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Build 2012 Conference

Today Microsoft announced, there will be a Build Conference from 30 October t/m 2 November 2012. This conference, one week after Windows 8 will be general available, will be held at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. Besides Windows 8 also Windows Azure, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012 and many more will be there.

Registration for the event can be done from 8 August at 8 am PST via www.buildwindows.com.

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Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 now completely complies to the Metro style. The parts of Office now look more like Visual Studio 2012 and they are better touchable.

Yesterday I saw this feature in Microsoft Office.

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You can find it in all part of Office 2013. Clicking on this menu item makes the space between the menu-items, buttons and icons larger. This way on a touch device, it is more touchable.

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The funny part is, that if you have more Office products open at once, they all react on the selection of the item.

This also works with Windows 7.

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Windows Azure: Costs and Legal

The two biggest questions of Customers about Windows Azure are: what about the costs and how about legal.

What about the costs?
The costs can be explained rather good and also calculated quickly. The only thing is, there is no “one to serve all” calculation rule. The costs depends on the specific implementation, the used components of the platform and the overall usage. The best part of Cloud is pay per usage. And this makes it more complex then we are used too. So every costs calculation should be made based on the customer case and the dynamic aspect of it should be explained very good. That is a different mindset then current standard datacenter use calculation. You (almost) never can translate the current servers directly to Web/WorkerRoles in the Cloud. Datacenters are always based on the expected peak usage. This does not tell anything about the operational daily demands. I once worked at a government institute en the capacity of the datacenters was calculated on the expected peak once a year. The normal flow did not require that much capacity.

How about Legal?
Many companies have to deal with Privacy and are afraid for the Patriot Act. I can not make this better, because I am not a lawyer. But you can question if those companies use hosting providers yet. The Cloud fears are almost equal to the fears you should have by using a Hosting provider. Certainly if the hosting provider belongs to an American company.

The rationale with the Patriot act is, it is going to be used in case terrorist activities are presume. Our clients don’t do that, so no problem. But if there is a presumation, the American Government can get to you data to proof you are quilty. They have to go to a higher power to get the permission, but they don’t need to tell you that. Although nobody really knows if they used the law and what the result was.

The Patriot act is not meant to gain advantage with the Dutch data. By the way the Dutch government has the same rights in the Netherlands to get to your data.

With the Patriot act there is also the Safe Harbour principal. Appointments with the Americans that some countries or places are trusted. The Windows Azure datacenters from Microsoft belong to this principal.

Microsoft by the way is the only Cloud supplier, admitting they have to obey to the Patriot Act. Other Cloud suppliers are less open about this. On the Windows Azure Trust Center (http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/trust-center/) you can read more about it.

But then again, this does change the fact companies need to implement local laws like the privacy law and other standard laws about public websites. Companies are still responsible to protect there data to become unwanted public available.

I was searching for more about this on the internet and about ICT lawyers. In the Netherlands we have http://ictrecht.nl/, they are ICT-people but also lawyers. They made a booklet about Cloud and Legal (Dutch though), very interesting. During a twitter discussion it came clear the Cloud services are not very different from hosting services. Same rights and same problems. Other discussion(http://blog.iusmentis.com/2012/05/30/mag-de-nederlandse-overheid-in-clouddata-graaien) (Dutch again).

But again I am NOT a Lawyer, so for real legal assistance a real lawyer is needed (for example ICTRecht).

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Windows Azure Websites: “The Target ‘MsDeployFilePreview’ does not exist in the project

A few days ago I was playing with Windows Azure Websites. I had a Windows Azure Cloud project with a WebRole. The project was rather simple, in fact just a normal MVC 4 website with no direct refs to Windows Azure. So this one could be deployed as a Windows Azure Website. Very interesting because with a MSDN account a number of site are free (later more).

When I tried, I got this error.

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On twitter I heard at least one other. The Windows Azure MVP mailing list came with the solution.

The solution: remove the file C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v10.0\WebApplications\Microsoft.WebApplication.targets. Then run this update (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=253458). For me this works.

Not sure what made the situation happen, but if I find out you will hear it.

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Microsoft Surface

No, not the big touch table, but a real Slate was announced last night by Microsoft. The announcement took place at night in the Netherlands. Lot of fellow nerds were watching the live blogs of ZD net etc. Nobody knew about the story to be told. The secretcy was big this time.

There were already some (Samsung, Asus) available and some vendors (HP) had announced some. During the Build conference last year all the attendees got a Samsung slate with Windows 8 developer preview.

But last night also came an end to the question about the ARM Windows 8 slates. Until then nobody has seen one. Lot’s of rumours, but no pictures. But what a beautifull thing it is! The Touch cover contains a keyboard which makes it unique. Briljant, some Android tablets already had some lookalike solutions. But this one is really cool!

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We have to be patient. The Surfaces don’t come before Windows 8 is general available. There will be two: with ARM processor and a normal INTEL processor. The ARM runs Windows RT with Office and the Intel runs Windows 8 pro.

Watch the complete keynote

Microsoft Surface Keynote

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This will be the start of a new era.

NB Although I curious aboute the ‘old’ product with the Surface (Pixel Sense). How will it change now?

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Windows Azure Websites (WAWS)

After my previous blog post a question came if you can convert a Windows Azure Cloud Service to a Windows Azure Website. The short answer is, not really needed. A Windows Azure Website is just publish the WebRole to Windows Azure. The but belongin to it.If you use settings in the ServiceConfiguration.cscfg that won’t work and if you use Role specific properties (like RoleEnvironment.CurrentRoleInstance.Id), that won’t work to. For short be aware of what you are doing.

But how do you deploy a WebRole as a Windows Azure Website (WAWS)?

First we make a WAWS. After a click on the Create Website button the Websiteis empty.

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Then we go to the details of the Website.

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There we download the Publish profile.

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The Publish profile looks like this.

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Then we go to Visual Studio 2012 RC. Rightmouse click on the WebRole and choose Publish.

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This is followed by a Wizard. First import the publish profile. Then choose the configuration, preview the deployment. And if everything is alright, then we can publish for real.

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When deploying is busy, this will be shown by the little moving icons and progress will be  shown in the output window.

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After deployment the website will be shown.

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That is really simple and looks a lot like we are used to. A Windows Azure Cloud Service can also be published like this, but it is not persistent.

Watch it! If you try it from within Visual Studio 2010, you get this error. Why is not clear yet. It looks to me using VS2010 or VS2012 should not make the difference.

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Windows Azure Website are definitely not the same as Windows Azure Cloud Services. Remember this picture?

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More info later when I played more with it..