Thursday, January 1, 2015
New Year, new home ...
After a good 5 years posting and having my blog living under the Geekswithblogs umbrella, the time to move has arrived ...

You will find me now at
The rss feed on feedburner should be updated right after this post. All posts currently here will remain, this will be an archive to all previous content.

Posted On Thursday, January 1, 2015 5:28 PM | Comments (0)
Thursday, December 26, 2013

A little over a month ago I received a Nokia Lumia 2520. Have been using the device as a secondary tablet (given a Surface Pro 2 is the primary tablet), and I have been very happy with the results of my tests for it. I wish I could say I was typing this on it, but that I would venture to say it’s not too far into the future. Why not now? While I can pair it with a number of Bluetooth keyboards and such, I want to give this review and update in due time, as the cover/keyboard arrives. But,  the device is solid. 

The Specs

10.1” ClearBlack, IPS LCD Touchscreen. Capacitive Multi-Touch
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
32GB storage
Expandable MicroSD
Micro-USB 3.0
Bluetooth 4.0
Primary Camera 6.7 MP
Secondary Camera HD 1.2 MP wide angle
Windows RT 8.1



A very thin device, as thin as an iPad Air. As light as an iPad Air (if not a bit lighter).
Same solid build we have seen from Nokia in the Lumia 920, 925, 928, 1020 and 1520.
It has LTE!! A big missing piece in any of the Microsoft Surface devices, it makes a difference and it has replaced an iPad Mini with LTE



I would define this sections as two annoyances, a gripe, and a yet to be fully tested.

The annoyances are around the ports. Yes, it has USB 3.0 and HDMI, but in micro form. That in itself meant having to get connectors for it, some may say … “well, what about Miracast?” sure, but not everybody has a receiver plugged in. I can control my own environment but not others for presentations. Not a huge deal against it, but just an annoying fact. I have to be fair in this as I also believe it has to do with some retraining I need to do with myself. I am still in the “if it has Windows, it must do all this”  mindset, which I seem to not have had an issue with when using an iPad.

The one gripe I have … the keyboard/battery cover is not out yet. But I should not complain, I was able to get in on the keyboard/cover offer.
Battery life has not been all that impressive for me, but I also have to make sure some of my settings (for example, power) are not in sync with the rest of my Windows 8.1 devices.


In closing …

I am very happy with the Lumia 2520, it has become my travel companion as I run errands away from my office/home. The fact I have LTE for connectivity plus the functionality of the tools I need (RDP and a Browser). There is more coming in terms of my review, but figured I would get started as I have been working with a Dell Venue Pro 8 as well.



Nokia Lumia 2520 Information:

Nokia Power Keyboard:

Micro USB 3.0 adapter:

Micro HDMI adapter:

Posted On Thursday, December 26, 2013 5:44 PM | Comments (0)
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
It seems another season of previews is upon us

The past couple of weeks have been packed with teasers and updates.

But here they go.

Visual Studio Update 3:

Visual Studio 2013 and TFS 2013 Preview:

SQL Server 2014 CTP1 :

Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview:

Windows 8.1 :

Posted On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 8:26 PM | Comments (0)
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Manage your MySQL Database on Windows Azure

From your Add-ons, select your instance:


A couple of pieces of information to get here:

1) Your Connection info

2) General management details of your subscription with SuccessBricks

To get your connection info, click on the Connection Info toolbar at the bottom of your Management Portal.


That reveals the following to be able to use the connection string in your apps.


Now, to get additional details on your subscription

Then click on the right-pointing arrow to review your add-on’s settings:


This will take you an information page about your add-on, now click on the Manage your add-on option


Now, you have been redirected to the SuccessBricks website. Now you can review information on your subscription.


Now you can review information on the Dashboard, which describe the size of database and subscription status. By clicking on the database name you will get back to the Dashboard view.


And from there get information such as the Endpoint Information.


Posted On Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:27 AM | Comments (0)
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Deleting projects from Team Foundation Service

Recently I made the switch from having a local TFS deployment to using the hosted Team Foundation Service.  As I had been using it back when it was TFSPreview, there were projects that had been left over, I no longer need those projects.  Most of them were tests anyway.

But reviewing in reviewing the portal I was not able to find anything to do it from there. I have always been a fan of command-line style administration. In doing my research I came across posts that indicated this being possible by calling on TfsDeleteProject. With that, the way to get to use TfsDeleteProject is through the Developer Command Prompt for VS2012.  If you are a Windows 8 user, go to your Start screen, and type Developer Command Prompt, and there you would have it.  If you are a Windows 7, or have used my directions to the Windows 8 alternative for a Start Menu, then your path is Start > All Programs > Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 > Visual Studio Tools, and it would be on the list of items to select.

Now, do not try this on a real project you have, remember it will remove it entirely, no recycle bin!

The command then (all in one line):

TfsDeleteProject /q /force /collection:https://<your tenant name> “<Project Name>”

the /q switch for it to not ask for confirmation, /force is to delete even if there is data that can’t be deleted, and then /collection to point to the collection where the project to be deleted resides.

Sample Output


Posted On Saturday, May 4, 2013 8:11 AM | Comments (0)
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Configuration of Hyper-V and creation of VMs

In continuing with the post that I started last week, this week I focus on how I used PowerShell to install Hyper-V on Windows 8 and then create all necessary items to continue the creation of the SharePoint lab running on Hyper-V on Windows 8.

First thing, in all situations I started PowerShell as Administrator. And yes, many of this items can be done and worked on through the GUI.  But, the point is how do I automate. Also, assumptions here are you have a licensed version of Windows 8, and your hardware support the use of Hyper-V.

Enabling Hyper-V using PowerShell

enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V -All

Once the above has been executed, your system will restart and Hyper-V will be enabled in the process.

Since it is now in place, how about opening PowerShell as Administrator again.  Now we will configure the Virtual Switch (again, yes, we could do this from Hyper-V Manager, but the goal is to script it).

Adding Private or Internal virtual switch types

To add a private or internal switch type you will need the following:

New-VMSwitch “Internal Network” –SwitchType Internal

The key parameter in the above statement is –SwitchType, which can be followed by either Internal or Private.

Adding External virtual switch types

To add an external switch type you will do a couple of items, first get information on the available network adapters, and then create the switch attached to a specific network adapter.  You will notice in order to create this the –SwitchType parameter is not used.

First, check the network adapters available.


From that output we will take the Name property/field. Then we will use that information to provision the external switch. From the example below remember to use the name that applies to your environment.

New-VMSwitch “External Network” –NetAdapterName “Local Area Connection 2”

Now, the network portion is done and ready.  We will proceed to provision the VMs now.

Provisioning Virtual Machines

The statement to provision the VM will look as follows:

New-VM -Name $LabDC -Path $LabPath -MemoryStartupBytes 768MB -NewVHDPath $LabPath\$LabDC.vhdx -NewVHDSizeBytes 60GB -SwitchName $InternalNet

For simplicity and understanding I am linking here the script with the process, broken into two separate scripts, one for the creation of the External Network and the other including the Internal Network creation and the VM provision process.

Hope this helps in the process.


Create External Network


VM Provisioning


Posted On Sunday, April 28, 2013 7:51 PM | Comments (0)
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Business Intelligence: Leveraging SharePoint to drive business results Presentation

I was invited to do a presentation on Business Intelligence and Self Service BI at an internal Summit for a Health organization in Indianapolis.

Here is the slide deck.

Posted On Thursday, April 25, 2013 6:42 PM | Comments (0)
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Creating a SharePoint Demo/Dev Lab using Hyper-V on Windows 8. The Overview.

In the last number of days, I have come across the release of the Microsoft Office Division Demo VMs.  While a great asset, it is also quite large and it consumes a lot of resources, this being said as I have a Lenovo W530 with 32GB RAM, and 3 Hard Drives.  The download is a 56GB set, then expanded it comes to 220GB. That is just the storage piece. Then in order to get all VMs running, it requires 42GB RAM … not quite what I wanted in the end, but still useful in a given situation.

That brought me to a point I needed to decide the best path and approach to my own set. I figured I wanted to have something I could take on customer visits, and while explaining reference architectures and recommended approaches to the implementation then be able to show it.  With that said, it meant having a domain controller, a database server, a SharePoint server, and an Office Web Apps box. And also, decided to add a client OS to the mix.  All in all the following table defines the distribution in terms of machines, memory and OS used.


Machine Memory OS
Domain Controller 768MB Windows Server 2012 Datacenter – Core
Database Server 8GB Windows Server 2012 Datacenter – Core
SharePoint Server 12GB Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
Office Web Apps 4GB Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
Client 4GB Windows 8


The other goal I had was to make sure I had all this scripted, and even in a VM template in case I need to blow it all away and start from scratch without taking long hours or even days to provision again. I can say … Achievement Unlocked!! This will be, for many reasons, a multipart post.  The posts at this point will be (links will be updated as posts are completed):

Configuration of Hyper-V and creation of VMs
Installation of OS and Prep for Windows Server Core
Installation of AD on Windows Server Core
Installation of SQL Server on Windows Server Core
Installation and Configuration of SharePoint Server 2013

There were extremely useful resources in making this happen, here is the list of them.

SharePointRyan :

Installing SQL Server 2012 on Server Core


Craig Lussier :

Posted On Sunday, April 21, 2013 1:03 PM | Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Microsoft Office Division Demos: First Look at the Office 365 SharePoint Online Demo site

It took close to 10hrs to provision, below are some screenshots of what is the generated content.  More details and info to come… but for now, make sure you check the email you will receive from the system once the platform is fully provisioned (otherwise you will go crazy getting logged on) and you do not want to disrupt the process of getting the packs in place.

First thing, log on …


Next, check your Office 365 dashboard … notice the area in the red rectangle, I am thinking that is due (based on the message) to the time it took to provision and have everything in place.


Click on Sites …


Once there, click on Team Site …


And, you arrive at this … click on Demo Home Page


Demo Home Page …


A couple of other pages as you navigate …



And a quick look at the public page …


There is definitely quite a bit of exploring and walkthroughs to do.  Let the learning continue!
Posted On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 11:29 PM | Comments (0)
Microsoft Office Division Demos: Office 365 Provisioning

A couple of items to know and understand about this. One is the overall setup you will have completed, and then the other is the time it takes.

Overall Setup

Important to understand you will be working with a new trial tenant, you can’t use an existing one. Also, the tenant is an E3, that means $20 month/user if you decide to move from trial to permanent.

Time to provision

Here is what this looked like at around 1PM today …


This is what it looks like close to 9hrs later …


When you received the email that stated 8 to 36hrs, it was not an overstatement by any means. Just the Core Pack took about 5 to 6hrs to complete.  So, patience is a must!


It took almost 10hrs to complete the provisioning … but here are the items all green and completed!


Posted On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:50 PM | Comments (0)
Microsoft Office Division Demos: First Impression

I came across the following information on twitter today: “Microsoft has made available a demo environment for the Microsoft Office platform”.  What is this, you may ask? Well it is a smorgasbord demo environment!! It includes Microsoft Office, Lync, Exchange, SharePoint, and all in the 2013 stack. 

You get two possible options, one is to create a demo Office 365 site, the other is to download a set of VHDs. The initial details on this …

If you chose to download the VHDs, you can download with demo content  or without demo content.  The download is about 56GB.


If you chose to provision an Office 365 demo environment, you will create an E3 tenant.  Then it will launch a process that will provision all needed items for the demo.


The thing to be mindful of when provisioning is the length of time it will require, the email I received made mention of that fact. So, in about 8 to 36 hours, I will know how long it took.


Anyway, if you are a Microsoft Partner or work for a Partner … take a look at:

Posted On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2:50 PM | Comments (0)
Windows Azure IaaS General Availability

You may have been working with Windows Azure for a while and likely you tested the IaaS beta/preview. Today, early today, was announced by Scott Guthrie the general availability of the Infrastructure as a Service piece.  And with it prices, additional capabilities and new templates.

Check the announcement here …

Posted On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Microsoft Management Summit 2013 / MMS2013

Next week I will be at MMS 2013 in Las Vegas!
I will be presenting 5 sessions, one of which will be a repeat session.

If you are going to be attending and you did not know about Exam Prep sessions, make sure to make a stop the Training and Certification area.  Get your Certs updated or started, we will have MCTs presenting several Exam Prep sessions on topics that are relevant to MMS.  Here is a listing of the sessions being presented.  A total of 16 sessions.  Add them to your Schedule.  As the week starts, I will be tweeting/blogging more information.

Session Code Session Name
EXM01 Microsoft Certification and You
EXM02 Microsoft Certification and You
EXM03 Exam Prep: 70-246 - Private Cloud Monitoring and Operations with System Center 2012
EXM04 Exam Prep: 70-247 - Private Cloud Configuration and Deployment with System Center 2012
EXM05 Exam prep: 70-410/411/412 - MCSA: Windows Server 2012
EXM06 Exam prep: 70-413/414 - MCSE: Windows Server 2012
EXM07 Exam prep: 70-415/416 - MCSE: Windows Server 2012
EXM08 Exam prep: 70-689 - Upgrading your Skills to MCSA Windows 8
EXM10 Repeat Exam prep: 70-410/411/412 - MCSA: Windows Server 2012
EXM11 Repeat Exam Prep: 70-246 - Private Cloud Monitoring and Operations with System Center 2012
EXM12 Repeat Exam Prep: 70-247 - Private Cloud Configuration and Deployment with System Center 2012
EXM13 Exam Prep: 70-243 - Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
EXM15 Exam Prep: 70-331 / 70-332 - SharePoint 2013
EXM16 Exam Prep: 70-336 / 70-337 - Lync Server 2013
EXM17 Exam Prep: 70-341 / 70-342 - Exchange Server 2013
EXM18 Repeat Exam Prep: 70-243 - Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Posted On Tuesday, April 2, 2013 9:51 AM | Comments (0)
Tidbits on Installing the SQL Server 2012 BI Tools for VS 2012

As I was installing the newly released tools, and catching up on updates for a new system, I ran into the following situation.  When it came to going through the dialog screens to install the new tools, under Installation Type, it came down to two options. Perform a new installation of SQL Server 2012 was one, the other, Add features to an existing instance of SQL Server 2012.  I decided to select to Add features (why? well, instinct I guess).  And I went forward with that choice through the rest of options in the Setup dialog screen.  However, when  it came to the “Installation Configuration Rules”, I received a rule with a failed status.


And reading the text, it states  “The CPU architecture of installation feature(s) is different than the instance specified. To continue, add features to this instance with the same architecture”.

What to do? What’s wrong here?  Actually, nothing, really! No, there is one missed part, it should be installed as a new feature as it will not overwrite the previously installed tools, as those are specific to the VS2010 environment/shell.

So, the process really is to install it as a new feature (which was the default setting to begin with) I just figured “I would know better”.

All green now, installation completes and we are successful.

Posted On Tuesday, April 2, 2013 8:47 AM | Comments (0)
Saturday, February 23, 2013
New set of Visio stencils for Exchange, Lync and SharePoint 2013

As versions of the server products have changed, and a more “modern” interface and cleaner display is about. Well, so are the Visio stencils we should be using when designing our infrastructure or enterprise diagrams.

Below is a list of the new stencils available.

SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and Office 2013
Exchange 2013
Posted On Saturday, February 23, 2013 9:48 AM | Comments (0)
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