Get-AzureDeployment returns "Requested value 'Basic_A0' was not found"

I was digging into the PowerShell Azure Commandlets when I hit a strange error: When executing:

Get-AzureDeployment -ServiceName SomeName

I got the error:

Requested value 'Basic_A0' was not found? What!?

Well, since in general working with the Azure-Commandlets worked - so I figured, that I might have an old version installed. 


Which version of the Azure PowerShell Commandlets I have installed?

On this guys blog I found a handy PowerShell function. Though, this post is a bit old already and "Windows Azure PowerShell" is now called "Microsoft Azure PowerShell".

Here is the updated version of the script:

function Get-MicrosoftAzurePowerShellVersion
Param ()
## - Section to query local system for Microsoft Azure PowerShell version already installed:
Write-Host "`r`nMicrosoft Azure PowerShell Installed version: " -ForegroundColor 'Yellow';
(Get-Module -ListAvailable | Where-Object{ $_.Name -eq 'Azure' }) `
| Select Version, Name, Author | Format-List;
## - Section to query web Platform installer for the latest available Microsoft Azure PowerShell version:
Write-Host "Microsoft Azure PowerShell available download version: " -ForegroundColor 'Green';
[reflection.assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.Web.PlatformInstaller") | Out-Null;
$ProductManager = New-Object Microsoft.Web.PlatformInstaller.ProductManager;
$ProductManager.Load(); $ProductManager.Products `
| Where-object{
($_.Title -match "Microsoft Azure PowerShell") `
-and ($_.Author -eq 'Microsoft Corporation')
} `
| Select-Object Version, Title, Published, Author | Format-List;

And ... indeed, I had an old version installed:

Just fire up the Platform installer, update the Microsoft Azure PowerShell package, restart your PowerShell console and you are good to go.




Posted on November 27, 2014 and filed under development, Windows Azure, PowerShell.

I am giving away most of my IT books

In the last years, I have gathered quite some books on various IT/development topics. And since my space in my workroom is limited, I give away for free most of my IT books - I keep some classics though ;)


You can find the list of books and how it works here (described in german):


Check them out and save your's!


PS: the reason?

  • I need more space!
  • I switched from learning more online/with PDFs
  • I use only general overview books and for specialised knowledge i rely on google, pluralsight etc
  • I switched to buy more photography coffee-table books ;)
Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under development, productivity, social networks.

OS X Yosemite beta 3 graphic crashes

UPDATE 16.Oct 2014: With the new Yosemite Beta Version 6 this bug is gone it seems. The screen goes to black from time to time though for 1-2 secs but recovers without me doing anything. I still have to install the final Yosemite bits...

UPDATE 20.Nov 2014: I guess, this had nothing to do with Yosemite. Also Beta Version 6 crashed later and it kept coming more often each day. Since I am still in my 3-year warranty (though only 2 months left) I sent it in for repair and since then (10 days) I have not had any crash so far.


This bug is - by far - the most annoying one of Yosemite (I still hope, it is actually Yosemite and not my hardware ... right now this is difficult to distinguish) My current setup is a MacBook Pro 15", Late 2011 and a Thunderbolt 27" Monitor.


Whats the problem?

Every 2-4 hours (it seems to be connected to the running programs) I get nasty graphics issues (horizontal and vertical lines, sometimes in green/blue etc) that make my OS X unusable. A couple of seconds later the whole machine crashes (monitor goes grey and thats it)...


How I "fixed" it 

One thing I found that "helps" is to reset the graphics like this: open or close the laptop lid (sometimes do both). If you are fast enough, this resets the graphics and you can continue working without a crash.


I really hope, Apple is fixing this - and thats it not my hardware ;)

Posted on September 24, 2014 and filed under productivity.

The day my NAS (almost) died...

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.09.35.png

Last week was a bit uneasy for me - my NAS was dark after I accidentally flipped the switch on my power distribution device. When I flipped the switch back I got a nice flash and everything in my room was without power ...


I managed to get everything on again - except my NAS (Qnap TS-419 P II). After some research I ordered a new power adaptor (70€!) in the hope, it was only the power adaptor unit. And I was lucky: my NAS is up and running again. So much for: its very unrealistic that the whole NAS is failing...


Until then, I thought, i had a good (enough) backup strategy - it looked like this:

1. backup my macbook pro (my only computer) completely via Time Machine to the NAS

2. backup my macbook pro completely via Carbon Copy Cloner to an external disc

3. backup my photos (3.5TB) to external discs (additionally to the NAS)

4. backup my really important stuff (documents, licenses, my stuff being self employed etc) to the amazon cloud (additionally to the NAS)


So whats the status after such an issue (NAS downtime 1 week): 

  1. since i use Yosemite beta versions, I don't have Carbon Copy Cloner running (since its not finished for Yosemite yet) - FAIL. Not a big deal, I have Time Machine...
  2. Time Machine does not run, since there is no NAS - FAIL.
  3.  the photo backup is not automated and I was missing the last shootings on the external HDs - fail
  4. the really important stuff was backed up to Amazon S3, but what about the "not really, but also important"-stuff? - FAIL.
  5. Also, the Amazon S3 backup was triggered by the NAS. So I could not update/backup to the cloud during the NAS downtime - FAIL


What next?

Currently I am evaluating more automated cloud backup solutions (like CrashPlan, Zoolz and the like) that also backup to local drives/discs/sd cards automatically. 

This way, I then have realised the 3-2-1 rule:

  • 3 copies (NAS, external hard-drive, cloud)
  • 2 different media: hard disks, cloud)
  • 1 offsite backup (cloud and the older photos are on HDs at my parents house)

Ah, and I backup my exchange emails.

Posted on September 23, 2014 and filed under productivity.

LinkedIn fake profiles more advanced now

Recently, an unusual high number of fake profiles at LinkedIn contacted me and asked me to add them to my LinkedIn network.


The classic tips for identifying a fake profile (e.g. stated here) are not really valid anymore. They got more sophisticated ;) Thats how such a request looks like:

Quite often

  • the name looked realistic (no lower-case names, no dots in front of the last name)
  • only a handful of groups were joined
  • they have a significant amount of connections (e.g. when I first checked, it was around 80, five minutes later the profile had 110 connections) and some of your colleagues are in the list ...
  • the location was Austria (not suspicious)


Whats still suspicious:

  • there is no information about the professional history of the person
  • no or a stock photo as profile image
  • its almost always a senior management position which makes you feel flattered
  • just the generic "Hi Michael, I'd like to connect with you on LinkedIn." message


What I do about it

  • check back with your network
    Often, you have shared connections. Use them and ask about the profile - if its a real contact, how they know each other etc. If you get back "I don't know this contact and he/she never contacted me", you probably know enough. 
  • reject
    I mostly reject contact requests of profiles that does not include a real request or question they have. "Human" requests almost always include a topic they want to discuss with me - and thats for now the only distinguishing property. "Aim for a small(er) but high(er) quality network" as a friend of mine said.
  • report or block
    if you are sure about a fake profile, you can block or report it to LinkedIn:

So, everybody out there who wants to contact me via LinkedIn: include your intention or you probably will get rejected ;)


Whats your experience with LinkedIn and faked profiles? I would like to hear from you!

Posted on September 19, 2014 and filed under social networks.

How to make proper OS X (yosemite) screenshots

For my blogposts I often need screenshots with the following requirements:

  • use Yosemite (right now I have beta3 installed)
  • include the shadow of the main window
  • have menus oder drop-downs open


These requirements - except the last! - can be fulfilled by the standard on-board screenshot capabilities of OS X (e.g. described here). 


So far, I have not found a tool, that can help me here - there are tools (e.g. Voila) that can screenshot the menu (only the menu) but then you have issues in stitching this together with another "background"-screenshot, because selected windows have other background colours etc.

Dear reader: this workflow is pretty time-consuming - please leave a note if you know a tool that can do proper screenshots or know a way, how to make this faster - thank you!



My workflow for flawless screenshots

Here is my workflow that gives flawless screenshots - although its a bit of work:

1. open a clean white background (e.g. textedit)

2. get your app in front that you want to screenshot

3. SHIFT-COMMAND-4 and find out the X, Y coordinates as well as hight and width of the window you want to screenshot (they are depicted in your cursor) - remember them

4. open a terminal window and make a screenshot with the following command line:

screencapture -T 10 -P -R551,325,1095,647 screenshot.png


  • -T 10 means you have 10 seconds time to "prepare" your app (open a menu etc)
  • -R means the region that should be captured the coordinates <x,y,w,h> are the ones you found out before
  • -P means that it will open in preview so you can check the output

Save this one as PNG.

5. make another screenshot from the whole window that includes the shadow with SHIFT-COMMAND-4 and SPACE. This is only needed if you want the shadow in the screenshot. Make sure, your app has the focus before, otherwise the shadow and the background colours will look differently.

6. Open both screenshots in Photoshop or a similar tool that supports layers and align the image with the expanded menu over the one with the border:

The one with the menu will have a small 1px gray border - so its 2px bigger in width and height.

Save as PNG and you are done:

Finetuning 1: Get nice round corners

Now, if you look closely you see that the corners are rounded and the screenshot with the commandline and the white from the TextEdit background is visible:

I marked the pixels in question in red so you can see ;)

I marked the pixels in question in red so you can see ;)

To get rid of this:

  1. Select Layer 0 (which is the screenshot with the shadow)
  2. COMMAND-click on it - you have selected the content of the layer now
  3. SHIFT-COMMAND-I (for inverting the selection)
  4. Select the Layer 1 (which is the one with the menus)
  5. Press "delete" to delete all content (which is in our case the white corners)



Finetuning 2: Using the WindowID instead of the -Rx,y,w,h

Another tip, that makes life a bit easier is that you can use the WindowID of the window instead of the rectangle-values. For this, you can download the small tool GetWindowID from GitHub, extract it, call "make" in a command window in the directory and you can get the WindowID when called with:


screencapture -l$(./GetWindowID "<program>" "<window>") screenshot.png


Note: This might require you to install the developer tools - which are free and its done in 2 minutes.






Posted on September 19, 2014 and filed under productivity.

How to change the worst time-wasting habits

Wasting time... (though this song rocks!)

I am always searching for other/new ways to stop myself of wasting time, surfing the internet for hours or watching videos. Don't get me wrong: these are not fully a waste of time, but often its not really with a target in mind and thus its more or less random...


I found a nice article from Belle Cooper from which contains 3 tips on how she changed the three worst time-wasting habits.


I will not give away the three tips so you have to read the article for yourself. But believe me: It's tips you probably have not heard or considered before. At least I have not and I will give it a try.



Posted on September 9, 2014 and filed under productivity.

OS X Yosemite beta 2 is pretty slow when switching applications

After updating to Beta 2 of Yosemite beta (which is "recommended for all users" they say) I got a nasty behaviour: Switching between applications got REALLY slow ... I had to wait 4-5 seconds looking at the nice color wheel ... unacceptable...


Rebooting and not starting any applications also didn't help. I started to look what is already running in my menu-bar and ... I found Parallels Access running and uninstalled it - and after a reboot everything is smooth now.


Not sure, if this was the real cause but in my case it helped - and I can enjoy Yosemite now even more :)

Posted on August 25, 2014 and filed under productivity, Testing.