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    Guest blogger Mike Hickman is Microsoft’s director of Global Community Engagement, including the MVP Award.IMG_8175

    I’m in Brazil right now for the launch of Windows 8, surrounded by an enthusiastic MVP community. There are so many reasons that today—and this entire year—is an exciting time for all of us who work with MVPs. The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award is poised to celebrate its 20th anniversary - at the same time as Microsoft is in the midst of one of its most ambitious product release years. What is striking about these two milestones is how closely related they are: the release of this year’s roster of highly anticipated Microsoft products underlines that, after two decades, the dynamic MVP community is more critical than ever to enhancing the way people around the world use technology.

    Twenty years ago, when Microsoft first recognized the contributions of community leaders who offered their knowledge and expertise to others, there were less than 40 MVPs. Today there are more than 3,800 and they are awarded across Microsoft’s wide array of products and services. There are MVPs awarded in every product that imagehas been released this year or is coming to the market soon, from Internet Explorer 10 to Office 365, from System Center 2012 to Windows 8.

    One of the hallmarks of the MVP Award is that it opens the door to two-way communication between exemplary community leaders and Microsoft—an unprecedented community relationship in our industry. Many MVPs are invited to provide their feedback to Microsoft products in development, and this early hands-on experience with coming products often supports the contributions MVPs make to their communities. So in a banner year for Microsoft products and services such as this one, it’s important to note MVPs not only offered their feedback on many of the new product features we’re seeing, but also already have the expertise to provide invaluable real-world advice as we learn to use these new features.

    We saw this at the launch of Visual Studio 2012, clip_image001where MVP blogs and presentations focused on the technical features of the new product (you can read some of their posts here on the MVP Award blog). MVPs helped introduce this important new product to the community, and 60% of the global launch events for Visual Studio 2012 featured MVP sponsorship or participation.

    S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, summed up their contributions: “Thanks to the MVPs for helping us build the right products as well as being the core part of our vibrant community.”

    We’ve also been seeing the important role MVPs play in launches such as Windows Server 2012. MVPs have taken their expertise on a global roadshow, which has so far reached 3,700 people in 20 countries. And it’s not over yet. (Read more about the Windows Server 2012 Community Roadshow.)

    For every large, MVP-organized initiative, there are dozens of smaller ones. Like the 15 MVP interviewees who are sharing their tips for the New Office on the “Office on Air” blog in France. Or the 30 MVPs I’ve had the distinct pleasure to celebrate the launch of Windows 8 with here in Brazil.

    What this year shows us is that as Microsoft’s products grow and evolve, MVPs have often been part of every stage of the process, including helping people make the most of them—every day. That’s the 20-year legacy of this community. Here’s to 20 more!

    brazil mvp pic 


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    Editor’s Note:  In partnership with Microsoft Press, MVPs have been contributing to an ongoing guest series on their official team blog based on monthly themes. This month’s theme is Windows Server 2012.  Today’s article is from Directory Services MVP Michal Gajda which is the 19th in the series.

    Windows Server 2012 human friendly Core:
    Network configuration tricks

    Windows Server 2012, especially in Core version gives us a much more powerful system management. Previous version of Windows Server in text mode, can a little bit scare administrators, mainly because the first release did not support PowerShell (mainly due to inability to use .NET in Core version). This problem was solved in the second release of the system, but  PowerShell console (in version 2.0) wasn’t available after installation by default. Adding it requires knowledge from administrators about basic command line tools. Moreover same PowerShell included a small number of extensions, which mainly focused on the use of individual roles, rather than to manage the entire system.

    Windows Server 2012 in this regard makes a huge step forward. The third edition of PowerShell we have immediately after installation. On board it has several modules to manage even the basic elements of the system. The biggest difference we can see in the network configuration. Seemingly simple operations, but we have here several independent PowerShell modules. So we can tell good bye netsh…Read Full Article

    About the author

    Michal_Gajda220 png

    Bio:  Michal Gajda is a Microsoft PowerShell MVP. As Senior Engineer mainly he works with Microsoft solutions like Active Directory, Exchange or some kinds of virtualization - Hyper-V. On every step he using a scripting techniques to facilitate the daily works. He is the author of several PowerShell tools located in the TechNet Gallery and the CommandLineGeeks blog, because everything related to PowerShell and Command Line tools are his passion.

    About MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead,  for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade.  In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund.  Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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    MVPs and developers alike are congregating on the Microsoft Campus this week for BUILD 2012.  The conference, which runs through Friday, will focus on the newly released Windows 8 through developers sessions that target supportive technologies, software and services such as SkyDrive, Office 2013 and Kinect. 

    An estimated 49 MVPs are attending the conference in person but many others will experience it live via the web.  The BUILD conference, which sold out in just a couple hours, will be live streaming during the conference.  That means if you couldn't attend, you can still watch keynotes, featured sessions and even live interactive interviews where BUILD will field questions from you at home.  In addition to live streaming, content from the conference will be available online via Channel 9 within 24 hours. 

    Don’t forget, Tuesday evening from 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM at the Typhoon Restaurant on the Microsoft campus we’ll be hosting an MVP mix and mingle event.  Stop by for some delicious food and beverages and meet fellow MVPs and MVP staff.

    BUILD is also going social!  This year, if you want to unlock the #BuildBadge, you’re going to have to work for it.  Details about how and other social media information can be found on the BUILD home page.

    We will be working closely with MVPs to bring you daily updates on trends, sessions and feedback. 


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  • 11/01/12--16:40: MVPs Comment on BUILD 2012
  • The 2012 BUILD conference is underway on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA.  BUILD, which is Microsoft’s highly anticipated conference for developers, runs through November 2.  MVPs have been tweeting, posting and blogging about the conference, here’s what MVPs Dave Noderer and Maarten van Stam had to say:

    Visual Basic MVP Dave Noderer wrote on his blog:

    “Great keynote and I don’t like keynotes..

    Seeing the great breadth of large and small devices and the number of manufacturers along with the software vision for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 was inspiring.”

    VSTO MVP Maarten van Stam shared on his blog:

    “This little tid-bit of information was demoed during the developer focused //Build/ key note; Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 share a common core! This means that you as a developer can write shared code libraries that you don’t even have to recompile to deploy to a Windows Phone 8 or to a Windows 8 device.”


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    MICROSOFT COMMUNITY VIDEO TIPS SWEEPSTAKES

    OFFICIAL RULES

     

     

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. 

     

    PLEASE NOTE:  It is your sole responsibility to review and understand your employer’s policies regarding your eligibility to participate in trade promotions.  If you are participating in violation of your employer’s policies, you may be disqualified from entering or receiving prizes.  Microsoft disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between an employee and their employer related to this matter, and prizes will only be awarded in compliance with the employer’s policies.

     

    GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Microsoft is committed to complying with government gift and ethics rules and therefore government employees are not eligible.

     

    COMMON TERMS USED IN THESE RULES:

    These are the official rules that govern how the Microsoft Microsoft Community Video Tips sweepstakes  will operate. This promotion will be simply referred to as the “Sweepstakes”throughout the rest of these rules. 

    In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us”refer to Microsoft Corporation, the sponsor of the Sweepstakes. “You” refers to an eligible Sweepstakes entrant. 

    WHAT ARE THE START AND END DATES?

     

    This Sweepstakes starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on October 29, 2, 2012, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on December 16, 2012 (“Entry Period”).  The Entry Period consists of 1 Prize Period.  Entries must be received within the Entry Period to be eligible.

     

    CAN I ENTER?

    You are eligible to enter this Sweepstakes if you meet the following requirements at time of entry:

     

    ·         You are a professional or enthusiast in the field of software / IT technology, and you are a legal resident of the 50 United States and District of Columbia 18 years of age or older; and

    o  If you are 18 of age or older, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you should ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Sweepstakes; and

     

    ·         You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and

     

    ·         You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Sweepstakes; and

     

    ·         You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Sweepstakes.

     

    This Sweepstakes is void outside of the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.

     

    HOW DO I ENTER?

     

    Create a short video (no longer than 7 minutes) that explains a user scenario and how that scenario is solved successfully by a Microsoft product, feature and/or an application available on Microsoft Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 7 or Xbox 360. Videos related to Outlook.com features, highlights and scenarios will also be eligible for a First Place prize drawing. The video that you create will be referred to as your “Entry.”Once created, upload your Entry to your Youtube.com channel and include the tag #MSTips. Entries must comply with the YouTube Terms of Service http://www.youtube.com/t/terms. To be eligible, the video must have been uploaded to Youtube after July 1st, 2012.   

     

    To submit an Entry, complete the entry form located at: http://www.instant.ly/s/WadSgwMUYAA

     

    This entry form Your name, your preferred contact email address (, your U.S. State of residence,  a link to the publically accessible website where your Entry or Entries are posted

     

    You can submit multiple entrys per form.

    To be eligible for entry, the video must be applicable to Microsoft products currently released in market.

     

    You may submit a maximum of 100 unique entries per person.  To be considered a unique Entry, the video must have a unique URL and contain substantially different content than any of yoru other Entries. Non-winning entries will be included in any subsequent Prize Periods. 

     

    We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

    We will automatically disqualify:

    ·         Any incomplete or illegible entry; and

    ·         Any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the entry limit described above.

    We are not responsible for Entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.  In addition Entries must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

    ·         your entry must be your own original work; and

    ·         your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and

    ·         you must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry; and

    ·         if requested, you must provide proof of permission (or be able to grant permission) from any recognizable person featured in your entry materials; and

    ·         other than those of Microsoft, which you are granted a limited license to use for the sole purpose of submitting an entry in this Sweepstakes, your entry may not include any third party trademarks (logos, names) or copyrighted materials (literary works, music, images, video).

     

    Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:

     

    ·         obscene or offensive;

    ·         promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;

    ·         communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law;

     

    We reserve the right to reject or disqualify any Entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we determine does not meet the above criteria.

     

    HOW WILL MY ENTRY BE POTENTIALLY USED?

     

    Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry.  However, by submitting your entry, you:

     

    ·         are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; and (ii) feature your entry and all content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Contest (including but not limited to internal and external sales meetings, conference presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the Contest entry in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed)

     

    ·         agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above;

     

    ·         understand and acknowledge that the Sponsor(s) may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry; 

     

    ·         understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your entry.  By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law; 

     

    ·         understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules

     

    Please note that following the end of this Contest your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website.  We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website.  While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry.

     

    If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Contest.

     

    WINNER SELECTION AND PRIZES

     

    On or around the close of the  Prize Period, we will randomly select 2 potential (pending confirmation of eligibility) Grand Prize winners from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period. On or around the close of the  Prize Period, we will randomly select 2 potential (pending confirmation of eligibility) First Place Prize winners from among all eligible entries (videos related to Outlook.com only) received during the Entry Period.

     

    (2) Grand Prizes:  ASUS VivoTab RT  -(total value is $599.99). Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $1199.98

     

    (2) First Place Prizes:  ASUS VivoTab RT  -(total value is $599.99). Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $1199.98

     

    Reference link: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/pd/ASUS-VivoBook-X202E-Touchscreen/productID.257339400/vip.true

     

    The total Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of all prizes: $2399.96

     

    We will only award one Grand prize or First Place prize per person during the Entry Period.

     

    If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following the random drawing.  If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award the prize to an alternate, randomly selected winner.  Only three (3) alternate drawings will be held after which the applicable prize will remain un-awarded. If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Sweepstakes . If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you are apotential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf.  If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select an alternate, randomly selected winner. Only three (3) alternate drawings will be held after which the applicable prize will remain un-awarded.

     

    If you are confirmed as a  winner of this Sweepstakes:

     

    • You may not exchange your prize for cash or any other merchandise or services.  However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and

     

    • You may not designate someone else as the winner.  If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we will award it to an alternate potential winner; and

     

    • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize; and

     

    • If you are otherwise eligible for this Sweepstakes, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and

     

    • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions. 

     

    WHAT ARE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING?

     

    Your odds of winning this Sweepstakes depend on the number of eligible entries we receive.

     

    WHAT OTHER CONDITIONS ARE YOU AGREEING TO BY ENTERING THIS SWEEPSTAKES?

     

    By entering this Sweepstakes you agree:

     

    ·         To abide by these Official Rules; and

     

    ·         To release and hold harmless Microsoft,and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Sweepstakes or any prize won; and

     

    ·         That Microsoft’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Sweepstakes; and

     

    ·         That by accepting a prize, Microsoft may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Sweepstakes, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.

     

    WHAT LAWS GOVERN THE WAY THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS EXECUTED AND ADMINISTRATED?

    This Sweepstakes will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Sweepstakes.  

    WHAT IF SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS AND THE SWEEPSTAKES CAN’T RUN AS PLANNED?

    If cheating, a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure)affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Sweepstakes, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Sweepstakes.  This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Sweepstakes, we reserve the right randomly to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Sweepstakes.

     

    If youattempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Sweepstakes, so please play fairly.

    HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT WHO WON?

    We will post the names of winners who received a prize worth $25.00 or more online at

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2012/10/22/microsoft-community-video-tips-holiday-2012-sweepstakes-winners.aspx 

     

    This list will remain posted one month after December 17, 2012.

    WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE OFFICIAL RULES?

    The official rules will be posted here:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2012/10/22/microsoft-community-video-tips-holiday-2012-sweepstakes-rules.aspx

     

     

    WHO IS SPONSORING THIS SWEEPSTAKES?

     

    Microsoft  Corporation

    One Microsoft Way

    Redmond, WA 98052

     


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    MICROSOFT MVP MICROSOFT STORE EVENT ATTENDEE  SWEEPSTAKES

    OFFICIAL RULES

     

     

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. 

     

    PLEASE NOTE:  It is your sole responsibility to review and understand your employer’s policies regarding your eligibility to participate in trade promotions.  If you are participating in violation of your employer’s policies, you may be disqualified from entering or receiving prizes.  Microsoft disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between an employee and their employer related to this matter, and prizes will only be awarded in compliance with the employer’s policies.

     

    GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Microsoft is committed to complying with government gift and ethics rules and therefore government employees are not eligible.

     

    COMMON TERMS USED IN THESE RULES:

    These are the official rules that govern how the Microsoft MVP Microsoft Store Event Attndee sweepstakes  will operate. This promotion will be simply referred to as the “Sweepstakes”throughout the rest of these rules. 

    In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us”refer to Microsoft Corporation, the sponsor of the Sweepstakes. “You” refers to an eligible Sweepstakes entrant. 

    WHAT ARE THE START AND END DATES?

     

    This Sweepstakes starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on October 29, 2, 2012, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on December 16, 2012 (“Entry Period”).  The Entry Period consists of 1 Prize Period.   Entries must be received within the Entry Period to be eligible.

     

    CAN I ENTER?

    You are eligible to enter this Sweepstakes if you meet the following requirements at time of entry:

     

    ·         You are a professional or enthusiast in the field of software / IT technology, and you are a legal resident of the 50 United States and District of Columbia 18 years of age or older; and

    o  If you are 18 of age or older, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you should ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Sweepstakes; and

     

    ·         You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and

     

    ·         You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Sweepstakes; and

     

    ·         You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Sweepstakes.

     

    This Sweepstakes is void outside of the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.

     

    HOW DO I ENTER?

     

    You must attend one of the events hosted by a Microsoft MVP at a Microsoft Store from between October 29, 2012 and December 16, 2012. After attending the event, you must complete the online attendee survey located here:http://www.instant.ly/s/UadR-bV9wAA

     

    Completing the event attendee survey includes stating, the city of the Microsoft Store that hosted the event, the first name of the presenter of the event, the day of the event, a rating of the event, whether the attendee would like to more of these event to be created, and whether the attendee intends to purchase a Microsoft Windows 8 product within the next 3 months. All repsonces will have NO affect on an attendees odds for winning a prize.

     

     

    An attendee may submit one survey per MVP hosted event that they attend.

     

    We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

    We will automatically disqualify:

    ·         Any incomplete or illegible entry; and

    ·         Any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the entry limit described above.

    We are not responsible for Entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.  In addition Entries must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

    ·         your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and

    ·         you must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry; and

     

    Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:

     

    ·         obscene or offensive;

    ·         promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;

    ·         communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law;

     

    We reserve the right to reject or disqualify any Entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we determine does not meet the above criteria.

     

    HOW WILL MY ENTRY BE POTENTIALLY USED?

     

    Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry.  However, by submitting your entry, you:

     

    ·         are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; and (ii) feature your entry and all content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Contest (including but not limited to internal and external sales meetings, conference presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the Contest entry in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed)

     

    ·         agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above;

     

    ·         understand and acknowledge that the Sponsor(s) may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry; 

     

    ·         understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your entry.  By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law; 

     

    ·         understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules

     

    Please note that following the end of this Sweepstakes your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website.  We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website.  While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry.

     

    If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Contest.

     

    WINNER SELECTION AND PRIZES

     

    On or around the close of the  Prize Period, we will randomly select 2 potential (pending confirmation of eligibility) Grand Prize winners from among all eligible entries received during the Entry Period.

     

    (2) Grand Prizes:  ASUS VivoTab RT  -(total value is $599.99). Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $1199.98

     

    The total Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of all prizes: $1199.98

     

    We will only award one Grand prize per person during the Entry Period.

     

    If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following the random drawing.  If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award the prize to an alternate, randomly selected winner.  Only three (3) alternate drawings will be held after which the applicable prize will remain un-awarded. If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Sweepstakes . If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you are apotential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf.  If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select an alternate, randomly selected winner. Only three (3) alternate drawings will be held after which the applicable prize will remain un-awarded.

     

    If you are confirmed as a  winner of this Sweepstakes:

     

    • You may not exchange your prize for cash or any other merchandise or services.  However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and

     

    • You may not designate someone else as the winner.  If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we will award it to an alternate potential winner; and

     

    • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize; and

     

    • If you are otherwise eligible for this Sweepstakes, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and

     

    • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions. 

     

    WHAT ARE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING?

     

    Your odds of winning this Sweepstakes depend on the number of eligible entries we receive.

     

    WHAT OTHER CONDITIONS ARE YOU AGREEING TO BY ENTERING THIS SWEEPSTAKES?

     

    By entering this Sweepstakes you agree:

     

    ·         To abide by these Official Rules; and

     

    ·         To release and hold harmless Microsoft,and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Sweepstakes or any prize won; and

     

    ·         That Microsoft’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Sweepstakes; and

     

    ·         That by accepting a prize, Microsoft may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Sweepstakes, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.

     

    WHAT LAWS GOVERN THE WAY THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS EXECUTED AND ADMINISTRATED?

    This Sweepstakes will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Sweepstakes.  

    WHAT IF SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS AND THE SWEEPSTAKES CAN’T RUN AS PLANNED?

    If cheating, a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure)affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Sweepstakes, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Sweepstakes.  This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Sweepstakes, we reserve the right randomly to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Sweepstakes.

     

    If youattempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Sweepstakes, so please play fairly.

    HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT WHO WON?

    We will post the names of winners who received a prize worth $25.00 or more online at

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2012/10/22/microsoft-mvp-community-education-at-microsoft-stores-sweepstakes-winners.aspx

     

    This list will remain posted one month after December 17, 2012.

    WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE OFFICIAL RULES?

    The official rules will be posted here:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2012/10/22/microsoft-mvp-community-education-at-microsoft-stores-sweepstakes-rules.aspx

     

    WHO IS SPONSORING THIS SWEEPSTAKES?

     

    Microsoft  Corporation

    One Microsoft Way

    Redmond, WA 98052


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    Editor’s note:  The following post was written by Windows Server – Virtualization MVP Anil Desai

    Intro: High Tech at Low, Low Prices!

    What do driver-less cars, invisibility cloaks, and 3D Printing, have in common?  They’re all amazing examples of technology that is just of out of reach for most of us.  That doesn’t belittle their value or technical benefits, but it does limit the impact they can make (for now, at least).  The same seems to happen within IT environments of all sizes.  The latest and greatest technology is also often the most difficult to obtain.  Often, good solutions are too expensive or difficult to deploy (at least, as broadly as we’d like).  The real challenge with technology, then, is in making it readily accessible and affordable to the masses – in essence to make it a commodity, rather than a luxury.

    Storage-Related Challenges

    OK, enough abstract philosophy: Perhaps it’s not quite as exotic as the aforementioned high-tech items, but storage-related performance and high-availability features have typically required dedicated SAN systems.  Storage protocols such as Fibre Channel (FC), FC over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI, and related infrastructure have become the de facto standards for shared storage environments and have traditionally been requirements to setup highly-available environments.  They work well, but there are some issues. 

    First, these solutions can be quite costly.  Indeed, Microsoft has mentioned that in interviewing IT staff while planning for Windows Server 2012, costs related to acquiring, configuring, and managing storage were often a large barrier.  Second, they often require expertise in vendors’ management tools and implementation methods.  Also, they can involve some vendor lock-in based on detailed implementations of “standard” protocols and storage methods.  Finally, they’re not as readily available for many “non-mission-critical” environments (think test / development environments). 

    Enter Windows Server 2012: A server product that ships with all of the required ingredients to brew your own highly-available storage environment.  In this post, I’ll focus on the storage and high-availability-related features that ship as part of Windows Server 2012.  Specifically, I’ll discuss what’s required to build and deploy a fault-tolerant Hyper-V deployment using only in-box features.  I’ll start with the configuration basics and then list higher-end features that are available for production environments. 

    How to Find the How-To’s

    While preparing this post, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how many excellent, in-depth resources there are for learning how to implement Windows Server 2012’s many new storage and virtualization features.  Rather than try to re-write that content, I’m going to focusing on architectural information about these features and why they matter.  I’ll leave the procedural details of how to implement them to official documentation and some excellent blog posts that explain the steps (using both GUI and PowerShell methods).  Fear not: Though I’ll focus onwhat to do (rather than how to do it), I’ll include links for more information wherever they’re relevant.

    Configuring Storage: Building a Scale-Out File Server

    The heart of a highly-available virtualization environment is to have reliable, fault-tolerant storage. Windows Server 2012 provides all the building blocks that are required as part of the operating system.  In a simple configuration, you can configure all of these features to run on a single Hyper-V host server (of course, that won’t protect against many possible types of hardware failures).  The process involves installing and configuring the Scale-Out File Server role with active-active file shares.  Once that’s configured, you can use the Failover Clustering Manager to add highly-available storage.  Windows Server 2012 includes features that support NIC teaming, multi-pathing, and a variety of performance and reliability features that are implemented in the SMB 3.0 protocol.  To see the extremely long list of new features in SMB 3.0, see the TechNet article “Server Message Block overview”.

    So how do you setup a Scale-Out File Server and create and manage cluster storage?  A good starting point is the TechNet article, “Scale-Out File Server for Application Data Overview”. For more in-depth technical details, see the Channel 9 webcast by Claus Jorgensen, “Continuously Available File Server: Under the Hood”.

    Create and Configure the VMs

    Once you have created and configured your file share, it’s time to put it to use.  The process couldn’t be much easier: when you’re creating your virtual hard disks (VHDs), just provide the UNC-based path to your storage (for example, \\HA-FS01\VM\) instead of using a local path.  The Hyper-V 3.0 GUI and PowerShell commands both support the process.  For procedural steps, the Microsoft TechNet document, “Deploy Hyper-V over SMB” is a great place to start.

    Jose Baretto’s post Windows Server 2012 Beta – Hyper-V over SMB – Quick Provisioning a VM on an SMB File Share provides the steps required to create your VHD’s on the shared folder.  If you want even more detailed steps on the end-to-end setup process of a highly-available storage environment, start with the post titled Windows Server 2012 Scale-Out File Server for SQL Server 2012 - Step-by-step Installation.  This post covers the process of setting up a highly-available file server configuration from scratch (including a new domain and the required virtual network connections).  It can be done on a single computer, and the steps include the use of both the Windows Server 2012 GUI and PowerShell.  While the end result of this post is deploying SQL Server as a workload, once you setup the VMs and file server, you can use them for storing Hyper-V virtual machines instead.

    Room for Improvement: Production-Level High-Availability

    In order to implement true high-availability, administrators need to take a layered approach that ensures that every potential point of failure is protected.  Most often, this is accomplished through redundancy (multiple devices and paths to limit the effects of a failure).  It’s no easy task, and the following figure shows just some of the potential areas that must be considered.

    The Power of Dedication

    Perhaps the biggest question on most administrators’ minds is whether SMB-based can meet the performance, reliability, and availability standards for shared storage.  Microsoft has engineered the storage and network improvements in Windows Server 2012 with that goal in mind, and some initial testing has shown that it works in even the most demanding of environments.  But, there’s a catch: I’ve seen administrators compare dedicated Fibre Channel connection performance with shared iSCSI or SMB connections.  The primary differentiator is shared vs. dedicated connections, not the underlying media or protocols.  It’s very important in the real world to have dedicated network bandwidth to ensure high performance, low latency connections.  If you’re using the same NIC for management, backups, remote administration, and Netflix streaming, you’re asking for trouble. 

    Preferred Practices for Production

    Windows Server 2012 provides numerous additional features to help protect and improve upon the high-availability configuration that I have discussed so far.  Important options for production environments include:

    1)     NIC Teaming: Windows Server 2012 now provides NIC teaming functionality as part of the base OS.  You can easily use Server Manager or PowerShell scripts to quickly and easily configure groups of NICs to meet fail-over and load-balancing requirements.

    2)     Multi-path I/O: Production servers often need to survive the failure of switches, in addition to individual NIC ports.  To meet this need, create multiple connections and paths to storage through separate switches. 

    3)     Backups: H-A features are primarily for uptime, and they don’t remove the need for reliable, tested backups.  H-A doesn’t necessarily protect against unwanted configuration or data changes and doesn’t serve as a historical record for security, compliance, or archival.  Don’t forget the basics when implementing high-availability!

    4)     Bandwidth and network infrastructure: While I used a $20 unmanaged gigabit Ethernet switch for testing while writing this post, you’ll want a higher end device in production. Features such as managed interfaces, support for NIC teaming, VLANs, automatic fail-overs, and dynamic load balancing can help tremendously.

    5)     Reduce I/O Bottlenecks: Wherever possible, you should invest in hardware that supports Offloaded Data Transfer(ODX) to reduce processing overhead and increase network and storage efficiency.  See Windows Offloaded Data Transfers Overview for more information on how this works.

    6)      Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV): By eliminating bottlenecks that can occur between physical NICs and virtual ones, SR-IOV can greatly increase virtual network performance.  You’ll have to have hardware that supports SR-IOV, though.  You can find more information on SR-IOV Architecture on MSDN.

    7)     Enable Caching: Windows Server 2012’s Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) now includes built-in caching capabilities that can improve overall performance, often dramatically.  For more information, see How to Enable CSV Cache, written by Elden Christensen and on MSDN Blogs.

    8)     Enable BitLocker Encryption:  Administrators can now encrypt CSV disks to provide added security.  For more information, see How to Configure BitLocker Encrypted Clustered Disks in Windows Server 2012.

    As you can see, there’s a lot of technology that’s available in Windows Server 2012 (and I certainly didn’t cover it all).  For some more details, you can start at “Increasing Server, Storage, and Network Availability: Scenario Overview” on Microsoft TechNet. 

    Summary: H-A over SMB Sans SAN: Nothing but Net[work]

    In this post, I provided an architectural overview of the features and options that can help you deploy a highly-available Hyper-V installation using features that ship “in the box” with Windows Server 2012.  I also provided links for details on how you can understand, deploy, and manage these different features.  I hope the information is useful to those of your that are planning to

    About the Author

    Anil Desai - Headshot 1 JPG
    Anil Desai - Headshot 1 JPGAnil Desai - Headshot 1 JPGAnil Desai - Headshot 1 JPGAnil Desai - Headshot 1 JPG

    Anil Desai is an independent consultant based in Austin, TX. He has over 15 years of experience in architecting, implementing, and managing IT software and datacenter solutions. He has worked extensively with IT management, development, and database technology.  Anil holds many technical certifications and is a seven-time Microsoft MVP Award (Windows Server – Virtualization) recipient.

    Anil is the author of over 20 technical books focusing on the Windows Server platform, virtualization, databases, and IT management best practices.  He is also a frequent contributor to IT publications and conferences. For more information, please see http://AnilDesai.net, or e-mail Anil@AnilDesai.net.

    About MVP Monday

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead,  for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade.  In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund.  Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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  • 11/05/12--15:04: BUILD 2012– MVPs Recap
  • The 2012 BUILD conference has come to an end.  If you missed the event, you can watch selected featured sessions or if you attended BUILD 2012, you can evaluate the sessions you attended. 

    C# MVP Chris Woodruff posted the following from his blog:

    The keynotes for BUILD were also a sign of things to come. Steve Ballmer kicked things off and did most of the demos during the first day of the BUILD keynotes solo. It was a daring and exciting move for the Microsoft CEO to not only sit up on stage with so many Windows 8 and RT devices but he actually used his personal Microsoft account to demo the features and capabilities of the next flagship OS from Microsoft. I was surprised at the passion and enthusiasm Ballmer had while demoing and it really got the crowd going. He even joked around a little and made fun of himself which you always like to see from the CEO of such a large company. In addition to a great keynote, Microsoft also announced that each attendee to BUILD would receive 100Gb of SkyDrive space, a 32Gb Surface and a Nokia Lumia 920 developer phone (unlocked and build for most carrier SIM cards).

    The second day of BUILD started with keynotes from the services side of the Windows 8… the other huge bet Microsoft has made in the last 4 years: Windows Azure. The highlight of the keynote was the announcement that Windows Azure Mobile Services would be opened up for use in Windows Phone 8. That along with other new features and updates to Azure for web developers and IT Pros made this keynote stand out. Nothing as exciting as the first day but still a great message.  To read more, click here.

    Windows Azure MVP David Pallmann wrote the following on his blog:

    A Year Has Passed... Did Microsoft Deliver?

    You bet Microsoft delivered. If you attended or watched BUILD 2012 online you should have no doubt of that whatsoever. In case you missed it, I strongly recommend watching the following at
    http://buildwindows.com before reading further:

    Day 1 Keynote by Steve Ballmer, Steve Guggenheimer, Kevin Gallo
    Day 2 Keynote by Satya Nadella, Scott Guthrie, Scott Hanselman, Dave Campbell, Jason Zander, Josh Twist
    Day 3 Web Talk by Scott Hanselman

    Here's how the vision and promises of BUILD 2011 have become a reality. Microsoft not only delivered on their promises, they gave us even more.

    Windows 8, The Cross-Over Operating System

    Windows 8 has been available in some form for the last year in a variety of preview releases, but it was released for General Availability on October 26. So it's real, it's here, you can have it now.  To read more, click here


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    Editor’s note: The following post was written by Community Program Manager Kari Finn

    The world’s leading conference aimed at learning how to be a better presenter took place last week in Scottsdale Arizona and Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs were there in force. The Presentation Summit drew total of 14 MVPs from the US, India, Australia and the UK to lead over a dozen technical sessions and log numerous hours supporting attendees in the open Help Center. All combined, MVPs made up almost 40% of the presenters this year.

                                                                                                      Geetesh Bajaj (pictured below) helps an attendee in the Help Center.

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    According to one of the conference founders, Rick Altman, the Summit, which celebrated its 10thanniversary this year, has grown to cover a broad landscape of topics, from message crafting, presentation design, better storytelling, software technique, and delivery. This year, there were almost three dozen individual workshops or seminars across three concurrent tracks over four days. While some were attractive to a cozy group of two or three dozen, others played to standing-room-only crowds of nearly 100. The content covered everything from using animation better to learning XML editing tips to previewing the new PowerPoint 2013

     

    MVP RicBretschneider led a particularly interesting session called “The Late Night Guru Session,” where he hosted conference attendees, MVPs and members of the PowerPoint Product Group to have a no-holds-barred discussion about PowerPoint.          

    It’s this kind of direct feedback that’s invaluable to Microsoft.

     

    “There are a lot of things that are better than they have ever been before in PowerPoint 2013, and it’s thanks to direct feedback from customers, many of whom we’ve met in person at the Presentation Summit over the years. There’s no better way to make the right changes than to develop real relationships with real customers.” -Chris Maloney, PowerPoint Program Manager

                           Julie Terberg (below) presents during the conference.clip_image004

    The entire MVP contingency this year comprised of Echo Swinford,Ellen Finkelstein, Heather Ackmann,Julie Terberg,Glenna Shaw,Sandy Johnson,John Wilson,Glen Millar,Steve Rinsdberg,Shyam Pillam,RicBretschneider, Lucy Thomsonand Geetesh Bajaj. In addition to leading sessions and workshops, many of our MVPs also spent time in a very cool open format “Help Center” where attendees can help on any kind of issue they’re having or to learn more about what they learned in a session.

     

    “I love working at the Help Center. It’s so great when a presenter shows a technique in one of their sessions and you know it’s a good one when the users flood the Center to learn how to do it.” -Sandy Johnson, MVP

     

                     

     

    It was a truly awe-inspiring event that brought together experts and new users alike, teachers and presenting professionals as well as the engineers that build PowerPoint and our MVPs. Together, this rich engagement across the community and Microsoft is leading to better skills at presenting and building better products.

                                                                                  Below, Ric Bretschneider, Echo Swinford and Steve Rinsdberg compare notes

    clip_image006 

     

    “Presentation Summit is a uniquely satisfying event. Building both soft and hard skills is a focus, the agony of deciding which panel to attend is a sure sign of a ripe agenda. Rick Altman and his staff assemble a great array of presentation experts who are eager to share. The real hidden blessing of this event is the community that grows out of each year's sessiosn, and the friends you can catch up with again at the next.”- RicBretschneider, MVP

     

    For a fun look at the conference, check out this five minute video that Rick Altman put together.

     

     

     

    About the author
    KF

    Kari Finn is a Microsoft Community Program Manager who manages the relationship with the US Based Office Technology MVPs.  She is inspired every day by the power of communities and feels lucky to be able to work with one of the most thriving technology communities today. She truly enjoys engaging with MVPs and supporting them in their pursuits to share their knowledge and passion with the community.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    1. My Review of the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT

    By Microsoft Integration MVP Maxime Labelle

    2. Microsoft shares considerations for extending AD into Windows Azure

    By System Center: Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP John Joyner

    3, How Will Windows 8 Enter The Business?

    By Virtual Machine MVP Aidan Finn

    4. ExcelOne formula returns value of the same cell on multiple worksheets

    By Excel MVP Tom Urtis

    5. TFS 2012 and local workspaces

    By VS ALM MVP Mickey Gousset


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    Editor's note:  The following post was written by Virtual Machine MVP Tomica Kaniski

    As Windows Server 2012 includes many new and improved features, some of them often go unnoticed. The objective of this article is to explain how to set up and use one of them – Online Backup.

     

    Online Backup feature in Windows Server 2012 provides you with option to store some of your backups into the cloud (Windows Azure). Current offering includes free preview of this service for customers of Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials and System Center 2012 during a period of 6 months and allowing you to store up to 300 GB of backups per account.

     

    This feature is available as additional download – software agent which needs to be installed on any server that will be using the Online Backup feature. This piece of software is providing you the connection to Windows Azure Online Backup service.

     

    Installing, configuring and using the Online Backup feature is not very complicated. Basically, what you need to do is to install the Online Backup agent on the server you want to use Online Backup feature for, register the server in online service, create schedule with selecting what will be backed up (and when), and then wait for the backup to occur.

     

    In more detail, here are the steps you need to take to make the Windows Online Backup work on a plain Windows Server 2012 installation:

     

    1.      Enable the Windows Server Backup feature
    Windows Server Backup feature is part of Windows Server installation, but disabled by default. So, the first step is to enable it. You can enable it using the new Server Manager interface - select Manage, Add Roles and Features and, finally, select the Windows Server Backup feature and finish the wizard.
    You can also install this feature by using the DISM command-line tool – you need to run Command Prompt (As Admin) and then the command dism /online /Enable-Feature:WindowsServerBackup.

     

     

     

    2.      Register for Windows Azure Online Backup

    Next step is to set up an account for the Azure Online Backup at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/home/features/online-backup/. The registration process is simple, and at the end of it, you will get account info that will be used in steps that follow.

     

     

    3.      Download the backup agent from Management Portal (Dashboard)

     

    Sign in to the Windows Azure Online Backup dashboard https://portal.onlinebackup.microsoft.com/en-US/Dashboard using the account information from the previous step. In the Overview section of your dashboard, just click on Download and Install button to get the backup agent setup file (download size is about 14 MB).

     

    4.      Install the agent

    Installation of the downloaded agent software is pretty straightforward – prerequisites are the Windows PowerShell (which is installed by default on Windows Server 2012) and Microsoft Online Services Sign-in Assistant which will be automatically installed during setup. After finishing the installation wizard, you need to open the Windows Server Backup console and verify if Online Backup entry is visible on the left-hand side. If it is visible, the agent installation was successful, and you can proceed to the next step. Leave the console open.

     

     

    5.      Register the server in Windows Azure Online Backup service

    If you select Online Backup entry in the Windows Server Backup console, you will get additional options on the right-hand side. Select Register Server option to start a wizard for configuring the online backup.

     

    If you are using proxy to connect to the Internet, insert the required info about it. Next you will configure a passphrase for encrypting the backups in online service. Passphrase can be generated automatically if you click the Generate Passphrase button, or you can enter one by yourself (keep in mind that it needs to be a minimum of 16 characters long).

     

    After that, you just need to enter your credentials to access Windows Azure Online Backup (from step 2), and the server will be added to your online account.

     

     

    6.      Create backup schedule

    Now you can create the backup schedule by using the option Schedule Backup on the right-hand side of the Windows Server Backup console. Wizard for creating the backup schedule is similar to the wizard that is used to create the schedule locally. Basically, you need to select what will be backed up (you cannot select System State Backup, only files and folders – for System State Backup you still need to use the Local Backup option), when do you want the backup to occur (you can select one or more days of the week and up to 3 times per day) and retention period (available options are 7, 15, and 30 days).

     

     

    7.      Run backup now (or wait for scheduled backup to occur)

    Final step is to select the option Backup Up Now or wait for scheduled backup to occur. Keep in mind that the backup will require some amount of your network (and Internet) bandwidth, so run the backup outside of business hours, if possible...

     

    After this final step, your Windows Server 2012 will be backing up “to the cloud”. Restoring the files and folders is also made simple by using the Recover Data wizard in the same (Windows Server Backup) console.

     

    Just to mention – one of the “cool” settings regarding the Online Backup feature is bandwidth throttling which allows you to control the amount of bandwidth that backup is using during work or non-work hours. This is the setting that provides you with the flexibility of doing the backups also during the work hours, which is really nice. The throttling settings are located under the Change Properties option which is visible once you register your server and set up the backup schedule…

     

     

     

     

     

    About the author

    Tomica Kaniski is currently Microsoft MVP for Virtual Machine from Croatia. He was also MVP for Management Infrastructure for the last two years. You can find him presenting at various local and regional conferences, user group meetings or other events. Currently holds several Microsoft certificates and is also Microsoft Certified Trainer and IT Pro community lead. He is fully engaged with Microsoft products and technologies, and mostly interested in products that are yet to be released...

     

    About MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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    MVPs and wallIt’s been a busy month for Microsoft.  Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Surface, the recent BUILD conference and just when you thought Microsoft might take a breather, it’s time for the SharePoint 2012 Conference in Las Vegas.   MVPs rank among attendees and speakers at this year’s conference which highlights a variety of Microsoft technologies including SharePoint 2013, Office 365 and Visual Studio 2012.  Developers and IT professionals from around the world watched yesterday’s keynote address, which you can watch online.

            MVPs (pictured above) chat between sessions

     

    Here’s what SharePoint Server MVP Stephen Cawood had to say about the conference’s first day:

    "I was wondering about the strong Yammer content at this show (including the keynote), but now it makes sense to me. Microsoft is working hard on the SharePoint/Yammer integration, so waiting for the next SharePoint conference would be too long. During the keynote, they showed the current integration, talked about the future and demo’d a Windows 8 app for Yammer. Also, they announced that Yammer will be free with SharePoint online (inc. features you'd have to pay for in the paid Yammer subscription today).  I was impressed with the customer video. It featured a Nationwide SharePoint “Spot” solution that uses Yammer today. It looked Impressive." To read more, click here


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    Editor’s note:  The following post was written by Windows Consumer Apps MVP Alberto José Escalona

    Microsoft wanted to provide a significant change to how to manage your sessions in Windows 8, offering new features to user management. W8 has been reimagined and it’s based in the cloud, therefore it has received modifications and improvements.

     

     

    Now when you use a Microsoft account, you can synchronize configuration and personalization settings from your home PC or Tablet to another device using Windows 8. So when you log in with your account, you will feel comfortable; in fact with Apps or Desktop programs, the system will organize and run with apps or programs installed previously on that device.

     

    For adding a Microsoft account and synchronizing your settings, follow these steps:

    Locate the charms bar: with the keyboard, press the combination key clip_image002 + C.  With the mouse or mouse pad, put your cursor on the bottom or top right corner. With a touchscreen, slide your finger from the right lateral border to the center of the screen, then select Settings charm and in the bottom select "Change your PC Settings."

     

    clip_image004

     

    When you are in the PC Settings App, select Users section and we can observe how many users are registered on this device, how many local accounts or Microsoft accounts there are.

     

    clip_image006


     

     

    Later, in the bottom of the page, select "Add a User" and a new page will come out and ask if you want to create a local account, register a Microsoft account or create a new Microsoft account if you don’t have it.

     

    clip_image008

     

    The system will prepare your account to be used, you must specify if the new account will be used by children or adults.  From there you can see your new account in the "Other Users" section in the PC Settings App.   When switching the accounts to log into the new user, make sure that you are connected to the internet for synchronizing the settings and personalizing the new user in the device.

     

    clip_image010

     

    clip_image012

    When you want to remove a Microsoft account, go to the Control Panel in Desktop (Keyboard: key clip_image002[1] + C, mouse: the cursor should be in top or bottom right corner, touchscreen: slide your finger from the right to the center of the screen).  Select "Settings" charm and in the top of the sidebar, select "Control Panel."

     

    clip_image014

     

    You can see the same "Control Panel" from previous versions of Windows, select "User Accounts" and "Family Safety" and then, "User Accounts", select "Manage another Account" and the system shows all accounts registered in our device.

     

    clip_image016

     

    Later, select the account that you want to manage, select  "Remove User Account" and confirm that you want to remove it with all data, after that, it’s like never existed that account.

     

    clip_image018

     

    I hope you have a successful experience managing accounts in Windows 8.

     

    About the author

    clip_image020

    Alberto José Escalona is from Valledupar, Columbia and studies Systems Engineering, he started writing articles for Technical Communities in 2010 on Messengeradictos.com.  His blog, Simplemente TECH, is a great community resource.  As a result of Alberto's contributions and achievements, he has been awarded MVP the last two years.

     

    ALBERTO JOSÉ ESCALONA USTÁRIZ

    Microsoft MVP – Windows Consumer Apps 2012 -2013

    Twitter: @MVP_AlbertoE

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/betoescalona

    Blog: www.simplementetech.wordpress.com

    About MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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  • 11/15/12--14:57: Windows 8 - An MVP Roundup
  • Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the new Surface have all hit stores across the globe and MVPs have been busy blogging, presenting and reviewing Microsoft’s newest technologies.  Take a look at all of the contributions MVPs have made in their communities around the globe!

    Vietnam

    vietnam win8Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Thinh Huynh was invited by the Telecommunications Institute of Technology to introduce 180 university students to Windows 8.  Huynh provided an overview of Windows 8 including new features, programming and deployment in the new operating system. 

     

     

    United States

    nate win8In Wisconsin, Virtual Machine MVP Nate Lasnoski shared his expertise with 400 attendees at a free event held on September 13.  The Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 - What You Need to Know presentation covered Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Office and Lync 2013.  Each attendee was entered to win a free Surface.  “With Windows 8 and new cloud-based services, the Microsoft landscape is changing. We want to share what IT departments need to know now, as they plan their technology roadmap for the next 24 to 36 monthss”  said Lasnoski.

     

     

    France

    MVPs have been busy writing reviews of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Surface.  Here’s a list of a few reviews:

    Read Client App Dev MVP Thomas Lebrun's review of Windows 8

    Read Microsoft Integration MVP Maxime Labelle's review of Surface

    Read Silverlight MVP Olivier Dahan's review of Surface

    Read Windows Phone Development MVP Rudy Huyn's review of Windows Phone 8

    Read Silverlight MVP Eric Ambrosi's review of Windows Phone 8

    Brazil

    brazil win8

    During a closed launch event, 32 MVPs helped the Microsoft team in answering Windows 8 questions to a select group of media, hardware producers, retail stores and target consumers. The exhibit hall boasted over 50 different devices and MVPs were key in demonstrating the facets of Windows 8 across a variety of devices. During the presentation, a top Brazilian Windows 8 app created by Visual C# MVP André Carlucci was highlighted.

     

     

    Mexico

    Forefront MVP Andres Galván is a security expert and passionate about Microsoft technologies.  When Windows 8 launched, Galván was quick to offer webcasts, demos and online discussions that focused on security aspects of Windows 8.  You can see some of Galván’s contributions here.

    Australia

    Phone Dev MVP Nick Randolph, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University, designed a free online course to coincide with the release of Windows Phone 8.  The short online course focuses on developing Windows Phone 8 applications and partially prepares participants what are taking the Microsoft certification exam 70-599: PRO.


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    Editor’s note:  The following post was written by Community Program Manager So Young Lee

    The University of Seoul was home to 78 MVPs during a two-day event in which 12 MVPs received the 2012 Korean MVP Contribution Award.  The Korean Open Days event started off with a knowledge donation seminar presented by 9 MVPs at which university students, IT professionals, NGO group members and others were able to learn more about a variety of Microsoft technologies, including the newly released Windows 8. 

    “The MVP sessions were so well prepared.  We hope to have follow-up sessions,” said University Computer Center CIO Seongjong Choi.

    clip_image032MVPs participated in a variety of panel discussions and presentations covering topics such as “Windows 8 Game Development,” “Experiencing Windows 8,” and “Kinect Programming Using Motion and Voice.”

    After the seminar & award ceremony, MVPs moved to the SongAm Space Center to enjoy the beautiful scenery, stars and to get a better glimpse of Jupiter.

    MVP APGC Regional Manager, Katherine Hung held a brown bag session for 50 Korean Microsoft Employees to discuss the MVP Award program and how product groups and other organizations can leverage MVPs’ knowledge, passion and community involvement. clip_image040
    Proceeding the brown bag session, PowerPoint MVPs provided a seminar for Microsoft Korean employees on the design and functionality of PowerPoint.

    “I feel so lucky to be part of the Korea MVP group. I live in Japan but I’ll come to the Korean MVP Open Day every year. I’ll never forget this moment,” said newly awarded C# MVP Jiman Ko.

    clip_image039

    The Korean MVP Open Day event was lauded as a great success do in part to the many volunteer hours MVPs contributed to make the event unique and informative.  “With your never-ending support, Microsoft Korea will continue to strive for a sound development of the IT industry.” said Korea GM JamesKim.

     

     

     

     

     


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    Editor’s note:  The following post was written by Silverlight MVP Jeremy Likness

     

    The end of October 2012 marked a major set of milestones for Microsoft’s mobile computing story. Consumers learned about the availability of Windows 8 just days before the details about Windows Phone 8 and the developer SDK were revealed. It is now possible to build code for both platforms. With an amazing feature known as the Portable Class Library (PCL) it is also possible to share a significant amount of code between platforms. In this blog post, I’ll show you how with an example that uses the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern to fetch the contents of a web page and present it as both a Windows Store app and a Windows Phone 8 app without any code-behind.

     

     

     The last statement is important. While I don’t necessarily strive to eliminate code-behind in my apps, this example will demonstrate just how much can truly be shared across platforms. By building a portable library to perform most of the work, the only effort involved in launching the native applications is creating a view and connecting the view model. That’s it! What is even more powerful is that fact that these libraries can be shared with other platforms as well, including the desktop-based Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight.

     

    Getting started is as simple as creating a new project (CTRL+SHIFT+N for the keyboard-inclined). Navigate from “Visual C#” to“Windows” and then select “Portable Class Library.” I named the project“CommonLibrary” and the first step was to select the target platforms. In this case I chose the latest .NET Framework, Windows Store apps, and Windows Phone 8.

     

    Once the target platforms are selected, the Portable Class Library will automatically create a special set of references that only work for that specific combination of platforms. It does this using a feature referred to as an “Extension SDK” that is new to Visual Studio 2012. These special SDKs allow multiple sets of assemblies and other metadata to be provided. In the case of the Portable Class Library, that data is the set of assemblies and APIs that are common to the platforms you select. It’s like having a special set of references that prevent you from doing anything not supported by any of the platforms you are trying to target.

     

    You can learn more about how the PCL works “behind the scenes” by reading my blog series Understanding the Portable Library by Chasing ICommand. What’s important to know is that the common APIs are quite rich and allow you to create a common code base that can be referenced from the target frameworks without recompiling. To see just how rich this set of common features is, I created an MVVM implementation that takes a URL, validates the URL, and then fetches the content of a web page –all in a shared assembly!

     

     

    The most basic support PCL provides is for MVVM constructs such as property change notification and commands. For example, I can define a generic command that allows me to set an action and a predicate to determine whether or not the action can be executed like this:

     

    publicclassActionCommand : ICommand

    {

        privatereadonlyAction<object> _action;

        privatereadonlyPredicate<object> _canExecute;

     

        public ActionCommand()

        {

            _action = _action ?? (obj => { });

            _canExecute = _canExecute ?? (obj => true);

        }

     

        publicActionCommand(Action<object> action) : this()

        {

            _action = action;           

        }

     

       publicActionCommand(Action<object> action, Predicate<object> condition) : this(action)

        {

            _canExecute = condition;

        }

     

       publicboolCanExecute(object parameter)

        {

            return _canExecute(parameter);

        }

     

        publicvoid Execute(object parameter)

        {

            _action(parameter);

        }

     

        publicvoidOnCanExecuteChanged()

        {

            CanExecuteChanged(this, EventArgs.Empty);

        }

     

        publiceventEventHandlerCanExecuteChanged = delegate { };

    }

    The view model implements property change notification. Because all of the target frameworks support the latest .NET features, I can use the CallerMemberName attribute to infer the property name when I raise the property change event:

    protectedvirtualvoidOnPropertyChangedImplicit([CallerMemberName] string propertyName =null)

    {

        OnPropertyChanged(propertyName);

    }

     

    protectedvirtualvoidOnPropertyChanged(stringpropertyName = null)

    {

        PropertyChanged(this, newPropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName));

    }

    The implementation of a property looks like this:

    privatestring _exceptionMessage;

     

    publicstring ExceptionMessage

    {

        get { return _exceptionMessage; }

        set { SetProperty(ref _exceptionMessage, value); }

    }

    The command I defined earlier can be wired to fetch the URL (but only if it is valid):

    SubmitCommand = newActionCommand(

        obj => FetchUrl(),

        obj => IsValid());

    privatebool IsValid()

    {

        ExceptionMessage = string.Empty;

     

        if (Uri.TryCreate(Url, UriKind.Absolute, out _uri))

        {

            returntrue;

        }

     

        ExceptionMessage = "The URL entered is invalid.";

        returnfalse;

    }

    If it is valid, the command executes and fetches the content of the URL or traps the exception:

    privateasyncvoid FetchUrl()

    {

        ExceptionMessage = string.Empty;

        Content = "Loading...";

     

        try

        {

            varwebClient = WebRequest.CreateHttp(_url);

                   

            var task = Task<WebResponse>.Factory.FromAsync(

                webClient.BeginGetResponse,

                webClient.EndGetResponse,

                null

                );

                   

            var response = await task;

     

            using (var stream = response.GetResponseStream())

            {

                var encoding = Encoding.GetEncoding("utf-8");

                using(var reader = newStreamReader(stream, encoding))

                {

                    Content = HtmlStrip(await reader.ReadToEndAsync());                                                                       

                    Url = string.Empty;

                }

            }

        }

        catch(Exception ex)

        {

            Content = string.Empty;

            ExceptionMessage = ex.Message;

        }

    }

    Notice that the implementation uses advanced features, such as converting the Asynchronous Program Model (APM) signature of the web client to a Task so that the new async and awaitkeywords can be used. Finally, the content of the URL is stripped of tags and white space:

    privatestaticstringRemoveHtml(string input)

    {

        input = Regex.Replace(input, "<style.*>(.|\n)*?</style>", string.Empty);

        input = Regex.Replace(input, "<script.*>(.|\n)*?</script>", string.Empty);

        input = Regex.Replace(input, @"<xml.*>(.|\n)*?</xml>", string.Empty);

        input = Regex.Replace(input, @"<(.|\n)*?>", string.Empty);

        returnRegex.Replace(input, @"^\s*$\n", string.Empty, RegexOptions.Multiline);

    }

    Let’s take a step back. I’ve just defined not only important domain data (the URL to fetch, error information, and content) but business logic (such as the validation of the URL) and an implementation of the networking stack … all in a single assembly! This special portable assembly is shareable between the target frameworks “as is” without having to recompile it. That’s quite powerful! In fact, because all of the logic is self-contained in the assembly, these are the only steps I need to build a Windows Store app using the logic:

    1.      Create a new Windows Store app (I used the“Blank” template)

    2.      Reference the PCL

    3.      Update the XAML in the main page to reflect the application

    That’s it! Just three steps. I instantiate the view model in the XAML, like this:

    <GridBackground="{StaticResourceApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}">

        <Grid.DataContext>

            <CommonLibrary:ViewModel/>

        </Grid.DataContext>

        <Grid.RowDefinitions>

            <RowDefinitionHeight="Auto"/>

            <RowDefinitionHeight="Auto"/>

            <RowDefinitionHeight="*"/>

        </Grid.RowDefinitions>

        <StackPanelMargin="5"Grid.Row="0"Orientation="Horizontal">

            <TextBlockText="URL: "VerticalAlignment="Center"/>

            <TextBlockMargin="5 0 0 0"/>

            <TextBoxText="{BindingUrl,Mode=TwoWay}"Width="400"/>

            <TextBlockMargin="5 0 0 0"/>

            <ButtonCommand="{BindingSubmitCommand}"Content="Fetch"/>

        </StackPanel>

        <TextBlockGrid.Row="1"Margin="5"Text="{BindingExceptionMessage}"Foreground="Red"/>

        <ScrollViewerGrid.Row="2"Margin="5">

        <TextBoxIsReadOnly="True"Text="{BindingContent}"

                    TextWrapping="Wrap"/>

        </ScrollViewer>

    </Grid>

    The view model actually fires in the designer, so we can see a sample error message and the button disabled because a valid URL is not entered.

     

    Compile, deploy, and run the application and enter a sample URL, such as my blog, http://csharperimage.jeremylikness.com/and click the Fetch button. The result is shown below. Note this is without having to write a single line of code in the Windows Store app:

     

    Next, I created a Windows Phone 8 project. I started by adding the reference like I did with the Windows Store app. Then I pasted the exact same XAML and modified it to put the button on its own row so it fit the phone screen better. That’s it. No code behind – just wire the XAML and run it. This is the result:

     

    Obviously this is a contrived example but it should illustrate the power of what is possible using the PCL. The source code for this blog post is available from:

    http://bit.ly/UwbPOh

    For more examples, I created a fairly comprehensive example using blog feeds that has a code-based shared between a WPF desktop app and a Windows Store app. You can download that source code from:

    http://windows8applications.codeplex.com/

    From this post you’ve learned a technique to share code between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications using the Portable Class Library. Remember, the library allows you to specify your target framework so it is possible to combine code with Silverlight, WPF, or older Windows Phone 7.x applications as well. Keeping your common code in platform-agnostic assemblies makes it possible to reuse a large portion of your code base and allows you to write and run unit tests in one place instead of several. I hope you have fun building some great new apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8!

     

    About the author

    Jeremy-Likness2

    Jeremy Likness is a principal consultant at Wintellect, LLC. He has worked with enterprise applications for more than 20 years, 15 of those focused on web-based applications using the Microsoft stack. He is a three-year Microsoft MVP and was awarded MVP of the Year in 2010. Jeremy is the author of Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML (Addison-Wesley) and regularly speaks and blogs. You can learn more about his book online at http://bit.ly/win8design and follow his blog at http://csharperimage.jeremylikness.com/.   Follow him on Twitter

    About MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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    Editor’s note:  The following post was written by Microsoft Integration MVP Scott Seely

    This article assumes that you have:

    · A Windows Azure subscription.

    · Experience with C#/XAML (this lets me stick with one language/markup style in the article   for the phone and tablet).

    · Visual Studio 2012.

    You can get the code for this project from github: https://github.com/sseely/wams-demo.git

    I’ve been building software since the early 1990s. Because of my own personal interests, I frequently get involved in the architecture of components that handle security, consistent data storage, and server/client interactions. This expertise means that even my personal projects tend to be a bit ambitious in terms of security, distribution, and capability. When building something, I typically prototype an idea first, see how it works locally, and then iteratively work in the back end. Anyone who builds an application does this and has the same, basic needs. I was very excited when I learned that Microsoft launched something to meet those needs called Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS). WAMS is a very nice, general purpose back end that handles the needs of many applications. Today, it supports applications running on a diverse range of devices from Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Apple iOS. Support for Android is “coming soon.”

     

    In this post, we’ll take a look at what WAMS provides to authenticate a user, store data, and push out notifications to connected devices from other parties. What most tablet and smartphone applications need is the ability to do the following:

     

    1.      Secure the application data such that only the data owner and, possibly others, can see it.

    2.      Have some backend bits that run alright on Windows 8 and other mobile platforms.

    3.      Make sure that updates from one device get pushed to everyone else who might be interested in the data.

    In the rest of this post, we will walkthrough how WAMS supports these scenarios.

    Getting Started

    To use WAMS, go over to https://manage.windowsazure.com/and create a new Mobile Service. WAMS is currently in beta and you may have to sign up for the beta before Mobile Services lights up in the management portal. Once you have Mobile Services enabled, you simply click on Mobile Services, then New,thenMobile Service, then Create. Pick a URL for your service and a region to run in. I chose jeanius-shoppinglist, in the Western US Region with a new SQL Database. You also get to make a few more decisions about how big the database should be. Feel free to use a Web Database with a size of 1 GB if you are following along. When the Mobile Service is completed, make sure to download and install the Mobile Services client libraries. You can find links to the libraries on the home page for your Mobile Services app. Just pick a platform. Under Get Started for each platform, you can pick “Create a new … app”.Under Get the tools are links to the SDK for the platform you have chosen.

    Thinking about eventually setting up a shopping list, I then created a set of projects:

    ·         For the phone: JeaniusFactory.ShoppingList.Phone (Windows Phone 8 project, Databound App)

    ·         For the Windows 8 devices: JeaniusFactory.ShoppingList.Tablet (Windows Store project, Blank App)

    ·         For the shared data types: JeaniusFactory.ShoppingList.Model (Portable Class Library, for .NET 4.5, Windows Phone 8 and .NET for Windows Store apps)

    On the phone and Windows Store apps, I also added a reference to the Windows Azure Mobile Services Managed Client. Then, for each of the App objects in the Phone and Table projects, I added the following code to allow me to talk to WAMS:

    private static MobileServiceClient _mobileServiceClient;

    public static MobileServiceClient MobileServiceClient

    {

      get

      {

        if (_mobileServiceClient == null)

        {

          _mobileServiceClient = new MobileServiceClient(

            "https://jeanius-shoppinglist.azure-mobile.net/",

            "[key]");

        }

        return _mobileServiceClient;

      }

    }

     

    So far, nothing spectacular and it all built. The next thing I wanted was a way to authenticate users.

    Adding Security

    In security, we find that many applications conflate authentication with authorization. Many websites require that you login with a username/password specific to that site in order to access that particular site. This is at odds with what we see in the real world. In the real world, I carry around a driver’s license and, occasionally, a passport. These documents are issued by a government that people trust to have verified things like my birthdate, name, and address. I present these documents to get access to loans, through security at airports, and to be served alcohol at a restaurant. On the Internet, we have a number of other common sites that many people use. As an application developer, I can choose to trust these other sites to verify a username/password. Upon verification, these sites can hand my application the equivalent of a passport—a digital token filled with data about the user. In the same way a waiter uses my driver’s license to verify that I can order a beer, I can use the digital token and its data to authorize the user within my application.

     

    In recognition of the fact that most users have an account with Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, or Google, WAMS provides a mechanism to use any of these four as authentication mechanisms. Since I’m targeting Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 apps, most of the time a user will have a Microsoft ID. I did this in a few steps:

    1.      Created an application in the Windows Store Portal.

    2.      Go over to the Live Connect Developer Center to retrieve the key and secret for my application. To do that, just click on the app that was created in the Windows Store Portal, then look for the API Settings group which contains the Client ID and Client secret.

    3.      Edit the application API settings, configuring the Redirect Domain to point to you mobile application. For my sample app, this is https://jeanius-shoppinglist.azure-mobile.net/. Then, click Save.

    4.      Copy the Client ID and Secret from #2 into the Microsoft account settings area on the WAMS identity tab.

    5.      Click Save.

    At this point, I just had to add authentication to the applications. Again, this is a small set of steps. For both the Phone and Tablet applications, I opened up MainPage.xaml.cs and added a class variable to track the current user:

    MobileServiceUser User { get; set; }

     

    I then added an Authenticate method to get the credentials for the current user to both apps:

    private async System.Threading.Tasks.Task Authenticate()

    {

      if (App.MobileServiceClient.LoginInProgress)

      {

        return;

      }

      while (User == null)

      {

        string message = null;

        try

        {

          User = await App.MobileServiceClient

              .LoginAsync(MobileServiceAuthenticationProvider.MicrosoftAccount);

        }

        catch (InvalidOperationException)

        {

          message = "You must log in. Login Required";

        }

     

        if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(message))

        {

          var dialog = new MessageDialog(message);

          dialog.Commands.Add(new UICommand("OK"));

          await dialog.ShowAsync();

        }

      }

    }

     

    Windows Phone 8 does have a slight change to the above code; change the block that displays the message from 3 lines to this:

    MessageBox.Show(message);

     

    Finally, in the MainPage.OnNavigatedTo method for both apps, change OnNavigatedTo to be async and add the following line at the end of the method:

    await Authenticate();

     

    If you did everything right, the application will now ask you to login using your Microsoft ID whenever you start the application. We now have authentication working! Next, let’s add the ability to manage a single list.

    Managing Data

    The application data is actually pretty simple. Pretty much every application that uses these features will start out with a few basic objects, then add objects that are specific to their application. At a minimum, you have Users and UserDevices. This requires two tables which I named User and UserDevice.

     

    For each of the tables, set the permissions to only allow authenticated users to insert, update, delete, or read. Once created, the tables will have an id column that is essentially a C# long named id. You can put the simple objects into a portable class library project so that the binaries can be used in both the Phone and Tablet projects. The downloadable project is a skeleton application that contains everything needed to bootstrap an application that shares its device URI with a central service.

     

    One thing I found really interesting in all of this is that the underlying tables do not require the columns to exist in the database before the columns are used. You can go ahead and manage columns if you like, but you do not have to. A missing column just gets added automatically for you. Data types for the columns are picked out from the JavaScript value that would be used for the column.

     

    When accessing the objects client side, you can use regular old LINQ expressions to select data from the tables. The client libraries take those LINQ expressions and translate them into an OData query. Once received, the messages are then dispatched to the Read operation at the server. For example, I could look up the current user record in the backing store using code like this:

     

    var userTable = App.MobileServiceClient.GetTable<User>();

     

    var currentUser = (await (from aUser in userTable

                        where aUser.UserId == User.UserId

                        select aUser).ToEnumerableAsync()).FirstOrDefault();

     

    currentUser would contain the user that matches the query. I could also chose to limit things such that the current user can only ever retrieve their own record. To do this I hook into the scripts that run server side. Each table has accompanying scripts that are executed whenever someone tries to Insert, Update, Delete, or Read a record. The script is not a stored procedure. Instead, the server runs JavaScript within a node.js application running on top of a Windows Azure Web Site. (That’s just an implementation detail that you don’t really need to worry about.)

     

    Let’s look at the Read operation for the User table. By default, it has this implementation:

    function read(query, user, request) {

        request.execute();

    }

     

    If we want to restrict the request to only include the authenticated user, we would add one line to the method, immediately before request.execute():

    query.where({UserId: user.userId});

     

    What happens here is any queries to get data from the User table automatically see that the results should be filtered include a UserId that matches the authenticated user. The authenticated user is always delivered in the user parameter. If the table Read doesn’t require an authenticated user, this value may occasionally be null.

    Push Notifications

    To be able to send push updates, you need to register your application in the application store and go through the basic registration. Details on setting up an account in the Windows Store are detailed here. To do that, you first need to go your WAMS application in the portal and select the Push tab. From here, enter the client secret and package SID on the tab and click on Save.

     

    One thing we might want to do is notify the user when they have logged on at another location. For this, it might be interesting to at least indicate the type of device being used in the notice. We can tell the difference based off the of notification service URL. For example, Windows Phone uses http://sn1.notify.live.netand Windows 8 uses https://bn1.notify.windows.com. This functionality is supported by the global push object. The object has two properties hanging off of it for the Windows Phone and Windows Store named mpnsand wns respectively. Given a device URI, you can push a message to that device with just a short amount of code and a few handlers: one for success and one for errors. When an error happens, the general recommendation is to forget the failed device URL. Typically, that means remove the URL from your data store. For example, to send code via the Microsoft Push Notification Service with a known device URI and message, one would write the following:

    push.mpns.sendToast(uri, {text1: "Push", text2: message},

      {success: successMns(id),

       error: errorMns(id, uri),

      });

    The success and error functions are then just this:

    function successMns(deviceId){

        return function (err, results){

             if (err.shouldDeleteChannel){

                 userDeviceTable.del(deviceId);

             }

        }

    }

     

    function errorMns(deviceId, uri){

        return function (err, results){

             if (err.shouldDeleteChannel){

                 userDeviceTable.del(deviceId);

             }

        }

    }

     

    For the Windows Notification Service and regular Windows apps, the code is similarly simple. Push out the toast using:

    push.wns.sendToastText04(uri, {text1: message},

                     {success: successWns,

                      error: errorWns(id, uri)});

     

    Then, handle success and failure with a pair of functions:

    function successWns(pushResponse) {

        // Do nothing

    }

     

    function errorWns(deviceId, uri){

        return function(err, result){

              if (err.headers['x-wns-notificationstatus'] === "dropped"){

                  userDeviceTable.del(deviceId);

              }

          };        

    }

     

    And, with that, your application is sending out toast to all interested parties!

    Summary

    WAMS provides a set of functionality to make it significantly easier to go from idea to implementation with your Windows Store and smart phone applications. It implements a lot of the back end services you need, letting you focus on the differentiators: what the application does, business logic, and availability across form factors. The service is currently in beta. Now is a great time to learn what the service does and to engage with the product team at Microsoft.

     

    About the author

    Headshot250 jpg

    Scott Seely is the president of The Jeanius Factory, Inc.. He is a Microsoft Regional Director, Pluralsight author, and Microsoft MVP. He blogs at http://scottseely.com. He is an active member of the .NET community in the Chicago area, helping found That Conference, organize Code Camps, and speaking at user groups throughout the region. Scott has authored and co-authored five books and dozens of articles on software development. When away from his computer, Scott enjoys cooking, a round of golf, a good beer, and hanging out with his three children and his wonderful wife.  Follow Scott on Twitter.

    About MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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