The style formely known as Metro

Well, looks like Microsoft will have to come with a new name for its tiled based UI (see this InfoWorld article).

I fear that Microsoft will come up with something like this: Windows Professional Visual Interface Style Manager Multi-Touch Enhanced.  May I suggest this instead?  Windows Visual Interface Style multi-Touch Apparatus, or Windows Vista for short  :-)

And they could use that instead:

Noontec Zoro headphones

I was looking for a new pair of headphones when I saw this CNET review: Noontec Zoro: A new high for $100 headphones?

I'm no audiophile but one thing I don't like is the emphasis on bass in some of the popular brands right now so when I read in the review that "The sound is neutral, so the Zoro doesn't boost some frequencies or roll-off others. No, the Zoro tells it like it is...", I ordered a pair on the spot.   Red ones of course  :-)

I must say that I really like these Australian, designed in Italy and made in China headphones.  The sound is really great (again, I'm no audiophile), they feel great on the head and the price is just fantastic.

 

 

Upgrading from Hotmail to Outlook.com: what to know

Before upgrading your Hotmail account to a brand new and shiny Outlook.com account, make sure you read this blog post from the Outlook team.  It's a must read to better understand the pros and cons of upgrading an account.

 

Bricked Nokia Lumia 900

 

I have a bricked Nokia Lumai 900 and I'm not happy about that.  Problems happened after the phone software was updated.  I powered off the computer and the phone and in the morning, the battery was totally drained and it’s just impossible to recover from a drained battery.  It seems like the phone tries to power back on repeatedly while at the early part of the charging cycle and drains the power right back out of the phone, then just repeats that cycle continuously.  Bad design if you ask me.

 

Canadian Tour: Windows 8 Hackathon!

Microsoft will tour Canada this summer with its App Building with Windows 8 Hackathon!, a free full day trainaing for developers where you will:

  • Spend 8 hours (see what we did there!) with other developers and designers learning about creating apps based on mini-scenarios from Microsoft evangelists as well as learn about the Windows Store. 
  • Have plenty of time to work on your own apps and have folks there to help answer questions you may have. We will keep presentations short so that you have more time to work on your app. 
  • Find out how you can get free guidance from a Microsoft engineer for your app who can help make sure you have built the best quality app and enable a smoother transition into the Windows Store.

The tour will stop during August in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.  Space is limited. Register today to secure your spot!

 

Wireless issues with my iPad

I upgraded my router to a D-Link DIR-857 yesterday.  Setup went smoothly but I had an issue with my iPad.  For some strange reason, I could browse the Intertube in Safari but no app would connect.  Turns out that the issue was that I selected WPA2 as the WPA mode.  Selecting Auto solved the issue.

 

Moving my blog to Azure Virtual Machines

I was using dotnet-host.com, an "el cheapo" $5/month hoster to host my Website and my blog. They were hacked a few weeks ago and got back online but last week, they simply shut down with no warning at all so I decided to move my stuff to Azure. My Website is very simple, it's a static one page business card type of site. For my blog, I use BlogEngine.Net set to store the data in XML files, nothing fancy.

Web Sites
I decided to try Web Sites first.  Web Sites are in preview (read Beta) right now and you get 10 of them free with your Azure account.  Creating a Web Site is easy, you can create an empty one, one with a SQL or MySQL database or one from a gallery of apps including DasBlog or WordPress.  Think of shared hosting à la GoDaddy.  You end up with an URL like http://mysite.azurewebsites.net that but you can’t point a domain to it.  That option may come later at a fee.

Virtual Machines
Since I wanted to point my domain to my web site and my blog I decided to try the new Virtual Machine role currently in preview (Beta) mode.  Note that this role is different from the VM Role that was previously and still is available on Azure.  The main difference is that Virtual Machines have persistent storage.  When creating a new Virtual Machine, you’re presented with a choice of operating systems that even include Linux.

 

 

I decided to create on with Windows 2012 RC so I could familiarize myself with it.  Once provisioned, I created a data disk where I would place my web site and blog files. I then clicked on connect to launch a remote desktop connection to the virtual machine. 

From there, it’s business as usual.  I went into disk management to format and assign a letter to the data drive.  I installed IIS and created two sites.  I copy and pasted the web sites files from my PC directly into the remote machine.

Back to the Azure portal, I punched a hole in the Azure firewall to let HTTP traffic in.  You simply click on the endpoints link and create a new endpoint.

Lastly, in GoDaddy, I pointed my domain to the virtual IP address provided by Azure and created a CNAME for www and one for blog.  The whole process took about an hour.  What’s amazing is that for less than $15/month, I get a full Windows Server VM with failover, bandwidth and storage.  The only caveat right now is that geo replication is turned on by default when you create a new data disk from storage.  I noticed it when I looked by the detailed usage in billing.  Although this is a cool feature, it will triple your storage cost and since I don’t need it, I simply turned it off.  Just click on Storage, select your storage, then click on Configure and turn geo replication off.  The funny thing is that in Preview mode, this is turned on by default and when you turn it off, you get a warning that this action will impact your billing  :-)

 

Hello Virtual Machine

A test post from an Azure Virtual Machine

New Azure data centers

Microsoft recently announced the addition of two new data centers in the USA: West US and East US.

Here's the complete Azure data centers list:

  • Asia: East (Hong Kong) and Southeast (Singapore)
  • Europe: North (Netherlands) and West (Ireland)
  • United States: North Central (Illinois), South Central (Texas), East (Virginia), and West (California)

Here's how geo-replication works for the new data centers: 

  • US East and West are paired together for Windows Azure Storage geo-replication
  • US North and South are paired together for Windows Azure Storage geo-replication

Windows Azure Trust Center

Microsoft has recently grouped its Azure security documents and information under the Windows Azure Trust Center roof.

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