Archive for February 2014

Pencil Project open source alternative to Balsamiq

pencil-projectI am a fan of Balsamiq.  Balsamiq gives you a lot of design opportunities for application mockups of various kind.  And I like the rough draft appearance to show it’s a draft of an idea.  Not the final UX/UI solution.  It shows the business actions within each item of the application.  And  the toolset is easy enough to use in a rapid mockup scenario with customers during discovery sessions.

Recently, I needed something fast and free.

I found Pencil. The Pencil Project is an open source toolset that creates wireframe mockups of applications such as desktop, tablet, mobile, and browser.  There are some free Google based templates you can bolt onto your toolset.  Also, it has additional features as mind mapping, application flow, and note sections in the diagram.

I highly recommend it as a supplement to Balsamiq especially if you do not have software budget.

Here is the official website: http://pencil.evolus.vn/

~ Tony Maddin ~

Setting up a SMTP service in Microsoft Azure

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I am part of a project team that is building a custom Windows 8 application that is leveraging Microsoft Azure.

 

 

My project role is multi-tenant infrastructure architect.  This role curtails:

  • Infrastructure as a service design.  To maximize performance while balancing cost in Microsoft Azure.
  • To perform a detail security analysis on all points of data in motion and data at rest.

One of my task items on the project is to come up with a SMTP solution.  My first thought as a system administrator is to leverage a virtual server and enable SMTP as a service.

However, my thinking is changing with the times.  J  Now there are apps for system administrators.

So I looked in the Azure store and found SendGrid.  After doing some internet searches; there have been positive comments about this SMTP application.

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I have activated this application in my Azure subscription. Below are my steps.

Open up the Azure Dashboard, click New, select Store and then choose SendGrid from the App Services Add-ons list.

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We will not be sending over 25,000 emails a month so the free subscription will fit our current business needs.

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The subscription will be tied in with your monthly billing.

I welcome any feedback.

~ Tony Maddin ~

 

DaNPA – Yammer and SharePoint integration and business use

DaNPA_Logo_thumb.jpgThursday, March 6th I will be presenting at the Dayton Area Networking Professional Association.

My topic:  Yammer and SharePoint integration.  And to demonstrate it in action to show how Yammer can be used in a business context.

Currently, the organization website is offline.  You can follow the group on LinkedIn.com

 

DAYSPUG – Yammer and SharePoint integration and business use

Dayspug-Logo-2Tuesday, February 11th I will be co-presenting at the Dayton, SharePoint User Group monthly meeting.

My topic:  Yammer and SharePoint integration.  And to demonstrate it in action to show how Yammer can be used in a business context.

http://www.dayspug.org for more information.

 

Coogle a free web based mind mapping tool

coggleI am a visual learner and visual presenter.  I enjoy taking complex problems, putting context around it, map it out and then come up with solutions.

I am a huge fan of XMind.  I have my own personal license.  However, I needed an alternative toolset for my new work laptop.

As I trolled www.lifehacker.com, I ran across an article about Coggle.  Coggle is free, web-based and easy to use.

After about 5 minutes of getting familiar with the tool set; I was on my way of diagramming out my new solutions.

I recommended it as an alternative if you cannot get XMind or Mindjet.

Here is the link to the Coggle website.  https://www.coggle.it

 

A quick guide to create Active Directory in Azure

windows_azure_smallI first read the documentation on Microsoft’s website on how to create a domain controller and Active Directory.

This guide looked intense so I continued my internet searching until I found this blog post.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/keithmayer/archive/2013/01/17/step-by-step-building-a-windows-server-2012-active-directory-forest-in-the-cloud-with-windows-azure.aspx#.UvL66IUeeZQ

I am happy to report these steps worked like a champ!  I have now built my SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 training farms.

A special thank you to Keith Mayer at Microsoft for his awesome article.