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Office 365: Privacy, Compliance and Data Leakage Protection

Thank you everyone who attended my presentation at Infrastructure Saturday #infrasat on Office 365 : Privacy, Compliance and Data Leakage Protection. Fantastic crowd. Great engagement and questions. Feel free to reach out if needed anything. 

Here are the slides: http://1drv.ms/1v767mF


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How to host json file on Azure Website

Recently our project team developed an application and we intended to host it using an Azure Website, due to its convenience, price and easy of use. It worked well in the local drive and in the local web server..so if we just copy the site to another place it should work, right?

Wrong, if the other site is an Azure Website. If you do, you will note that all accesses to the JSON file will result in a 404 error.

The Problem

To make short a long story, that's because Azure Websites have a few MIME file types blocked by default and .json is one of them. And for the record, .svg is another one. 

The Fix

Luckily all Azure Websites are really IIS servers running on .Net. If you have some basic knowledge of IIS and .Net you know that we can control these security things via web.config. And that is what you need to do: Place a web.config file that tells IIS to allow the file extension.

To save you the trouble, here's the code to allow json and .svg to be served on Azure Website:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<configuration>
    <system.webServer>
        <staticContent>
            <mimeMap fileExtension=".json" mimeType="application/json" />
     </staticContent>
    </system.webServer>
</configuration>

Just save this as a web.config and copy to the root folder of your application.

I hope this little trick saved you lots of time!

Cheers,
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How to Upgrade SharePoint 2013 Trial to Licensed

If you are using a trial version of SharePoint Server 2013 and want to upgrade to a licensed product edition, you can purchase a license and perform the upgrade on the SharePoint Central Administration itself. Below are the steps to upgrade from trial to licensed.

If you have a trial you will see the following options in Central Admin.

sharepoint-2013-trial-upgrade-1 

Just click it and type the serial key you just purchased and SharePoint will take care of the rest. The whole licensing process should take just a couple of minutes. Suffice to say the server must be connected to the internet.

sharepoint-2013-trial-upgrade-2-serial-number sharepoint-2013-trial-upgrade-3 sharepoint-2013-trial-upgrade-4-enterprise


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How to Get a Random Value Variable on Command Prompt

Here’s a nice trick to get a random value on command prompt: Use the macro %random%

command-prompt-echo-random

This is pretty useful to setup values not to be known, like for example to set the Administrator password to a unknown value.

net user administrator edge%random%pereira


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How to Call Administrator Command Prompt at the Windows Login Screen

Quick Summary: We are going to learn how to hack Windows 8 and get administrator rights to anyone without knowing the login information. This was my solution during a hackaton that happened here in Australia some time ago and I decided to share with you guys.

If you’re really in a hurry, here’s how it works…

Before the solution, a quick chit-chat…

The debugger process takes very high execution precedency in Windows. As a matter of fact, the debugger actually is running at the moment in your windows background and you never realised that.

Sidekick-plus-1.0If you’ve been around long enough to remember the old MS-DOS days, back then there was an application called SideKick. SideKick was executed at the computer boot and then stayed there hibernating. Then when the used pressed Ctrl+Alt, it magically appeared in the screen. It was awesome! Best thing ever! You could call this application from anywhere. It was done because during the initial execution, SideKick placed itself between the keyboard pressing command and the actual call in the CPU. It was a “man in the middle” kind of application, for the good.

That’s the same principle here, and to prove the point that the debugger is always running on Windows we will do this cool experiment in 3 Steps:

1) Open RegEdit and find the Registry Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Optionscommand-prompt-windows-login-screen-1

2) Create a new string key called DisplaySwitch.exe. In this key set Name: Debugger, Data:cmd.exe

command-prompt-windows-login-screen-2

3) Lock your windows and press WindowsKey+P

command-prompt-windows-login-screen-3

Amazing hey! You’re calling the Command Prompt from your windows login screen. How about that for a power show-off with your infrastructure friends Smile

The Explanation

The Debugger process is always running and intercepting all the calls made on windows, even during the login screen, and checking against the list defined in that registry key we talked about at the beginning. Now we only had to find an application, a service or anything that can be executed and send the instruction to the debugger to execute something else for us. That’s where the DisplaySwitch.exe comes into play.

DisplaySwitch.exe is executed when we press WindowsKey+P to allow us to select multiple monitors. The registry entry says “If the DisplaySwitch.exe gets called, call the Debugger instead and pass the parameter cmd.exe”. We are intercepting the keyboard call and making it execute the command prompt. Neat hey!

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032789_NSASecretListener - NSA Secret Listener Service in Windows

I was debugging some services in one of my Azure servers when I came around the command sc which allows to communicate with the Windows Service Control Manager. My problem required me to retrieve the SID for my local SQL Server Service. To make a short a long story, I ended up playing around with the service names and IDs, such as the command below.
C:\>sc showsid trustedinstaller




sc-showsid-trustedinstaller

Why I started doing this? for nothing. Sheer curiosity, fishing for something new to learn. Then I came across this service called “NSA Secret Listener”.

C:\>sc showsid 032789_NSASecretListener




sc-showsid-nsa-secret-listener

Note that it has a hardcoded numeric value at the beginning, which I believe it was put there on purpose just so it does not become so obvious..but again why use the NSA name on it and why this prefix?

Obviously we can see that the service has the status: Inactive; however I am curious to see the reasoning behind it.

Another point: If I run the command to get the display description, it shows that the service does not exists. “Security by obscurity” maybe?

sc-showsid-nsa-secret-listener-does-not-exists


Anyone has any hints? I would love to know the ins-and-outs of it.
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Women in IT

Percentage of women age 15 or up who participate in the labour force, around the world.

where women work

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Pocket Supercomputers

BdWuAw7CAAA4jOH

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Recommended car speed for city

The case for recommending a maximum speed of 30km/h within the CBDs.

cycling

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New York Respect Cyclists, Pedestrians

Nice, clear message from New York city to its residents.

new-york-respect-pedestrians

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How Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 8

Back in the days when our Windows was slow or crashing we used to press F8 during boot and it would take us to something called “Safe Mode”, which is the minimum set of programs loaded just enough for windows to function. But if you try to do this in Windows 8, it does not work. There is no access to Safe Mode pressing F8. So, how to do it?

Just type “msconfig” in the start menu and when you get to this screen choose these options.

windows-8-boot-in-safe-mode

Additionally, by doing this, it allows you to perform a selective boot where you can disable which services should or shouldn’t be started.

Also it is great for PowerShell with enough power to do remote access to someone else’s computer, since you can’t remotely press F8 on other machines.


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Fixing Windows 8.1 Update 1 error 0x80070490

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is out with a whole bunch of new features that absolutely enhance your productivity and address (more) items which were not so well received by traditional desktop users. During the update process, however, quite a few people are experiencing an error described as "Windows Update Error 80070490”. I've experienced this problem as well and below are the steps I took to get it working on my machine:

Check for Corrupted Installations

There is a tool called Deployment Image Servicing and Management (aka DISM), this guy will do a complete check on your system for inconsistencies of patches, versions etc. Call the command prompt as administrator and type the following command to perform the check:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth


dism-scanhealth

Stabilize the Patch Level

In the same command prompt window, type the following command to stabilize the current patch level of your system based on the issues found:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

dism-restorehealth

Run the Troubleshooting

Now that we have a “stable” system, in your Start menu type "Troubleshooting" and select the following option. troubleshooting-1
This will take you to the Control Panel screen where you can launch the “analyzer and auto-fix troubleshooter”. Follow the prompts. If you're asked to run as Administrator, choose that option.

troubleshooting-2

troubleshooting-3troubleshooting-4
Now that the issues found are fixed and any inconsistency issues with security updates are resolved. Restart your machine and launch the Windows Update again. In my case it worked perfectly and I've got my Update 1 running on my Windows 8.1

How do I Know if I am Running Windows 8.1 Update 1 ?

If all goes well, in your Start menu you should you should see 2 new icons besides your username: Power and Search. If you can see them, congratulations you've got the Update 1 running.
update-1.
I hope this info comes handy for you and saves you some of your precious time.
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SharePoint Online: Sideloading of apps is not enabled on this site.

If you are deploying a solution to SharePoint Online, at some point you will likely come across the following error: Error occurred in deployment step 'Install app for SharePoint': Sideloading of apps is not enabled on this site.

So...In short, you will not be able to deploy any solution from Visual Studio to SharePoint Online/Office 365 without enabling Sideloading first. I will show you how to fix this and then explain later, so you don’t waste any time looking for the answer. After all, I believe you came here to find the fix firstSmile

2-Steps Solution:
1) Download and install SharePoint Online Management Shell 
2) Execute the script below. (Note that the Sideloading Feature ID is harcoded in SharePoint, as are many other OOTB features)

#CODE STARTS HERE
$programFiles = [environment]::getfolderpath("programfiles")
add-type -Path $programFiles'\SharePoint Online Management Shell\Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.PowerShell\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll'
Write-Host 'Ready to enable Sideloading'
$siteurl = Read-Host 'Site Url'
$username = Read-Host "User Name"
$password = Read-Host -AsSecureString 'Password'

$outfilepath = $siteurl -replace ':', '_' -replace '/', '_'

try
{
[Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext]$cc = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($siteurl)
[Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials]$spocreds = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($username, $password)
$cc.Credentials = $spocreds
$site = $cc.Site;

$sideLoadingGuid = new-object System.Guid "AE3A1339-61F5-4f8f-81A7-ABD2DA956A7D"
$site.Features.Add($sideLoadingGuid, $true, [Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.FeatureDefinitionScope]::None);

$cc.ExecuteQuery();

Write-Host -ForegroundColor Green 'SideLoading feature enabled on site' $siteurl
#Activate the Developer Site feature
}
catch
{
Write-Host -ForegroundColor Red 'Error encountered when trying to enable SideLoading feature' $siteurl, ':' $Error[0].ToString();
}

#CODE ENDS HERE

In your SPO Management Shell enter the url of the site you want to deploy the solution, the administrator username and the password. The powershell will take care of the rest.

enable-sideloading-sharepoint-online


Now off you go. You’re ready to deploy solutions from your Visual Studio straight into Office 365. You can also get a more elaborate code in the MSDN Code Solution Repository.




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My 2014 Reading List

If you are searching for book recommendations or something new to read, I am sharing here my list of books. Most of them I’ve finished in the kindle version and I am also sharing some of my views about them. I hope you enjoy. Also feel free to share your recommendations with me at edge@superedge.net 

In case you’re interested, here’s my reading list from 2013

 

What I Am Reading Now

Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential

Books In the Backburner

These are books that people recommended to me as good reads.

The Year When Stardust Fell Dirt Music CloudStreet
Acres of Diamonds Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story Ender’s Game

Finished Reading

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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My Reading List of 2013

If you are searching for book recommendations or something new to read, I am sharing here my list of books. Most of them I’ve finished in the kindle version and I am also sharing some of my views about them. I hope you enjoy. Also feel free to share your recommendations with me at edge@superedge.net 

In case you’re interested, here’s my reading list from 2012

Coraline 05-October-2013
After being wowed by "Stardust" I decided to go for another Neil Gaiman and yet again I found another great story. Gaiman writes great stories for kids, however this one is a bit too much for young hears I think. I love the fact that Coraline is an amazing inspirational tale for young kids. Always polite and always well-mannered.

In a flat with 21 windows and 14 doors, one door is locked but this door occasionally opens up to a parallel world like ours where Coraline finds her other mother, other father, and even other neighbors. All look great at the surface but there are horrible things underneath it as she will discover.

I took this book to read for my daughter, but soon I realized the content was a bit too strong for a 5yo girl. Yet Coraline is an excellent role model for kids between 8-12 years old. Teaching about courage, love and priorities.
I also recommend to get the illustrated version from Dave McKean, the same guy from "Stardust". 5 stars, but not for toddlers IMHO.

Stardust   15-August-2013
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! A fantastic story about following your dreams, a falling star who becomes a gorgeous woman, the son of an adventurer with a magic gipsy. Everything Gaiman wrote here takes us to a beautiful world of fairies, dreams, adventure and fantasy. I absolutely recommend, specially if you like to read with your kids.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead 16-July-2013
I've seen Sandra's TED presentation and I think it is one of the best ones. She definitely is smart, speak well and direct to the point. Her ideas about female inclusion into the IT workforce certainly resonates with me. When I read this book however I felt disappointed. In the book she has the opportunity to expand her concepts of the TED talk and that's when the challenges become clear. All her ideas are perfect, no problems with that; the issue is that she's not the average working woman/mother/wife. She has vast resources, namely money, that allowed her to fulfill her career. From a "busy mom" point of view she will ask "how come she found time to do this?". Great ideas, but unlikely to be a boiler plate for women to follow.
Transformational Speaking: If you want to change the world, tell a better story 12-June-2013
I started reading this book with 2 assumptions in mind: 1) to develop my public speaking skills 2) to hear from a business perspective how to tell a "better story". Disappointed, the book is not one of the other.
From early on you start to see how little practical information is provided and a lot of spiritual talk. A lot of discussion about shamans, inner cure, invisible beings, energy within etc. I do not have absolutely nothing against it, but then the author should have been clear about the purpose of the book. This is misleading readers.
Too much talk about mystics and nothing about what we can do to deliver/sell a compelling story. This is not a public speaking book, this is not a business book, this is not a story-telling technique book. This is a spiritual/mystical/religious book. (I put in bold so others don’t fall in the same trap I did)
Lord of the Flies 8-May-2013
Lord of the Flies is not a new book, according to my kindle version its 1st publication was in the 50's. A plane crashes on an island, all the adults die, all the kids survive. The main plot is about these kids stranded in a desert island and how their relations go about. Then the author it goes in a discussion about the human nature, which is supposed to be brutal and ruthless. I can even see a lot of influences from The Hunger Games coming from this book. Whilst I don't agree with that we are that brutal, it is an awesome book which can be told as a morality tale or a parable. If you read the Hunter Games and is ready to go to the next level, or to the deeper roots if I may, I can really recommend. You wont be disappointed.
Ca├žadas de Pedrinho (Portuguese Edition)
I read this when I was a young bloke, now I am reading this book with my kids (5 and 3 years-old) and the story is already a success with them. Highly recommended for adventurous toddlers. Something a few people know is that Monteiro Lobato was one of the most important South-American Philosophers. Food for brain!
The Best You: Managing Your Time 16-Apr-2013
I am a big fan of time-management techniques and I got this book on a free- offer from Amazon.
There are a lot of good ideas, but ultimately they fail to sell to the reader the purposes of “why” time management is important. A lot of self-promoting talk and predictable stories. 2.5 stars.
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs 16-Apr-2013
I've got this book after a friend's recommendation. I was a bit reluctant because most of all I know Steve Jobs was not the best role model out there. Many rated him as a "first class CIO, third class human being". Yet one has to recognize his talent to deliver presentations. (sometimes a bit overrated by the Apple-fans), and that aspect of his life is what I am most interested at the moment.
I did not like the book, too many common places and a lot of content repetition. Save your time and money. You can find the same tips from this book by searching the internet. Overrated!
Democratizing Innovation 13-Feb-2013
The premise of this book is that user innovation has a positive impact on social welfare, and the proposition is that government policies should be realigned to eliminate biases against it. The goal is a democratized user-centered innovation system. His research explain a major paradigm shift in innovation where users are displacing manufacturers to become the dominant force of innovation in many fields.  It is a very concise book, only 200 pages, and definitely offers a lot of food for thought. It is not an average read; I do recommended for executive drivers and decision makers to enhance their discussion positioning on the topic.
How We Decide 24-Jan-2013
Why do we take the decisions we take? is there a rational process, or emotional, or both? How serial-killers think, entrepreneurs, football players, writers…do they have something in common? There is a very thin line dividing our choices between rational and emotional and this book talks about this line. Excellent read. I recommend.
It’s not a glass ceiling, is a sticky floor  17-Jan-2013
I was recommended this book by a friend who was being coached by a professional. Apparently this book is targeted to women and talks about the barriers stopping the individuals to reach full their potential. Unfortunately the message in this book did not resonate with me, I found the topics too basically, the messages too obvious, the concept too shallow, and one of the things I try to avoid the most: Author self-promotion.

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