I love computing technologies. I’ve been programming since 1975 and experimenting with various languages (Basic, Pascal, COBOL, FORTRAN, RPG, APL, C, C++, C#, a little Python) and platforms (mostly DOS, Windows, .NET Framework and Android). During these years, I’ve consulted, published books, published magazine articles, and produced classes to help others work with these some of the more popular of these technologies. To this day, I’ve kept up with many of these technologies and I will certainly continue to do so. For example, I expect that I will update my CLR via C# book to cover the next version of the CLR and C# (release date unknown).

However, my nature is such that I’m always looking for the next thing to embrace. After much deliberation, I decided to focus on Windows Azure. And, as such, I along with Paul Mehner (another Wintellectual who has been working with Azure even longer than I) have been working together with it almost daily since August 2010. In addition, I’ve had numerous meetings and e-mail exchanges with Microsoft Azure team members. And now, I’m finally ready to make some announcements:

  • Wintellect now offers a rich 2-day Windows Azure class taught by Paul & myself. We have built a class that we are very proud of. It is packed full of deep information and practical demos & sample code. We have compared our content to many others and truly believe that our class offers much deeper, useful, and practical information than the competition. You can find the syllabus for the class here. A much more detailed class syllabus can be obtained by contacting one of Wintellect’s sales people via phone (877-968-5528) or this web page. As always, we are always happy to customize our course content for our customers.


  • Wintellect is offering its Devscovery conference three times in 2011 and at all these events I will be leading a “Day of Windows Azure” class and Paul will also be leading some Azure sessions as well.


  • I also will be posting a bunch of Windows-Azure focused blog posts (available here) & on-line articles where I’ll share tips and techniques with you to hopefully simplify your effort own efforts when working with Azure In addition, I will be hosting a complimentary webinar on March 11th from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. ET covering Azure Blob Storage. I will be discussing the many features offered by Windows Azure Blob Storage including: accounts, containers, blobs, and blocks/pages, using the storage client library to access blobs, how to conditionally access blobs, blob snapshots, leases, and shared access signatures. You can register for this event here.


  • We have also produced a useful class library of helper code for people working with Azure. We call it Wintellect’s Power Azure Library. It needs some more testing and documentation but when it is ready, we’ll make it freely available from the Wintellect Resources page.


  • Paul and I have also built an Azure diagnostic transfer tool (better name to be created) that can be scripted or run interactively. This tool can force a transfer of Azure diagnostic information from your running instances to Azure storage. Then, the tool can download from storage the Azure diagnostic data creating CSV files which can be loaded into Excel (or other tool) and easily processed including the ability to create charts and graphs. In addition, the tool converts the performance monitor data into a file which can be read by the Windows Performance Monitor tool allowing you to graphically see the values of role instance performance counters over time. This tool will be offered for free and, when available, it can also be downloaded from the Wintellect Resources page.


  • For many, many years, I have been adding little features to my PushPin utility (also freely available from the Wintellect Resources page). I use this utility throughout every day of my life. It allows me to pin any window on top of other windows, change the opacity of windows, dial phone numbers, rotate the display, touch file timestamps, download files from the web, determine which app(s) have a file in use, navigate to registry keys in RegEdit.exe, and more. The new version of PushPin now periodically checks your Azure subscription and informs you if you have any deployed services running in the cloud allowing you to delete the deployments in order to avoid racking up charges. This utility is great for presenters, experimenters, or testers who deploy services to Azure and do not want to leave the deployment running indefinitely.


  • At Wintellect, we offer consulting services on many various technologies and, for some time now, we have been helping various companies migrate their existing applications to Windows Azure. The results of this real-world experience can be seen in everything we do: courses, conference sessions, blog posts, articles, class libraries, and tools.

And, before anyone asks: At this time, I do not plan on writing a book about Windows Azure development due to the time commitment involved in producing a brand new book. But, hopefully, I can get relevant information out to you sooner (and more cheaply) via all the avenues mentioned above. Also stay-tuned as I will be announcing the release of our new online (premium) content, you must sign up with Wintellect (please note that signing up is free). I will release more details in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.