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We’re happy to announce the availability of our newest free ebook, Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure, Second Edition (ISBN 9781509302963), by Michael Collier and Robin Shahan.

Introduction

Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, providing a wide variety of services you can use without purchasing and provisioning your own hardware. Azure enables the rapid development of solutions and provides the resources to accomplish tasks that may not be feasible in an on-premises environment. Azure’s compute, storage, network, and application services allow you to focus on building great solutions without the need to worry about how the physical infrastructure is assembled.

This book covers the fundamentals of Azure you need to start developing solutions right away. It concentrates on the features of the Azure platform that you are most likely to need to know rather than on every feature and service available on the platform. This book also provides several walkthroughs you can follow to learn how to create VMs and virtual networks, websites and storage accounts, and so on. In many cases, real-world tips are included to help you get the most out of your Azure experience.

In addition to its coverage of core Azure services, the book discusses common tools useful in creating and managing Azure-based solutions. The book wraps up by providing details on a few common business scenarios where Azure can provide compelling and valuable solutions, as well as a chapter providing overviews of some of the commonly used services not covered in the book.

Who should read this book

This book focuses on providing essential information about the key services of Azure for developers and IT professionals who are new to cloud computing. Detailed, step-by-step demonstrations are included to help the reader understand how to get started with each of the key services. This material is useful not only for those who have no prior experience with Azure, but also for those who need a refresher and those who may be familiar with one area but not others. Each chapter is standalone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous chapters to understand any particular chapter.

Grab the book here:

Posted by: kurtsh | September 26, 2016

INFO: Meetups list at Microsoft Ignite 2016 this week

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Here are all the Community Meetups at happening at Microsoft Ignite.

<taken from the announcement blog post>

imageLast May, we announced our vision, strategy, timeline and investment areas for SharePoint in Office 365 and on-premises. We unveiled our plan to bring cloud-born innovation to SharePoint Server 2016. Today, we’re excited to announce details for Feature Pack 1.

We’re pleased to announce that we’re ahead of schedule with our inaugural Feature Pack for SharePoint Server 2016. Feature Pack 1, available in November, brings several enhancements driven by recent innovation in Office 365 and feedback from you on UserVoice, including:

  • Logging of administrative actions performed in Central Administration and with Windows PowerShell.
  • Enhancements to MinRole to support small environments.
  • A new OneDrive for Business user experience.
  • Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher.
  • Unified auditing across site collections on-premises and in Office 365.
  • Unified taxonomy across on-premises and Office 365.
  • OneDrive API 2.0.

We’re excited to share with you some of the details of Feature Pack 1 today.

Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016 is slated for November 2016.

Read more about the announcement here:

imageWe’re happy to announce the availability of our newest free ebook, Introducing Windows Server 2016 (ISBN 9780735697744), by John McCabe and the Windows Server team. Enjoy!

Windows Server has powered a generation of organizations, from small businesses to large enterprises. No matter what your area of expertise, this book will introduce you to the latest developments in Windows Server 2016. Each chapter has been written by either field experts or members of the product group, giving you the latest information on every improvement or new feature that is included in this version of Windows Server.

ePub and Mobi for Kindle formats will be available soon.

Posted by: kurtsh | September 19, 2016

WEBCAST: Security in a Mobile-first World (On-demand)

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Today’s cloud and mobile technology enables companies to reshape their business and capitalize on the digital transformation impacting us all. Empowering your workers to be productive from anywhere is key to the ongoing success of your business.

Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite come together to provide a trusted, secure, and efficient way to work. Join this webcast to learn more about how your enterprise can protect, detect, and respond to security challenges in the mobile space.

Watch to learn:

  • How Microsoft’s suite of solutions empowers employees while protecting people, data, and your organization
  • How technologies like Windows Defender ATP, Microsoft Cloud App Security, and Office 365 Advanced Security Management make work work on-the-go more secure and more efficient
  • What are the next steps you should take to provide more security for your mobile workforce

Speakers

  • Paul Edlund, Chief Technologist
  • Joe Raleigh, Premier Field Engineer

Registration: (On-demand)
https://info.microsoft.com/en-us-wbnr-SecurityinaMobileFirstWorld-register.html

Posted by: kurtsh | September 19, 2016

EVENT: Microsoft Tech Leaders Forum – Dec 15, Los Angeles

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The world is in the midst of a 4th Industrial Revolution fueled by Digital, and it will require modern tech leaders to be prepared to respond to the digital-first business imperative and to lead their organizations through this exciting transformation.

Subject matter experts will lead fast-paced sessions and take questions, plus you will have the opportunity to network with peers and colleagues.

AGENDA:

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Details below:

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A question that comes up a lot is, “Office Groups, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer… when should we use which collaboration solution that Microsoft offers?”

2toLead is a consultancy that has written a 75-page whitepaper that was updated a couple months ago on the exact topic of how to “provide the right enterprise tool” for the collaboration scenario requested.  While it was originally a Microsoft reviewed document, it’s been modified from that original form and is no longer distributed by us (hence the reason it doesn’t have any Microsoft insignia on it any more compared to it’s original incarnation) so it’s not considered Microsoft’s official guidance however, the authors are Office 365 MVPs so they do speak with great experience. 

imageHere’s the location of the whitepaper, if you’d like to download it: (Requires registration)

The authors did a session at Microsoft Ignite 2015 last year on a similar topic.  Here’s the recording:

imageEveryone’s always looking for ways to squeeze more battery juice out of their Surfaces.  Because I use several “compute & network-heavy” solutions as background processes on my device, I sadly don’t get the battery life that many others do.

Yes, there’s all the typical tips like “minimize screen brightness”, “disable location, bluetooth, wireless”, “turn on airplane mode”, etc. Of course, these should be followed first & foremost as they’re the most obvious ways to save battery.

But here’s a few lesser known techniques I’ve used that have suited me very well to extend the battery life of my Surface Book, that should work for any Surface:

TIP #1: DISABLE INTEL CPU SPEEDBOOST:
When your CPU hits 100% utilization, the chipset automatically overclocks the processor from 1.7Ghz to 2.2Ghz. This is called Intel SpeedBoost & has the effect of making your PC faster but also draining the battery significantly.

The solution is to set a cap on CPU utilization so that it never goes above 99%. The problem is that on Surface Pro 4 & Surface Book, the ability to set a maximum CPU usage threshold is is disabled.  So here are instructions on how to reenable it via the Registry & set it to 99% so your Surface never “overclocks” while on battery power.  I believe this technique has given me an extra hour of battery life on any given day.

imageTIP #2: AUTOMATICALLY USE BATTERY SAVER WHENEVER YOURE ON BATTERY
Battery Saver in Windows 10 is a great feature that auto-tunes the OS so it doesn’t do certain background operations to minimize power consumption.  According to Ed Bott, Battery Saver disables:

  • Email notifications
  • Live tile updates
  • Background activity for some apps

Normally you have to manually turn it on but if you’re like me, you often forget and next thing you know, 50% of your battery was needlessly used up because you forgot to turn on Battery Saver.

So here’s how to automatically turn it on whenever you’re on battery:

  1. Go to Settings –> System –> Battery
  2. Ensure the box “Turn battery saver on automatically if my battery falls below:” is checked
  3. Set the slider to 100%

This will ensure that you maximize you battery life whenever you’re not plugged in by throttling background processes power consumption.

imageTIP #3: USE MICROSOFT EDGE TO BROWSE THE INTERNET
There are some apps you can’t avoid using.  Outlook… Excel… PowerPoint… Word… etc.

But there are some that consume an obnoxious amount of power because they were never designed with battery life in mind.  Chrome, Firefox, & Internet Explorer 11 are all power hogs.

But Edge is not.  When you’re on battery and you want to save power, use Edge as MUCH AS POSSIBLE whenever browsing.

This isn’t a joke: I’ve found that using Edge can reduce my power usage while browsing by 50% or more, especially when compared to Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer.  Verge has written an article on this as well.

If you want to know how much of your battery is being used by your browser choice, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings –> System –> Battery
  2. Click the words “Battery Usage by App”.  This will reveal the percentage of battery each app you’ve run in the past has consumed.
  3. Click on your browser.  It will breakdown how much power is used in the foreground vs the background.
          • imageSPECIAL: If you click on Microsoft Edge in your list (assuming you’ve used Edge in the past), you will see a special options menu that appears that allows you to tune Edge’s behavior when placed in the background vs the foreground.  You can also leave this behavior to Battery Saver to control. (i.e. “Managed by Windows”)

TIP #4: HIGH CPU FROM “SYSTEM AND COMPRESSED MEMORY”
If your Surface is running really hot, it means it’s eating ton of power. There may be an application or system process that is running at high CPU. Some processes like Windows Update, Office sync, anti-virus scanning, and Edge may run high CPU at times. Over time these processes should subside.

However, I’ve been told that there is also a Windows 10 bug where the “System and Compressed Memory” task runs at high CPU and causes the system to heat up.

imageThe current workaround is to Disable “Fast Startup” in Control Panel:

  1. Right click the battery icon in SysTray, Choose “Power Options”
  2. In the left pane, Click “Choose what the power buttons do”
  3. Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable”
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the window & uncheck “Turn on Fast Start”
  5. Reboot

TIP #5: UNDERVOLTING THE CPU & GPU
If you want to diminish the voltage allocated to the processors on your Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book to maximize your battery life, there are tools available to do this – one in particular is Throttlestop which is a free download.  This includes disabling Turbo which is similar to what is described above but it’s done in firmware.

Here’s two videos that highlight how to accomplish this using different tools:

On August 2016, Microsoft announced a new Windows desktop & server servicing/patching model that will be coming soon.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
Post-Oct 2016, for each applicable Windows version, every month on the 2nd Tuesday, there will be ONE “Monthly Roll Up of Security & Reliability Patches from both past-and-present” published and ONE “Security Rollup of Patches from this-month-only” published & made available through traditional update distribution mechanisms.  Moving forward, individual patches will no longer be available for Windows 7, 8.1, 2008R2, & 2012.

DETAILED OVERVIEW:
Full details are posted in the announcement at:
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/08/15/further-simplifying-servicing-model-for-windows-7-and-windows-8-1/.

There is also a Premier Field Engineer blog post on the matter here:
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askpfeplat/2016/08/30/a-bit-about-the-windows-servicing-model/

OVERVIEW PRESENTATION:
imageI have additionally posted a presentation entitled, “Improving Windows Servicing Scenarios”, that provides greater detail on this process for reference.  It shows a sample time line of what to expect and it also has an FAQ in there that answers questions like:

  • What components are included in rollups?
  • What’s in the .NET Framework Monthly rollup?
  • Is there any prerequisites for a rollup?
  • What is the expected size of the security only update?  The monthly rollup?
  • Does the Monthly Rollup increase network traffic?
  • Is it possible to apply only security updates?
  • What if there is an issue with a roll up?
  • Do the roll ups included version update of IE & GWX?

Download the presentation below:

Q&A:
Here are some questions I have received about this topic:

Re: “I need more detail about how the roll ups will work on the server side, critical vs important/optional.”

Windows servicing & rollup publishing won’t be any different from servers as from the desktop releases.

Re: “What about Office patches (some servers have Outlook for MAPI as well as some installed Office products like Word or Excel)? Are those in the rollups or are there going to be different rollups?”

The blog & the servicing changes only apply to the Windows – more specifically, the Windows releases that are stated below.  There is no monthly “singular” Office patch rollups or any change, for that matter, in Office servicing for legacy .MSI installations for Office Professional Plus (2016 or prior releases).  Our go-forward servicing model is centered on Office 365 ProPlus – Click-to-Run installations.  Nathan Mercer, Windows Product Manager & the writer of the original post, states this at https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/08/15/further-simplifying-servicing-model-for-windows-7-and-windows-8-1/#comment-9805

Re: “Do we need to change anything in SCCM to accommodate this new model?”

No. Update Management through SCCM will operate the same way as before… except there will now be TWO patches available to deploy on Patch Tuesday within the SCCM Update console.  One representing the “Monthly Roll Up of Security & Reliability Patches from both past-and-present” and one representing the “Security Rollup of Patches from this-month-only”.  This is addressed by Nathan Mercer here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/08/15/further-simplifying-servicing-model-for-windows-7-and-windows-8-1/#comment-12235

Re: “Are there multiple roll ups each months for each type, etc..?”

For each applicable Windows version, there is:

  • One “Monthly Roll Up of Security & Reliability Patches from both past-and-present
  • One “Security Rollup of Patches from this-month-only

Individual patches will no longer be available post-Oct 2016 per Nathan Mercer at https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/08/15/further-simplifying-servicing-model-for-windows-7-and-windows-8-1/#comment-8385.

Re: “You list Windows 7, 8, etc… but what about Windows 10?”
Windows 10 already adheres to this servicing model going back to its release in Sept 2015. Please read our documentation for details on Windows 10 Servicing here:

The cumulative nature of all Windows 10 releases

It is important to note that, in order to improve release quality and simplify deployments, all new releases that Microsoft publishes for Windows 10 will be cumulative. This means new feature upgrades and servicing updates will contain the payloads of all previous releases (in an optimized form to reduce storage and networking requirements), and installing the release on a device will bring it completely up to date. Also, unlike earlier versions of Windows, you cannot install a subset of the contents of a Windows 10 servicing update. For example, if a servicing update contains fixes for three security vulnerabilities and one reliability issue, deploying the update will result in the installation of all four fixes.

Got a Microsoft HoloLens?

Now you can create your own mixed reality videos featuring holographic characters and effects. A steady supply of themed packs will feature content from your favorite brands and genres. Place, resize, and record holograms in the real world for a new take on storytelling.

Actiongram Beta is available now, featuring George Takei, Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, and more!

Microsoft HoloLens: Actiongram Beta feat. George Takei

Read more about Actiongram & HoloLens at Geekwire here:
http://www.geekwire.com/2016/microsoft-george-takei-hololens/

Download Actiongram at http://aka.ms/action.

Learn more about Actiongram at www.hololens.com/actiongram.

Learn more about Microsoft HoloLens at http://www.microsoft.com/HoloLens.

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