Opening RDP session to an Azure VM with PowerShell

UPDATE (4 March 2015): The method described in this post is now obsolete as a new PowerShell cmdlet Get-AzureRemoteDesktopFile provides this functionality! Check out the documentation at

One of the things I have found myself doing a lot lately is tearing down and rebuilding environments in Windows Azure (using the virtual machines functionality, which is very cool). One of the problems I came across with this approach was that when I would manually create a VM that I planned to keep there I would be able to specify the RDP port to use for remote communication, but the scripts I’m using to prepare several machines at once don’t give me that luxury (although I could probably script updating the end points, I haven’t done that yet). Continue reading “Opening RDP session to an Azure VM with PowerShell”

Managing Windows Azure VMs through PowerShell

I make no secret of the fact that I love PowerShell – all the jokes about it being a mechanism to turn IT Pro’s into developers without them realising it aside, you can do some seriously powerful stuff with it. This week I got my head around a few more things I can script up with it, and the area of focus was on managing my Windows Azure virtual machines. There is an Azure PowerShell module that you can install and configure to be able to easily connect to your subscription (only takes a couple of minutes to set up, the instructions are at and once that’s done you can start getting in to some scripting Continue reading “Managing Windows Azure VMs through PowerShell”

Using the CycleTile in Windows Phone 8 with images from the internet

I’m not shy about telling people that I’m a massive fan of Windows Phone, and the number 1 reason I like the platform and have since day 1 was live tiles. So naturally as a developer of Windows Phone apps making sure I create awesome live tiles for my apps is an important part of creating an app that people will love to use. With Windows Phone 7.8 and 8 a set of new tile formats were added, these are the Flip, Iconic and Cycle tiles (you can read more about these at I’ve looked at using the Cycle Tile implementation for my apps and the first thing I’ve discovered is that you have to use images that are stored locally on the device rather than just providing a URL to an image from the internet. Continue reading “Using the CycleTile in Windows Phone 8 with images from the internet”

Directly querying SharePoint databases

One of the first rules of SharePoint that you learn when you start diving in to the product is that you shouldn’t ever touch the SharePoint databases – it’s fairly well known that you should leave them alone, but I’ve been asked the question a few times over the years “Well what if I’m just reading from the databases? Surely that’s ok because I’m not making any changes to the data”, so what I wanted to cover off in this post is why it’s not a great idea to read from the databases and what the impact of doing this is. Continue reading “Directly querying SharePoint databases”