Thursday, February 22, 2018

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 174

In the absence of Marc Kean who is busy at Microsoft, let me introduce my new co-host Brenton Johnson from Uptake Digital. Brenton comes from a 'born in the cloud' IT business that looks after customer's digital needs and implements cloud solutions for them. In this episode we meet Brenton and find out about his background, we also cover some new and updates from the world of Azure and Office 365. Have a listen and let us know what you think of the changes. We are still finding our feet in absence of Marc.

Take a listen and let us know what you think

You can listen directly to this episode at

Subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




January Update for Microsoft Teams

New features in Planner

New apps in Microsoft Teams

Outlook Groups app is retiring

Use SharePoint web parts to showcase data from inside and outside Office 365

Azure revenues

Hybrid Cloud printing

Azure Cloud Shell

Protect machines using managed disks and ASR

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

OneDrive Office sync conflicts

I recently wrote an article about

Offline file conflicts with SharePoint Online

that ran through the process of what happens when users go offline when working on shared files.

After doing some more poking around in the latest OneDrive for Business sync client I found this under the Office tab in Settings:


You can find more information on the first option here:

Use Office 2016 to sync Office files that I open

which notes:

If you turn off this setting, Office will no longer be able to automatically merge changes from different versions of documents. You'll also be prompted to upload a new copy of a file before you can share it directly from an Office desktop app.

You can also elect how to handle Sync conflicts, which by default is set to Let me choose to merge changes or keep both copies.

The defaults options are going to suit most people but you can go in a customise these if you wish to improve how conflicts are handled in your environment.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My podcasts 2018


Apart from my Kindle and Audible consumption I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Whether travelling in the car, on the train, out walking, taking a flight, wherever. I’m not usually far from a having a podcast in my ear.

So here’s my current top listening list:

1. Windows Weekly

The latest Microsoft news with some fun and entertainment along the way. Paul Thurrott’s musing make this podcast alone something worth listening to.

2. The Tim Ferriss Show

Some really great advice, business insights and strategy. Also lots of life lessons that I have found work really well for me. A weekly must listen for me.

3. Microsoft Cloud Show

Beginning to lose it’s interest for me. Becoming too Dev heavy and repeating stuff that I know about. Also, becoming a bit too much of the ‘space nerds’ podcast.

4. Hardcore History

Not a regular event but when these episodes drop I’m all ears. They are are deep dive into history told by a master narrator. If you love history, you’ll love these episodes.

5. Jocko Podcast

Probably too hard core for most. For me it is a great mix of military history and business mindset training. If you have a ‘fanatical’ tendency then give this one a listen.

6. Unbeatable Mind Podcast

Still some worthwhile content but becoming less so for me. Maybe time to put this one on the back burner for a while.

7. Let’s Talk Crypto podcast

An Australian show that walks you through the basics. Needs some deeper content to keep me listening long term but for now a good summary and getting started point for crypto, especially if you want an Australian bent.

8. Microsoft Cloud IT Pro podcast

A lot of news around the MS Cloud but also a lot of snide comments about unfavoured MS services which can be a tad grating given they do have value to many. Short and sweet but perhaps too short? Again, another one up for review in 2018.

9. The Kevin Rose Show

A bit like the Tim Ferriss podcast. Plenty of interesting and different stuff that always makes you think. Somewhat irregular episodes but I am still enjoying what I’m hearing.

I listen to all episodes at at least 2X speed to allow me to crank through most of these episodes in a week.

There are also a few new podcast I’ve recently picked up on that I am still evaluating as to whether they’ll remain favourites. I currently download them all but do I listen regularly? Probably not. if I have missed a few episodes then, after a while, I’ll probably remove them from my play list. Finding informative and enjoyable content is proving harder for me of late.

Since 2010 I have published my own podcast:

Need to Know podcast

which covers the Microsoft Cloud (typically Office 365 and Azure) as well as business topics. I encourage you to have a listen and me know what you think.

So what do you listen to and recommend?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Azure Shell comes directly to browsers

One of the really cool things Azure has introduced recently has been it’s Cloud Shell.


This is the ability to run a PowerShell command line window directly in a browser or on a mobile device. You did this by selecting the shell icon in the portal as shown above. When you did so you got a command line in the lower half of your browser. Really handy.

Now all of this is happening in a browser and until now you needed to access this by logging into the Azure portal. Well, if you now navigate directly to:

You’ll be able to login to the Azure Cloud Shell directly.


When you go there you’ll need to select a subscription to use (in case your have a few).


Once you have selected this an Azure Cloud Shell will spin up right in your browser as shown above. It may take a few minutes to do this and actually get to the command prompt, so be patient.


Once there, you can execute PowerShell commands against the tenant.

How cool is that?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Email Message Header Analyzer for Office 365

Much of the diagnostic detail relating to emails is buried in locations that you can’t see. If you have the need to examine email messages for troubleshooting or security this can be a challenge.


A great tool you can add to your arsenal is the free Message Header Analyzer which you can find here:

Once installed you will find an additional button in your OWA:


That when selected will give you a range of options you can use to dive deep into the technical information surrounding the email in question.


I especially like the ability to dig into the SPF and DKIM style details.


If you need in to do any troubleshooting or email analysis on a regular basis I’d highly recommend you add this to your inbox.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Double check those links

Unfortunately, as services like Office 365 become more prevalent so too do the attacks against them. These attacks are going to target people who are the least IT savvy.


The above is the first example of an email I received this morning. Being close to Valentine’s Day it would be easy for an ordinary user to click on the link provided inside to download the PDF of their order.


However, if you mouse over that link, you see that it actually re-directs you to a malicious web site, but of course a user isn’t going to know that.


I gotta say that the malicious web site really does look an Office 365 login page doesn’t it? The only obvious give away is the URL at the top of the page.


Upon closer inspection you see that it is in fact not going to the Office 365 login URL which is:


You’ll also note that the email address is already in the dialog box so all a user would need to do is press enter as they normally would.


At the next page they are prompted for their email address. again, very, very authentic looking Office 365 login page.

Typically, the user would enter their password and hit enter. At this point their login details have been sent to the bad guys and the user is redirected to correct Office 365 login page. The user of course, thinks they entered something wrong and go through the process again. However, their account has now been compromised, pretty much without them realising.


Here is the next phishing email that I received moments after getting the first. This one appears to be directly from Microsoft request an update to the security of the Office 365 account.

This prays on the underlying fear most users have of technology in order to get them to click the link.


If they do so, they are again taken to another ‘official’ looking Office 365 login page as you see above.


Again, this one has a non Office 365 login URL as shown above. Like the previous case, this site has it’s own certificate (HTTPS) making it appear even more legitimate.

So if you come across these sites, first course of action is to report them to Microsoft.

Submit spam, non-spam and phishing scam messages to Microsoft for Analysis

Because these types of attacks are new into the wild they are typically not picked up by reputation based systems. Eventually they picked up, like in the browser here:


but until they are, there really isn’t much that can be done.

I’ve said this before, security is tough:

The bad guys keep winning

and technology can’t be used to solve every issue. We need to couple that with education to help people ask the right question before potentially doing the wrong thing.

if something in your inbox doesn’t seem right, chances are it isn’t. So treat it with caution.

Friday, February 9, 2018

CIAOPS Need to Know Azure Webinar–February 2018


The February session will build on the knowledge we have covered so far and dive into Azure networking. There’ll also be news, updates and well as open Q & A so I’d love to see you attend.

You can register for free at:

February Azure Webinar Registrations

The details are:

CIAOPS Need to Know Azure Webinar – February 2018
Thursday 22nd of February 2017
2pm – 3pm Sydney Time

All sessions are recorded and posted to the CIAOPS Academy.

There of course will also be open Q and A so make sure you bring your questions for me and I’ll do my best to answer them.

The CIAOPS Need to Know Webinars are free to attend but if you want to receive the recording of the session you need to sign up as a CIAOPS patron which you can do here:

or purchase them individually at:

Also feel free at any stage to email me directly via with your webinar topic suggestions.

I’d also appreciate you sharing information about this webinar with anyone you feel may benefit from the session.