Jul 202014
 

IMG_9975_Medium  IMG_9976_Medium

Hi There,

Today we’re taking a look at the rather appealing Kensington KeyFolio Executive with Bluetooth keyboard.  As regular readers would know, I’m a bit of a keyboard junkie, and I have developed a number of mobile keyboard solutions over the years.

Here’s one of my favourites – a Think Outside foldaway Bluetooth keyboard.

IMG_9993_Medium
My foldaway keyboard

I include a photo of it here for comparison purposes – although they serve slightly different purposes, the KeyFolio I think achieves a far superior experience.  Let’s take a look.

The contents of the packaging are snapped in the picture below.  It’s a pretty straightforward setup, and quite a sleek looking folio, to be honest!

IMG_9978_MediumIMG_9980_Medium
Unpacking / Box contents

Unpacking takes seconds, and everything’s already ready to go.  I was a little uncertain about how to insert the iPad into the folio – there’s what looked like an adhesive layer on the kickstand, and it looked so sticky, I feared the adhesion might be permanent!

  IMG_9984_Medium
USB charging cable attached

However, after some research on the Kensington website, it turns out that the adhesive isn’t adhesive per se, it’s an advanced seal using thousands of tiny suction points, and won’t ever lose its adhesion.  You can quite easily release a device without damage to it or to the folio.

IMG_9988_Medium IMG_9981
Screenshot of the suction technology / Bluetooth pairing

Once installed, I powered on the keyboard and easily paired the tablet using BlueTooth.  The keyboard is actually rechargeable via a supplied USB cable.  That’s very handy, but in my experience you get quite a lot of life out of the keyboard before requiring any charge.

IMG_9982_Medium
USB Cable

The kickstand is removable, as is the supplied folio card holder.  This can be useful if you wish to make better use of the space around you.  As you can see from the photos, the previously mentioned suction adhesive holds the tablet in place with no problems.

IMG_9989_MediumIMG_9990_Medium
Kickstand / iPad attached to kickstand

It’s quite easy to use the folio and any devices attached either with the kickstand separate or within the folio, as you can see from the photo below.

IMG_9985_Medium
iPad attached to the Folio

This would be most excellent for use when flying, for example, or any occasion where space is at a premium,  As the folio is quite light, you wouldn’t have trouble carrying it on trips or in an office environment.

IMG_9979_Medium
Folio fully expanded

The folio, when opened completely, is actually quite large and well laid out, although it zips down into a parcel only slightly larger than a standard iPad.  The Bluetooth keyboard is slightly magnetized (to hold the base of a tablet in place) and also is removable.

The keyboard experience is actually very impressive for a mobile one.  I mentioned earlier, my old favourite mobile keyboard from Think Outside is well out matched by this Kensington.  As an Architect, I do a lot of writing, and as an IT consultant I tend to do a lot of it either on client sites or when I’m out and about.  As a consequence, I’ve used a lot of keyboards in the past 30 years, and they just keep getting better.

This folio is exactly what the doctor ordered, and has enabled me to integrate an iPad into my weekly consulting work.  The folio also doubles as a bit of a mobile workspace, in other words, a convenient way to store the various hard copy designs and specifications which “cross my desk” from time to time.  As a result, I heartily endorse this mobile solution.

You can find a very convenient range of Kensington Folios over at MobileZap where they have a great range of accessories, many (like this one) are perfect for the iPad Air.

Jul 142014
 

Today I was able to successfully migrate all of my Windows Azure artifacts from one Microsoft Account/Subscription to another Microsoft Account/Subscription.   The scenario was – I had an MSDN subscription via my former employer, and over the source of the past year, I’d developed a number of applications whilst learning the Azure platform.

After being made redundant, my subscription was naturally deactivated, giving me the balance of part of July before the subscription credit would run out.  As it happened, my current employer also assigned me an MSDN subscription to a new Microsoft Account, so I have the same subscription level and the Azure available to me again.

The problem was: how do I migrate all the web sites, data stores and any other things I’d been working on? 

I could manually backup everything and then set it all back up again in the new account, but that would take a fair amount of effort and perhaps even some pain reconfiguring databases, DNS and so forth.

In the end, after a bit of Googling, I discovered this article here which mentions how to create a support ticket: http://devblog.ailon.org/devblog/post/2011/07/14/How-to-transfer-your-Azure-site-to-another-subscription.aspx

However, it’s a bit out of date.  For the most part though, the premise is the same.

Note: Before you decide to migrate data from one Azure Subscription/Microsoft Account to another, you should check the pre-requisites beforehand (see at the end of this article).

To create a support ticket

To migrate data or move subscriptions between different Microsoft Accounts, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Azure support site
  2. Click on “Get Support”

image

3. This will cause you to have to authenticate to the Azure portal

4. Once loaded, you’ll get a modal window like this one.  Select “Billing” for support type:

image

5. On the next page you have a number of options, if you want to migrate a subscription or data, go with the option “Subscription transfer and Migrations”

image

6. In the Category, you can be more specific with your request

image

7. On the final page, enter contact information

Once you submit the ticket, a representative from the Azure Support team will be in touch via Email or Phone to confirm the details with you.

My Experience

Was excellent.  I had an almost immediate response via e-mail which summarised the request and asked me to confirm.  As it turned out, what I’d requested to do (transfer subscription) was the wrong request – my mistake, but after some emails backwards and forwards, resolved by a quick phone call, data migration was the desired action.

Once confirmed, I reviewed the pre-requisites (see below) and confirmed the migration.  All I had to do was ensure that the Service Administer was the same for both source and target subscriptions.  Once everything was confirmed, the migration took only about 30 minutes and at the end, all services were working as expected, sites and DNS as well.

It was a very good support experience, communication was always very clear and concise and the outcome was exceptional.  High marks all around.

Microsoft Azure Data Migration/Data Transfer Pre-requisites

Ensure you review each point before submitting a service ticket:

  • The source as well as destination subscription should be active,
  • We do not support selective service transfer. i.e. transfer selected hosted service, storage service from one subscription to another. It may become available in future but today, we transfer all or nothing.
  • Destination subscription must be completely empty. If there is any data on the destination, we will be performing a force migration which will transfer the data.
  • Source subscription and destination subscription must have the same service admin (at least till the migration completes). 

List of services that can be migrated by us:

  • Virtual Machines
  • Cloud Services
  • CDN
  • Web sites
  • Media Services
  • Service Bus
  • Storage
  • Multi Factor Authentication
  • Traffic Manager
  • Mobile Services 
  • Virtual Network 
  • Access Control Service (ACS)
  • Caching – we need to work with Engineering Team for migrating caching service
  • Reserved IP Address and the Reserved IPs under the list

Self- serve Migration:

  • VSO
  • SQL DB
  • MFA

These are the services that cannot be moved:

  • Active Directory (AAD)
  • BizTalk Services
  • HD Insight
  • Backup 
  • Hyper-V Recovery Manager 
  • Azure Store 
  • Import / Export 
  • Scheduler 
  • Management Services 
  • SQL Reporting

Note: We won’t be able to perform data migration, if source as well as destination has  mobile services deployed. You would need to take the backup of mobile services from either Source or Destination delete it and once the data migration is completed, you can redeploy the mobile services on destination.

Additionally  follow these steps to change the Service Administrator if it’s not same: 

  1. Login in to https://account.windowsazure.com.
  2. Click ‘Subscriptions.’
  3. Select the subscription
  4. Click “Edit subscription details.”

Note: the Service Administrator needs to be the same for both target and source subscriptions.

Jul 022014
 

Introduction

Recently I was asked to look into solutions for moving some WordPress sites in-house for a client.  At first this looked fairly straightforward, until I realised that they wanted the ability to spin up new self contained VM sites with little effort.

Naturally, I pursued the logical step of building a “base” virtual machine with a clean install of the latest copy of Ubuntu Server 14.04, configuring it with the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack and Mail support.  At one pojnt at friend of mine, Craig Harvey, asked if I’d considered a pre-built distribution image such as the ones available from Bitnami.

As it happened, I hadn’t gone that route at the time – but I’m glad I did.

image

Enter Bitnami virtual machine images

Suppose you want a baseline application platform with a sizable array of applications and a close to zero configuration effort?  Bitnami provides – for free – two awesome VMWare or VirtualBox virtual machines which are pre-configured to support single or multi-site instances of the latest version of WordPress (3.9.1 as of writing).

Can it be that simple?

Yes, it can.  You simply download the image of choice (using or registering an account) and all you need to do is unzip the contents and attach to VMWare/Virtual Box – then start the VM.

The version of Ubuntu is a little out of date (version 12.04) but is pre-configured.  Bitnami images are built from open source software and distributed for free.

As of the time of writing, the Bitnami WordPress stack ships with the following software versions:

  • WordPress 3.9.1
  • Apache 2.4.9
  • Varnish 3.0.5
  • MySQL 5.5.36
  • PHP 5.4.29
  • phpMyAdmin 4.2.2

One obvious advantage is that the Bitnami template virtual machine could be updated when newer versions of WordPress are released.

Understanding the Bitnami template

The Bitnami template provides a number of pre-installed applications, some of which may not necessarily be used for each WordPress installation.

clip_image002 
Figure 1 – The Bitnami Console

The default root of the hosted site provides access to a range of applications:

image 
Figure 2 – Default page of the out-of-the-box template

Adapting the Bitnami template for each WordPress site automatically provisions a pre-configured copy of WordPress 3.9.1:

image
Figure 3 – Default WordPress site

When you authenticate for the first time, you are forced to change the default password (which is always a good idea!).  From here you may roam the operating system at your leisure. 

One quick tip for those not familiar with Ubuntu – there’s no “root”, to perform administrative functions you use the command “sudo” (as opposed to “su”) before the commands you need to execute.  There’s a compelling console/text editor as standard called nano which you’ll likely get used to.

Summary

It’s still early days for me, as I navigate the murky waters of Ubuntu.  I’ll be taking this image for a spin to determine whether it is fit for purpose, but at this stage it looks very promising.  I’ll most likely be posting a follow-up article to this one, so stay tuned for more updates.