.Net Core on a Mac

It’s been ages since I blogged anything. More, anything technical. Since I am in the process of experimenting with ASP .NET Core on my Mac, I thought to take the opportunity and log this journey here.

So far I have done three things:

This isn’t as straightforward as just installing Visual Studio Code. To have scaffolding one  needs to rely on CLI tools, and to do some client side development on the usual suspects: bower, jQuery, bootstrap etc. Which means you need to spend a lot of time  with the Terminal.

  • Set up a development database

While one can experiment with SQLite or MySQL, I wanted the real Microsoft thing, SQL Server, and since this isn’t available for Mac I used Virtual Box with a Windows 10 LTSB guest, where I installed SQL Server Express.

To connect to the database from the host, the VirtualBox has to be on bridged networking and SQL Server should be accepting TCP connections.

  • Found a relatively simple project that entails the most common workflows.

Our company’s website  is multilingual and it is WordPress based (no wonder). While the blog  parts serve their purpose nicely, the pages are bloated (HTML-wise) and have a lot of javascript code running (for a reason) which could benefit from a slimming diet.

So, I thought, why not try to migrate the WordPress pages (not the posts) to an MVC site based on Asp .Net Core. To make things more interesting, I want to add some dynamic content too, pulled from our app’s database (why should I be bothering with SQL Server if I didn’t?).

And here I am. So far, I have made some progress which I will relate in subsequent posts. This post is only an introduction to the theme. If you have interest in such experiments, stay tuned.

Change the web, Social Entrepreneurship and a new 80/20

change-the-web-challenge-logo-smSome days ago I got glimpse in twitter of the Change the Web challenge. I took a look at it, to discover the underlying Social Action web site and its API. The Challenge was about using this API for a new innovative web application or widget. For some reason this appealed to me, although I generally do not participate to such contests. There was a money prize too, but that was not my  motive:  I would never agree to receive a monetary prize from a socially oriented initiative, only because it would be better spent if it were spent on its very cause.

The Change the Web Challenge
I have to admit that I was hasty in my decision on how to participate and what to build: I did not  look anything else apart from the API itself. I ended up paying in hard currency for this haste: lot of wasted time! Because, I, almost from the first moment, resolved in building a WordPress plugin with the Social Actions API.
I started coding and in a couple of days I was done only to find out that the Social Actions site already had such a plugin, a very well written one and definitively much better than mine.
Almost in panic, because the time was running out, I started thinking what could I build instead. I turned down the option of building a better plugin, because it was not only a matter of quality, but of originality too.
My mistake made me research better what was already in place and found that web site widgets were rather abundant. Except.. Except for wordpress.com where javascript, iframe and flash widgets are not allowed to run.

I remembered then the days I was trying to circumvent this limitation by employing Yahoo Pipes and the WordPress RSS widget. I did not find something similar revolving around the social actions API, and, despite this being a pretty simple solution (even though it took me a lot of hours to remember how pipes worked and catch up with the new features), I found it appealing since it would potentially be useful to the 7mio or so WordPress.com users. So I built a pipe which could be configured by users to retrieve actions theiy were interested in, in the form of an RSS feed (you can see it in action in the bottom of the sidebar of this blog) .

I  barely  had finished when I discovered that even this was not a good plan because Wordpess had committed to adopt the best plugin the challenge produced! This rendered my pipe obsolete and there was no time to go back in rebuilding my plugin. I did then what I should have done from the very beginning: looked at the ideas people had already posted in the relevant page and noticed that some kind of map would be a nice thing to produce.

With a few additions to the pipe and thanks to the Pipes Location Extractor, I managed finally to pull out something. Not much, but something.


Leasons learned

Thinking back my  experience, I realized that the whole thing looked pretty much as a  failed  startup.

I made the mistakes I wouldn’t have made if I was starting a business: I did not make a proper market research, I did  not check  what the users really desired, I ignored the opportunities and the threats… In sort, I got myself entangled in programming instead of building a product. How many such startup efforts had I scoffed in the past?

One step ahead.

From startups, my thought  jumped to social entrepreneurship only to realize the obvious: whatever you build,  the rules are the same. It is just the kind of returns that differ. In social entrepreneurship it’s not about making money. It’s about making a difference, aiding people and, ultimately, changing the world.

The new 80/20 rule

One more step ahead.

If social entrepreneurship mechanics are the same  with pro profit entrepreneurship why people who are experts in these mechanics do not do both? The easy answer is that entrepreneurs are mobilized by greed and not by human solidarity.

But I believe the truth is different. They just haven’t thought  about it!

I know many people that could do both and if they don’t, it is because they focus relentlessly on the success of their pro profit efforts and spend all their time there. And for some stages of entrepreneurship this is not only inevitable, but a prerequisite.

But then, there are so many other people that have tasted success, have turned into angel investors, have embarked on a second, or third or forth startup effort, while their bank account  has enough for the rest of their lives.

What if these people applied to themselves the famous 80/20 Google rule?

80% of their time and effort spent on their pro profit ventures and 20% on social entrepreneurship.

Think of the vast amount of talent, genious, power, skill and  resources that would go into this 20%. I am convinced that even a fraction of it would suffice to change the world.

Get Things Done 2.0

I am sure David Allen did not include it in his initial version of  “Get Things Done”  but, as far as I am concerned, it must be included from now on.
Ok, here is the new principle:

Abstain from Twitter or Friendfeed or Google Reader for so long as needed to see your TODO list drop down to one third.
If  ”one third’  is still above ‘ five items’,  abstain till it gets down to five.

Try it.

I am still trying it, by the way 🙂

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An explanation of the blog name

From Merriam Webster dictionary:

Main Entry:



adjective combining form


French -tropique, from Greek -tropos -tropous

1 : turning, changing, or tending to turn or change in a (specified) manner or in response to a (specified) stimulus <geotropic>

2 : attracted to or acting upon (something specified) <neurotropic>


Going to the hot lands of the web, the abuzz  and idea plenty, where all the novelties spring or sprout. Where all the new ventures take form and  their newborn ecosystems shape. In the jungle of the world wild web.

That is what this blog is (or, rather, will be) about: technlogies, startups, events and people behind them.

I know it is going to be a long journey, lonely and adverse, yet, wilderness has always been my childhood’s fascination so I choose to stick to what makes me tick.