EricHarlan

SharePoint Blog

Android cant MTP connect USB

Up until recently with Windows 10 i was able to connect my android device via MTP Mode. One day i went to connect (to add Arnold Schwarzenegger voice to my Waze app 🙂 and found I couldn’t “DO IT NOW!” I even tried manually updating the driver and kept getting “A service installation section in the INF is invalid.”  I’ll save you all the details and hours of the CIA making you push too many pencils… or of digging for drivers with no luck to tell you that the windows 10 anniversary update killed the connect-ability.

If you’re having the issue simply go to C:\Windows\INF right click on “wpdmtp.inf” and hit “install” takes a few seconds and i had no actual notification saying it had in fact installed. I restarted, plugged back into my Android Phone and BAM.  I was able to GET TO DA CHOPPA!

 

Azure Site Recovery and SharePoint

Some very exciting news came out of Ignite on May 4th (insert star wars joke here). And it didn’t get much hype. For the first time in a LONG time I got super excited over technology. The Azure Site Recovery team and the SharePoint team announced that ASR would be formally supported with SharePoint deployments. This was an effort months in the making with a lot of testing and dotting of I’s. From both teams.

I feel like it is the first time you can quite literally have a rock solid DR plan that is: Cheap, Fast and Easy. Something up until recently would have only allowed you to choose two of those options. ASR is in a nut shell (although WAY COOLER than..) is VM replication to Azure in real time. Awesome enough it also does Physical to Azure.

The jist of it is this. VMWare, HyperV, VCenter, Physical get a synchronization job running on the VM/Physical host the job is replicated up to Azure where then Azure sucks in those bits and drops them into Azure Storage and nests them into a fail over job (Recovery Plan) that allows you fail over to Azure with the click of a button, as well as failing BACK. Literally 1 click (not including confirmation clicks). You can also test your fail over with out ever actually failing off of your production environment. Azure will replicate your VMs on the fly and simulate a real life fail-over that is exactly the same as if you went from on-prem to Azure in a real disaster type situation. SUPER FREAKING COOL! No more freaking out about either accidentally bringing down your real environment OR stressing over if your fail-over plan will actually work in real life. Now you actually know!

And its insanely cheap insurance. $54 dollars per instance, per month with a bunch of built in incentives for EA customers. I spent more on that on a cab from ignite back to the airport! And the only time you pay a cost for the VMs outside of storange and data is when the fail-over switch is actually triggered. So you no longer have to keep servers running for a heart beat to make sure data is flowing and incurring the costs of those VMs in Azure.

Watching the guys do the demos for this a few months back while in private tap and getting my hands on it to play around left me craving more! The teams did just that, I spoke about physical to azure as well. Currently if you have a physical box in your SharePoint farm, lets say an Index server. When you fail that physical over to Azure, Azure converts that to a VHD and runs the VM in that state. When you need to fail back however, the fail back will push the VHD version of that physical instance back to your VMHost on-prem. Now under initial thought, that kinda stinks but if you think about the technical challenge of creating a physical box, kernel level, drivers, patches etc etc from a virtualized file is pretty intense. So when you find that your butt was majorly saved failing over and keeping what Gartner (i think it was them) estimated as .5-1.5 MILLION dollars per hour in downtime lost for major corporations adding a physical machine back into your SharePoint farm and offloading the indexing (or whatever) capabilities from the VM that was failed back, to that newly (or re-inserted) physical machine is pretty tolerable.

All that said, the Physical to Azure part is currently in private beta so you can request it, hopefully you’ll get to play around with that soon enough.

Check out the Slide deck I’ve added from my talk at the SharePoint Evolutions Conference. I walked through how to do this and what planning is involved. I’ve updated the deck to reflect that it is now supported vs when i did the talk a week prior, we knew it was coming but couldn’t talk much to it. A video of the actual talk as well as the video from the VM to Azure demo is below as well.

Excited about backups.. Never thought I’d see the day.

Thanks to Neil Hodgkinson PHD @NellyMo Neils Ignite Sessions for all his work from the SharePoint side as well as Anoop, Abishek and on the Azure ASR PG for their help as well.

ASR Team Blog: http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2015/05/04/application-aware-availability-solutions-with-azure-site-recovery/

Video and Session walk through (remember, at the end we talk about its WILL be supported. This was given prior to ignite. Azure Site Recovery IS NOW supported. Check it out over at SharePoint Evolution Conference site.

badger

Just the video on setting up a Hyper-V to Azure fail over:
http://1drv.ms/1ILi1dM

Updated presentation deck:
http://1drv.ms/1K0Uenf

Ignite Session:
https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3503

The timer job completed, but failed on one or more machines in the farm.

I have been spending a lot of time trying to automate the deployment of different Service Applications in SharePoint 2013 lately.

An issue I’m having unrelated to this blog post is trouble getting the Search Service Topology to show up. Getting the ole ‘Unable to retrieve topology component health states. This may be because the admin component is not up and running. (sorry if you searched on that and found this article, this isn’t a fix for that, maybe I’ll post an update if i get it sorted).

But my issue came while trying to trouble shoot the original topology problem. I went to wipe the slate clean but when I tried to delete the Search Service Application, I was able to delete the proxy and all the databases but the Search Service Application itself wouldn’t delete. All i got in PowerShell, stsadm as well as the UI was “The timer job completed, but failed on one or more machines in the farm.”

Turns out during my troubleshooting of the original problem i changed the service accounts that were running in the windows services for “SharePoint Administration” to a different account. As well I changed the “SharePoint Search Host Controller” to the farm account as well (thinking i was having a permissions issue with the topology).

When I changed them back to their default values I was able to delete the Service Applications.

Hope that helps.

Hide Search Box in SharePoint Online

Wanted to drop a quick post about hiding the Search Box at the top of a Team Site in Office 365s SharePoint Online.  I came across the idea of adding a content editor web part to a page in SharePoint ON PREM but I was having trouble tracking down which class was the class that managed the display of the search box in SharePoint online.

Thats where Darce Hess comes in. A quick tweet out to the #sphelp community and she shot over the class (.ms-srch-sb).

The customer I was working with wanted to just hide the search box on a specific team site page (main landing page) hence why we wanted to add it to a CEWP directly on the page.  If you would want to hide it on all pages of a site or site collection simply add create a class (shown below) on a custom CSS file that you add to your SharePoint Online site collection/site and you can hide it across the board.

So enough chatter, what needs to be added to the page.  Simply add the below if you’re dropping it on a CEWP:

 ‹style›

.ms-srch-sb {display:none;}

‹/style›

Now if you want to simply add that class to a existing style sheet you’re already loading, simply add

.ms-srch-sb {display:none;}

Simple hack but a goodie!
Enjoy.

PFE Meet and Greet 2014 and Survival guide

Well hello there. (Obligatory comments here around not blogging enough),

As we all gear for what is sure to be another sleep deprived jaunt around Las Vegas for the 2014 SharePoint Conference I’ve seen a few “Survival Guide” posts come out. I wanted to give you all the information that you REALLY need.

 

1) Bring one of those spare battery rechargers.  Outlets at a SharePoint Conference are guarded as closely as the last beer at open bar night.

2) A case of 5 hour energies. When the going gets tough, 2 or 3 of them MIGHT keep you awake for another hour max. It is Vegas however, so the chances of finding a hook up for a direct line of adrenaline is probably possible.

3) Pre-register for #SPC200 and #SPC277. Let’s face it the room of 20 chairs they setup for us gets filled up fast. Fast like the new line that opens in the buffet hall. You know … the one when you make eye contact with the other conference going on in the far line.  And suddenly “Eye of the tiger” comes over the loud speaker of your mind.  http://youtu.be/btPJPFnesV4

Every third seat will have water balloons to be used at your discretion (aim for Mark).

4) Make sure you attend the PFE meet and greet on Tuesday evening before the attendee party. We’ll be getting together at Zeffrino at 5pm until about 6:30 (Translation provided by Peter Griffin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JhuOicPFZY).

We hold this event each year to talk to folks who are considering the PFE role (I know we’re hiring like mad), as well as currently and considering customers for Microsoft Premier Support. Ever wanted a direct line to someone at Microsoft that can help you with your SharePoint questions. Here’s your chance to make that contact.

No need to register just crash the restaurant and mention “PFE”. Drinks are on you, I have to say that otherwise 10,000 people will crash the restaurant 🙂

What is checked out and how big is it?

I had a customer requirement today that needed to see all the checked out files in a farm and their file sizes as well as who had them checked out.  Lucky for me I was trading emails with Garly LaPointe at the moment. He tossed me a link to one of his blog posts where he essentially had to do the same thing.

I then made some minor modifications, first to give me all the checked out files in a sepecific site collection as well as give me the file size of the checked out file. Obviously i take no credit for the overall script that was Gary’s doing but I figured it worth posting so at aleast if anyone else needed the same script they could use it. This was tested in SharePoint 2010, I’m assuming it would work 100% in 2013.

http://blog.falchionconsulting.com/index.php/2011/06/getting-and-taking-ownership-of-checked-out-files-using-windows-powershell/

The red URL in the script is where you would put your site collection URL. The output of running this script would be a text file on the C drive (last line of the script) called CheckedOut.txt which would give you the person, file, size.

function Get-CheckedOutFiles() {

$site=Get-SPSite http://spapp02:1616

foreach ($web in $site.AllWebs) {

Write-Host “Processing Web: $($web.Url)…”

foreach ($list in ($web.Lists | ? {$_ -is [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPDocumentLibrary]})) {

Write-Host “`tProcessing List: $($list.RootFolder.ServerRelativeUrl)…”

foreach ($item in $list.CheckedOutFiles) {

$hash = @{

“URL”=$web.Site.MakeFullUrl(“$($web.ServerRelativeUrl.TrimEnd(‘/’))/$($item.Url)”);

“CheckedOutBy”=$item.CheckedOutBy;

“CheckedOutByEmail”=$item.CheckedOutByEmail;

“Size”=$item.File.Length/1KB

}

New-Object PSObject -Property $hash

}

foreach ($item in $list.Items) {

if ($item.File.CheckOutStatus -ne “None”) {

if (($list.CheckedOutFiles | where {$_.ListItemId -eq $item.ID}) -ne $null) { continue }

$hash = @{

“URL”=$web.Site.MakeFullUrl(“$($web.ServerRelativeUrl.TrimEnd(‘/’))/$($item.Url)”);

“CheckedOutBy”=$item.File.CheckedOutByUser;

“CheckedOutByEmail”=$item.File.CheckedOutByUser.Email;

“Size”=$item.File.Length/1KB

}

New-Object PSObject -Property $hash

}

}

}

$web.Dispose()

}

}

Get-CheckedOutFiles | Out-File c:\CheckedOut.txt -width 220

 

Cut the (Cable) Cord

Cutting the cord

When my daughter was born, the doctor asked me if I wanted to cut the cord. In no way did I ever think the words I then asked her would ever come back in this sort of format but here goes. I says to the doctor, I says… “Will it be a hard thing to get through or will it go pretty easy”.  Those words are never so true when it comes to this.. (Except less gross).
So first some background, some caveats then straight to the how I did it.
First the back story. My wife and I moved to the “outer suburbs” as we call it. We’re about 5 miles from the middle of nowhere. The only pleasure utilities in our area are satellite TV/internet and something called point to point internet. It uses line of sight technology to connect to a central hub. Usually an existing cell or water tower. It’s nothing to sneeze at, we get 15mbps here at the house. Granted that’s nowhere near the 50mbps we got on fios but between finicky satellite and dial up, it’s a great option to have the environment we live in.
My poor wife said one off the wall comment that I sort of clung onto. She really didn’t want satellite tv/internet.  I took that tiny little “in” and started my plan to cut the cord.  My promise to her was that if this was a viable substitution we’d go with it and see where it took us.  Now my TV habits are actually pretty good. In fact my wife’s are as well. We don’t really watch a lot of TV. I watch zero news, zero drama, and zero reality (ok maybe not zero duck dynasty is a pretty decent show).  But you get the point. For me, it’s mostly documentaries, science, history, tech etc.  My wife has the occasional drama and reality but nothing to the extent of disaster of a show like Honey boo boo or Jersey shore (is that crap still even on?).  Most of what she watches we later found through simple research is available over the air where we live for free.
My daughter is sort of the pivot point here, the TV that she does watch is pretty specific.  Nothing over the top fantasy (such as sponge bob and the like) mostly what I call educational entertainment. Little Einstein’s and that sort of thing. We wanted to make sure she could get good quality stuff for when she did watch TV.  So that’s the background.
Now for some caveats:
This will NOT be for everyone.  There will be circumstances when you do the math that will not make fiscal sense to do this. For example you may need a house phone and internet and bundling that with TV may simply be cheaper than if you bought internet alone.  In that case, this is not for you.
This will also not be for you if you do not like technology.  This REQUIRES you to have a basic understanding of home network setup (like plugging in a router and connecting to Wi-Fi) , and depending on how far you go with it possibly building a computer to house all your digital media.
I don’t know how to really say this so I’ll just say it. If you are a slave to your TV this is very much not for you.  If you sweat at night thinking about not getting the most up to date game of thrones show under your belt or plan family nights around American Idol not only do I feel sort of bad for that, but this is not for you. Not to say you can’t get that content, just if you’re die hard can’t wait to get home change into sweats and sit on the couch… Ultimately if you’re doing this right (in my opinion) this is a great way to DECREASE the amount of TV you watch total but still having access to what you want when you want it. /soapbox
If you are not willing to make the initial investment in the things you need to buy in order to at least come close to getting the same type of experience and ultimately saving money over the long term, again this isn’t for you.
Now for the good stuff.

Here is a breakdown of exactly the setup I have at my home.

CutTheCord
This is about to get a little complex but trust me it’s not hard and this will all make sense here in a bit.
Ok now how does this all talk to each other?
First the TV. My TV is a bit older so it is not internet enabled. This setup could change if you have an internet enabled TV that lets you consume these services I’ll talk about below.
Media Server. A few years back I lost my mind at the amount of DVDs we had laying around the house. I went on a 5 day bender of ripping our DVDs (that we owned) to a media server. When I say media server I simply mean an older computer I didn’t use anymore. That machine has since evolved into an 8 terabyte machine with raid striping for redundancy. I originally planned to use this machine as a DVR storage device until some of the newer technology came out. So I have a TON of space open on this machine.
On this server is also running some programs that are important to the overall function of the media “farm”. I’ll discuss each one of them at depth but the apps running on this box are Playon, PlayLater and Plex.
Simple.TV. This is the DVR solution cut the cord’ers have been waiting for, for pretty much eternity. It’s a self-contained piece of hardware that interfaces with Roku and a bunch of other devices. It has a single cable card (which means you can only record one show at a time) and the most important part is that it interfaces with your available content and produces a very familiar guide and scheduler to record over the air HD programming.
Note for mac users. There is a cheaper alternative that lets you turn your mac pc into the dvr storage device. It’s called eyetv it’s actually a bit more graceful and cheaper but doesn’t give you the full functionality standalone that a simple.tv option gives you but it does give you recorded HD content to your mac that is available to your Roku.
HD Antenna. Speaking of over the air HD we have a Leaf Plus Amplified indoor HTDV antenna (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006GQIIEM/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) This is a super thin HDTV antenna that looks great if you decide to keep it in the house. And it’s amplified so it gets wicked range. I mounted ours in the attic where we have a window that faces the HD tower location that worked out fine for us. But until I did that we just had it hanging behind the TV itself.
Roku & Roku 3: This rounds out the hardware we have to drives this beast of a setup.  This is the hub that everything connects through. This essentially becomes your traditional set top box you get from the cable company (that one that you’re probably renting for 5+ bucks a month).  The Roku works very much like a modern day smart phone or windows 8 OS. You have the base OS that comes with stuff and you have the ability to add plugins. The plugins give you access to other “stuff” like Netflix, your media server or Hulu etc.  It comes with a remote and after a learning curve becomes very comfortable.
I did a lot of research on the Roku vs. Boxee. Honestly a few years back with Roku 1 or even 2 the Boxee could hold its own. Now there’s just no comparison the Roku blows away Boxee for expandability.  If you want to get a simple service to your non internet TV (let’s say Netflix) and that’s it, boxee is a great solution. If you want to truly cut the cord. Don’t even try (sorry buck).
The search functionality is pretty decent too it works with most of the plugins and give you content results inside of those services (Netflix/Hulu/etc.). The only short fall I’ve found is that it doesn’t give you general results. For example (sad to even say this…sigh…) if you do a search oh I dunno a complete and totally none personally reflective movie like, oh geez, pick one out of the complete blue sky..um….. {lowers voice} Tinkerbell well it will only return the first one I have to then go into Netflix and get access to the other 4 disasters of animation movies.

Currently, Roku Search searches across Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, VUDU and HBO GO. It is available on the following Roku player models:  Roku 2, Roku LT, new Roku HD and Roku Streaming Stick.

The other sucky thing about search is that if I have the movie on my media server, the general search function in Roku doesn’t pick these up. At least I haven’t been able to get it to. So you have to know you have the movie, go to Plex, do a search (which is easy) but I wish I could do it from one place.
Services
All this hardware, which by the way seems like a lot but remember based on what you want to accomplish you can pick and choose. You don’t need a media server like I have. I just happen to have one so why not.  And if you are ok with not watching shows the day they air and you want to get it on huluplus, you don’t need the HD antenna or the simple.tv at all. Literally you just need the roku and huluplus and that’s it. A very affordable option.
But let’s put that aside for the moment. Let’s talk about the services I have routing to my Roku (plugins):
Netflix: 8 bucks a month. Pretty self-explanatory unless you’ve been under a rock. Pretty much all major movies (what no anchorman?). They also are starting to put together original content until themselves. It’s like watching the birth of an internet only broadcasting network. This monthly service is available through my internet connection and through a plugin on the Roku.
HuluPlus: 8 bucks a month. Again, have you been under a rock?  This is what Netflix is to movies but to TV content. They also have their own original series shows.  This has MOST content but not everything. I found that a combination between Hulu (or huluplus) and Netflix covered most content I personally wanted to watch.
The down side, they have the balls to play commercials during shows that I paid to get access to in the first place. I usually get two commercials I can’t skip. There has been a HUGE back lash on this. This would be perfect for … hmm I dunno Amazon prime to take the place on (read on that later)
Playon/PlayLater: 50 bucks once for a lifetime. Playon is actually a super under rated service that doesn’t get much air time… (see what I did there?).  Playon is a pretty cool service it’s basically an internet content hub. So YouTube, Aereo, Vevo are all made available on your roku through Playon. The other cool thing is any broadcaster website that has their content publicly available to watch will get picked up by the app and let you browse that content like browsing for a TV show. So if you’re a big Daily Show fan you can tell PlayOn to go to Comedy Central’s site and allow you to watch Daily Show episodes on your TV through your Roku.
The other awesome thing PlayOn lets you do is use a service it has called PlayLater which lets you save any content that PlayOn can consume through its channel (channel list here http://www.playon.tv/content-channels) directly to the hard drive of the computer that you installed PlayLater to (in my case my media server) for later use offline or on the road.
Lastly and by far the most valuable part of PlayOn. Lets say just maybe…I dunno, you split the cable bill with someone. They want to watch on their TV but you want to pay a smaller portion to them for access to web based content.  Well you can login to their cable providers account in PlayOn and you can get cable content live directly through PlayOn and showing on your Roku!  You heard right, HBO, Disney, History, Discovery all streaming live through your roku (and can be saved down via PlayLater).
Plex: Free minus the computer.  Plex, in my case (but it can be much more) is simply a crawler of media content I have on my media server that allows me to show that content through a plugin on the Roku. Like all my movies or saved down photos and home movies that are on my computer (media server).  Very robust does deep crawling so you can index and search for your content on the roku box. Very cool!
Other Plugins: Free, there are hundreds of other free plugins available on the Roku channel store and just as many more paid plugins that let you access everything from Euro soccer games, to Bollywood movies and literally everything in between.. I have a weather station channel that lets me see weather patterns from all over the world /nerd.

The seedy underbelly of cons.
Let’s face it there are some pretty major cons to this whole deal. Some of it down right sucks. Some of them there are ok and easier to side step. Others, no good answers at all. You have to weigh out if these are deal breakers to you or not.
First for the parents out there. CURRENTLY there are no parental controls that will limit the way kids can consume content on the Roku. The only thing they suggest right now is using the 4 digit pin as a limiter to the things that can be bought or installed. Frankly this is a stupid, cop out answer. To do this you’d have to literally uninstall a plugin after use then use your pin to reinstall it later just to use it to prevent your kids getting into stuff.  That said it is literally one of the most requested things on the site for feedback to include. It’s a no brainer Roku, seriously add the stupid control, it can’t be that difficult considering what the device already does we’re on version 4 here.

So for now you’ll have to keep tabs on your children or simply pull the plug on the roku and put it away when you’re not around. It’s only slightly larger than a smart phone. Let’s hope they get this together.
Sports fans {looks down and shakes head}
Let’s face it when I say sports I mean American football here. Baseball isn’t a sport, and hockey is pretty well covered on the roku through PlayOn.  The NFL makes BILLIONS of dollars a year on games and they pass those “savings” on to cable providers like DirectTV and Verizon for you to pay for and enjoy.
There is currently no way to get something like NFL Sunday Ticket on the roku.  Even if you were, you’d likely have to pay the 300 bucks that it costs in order to get the content on your Roku in a season like it is for the PlayStation 3.
THAT SAID, all hope is not lost if you’re willing to make a few compromises.  There IS football on roku through various methods.
First if you are using a setup similar to mine, you can always get football over the air on your HD antenna. A TON of games get broadcasted on local network channels. Con, it may not be the game you want to watch. Which let’s face it is sort of the point.
Second, if said “friend” happens to leave their account logged in on your Roku, you have access to ESPN, ESPN3 and ESPN Live even Euro Football.  Again if it is broadcasted through ESPN or Local you’re set.
You’re last ditch effort is twofold.  There are a BUNCH of channels you can add to your Roku. Channels that developers literally build for specific things such as streaming church services, and current ski conditions AS WELL AS… streaming content from other streaming sources such as.. Justin.tv or Ustream etc.  Now let me say this, technically this is pirating…technically. Ok that’s all I’ll say. (LiveTv, First Row Sports, Vip Box). This guy talks pretty well to using the “TV Channel Pack 2” channel to get other cities local HD air streams to pick up local football games from those cities. If you think about it Fox Dallas will be more likely to carry a cowboys came than CBS Seattle (unless they are playing each other). So there is hope… http://voices.yahoo.com/how-find-nfl-games-through-playon-roku-11751384.html
Your second last ditch, get up, take the kids to grandmas, go to the sports pub with your significant other get some drinks and watch the game. Either that or go over a friend’s house. Everyone has that buddy that has an oddly over developed Hostess side that always likes to have the parties.
So for now, not the greatest options but it’s what we have to work with. For me personally (read: my wife won’t like it) I don’t REALLY care that much. Plenty of college football is on the channels I have access to on my Roku. So for now that’s the low down on football and hockey. The rest don’t matter so who cares 🙂 haha

And heck I have the SEC digital Network plugin. Lets face it, the only real college football in the US is SEC football anyway.
Last con, everything is plugin based (or channels as they word it). Honestly I’ve become very aware of things like the Windows Phone that bubble up content directly for me to consume at the top level. Never needing to go into an app. One of the cons about the Roku is I feel like I’m constantly diving into one app or another. I wish it was more fluid, that said if I had a set top box I would be going into the DVR area, or going into search, or the channel guide so I feel it’s kind of a wash just wish it was more intuitive.

Services I did NOT try as for my setup, it didn’t make much sense:
Aereo: So Aereo is basically a web version of an HD antenna with a web based DVR. If you don’t want to get an HD antenna you can cough up the 8-12 bucks a month to watch what would be normally free over the air (in HD quality). There are no sports that don’t come with normal free local networks. At least that’s what I got out of their site, I could be wrong. Now up front this could be worth it but at 12 bucks a month after 16 months I’ve paid for my antenna and my simple.TV The only value over simple.tv would be recording two shows at once vs. only one.  So for me, didn’t make sense unless I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch local HD TV and record.

Services I tried and I got rid of:
AmazonPrime.  Let me first say for all the Amazon groupies out there… Yes I understand AmazonPrime is about the shipping rates, free 2 day, lower costs, book sharing and perks. Video is just a perk to Prime. Yeah yeah I get it. Point is if the video service was any good it would be a super dynamite combo that would crush Netflix and HuluPlus because it’s actually 10 bucks less a year then each of those services AND you’d get the shipping part.
The point is, it’s not very good. Not very good at all. Super old content that has been around for years on other mediums (fraggle rock..seriously?). They are adding stuff but at a snail’s pace comparatively.  I’d be more than happy to revisit Prime in a second if they get their catalog up to date.
The thing that drove me insane was that when I used the prime service I had access to a lot of free content (none of that super great for my tastes).  The thing that drove me nuts is even if you have the prime service you don’t get all the content free, you then have to pay for a LOT of other stuff. I’m not talking a few shows here and there I’m talking the majority of anything worth watching in the first place.
So for me I let that one go, wasn’t worth it.
Total costs (drum roll)
Roku 3: 99$
Roku 1: 40$ (might buy a third or use Playstation3/Xbox)
HD Antenna: 50$
Simple.TV: 150$
Media Server: ??$ (I really cant remember its been 3 years since I built it)
PlayOn/PlayLater:50$
Subscriptions: 16$ a month
First year total cost: 518$
Second year total cost:192$
Cost saved over Fios TV per year (after equipment recoup). Medium package at 89 bucks a month: 1032$ plus 5 bucks for two non DVR HD boxes and 1 HD DVR Box (5 and 8 a month)

(For 1,000$ a year you can go to each home game of your fav football team btw)

Summary:  Worth it? Yes. Fun to setup and play around with? Yes (isn’t new tech always fun?) Will I keep it? Yes (as long as my wife says I can 🙂 ) Keep in mind you can literally go buy the Roku 1 at forty bucks and test out if it is going to be a good call with the channels you find and use. Worst case you have an internet streaming content device for a TV.

Also I forgot to mention in any of the points above. With this setup, I can watch this content anywhere I have access to the internet. All of it is 100% accessable over the web from anywhere.

UPDATE:

One of the bigger complaints we have that I forgot to ellaborate in “search” is knowing what is on and when. Either if it is on broadcast TV or some other source.  Came across Clicker.com that got bought by TV.com which provides listings for shows based on zip code and provider. VERY VERY Handy. Im going to figure out how to integrate this directly in the roku experience as well.  http://www.tv.com/listings/

Some folks are saying if you have a WII on the same WIFI as your roku you can use Web Access on the Wii to make tv.com (or titantv.com) as a favorite and use that through your roku as a TVGuide style plugin. Not a great solution for me, dont have a Wii so im still digging.  Others are using spare iphone/android phones with WiFi just to download the app for titanTv.com. A decent solution but i’d like it on my roku if possible.

Update 2:

Turns out the “Whats On” channel lets you choose the zip code your in and see over the air broadcast content like a TVGude view. It also lets you change your zip code and view program schedule data from other sources you know… like if your friend left you logged in to a cable provider from a different zip code you can go and see what is playing on Disney on lets say Fios then go to PlayOn and view the live feed. Pretty sweet.  https://owner.roku.com/Add/WHATSONCHANNEL

Lastly I’ll leave you with the CURRENT (as it is always evolving as i find content) plugin list I have on my Roku.

 

08/29/2013
SEC Digital Network
08/11/2013
TEDTalks
08/11/2013
Honor
08/11/2013
iHeartRadio
08/11/2013
FOX NOW
08/11/2013
Weather4us
08/08/2013
Simple.TV
08/04/2013
Hulu Plus
07/25/2013
Plex
07/18/2013
PlayOn
07/17/2013
XOS College Sports
07/17/2013
TVNweather On Demand
07/17/2013
Warriors of War
07/17/2013
Pandora
07/17/2013
PBS
07/17/2013
VEVO
07/17/2013
PBS KIDS
07/17/2013
Weather Underground
07/17/2013
Smithsonian Channel
 07/17/2013  Netflix

Nokia Lumia Stuck on Gears

Wanna know what really grinds my gears?

I found pretty amazing with the Nokia Lumia 920. I recently received an unlock code from ATT for my Lumia 920. I proceeded to unlock then phone then do a factory reset to wipe my data clean. Im hoping to sell the phone to someone that wants the Lumia but not the network contract.

Once I started the reset, I noticed the Windows Phone “gears of death” grinding away at my anticipation.  The only problem is they didn’t stop. A known issue with the Lumia 920 is these gears locking up the refresh process after you unlock a phone.  I started reading about how I needed to use Nokia Care Suite to download the firmware to reflash the phone, then after doing that reading that the software was no longer available from Nokia and you had to rely on archival packages. It got messy real quick to say the least.

I then stumbled onto a simple post in a form that seemed so absurd it couldn’t be true. The post stated that to clear this issue do the following:

Do a soft reset on your phone while it is plugged in: (Volume down + Power button for 10 seconds)

Once the phone restarts do the following, one at a time for 3 seconds each.

  • Volume Up
  • Volume Down
  • Power button
  • Volume Down

 

Put the phone down and get a drink. When you come back you’ll find that your phone reset and it was waiting for you to run through the setup process.  Pretty incredible what developers work into firmware to get past odd issues. Enjoy. This may work on other Lumias like the 1020, 720 or 820 not sure.

IE 10 and SharePoint Explorer View

A few weeks ago I had the unique privilege to be a part of the patching process for an OS patch at Microsoft.

The issue arose when folks were trying to open SharePoint in Explorer View mode to upload files to their SharePoint Online instance.  They wanted to do a simple drag and drop of content up to their instance.

While doing this on Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 the Administrator was getting either one of these errors:

Error message 1
Your client does not support opening this list with Windows Explorer

Error message 2
We’re having a problem opening this location in File Explorer. Add this web site to your Trusted Sites list and try again.
A long story short the “WebClient Service” on the windows 7 specifically get turned off. If im honest I cant remember if it was as a result of installing IE10 or if it was something that in the process of upgrading browsers or native to Windows 7 was off. Again long story short this service is turned off.

The quick work around to see if you are experiencing the same issue that the hotfix will address is if you go to Start > Administrative Tasks > Services. Select the WebClient Service and start it as well change it to Automatic. Restart the machine. If you no longer see the issue you have found the problem.

The good news is there is a Hotfix for this and its live as of a few days ago. Check it out here

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2846960

Glad I got to see the other side of updating a product, process was very similar but wow there are a lot of people working HARD behind the scenes to find and test fixes and get them out there ASAP.

Using 301 Redirect URL Rewrite module to Redirect SharePoint urls

Many know of SharePoint Saturday and its legacy, many also know the platform we’ve been on for years has run its course of usability and collectively as a community we’ve started to migrate from the old SharePointSaturday.org domain over to SPSEvents.org.

With the migration we need to keep the “engine juice” all the rankings from the search engines over the years that have pointed to almost a hundred different SharePoint Saturday sites.  I wanted to make sure we can redirect each and every SharePoint sub site (for example /Baltimore) over to the new domain so no one skips a beat if they go to the old domain. And again most importantly all the rankings stay the same on the new domain.

That said, I needed to figure out how this all worked. I started looking into 301 redirects and how to do that. A 301 redirect is a “permanent” redirect that tells search engines that essentially what was here has “officially” moved and the move is sanctioned as well as “here is the new location”.

I also looked into software packages that could be donated to do the same thing. Ultimately some collaboration with many folks lead me down the path to use the URL Rewrite module for iis 7 (x64 link). It started with an article from NBSP and an email from Mark Miller, a conversation and brain storming session with @ToddKlindt and finally a conversation with @Ruslan Yakushev who authored the URL Rewrite article on IIS.net to understand the url patterns to use (which ended up being fairly straight forward).

So using the URL Rewrite module mentioned above there are two ways to do what I needed to do. The first way is to have a single rule but multiple mappings. Or the method I ultimately chose to use (the more extensive method) a single rule for each sub site I wanted to redirect.  So why use one or the other. Because I’m only redirecting top level sites and I know what the url will always be. And my rule (which you can see below) is that anytime someone hits olddomain.org/Baltimore redirect them to newdomain.org/city/Baltimore on the new domain.  However what if I wanted to redirect a list, or a library or something that has an extension that changes (i.e. default.apsx?somethinghere=16) etc. Using some elaborate mappings will allow you to cover those scenarios.

Ultimately for me, it would have taken more time to come up with all those mappings to do something pretty simple at a top level.  So here’s the break down.
1) Go install the URL Rewrite module on the server
2) Enter the drop down for Requested URL (Matches the pattern)
3) Using: Regular expressions
4) Pattern: “  ^Baltimore “ (no quotes, and Baltimore is the subsite you want to move)
5) Ignore Case: Checked (this means if I type BALTIMORE or Baltimore or baltimore it still works)
6) leave conditions and server variables empty (unless you want to venture there)
7) Action type: Redirect (you can also do rewrite to do some cool “friendly urls” with SharePoint)
8) Redirect URL: http://www.newdomain.com/baltimore/{R:0} (curly bracket capital R colon zero curly bracket)
9) Redirect Type: Permanent (301)

Once you apply the rule, it’s active. No IISRESET or reboot needed. It will be active right away. Hope that helps!

FYI: if you go hitting the sharepointsaturday.org and dont notice the redirect. They’re there, just not active. Yet.

redirect