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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

This Week I Learned - Week #276

Saturday, July 21, 2018
This Week I Learned -

* Site Recovery replicates data from on-premises to Azure storage over a public endpoint, or using ExpressRoute public peering. Replication over a site-to-site VPN network isn't supported. When you replicate to Azure, replication traffic reaches the public endpoints of an Azure Storage account, Thus you can only replicate over the public internet with ExpressRoute (public peering), and VPN doesn't work.

Azure Backup supports VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines running on Linux and Windows, as well as physical Windows Servers.

Currently, more Azure VM types are certified and supported for SAP HANA than other public cloud providers

The new Microsoft Writing Style Guide brings the guidance up-to-date for 2018 and is an evolution of the Microsoft Manual of Style from 2012. The principles and guidelines in the guide are the same as those used by internal Microsoft writers, which allows consistent quality and style across all apps and content.

Azure Backup Server inherits much of the workload backup functionality from Data Protection Manager (DPM). Azure Backup Server does not back up to tape, nor does it integrate with System Center.When choosing a server for running Azure Backup Server, it is recommended you start with a gallery image of Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter or Windows Server 2016 Datacenter. The recommended minimum requirements for the server virtual machine (VM) should be: A2 Standard with two cores and 3.5 GB RAM.

The WebSocket and HTTP/2 protocols enable full duplex communication between a server and a client over a long running TCP connection. This allows for a more interactive communication between the web server and the client, which can be bidirectional without the need for polling as required in HTTP-based implementations. These protocols have low overhead, unlike HTTP, and can reuse the same TCP connection for multiple request/responses resulting in a more efficient utilization of resources. These protocols are designed to work over traditional HTTP ports of 80 and 443.

Amazon is every online retailer’s forbidding nightmare. Last year, it dominated 44 percent of the US eCommerce market and about 4 percent of all domestic retail sales.

Amazon controls about half the market for new books, more than any bookseller in the history of the United States.

Chinese people often report that they’re comfortable with government surveillance, and train stations are known to be closely watched. The logic often expressed is that those who are law abiding have nothing to fear - NY Times

* The keys to crafting a sustainable career are knowing yourself — what interests you, what you do best and not so well, what energizes you — and being acutely attuned to the fields and companies you’re interested in, so that you can identify places where you can add value - HBR

* Nearly one third of the medical professionals working with United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) are of Indian origin. There are 1,724 doctors with the surname Patel on the General Medical Council's list of registered medical practitioners (second to Smith, with 1,750)

* 2 sides of the same coin: Afghan shoppers go online to avoid bombs, harassment while Algeria turns off its internet to keep students from cheating on exams

* A Tokyo-based firm, Yoriso  is launching a new service that will allow you to talk to a smart speaker and receive a sermon from Buddhist monks. Users will be able to talk to a smart speaker developed by Line and describe how they are feeling: uncertain, angry or sad.

* The male sea lion can size up his competitors by the tone of their roar. Dogs back down when they hear the growl of a heftier rival. And humans, it turns out, do much the same thing - The Times

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Facts about Bharat Ratna Awardees

Friday, July 20, 2018
Some facts about the recipients of Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award -

  • Bidhan Chandra Roy, M. Visvesvaraya, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, C. V. Raman, C. N. R. Rao are the men of  science who have been bestowed with the award
  • M. S. Subbulakshmi, Ravi Shankar, Lata Mangeshkar and Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi  are awardees from the world of music
  • Nelson Mandela, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan/Bacha Khan/'Frontier Gandhi', Mother Teresa are foreign born
  • Indian Theosophist & Sanskrit scholar, Bhagwan Das who was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1955,   was an opponent of rioting as a form of protest.
  • Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the youngest recipient to date (at 40) and the first ever sportsperson to receive the award.
  • Maharishi Karve/Dhondo Keshav Karve was awarded the Bharat Ratna, in 1958, the year of his 100th birthday


Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies that I've enjoyed reading

Saturday, July 14, 2018
A relative recently asked me about the biographies and autobiographies I've read when the topic about favorite books came up. Here are some that I've enjoyed reading -
  1. Al Jaffee's Mad Life: A Biography
  2. I Too had a Dream - Verghese Kurien
  3. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life - Scott Adams, part biography, part advise
  4. A.R.Rahman, The Musical Storm
  5. The Rebel: A biography of Ram Jethmalani
  6. Karmayogi - E Sreedharan
  7. Super 30:Changing the World 30 Students at a Time - Anand Kumar
  8. Fall of the Sparrow - Salim Ali
  9. Ghost in the Wires - Kevin Mitnick
  10.  Beyond the Last Blue Mountain - JRD Tata
  11. Gentle Genius - George Westinghouse
  12. My Days - RK Narayan
  13. The Autobiography of  Benjamin Franklin
  14. The Story Of My Experiments With Truth - Mahatma Gandhi

Yet to complete...
Srinivasan Ramanujam
Abhinav Bindra

This Week I Learned - Week #275

Friday, July 13, 2018
This Week I Learned -

Per Azure subscription the default quota for virtual machine CPU cores is 20

* The current pricing of Managed Disks shows that the newly introduced Standard SSD disks are cheaper than Standard HDD disks.

* Many database workloads are not CPU-intensive. Azure offers certain VM sizes where you can constrain the VM vCPU  count to reduce the cost of software licensing, while maintaining the same memory, storage, and I/O bandwidth. The new Azure VM sizes (in D, G & M series) allow workloads to push higher CPU utilization at a fraction of the (per-core) licensing cost.

There are two types of subnets in a VNet, a gateway subnet and a virtual machine-hosting subnet.

* P2S uses the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP). S2S and VNet-to-VNet VPN connections use IPsec tunnel mode with AES256. ExpressRoute is a private WAN connection

* The name of a virtual network must be unique within a resource group, but can be duplicated within a subscription or Azure region.

* On the lines of Just enough Azure for Hadoop there is an interesting series of Azure articles targeting Enterprise Architects - Microsoft Cloud for Enterprise Architects Series (that was last updated in May 2018)

How many virtual networks and subnets do I need?

Even though Azure is built on the same Hyper-V that we can use, Microsoft did not use the Hyper-V Replica-based method for replicating Hyper-V virtual machines. Instead, they used the same system that is used to replicate VMware virtual machines to Azure. When you enable replication for a virtual machine, a “mobility service” extension is installed in the guest OS of the virtual machine - Petri.com

* Azure Log Integration tool (AzLog) was initially released to help customers navigate the complex process of consolidating, translating, and forwarding logs from a variety of Azure services to a security information and event management (SIEM) tool. Microsoft’s recommended approach for integrating Azure with SIEM tools is to use Azure Monitor now 

Azure Backup Server,  MABS v1 was based on DPM 2012 R2, and MABS v2 is based on DPM 2016

* "..Microsoft is the single largest corporate contributor to open source on GitHub. Microsoft has the largest open source community in the entire world with Visual Studio Code"

* Speechcons are special words and phrases that Amazon Alexa pronounces more expressively. Check out the India specific interjections/exclamations Alexa supports

Google finally admitted that its Spectre mitigation protections in Google Chrome have triggered a 10-13 percent increase in RAM usage too

* In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry. China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States. China has become the world’s biggest market for security and surveillance technology. Chinese companies are developing globally competitive applications like image and voice recognition. Yitu took first place in a 2017 open contest for facial recognition algorithms held by the United States 
government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence. A recent state-media propaganda film called “Amazing China” showed off a virtual map (of buildings to find out who lives where) that provided police with records of utility use, saying it could be used for predictive policing. If there are anomalies, the system sends an alert. Chinese police officers pay a visit to an apartment with a record of erratic utility use. The whole point is that people don’t know if they’re being monitored, and that uncertainty makes people more obedient - NY Times

* When I moved to Paris in my early 30s, waiters called me “mademoiselle.” It was “Bonjour, mademoiselle” when I walked into a cafe and “Voilà, mademoiselle” as they set down a coffee. Around the time I turned 40, however, there was a collective switch, and waiters started calling me “madame.” These “madames” were tentative at first, but soon they were coming at me like a hailstorm. Now it’s “Bonjour, madame” when I walk in, “Merci, madame” when I pay my bill and “Au revoir, madame” as I leave. Do these waiters gather after work for Sancerre and a slide show to decide which female customers to downgrade? (Irritatingly, men are “monsieur” forever)....the number 40 still has symbolic resonance. Jesus fasted for 40 days. Muhammad was 40 when the archangel Gabriel appeared to him. The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years - NY Times

* The total amount of commission distributed by Indian mutual fund asset management companies for the year FY 2017 – 18 came to 8,533 Crores. The AMFI list (Link) provides data for 979 entities of which the top 100 entities make 80% of the commission. Banks are a major seller of Mutual funds with many of them generating large incomes from selling their own funds - Capitalmind

* "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." - England footballer Gary Lineker in 1990

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Which Azure Services can be deployed into a virtual network?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
You can communicate with most Azure resources over the Internet through public IP addresses. When you deploy Azure services in a virtual network, you can communicate with the service resources privately, through private IP addresses. Below is a list of services that can be deployed into a virtual network:

  1. Virtual machines: Linux or Windows
  2. Service fabric
  3. Virtual machine scale sets
  4. HDInsight
  5. App Service Environment
  6. RedisCache
  7. API Management
  8. VPN Gateway
  9. Application Gateway (internal)
  10. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
  11. Azure Container Service Engine with the Azure Virtual Network CNI plug-in
  12. Azure Active Directory Domain Services: Virtual network (classic) only
  13. Azure Batch
  14. Cloud services: Virtual network (classic) only