Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Skip the www (part 2)

Many moons ago, I figured out how to get my websites to be accessible without the www subdomain.  When I recently moved one of my three websites to Azure, I didn’t immediately solve that problem.  As the website isn’t ever visited and isn’t important, this isn’t an issue, but I do want to solve it going forward.

So here is the next tutorial…

As I posted about previously (here), I moved that site using Azure Storage static websites, and put it behind a CDN so I could have https, and my own custom domain associated with it.  In this post, we are going to ‘Configure an alias record to support apex domain names (with CDN) Traffic Manager.  The article is written for Traffic Manager, but we are going to use the same article for CDN.

The important part is the “Create an alias record”.  You can do this if your DNS is hosted in Azure (mine is).  Go into your DNS zone, click on the + to add a record set.  when it comes up leave the name blank, click ‘Alias record set’.  When you do that, you get some options.  For this instance, we are looking at the Azure resource alias type.


Be sure to select the correct subscription, and the correct Azure resource.  Notice that a CNAME record for apex domain onboarding will be created to verify the domain.


After that, I tried to go back to the CDN and enable the Custom Domain HTTPS for the apex (root) domain.  evidently that is no longer supported:


Guess that means I need to ‘bring my own’.  That is going to be another post.


I currently own 3 domains, one of which you are visiting now.  Another domain I own is much less useful, and really was the result of a joke.

I have until now hosted it on a Windows Server, and wanted to move it to Azure.  It isn’t a very complicated as it is just a single page.  I had help building it many years ago, and the key element on the page was a (yuck) Flash image. 

So I started out the afternoon with the desire to move it to Azure, into a storage account, and serve it up as static web content.  Easy.  No problem.  Except…

The original home doesn’t have https.  Why would it?  It is around 15 years old and has a single static page.

It also has a Flash swf as the primary element.  Well, that isn’t good.

I also don’t like to do things the easy way, because I like to take easy things and  use them to understand more complicated concepts.

So… here goes:

First to fix the page, so that it isn’t using flash.  I could just put a static image, but in this case, that just feels wrong.  So in a ‘flash’ of brilliance, I asked my friend which tool he uses/recommends for creating gif files.  He said he uses ‘gifcam’ and then since I asked him he went and found another one in just a few minutes.  He now uses (and I used) ‘screentogif’.  You can find it with a quick search.

So I used screentogif to record the swf and then save it as a gif.  (Link to the results at the bottom).  One problem down, two (at least) to go.

Next I went through this tutorial (sort of) to figure out how to configure Blob Storage to host static web content. 

So I created the storage account, enabled Static website, and set the default document name.  I already had content, so I didn’t need the ‘hello world’ part.  I was going to work on integrating this deployment into a CI/CD pipeline, but bailed on it because I found a link on the page that needed to be updated (it wasn’t safe for work, though it had been originally).  I needed to get this deployed and replace the current site.

Using VS Code to deploy works very well per the tutorial.  I will work on the CI/CD part for one of the other sites I need to move.

Next problem, repointing my DNS.  Easy, just follow the next tutorial.  Which is where I hit the problem with HTTPS vs HTTP.  I could easily just not require a secure connection and get it to work, but I want to move my stuff to HTTPS because it is good practice.

But to do that you have to enable Azure CDN for your blob or web endpoint.  So on to the next article.  At least Microsoft is getting better with their documentation, and this part is pretty straight forward.  Once you follow a couple of steps, you get your content served up via CDN over HTTPS. 

Next, we need to add the custom domain to the CDN endpoint.  That article is here.  In the article, it talks about how to do a temporary mapping to avoid down time.  None of my sites are critical.  Downtime isn’t an issue, so I skipped that part.

Once I swapped over to the CDN location, the site was available via HTTPS, but there was a certificate error.  to fix this, click on the CDN Custom Domain, and turn on the custom domain HTTPS.  It is evidently free and managed by Azure.


That process takes a few minutes and you should have your CNAME in place before you kick it off, so that you don’t have to wait for an email to authorize it.

I know that this has been a long post, and if I wasn’t lazy, I would break it up into multiple posts, with more pictures.  But, I am lazy, so this is what you get.

Strange Reboots

This isn’t going to be a terribly helpful post, but I do think it is interesting.  I have a server that is exhibiting some strange behavior.  When I copy a file to the server it reboots. 

At first, I thought this was a specific file, but later determined that it didn’t matter what the file was as long as it was over 4 MB.  I copied a 1 KB file and nothing happened.  I copied a file just under 5 MB and the system locked up, and then rebooted. 

I thought maybe it was a problem with the file, so I copied it local to my computer.  No problem. hmm…

I copied it directly from the source server to the destination server. Crashed the destination.  Weird…

I copied it from my computer to the destination server.  No problem.  I copied a very large (2 GB) file from my computer to the destination computer.  No problem.

I was about to decom that server anyway.  Bombs away…

Back Up!

So after several months of not being accessible, my blog is once again available.  I know that there are thousands of people (or maybe just me) that missed my blog while it was down. 

So I would like to have some grand reason for being down so long, but the simple fact is, we made some network changes here and this blog wasn’t very high on the priority list.  Such is life…

Goals (or interests) for this year

I said I want to make it to 175 posts (from 148 posts).  I have been thinking (for at least 5 minutes) that one way to do that is to write about some of the things that I want to work on.  Then I could share my progress, as well as the lessons learned from each phase of each goal.  To get me started I wanted to write a list of goals.  Then I thought about it and decided I was too non-committal to call them goals.  I think “interests” is a safer term to use.  So here are some of the things I am interested in working on this year:

  • Windows Server 2016
    • Deployment methods
    • Test environment
    • Useful features list
  • System Center
    • Operations Manager
      • Management pack tuning
      • Automated issue resolution
      • Service monitoring
      • Service definitions
    • Virtual Machine Manager
      • Update Rollup 6 (already in progress, so a pretty easy one I think)
      • Azure management
    • Configuration Manager
      • Use PowerBI to examine the data
      • Report on desktop update status and health
  • Azure Stack
    • Deploy it
    • Use it
  • Roadmap
    • Work with my team (and others) to roadmap our services
    • Communicate the roadmap
  • Communication
    • Communicate our status page
    • Build some automation into the status page
  • Management
    • Be a better manager
    • Read more
    • Listen more
    • Talk less
    • Be positive


I am sure that I will have more things that I am interested in doing.  I am sure that a lot of the items on this list will not be accomplished.  They all need some definition.  Maybe I will update this page with links to future posts on how I am doing with all of this.  Maybe…

Blogging–the New Begining

Pretty dramatic title isn’t it?  I am posting this mostly in a humorous (to me) attempt to get myself blogging again.  I have had a blog for several years (6? 7?), but I don’t blog very much.  I think the stats say I have 148 posts.  Maybe I can make it to 200 by the end of this year?  Or at least 175.  Maybe that is a good goal.

“Blue Screens”

Mark Russinovich writes his blog posts for people who want to get REALLY deep into the causes of computer problems.  But today, he posted something that is a little on the “fun” side as well. 

“Blue Screens” in Designer Colors with One Click


11 Jan 2011 12:15 PM

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My last blog post described how to use local kernel debugging to change the colors of the Windows crash screen, also known as the “blue screen of death”. No doubt many of you thought that showing off a green screen of death or red screen of death to your friends and family would be fun, but the steps involved too complicated.

“Blue Screens” in Designer Colors with One Click – Mark’s Blog – Site Home – TechNet Blogs

Windows 8 Plans Leaked

So apparently, Windows 8 planning slides got leaked.  A good discussion about what is contained in the slides can be found in this blog post:

Long story short, these slide decks are chock full of internal thinking on Windows 8 — everything from customer target audiences to the Windows 8 developer market to the Windows 8 product cycle and much, much more.


While I agree with the author of the post, in that I feel bad for the person who leaked this, I do think it is pretty interesting to get a look at what Microsoft is thinking.  I always find it useful to know now where they think things are going to be in the future, in the hopes that I will make better decisions about how to position myself and the company I work for to take advantage of the “new stuff” when it gets here.

My 5 seconds of fame…

So this week, I am at MMS 2010.  I try to come to MMS every year, because it gives me a chance to get away from the office (if not really away from work), and allows me to get some time to look at, learn about, and hopefully gain insight into what Microsoft is thinking about when they design the products I use, and the systems I maintain.  It is almost like a working vacation.  Away from the daily grind of my work life, I get to really let the inner geek out and get excited about the things that I enjoy in my job.

The opportunity to have conversations with the people that work on creating these products and people that use them in various environments is also very refreshing and useful.  This gets better over the years, because I have begun to recognize the people that have the answers I am looking for or the ideas that I can use. 

Last year, when I was at MMS, I happened to be standing too close to an area where they were conducting interviews… 

Today, while I was walking through the Expo, I saw someone that looked familiar, and he started talking to me before I even figured out where I recognized him.  He started talking about a video and how it had been talked about, and I was thinking “he obviously has me confused with someone else”.  Then I recognized who he was, and started getting nervous…

He opened up his laptop and showed me the a video called “What’s on your mind”.  It was evidently the intro video to one of the keynotes at TechEd last year.  I show up in a few spots, but mostly, I think, because they like my swimming pool analogy… 

Find me at 25 seconds through 30 seconds…

Thanks to Stephen Rose from Microsoft for remembering me and allowing me to post the video on my blog.

Ha Ha – “408 error”

For some reason this struck me as funny…  Got it when I went to view the WordPress stats for my blog…