Yesterday I sat the AZ-103 Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate exam and passed ūüôā I took it via the online proctored method to save going to an exam centre, and have a mixed feeling over this experience compared to previous ones.

The Good

  • I didn’t have to travel to an exam centre, as my local ones are all 45 minutes – 1 hour each way and parking is usually an issue.
  • I didn’t have to sit in an exam centre – these are usually in pretty run down locations, with ageing PCs, 4:3 screens still (!) on very old Dell PCs, and the heating / cooling is nearly always wrong, or another exam candidate is making noises, rocking the row of tables, etc
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Overview of Azure services:

Azure-links on GitHub:

Azure Certifications:

Microsoft Azure Documentation:

Microsoft Learning on GitHub:

AZ-103 – Microsoft Azure Administrator

Skylines Academy Azure Study Resources (Powershell Reference Guide, Naming Standards and Tagging, AZ-103 Study Material Links):

Recently I’ve been running hashcat for some proof of concept WPA cracking with the below specs:

  • CPU: i7 4790k (mild overclock @ 4.5GHz)
  • GPU: 1 x Powercolor RX580 Red Devil ,1 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97-G43
  • Case: Cooler Master 370 Elite
  • Cooling: Air: 1 x 140mm fan intake (front), 1 x 140mm fan intake (side), 1 x 120mm exhaust fan (top rear)

With this set up it would run about 245KH/s but I after some time (minutes to hours) it would hard power off with similar symptoms to a dying or overheating PSU, only I wasn’t convinced. I’ve long fancied upgrading to an all in one CPU liquid cooler but I don’t fancy messing around with a DIY version – I’m sure this gives the optimum cooling result, and a the engineer in me loves to build, fiddle, and optimise things, but I just wanted a drop in solution, so I opted for the Corsair H100i Pro as it was readily available is probably one of the best 240mm coolers (2 x 120mm fans).

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Since I posted this post (Transitioning to AWS), I completed the Udemy course, did plenty of hands on and proof of concepts to enable me to learn, I soon after discovered Azure. This was totally by chance – I went to a Cloud Meetup group in London where both AWS & Azure solutions were discussed, and curiosity got the better of me. I started by using the free credits by Microsoft on the trial account (which are only valid for 1 month), but immediately I was hooked. I was creating Virtual Networks, Network Security Groups, VMs, Load Balancers, reading how to create hybrid clouds, how to migrate from on premise servers to Azure using Azure Site Recovery, and how to automate deployment with ARM templates. Instantly this felt much more mature and a better rounded solution than AWS. Microsoft really has come a long way since Azure was first launched.

So this lead me to investigate the certification route, and I have decided to take the following exams:

70-533 –¬†Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions – Exam LinkBook (Released Feb 2018)

70-534 – Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions –¬†Exam LinkBook (Released April 2018)

So with new books not due to be released for a few months, we can only assume the exams will be going through a refresh – I will guess by removing or reducing the amount on the Classic Portal and focusing on the new Azure Portal.


So what am I currently doing with Azure other than labbing? Well I’ve moved my production servers to it already, I am working with a local charity to move some ageing Windows and Linux servers hosted in their office and in a DC to design a solution and migrate to Azure, and I am working with a small MSP to help them satisfy an Azure migration requirement/opportunity with a customer, and enjoying it.

I’m quite liking my Huawei Honor 9, and even EMUI 5.1 (see review here), but one thing I am really missing from my Oneplus One is the double tap to wake. That was such an awesome feature which soon became prevalent on many other handsets, so imagine my dismay, shock and horror when I couldn’t find the option on the Honor 9 / EMUI 5.1. Seeing as I was routed I quickly tried the steps detailed here (adding a line to build.prop and changing a line in /system/emui/base/hw_easywakeupmotion_config.xml files), but no joy yet ¬†– it seems that the option isn’t exposed through the GUI unfortunately :/

I’m quite new to cryptocurrencies, but understand the high level theory, and have never had any need to buy any of the now famous Bitcoins for any reason, however recently I have tried to purchase some Monero (XMR) but wanted to pay in GBP. This has proved more challenging than I first thought it would be! Quite a few exchanges will convert Bitcoin to to XMR, but I couldn’t really find any that would take a direct payment in GBP and convert to XMR, especially at a reasonable rate. So I had to buy Bitcoin in GBP, then convert to XMR. Here is the route I took: More »

After my last Erisin ES9746A Android head unit died whilst performing a hardware mod to improve the rather poor sound quality I hung on and waited for one of the new Intel Sofia 4 core based units – the first to release with an OEM E46 look was Joying, with their JY-BL12N2 model.

I have collected some useful links for this and other Intel based units below, mostly from XDA.  Note these are not MTCB/MTCD units, despite the threads residing under thoes sections!


E46 JY-BL121N2 General Queries Рalso includes info on the reverse / gearbox switch

Large general thread on Intel units¬†–¬†New Joying Android 5.1.1 2GB Units available very soon !

Steering wheel key customization – V3 (NO KILL)¬†–¬†stop processes killing on hibernate and key reassigning

General Roll Up / tips and tricks thread

Joying Feb 22nd 2017 Update – info on the latest update


Overall I am happy with this unit Рit is lightening fast compared to my old dual core MTCB, the screen is much higher resolution and importantly the on board DSP is way better than the previous MTCB!  I have rooted, installed Viper4Android to tweak the sound further, and plan to add a reverse cam and DAB USB receiver next.

Working with Configuration

Show previous configs :

show configuration | compare rollback ?

Compare current to previous version (in edit):

show | compare

Compare two previous versions:

show system rollback 17 compare 16

Show uncommitted changes:

show | compare

Perform rollback:

rollback <number | resuce>

Move a policy:

root@siteA# insert security policies from-zone <zone> to-zone <zone> policy <policy-name> before policy <policy-name>
root@siteA# insert security policies from-zone <zone> to-zone <zone> policy <policy-name> after policy <policy-name>

I was trying to use a website in Chrome which used WebGL through an RDP session to a Virtual Server 2016 (VMware) but was hitting an error about WebGL disabled.

There are various posts on the Google product forums but I couldn’t find the definitive fix there, although they pointed me in the right direction, in Chrome:


  • Make sure use Hardware Acceleration is enabled


  • Override software rendering list Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
    Overrides the built-in software rendering list and enables GPU-acceleration on unsupported system configurations.  Рset to ENABLED
  • Accelerated 2D canvas Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
    Enables the use of the GPU to perform 2d canvas rendering instead of using software rendering. ¬†–¬†set to¬†ENABLED
  • WebGL Draft Extensions Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
    Enabling this option allows web applications to access the WebGL Extensions that are still in draft status.
  • WebGL Draft Extensions Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
    Enabling this option allows web applications to access the WebGL Extensions that are still in draft status.  Рset to ENABLED (if required)
  • WebGL 2.0 Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
    Allow web applications to access WebGL 2.0.  Рset to ENABLED

Restart Chrome and…bingo – it seems¬†nobody enabled the top option, to override the GPU blacklist

I now feel like “cloud” (/i.e. somebody else’s computer/infrastructure) has matured considerably with many companies making the transition to move core infrastructure to a cloud based operational model, particularly if the main product of the company is a web application which would previously have been hosted on traditional infrastructure.

This traditional infrastructure (usually some from of virtualisation (VMware for me), storage and networking) has been my bread and butter core skillset for many years. I have translated many business requirements into technical requirements, and then installed and configured them. Its what I know best and have served me well for many years, but particularly in the last 12 months there is a very clear decline in demand, and a very sharp rise in revenue spend with cloud based technologies.

Obviously not all infrastructure will fit into the cloud as it stands now, and maybe some never will, but there is a clear pattern here which cannot be ignored, and as ever in IT it is important to keep up with trends.

So now I am open to the cloud adoption it will become easier and more efficient to begin learning. So, where to start and why? I chose to master the AWS offerings – not all of them, I don’t think anyone has done that, but at least the core offerings – compute, storage, networking, automation.

Why AWS? The are the clear market leaders and have held this position for many years and although Microsoft is the nearest contender with Google trailing, they are a long way behind. Sure they may start to eat into AWS market share in a few years, but I don’t think they will make a serious dent. Now the model is well proven, it is time to start learning!

So where to start?

I have decided to take the exam AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate which gives a good overview of the core service offerings and how they interoperate with each other, as well as benefitting from obtaining an industry certification.

For study aid I am watching the well recommended video by A Cloud Guru which is ideal for beginners to AWS right from the start and of course lots of hands on in the form of AWS labs.