Microsoft Azure: new preview portal is “designed like an operating system” but is it better?

How important is the Azure portal, the web-based user interface for managing Microsoft’s cloud computing platform? You can argue that it is not all that important. Developers and users care more about the performance and reliability of the services themselves. You can also control Azure services through PowerShell scripts.

My view is the opposite though.

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Microsoft OneDrive and OneDrive for Business: a guide for the perplexed

Microsoft’s price plans for additional cloud storage are odd:

Hmm, £1.60 per month for 1TB or £3.99 for 200GB. Difficult decision? Especially as OneDrive for Business appears to be a superset of OneDrive:

It is not that simple of course (and see below for how you can get 1TB OneDrive for less). The

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Microsoft releases WinJS cross-browser JavaScript library but why?

Microsoft has announced WinJS 3.0:

The Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS) project is pleased to announce the general availability of its first release – WinJS 3.0 – since the open source project began at //BUILD 2014.

Much of WinJS will run on any modern browser but the browser support matrix has a number of

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Lifetime registration as a Windows Store developer, now from £12

Microsoft has removed some friction from developing for the Windows Store (whether phone or Windows 8) by removing the requirement to pay an annual subscription:

As we continue to execute on the vision to integrate the Windows and Windows Phone developer experiences, we have taken another step by moving to a one-time lifelong Dev Center

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Microsoft integrates Azure websites with hybrid cloud

Microsoft has announced the integration of Azure websites with Azure virtual networks, including access to on-premise resources if you have a site-to-site VPN.

The Virtual Network feature grants your website access to resources running your VNET that includes being able to access web services or databases running on your Azure Virtual Machines. If your VNET

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Windows “9”: forget the Start menu, consider the apps

This week has seen multiple leaks of early builds of the next version of Windows – sometimes called Windows 9 or “Threshold” – showing Microsoft’s continuing inability to persuade all of its partners to keep secrets.

It seems to me that the leaks are likely to be genuine, though the usual health warnings apply. I

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Book review: Professional ASP.NET MVC 5. Is this the way to learn ASP.NET MVC?

This book caught my eye because while I like ASP.NET MVC, Microsoft’s modern web application framework, it seems to be badly documented. Even the word “badly” is not quite right; there is lots of documentation, some of high quality, but finding your way around it is challenging, thanks to the many different pieces involved. When

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Microsoft introduces a new 2D graphics API for the Windows Runtime

Microsoft has announced Win2D, a Windows Runtime API that wraps Direct2D (part of DirectX), for accelerated graphics in Windows Store apps.

The new API is described here and you can download the current binary here. It is in its early stages, but already supports basic drawing, bitmap loading, some image effects, and a vector and

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IFA 2014 report: Wearables, Windows 8 and Phone, Android TV, Amazon FireTV, lots of phones, Spotify Connect

I am just back from IFA 2014 in Berlin, perhaps the nearest European equivalent to CES in Las Vegas though smaller, less frenetic, and benefiting from the pleasant environment of Berlin in early autumn in place of Vegas glitz.

On the eve of a major Apple event, IFA 2014 was a chance for the

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Alcatel OneTouch on plans for Windows Phone OS tablets

At IFA in Berlin, I spoke to Dan Dery, VP and CMO at Alcatel OneTouch, who told me of the company’s plans for Windows Phone OS tablets. Alcatel OneTouch is part of TCL Corporation, a Chinese global electronics company, though for historical reasons (a 2004 joint venture between TCL and the French company Alcatel-Lucent) it

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