# Friday, October 30, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin pounded the east coast much of the week and threatened to cause havoc with thunderstorms in Huntsville, AL, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Chris Gardner, organizer of the first DevSpace conference, crossed his fingers, glanced at the sky and hoped the weather would not deter attendees and speakers.

Huntsville, AL

Ultimately, the thunderstorms did strike Huntsville, but only in the evening and they were not enough to disrupt the first DevSpace conference.

In its first year, the DevSpace conference in Huntsville, AL attracted about a hundred attendees.

Although the attendees were mostly from within 200 miles of Huntsville, the speakers came from all over the US, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and California.

Sessions covered a variety of software development technologies, including JavaScript frameworks, Application Lifecycle Management, PowerShell, Azure Machine Learning, Unity game development, and Python.


There were a surprising number of presentations on Application Lifecycle Management and quite a few talks on soft skills, such as Finding Leadership Opportunities, Public Speaking, and Improving Listening Skills.

Alan Stevens of Knoxville, TN delivered an excellent keynote in which he talked about the inherent imperfections in production code and how we can continually improve that code base.

I delivered 2 sessions: Own Your Own Career - Advice from a Veteran Consultant; and Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft.


Huntsville, AL is also home of the University of Alabama - Huntsville and Chris arranged a student workshop for me at the university the day before the conference. I was able to teach students about cloud computing and Azure and get them to activate their Dreamspark Azure accounts and deploy a web app.

DevSpace is one of several smaller conferences that have started or grown recently in response to the cancellation of DevLink in Nashville, TN.

Conference organizer Chris Gardner announced plans for a 2016 edition of DevSpace.

Chris Gardner

This was my first visit to Alabama and I really enjoyed it. The people were friendly, the area is beautiful, the conference was enjoyable, and Hun4tsville has a quaint, pleasant downtown area. My only regret is that I did not get  a chance to visit the Space Museum. But that gives me a reason to return.

Friday, October 30, 2015 2:21:42 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, October 29, 2015

In this screencast, you will learn 3 different ways to create an Azure Web App using the Azure Management Portal.

Azure | GCast | Video | Web
Thursday, October 29, 2015 10:42:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015 2:41:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, October 19, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015 3:00:40 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, October 15, 2015

In this screencast, we show how to create a new Virtual Machine in the Windows Azure portal.

Azure | DevOps | GCast | IAAS
Thursday, October 15, 2015 5:57:41 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I recently spoke with Data Scientist Richard Conway from Elasta Games, who described how his company does analysis of online games.

You can watch and listen to this interview below.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 12:36:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In order to use Azure tables, blobs, and queues, you must first create an Azure storage account. In this article, I will walk you through the steps to create a new Azure Storage Account.

Log into your Azure account and launch the portal (https://manage.windowsazure.com/).

In the left menu, click the "STORAGE" icon (Fig 1). This will list any storage accounts you currently have for this subscription.

Fig 1

To create a new Storage Account, click the [NEW] button (Fig 2) at the bottom  left of the portal and select DATA SERVICES | STORAGE | QUICK CREATE from the popup menu (Fig 3).

Fig 2

Fig 3

The QUICK CREATE dialog displays, as shown in Fig 4.

Fig 4

At the URL field, enter a name for your storage account. This name must be a combination of only numbers and lowercase letters and it must be unique among storage accounts because it will be accessible publicly with a name like https://accountname.core.windows.net

where accounttname is the name you assign to the storage account. The portal will let you know if you enter a name this is not allowed or that is already taken.

At the LOCATION/AFFINITY GROUP field, select a region in which to create your storage account. (Affinity groups are no longer necessary and have been deprecated.)

At the REPLICATION field, select the type of replication you would like for your storage account.
Azure always makes extra copies of your storage accounts, but you control how much redundancy and where that redundancy is stored. Options are:

  • Locally Redundant
  • Geo-Redundant
  • Read-Access Geo-Redundant
  • Zone Redundant

For an explanation of each type of replication, see my article: Azure Storage Replication Options Explained

Click the [CREATE STORAGE ACCOUNT] button to create the new storage account with the settings you have entered.

When finished, a confirmation message displays (Fig 5) and your storage account should be listed in the portal.

Fig 5

You are now ready to use your storage account.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 3:15:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 12, 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015 9:11:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Earlier today, Microsoft held an event in New York city to talk about devices that support Windows 10. Most of these devices (Surface Pro 4, SurfaceBook, new Lumia phones, Microsoft Band v2) will be released in the next few weeks, while the Hololens will likely be out next year.

Personally, I am most excited by the new phones (Continuum is amazing) and by the upcoming SurfaceBook (which I did not know about before today), but there was impressive news in every category.

Below are my notes while watching this event:

  • Keynote
    • 110+ Million devices now running Windows 10
    • Facebook, Audible, Uber building universal apps for Windows 10
    • Upgrading all Xbox Ones to Windows 10
    • Xbox One will play Xbox 360 games
  • Hololens
    • Mixed reality
    • "Project X-Ray" mixed reality game
    • Holograms you can hold: Gauntlet that moves with his arm
    • Robots know where the walls and furniture are
    • Holograms interact with each other and the real environment
    • Spatial sound
    • No wires; no phones; no connection to a PC required
    • Applications accepted today for Hololens dev kit. Starting Q12016. $3000
  • Microsoft Band
    • New version released
    • Comfort: Curved screen; no hard edges
    • New Barometer sensor
    • Estimates VO2 Max: Maximum oxygen intake
    • Golf app
      • Tracks golf strokes
      • Recognizes practice swings
      • Knows which tee you are on
    • Microsoft Health app works across phone, PC, tablet
    • Available 10/30: $249 retail (Pre-order today)
  • Microsoft Lumia (phone)
    • 950 and 950XL available in November
    • 2 antennas
    • LED screen
      • 500 dpi
      • 5.2" and 5.7" display
    • Camera
      • Triple LED RGB Natural flash: better color; no red eye
      • Stabilizer
    • Quick charging: <30 mins = 50% charge
    • Windows "Hello" (biometric ID) now in Beta on phone
    • Continuum
      • Microsoft Display dock
        • HDMI and display port
        • 3 USB ports for accessories
      • Plug in mouse and keyboard
      • USB access
      • Keyboard shortcuts (CTRL+C; CTRL+V; ALT+TAB)
      • Taskbar
        • Displays open apps
        • Highlight current app
        • Task View
      • Full apps (e.g., Word, PowerPoint)
      • Phone experience not interrupted while Continuum is active
  • Surface Pro 4
    • Available 10/26. Pre-order now.
    • Starts at $899
    • 98% of people who use Surface Pro 3 recommend it
    • Faster processor
    • 30% faster than Surface Pro 3
    • 50% faster than Macbook Air
    • Up to 16GB RAM; 1TB storage
    • Thinner than SP3 (8.4 mm)
    • 12.3" diagonal (larger screen but same footprint)
    • Fingerprint reader
    • Screen
      • "PixelSense" technology - pen and touch
      • Cover glass: 400 microns thick gorilla glass
      • 267 ppi screen (5 million pixels) 60% more pixels than SP3
      • G5 chipset
    • Pen
      • 1034 points pressure
      • 1 year battery life
      • Built-in Eraser
      • Magnetic pen storage
      • Hold down pen: Calls Cortana
      • Interchangeable pen tips (fine-line, felt tip, etc.)
    • Surface Pro docking station
      • Works with SP3 and SP4
      • Connects to USB
    • Keyboard
      • Light
      • Works with SP3
      • Backlit
    • Trackpad
      • 40% larger
      • 5-point multi-touch larger track pad
  • SurfaceBook
    • First laptop built by Microsoft
    • 6 million pixels
    • 13.5" diagonal
    • "Pixelsense"
    • Thin gorilla glass
    • Trackpad - 5 touch points
    • 12 hours battery life. Doesn't burn battery while closed.
    • 2x faster than MacBook Pro
    • Works with docking station
    • Starts at $1499
    • Available 10/26. Pre-order now.
    • 1.6 lbs.
    • 7.7 mm thin
    • Detachable screen
    • GPU is in the base
    • Supports pen and touch
    • "Muscle Wire" locks and unlocks screen
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 8:35:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 5, 2015
Monday, October 5, 2015 2:15:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)