How do you manage your inbox?

How do you manage your inbox?

I just found this great little setting in Outlook, I am sure it has probably been around for ages.

I changed this Mark as Read setting from the default 1 second to 5 seconds. My email habit is; I will come back to unread emails if i need to action it. I am finding this setting very handy!

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Aaron @aaronw2003

 

6 Months in at Microsoft, what have I been doing as a Technical Account Manager?

microsoft-brisbane-office.jpgThings have been very busy coming up to speed with Microsoft. I have an Inbox of 5 gig already, thousands of unread emails, but hopefully I am not missing the important ones. It would be impossible to get to all of them, I keep most of them to search and for reference if needed (hopefully not needed now with Delve). I am however reconsidering how I have structured my Inbox folders and Rules.

There is a lot of training to be done (each month there is usually some compliance training). I have done around 100 courses in 6 months. I have some more training coming up where I am hoping to learn about all the new products and features coming such as HoloLens, Azure (I can’t blog about it sorry).

It’s one thing to read and understand a position description, but what I have I actually been doing at Microsoft in 2016 as a TAM.

I have a number of different customers all based in Brisbane. I do spend most of my time in Brisbane with a small amount of travel.

My role is directly related to Premier Agreements that a customer purchases.

I have extracted and highlighted the key parts to my role from the TAM PD located here. (this is an advertised role so the link may stop working).

The TAM is a trusted business advisor to Microsoft’s Premier Support customers providing valuable guidance around operations and optimization of their IT infrastructure through quality Service Delivery Management. Once a Premier customer has deployed a Microsoft product, should something unexpected occur, the TAM working with Customer Service and Support (CSS), manages the incident to resolution and then follows up to ensure either product improvement within Microsoft or operational improvement within the customer’s IT environment. By maintaining a long-term relationship with their customers a TAM gains an understanding of their customers’ IT organizations’ impact on overall business, their IT goals, and their pain points – which is used by the TAM to create a Service Delivery Plan ensuring their customers’ operational success with Microsoft products.

The role requires a leader who is resourceful, confident under pressure, and has demonstrated knowledge in services, operational support, customer relationship management and business development.

Responsibilities:

TECHNICAL SUPPORT – Manage customers technical support requests. Ensure Premier customers receive responses to phone/on-line requests within service level response times, as specified per contractual agreements and in service delivery plans.

TECHNICAL SERVICES – Analyze and determine most effective method of problem resolution by utilizing applicable internal resources.

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT – Work with accounts to develop and maintain a support plan. Communicate proactively with accounts regarding product and program information, supportability issues, and strategic product plans where appropriate. – Maintain effective working relationships with assigned customers.

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE – Maintain and expand working knowledge of current and pre-released Microsoft systems and products, as well as their integration and methods of support delivery.

OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES – Share best practices with team members to contribute to enhance the quality and efficiency of customer support. Establish effective working relationships with Product Groups by working through appropriate escalation channels. Also establish strong relationships with Microsoft Field Sales, Consulting Services and other internal resources as appropriate.

Most days I have several customer meetings. Double bookings occur frequently, and juggling how we defer meetings based on availability, timezone, and priority is an art form. Internal team meetings are very limited. You can see my meeting habits in a previous post on Delve Analytics.

Here are some other posts which I found while taking the time to write this post.

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/alicerp/2012/03/09/meet-tim-the-tam-technical-account-manager-he-jumps-over-fires-for-his-customers-and-empowers-them-with-microsoft-technology/

https://microsoftcss.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/a-day-in-the-life-technical-account-manager/

https://microsoftcss.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/technical-account-manager.pdf

 

Please feel free to ask me any questions if you are considering applying for a TAM role at Microsoft.

Let’s get technical – To see my next article on my corporate workstation click here

ms bne

Aaron @aaronw2003

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Whats in a Microsoft Corporate workstation

What is on my corporate workstation?

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Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft.

Not a whole lot, I can pretty much switch laptops in less than 1 hour. I have the Office suite installed and 4 other apps (two come from the Store). Most internal applications are delivered via webpage or SharePoint. I have corporate and personal OneDrive connected. Everything defaults to my corporate OneDrive.

onedrive

I am not on the corporate Domain, I am Azure AD (AAD) joined. I could bring any laptop I want and join it myself. I do not even need to be in a corporate office to do this. We have 2 VPN options, and DirectAccess to choose from. But I can do most things without VPN connected anyway.

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I can manage my devices from within the Company Portal app. This includes any phone and any laptop. Microsoft Intune ensures that my laptop is compliant and adds other necessary components which I won’t mention here.

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Single Sign On (SSO) just works, it is great! If you have a Surface Pro 4 or Surface book, a password is rarely needed, with Hello Windows.

We also have access to a free Microsoft MSDN subscription with Azure credits. I also get an Office 365 test tenant if required.

I have a soft phone and all external dialing is done via Skype for Business.

SFB

Another important tool is my mobile phone. I am going to create a separate post on how I remain productive while on the go.

Virtual Machines – I have none. If I do it is for my own personal learning.

If you have any questions about how Microsoft can help transform your organisation and become more efficient please ask me.

To see what I have been up to in my Role as a Microsoft TAM click here.

Aaron @aaronw2003

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Delve Analytics – Office 365

Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft. This is my personal blog and not my companies opinion.

Something that amazes me is the information that can be obtained from Delve Anaytics.

In this post we will just focus on my personal metrics around productivity. What kind of information can you get?

You can see a summary in Outlook from the plugin on the right hand side. For “More Stats” I can click the link to go to the Office 365 Delve portal.

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Here we confirm that these figures are actually based on calendar and inbox habits.

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Here you can see how much time I spent with my manager.

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My email habits.3

Focus hours4

After hours. This is an interesting one. The figures don’t look high for me. I know that Friday and Saturday should have a higher after hours number in the last week. During this time I actually closed Outlook to remain focused. Less distractions equal more productivity. 5

So overall this is a great tool to see interesting thing such as how you are working, the hours you work, which people are ignoring your emails and vice versa. I am sure that other metrics will appear over the coming months (not internal knowledge just a guess).

Any comments of product suggestions are welcomed.

Aaron @aaronw2003

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Microsoft Cloud Roadshow Sydney KeyNote

Here on day 1 at the Microsoft Cloud Roadshow there was a lot of excitement and buzz around all things cloud. In the coffee line I met a fellow Microsoft employee who has been with the company for over 21 years in Redmond! As with all modern technical events there was an event site to show my pre-selected schedule.

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The Key Note:

Rachel Bondi – CMO and COO for Microsoft Australia opened the keynote.

We were lucky enough to have Julia White the General Manager of Cloud Platform from the US. Both Rachel and Julia started over 10 years ago in the Microsoft Office business. Julia spoke about digital transformation in the cloud.

Ben Walters Senior Product Manager gave a Delve demonstration. Delve uses machine learning. Everything he sees he already has access to. He can make a new board, to add docs to.  He showed Delve Analytics, and how we can adjust targets to drive personal productivity. Getting access to the organisation quicker. He also demonstrated using Outlook on iPhone and Enterprise Mobility Suite EMS blocked copying between Outlook and local applications such as notes.

delve analytics2

Julia mentioned how Xaramin (a recently acquired company) is now integrated directly into Visual Studio and can allow testing on hundreds of virtual phones at once to see where applications maybe failing.

Tom Hollander a Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect (CSA) built a web app.  He deployed a demo website from Visual Studio to Azure with 3 clicks. He discussed scaling out or up. The entire demo was deployed in less than 2 minutes.

Julia then showed a short video on the Nepal recovery effort, monitoring recovery and helping them rebuild.

Julia discussed the comprehensive hybrid cloud platform. Azure Stack for on premises management. Currently in pre-release. This will also go GA towards the end of the calendar year.

Jason Wu a Microsoft principal program manager gave a great Data insights demonstration on SQL Data Warehouse and PowerBi. He discussed the importance of a scalable data store, a tool to deliver the data intelligence and an agile approach. SQL data warehouse is industry first auto scaling cloud warehouse.

Julia – Discussed a case study on Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce needed to deliver new services to their clients. They have a lot of data but lacked the ability to give them new insights. They created the data warehouse. Of importance to Jet owners was: fuel efficiency by type of plane, by pilot, by route.  Rolls Royce is able to provide interesting insights to change the services they can provide to their customers.

Today I heard a new word. Perimeterless environments Julia discussed how Microsoft is able to provide secure platforms and  intelligence to assess different risks. Microsoft spends $1 Billion a year and has the largest security spend of any vendor. On average hackers sit on a network for 200 days before they are discovered. 2 billion emails are scanned a month.

Lastly, Julia announced that Ignite Australia will be on 14-17 February 2017 at the Gold Coast convention center.

Subscribe to my blog and stay tuned for more excited Microsoft news.

Aaron @aaronw2003

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Reminder April 18th User Group- What’s new in Virtualization in Windows Server 2016

Session reminder next Monday evening.

Windows Server 2016 – Virtualization – In this session Jeff Alexander will discuss and show what’s new in Virtualization in Windows Server 2016 including increases in security and flexibility and improvements in deployment and Hyper-V Containers.

Jeff Alexander started at Microsoft in August 1987 as a Support Professional focusing on operating systems and desktop applications for Enterprise Customers. Since then he spent 6 years in Microsoft’s internal IT team as a Datacenter manager.  One of his biggest projects he was involved with was consolidation of the Sydney site to Singapore.  Jeff Alexander now focuses his passion for Windows Infrastructure and Microsoft Cloud technologies as an Sr. Technical Evangelist promoting and enabling the community of IT Professionals through vehicles as TechNet events; blogging, the TechNet Web Site , User Groups, MVP’s, and online webcasts.

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Great prizes on offer!

Register Here

Presented by Microsoft

Thanks

Aaron

Find Time ~ Microsoft Meeting Scheduler

A great tool which more should use when trying to schedule a meeting is Find Time. This is the perfect tool trying to find times with external parties. This is even more exciting by the fact that only the meeting organiser needs to have the plugin installed.

1Go to the Office Store and register with your Office 365 user account.

Ensure that you download the plugin to your desktop Outlook app (on the right).

8Create a new email, click the Plugin at the top (on the right). Select your preferred times for the meeting. Select Next, note the settings, Holds (blocks the times in your calendar and in the attendees), Auto-schedule (once a time is agreed it will auto-schedule).

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Here is one of the automated messages I received

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After I click on the invite email in my inbox I am taken to this website, I can select my preferred time as well.

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Here is a view of my dashboard, here I see open and completed meetings.

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Here is what I receive in my inbox after voting is complete.

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To watch a quick demo on how to do this click here

Here are some additional tips on how to keep tabs on your invite.

  1. As an organizer, you’ll get email updates every time someone votes.
  2. Your attendees will get emails reminding them to vote. You can turn off this setting when you create your invite.
  3. Optional attendees don’t need to vote for the required attendees to come to a consensus on a time.
  4. If your first-time attendees reply to your email instead of voting, encourage them to use the site.
  5. If an invite is not closed within 3 days, consider force scheduling by using the “schedule” link in emails we send you or on the voting page.
  6. Forgot the link to your invite’s voting page? You can easily find all your invites by looking at your dashboard.

If you have any questions or feedback, we would love to hear it!

profile pic Aaron @aaronw2003

April User Group- What’s new in Virtualization in Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 – Virtualization – In this session Jeff Alexander will discuss and show what’s new in Virtualization in Windows Server 2016 including increases in security and flexibility and improvements in deployment and Hyper-V Containers.

Jeff Alexander started at Microsoft in August 1987 as a Support Professional focusing on operating systems and desktop applications for Enterprise Customers. Since then he spent 6 years in Microsoft’s internal IT team as a Datacenter manager.  One of his biggest projects he was involved with was consolidation of the Sydney site to Singapore.  Jeff Alexander now focuses his passion for Windows Infrastructure and Microsoft Cloud technologies as an Sr. Technical Evangelist promoting and enabling the community of IT Professionals through vehicles as TechNet events; blogging, the TechNet Web Site , User Groups, MVP’s, and online webcasts.

jeffa.jpg

 

Great prizes on offer!

Register Here

Presented by Microsoft

Thanks

Aaron

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User Group Session March- EMS: Everybody together now- Reminder

Just a reminder that next week we will have our EMS session. Presented by Microsoft’s Andrew Lowson and Edge Pereira.

If you have a spare/blank device bring it along and you can be part of the demo!

I will have plenty of prizes to give away!

Abstract: Microsoft has a solution to help you to protect your data, manage mobile devices, unify environments across OSs all this while enabling seamless collaboration. In this session we will talk about the Enterprise Mobility Suite and how it plays together with the current needs of the modern workplace.

ems

Edge Pereira is an experienced Office 365 DLP, SharePoint Architect and public speaker with more than 10 year’s project experience travelling across many countries around the world. He has extensive knowledge of SharePoint technologies with strong focus on SharePoint Online, Office 365 and on shaping the customer journey to the cloud.

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Great prizes on offer!

Register Here

Presented by Microsoft

Thanks

Aaron

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Azure AD Connect 1.1 is now GA- Lets kick the tyres

Alex Simons and Girish Chander recently announced that Azure AD Connect 1.1 has now gone GA, so lets take a look.

Currently there is a compatibility issue with Azure AD Connect 1.1 and some versions of Windows 2016. So I ran the tool on the latest Windows 2012R2 image on Azure.

Supported Operating Systems are listed here.

So lets install and configure. First time through I selected Customize to look at the options. Here you can select your SQL server (recommended for 50,000+ AD objects) and other settings. Also you can select the authentication method you wish to deploy for your hybrid cloud solution.

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I then went back to do an express installation. Here you can see my branding is applied, and after entering my password I am prompted for Multi Factor Authentication (MFA).

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Now the installation is complete, and we left the check box selected to do an initial sync. We could leave things how they are. But lets have a look at the other options.

Let’s pretend that only pilot users need to be sync’ed.1416

Here I select my pilot users (Default Users OU).

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Also I want password writeback. This means when a user uses the self service to reset their password in the cloud it will also sync back to on-premises. I select this option (not selected by default).

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All done, lets look at my Azure AD default directory. You can see my 3 sync’ed users. The On-Premises Sync service account was created automatically.

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If you are interested in learning more about this please register to attend the next user group on EMS.

Aaron Whittaker @aaronw2003

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**I work for Microsoft, these are my own views.

User Group Session March- EMS: Everybody together now

Abstract: Microsoft has a solution to help you to protect your data, manage mobile devices, unify environments across OSs all this while enabling seamless collaboration. In this session we will talk about the Enterprise Mobility Suite and how it plays together with the current needs of the modern workplace.

ems

Edge Pereira is an experienced Office 365 DLP, SharePoint Architect and public speaker with more than 10 year’s project experience travelling across many countries around the world. He has extensive knowledge of SharePoint technologies with strong focus on SharePoint Online, Office 365 and on shaping the customer journey to the cloud.

edge.jpg

Great prizes on offer!

Register Here

Presented by Microsoft

Thanks

Aaron

IMG_0441.5 - bnecloud

 

Microsoft The Year that Was

Please refer here to see my latest Microsoft TechNet article.

Wow, what a year it was for Microsoft and the cadence of technology in general! There were so many highlights from Microsoft that I thought it was time to reflect now on some of the major points.
Hardware:
Microsoft promoted and demonstrated HoloLens and its exciting potential.
Microsoft’s New Lumia 950 with Windows 10 Mobile was released.
Microsoft Band 2 was released.
Microsoft, Dell team up for new, standard ‘cloud in a box’ system.
Microsoft Surface Book was released.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 was released.
Dell, HP announced they will resell Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets.
Microsoft Surface Hub will start to ship starting January 1, 2016. Here is a quick demonstration on starting a meeting with the Surface Hub.
Cloud:
Microsoft really helps drive Windows 10 IoT.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 was released.
Microsoft Identity enhancements came multiple times throughout the year.
Microsoft extends Azure Active Directory authentication with Business to Customer and Business to Business support (BETA).
Azure AD Connect was released allowing customers to sync their users credentials to the cloud.
Azure AD Connect Health was released.
Microsoft makes its Hadoop on Azure service available to Linux users.
Productivity:
Microsoft adds a new Office 365 license E5 with a new set of features.
Microsoft revamps its Outlook mobile apps for iOS, Android.
Microsoft’s Office 2016 for Windows is released.
Microsoft makes Sway generally available for Windows 10, iOS, Office 365 users.
Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 is released.
Microsoft makes Office 2016 for Macavailable before Office 2016 for Windows.
Microsoft’s new Office apps are released forAndroid phones.
Microsoft readies Office updates for iPad Pro, iOS 9 and WatchOS 2.
Microsoft brings Office Lens scanning app to iOS, Android.
Microsoft released Skype for Business.
Microsoft pushes the benefits of Enterprise Mobility Suite (Identity + Mobility + Security).
More new Microsoft productivity apps: OneClip, Revolve.
Other:
The first Ignite conference delivered in Australia.
Microsoft’s first Sydney flagship store opens with a huge success.
Microsoft releases Exchange Server 2016.
Microsoft made 17 acquisitions.
Windows 10 was delivered with success.
Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2015 was released.
Microsoft’s new browser was released ‘Edge’.
Microsoft turns 40. Here are a few thoughts from Bill Gates on the millstone.
Windows Server 2003’s support ended.
Additionally, we know of some other big releases that are coming in 2016. New versions of SQL, SharePoint, Windows Server and I am sure a whole lot more. Stay tuned for some other exciting updates in the new year!

Aaron @aaronw2003

It’s a Wrap- XMAS celebrations

What an exciting year. One thing is for certain the rapid pace and evolution of the market and the many great emerging technologies that were released this year, will continue in the new year with an even faster cadence. We finished the year with some drinks provided by JustPeople at Jimmy’s on the Mall. Thank you to Adam Broadbent for generously supplying these.

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Next Year-

  • Call for content/suggestions.
  • Speakers.
  • Additional assistance/hosts
  • Sponsors.

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The ability to share and learn is provided by the sponsors throughout the year so a big thank you to all. Additionally thank you to Microsoft for providing the room. Stay tuned for some exciting developments come next year.

 

Aaron @aaron2003

Reset an Azure VM password

I came across a tweet today by Stephen Owen and I just had to test it.

Now you can reset an Azure VM local password directly from the portal.

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Now we will need to have security considerations around who can have global admin access. This works for Windows and Linux machines. I have not found any information on the minimum permission levels required to perform this work. This site should be updated soon with this information.

Aaron @aaron2003

New Venue- December User Group- Xmas drinks celebration.

New Location below:

This December our User Group will be a Xmas drinks celebration.

Come along and have some drinks, discuss the year and plan for your coming year. We will have some special Microsoft guests from Sydney attending.

A big thank you to this events sponsors, Adam Broadbent from JustPeople and Microsoft. Just People is one of Australia’s leading Executive and Technology Recruitment Companies.

JustPeople

Microsoft

Location: Jimmy’s on the Mall upper deck (opposite Hungry Jacks)

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Time: 5:30pm

Date: Tuesday 8th December

Please register here for table bookings and budgeting.

lerwick_brewery_azure_beer

Aaron @aaronw2003

December User Group- Xmas drinks celebration.

This December our User Group will be a Xmas drinks celebration.

Come along and have some drinks, discuss the year and plan for your coming year. We will have some special Microsoft guests from Sydney attending.

A big thank you to this events sponsor, Adam Broadbent from JustPeople. Just People is one of Australia’s leading Executive and Technology Recruitment Companies.

JustPeople

Location: http://fireflybrisbane.com.au

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Time: 5:30pm

Date: Tuesday 8th December

Please register here for table bookings and budgeting.

lerwick_brewery_azure_beer

Aaron @aaronw2003

Using Microsoft Media Services, Azure Media Player and Azure CDN

Firstly lets explore what the two services are and what they offer.

Microsoft Media Services– A cloud media solution for encoding, encrypting, and streaming audio or video at scale, live or on demand. This is fully integrated to Azure’s CDN (Content Delivery Network).

Azure Media Player– Plays Media that you upload to the above media services. You can view this content from the basic Azure media player website or embed this in another website.

I could not find a fully completed blog on this topic, so I was working rather blindly.

Below are my steps:

Firstly I created a media service.

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Then I uploaded a video, I found an old short video on my laptop.

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Then I selected Process.

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I left the options as default except I shortened my output content name from the default name.

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Here you can see the encoding task which took several minutes for a 10 second video.

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Then I created 1 Streaming Unit.

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Now you can see my original and encoded content. Note that the encoded file is 7 times larger. Then I copied the URL for the encoded file.

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Then I pasted my video file in the URL field. I then selected update player button and my video started loading and playing. Up the top you will note two orange sections. You can share the URL, or get the code to embed this within your website to deliver this content. As this is a free WordPress blog I was unable to embed it in the site. However I was able to link the content HERE.

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Please share any comments and ideas on embedding the video in the WordPress blog below. If any one wants to try to embed the video for testing themselves they can also do that obtaining the link above.

Aaron Whittaker @aaronw2003

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