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www.thomasmaurer.ch

You can now use thomasmauer.ch with https

This is a short blog post about some changes about my blog. Some weeks ago I enabled SSL on my blog and you can now use https://www.thomasmaurer.ch to get a secure connection to my blog. However, the default for the site still is http until everything works definitely with https. With this, have fun and enjoy my blog using https:

Switch to HTTPS

Another thing I added is the possiblity to subscribe my blog with your email address, with that you will always get notifya new email when I release a new blog post.

Subcribe my Blog

 



SCU Europe Thomas Maurer

System Center Universe Europe 2015 – Recap

I finally recovered from the conference and found some time to write about System Center Universe Europe 2015. I live 20 minutes from the city center it was easy for me to get there. I already enjoyed some evenings before the event with some of the speakers and attendees in Basel. It is always a great chance to talk to other experts and share some experience with people you only met online or just see 2-4 times a year at conferences.

On Monday the SCU Europe 2015 finally kicked off and we had 3 days fully packed with System Center, Windows Server, Azure, OMS and other sessions, industry experts from around the world, networking and other parties. Three to five days which need a lot of your time and energy but which are totally worth it.

On Monday, I had the chance to be part of session hosted by Savision – Are ITIL and System Center BFFs? by Jonas Lenntun, Kevin Greene, Kristian Nese, Robert Hedblom and Thomas Maurer. The session moderated by Jonas Lenntun was a lot of fun, had some great discussions and interaction with the audience about ITIL and especially ITIL in the Cloud first world.

Tuesday morning started early with Kristian Nese and me talking about Windows Azure Pack and Cloud OS deployments in the early morning discussion about Windows Azure Pack.

SCU Europe 2015 Azure Pack

After the early morning discussion Kristian and me switched to our next session about Nano Server – the next generation Cloud Server in your datacenter.

Later in the afternoon I had the chance to talk with Carsten Rachfahl about What’s new in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V.

After we enjoyed the attendees networking party on Tuesday evening, Michel Lüscher and myself started the day with our session about Microsoft Azure Site Recovery.

SCU Europe 2015 Azure Site Recovery

The session recordings not just for my sessions but also for all the sessions at System Center Universe Europe 2015 will be available in the next weeks. As soon as they are available I will post them on my blog, so make sure you subscribe.

SCU Europe 2015 Party

Other highlights were the official Speaker and Sponsor party on Monday, the closing note, where Marcel Zehner and Andre Pflaum presented how to automate and Manage your Tesla using PowerShell, System Center and OMS, and the closing party on Wednesday. The feedback I got so far is that this was an absolutely great event with awesome sessions, perfect organization and a lot of fun.  I really can’t wait to be back next year for System Center Universe Europe 2016 which will take place in Berlin next year.

Pictures by Michael Seirer Photography

 

SCU 2015 Pizza

Fun Fact: I also started a second career as a pizza delivery boy



Surface 3 Starbucks

My Microsoft Surface 3 Review

A couple of weeks ago I got myself a Microsoft Surface 3 as a secondary device to my Surface Pro 3. While I am totally happy with my Surface Pro 3 as my daily driver on the road, in the office or at home, I wanted a secondary device for home tablet use and to showcase some new Windows 10 scenarios with Azure Active Directory and Office 365 integration. I got some tweets from some user who wanted to know my feedback on the device and so here is a small review:

Technical Specifications

Surface 3 Specs

  • Size 10.52″ x 7.36″ x 0.34″ (267mm x 187mm x 8.7mm)
  • Weight 1.37 lbs (622g)
  • Display 10.8” ClearType Full HD Plus Display Resolution: 1920 x 1280 Aspect ratio: 3:2 10 point multi-touch
  • Surface Pen support
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours of video playback
  • RAM/Storage 2GB RAM with 64GB storage & 4GB RAM with 128GB storage
  • Processor Quad Core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • microSD card reader
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Headset jack
  • Cover port
  • Software Windows 8.1
  • 1-year of Office 365 Personal with OneDrive cloud storage
  • 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus
  • Microphone
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby® audio
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer

I got the smallest version with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Design and Durability

Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3

Microsoft did it again, if you expect any sacrifices on design, quality and durability you are wrong. The Surface 3 comes, like the Surface Pro 3 with great design and great built quality. The Surface 3 comes with a 10 inch screen, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12 inch screen, but both have a 3:2 aspect ratio which I really like for getting stuff done. With that you can also use it in portrait mode without any problems.

The difference between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 is the size and performance. With that, the Surface 3 is designed to be used as a tablet. And you can feel that, the size and especially the weight is made for tablet usage. The Surface 3 is just 200 grams lighter than the Surface Pro 3 which is just enough to hold the tablet in one or to hands for awhile without getting tired arms. This is also handy if you are doing some writing using the Surface Pen.

Again, everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”.

Display and Audio

If you think you get any sacrifices on display quality or audio, you are wrong again. The Surface 3 comes with a stunning display, very bright and good color quality, in some scenario, the display even feels brighter than the Surface Pro 3. Now the biggest surprise of the device was the audio quality, this is maybe the best audio quality I every had from a tablet. If you have used other tablets including the iPad or Surface 2, you know that audio quality wasn’t bad, but it was far from being good. The Surface 3 has changed this, of course it is still not somethings music enthusiast will really use, but if you want to watch House of Cards on Netflix the speakers are loud and clear.

The other big pictures here is the Surface Pen support. As the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 does support the Surface Pen, not like the Surface 2. This is great to take notes using OneNote and use it as a notebook, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night and have a great idea you can use the Surface Pen and the OneNote button to quickly open an new OneNote page.

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. 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 2. The Surface 3 does also have a new power port in form of a micro USB port, instead of the magnetic power port of the Surface 2 or Surface Pro 3. This is great so you can use every charger, even the one from your phone. But to be honest you don’t really want to do this, because the charging speed using a phone charger is very slow. And on the other hand you lose the magnetic adapter safety feature.

Heat and Fan Noise

The Surface 3 comes equipped with Quad Core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor and I had never had any issues with heat or fan noise. To be honest, I am not even sure the Surface 3 has a fan. But on the other side, the workloads you are running on the Surface 3 are not even close as powerful as the applications you run on the Surface Pro 3.

Type Cover

Surface 3 Type Cover

The Surface 3 also comes with an own Type Cover in the right size. Microsoft also improved the Type Cover from the Type Cover 3 which you got with the Surface Pro 3, even you can not really see it directly. Especially the keys feel much better, which make it a perfect typing machine. I am sure with the next release of the Surface Pro comes out, the improvements in the Type Cover for the Surface 3 will be included in that as well.

Battery life and Performance

Surface 3 IE

I think this is the most important part for most of the people reading this review. First, the performance of the Surface 3 is a lot better than the performance of the Surface 2 and the same goes for battery life. But for the same the Surface Pro 3 performance is much better compare to the Surface 3. But this was clear right? The Surface 3 is designed as a tablet with light usage for office apps and some other apps as well, and the Surface 3 handles that just fine. The Surface Pro 3 is design as a powerful notebook replacement which is a total different story, so if you are looking on a powerful machine you should go with the Surface Pro 3, if you need something thin and light to use as a tablet and Office usage, you will definitely be happy with the Surface 3. As I mentioned I got the smallest version with only 2GB of RAM, and this is my real bottleneck if you are doing multitasking. So if you are expecting to do any real multitasking you should go for the 4GB version. The other performance bottleneck is the disk speed, this is a huge difference to the Surface Pro 3 as well, but to be honest for the things I use the Surface 3 for, I don’t really care.

Camera

Microsoft also upgraded the back-facing camera to a 8 megapixel camera which is even better than the Surface Pro 3. So you can do some simple but good shots with the tablet. But of course this never comes close to your Nokia Lumia.

Software and Accessories

Surface 3

Software is where everything comes together. Windows 8.1 works perfectly on the Surface 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 Skype for Business 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.

After the first 2 weeks I upgraded the Surface 3 to Windows 10, and I have to say the new tablet mode works perfectly, performance of the Surface 3 with Windows 10 is great.

Microsoft also offers a lot of different accessories like display or Ethernet adapters for the Surface Pro line and they will now also work with the Surface 3. You can use the same USB Ethernet Adapter or Mini Display Port adapter as for the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft also released a new docking station for the Surface 3, which helps you make the Surface 3 also a desktop replacement.

Conclusion

Well if you have to choose between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 you really have to consider what the devices are designed for. The Surface Pro 3 can be the tablet which is your powerful laptop and desktop replacement. The Surface 3 is more your lightweight tablet which also can be your laptop if you only need it of light Office usage. So if size and weight matter to you, and you don’t need great performance you should go for the Surface 3. But if you need any performance you may want to go with the Surface Pro 3, even the i3 version has much more power than the Surface 3. Another thing here is, if you want to go with the Surface 3, I really recommend you to spend that extra money and go with the 4GB model.



Windows 10 Task View

The best Windows 10 Features – Why you will love Windows 10

Since the first release of the Windows 10 Preview in the Insider program, I was using the Technical previews on my Surface Pro 3, and it is great how Microsoft is improving Windows 10 over the last several months based on research and feedback from the Windows Insider program.

In some days, at July 29, Microsoft will release Windows 10 to the public, and here are some reasons why you will love Windows 10:

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Browser

With Windows 10 Microsoft released a new browser called Microsoft Edge (before Project Spartan) which is amazing fast and brings a lot of new features to the table such as Cortana Integration, Web notes which allow you basically draw your notes on websites and share them and Microsoft also promised to allow browser extensions. Secret: you can also switch from a Light Theme to a Dark Theme.

Task View & Virtual Desktop

Windows 10 Task View

Most of the IT Pros reading this blog already knew about Task view in previous version of Windows using WIN + TAB, but only a few other users did know about this features. Microsoft not only improved the Task view, Microsoft also promoted it much better  with an icon in the Taskbar.

In Windows 10 WIN + TAB does not only offer you Task View it also allows you to create and switch between Virtual Desktops. With Virtual Desktops you can now finally create multiple workspaces on your PC, which should bring you the productivity boost you need. Secret: You can switch between different Desktops using the Shortcut: CTRL + WIN + ARROW (LEFT and RIGHT).

Hyper-V

Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

Microsoft build Hyper-V directly into the Windows Client since Windows 8. This is great if you want to run Virtual Machines on your Windows Client. Windows 10 Client Hyper-V brings you the great performance and features Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V will bring you. Of course some features are only available in the server build of Hyper-V, but you get some great features such as Enhanced Session mode to copy & past between your PC and your Virtual Machine. Secret: Windows 10 will allow you to run Hyper-V and use Connected Standby at the same time.



Connect the Adafruit 5″ LCD to the Raspberry Pi 2 running Windows 10 IoT Core

First I had connected my TV as an external display for my Raspberry Pi 2 running Windows 10 IoT Core. Since I need the little device for some demos, and I want to take it with me I got a Adafruit 5″ LCD display to connected to the device.

The setup with the display is very easy and just plug and play. Just connect the display to the Raspberry Pi 2 board.

Raspberry Pi 2 LCD Display

But by default the output of the Raspberry Pi 2 is Full HD and so the display setting is kind of wrong. But you change this by editing the config.txt file from the SD card.

Windows 10 IoT Display Config

Just open the SD card and add the folloing lines to the config.txt file. (Source)

Windows 10 IoT Display Config TXT

Now you get the perfect outputfor the 800×480 display. If you want to change the settings while the SD card is in the device it self, you can use PowerShell. Remote connect to the Raspberry Pi 2 using Powershell and navigate to C:\EFIESP and check out the config.txt

You can now set the content of the config.txt file

To have the changes active you have to restart the Windows 10 IoT Core device

 



Windows 10 IoT PowerShell Cred

How to connect to Windows 10 IoT Core via PowerShell

After you have done the setup of your Raspberry Pi 2 with Windows 10 IoT Core you can now connected to the device via PowerShell.

Connect to the Windows 10 IoT device using PowerShell

First open up PowerShell and configure PowerShell remoting to allow your PC to remotely connect to your Raspberry Pi 2. You can use the name of your Raspberry Pi, which is “minwinpc” by default, or you can also using the IP address. You can also use the Windows 10 IoT Core Watcher which helps you find your devices on the network.

You can now open a new PowerShell Remote session by using the following command:

Windows 10 IoT PowerShell Cred

This will prompt you for credentials. The default password of your Pi is “[email protected]

You can also store the credentials inside a variable, so you do not have to enter it all the time:

Windows 10 IoT PowerShell Remoting minwinpc

To create the connection this can take up to 30 seconds. After that you will see the remote session.

Using PowerShell on your Windows 10 IoT Core device

You can now use PowerShell to do some stuff on your Raspberry Pi with Windows 10 IoT Core. Some PowerShell commands are not build in to Windows 10 IoT Core but you can use some command line utilities.

Get all the process running:

Windows 10 IoT PowerShell Processes

Get network adapter configuration:

List the directories:

Rename your computer:

By renaming your device, you have to reconnect and may change your credentials.

Change the password of your administrator:

Shutdown your device

Windows 10 IoT PowerShell Shutdown

Reboot your device

Close your remote session

I hope this helps you to manage your Windows 10 IoT Core device via PowerShell.



Internet of Things Today

Microsoft and the Internet of Things

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has not only a strong focus on Business and Consumer end users, it also has a strong focus on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Microsoft announced different editions of Windows 10, one of the is called Windows 10 IoT Core and there are also more Windows 10 IoT editions.

But first what is the Internet of Things. Well you can look at it this way, today and in the past the Internet was designed and used by people, to connected people to each other – The Internet of People if you will. But you can think that you can even connected devices to each other, for example your car, your fitness band, your home and a lot of other things.

If you think about how technology can make our life easier, you will see a lot of opportunities for the Internet of Things. IoT can be used for simple things like if you come home, the system automatically detects your car and turns on the lights in your house, starts to play music and so on… But it can also help you in much bigger scenarios where a health sensor detects that you are having problems and automatically calls the ambulance. You see there are a lot of different scenarios which can help you make your life easier.

Internet of Things Today

As you can see, this looks like a huge business.

  • 28 Billion Internet connected “things” by 2020*
  • $20 Billion opportunity for Wearables by 2017*
  • $12 Billion opportunity for Smart Home by 2017*

*Source: IDC, Goldman Sachs

Think about what is possible for you or your business, for example you can connected your home automation with other devices. And if you think what you can do by connecting and using cloud services such as Microsoft Azure you will have limitless opportunities.

Microsoft Azure IoT Services:

Microsoft Azure IoT Services

Microsoft offers a Microsoft Azure IoT Suite which will help you connect devices to the cloud and use services from the cloud. If you want to know more about the possibilities with Windows IoT and Microsoft Azure you can check out the videos on Channel9.

In the next blog posts I will show you how you can use Windows 10 IoT Core together with Azure.