

I went back to my telnet and Wa La!  I was able to connect remotely. 

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Amazon Cloud | ec2 | Database

Google or Bing!

by Idaho Web Designer 14. May 2010 21:54

I've give my disclaimer right up front, I'm a Microsoft junky. 

I hear a lot of people hyping up Google and what a great search engine they are etc. etc. etc.  Yes, Google has the majority of traffic from internet users, but after analyzing some site statistics for clients the past couple of days, I have come across a very interesting stat.  The bounce rate for Google is more than double that of the bounce rate for Bing!.  What does this mean?  It means that the search results Google gives are not as relevant as those for Bing!  It means that Microsoft's ads for Bing! claiming that their search results are better when using Bing! are actually true.  It means the visitors you get from Bing! are worth more.  You may get twice as many visitors from Google, but in the end only those that "convert" to whatever your site is, are the ones worth measuring. Google seems to just lump a bunch of information together, whereas it appears that Bing! is giving better results. 

Now to admin that I have a problem.  I still use Google out of habit.  I guess that means Google is addictive, but so is cocaine.  Does this mean Google is bad for you? Recognizing a problem is the first step in overcoming, right?

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Silverlight | Bing | Google

Flex vs Silverlight

by Idaho Web Designer 2. April 2010 01:20

I've been doing some research using the search term "Flex vs Silverlight".  Almost every article I read out there says to use Flex, but they are all written by anti-Microsoft people.  I tend to disagree on this one.  Before you go and start calling me a .Net head, please be aware that I love Adobe products.  I just see some things in Silverlight that Flex doesn't have.  Sure Flex has the "user base", but so does Microsoft...good chance you're reading this using some form of a Microsoft product.  If you answered "No I'm not", I gotcha, you are.  This blog was developed using .NET, a Microsoft product.  Some may not want to admit it, but Silverlight is a valid player in the RIA game.  Flex is great and I won't downplay that at all, but Silverlight is worth looking at. 

There are lots and lots of .NET programmers.  The majority of Flex developers are graphical guys that moved over to the programming camp.  Programming is an afterthought for them, it's not what they truly love.  Now sure the argument can be made "You'll have a better looking app from a graphical guy."  Very true.  So hire a graphical guy to design your silverlight app and then hand it off to a programmer to program the backend.  One of the beauties about Silverlight is this capability.  That being said, your developers are not going to be able to just install the Silverlight API and start programming. There is a bit of a learning curve here, but they will learn Silverlight A LOT faster than Flex because of the familiar feel Silverlight has. 

One of the reasons I feel Silverlight is truly a player now is the majority of Flex pro articles I read point out flaws in Silverlight that are now overcome.  This shows Microsoft is serious about making a go of Silverlight.  Many forward thinking companies are moving to Silverlight.  Netflix believes Microsoft's platform is enough of a player in the game to have gone the Silverlight route.  So here's my top 10 reasons Silverlight is worth taking a look at in the RIA world:

  1. A lot of developer's are familiar with the backend code.
  2. The logo is just thought provoking (Whether the thought is "What were they thinking?" or "I think that's a cool logo" it's still thought provoking.)
  3. Deep Zoom is a cool technology.
  4. It's revolutionary for Microsoft.
  5. Ability to use existing C# code.
  6. XAML is search engine friendly  (For SEO guys this is huge)
  7. Ability to use languages like LINQ.
  8. Asynchronous tasks.
  9. Expression Blend is a cool tool and getting better. 
  10. You just don't bet against Microsoft. 

Reasons not to use Silverlight.

  1. User base is still low.  (It is growing though and quickly.)
  2. Binding methods are confusing and take extra work.
  3. Other platform development is non-existent.
  4. Printing capabilities are terrible.  (Although Silverlight 4 looks like it has this one fixed.)
  5. You like to spend money on development software like Flex Builder.  (Expression Blend is cheaper and there is a free express version)
  6. Number of controls has room to grow.
  7. It's still considered young and bleeding edge.  (This may be a reason to use it for some)
  8. Flex sounds more manly.  (You Flex your muscles.)
  9. You don't like to source control your code.
  10. You like to bet against Microsoft.

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Flex | Silverlight

Windows 7 - Program too big to fit in memory

by Idaho Web Designer 8. December 2009 07:41

I recently made the jump from Vista to Windows 7.  As far as the interface goes, I don't see much difference, but I do like some of the new features of Windows 7.  I thought I would try out the Windows 7 XP Mode for an old game I could not get to work in regular 7 mode.  I fired up XP Mode and tried to install the game and received this error while running Windows 7 XP Mode:

"Program too big to fit in memory"

I found a pretty quick fix.  All I had to do was:

  1. Create an ISO of the game. 
  2. Open Virtual Machines
  3. Right click the Windows XP Mode machine
  4. Click "Settings"
  5. Click "DVD Drive" in the left hand column
  6. In the right column click the radio button "Open an ISO Image"
  7. Browse to the ISO
  8. Click OK
  9. Launch XP mode virtual machine
  10. Open the "DVD Drive" from step 5 in My Computer
  11. Launch the installation of the CD using Run or Setup etc.

Pretty quick fix and the game installed very nicely.

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Windows 7 | ISO

Good deal on domain names

by Idaho Web Designer 16. October 2009 23:58 is offering domain names for $5.99 today only.  This is a great deal.  Domains normally cost $8-$10 a year. 


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