Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: I Can See Patterns In The Cloud

    Well, we finally did it. After many months of redesign, reconsideration, rewrites, and recombination we've let loose on the web our first release of the Cloud Design Patterns guide. The guide is a combination of design patterns that are especially applicable to cloud-hosted applications and services...
  • Blog Post: A Cloud Service By Any Other Name...

    As a firm believer in freedom of expression, I guess I can't complain about the names that the Windows Azure team give to their services and features. After all, my responsibility is just to write about them. In theory that can call them whatever they like. The problem is that they keep calling things...
  • Blog Post: Mister (Sometimes) Fixit

    No I'm not talking about the clever "please mend my computer" tools that you can run on Microsoft's website. I'm talking about my regular tasks trying to fix all the things that break in our house, seemingly one per day at the moment. It's usually a wide and assorted selection of tasks; this week comprising...
  • Blog Post: Over-egging the Curator's View

    At one time you had to work in a museum to be a curator, but the wonders of information technology mean that now we can all exhibit our technical grasp of complicated topics and elucidate the general population by identifying the optimum resources that help to answer even the most complex of questions...
  • Blog Post: Patternal Conflict

    No, this post isn't about parental difficulties and I didn't spell "paternal" wrong in the title, although I admit it is about problems with relationships. More specifically, the relationship between design patterns and pretty much everything else. And, based on previous experience of dabbling in this...
  • Blog Post: An Insight Into The Future Of Data Analysis?

    It seems like everything is "HD" these days. Your laptop has a "high density" plastic case, your car has a "heavy duty" battery, and your TV has a "high definition" picture. So I guess it's only to be expected that your data analysis tools will be "highly distributed". And at last we're "happily done...
  • Blog Post: Touch, But Don't Look

    So my Windows 8 adventure has been terminated after only a brief foray into the delights of the new O/S. It's annual review time here an Microsoft, which means I need to connect to the corporate network. But my Windows 8 machine can't do that because the TPM module is faulty, and I need to have BitLocker...
  • Blog Post: Peeping Out From The Microsoft Matrix

    I suppose it's a bit like that film The Matrix - you realize that you live in an ethereal and closed world only when you actually get to step outside of it. Or, like some people who have never been to another country, your view of the rest of the world is shaped just by what you see on TV. I guess I...
  • Blog Post: Highly Distributed Insights

    Why would you want to use a "Big Data" solution? It's a question that we've been trying to answer in the first chapter of our forthcoming p&p guide to Windows Azure HDInsight. For a long while, everything we found on the web and in the original HDInsight docs on the website talked just about the...
  • Blog Post: Big Data, Big Guidance Problem

    You'd think that, after all the years I've been writing guidance for Microsoft technologies and tools, I'd have at least grasped how to organize the structure of a guide ready to start pouring content into it. But, just as we're getting into our stride on the Windows Azure HDInsight project here at p&p...
  • Blog Post: Do Only Old People Buy Bicycles?

    Some years ago I was forcefully introduced to the concept of statistical quality control, where the overall quality of a batch of items could be determined from an examination of a small sample. This came to mind as I've been immersed in watching demos of the new "Big Data" techniques for analyzing data...
  • Blog Post: A Database By Any Other Name...

    Some friends have just adopted a rather cute ginger cat and decided to name it Juno, perhaps after the Queen of the Roman Gods. Though it regularly leads to the interesting conversation: "What's your cat's name?" - "Juno" - "No I don't, that's why I'm asking"... Meanwhile, here at p&p we're just...
  • Blog Post: What Color Is Your Field?

    So, at last, we're done. After fighting with multiple new versions of the Windows Azure SDK, updated features in the management portal, changes to the functionality of services, and the regular changes to the names of various parts of Windows Azure, we've shipped the third editions of two of our Windows...
  • Blog Post: Sitting Comfortably On The Cloud

    It's been four months since I moved all my websites to the Windows Azure Web Sites platform, so how's it working out? Very well so far is pretty much all I can say, because there's been nothing in terms of operational activity to report. A welcome change after all the fuss and effort of running the same...
  • Blog Post: A Relentless Paper Chase (aka Painting Windows Azure)

    Here in Britain we always used to refer to a job that was never-ending as "like painting the Forth Bridge." It came about because the people who paint the huge and magnificent railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in Scotland reportedly start at one end and it takes so long that, when they reach the...
  • Blog Post: Fully Cloud-Enabled!

    Yes, another episode in my continuing onslaught on the cloud. But this week it's a heartwarming story of intrepid adventure and final success. At last I'm fully resident in the cloud - or, to be more precise, several clouds. And I might even have saved some money as well... Over the past couple of...
  • Blog Post: I Nearly Found Nirvana In The Cloud

    So it's been a week of semi-fruitful searching for lots of people. In China there's a team setting out on a million-pound expedition in the mountains and forests of Hubei province to find the Yeren or Yeti that's supposedly been sighted hundreds of times. In Geneva, scientists have revealed that they...
  • Blog Post: Can I Afford the Cloud?

    Like many people I'm trying to evaluate whether I can save money by moving my lightly-loaded, community-oriented websites to Windows Azure instead of running them all on my own hardware (a web server in my garage). With the advent of the low-priced Web Sites model in Windows Azure (which I rambled on...
  • Blog Post: Hybrigation Complete, Feedback Required...

    So at last we've finished the Windows Azure hybrid applications guide , and it's out there ready for anyone interested in integrating cloud-hosted applications with on-premises services and partner applications. OK, so it's taken a little longer than originally planned but it is more comprehensive than...
  • Blog Post: It Was Missing When I Opened The Box...

    It's becoming clear that creating guidance on cloud computing is great deal more difficult than for most other development environments. Or, to be more precise, following our usual practice of combining written guidance with a reference implementation (RI) code sample is turning out to be what you might...
  • Blog Post: Hybrid Triangulation (with Cat Food and Bananas)

    Once again I'm at one of those gloriously satisfying stages in my p&p working life when I'm trying to define the structure for a new guide. We know what technologies we want to cover, how we will present the guidance, and the kind of sample that we'll provide to demonstrate the all-encompassing wonderfulness...
  • Blog Post: Material Choices

    According to a recent revelation from a colleague, freshly returned from the bi-annual International Sock Summit, you can now buy sock knitting needles made from carbon fibre; the same stuff they used to make the Stealth Bomber. Why? Maybe it's so you can knit socks that can't be detected by enemy radar...
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