imageBeginning today the all new ESPN app is available for Windows Phone, free to download from the Windows Phone Store.  

The ESPN app – an automatic update to the ESPN Hub – delivers more personalization than ever before. The app allows fans to quickly access live scores, breaking news, and video highlights.

Read more here:

Great article.

On a campus notable for tight security and secret offices, Building 92 is a rare beacon of openness. Guests can enter without a Microsoft ID and browse corporate history in the visitor center or pop into the company store for branded water bottles, onesies, and my mom is a geek T-shirts. And yet, directly beneath them, tucked away in the basement, there is a lab so confidential that even most employees have never heard of it. Alex Kipman flashes his badge across the access pads to a set of double doors and goes bounding down the stairs.

Over the past five years, Kipman and a team of Microsoft engineers, designers, and researchers have toiled in this windowless space to create a top-secret product that might be the company’s most ambitious since the 2010 release of the motion-sensing gaming device Kinect: an augmented reality headset codenamed Project HoloLens. The device—a kind of face-computer that looks like a pair of space-age sunglasses—is a bit like the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. But while the Rift immerses its wearers in a completely digital environment, Project HoloLens weaves digital elements into the real world—a magical merging of the virtual and physical.

Read the entire article here:

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There’s a way you can protect Office 365 services like Outlook Anywhere from individuals attempting to connect with an unmanaged device.  It’s called Conditional Access & it’s a function of Intune, Office 365, and Azure AD.

By using Conditional access in Microsoft Intune to secure email and other services depending on conditions you specify, you can detect unmanaged devices & optionally remediate them.

You can restrict access to:

  • Microsoft Exchange On-premises
  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Office 365 Dedicated
  • SharePoint Online

When devices do not meet the conditions, the user is guided though the process of enrolling the device and fixing the issue that is preventing the device from being compliant.

To implement conditional access, you configure two policy types in Intune:

  • Compliance policies are optionally deployed to users and devices to define the rules and settings that the device must comply with in order to be allowed access to services. These rules include passcode, encryption, whether the device is jailbroken or rooted, and whether email on the device is managed by a Intune policy. If a compliance policy is not deployed, then the conditional access policy will treat the device as compliant.
  • Conditional access policies are configured for a particular service, and define rules such as which Azure Active Directory security groups or Intune groups will be targeted and how devices that cannot enroll with Intune will be managed.

For more information on how to configure this:

imageJoin the virtual event to watch as Scott Guthrie announces an exciting new Microsoft Azure service for application developers.

Learn what’s new and how you can build cloud scale web and mobile apps faster than ever before and with less code.

Read up on the coming announcement from the Azure Blog:

Posted by: kurtsh | March 21, 2015

INFO: Office 365 Support Community

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There’s a great site for Office 365 IT professionals called the Office 365 Support Community that contains a large amount of information for folks needing resources top to bottom around O365.  

Visit the site at:

Here’s some other community-oriented resources for Office 365:

imageWanna secure your data in Microsoft’s cloud but lock it up by “bringing your own keys” so only you have the ability to access it?

Check out our BYOK tools for Azure RMS & Azure Key Vault.

  • BYOK tools for Microsoft Rights Management service
    These tools allow tenant administrators of the Microsoft Rights Management service to securely upload their own key (BYOK) to the service.
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=43706
  • Microsoft Azure Key Vault Service
    Safeguard cryptographic keys and other secrets used by cloud apps and services
    http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=512409
  • BYOK preparation tools for Microsoft Azure Key Vault
    This toolset accompanies the Microsoft Azure Key Vault service. Learn more about Microsoft Azure Key Vault service.
    Azure subscribers can upload keys from an HSM (Hardware Security Module) that they own to HSMs in the Azure Key Vault service. This toolset is designed so that your key is always protected by HSMs, even during transport. This feature is called "bring your own key", or BYOK. The toolset on this page prepares your key for BYOK.
    The Azure Key Vault service is cryptographically isolated in each Azure geography (North America, Europe, Asia). You upload your keys to a specific Azure region in a specific geography.

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=45345
  • SQL Server Connector for Microsoft Azure Key Vault
    Currently in Preview – enables SQL Server encryption to use the Microsoft Azure Key Vault as an extensible key management (EKM) provider to protect its encryption keys.
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=45344

imageHere’s the schedule for this year’s upfronts & newfronts, care of MediaBizBloggers as of March 17th, 2015.

FEBRUARY

Date

Network

City

Event

February 25, 2015

Nickelodeon

New York

Afternoon

MARCH

Date

Network

City

Event

March 3, 2015

Spike

New York

Lunch

March 10, 2015

GSN

New York

Breakfast

March 12, 2015

Pivot

New York

Morning

March 17, 2015

Discovery Networks

Los Angeles

In Agency Presentation

March 19, 2015

Scripps Networks

Detroit

Late Afternoon/Evening

March 19, 2015

Discovery Networks

Chicago

In Agency Presentation

March 23 – 27

Discovery Networks

New York

In Agency Presentation

March 24, 2015

Scripps Networks

Los Angeles

Late Afternoon/Evening

March 30, 2015

Bravo / Oxygen / Esquire (Press Only)

New York

Lunch

March 31, 2015

Discovery Networks (Press Only)

New York

Morning

March 31, 2015

Scripps Networks

Atlanta

Late Afternoon/Evening

March 31 – April 2

Discovery Networks

New York

In Agency Presentation

APRIL

Date

Network

City

Event

April 2, 2015

Scripps Networks

Boston

Late Afternoon/Evening

April 2, 2015

CMT

New York

Morning

April 7, 2015

USA Network (press only)

New York

Morning

April 8, 2015

Bravo/Oxygen

New York

TBD

April 9, 2015

Pop (press only)

New York

Breakfast

April 9, 2015

Discovery Networks

Chicago

In Agency Presentation

April 14, 2015

Crackle

New York

TBD

April 14, 2015

ABC Family

New York

Evening

April 14, 2015

Scripps Networks

Chicago

Late Afternoon/Evening

April 15, 2015

National Geographic Channels

New York

Lunch

April 15, 2015

PeopleFront – Simulmedia

New York

Afternoon

April 16, 2015

Scripps Networks

Minneapolis

Late Afternoon/Evening

April 20, 2015

BET

Chicago

Lunch

April 21, 2015

MTV Upfront

New York

Late Afternoon

April 22, 2015

Scripps Networks

New York

Late Afternoon/Evening

April 22, 2015

Revolt

New York

Evening

April 23, 2015

Ovation TV

New York

Breakfast

April 23, 2015

BET

New York

Evening

April 27, 2015

New York Times

New York

Breakfast

April 27, 2015

Buzzfeed

New York

Lunch

April 27, 2015

Bloomberg Media

New York

Afternoon

April 27, 2015

Yahoo!

New York

Evening

April 28, 2015

Maker Studios

New York

Breakfast

April 28, 2015

Mode Media

New York

Lunch

April 28, 2015

Conde Nast Entertainment

New York

Afternoon

April 28, 2015

Corbis: Branded Entertainment Network

New York

Evening

April 28, 2015

Aol

New York

Evening

April 29, 2015

Hulu

New York

Breakfast

April 29, 2015

Sony PlayStation

New York

Lunch

April 29, 2015

Refinery29

New York

Afternoon

April 29, 2015

NPR/WNYC/WBEZ

New York

Late Afternoon/Evening

April 29, 2015

Google/ YouTube

New York

Evening

April 30, 2015

Time Inc.

New York

Breakfast

April 30, 2015

Lin Digital

New York

Afternoon

April 30, 2015

Digitas Lbi POPSUGAR

New York

Afternoon

April 30, 2015

Vevo

New York

Evening

April 30, 2015

A&E Networks

New York

Evening

MAY

Date

Network

City

Event

May 1, 2015

News Corp

New York

Breakfast

May 1, 2015

Time Warner Cable

New York

Lunch

May 1, 2015

VICE

New York

Afternoon

May 4, 2015

Fullscreen

New York

Lunch

May 4, 2015

Machinima

New York

Afternoon

May 4, 2015

DEFY Media

New York

Evening

May 5, 2015

Discovery Digital Networks

New York

Breakfast

May 5, 2015

Collective Digital Studio

New York

Lunch

May 5, 2015

StyleHaul

New York

Afternoon

May 5, 2015

HealthiNation

New York

Evening

May 6, 2015

Whistle Sports Network

New York

Breakfast

May 6, 2015

IAB NewFronts Research

New York

Lunch

May 6, 2015

Beatport

New York

evening

May 7, 2015

TheStreet.com

New York

Breakfast

May 7, 2015

Endemol Beyond

New York

Lunch

May 7, 2015

DailyMeal.com/Elite Daily

New York

Afternoon

May 7, 2015

Screenvision

New York

Evening

May 11, 2015

NBC Broadcast

New York

Morning

May 11, 2015

Fox

New York

Afternoon

May 11, 2015

Azteca America’s

New York

Evening

May 12, 2015

ESPN

New York

Morning

May 12, 2015

Univision

New York

Late Morning

May 12, 2015

ABC-TV

New York

Afternoon

May 12, 2015

Telemundo & NBC Universo

New York

Evening

May 13, 2015

ESPN Deportes

New York

Morning

May 13, 2015

Turner

New York

Morning

May 13, 2015

National CineMedia (NCM)

New York

Lunch

May 13, 2015

CBS-TV

New York

Afternoon

May 13, 2015

Adult Swim

New York

Evening

May 14, 2015

The CW

New York

Morning

May 14, 2015

BYL Network

New York

Late Afternoon

May 14, 2015

NBC Universal Cable

New York

Evening

 

For references around upfront schedules:

imageGetting started with Chef & Azure?  This month, we’ve produced a 5 hour training course on using Chef to manage the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Configuring for the cloud? You know that automation and predictability are key. Microsoft Azure has been partnering with Chef to allow you to define how your systems should be configured.

In this course, experts Steve Murawski and Damien Caro guide you around Chef and explore its building blocks, how to use it, and how it works with Microsoft Azure. See several practical demonstrations to learn how to use Chef to configure your virtual machines (VMs) and your infrastructure in Azure.

  1. Getting Started with Chef (28min)
    Meet your hosts! Steven Murawski from Chef and Damien Caro from Microsoft are IT Professionals who are passionate about scripting and cloud technologies.
  2. Overview of Chef (1hr 17min)
    Explore the benefits of automation and why it becomes a necessity in the new IT world. Learn what infrastructure as code is, and look at the architecture of the Chef platform and the vocabulary used in Chef recipes.
  3. Using Chef (1hr 3min)
    Find out what you need to start using Chef, including required resources and software. Learn how to create files and apply configurations to a system, including Windows and Linux technologies and the differences that should be taken in account.
  4. Building Policies with Chef (52min)
    Go a step further, and build policies to enforce a defined configuration. Get a detailed look at the concepts of recipes and cookbooks, learn to separate the data from the policies, and create and apply a cookbook.
  5. Managing Azure Infrastructure (50min)
    Microsoft and Chef have worked together to integrate the Chef Agent on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs). Learn the tools used to automate the creation of Azure Virtual Machines, plus how to leverage the collaboration between Azure and Chef to apply a recipe or role on a VM at deployment time.
  6. Recommended Resources & Next Steps (15min)
    ​Take this opportunity to dive deeper into Microsoft Azure and Chef, at your own pace.

Instructors:

  • Steven Murawski -  Chef Community Software Development Engineer
  • Damien Caro – Microsoft Technical Evangelist

To take the video training, visit the link below:

imageWanna decorate your office?  How about a nice Azure poster?

Have you ever wondered where all those great posters for the Microsoft Cloud and Microsoft’s Enterprise Products & Services come from?  Like that Azure poster I posted the other day?

Here’s the links to all of them.  Or you can use the QR Codes below.

image

wp_ss_20150319_0001

Did you know that the USB charger you use as well as the USB cable can make a dramatic difference in how fast your phone gets charged?

Most people know that cheap dual USB port wall chargers will often split the amperage available between each port, so if both ports are in use, instead of delivering 2.1A to each device as you would expect, you only get 1A to each.  Thus it’s important to find USB chargers that deliver a true 2.1A to each port.

This however is not what I’m talking about.

BACKGROUND: MY PANTECH’S USB 2.1A CHARGER
This all started when I discovered that the Pantech USB 2.1 charger is the single fastest charger I own.  It charges at a rate that is 2-3x faster than any other USB charger I have in my arsenal.  This was repeatedly documented by the logs/reporting that my Battery monitor app for Windows Phone did.

I asked the electronics experts in the Windows Phone User Group I run what was up.  What they explained was enlightening.

#1: VOLTAGE REGULATOR MODULE
According to Dan Dickerson, an engineer in our group, USB chargers that come equipped with better Voltage Regulator Modules (VRMs) that can dissipate heat (or have a heat sink on them) well, can charge much better and more consistently than those with cheap VRMs.  These tend to get warm when charging as a result of charging at a higher rate than cheaper units.

The Pantech chargers I’ve been using fall into this category.  The problem is determining how well power is being pushed to your phone from them & what other chargers have high quality VRMs in them.

imageThere are intermediary testing devices that will measure the power coming out of your USB adapter & cable to your device.  If you notice that the power being delivered is less than the expected 2.1A, these devices won’t tell you what component is limiting the charge but you at least know that something is causing a weak charge. 

John Hung, a IT consultant in our group, recommended a few of these USB power testing devices that you might find useful:

Here’s a few chargers that provide high quality VRMs:

#2: DATA-SYNC MODE OR CHARGE-ONLY MODE
Apparently, if the device is connected using a data-ready cable, the device-to-be-charged can assume that it should be syncing data as well as charging.  This results in a substantially lowered charge rate. 

As a result, it is possible to do one of 2 things:

#3: SHORT vs LONG CABLES, 17 GAUGE vs 28 GAUGE
Simply put, the shorter the cable, the least resistance there is.  The thicker the cable, the more power it can push through it.  You can easily test this yourself using the meters reference above in point #1. 

It becomes very obvious that short, thick cabling is the best when it comes to USB charging performance.  If you need to get traditional charge & sync cabling (standard USB cables), I’ve found that Amazon Basic’s cabling is quite good as is PortaPow’s.

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