To keep kids entertained, people from all over the world put a teddy bear in their window so that kids can spot them during a walk.

I don’t know the origin. It’s in Canada, USA, New Zealand, UK etc. It’s also in my hometown so I decided to make an app for it.

People made a Facebook group with a google form to submit the teddy bear and an URL with all bears on google maps.

I thought that I had to get access to the Google spreadsheet containing the data, but it seems that it would not hold that much info if we take a look at the entry form and the maps data. In Google maps you can download a KMZ file which is a zipped KML (Keyhole Markup Language) It’s XML. Here is the full KML:


So there is a web link in it to get the live data. I used the webclient to pull it in and read it and tried to make pins out of it.

My first step was to add the Xamarin.Forms.Map Nuget package and the SharpKml.Core

Here is the full code:

private void AddMap()
	var map = new Map(MapSpan.FromCenterAndRadius(new Position(51.697815, 5.303675), Distance.FromMeters(10000)));

	using (var client = new WebClient())
		var kmz = KmzFile.Open(client.OpenRead(""));
		Kml kml = kmz.GetDefaultKmlFile().Root as Kml;

		if (kml != null)
			foreach (Placemark placemark in kml.Flatten().OfType())

				var pin = new Pin()
					Address = placemark.Address,
					Label = placemark.Name,
					Type = PinType.Place

	this.Content = map;

But the pins won’t show up (of course). Because I did not set the position. The real Kml contains data like this:


So as you can see there is no Latitude Longitude for the placemarks… So how does google maps work then? It seems that both Google Maps and Google Earth Geocode the address to get the lat lng. But that service unfortunately is not free. I tried to load the kml in Google Earth and export it, but that also does not add the latitude and longitude. I also thought that kml support for the map control could be used. So that I could just provide the kml to the map and have it sort it out, but that was build with monoandroid 9 instead of netstandard2.0 and would probably not fix the geocode issue.

I planned to make an app with no central backend. But because of geocoding, I would have to use a webapi or Azure Function to keep track of the “database” with all teddy bears and their corresponding lat lng. That would also lower the requests for geocoding if it would be moved from the phone (client) to the server.

But I’ve not found a good free geocoder does not work if I would provide the kml data. I think that I will come back to this one….

Good luck making your own KML/KMZ reading app!

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It’s a bit of a follow up from my achievement last June when I passed the 70-486 MVC exam. I thought that I’d get the MCSD because I completed two (old/previous) UWP related exams before. But there was a bug in the cert planner. I had to wait a long time to hear from Microsoft, but unfortunately I had to take another exam to get the MCSD. I choose 70-532 because I wanted to go for MCSA: Cloud platform. So I ordered the v2 of the exam guide and studied every day during my holiday.

I found out (later) that the 70-532 and 70-535 and some more, will be deprecated by the end of the year… and will be replaced.

70-532 →   AZ-200
70-535 → AZ-300

But if you finish 532 or 535 before the 31ste of December you can use a cheaper transition exam to transfer to the same as the new “AZ” style. Since I passed 70-532, I decided to give AZ-202 a go and I hope that I will pass. I have to pass before June 2019 to get the MCAD. After that, I have added the AZ-300 and AZ-301 in my to-do list to get the MCASA (Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect)

azure developer image

But first, let me enjoy my MCSD.

Good luck studying!

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I have written powershell scripts in Azure runbooks in Azure Automation. It’s not a new concept. It’s even from back in 2014

I started to use it because there is no SQL Agent in Azure SQL databases. I relied on SQL Agent to perform Ola’s database maintenance scripts. I use the Azure automation with Runbooks now for a long time to build reports from Azure SQL and have them send to people by SMTP.

The problem is that I string concatenate HTML in the powershell script and just put the results in an HTML enabled Email message. It is still a good option… Until a coworker requests an Excel attached to the mail…

Excel in Azure Runbook (Powershell)

I did build the powershell locally first.


When using the Azure Automation ISE add-on for Windows PowerShell ISE it hit me. The cloud probably has no Excel com/interop…

So I found this module to work with Excel in Powershell without Excel on GitHub. It uses Epplus. Which I mentioned in my post from 6 years ago.

But I realised that I could also just use Azure Functions and code in C# and have a time trigger. This enables me to write my beloved C# rather then scripting Powershell. I can also just use the Epplus nuget package.

The Azure functions v2 are now in preview and have .Net Standard support (which is great!)

The Visual Studio dialog can be unclear if you visit it for the first time and have no clue that the schedule uses CRON notation. Maybe they will change it, but now you know.

Good luck!

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I followed the guide but did not got it to work.

It just failed at step 3 and there was no error at all. I thought it had to do with me changing the project from .net Core 1.x to 2.0


But it was partially related to the dropdown below it.

The startup object was not set.

I had to set it to “Neo.Compiler.Program”

But after that, the publish did not work because “neon.dll” was missing in some folder.

This GitHub comment pointed me in the right direction:

you should copy “neon.dll” manually in that dir. it’s just one dir below.

after that, the publish succeeded and the neon.exe reference was already in the path variable, so the Visual Studio and manually commandline option both worked!


Good luck building for the Neo blockchain!

NEO (NEO) cryptocurrency

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Perhaps it’s because I was still in holiday-mode, but I kept getting a 403 error. Even when I added a `helloworld.html` in the `.well-known` dir. Which was driving me crazy. I even thought it was .net Core 2.x related because all full framework sites were renewing just fine, both MVC and Webform applications.

The answer for my situation was in this comment:

Do you have both http/https binding? http binding is required for it to work.

I did, but I remembered something about forcing to SSL for this website.

I searched my code, but all I could find was commented out:



So how did I manage to force visitors to the SSL version? I could not remember it. There was also no URL rewriting in the web.config. It was a checkbox in IIS which I forgot that I ever changed that setting! (sorry for the Dutch screenshot of IIS 8.5)


It would be nice if the new version of Let’s Encrypt Win Simple would temporary disable it and afterwards restored it.

Here is the link to the latest version

Good luck and best wishes for 2018!

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