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: 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: Cloudy, But No Rain So Far...

    It's been a month or so since I swallowed the Azure blue pill and moved all my local and community websites to Windows Azure Web Sites and Windows Azure SQL Database. Into each life, they say, a little rain will fall (well, actually Longfellow said it) but so far it's been pretty much sunshine all the...
  • Blog Post: A Prolonged Burst of Frenetic Procrastination

    Following a discussion last week about how the most successful national clubs and societies have evolved, I was amused by a response from someone who professed to setting up the National Procrastination Society. He reckons that this is the most successful society ever because none of the members has...
  • Blog Post: You Don't Need Fourpence to Make the Internet Disappear

    So I just found out this week why Automobile Association patrolmen didn't need to carry four one-penny coins around at all times. According to an item on the program "QI", in the early days of Britain's acquisition of a nuclear attack capability they worried how they would contact the Prime Minister...
  • 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: An Upper Case of Indecisive Instruction

    A couple of weeks ago I was ruminating on how somebody in our style guidance team here at Microsoft got a new Swiss army knife as a holiday-time gift, and instead of a tool for removing stones from horse's hooves it has one for removing capital letters and hyphens from documentation. Meanwhile the people...
  • 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: Web Sites or Cloud Services?

    The latest update to the range of Windows Azure services includes a nifty feature called Web Sites that provides a really great way to deploy your own websites to the cloud. It's quick and easy, you can progressively update the site by uploading individual files, and it's cheap. In fact at the moment...
  • Blog Post: Hyphenless Decapitalization

    According to Readers Digest, there's a dyslexic agnostic insomniac out there somewhere who lies awake all night pondering on the meaning of dog. Thing is, it really should be "doG", not "dog". But it seems that, according to our most recent style guide here at Microsoft, capital letters are fast becoming...
  • Blog Post: Hands-Off Labs

    It seems to be a general rule now here at p&p that every guide we produce must have an associated set of practical examples so that users can get their hands (and keyboards) dirty playing with the technologies. It's almost like we're worried that our readers won’t believe the stuff actually...
  • 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...
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