Getting married with Azure

After being with my partner for nearly 8 years, we finally tied the knot and got married. In the nerdiest way possible, I managed to organise the reception to be held in the “Azure Court” (without my wife realising). I was able to spend the day with the 2 loves of my life: my new wife, and Azure Winking smile

I mentioned to her that I was going to post about this and she recommended I link to the first time I mentioned her on my blog, when I was trying to figure out how to integrate Chinese & technology together:
Unicode not displaying correctly in Chinese apps and Creating a translation app to speak with her parents.

I have been an Azure MVP for 3 years now (with hopefully many more years in the future), however I’m hoping my new wife will outlast even my love for technology. Here is to many many happy years and the rest of our life together.

wedding with flowersdancing

Posted in Azure. 1 Comment »

Microsoft Virtual Academy – Windows 10 fundamentals & Azure

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Microsoft has a hidden resource for skilling up your technical skills, the “Microsoft Virtual Academy”. If you are looking to learn more about a specific Microsoft technology then it is a good way to learn from the experts. Some of the courses also help prepare you for Microsoft certification exams.

Today I am highlighting a few courses focused around

Windows 10 Technical Preview Fundamentals for IT Pros

Watch as the lead Windows 10 Enterprise Product Managers roll back the covers on the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Learn about new UI enhancements, find out how management and deployment is evolving, and hear how new security enhancements in Windows 10 can help your organization respond to the modern security threat landscape.

Windows 10 Technical Preview Fundamentals for IT Pros

Open Source Database on Microsoft Azure

Watch the experts, as they explore data storage in Azure and look at ways to design your data disk architecture for virtual machines (VMs). Plus, compare the performances of different VMs, and look at database reliability and availability.

Open Source Database on Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Virtual Academy – Azure IaaS series

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Microsoft has a hidden resource for skilling up your technical skills, the “Microsoft Virtual Academy”. If you are looking to learn more about a specific Microsoft technology then it is a good way to learn from the experts. Some of the courses also help prepare you for Microsoft certification exams.

Today I am highlighting a course series on Azure IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service).

 

Part 1 – IaaS Fundamentals

In this session, hear from Mark Russinovich and explore Azure IaaS virtual machines, inside and out. Learn to optimize your Windows Server workloads on Azure, and dig into IaaS architecture and management best practices.

IaaS Fundamentals

Part 2 – Dive Deep into Networking Storage and Disaster Recovery Scenarios

In this second in a series of Azure IaaS trainings for IT Pros, explore networking and hybrid connectivity to extend your datacenter, see why storage is the fundamental building block for all Azure services, and find out how new tools and capabilities simplify migration and disaster recovery. Get the details on network, storage, and automation, as you continue the deep dive into the supporting technologies that light up Azure IaaS.

Dive Deep into Networking Storage and Disaster Recovery Scenarios

Part 3 – Embrace Open Source Technologies to Accelerate and Scale Solutions

In this third in the series of Azure IaaS trainings for IT Pros, focus on open source technologies on Azure. Walk with engineers through how to best deploy and manage a Linux environment with tools you know and use today.
Learn how to use your existing Chef and Puppet configurations and how to scale new ones to massively scale and deploy your solution. Wrap the day with a look at the new capabilities of containerization with Docker.

Embrace Open Source Technologies to Accelerate and Scale Solutions

Build 2015 day 1 keynote

Highlights:

Note, the stream started at 1:36am my time. You can see the timestamp in most of the screencaps, so you can translate it into how far into the steam each topic/announcement is.

1:36

Satya comes on stage

When Windows first started, it was written by 2 guys and was for PCs.
But now there are so many more devices out there.
It is Microsoft’s mission to help empower every person, and that starts by empowering every developer.

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Read the rest of this entry »

Community report: Beijing Xamarin hack day

With the success of the Sydney Xamarin hack day a few months back, we decided to repeat the event in as many locations as possible. With me working in Beijing, China for a few months it was the perfect opportunity to run the event in another country!
http://xamarinhackday.com/beijing

Challenges

Running an event in another country comes with a number of localization issues. Such as different social media sites used, and language translations of any marketing materials that are sent out. We are lucky that China is embracing English as a critical part of their education, and people working in the Tech Industry are more used to speaking in English than other fields.

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Newsletter

The mailout we sent out to our Chinese contacts took us 2 weeks to lock down. Initially I thought “this is an English event, being presented in English, for a crowd that is assumed to have a very basic level of English”. Under this assumption I created the initial version of the newsletter in English only. After reviewing it we decided we should probably send it out in Chinese, and I got my PA to translate it. We then decided to merge it all into a single English/Chinese flyer, which then took some time to get the formatting correct. All up it was 2 weeks of iterating on just how to communicate the event. The final result can be found here http://xamarinhackday.com/newsletter/aug2014/beijing-hack-day_en-ch.html

Social media

The traditional forms of social media we use in the western world (Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, etc.) are all blocked via the “Great Firewall of China”. This means you need to adapt and use the local alternatives of these services.

We used Weibo (Twitter clone) to promote the event on the SSW account http://www.weibo.com/2647550041/BlhOYjUab as well as on the official Microsoft MSDN account  http://www.weibo.com/1678298567/BlASwk0fs

We also uploaded the promotional video of the event to YouKu (YouTube clone) so that Chinese participants could view the video http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNzQ4MjY0MDMy.html

Android development kits blocked by firewall

Another fun issue I knew we would have, is the Xamarin installer instantly fails when you try to run it. As it tries to download Android resources off the Google CDNs, which are all blocked by the Chinese firewall. I had to get all the resources downloaded and put onto a USB key that I could share with the attendees on the day. I had one of my staff create a word document out of the instructions on how to install it offline with these caches, I should blog the instructions in the future.

On the day

The event went extremely smoothly on the day. The event was hosted at the Microsoft office, and they had organised everything perfectly, from the prearranged desks, right through to catering for lunch.

Presenting to a Non-Native speaker crowd

From working with Chinese .Net developers here in Beijing, my assumptions about their base level of English proved correct. I was able to give my presentation on using Xamarin basics, right through to advanced MVVM & PCL with Xamarin.Forms. It was meant to be a 3 hour talk, however it took me 4.5 hours as I spoke at 1/2 my normal speed, and was constantly making sure I clarified myself with simpler English, or in another way to help make sure I got the concepts across.

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I also tried modifying my presentation style on the day. I knew that if I just did my typical “talk lots to the crowd” that I would lose a lot of them. I tried speaking and writing short notes on what I am saying, to help get the message across. I also tried to “let the code do the talking” and did my demos from 1st principles. By doing it all from the basics it helped ensure they understood what I was doing, as any attempt at trying to explain the background of a pre-canned sample may be futile due to language barrier.

You can read about my attempt at using GitHub to share the source code & MarkDown to prettify my notepad notes https://davidburela.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/experimenting-with-ways-to-share-presentation-materials/

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Overall the day went well, with enthusiastic developers learning how to develop with Xamarin, and subsequently start running up their own cross platform apps. I saw many sample apps running identically on Windows Phone & Android via Xamarin.Forms.

Experimenting with ways to share presentation materials

I do a LOT of presentations at UGs each year, this year it has been ~20 so far.
My presentation style has evolved a LOT over the last 10 years (but that is a topic for another blog post).

I like experimenting with Git (as a previous blog post talked about) https://davidburela.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/developer-blog-banter-3-responsecommunity-coding/ I thought I would share 2 of my experiments below, both were with using Git in different ways.

Video recording with time-coded code samples.

https://github.com/DavidBurela/Win8Demo-TechEd2012Session#readme
This was my favourite experiment. I did a presentation at TechEd, and had the video uploaded to Channel 9. http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Australia/2012/DEV214
My session was a code heavy presentation that showed how to implement MVVM from base principles. I took one application, and evolved it through many stages: code behind, MVVM (one time binding), INPC, Commanding, through to Portable Class Libraries. There were a lot of concepts to cover.

I wanted to release my code samples, but as there were so many concepts it would have been difficult to create many small samples to show these. Instead I decided to take my video recording, and retrace the steps I did during the presentation. As I went through it, I then did a commit at important stages throught the presentation, and put the timecode into the commit message. That way people following along in the video could quickly jump to any commit and see the code at that point in the video
https://github.com/DavidBurela/Win8Demo-TechEd2012Session/commits/
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Live presentation notes, with GitHub repo + README.md

Last weekend I did a 4 hour presentation for Beijing Xamarin Hack day http://xamarinhackday.com/beijing.
As this was a non-English speaking crowd, I thought I would change how I did the presentation.
Rather than use slides and talk lots without assistance (which could easily lose them due to language), I instead opened up Notepad and started typing up the agenda in front of them. This let them see the English words of what I was talking about, and let them get a detailed overview of what I would be covering during the day.
It again was a code heavy presentation showing basic cross platform MVVM concepts using PCL & Xamarin.Form to have the same app run on WinPhone/Android/iPhone.

At the end of the presentation, I was able to take my plain text notes I had written live in front of them and convert them directly into nicely formatted MarkDown on GitHub. I simply added “===” and “—“ to specify the H1 and H2 headings.
I then uploaded the final source code straight to a GitHub repo, so that the attendees could take what I had built in front of them, and then extend it during the rest of the Xamarin HackDay event.
https://github.com/DavidBurela/XamarinBeijingHackDay-Demo#readme

If you haven’t played with MarkDown yet, consider it the next time you need to quickly put together a nicely formatted notes.
Here is the raw .txt of the ReadMe
Raw text: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/DavidBurela/XamarinBeijingHackDay-Demo/master/README.md
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And it nicely formatted when rendered as MarkDown: https://github.com/DavidBurela/XamarinBeijingHackDay-Demo#readme
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A sneak peak at ASP.Net vNext

ASP.Net vNext is now available as a preview. I wanted to give everyone a heads up on what to expect in this next release. I recorded a quick video on what I consider to be the important things to be aware of.

  1. Project format is changing to a single JSON file
  2. ASP.NET MVC and Web API have been unified into a single programming model
  3. Project Roslyn allows for a “no-compile” developer experience while making updates
  4. Migration to a OWIN hosting model allows for flexibility in production web hosts (IIS or running on Linux via Mono)

http://tv.ssw.com/5366/asp-net-vnext-everything-you-need-to-know-in-4-minutes

More details and access to the latest previews can be found at these links:

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