Revisit the new Azure Portal

Revisit the new Azure Portal

The new Azure portal has been in preview mode for around 1 year now is it provides a totally different user experience.  There have been several major update to the portal with recent announcements here.  The feature updates have partially come from end users suggestions here.

After you login you can customise the appearance of the items on your portal home page with right clicks on the tiles and double clicks to change colors.  Performance, Monthly Spend, and other items can be put into your portal home page.

Resource blades surface to show Azure resources like Websites, VMs, SQL Databases, etc. They are a common starting point or destination when you use the Azure portal.  Creating a new Website you see the blades appear as you click to make adjustments.  You can see the different Tiers and the costs are easily displayed.


Deploying a SharePoint Farm is a 5 minute task (automated provisioning will happen in the background).  When making the SharePoint farm we have the options to create a new Domain Controller, set SQL customizations and again virtual server sizes.


With 1 click of Create, all required services are provisioned automatically.  The portal home page shows my SharePoint Farm and my Website being created.


Once my Website is running and I select it, then from my Essentials Portal I can then natively run a console directly from the Azure Portal.


You can add additional parts to your console, via right clicking from the Essentials Portal.


Once SharePoint is running we can see all servers that were deployed simply by select the ‘create’ button.


The usage costs now show up in far more detail through this portal (assuming you have a paid subscription).


These features can help ease administration.  For more information check out the following links.


profile pic AaronW @aaronw2003

Microsoft Exam Second Shot with a difference

Get a free Second Shot when you register for any online proctored MCP and MTA exam (available until May 31, 2015)

How it Works
  1. Register for an online proctored exam. Choose an MCP or MTA exam (click here for a full list of exams). You can schedule your exam with as little as fifteen minutes notice if appointment slots are available.
  2. Set up your testing environment. You can take online proctored exams at home, at work, or at any other location that meets security and environment requirements. Review the hardware, software, and protocol requirements located here. If you ensure that these requirements are met before you check in for your exam, the check-in process should only take about ten minutes.
  3. Check in. Connect to an assigned greeter, who will verify your identity, review testing rules, and confirm your equipment is properly configured. After check-in, you will be introduced to your proctor, who will monitor your testing session.
  4. Take your exam. You will have the same amount of time to complete the exam as you would if taking the exam at a Pearson VUE test center. During the exam, your remote proctor will supervise you via webcam and microphone.
  5. Retrieve your score report. Your exam results will be immediately accessible from your MCP dashboard when you finish your exam. If you don’t pass, you have 30 days from the date of the failed exam to schedule your free retake.

Aaron @aaronw2003

Road Testing Microsoft’s (Acompli) new Outlook app on iOS and Android

Outlook app on iOS and Android

Late last year Microsoft bought Acompli to bolster its mobile app offerings now ranging all main mobile platforms.

I thought I would install and test both on my Samsung Galaxy S4 and my iPhone 5s.

Outlook app on Android:

The current Android offering is rather limited compared to the iOS version.  Connecting to On Premise exchange, Office 365 and Yahoo all passed.

Default Inbox ‘Focused’ (unread emails) view.



Default Inbox ‘Other’ view.



Settings options.


Outlook app on IOS:

Connecting to On Premise exchange, Office 365 and Yahoo all passed.

I was trying to get used to the Focused and Other views of my messages.  To change these settings under settings, badge count, all.


Email Thread view.  Note the colored icons for people. eg. AW = Aaron Whittaker.  The default view shows the last email from the thread “Will do in 25 mins”.


Great Calendar view from within the app.


Add your files through your choice of online storage accounts.


Again the contacts show up with a colored icon under people, also from with the same app.


iOS app settings options.


Having used both for a week now I can say that there are no issues with either, but the iOS version definitely has more features.  I found Outlook to be more customisable than the built-in mail apps or the Yahoo app in either platform (Android or iOS).  I like having the Mail, Calendar, Files and People buttons all within the one app.  Hopefully Microsoft will bring these missing features to Android with an update soon.


Additionally just today there was the announcement that Microsoft bought iOS, Android calendar vendor Sunrise for $100 million, definitely not the old Microsoft or climate that we were accustomed to.  Perhaps this will replace the existing Acompli calendar?


*** Update 16/02/2015 – Any emails with an attachment sent from either application did not get delivered.


profile picAaronW @aaronw2003