Azure Store Table Connection Refused

I’m trying to separate out my Azure environments for local development vs. Dev, Test, Staging, and Production.

For local development I’m using the Azure SDK local storage emulator.  To do that you have some connection strings that look like this:

  <add key="StorageConnectionString" value="UseDevelopmentStorage=true"/> 
  <add name="AzureWebJobsDashboard" connectionString="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" />
  <add name="AzureWebJobsStorage" connectionString="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" />

But today I ran into a non-obvious error:

No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it

And found this cool post with the solution in the comment.  Basically, the storage emulator turns off after some period of disuse.  There’s a handy little batch script in there to clear out the storage and restart it.


Mac Power User

Found this tool today to help tweak the notoriously hard to customize Mac OS.


Dallas TechFest 2014

Dallas TechFest is back! It’s organized by my friend and colleague, Tim Rayburn. This year you can expect excellent content focused on Bleeding-Edge Development, Wicked UX and Next-Gen Mobile Technologies. (including iOS, Windows Phone, NodejS, ASP.NET vNext and Xamarin), plus interesting insights on UX and Mobility from Jared Spool, CEO & Founding Principal of UIE. The ticket price includes the full conference and lunch. Consider attending and please feel free to pass this information on to others you think might benefit from it

2014 Dallas TechFest

Visual Studio 2013 Quality Tools

I’ve delivered a talk a couple of times recently covering the Quality Tools in Visual Studio 2013 and Microsoft Test Manager.  Specifically, this talk covers:Visual_Studio_2013_Logo_svg

  • Unit testing
  • TDD
  • Automatic Test Runner
  • Manual Testing in MTM
  • Recorded Manual Tests
  • Converting Test Recordings in Coded UI Tests (CUIT)
  • Recording CUIT directly in VS
  • Build automation with Tests
  • CUIT Test Automation

I’m uploading my Visual Studio 2013 Quality Tools presentation here, even though it’s not that useful without the product demos to go with it.  I guess it’s primarily reference materials for those who have actually seen the presentation.  Maybe I’ll do screen-shots later and embed them to make it more stand-alone.

How to Delete a LinkedIn Contact

Today I accidentally touched the Accept button on a LinkedIn spam request.  Then I had to go searching for how to remove a contact, which is not obvious.  Here are the steps I found that worked:


  1. First, select the Network tab on the top menu bar.  This shows you the list of all of your contacts.
  2. Unfortunately, the list is in no particular order.  So the next step is to change the sort order by clicking the down arrow next to Sort by and selecting New.  This will put your latest connection at the top of the list.
  3. Now you have two options: (1) Check the box next to the contact you want to remove, then click the arrow next to the top More option.  There you can select Remove connection from the drop-down list. (2) Alternatively, when you hover over an individual contact, a menu of options appears at the bottom of the contact item. There you can click the arrow next to the lower More option and select Remove connection from the drop-down list.
    That’s it!  You have successfully removed your spam contact.

Windows Azure Developer Knowledge

This seems like a great list and didn’t want to lose track of it, so thought I would post it here.

7217-windows-azure-logo-v_6556ef52Top 10 things to deepen your already existing knowledge on Windows Azure:

1. Windows Azure Training Kit: A comprehensive set of resources covering PaaS and IaaS workloads, including presentations, hands-on-labs, demos, and scripts so that you and your team may learn and re-deliver information to your customers about Windows Azure.

2. Windows Azure Track: A comprehensive set of online trainings broken down by role (sales, pre-sales, architect, developer)

3. Moving Applications to the Cloud: Provides an introduction to Windows Azure and discusses the cost model and application life cycle management for cloud-based applications, and describes how to migrate an existing ASP.NET application to the cloud.

4. Developing Applications for the Cloud: Discusses the design considerations and implementation details of applications that are designed from the beginning to run in the cloud.

5. Building Hybrid Applications on Windows Azure: Covers many topics related to architecting applications which rely on cloud AND on-premise technology (for example, an application that contains some components or features that cannot be located in the cloud, such as third-party services or sensitive data that must be maintained onsite under specialist control).

6. Building Elastic and Resilient Cloud Applications: Self-explanatory description.

7. A Guide to Claims-Based Identity and Access Control: Self-explanatory description.

8. Cloud Ninja: A comprehensive code sample on codeplex developed to demonstrate the design and implementation of key features in Windows Azure with emphasis on metering and automated scaling.

9. Fabrikam Shipping: Provides an in depth coverage of Identity Federation for multi-tenant applications. This is recommended to be reviewed in addition to Cloud Ninja.

10. Windows Azure Forums: An online community of very responsive Azure  users who help each other out with common questions, code samples, and other general technical support.

Links for the Day

A new SQL Server 2012 overview eBook is available for free:



Today my Outlook got stuck on top of all other windows.  It looks like a problem with a plug-in.  Here’s how to fix that:


Blog Reboot

My blog has been dormant for too long….It’s time to get it started again.  Here we go!