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Building a custom connector for Power BI that supports OAuth2 to visualize my wellness data

In my previous blog post, I wrote about the Oura Ring and how it tracks my wellness and activities. As part of the service Oura provides there’s also a comprehensive API that can be leveraged for your own purposes. As the data that is being tracked is very personal (“hmm, I wonder why Jussi is being active at 3:23 am.. oh he’s feeding the baby”), I see little justifications (yet) for sharing this data to anyone else. I wanted to visualize the data from Oura’s Cloud using their API. But I wanted to do this in my own terms by using Microsoft’s Power BI. If you’re not familiar with Power BI, I suggest you take a quick look at this… Read More »Building a custom connector for Power BI that supports OAuth2 to visualize my wellness data
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Living with Oura Ring – the smart way to track wellness and activity

  • Gadgets
Late last year I decided to place an order for a Oura Ring, the smart wellness and activity tracking ring from the Finnish startup. It took a few months to arrive, as they seem to be in high demand. While I’m writing this Oura’s site has a banner saying that orders placed today will be delivered by May. Impressive! I had two intentions for my order. First and foremost I wanted to support the Finnish startup for producing such a nice gadget. A gadget, that doesn’t look like one. Second, I had heard good things about the ring, so I wanted to try it out myself. Oura Ring tracks sleep, activity and readiness. Sleep is obvious, and I’ve used my… Read More »Living with Oura Ring – the smart way to track wellness and activity
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Fun with Azure Functions: Building a lookup tool for Azure AD tenant IDs

  • Azure
I sometimes find myself struggling with a technical issue that I just can’t seem to resolve in a timely manner. Over the years I’ve learned that once you’ve spent maybe 15 to 30 minutes troubleshooting without any noticeable progress, there’s only two things that will help you: a huge cup of fresh coffee or working on something else for a while. Some people claim asking for help from others is also beneficial, but I haven’t dared to go that far yet. I started working on something else. I found a problem where an external consultant working on a project for my company was unable to perform a task in Azure DevOps. Turns out this person didn’t have enough permissions to… Read More »Fun with Azure Functions: Building a lookup tool for Azure AD tenant IDs
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One password to rule them all: Migrating to 1Password from KeePass and text files

I can’t quite remember when I started using a password manager, or which password manager it was at the time. As an IT Pro I’ve used everything from text files stored on Windows Desktop to encrypted Excel files to post-it notes to reusing the same password (“R3member1”, “R3m3mber2”..) to forgetting my password and resetting it. Repeatedly. I left Microsoft exactly 10 years ago, and we started our own company with my brother. I had amassed a formidable collection of passwords. Many systems at the time did not support Facebook authentication or Azure AD single sign-on so I had individual accounts to many systems. That’s when I started using KeePass. I’d dabbled with KeePass several times and while it was slightly… Read More »One password to rule them all: Migrating to 1Password from KeePass and text files
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Migrating SQL Server 2008 databases to Azure SQL

“This is a quick one”, I thought. A customer asked me to have a look at their old CRM environment, that was running in a local physical server in their datacenter. The plan was to decommission the server, but rescue the CRM database. I knew I could lift-and-shift the database or databases to Azure SQL quite easily. This post walks through my experience and some of the challenges I encountered. Provisioning Azure SQL I received the source database as a traditional SQL Server backup, a .BAK file. It was compressed but still considerable big at 11,6 GB. I provisioned a new managed SQL Server in Azure. Not the Managed Instance, as I feared it would be too expensive to maintain… Read More »Migrating SQL Server 2008 databases to Azure SQL
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Building a secure remote access solution for Azure-based virtual machines using Azure AD and Windows Admin Center

I’ve had some fun times lately with Azure. It seems there really is a second wave of adoption for cloud-based infrastructure and services from organizations. This is especially true in the Nordics, where Azure is commonly accepted as a trusted option for datacenters and PaaS services. This post stemmed from the idea of figuring out what options do we have for accessing and managing virtual machines remotely, while enforcing a secure approach. Ideally, we’d like to secure authentication with Azure AD, and optionally enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – especially for guest users. Business problem I needed to set up a few Windows Server 2016-based virtual machines in Azure. They will be provisioned in a new VNET together and both will… Read More »Building a secure remote access solution for Azure-based virtual machines using Azure AD and Windows Admin Center
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An adventure in containers and command-line tools: Running MongoDB in Azure

I’ve used a Synology NAS solution at home since 2012. It’s simply great – very affordable, runs everything I need and has consistently given me uptimes of 60-90 days (I reboot it mostly to patch things up). In 2015 my Synology model (a DS412+) received an upgrade enabling it to run something called Docker containers. I’d read by then about Docker, and containers of course. It reminded me of 1996 or 1997, when VPN as a technology started to become a reality for early adopters. It was new, a bit weird and hard to understand at first. I’m proud to say I completed the F-Secure Data Fellows VPN+ Certification in 1998 (I think) so at least I knew a bit… Read More »An adventure in containers and command-line tools: Running MongoDB in Azure
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The comprehensive licensing guide to Microsoft Flow and PowerApps

[Last update: July 25, 2019: I’ve added a new section on the upcoming and major licensing changes due October 2019] [Last update: June 22nd, 2019: I’ve added more details on multiplexing and connection pooling as it relates to licensing, and also some additional thoughts on the ramifications of the license change.] [Last update: Jan 31st, 2019: I’ve updated bits and pieces with additional details and clarification – I’ve marked those with a timestamp in the guide] In 2006 I applied to work at Microsoft, in their Dublin, Ireland office. I was offered a job and moved immediately to Ireland from Finland. On my first day, I was handed a respectable pile of paper by my manager with links to all… Read More »The comprehensive licensing guide to Microsoft Flow and PowerApps

Automation made easy: Using Microsoft Visio to create Flows

One of the most anticipated features since September for me has been the ability to use Microsoft Visio to plan and create Flows. This capability is now in public preview, and part Visio. What follows is a walkthrough of my first Flow that I created with Visio. Requirements You will need the following to be able to follow up on this walkthrough: A working Office 365 tenant – if you don’t have one, provision one for free here A user account with permissions for creating Flows at https://flow.microsoft.com Visio Online Plan 2 license – if you don’t have one, continue to the next topic to activate a trial plan Activating a Visio Online Plan 2 trial license I have some… Read More »Automation made easy: Using Microsoft Visio to create Flows

I want to become a carpenter – and here’s my plan

  • Thoughts
I’ve thought about becoming a carpenter for as long as I can remember. The idea of crafting something out of a solid block of wood is enticing, and I’m pretty sure I’d excel, or even master carpentry given some time and practice. Unfortunately, I’ve worked in all things IT for about 25 years, so there are many things I should probably unlearn, and many things I have to learn. But I’ve got a plan, so I should be good! Here it is: Basics I will dedicate several weeks, possibly even a full month in getting to know the basics. I’m very eager and enthusiastic so that must count for something – perhaps it even accelerates my plan. I’ll spend a… Read More »I want to become a carpenter – and here’s my plan