Azure book I technical reviewed now available

Microsoft Azure IaaS Essentials book coverThe Microsoft Azure book I recently technical reviewed for UK publishers Packt Publishing is now in print.

The book is entitled Microsoft Azure IaaS Essentials by Gethyn Ellis (ISBN 13: 9781782174639). It “is intended for system administrators and other IT professionals who need to both design and implement an Azure-based cloud solution. With the help of this book, you will soon master the basic tasks needed to build a cloud-based solution.”

It covers how to:

  • Deploy both Windows-based and Linux-based virtual machines to Microsoft Azure.
  • Utilize SQL Server Azure to build a robust, highly available solution that can be recovered in the event of disaster for your important business applications.

It also serves as “A practical guide to configuring and creating a virtual network that expands your on-premises network into a cloud-based infrastructure.”

Related Articles:

2013 year in review

Now that we are well into 2014 I thought it was time to reflect on the year that passed.

I wrote 10 new articles in 2013 (which is a lot for me). The whole blog received approximately 13,000 page views for the year. WordPress equated my totals this way:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

The most requested article for the year was one I created in 2012 entitled Export an ODBC Data Source in which I outlined the steps to export ODBC data sources from one server to another. I found information in this area lacking and so I knew that by posting it to my blog not only would it help others but it would be a great reminder for myself if I ever needed to do so again.

This year also saw me expand my presentation skills as I spoke at two major conferences. For my successful session submissions I followed the tips I outlaid in an article I wrote on submitting a conference session proposal. The first presentation was at DevTeach Toronto in May and the second was at That Conference in Wisconsin in August. Both were excellent ways to get my feet wet in speaking at larger conferences.

All of my presentation slides are hosted on SlideShare. According to their end of year totals I received 1,143 views of my slides. Or, in other words, SlideShare says:

It would take three full Boeing 747 flights to hold that many people!

Two other things that I did not blog about but which occurred in the second half of the year were the following:

In July I was asked by Microsoft Canada to be a member of the Windows Azure Canadian Community Experts Team. This was quite unexpected as I am just beginning my foray into the world of Windows Azure and I have a lot to learn. That being said I have discovered a group of Canadians excited about spreading the word about Windows Azure who I can definitely learn from.

August saw the publication of the Windows Phone book I was the Technical Reviewer for. Entitled Pro Windows Phone App Development, Third Edition, it was published by Apress and it was written by the fine folks over at Falafel Software.

Pro Windows Phone App Development, Third EditionThis is the second book that I have been the technical reviewer for. I have written an article in the past of the role the technical reviewer plays in helping a book come to fruition. If you have an interest in publishing then I recommend you explore this avenue.

I hope for 2014 that I can be more consistent with my writing. It is a good way to share the knowledge I gain and to give back to the developer community. As well, hopefully I can begin to add more Windows Azure related content to the site as I explore it in more depth.

Thanks for reading and see you in 2014!

Being a Technical Reviewer

I was contacted last month by UK publishing house Packt Publishing about being a Technical Reviewer for their recently-published book WordPress Mobile Applications with PhoneGap (ISBN: 1849519862). I accepted even though I did not know a lot about the subject. However, the whole experience was a learning process for me in terms of both how the publishing world works and about the technologies I was reviewing.

WordPress Mobile Applications with PhoneGap book coverThe book is positioned as a way to:

  • Discover how we can leverage WordPress as a content management system and serve content to mobile apps by exposing its API
  • Learn how to build geolocation mobile applications using WordPress and PhoneGap
  • Step-by-step instructions on how you can make use of jQuery and jQuery mobile to provide an interface between WordPress and your PhoneGap app

The reviewing process is pretty straightforward. The chapters are sent to you by email as the book is being written and they are usually in Microsoft Word format. The chapters are early drafts and usually contain typos and formatting errors. Eventually those will be corrected by the book’s editors. Your job is to review the code and text for technical accuracy. You also make sure the chapter structure is logical and easy to follow for readers. Any corrections/clarifications/notes you make are placed in Comment tags as you do not edit the text directly. After you finish your review you then fill out an opinion questionnaire about the chapter you just read. The editors want to know what you would like to see more of, less of, if there were important topics that were missed and your overall score out of 10.

If you are interested in being a Technical Reviewer for Packt you can check out their Reviewing for Packt information page. Although you do not get paid to be a reviewer you will receive acknowledgement on both the “Credits” page and the “About The Reviewers” page where they will include a short biography about you. This is a great promotional tool for you as you can mention your blog/website address and Twitter accounts if you wish. As well, you will receive both a paper copy and an eBook copy of the book you reviewed. You will also get an eBook copy of any other book in their catalogue.

Being a Technical Reviewer is a great way to learn more about a topic and to see how the publishing industry works. It is also a neat way to see how books are put together and you can learn many useful writing tips which will help your writing in other areas including making you a better blogger. It will also especially help if you are interested in writing a technical book in the future. As a Technical Reviewer you will gain a publishing credit and it might just make your book proposal that much more enticing to prospective editors.