Microsoft Regional Director

I’m renewed as Microsoft Regional Director

I received great and satisfying news in early May – I am renewed as a Microsoft Regional Director for another two years (2019-2021)! It’s my second term, as I was initially nominated and accepted to this elite group of people in 2017. Microsoft Regional Directors (RDs) are trusted advisors, but we do not work for Microsoft. I think this is important to mention, as sometimes people assume that I’ve joined Microsoft as a full-time employee. We are non-paid and provide advisory capacity with Microsoft. In a way, the RD role shares some similarities with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVP). Where MVPs are nominated and chosen based on their technical merits, RDs provide a deeper and more strategic approach and are… Read More »I’m renewed as Microsoft Regional Director

Is it worth going to large, international tech conferences anymore?

Hello from Seattle! This week I am attending Microsoft Build 2019. The weather is nice, as opposed to all the previous times I have been in Seattle during the past 20 years. Note: I wrote compact recaps from all three keynotes from Build – you can view them here (Vision Keynote, Azure Keynote, Microsoft 365 Keynote). For me to get to Seattle it’s a tedious and long journey. Admittedly not insanely long, but typically between 15 and 22 hours door-to-door. Time difference is 10 hours, first few days are basically just coping with lack of sleep and tiredness. A large conference such as Build, at 6,000 or so attendees, is also time away from family and work. For me that… Read More »Is it worth going to large, international tech conferences anymore?
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Windows 10 19H1 (1903) update: Top 5 new features

I’ve loved – and yes, I really mean it – Windows 10 since it became available back in 2015. I run Windows 10 on all three of my main machines – two laptops and one beefy workstation, and use this setup for rotating updates when major releases become available. You can check out my thoughts from the 2018 update exactly one year ago here. The next major release for Windows 10 is called 19H1. Internally, it’s still using the old naming model thus it’s called 1903 (Year: 19, Month: 03). Perhaps someone realized that it’s better to aim for one half of a year than the exact month, so 19H1 works fine. It has nothing to do with H1N1, though.… Read More »Windows 10 19H1 (1903) update: Top 5 new features
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What’s next for me: Starting the Executive MBA journey

I’ve worked in IT for almost three decades — I started young. So young in fact that I quit school perhaps a bit too early and abruptly. It never bothered or stopped me as I loved and still love what I do. I also realized that to become better as a techie I need to constantly seek for new challenges. This forced me to become more comfortable spending time in my non-comfort zones – standing in front of any sort and size of an audience; creating short and lengthy presentations; doing technical pre-sales; managing and leading people; delivering presentations in English and Finnish; writing books; trying to become better at what I do. For the past 10 years I’ve been… Read More »What’s next for me: Starting the Executive MBA journey
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[Updated] Making Remote Desktop fun again: Dynamic resizing and resolution changes while connected

[Note: Some things have changed with RDP in recent Windows versions so I updated this article accordingly in April, 2019] I remember reading about this feature when Windows 8.1 was made generally available in late 2013, but I didn’t have time then to try this out. Today while being connected to my home server to do some development work I decided to test if the new features in Remote Desktop (RDP) work or provide any real benefits. My number one gripe with RDP has in the past few years been the amazingly clumsy way to resize a remote session from full screen to something smaller. Experienced RDP users know how to do this, but less regular users always seem to… Read More »[Updated] Making Remote Desktop fun again: Dynamic resizing and resolution changes while connected
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…But I like email!

People – and consultants, a bit like myself – often tell unequivocally on social media and through flashy PowerPoints that email is dead. You must move on. Slack and Microsoft Teams and similar enterprise social tools are the future – a modern way for collaboration and that’s where real work happens now. Okay. I understand all that. I’ve done my fair share of billable work on setting up, configuring, developing and integrating companies to Microsoft Teams. It’s great and I use it daily. But I still like email, too. A lot. And I use it daily also. That too is where real work happens. My phone rang today. I think it was the first time it rang in weeks. We… Read More »…But I like email!
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Mastering Azure CLI

  • Azure
I grew up with Perl, tcsh, bash, sh, awk, sed, grep, pico, vi, command.com and cmd.exe. Building scripts, batch files and little automations here and there was the norm for me and many others of that era. I’m especially proud for a set of .BAT files and VBScripts that connected to one of the very first Logitech USB webcams to retrieve a near real-time image of the coffee pot. “Yup, still coffee left I better hurry.” I ran this between 2002 and 2004 until someone dropped the webcam and broke it. We then got a proper GUI with Windows 95. Operating Systems before this, such as IBM’s OS/2, and Microsoft’s Windows 3.1 and 3.11 did have pretty splendid GUIs but… Read More »Mastering Azure CLI
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Anonymizing and masking sensitive data in SQL databases before migrating to Azure SQL

Many companies I interact with have expressed an interest in migrating their legacy SQL Server databases to Azure. Typically this is due to End of Life for SQL Server 2008 (and 2008 R2) and other times it’s a desire to perform reporting and analytics on existing data in the cloud. (I wrote about migrating to Azure SQL previously here) Mostly this is all documented nicely on docs.microsoft.com (Dynamic Data Masking, Static Data Masking) but what isn’t clear to me is how to best anonymize and/or mask sensitive data before migrating to Azure. This is typically something that companies need to perform in on-premises infrastructure before moving a database outside the perimeter network. So I set to work and spent some… Read More »Anonymizing and masking sensitive data in SQL databases before migrating to Azure SQL
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Be better – or how to consistently succeed as a techie

I’ve had this post — or rather just the title — in my blog as a draft for over a year. Today, I decided it’s time to put my money where my mouth by writing it and making it public. First, some clarification. My intention is not to brag about my professional career. My intention is to provide useful guidance I’ve learned during the course of almost 30 years. I’ve found the guidance below very useful and I’m typically seeing a pattern for success. I hope this provides assurance, help and guidance for anyone wanting to become better while working in tech and also for making others – like me – succeed and reach their goals. My goals have never… Read More »Be better – or how to consistently succeed as a techie
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Tracking, resolving, storing and presenting AKA.MS short links from social media using Serverless capabilities in Azure

I think I’ve written once or twice I’m a great fan of building Proof of Concepts and prototypes. This allows me to rapidly learn without fear or risk of failing in front of an important customer. And all customers who pay for your time are important, of course. I’ve long admired the fantastic AKA.MS short links service Microsoft has internally created for their employees. Or that’s my understanding, as I see only Microsoft FTEs posting shortened URLs such as http://aka.ms/surfacethewomen (a great campaign, by the way!) on social media and sometimes also on docs.microsoft.com. Note: I have no access, direct or indirect information about AKA.MS other than what I see publicly being used on social media. This post is based… Read More »Tracking, resolving, storing and presenting AKA.MS short links from social media using Serverless capabilities in Azure