When I got home from work last night a nice surprise was waiting for me. I finally got my Microsoft Band. I already wrote a blog post about the Microsoft Band and the feature it offers. After the first 12 hours I already love it. It is great to have all the notifications directly on your wrist and don’t have to check your smartphone all the time. I am looking forward to test it a bit more, if you have any question feel free to comment on this post.
Last updated by Thomas Maurer at .
Some weeks ago I was in the US for a couple of days, I took advantage of that and visited the Microsoft Store to get a Microsoft Band which was unfortunately out of stock. But I found another great gadget, which as far as I know is only available in the US and Canada, called the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is basically a Miracast receiver, which you can use to project your Windows, Windows Phone or Android display wireless to another screen or projector.
The adapter has a HDMI port for the display signal and a USB port to power the adapter. You plug them in to your TV and after the adapter finished booting you can start connecting your Wireless Display. The Wireless Display Adapter does not only stream the video, it also allows you to stream audio.
This is perfect not only at home, but also during meetings or presentations. With the Windows Store App for the Wireless Display Adapter you can also configure some settings like name or security for the adapter.
Microsoft today announced a new product called Microsoft Band. The Microsoft Band focuses on health and fitness and comes with over 10 different sensors for health, sports and sleep tracking like built-in GPS and 24-hour heart rate monitoring to help you reach your fitness goals.
- 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.
- Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.
- Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.
- Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.
- Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.
- Sleep tracking: When activated, Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of your sleep. Analyze the sleep charts in your app to gain insights about your slumber.
- Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.
- Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.
- UV monitor: Get a quick read of the UV Index while you’re out and about.
Cloud-based service Microsoft Health
Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that helps you live healthier by providing actionable insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps that you use every day. Activity-tracking devices like the new Microsoft Band, smart watches, and mobile phones plus services like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal connect easily to Microsoft Health. Using this fitness data and our Intelligence Engine in the cloud, Microsoft Health provides valuable, personal insights so you can reach your fitness goals.
Be more productive
But the Microsoft Band is much more. It also offers a lot of features as a smartwatch or personal assistant. Which shows you the usual stuff like text messages, meetings, calls, Facebook and Twitter integration but if you are using a Windows Phone you also have Cortana (the personal assistant on Windows Phone) integrated. These features should not only help you trough your daily life, they also should make you more productive and help you to keep your phone in your pocket.
Some of the function Microsoft offers in terms of notifications and alerts.
- Text Messaging: Get your text messages right on your wrist.
- Calls: See incoming call and voicemail notifications on your band.
- Calendar: Microsoft Band stays in sync with the calendar on your phone, reminding you of important events throughout the day so you can be where you need to be.
- Email: Monitor and preview email activity right on your band, so you don’t have to pull out your phone in the middle of your lunch date.
- Smart notifications: Choose which alerts you get on your wrist. Change the notification settings on your phone and your Microsoft Band will match.
- Watch mode: Turn on “Watch Mode” to always display today’s time and date without pressing any buttons.
- Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Stay up to date on Facebook without having to check your phone. Get the latest posts, comments, photo notifications, and personal messages on your band.
- Twitter: Tweets, mentions, retweets, messages, new followers. Set your preferences on your phone and see it all on your wrist.
- Cortana: If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can take notes and set reminders with your voice using Cortana personal assistant.
- Weather: Get real-time weather conditions and a 5-day forecast to plan your week.
- Finance: Create a watch list for select stocks in your Microsoft Health app. View the latest ticker activity right on your wrist.
- Starbucks: No need to reach for your wallet. Enjoy coffee on the go with your Starbucks card ready to scan at arm’s length.
- Timer & Stopwatch: Time your laps or your entire workout with the stopwatch. Set alarms to wake up silently or remind you to go for a run.
- Do-not-disturb mode: Tap the icon on your band to turn all notifications off.
- Personalization: With your choice of background designs and colors, let Microsoft Band reflect your personality.
- Display: The full color touch display is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
- Bluetooth 4.0: With Bluetooth 4.0, your data syncs to your phone in the background, so Microsoft Band is always up to date. You don’t have to log in to get the latest.
Works with the phone you own
The Microsoft Band not just works with Windows or Windows Phone devices, it can also be used on iOS or Android devices.
Microsoft says the battery life of the Microsoft Band will be up to 48h and is only available in the US for $199 (Microsoft Store). I am totally looking forward to replace my Nike Fuelband with this devices.
This week I had the chance to be in Las Vegas at the VeeamON 2014 conference and so far it was an absolutely great event, but I will write about that in another blog post. Veeam also did announce the Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE which allows you to backup not only Windows based notebooks, tablets and desktops, it also allows you to backup physical Windows Server machines, which will make a lot of people very happy. Veeam points out that this will be a free release of a standalone product which will not be integrated in to the Veeam Suite. This means there will be no central management console which kind of makes it not useful for large scale deployments. But for highly virtualized environments this can be a great solution to backup a few of your remaining physical servers.
A beta version of Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE will be released in November and Veeam is looking for feedback. If you want to know more about it checkout Mike Resseler’s (Product Strategy Specialist for Veeam and Microsoft MVP) blog post.
Over a week ago I finally got my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and I will try to cover my first impressions in this blog post. Two years ago I replaced my notebook with the Surface Pro and one year later I replaced the Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 2. I have used both devices as my primary work devices for work as a consultant, at university and at home. The Surface is the perfect work device since I travel a lot. With the Surface I replaced my notebook, my desktop and my tablet with one single device. I always had one complain about the Surface and this was the screen size. If you travel and you work 8-10 hours in front of a 10-inch screen, you start thinking about a bigger screen. Lucky with the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft changed that. Now the Surface Pro 3 got a 12-inch screen and they also changed the ratio from 16:9 to 3:2 which makes a huge difference in terms of space on the screen. I just love the new screen size, it is absolutely perfect and still not too large for traveling. But let me jump back to the review.
First of all I got the I7 version with 265GB of storage:
- Windows 8.1 Pro
- Size: 292.1mm x 201.4mm x 9.1mm
- Weight: 800 grams
- Screen: 12” ClearType Full HD Plus
- Resolution: 2160 x 1440
- Aspect Ratio: 3:2
- Touch: Multi-touch
- Battery Life: Up to 9 hours of web browsing
- Storage and RAM: 64GB or 128GB storage with 4GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM
- CPU: 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family (i3, i5, i7)
- TPM Chip for enterprise security
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth® 4.0 Low Energy technology
- Full-size USB 3.0
- microSD™ card reader
- Headset jack
- Mini DisplayPort
- Cover port
- 5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera
- 5.0 megapixel front-facing camera
- Stereo microphones
- Stereo speakers with Dolby® sound
- Ambient light sensor
- Surface Pen
- 36W Power supply
Design and Durability
For me a great device includes three different things, design, features and a great eco system for applications and accessories. And this was one of the reason why I was a Apple user for a long time, because they offered great design, great hardware features and they had an ecosystem were software and hardware worked perfectly together. Microsoft does not disappoint with the Surface line, the first and the second generation was already great and the third generation does not stop there. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft could finally make the device a lot thinner and than before. The device now has a larger 12-inch screen and a new 3:2 ratio instead of the 16:9 ratio before. This makes a huge difference if you hold the device in portrait mode to read something or browse the web and it also offers you a lot more space on the screen. Another change Microsoft did was to change the color from the dark VaporMg from the Surface Pro line to the silver color of the Surface 2. I am still not sure which color I like more, but both look great to me. After the size and the color the third big change is the new kickstand. The new kickstand does not only offer two position like the Surface Pro 2, you can now put the Surface in any position you want.
As always the build quality of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is just impressive. As a former Apple product user, I am really happy with quality, design and the durability of the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft sends a clear message here to his partners and competitors, about quality of tablets and notebooks. Everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”. I really like the size and dimensions of the Surface Pro 3. The Surface Pro 3 is not only thinner as the Surface Pro 2, it is also lighter. The Surface Pro 3 is 9.1mm thin and 800g light, which makes it a lot more portable than most ultrabooks out there but of course heavier than most tablets.
Display and Audio
For a tablet the display is the key component, and Microsoft did a great job with the Surface Pro 3. I already liked the screen of the Surface Pro 2 but the new screen is just amazing. Not only do I like the new high resolution (2160 x 1440) and the aspect ratio of 3:2, I also love the colors. One of the most underestimated features of the Surface Pro line is the integrated digitizer pen, which allows you to use digital Ink.
The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen which is perfect to take notes with OneNote and other stuff. As I mentioned I am using the Surface Pro at work and at university. At university I am using the pen mostly to take notes and mark some important stuff in documents and PDF files. At work I am not only using it to take notes, it’s also great during workshops or presentation, where you quickly want to draw something instead of using a whiteboard or a flipchart. And for all iPad or Android users, this is not just a normal Pen which buses capacitive touch, which basically is just a simulated finger, this is a digitizer pen which only works with special displays and for example offers pressure sensitivity and automatically deactivates touch input during your writing so you can place your hand on the screen.
The new pen also adds an OneNote button. If you press the OneNote button once you will open up a new page in OneNote even if the Surface is locked. This feature really helps you if you have an idea you want to write down really quickly. If you press the OneNote button twice you will be able to quickly mark the spot on your screen and quickly take a screenshot and save it to OneNote. This feature is just one of the example where Microsoft brings together there products and services for a better customer experience.
Microsoft again improved the audio on the Surface Pro 3. And it is great if you want to watch a movie in the hotel room and it is pretty much better than on any other notebook or tablet I have used. But still if you are a music lover you better get some headphones or external speakers.
Ports and Internals
The Surface Pro 3 has full-size USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot, a Headset jack, a Mini DisplayPort and at the bottom a Cover port for the Type Cover 3. Of course also the older Covers work perfectly but they just don’t match in size. The position of the ports have changed a little bit from the Surface Pro 2. The great thing here is that Microsoft moved the Mini DisplayPort to the upper right side which allows you now to use that port even you have docked the Surface into your docking station. So you can easily use to 4K displays at the same time.
One the power adapter you get another USB port for charging other devices like your phone, so you can still use your USB 3.0 on the Surface for other things.
Heat and Fan Noise
The Surface Pro 3 comes equipped with a powerful 4th generation Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor. For myself I got the i7 version and if you run some heavy workloads the device gets a little hot. You can feel a little bit of temperature on the back site and you can some fan noise. In normal conditions the Surface stay cold and you can’t here anything from the fan. I think the heat and the fan noise are the result of the new and thinner design.
The wireless performance on the Surface Pro 3 seems to be great with no issues or troubles at all. I really can’t wait to get one of the Miracast adapters to stream my display to a beamer or another display.
Type Cover 3
One of the great features of the Surface product line are the covers. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft also released the Type Cover 3 which is basically the successor of the Type Cover 2 and is even thinner. Microsoft are claiming there are a lot of optimizations in Type Cover 3 and the two you will really see are the size which matches the Surface Pro 3 now and the new trackpad. The new trackpad is key here, it is bigger and a lot better than the trackpad of the Type Cover 2. They changed it back to a hard plastic and made it clickable again, which just feels a lot better if you work with it but it does look better than the first version of the Type Cover. The new Type Cover 3 comes with backlit which makes it perfect if you are working low light conditions like the Type Cover 2. The backlighting is automatic and turns of if you are not using it. If your hover over the keyboard with your hand, the Type Cover will automatically turn on the light again. They also added new color options two the lineup, the Type Cover 3 is available in purple, red, blue, cyan and black.
Again the Type Cover is on of the must have accessories if you want to use you Surface as a laptop replacement. It works pretty well with the build in kickstand.
Battery life and Performance
The first thing I realized when I did start the Surface Pro 3 was that this thing is a screamer. The performance seems to be amazing but since the Surface Pro 3 is using the same generation of Intel chips I don’t think there is a huge difference between CPU performance. I think the key difference could be that Microsoft is using faster SSD storage in the Surface Pro 3 than in the previous generations. Since performance never was an issue for me I still like the new performance boost. With the new core i7 version you should not only get more CPU power, you should also get some more graphics power.
Microsoft is claiming that you get up to 9 hours of battery life, which fore me is a little more than with the Surface Pro 2. In my first test I think I am pretty close to get this 9 hours. But what impresses me even more is the Connected Standby or InstandGo features which allows you to wake up the Surface Pro 3 within an second. In my first tests the I charged the Surface on Friday and worked during Friday, Saturday and Sunday around 7-8 hours and the battery life was okay until late Sunday evening. But to get exact numbers I still have to run some more tests and see how it behaves in day to day usage.
Finally Microsoft also upgraded the front-facing camera to a 5 megapixel camera like the Surface 2 already had, but the Surface Pro 2 didn’t get. For me this gets even more important if you do a lot of Conference Calls via Lync or Skype for example.
Software and Accessories
Software is where everything comes together. Windows 8.1 works perfectly on the Surface Pro 3 and I really like the mix between touch and keyboard usage. I use it as a tablet with touch apps and can run a full desktop applications like Office to get real work done. I really love the combination of different Microsoft Services such as Skype or Lync for communication. But where the real power comes together is with OneDrive and OneNote. The new Surface Pen and OneNote are already a perfect combination. You can press the OneNote button on the Surface Pen and OneNote opens instantly and you can start taking notes, even if you are not logged. The notes from OneNote get sync via OneDrive on all your devices like your phone or desktop pc. Microsoft is not only bringing software services together, they are now also integrate hardware.
Microsoft also offers a lot of different accessories like display or Ethernet adapters which you just need to work efficiently. But they also offers some great accessories like the Type Cover 3 which allows you to use your Surface Pro 3 together with the built-in kickstand as notebook replacement or the Surface Pro Docking Station which allows you to dock your Surface if you are at the home or in the office and connect automatically to external displays, external hard drives, keyboards and other stuff. This two accessories complete the whole story of the Surface Pro 3.
Now what can you expect from the Surface Pro 3? The Surface Pro 3 is a high class work machine which can transform to different devices such as a tablet or notebook and with the Surface Docking Station you can even replace your desktop. For me the Surface Pro 3 replaced three devices. It replaces my notebook which I need to get work done and I also use it as my tablet at home or when I watch movies on flights or in the hotel. At home I got the Surface Pro 3 docking station which allows me to use two external displays. Of course if you are looking for just a tablet or just something to replace your iPad, the Surface Pro 3 is probably not the right device for you. But if you like to replace your classic notebook and your tablet with one device, the Surface Pro 3 is just the best machine available right now.
Microsoft released the Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 with a lot of fixes for several product such as Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager or Orchestrator. This updates to directly affect private cloud deployments and public cloud deployments by service providers by bringing new functionally to the solutions. With that Microsoft also released Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack which also brings fixes and enhancements.
- For stand-alone virtual machines (VMs) whose templates specified multiple network adapters, the tenant user cannot associate a particular network to each network adapter.Symptom: If the user is creating a VM that’s based on a template that contains multiple network adapters, the Tenant Site VM extension will automatically assign the first available network.
Resolution: The tenant user now has the necessary user interface (UI) to select a particular network for a particular network adapter.
- Developers who use Web Site Cloud to deploy PHP applications do not have an option to specify PHP 5.5 version.Symptom: If the user wants to deploy a PHP 5.5 application, there is no option to specify that version of PHP.
Resolution: The user now has the PHP 5.5 version option.
- Usage records that contain more than 4,000 characters of resource data are not supported.Symptom: If the Usage Collector encounters a usage record that has more than 4,000 characters, it fails and shuts down the usage pipeline for System Center usage data.
Resolution: Some of the instructions in this article involve running an SQL script that will increase the size of the table field to nvarchar(max).
- Tenants experience unexpected behavior in the portal when they create websites that have the same name in different plan subscriptions that are each on a separate Web Site cloud.Symptom: When a tenant creates two websites that have the same name on different Web Site clouds and subscriptions, the portal may display inaccurate information about one or both of the websites.
Resolution: Users can now create websites that have the same name through separate subscriptions and clouds without seeing incorrect information about their sites or subscriptions.
- Tenants who create an ASP.NET site by using Web Site Cloud cannot specify whether the Application Pool will be running in Classic or Integrated Mode.Symptom: When a tenant tries to create a website, the user notices that the Application Mode setting is not available. If the application requires Classic Mode, it will run the risk of failing at run time.
Resolution: Users can now specify the Application Pool mode for their applications.
- Administrators cannot use Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) when they configure SQL Always-On Listeners, because the Windows Azure Pack Resource Provider for SQL Server does not support it.Symptom: When an administrator enters an FQDN in the SQL Extension of the Administration site, the SQL Resource Provider accepts it, but an error is returned after the provider tries to process the FQDN.
Resolution: FQDNs are now fully supported by the Resource Provider.
- When a tenant creates a VM, the name that is provided is not honored. Instead, a name is generated.Symptom: When tenants build a VM on premises, they expect the name that they provided to be honored as the NetBIOS name of the computer. This is not the case; the VM extension generates a name to maintain uniqueness in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Resolution: Now the VM Resource Provider generates a name that’s based on the name that the user provides in the following pattern:Computer Name = name + “###”
The numbers are added to the end of the name to guarantee uniqueness in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
- The metrics that are associated with websites that are located in separate clouds whose endpoint credentials differ from each other are sometimes not retrieved; instead an error message is displayed.Symptom: When the tenant or administrator accesses information about websites that are located in clouds that are configured to use different endpoint access credentials, you receive the following error message from the Administration site:
The server could not retrieve metrics (Internal Server Error).
Resolution: The monitoring service responsible for retrieving the websites data now returns the correct metrics instead of an error.
- The SQL Resource Provider grants DB Owner permissions to tenants when during database provisioning.Symptom: When a SQL Server Database is provisioned by a tenant, the SQL Resource Provider grants DB Owner permissions to the corresponding SQL login.
Resolution: Tenant logins that are created after you apply Update Rollup 3 are no longer granted DB Owner permissions. Existing tenant logins and already existing databases are not affected. To retroactively give existing tenant logins the same set of permissions and to remove the DB Owner level access, see the following TechNet article:
- SQL Server Integrated Security or Windows Authentication is not supported by the Windows Azure Pack Tenant Site SQL extension.Symptom: When the tenant tries to create a database, no option for Windows Authentication is provided.
Resolution: The SQL Tenant Site Extension now supports Windows Authentication.
For more information check out the Microsoft website: Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack
At the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Cisco and Microsoft announced a multi-year sales and go-to-market agreement designed to modernize data centers through the delivery and acceleration of integrated solutions. This will focus on bringing a deeper integration between the datacenter technologies of both companies. This includes Cisco UCS and Nexus products as well as Microsoft’s CloudOS solutions based Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center, SQL Server and Microsoft Azure.
- Cisco and Microsoft agree to a three-year go-to-market plan focused on transforming data centers through the delivery of integrated solutions for enterprise customers and service providers.
- In year one, the companies will focus on six countries — the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia — with expansion to additional countries in the following years.
- Cisco and Microsoft will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners.
- Cisco and Microsoft sales teams will work together on cloud and data center opportunities, including an initial program focused on the migration of Windows 2003 customers to Windows 2012 R2 on the Cisco UCS platform.
- Integrated solutions will focus on private cloud, server migration, service provider, and SQL Server 2014
- Cisco technologies to include Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus switching, Cisco UCS Manager with System Center integration modules, and Cisco PowerTool.
- Cisco-based integrated infrastructure solutions will include FlexPod with NetApp and Cisco Solutions for EMC VXPEX.
- Microsoft technology includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, PowerShell, Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2014
- Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and Cisco InterCloud Fabric to be integrated in the solutions in future releases
Source and More information: www.streetinsider.com
As you may know I am a Microsoft MVP and a Cisco Champion and I really like doing project with Cisco Hardware since they do a lot of integration with the Microsoft Stack especially System Center and PowerShell. In my opinion this could be a strong partnership and will make life of a lot of people a lot easier.
My Name is Thomas Maurer. Microsoft MVP for Hyper-V. Work as a Cloud Architect for itnetx gmbh, a consulting and engineering company located in Bern/Switzerland. I am focused on Microsoft Technologies, especially Microsoft Cloud Solutions based Microsoft System Center, Microsoft Virtualization and Windows Azure.
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