Google Blocking WP YouTube App Again

I downloaded an updated YouTube Windows Phone app a few days ago, and it worked for about a day. I went to pull it up today and got this:

wp_ss_20130815_0001

So it looks like Google has once again blocked Microsoft’s YouTube app. This is getting to be as bad as Time Warner and CBS. Figure something out you guys. And do it quickly, this is really annoying.

UPDATE: Found this on The Verge. Google says  “Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience.”

Wow, Google is now trying to dictate to Microsoft what IE should and should not do? Microsoft would probably get sued for doing something like that.

UPDATE II: The plot thickens. Microsoft posts a reply on a TechNet blog.
Takeaway line: “The roadblocks Google has set up are impossible to overcome, and they know it.”

I like Google less and less every day.

Lumia 920 Battery Issue Solved

Since I got my Lumia 920, I have had serious battery drainage issues. I could never make it to the end of the day, even with minimal use. Some days the battery would be fully drained only a few hours after pulling it off the charger in the morning. And hot? Sometimes I would have to take it out of my pocket, it felt like it was going to leave a Lumia-shaped burn mark on my thigh.

At first, after some initial surfing around and finding others with the same problem, I thought that it might be a defect in the phone itself, but it didn’t always happen, it seemed random. Then one day I decided to start testing things methodically and see what I could come up with. I tried all manner of turning things on and off like Wifi, Bluetooth, tap to share, etc. I tested using my normal apps and not using my normal apps.

Then… I figured it out. It was the Audible app. The very, very, buggy Audible app. I had been leaving it running the in the background because it’s so buggy that if you close it, most of the time it loses your place and you have to hunt down where you were, which is a really terrible bug to release in an audiobook app. Not to mention many other bugs which I had run into. So in order to not have to track down where I was, as I said, I had left it running in the background, and THAT is what was causing my battery to drain like crazy.

So I started making bookmarks every time I was done listening and exiting out of the Audible app completely, and I have not had a battery drain problem since. I can use my phone normally all day now and still have over 60% left.

That was awhile ago, and it’s been over a year since Audible released an update for their Windows Phone app. But there was finally a new version (8.1.4.2) released today. I am hoping they have fixed this bug, and all the other ones as well. I have updated and have the app in the background as we speak, so I’ll test it out a few days and see how it goes.

There, I Fixed It

One thing I find really annoying about the Surface is that when you use the trackpad, the scrolling is reversed from the way it has been since, oh, the invention of scrolling. It was Apple’s stupid idea to start doing that so that the trackpad and touchscreen swipes would be in the same direction. Well guess what? Trackpads and touchscreens are two different things. I’m really saddened that Microsoft went this direction.

You know what else bugs me? Left turn signals that have started using blinking yellow arrows. What the heck do those mean? Turn left really quickly, the light is about to change? I don’t know why people feel the need to change things that have worked forever when it mostly causes confusion. Wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, the trackpad.

Thankfully, Microsoft (finally) have given us a way to correct this most egregious error on their part. If you go to the Windows Store and download Trackpad Settings, you can fix this design flaw.

Trackpad Settings

It’s pretty basic, but it does let you reverse the scrolling direction. I did notice that if you turn the trackpad off, it still registers clicks, so they probably need to fix that. Other than that, it does what it says.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go yell at those kids that are on my lawn again.

You Weren’t Using Those VMs, Were You?

I’ve been using Windows Azure for a bit to test out some things, and it was going well. I had set up a site-to-site VPN so that my Azure VMs could talk to my on-premise stuff, and I had a bunch of VMs running for testing purposes. And then one morning I logged into Azure, and everything was gone. Every. Thing. So I opened up a support ticket, and was told that there was a spending cap on the Azure subscription that I was using, and I had hit it.

So in order for you not to ring up any charges, they just delete everything in your subscription, and it’s not coming back. They did send me a link that described how to recover the VM hard drives, but the VMs themselves no longer exist. I was able to recover the hard drives, so no data loss, but to attach them to new VMs is a pain, considering that all my VMs were domain-joined. But the best part of the instructions is this little tidbit at the end:

*** Efforts are in progress to improve the user experience for this issue.***

Well, I would hope so. Just deleting EVERYTHING (!!!) isn’t exactly a good user experience. Moral of the story, check to make sure you don’t have a spending cap on your account if you don’t want to lose everything.

Thoughts On My New Lumia 920

I recently picked a Lumia 920 (so long, iPhone 4S!) and I’ve been using it for about two weeks now. Overall, I really like it. I got in Cyan with a Cyan NFC charger. I really like the Windows Phone OS. With the Live Tiles and easy navigation, it’s just beautiful.

The screen resolution is phenomenal, and the camera takes really good photographs. I also like all the camera add-in apps that you can get to provide filters, create animated gifs, etc. I haven’t yet used the Kid’s Corner feature, but not because my four year old hasn’t asked, I just don’t really have many games on it yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll be setting that up in the near future.

I use Windows 8 on most of my PCs now and I enjoy having the integration between them and my phone. With SkyDrive, everything is always accessible. And since I got in on the 25G promotion, I’ll probably never run out of room. And with the Nokia Music subscription, I don’t really use much of the phone’s storage for music any longer.

That being said, there are some things that are missing that while aren’t complete deal-breakers, would certainly be nice.

1. More apps – Probably the most complained about item, and probably the thing that’s the most out of Microsoft’s hands. There were a lot of apps I had on my iPhone that just aren’t available on Windows Phone. And I don’t even care about Instagram, but it seems quite a few do. There are several third-party apps for it that seem to do a pretty good job, though. Personally I have third-party apps for Starbucks, RedBox, and Google Voice. They all work fine, but official apps would be most welcome. Also, WTF, MLB? You have a BB app, but not Windows Phone? Would love to be able to watch a game on my phone, get with the program!

2. EAP-TLS Even WinMo phones had this ability. If your workplace uses certificates to access WiFi, you’re probably using EAP-TLS. Windows Phone does not have the ability to join my office wireless. But I’m working around it using Connectify on my laptop to create my own access point (don’t tell the network guy) when I need to download something large.

3. There is no way to page forward in IE? Really? That’s just pitiful.

4. The phone should remember different volume settings for when headphones are inserted or removed. I have to turn the volume nearly all the way up to listen through the aux jack in my vehicle, and regularly forget to turn it back down (because the iPhone would automatically switch volume levels) so that the first time I get an email or phone call, it’s ridiculously loud.

5. Windows Phone needs a central location to check all your notifications. Live tiles are awesome, but I don’t have every single app pinned that gets notifications. Would be nice to see them all in one place.

6. Integration between the Windows Store and the Windows Phone store. If I’ve bought an app from the Windows Store, I don’t want to have to pay for it again to get it on my phone.

As I said, I love my phone, but there is always room for improvement. I hope to see some of these things show up in the near future.

Windows Server 2012 IPAM

Server 2012 has a lot of really good new features. This isn’t one of them.

Firstly, for those who haven’t heard of it yet, IPAM is IP Address Management, a new feature in Windows Server 2012. As Microsoft describes it:

IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server® 2012 is an integrated suite of tools to enable end-to-end planning, deploying, managing and monitoring of your IP address infrastructure, with a rich user experience. IPAM automatically discovers IP address infrastructure servers on your network and enables you to manage them from a central interface.

I have been wanting to get away from the Excel spreadsheets that I have been using that people frequently neglect to update and are out of date. This sounded like a great place to start, and it’s built into Server 2012, so there wouldn’t be any additional money needed, which companies always love.

I followed this TechNet article to get everything up and running. The steps are pretty easy. First I installed the feature, then connected to it via Server Manager and chose the option to use GPOs to configure the firewall and security settings. It basically creates three GPOs, one each for DNS, DHCP, and domain controllers.

Provisioning Completed

Next you let it scan, it figures out what your DNS, DHCP, and domain controllers are in the domains that you specify.

Next, a simple line of PowerShell on the server:

Invoke-IpamGpoProvisioning -Domain contoso.com -GpoPrefixName IPAM1 -DelegatedGpoUser user1 -IpamServerFqdn ipam1.contoso.com

That sets up your GPOs. Once they are in place, you just change the status of the servers you want to manage from the discovery process from Unspecified to Manage. Once the servers pick up the new GPOs, do a refresh to show the servers are managed, then tell it to retrieve all the data from the servers.

It was very easy to set up. If you don’t count the time it took to log into the eight servers I added to do a gpupdate, the whole thing took less than 10 minutes.

Once I got all the data in, I started looking around, though, I was pretty disappointed. The main thing I was looking for was a way to more easily manage my manual server IPs. IPAM has nothing for that. Basically it’s just a DHCP pool aggregation tool. There are a few things you can’t get from your trusty DHCP administrative tool like DHCP scope usage trending:

image

I’ve only got a day’s worth of data, so nothing exciting there. That would be something useful, but other than that, there’s just not much there. It has what it calls DNS Zone Monitoring, but all I get is this:

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With no explanation anywhere I can find of what the warning is, so I can’t see how that is of any use. The only right-click option on the DNS zones is to reset the status, so I can get zones from Warning back to OK, but you can’t reset multiple zones at once, which is a pain.

There is also PowerShell that will let you export DHCP pool data from SCVMM so that it can be tracked as well, but it’s not automatic as regular DHCP servers are. I’m not using DHCP pools in VMM, so not a feature I could test.

I suppose if you have a huge organization with DHCP servers and scopes everywhere and wanted to have a place to see utilization info at a glance, then this tool is for you. If not, then you’re probably not going to get much out of it.

I think a few additions in R2 would make this feature much more useful. Better integration with System Center, such as Ops Manager alerting, and Service Manager pool requests. Also, it would be nice if it would do ping sweeps and lookups for subnets that are manually assigned and report back on those. And perhaps a tie-in with AD Sites and Services to let you know if you’re using scopes that AD isn’t aware of. If they could add a few features like that in the next version, I think it would be a much more valuable tool.

Backup Exec 2010 Hyper-V GRT Issue

So I recently fired up a few new virtual machines in my 2008 R2 Hyper-V cluster for a new project I’m working on. Got everything up and running and set up the new VMs on a backup schedule in Backup Exec. The next morning I went to check to make sure the backups happened correctly, and was greeted with this error:

V-79-57344-38721 – Failed to mount one or more virtual disk images

So the VMs backed up, but the GRT (granular restore) portion of the backup failed, and I wouldn’t be able to recover individual files from the VMs. Searching through Symantec’s KB articles was less than useful (as it often is) so it seemed I had to figure this out myself.

I went over everything I did and didn’t come up with any variation on my normal procedure for creating VMs. However, I realized that these are the first VMs I had created since I upgraded to SCVMM 2012 SP1 from 2008 R2, so perhaps something changed there. I do know that if you’re creating a VM in a cluster, you no longer get prompted to make it highly available, that’s now a checkbox, and if you forget it, the VM creation fails, so that seemed like a good place to start. Well, after checking Event Viewer logs, which were of no help.

So I stepped through the process of creating a new VM in SCVMM paying very close attention at each screen to see if there may have been something I missed. Everything looked good until I got to the Configure Settings portion of the wizard, and I noticed that the vhd files no longer get placed in the same folder as the configuration files by default, they were going to the default storage location for the server they were being created on. So I checked there, and SCVMM had created a VMMDisks folder and all the vhd files for the new VMs were there.

Well, there was something different. So using the Migrate Storage option, I moved the vhd files for one of the VMs back into the folder where the configuration files were and reran the backup job. And no more GRT error.

So it would appear that Backup Exec 2010 R3 is not capable of doing a Hyper-V GRT backup if the vhd files reside in a folder other than where the configuration files are. I’ll just have to make sure I’m manually setting them up in the right place going forward.

I’m Going to TechEd!

I got approval this week to once again attend Microsoft TechEd. This year it will be held in New Orleans June 3-6 (I still wish they’d go back to the five-day format, I liked having that extra day to get more sessions in). There isn’t much happening on the TechEd site right now other than registration related items and a link to the Channel 9 forums which you’ll miss if you don’t check the footer.

Hopefully they’ll have a schedule builder up soon, and some handy blog decorations I can use now that I actually have one to decorate. In the meantime, I installed a countdown timer in the sidebar.

More info to come as it becomes available.

Fixing Windows 8 Trackpad Driver in Bootcamp

Another issue I have had with Windows 8 in Bootcamp on a Mac is that the trackpad drivers did not initially install correctly and I wasn’t able to use it at all. I was able to solve that by following these steps.

Go to Device Manager and on the two “Touchpad” entries with the bang on them, go to “Update Driver” -> “Browse My Computer” -> “Let me pick from a list…” and change them both to USB Input Device. Reboot.

Go back to Device Manager, do an “Update Driver” again, let it search automatically, and one comes back as Apple Multitouch and the other as Apple Multitouch Mouse. Reboot again, trackpad will be working and will show up in Boot Camp control panel.