If you are a user of Windows Live Custom Domains, you may have heard that Microsoft is retiring this service and users are encouraged to sign up to Office 365 as an alternate service. If you’re thinking about switching your services then I recommend you hold off and read the points below first! I tried to switch and I got burned by the process. Hopefully the comments below are of help to you Dear Reader.
Signing up to the service
As it turns out, the initial sign up process is the easiest thing to do. You can choose a plan that suits, such as the ones mentioned in the Office 365 link above. You also have an option of a 30 day trial. The next step after signing up is to start adding your domains to the service through the Office 365 portal login page. If like me, you want to do this for services that were previously hosted using Windows Live Custom Domains, then BEWARE! AND READ ON!
Adding websites to Office 365
To add websites to Office 365, the first thing you need to do is verify that you own the domain name you wish to add. To do this, the initial step is to choose how you will manage your DNS records and then update those to point your website’s TXT/MX records to Office 365. Once this is completed, the next step is to verify the domain ownership through the Office 365 portal after the TXT/MX records are added. When I did this, I kept getting the error below.
Sorry, we couldn't verify the domain name
The domain is already being used with another Microsoft hosted service, such as Office Live or Live@EDU, and a domain can be associated with only one service. Try one of these things:
- Remove the domain from the other service, and then try again to verify the domain.
- If you didn't add it to another service, ask a question in the Office 365 community. Include this error message so others can help with the issue.
After getting this error I started searching for solutions online, I came across this thread with a response from someone at Microsoft.
Cancelling your Windows Live Custom Domain services
The response recommended doing the following steps:
To cancel your service in Windows Live Admin Center, you need to perform the following steps:
1. Sign in to Windows Live Admin Center by using your administrator Windows Live ID.
2. Under "Your domains", click the appropriate domain.
3. In the navigation pane, click Domain Settings.
4. Click Cancel Service, and then click Yes.
WARNING: trouble, trouble, trouble!!
I’m not really sure why you have to cancel the Windows Live Custom Domain service before being able to verify your domain on Office 365. However, this process broke everything for me. Be careful before you do take this step. I didn’t hesitate in following these cancellation steps because I read on this Move your custom domain to Office 365 page the following text:
Move your custom domain account holder data.
Custom domain account holders can continue to use their email addresses to access other services that require a Microsoft account, such as Windows 8.1, Xbox,OneDrive, and Skype.
After you have set up your custom domain in Office 365, email sent to your account holders will arrive in Office 365 instead of in Outlook.com. Existing email already delivered to Outlook.com will remain there.
Your custom domain account holders have the option to move their email history, contacts, and calendars from their Outlook.com inboxes to their new Office 365 accounts. Each individual account holder must move their own data. As domain administrator, you'll need to instruct your account holders to move their email, if they want.
So, reading the above, I thought everything will be ok and I cancelled my Windows Live Custom Domain services without thinking to much about the process. It didn’t register to me at the time that this cancellation is effectively going to delete your custom domain emails. Fortunately, I do have a recent backup of my email data locally so I didn’t lose that many emails! Not only will cancelling your Windows Live Custom Domains services result in your emails being lost. They will also force you to rename (effectively recreate) your Custom Domain Live ID to another Outlook live ID alias. After you log on you will be greeted with NO EMAILS in your inbox. The process of restoring lost emails after an account rename didn’t even make any difference either.
To make matters even worse, after further digging, I came across this thread from others who have had similar issues, according to a response from Microsoft in there, it could take up to 90 days for the Windows Live Custom Domains data to fully delete and the association to be removed so that the domain can be verified in office 365!!! An insanely long amount of time.
In summary, thanks to misleading statements on websites from Microsoft, I thought I can easily move from Windows Live Custom domains to Office 365. To me, the instructions imply that you should be able to switch TX/MX records from pointing to your Live Custom Domain details to Office 365 and then switch back if things go wrong. Being able to successfully do this would also mean that your email data wouldn’t get lost in the process. However, thanks to the dependency in Office 365 of verifying your domain name on no references existing elsewhere in Microsoft databases, this process is basically impossible and wont work.
Thanks to everything mentioned above, the only option I have for the time being while waiting for the 90 days to pass – or for some divine intervention! – is to find another host for my primary email. I’ve had a look around and it looks like Zoho Email is a good option so I’m using that now.
I really hope that Microsoft removes this dependency for verifying domain names in Office 365 so that one doesn’t get forced to delete their previous service until everything is up and running. This would also make the behaviour consistent with what’s implied in the instructions! I’ve asked around for some help and will update this post if I receive info that helps resolve this.
So there it goes, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, the rest is up to you!
Sometime back, I wrote about Getting Involved in Open Source. Since then, I’ve been wanting to take Scott Hanselman’s advice on board but to date I have not found a particular project that I felt comfortable participating in or one that fit all my interests. If you look at how much is available out there it is a bit overwhelming! As a result, while still trying to decide which open source project I wish to participate in, I figured maybe I should start working on something of my own.
Welcome to developerbloggers.com
As a software developer, one of the things I like to do on a regular basis is to read blogs. However, with so many bloggers and different resources out there it can be hard to find blogs to follow, especially when they are not very well known ones or ones that are not in our immediate circle of connections such as of local user group members, tech employees …etc.
This is where developerbloggers.com comes in. The basic idea of the site is to help you find blog resources and to help bloggers be found also. Reading this, you will probably say the idea isn’t very new. That’s true in some way. However, the goal of developerbloggers.com is not to be a content curator. You can find out more about developerbloggers.com on the About page.
It’s still early days for the site, but rather than wait for it to be perfect - is there such a thing? I decided to put the idea out there now. I hope that you all find this site useful and I look forward to it becoming a useful resource for you and me for our daily blog reading habits. Here are some of the ideas as mentioned on the About page.
The intention of this site is to provide a way for bloggers to be found and have their content read and discovered easily. Rather than a content curator and inspired by Scott Hanselman's post - When is it stealing? - we hope we can drive users to you!
Below is a list of ideas some for the site we are looking to implement
Ability to extract an OPML/XML list of bloggers to add to RSS feed readers
Addition of twitter profiles for bloggers that also tweet
- Form to allow users to add their own developer blogs to the list
- Add categories to the blogs to allow sorting/filtering by them
- Personalised user profiles/logins to allow users to mix and match and pick blogs that math their own liking and export these to an OPML file
- Adding the Microsoft/MVP logos next to blog profiles of Microsoft employees or MVP bloggers
- Improved web design/layout
- Open Sourcing the code of the website so you can also contribute to the project and help make the site better
- Dedicated device apps for getting the site's content
- And more...
In the mean time, while other features are still WIP, if you know a blog that should be on this site which currently isn’t part of the OPML list or have any ideas for making the site better then please share it in the comments or contact me via the Contact page.
Let me know what you think.
If you’re a software developer using the Microsoft development platforms you are probably either currently at the Microsoft Build 2014 conference or like me you might be just catching up on the conference content through the coverage and videos on Microsoft’s Channel 9. Last month Channel 9 turned 10 and while I was browsing the site for some content I stumbled across a set of interesting videos that cover the History of Microsoft from the year it was founded in 1975 all the way to the year 1999. Following all the stuff from the new Microsoft at the Build 2014 conference might be interesting, but how about a look back about how it all started? The videos on Channel 9 cover a lot of that, to make it easier to go through them I’ve grouped them all below in this post. Enjoy!
History of Microsoft
The Jeff Raikes Story
Part One, Part Two
Charles Simonyi (Word Pioneer)
Part One, Part Two
Inside the Microsoft Archives
Video One, Video Two
So earlier today Australia time the Microsoft Build 2014 conference kicked off with lots of new announcements. If you haven’t watched the 3 hour keynote and are interested to know what was covered here’s a quick summary of the presentation.
Windows Phone 8.1
Cortana: The Windows Phone personal assistant revealed. Uses Bing at it’s core and is different that competitor products in that it is able to better understand users as opposed to just being a voice command system. The Verge’s The story of Cortana, Microsoft's Siri killer.
Notification Centre: Windows Phone now finally has a notification centre
Wi-Fi Sense: With Wi-Fi Sense users are automatically able to connect to trustworthy Wi-Fi networks that are within range, allow WP8 users to share their routers Wi-Fi connectivity details without sharing passwords.
Enterprise VPN integration: Windows Phone 8.1 makes it easier to connect to corporate VPNs and have phone profiles/apps managed by corporate policies and controls.
Skype Update: The updated Skype app in Windows Phone 8.1 is better integrated into the phone and can allow you to convert standard voice calls on the phone to Skype video calls.
Word-Flow Keyboard: WP8.1 has an updated keyboard which currently the record for the fastest phone keyboard
Release Date: Windows Phone 8.1 will be released with new devices in April/May, will roll out to other devices over the next few months
IE 11 will be updated with an Enterprise Mode feature which will be similar to Compatibility view and will make IE11 behave as if it was IE8
Windows 8.1 (updates)
Metro on Desktop, new context menus: Windows 8.1 is getting many updates including ability to run Metro apps from the desktop and the introduction of new contextual menus to make it easier to access some windows features as well as simpler access to the Windows Store. To see all the changes in detail check out Paul Thurrot’s Windows 8.1 Update 1 Review.
Universal Windows Apps: With all the changes going on at Microsoft, the company is trying to help developers build applications that work on all form factors. During the keynote address they introduced Universal Windows Apps which aims to help developers achieve this.
WinJS: The Windows Modern UI/Metro WinJS libraries are going cross platform and open-source.
Check out David Burela’s Build 2014 Day 1 keynote summary for more dev. items.
A couple of weeks ago Microsoft released office for the iPad, well, the touch version of Office is coming to Windows also, and in better form.
Windows RT Brokered Components
Using the Windows RT Brokered components developers can leverage existing legacy code in Metro apps.
Universal Apps System to run on Xbox
Kinect V2 is coming to Windows
Direct X12 coming to X-Box One
The Start menu is coming back in future versions of Windows
Windows will be free on some tablet sizes (smaller screens)
Several Nokia Phone announcements such as the Lumia 930, 630 (Dual SIM) and Nokia 635
Nokia to Bring Windows Phone 8.1 to all Lumia devices including low-end phones such as the Lumia 520
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 phones will all get Windows Phone 8.1 including the low-endish 520
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Q&A with Developers
Following all the announcements, information and demos by all the speakers at the Build 2014 keynote, Satya Nadella, the newly appointed Microsoft CEO came on stage for a Q&A session with developers. It was a nice way to wrap up the keynote and gave a nice portrayal of a friendly Microsoft. Well done on a great keynote and despite not being there physically, I look forward to following the rest of the conference.
By now you will have heard that Microsoft has selected Satya Nadella as its new CEO replacing Steve Ballmer effective immediately. Nadella is an Indian born 22 year Microsoft veteran who most recently held the role of Executive Vice President – Cloud and Enterprise. Despite not being very well known publically to many outsiders, Nadella’s achievements in the Cloud and Enterprise divisions which includes Microsoft’s Windows Azure have been remarkable.
So why Nadella?
Microsoft took over 6 months to announce a replacement for Steve Ballmer since he announced his retirement back in August. So, after such a long search period why go with an internal candidate? Before we dig into that. Here’s what Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and John Thompson had to say about Nadella.
Satya is a proven leader. He’s got strong technical skills and great business insights. He has a remarkable ability to see what’s going on in the market, to sense opportunity, and to really understand how we come together at Microsoft to execute against those opportunities in a collaborative way.
Satya's got the right background to lead the company during this era. There's a challenge in mobile computing. There's an opportunity in the cloud.
He has the technical expertise, the product experience and the leadership attributes we were looking for.
These comments collectively portray Nadella as someone with a lot of characteristics that should be in a CEO for Microsoft. As a software as well as a devices & services company Microsoft would benefit from someone with a technical background. Being a company that has lacked some edge in some of its core product offerings Microsoft would benefit from a CEO who has vision and can see opportunities. For a company as large as Microsoft with thousands of employees worldwide, having a CEO that is able to bring people together to collaborate who also understands the company inside-out is vital. It all sounds so perfect doesn’t it? I think it does!
If you’ve been following the coverage about the CEO search for the past few months you would know that among the other leading candidates in the search were Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft BDE Exec and former Skype CEO Tony Bates. The main reasons for each of them were Mulally’s successes at Ford and influence on Ballmer’s leadership, Elop’s previous run at Microsoft and his work as CEO at Nokia and Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business. Tony Bates for turning around Skype, his background and also being familiar with Microsoft culture and having a non traditional look.
Looking at the competition, I think the choice of Mulally would have been the riskiest one for Microsoft. Microsoft is a pretty complex company and having an outsider take the reigns of CEO would bring along nothing but risk. As I understand, most of those who saw Mulally as the perfect candidate are the ones who wanted to see major change at Microsoft, to see big decisions …etc. Whilst Mulally could bring such change I think a change as dramatic as might have been anticipated would just tear Microsoft apart. Such change would’ve made sense if the company was in bad shape but you have to remember that Microsoft as a whole is not struggling. With Mulally aside, my view is that Tony Bates and Stephen Elop lack the diversity that Nadella has when it comes to familiarity with different parts of Microsoft. As CEO of Nokia Elop’s strength would’ve been the Devices & Services area and for Tony Bates it’s the mobile & communications area. So what about the rest of the company?
Putting aside the competition, lets look at Nadella and what he can bring to the table.
One of the main differences between Nadella and the rest of the candidates is that he is a 22 year Microsoft veteran who has worked in multiple areas of the company. This gives Nadella the edge in that he knows Microsoft inside out and is used to the goods and the bads of the Microsoft culture. Unlike Steven Sinofsky who was not known to be of the very collaborative type, Nadella is seen to have that ability by many insiders and outsiders of the company. This should aid him in pushing change to the Microsoft culture.
On top of Nadella’s experience across Microsoft in a variety of product teams he has a technical background that is fitting for a CEO of a software (and devices & services) company. Whilst Ballmer was a tech savvy CEO he was more of a business/sales guy than a technical guy. Nadella’s technical background can help him bring new ideas to the table and in knowing what works and what wont.
Vision & Ability to See Opportunities
Looking at what Nadella has achieved in the Cloud & Enterprise division, you can see that he is capable of seeing opportunities, compete with rivals, and do it well. I like this interview which Nadella did back in 2006 which shows some of his thoughts about Microsoft and working for it back then – Satya Nadella running the Microsoft Dynamics Team. In addition his first interview as CEO provides some insight on how he thinks. Further to new things that Nadella can bring to the company, he is already well established in one area which is seen by some board members as a big opportunity for Microsoft, that of course being the cloud. When it comes to the mobile challenge Nadella has in his team the people he can rely on.
Leadership & Product Experience
There is probably not much to say here other than that his achievements in his previous roles at Microsoft in several product groups show that he is a can do person that is also able to work effectively with others. For a company as complex and as big as Microsoft being familiar with the company and able to collaborate is likely to produce better outcomes than being Steve Job’s like and destructing the company.
Unlike Alan Mulally, Nadella is much younger and is not close to retirement so this gives him the potential of being around at Microsoft further in the future with the change to see change through. Mulally would’ve been a short term CEO at best which is not something Microsoft needed.
To me Nadella always comes across as someone with a lot of passion and energy, whilst different from Ballmer he’s still a very likable personality. Just watch some of his keynotes, interviews and conference speeches!
Most of Nadella’s experience over his time at Microsoft has been in Microsoft’s enterprise divisions and not so much on the consumer side. Contrary to what many believe, I actually think that this experience is one area that made Nadella a strong candidate for CEO. Whilst many Microsoft observers see Microsoft as a struggling company on the consumer front, as an enterprise company they are doing very well. If you’re company is good at something, wouldn’t it make sense to make what you’re good at even better? I personally think it does. To most average people out there Apple is viewed as the consumer company and Microsoft the business company. This is why a while back I wrote the post Breaking up Microsoft. I think one of Microsoft’s biggest challenges is changing the perception of who Microsoft actually is. Some of the changes they have done in 2013 help address that but there is more to be done. I think this is where Bill Gates’ new role as Technology Adviser might come in.
Putting it all together
Being a Microsoft veteran, a person who has a technical background, a young and energetic guy, a leader and a visionary executive with a great track record, a person who can strengthen Microsoft’s core abilities and create new ones, someone who can keep Microsoft familiar yet new and a CEO surrounded by a great leadership team working with him. I think Nadella was the best choice for CEO of Microsoft and I’m happy it’s him that has been chosen. I cant wait to see what Microsoft will bring along in this new chapter for the company.
To Satya Nadella, I say congratulations on your selection. To the rest of you, what do you think?