Windows XP Bliss – The Story Behind the Wallpaper

From April this year Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. The one thing everybody will always remember of Windows XP is desktop image ‘Bliss’, with it’s green rolling hills and bluer than blue sky. Doesn’t the most viewed picture of all times asks for a worthy goodbye? We certainly think so! That’s why we hopped on a plane to Los Angeles and went to visit the photographer Charles O’Rear.

He told us the incredible story behind the famous desktop image of Windows XP.

The story of Bliss

Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager vNext Roadmap to Microsoft Identity Manager

There has been public communications regarding Microsoft’s release of a new major release of FIM in 2015, but yesterday more about this vision was made public. The first observation is the name change of FIM (Forefront Identity Manager) to Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM).

The areas of primary focus for the new product will centre around (1) hybrid cloud identity (2) mobile device and (3) improved security, analytics and user access control.

More details around this announcement will be made at TechEd North America on the 14th of May. There will no doubt be closer alignment to the transition from DirSync to AADSync thus enabling the hybrid cloud integration. There will most likely also be alignment to the Azure AD Premium product set. One of the areas that currently is still unclear if the integration of BHold unto the product and how this acquisition will influence the vNext roadmap (or not). Nothing is sure for now. Let’s wait and see what public announcements are made on the 14th of May.

The announcement can be found here.


.Net Foundation… the road to opensource

At Build 2014 this year Microsoft made some big announcements, one of the most exciting included a glimpse of the future that has been quite a long time coming. Microsoft announced the intention to open-source large pieces of the .net framework over the next 3 years.

You can read the full announcement at

Also check out the Day 2 Keynote that included the announcement of the .Net Foundation at Channel9.

All the information will be made available at


Only two days to go to get 2 books for the price of one…

I just got a new offer from Packt that have just published their 2000th book.

Press release:

Packt Publishing celebrates their 2000th title with an exclusive offer – We’ve got IT covered!

Known for their extensive range of pragmatic IT ebooks, Packt Publishing are celebrating their 2000th book title `Learning Dart’– they want their customers to celebrate too.

To mark this milestone Packt Publishing will launch a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offer across all eBooks on March 18th – for a limited period only.

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PowerShell Connector for FIM 2010 R2

Last week Microsoft released the PowerShell Connector for Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 (FIM). The connector can be downloaded here:

Forefront Identity Manager Connector for PowerShell helps you synchronize identity information, easily provision and deprovision accounts, manage identity information, and provide password management capabilities for systems you can connect to with PowerShell scripts.

Official TechNet documentation on the connector is available here:


MVP 2013

It’s been quite a busy year and with all the excitement in the last quarter I have been away from my blog for a few weeks. This has been a very busy year with us completing multiple joint events around various Microsoft technologies, supported by Microsoft Identity Management. In total we visited more than 21 cities around the country and had showcases on Microsoft Security, Productivity and Cloud solutions. A busy few months indeed.

I’m wanted to give a shout out to the FIM PG, MVP EMEA and US programs for another great year. I’m very humbled to be at year 9 in the MVP program. I look forward to the new year and many of the new things coming within the Microsoft IAM space.

MSDN Azure Benefits and Use Rights Updated

I am so pleased today to read that the revised MSDN use rights for Azure now gives even more access to development tools in the Microsoft Azure stable. If you have not already seen the release the following three major updates will be of benefit to any MSDN subscriber:

  • Azure credit – $200 in month one and $50/month after
  • Azure VM’s to run your software (excl Windows client and server)
  • Team Foundation in the Cloud


The Windows Azure benefit has been improved! The choice is now yours on how you use your Windows Azure credits for development and test – including Virtual Machines (VMs), Web Sites, Cloud Services, Mobile Services, Storage, SQL Database, Content Delivery Network, HDInsight, Media Services, and many more. As a Visual Studio Professional with MSDN subscriber, you’ll receive a $200 USD Windows Azure credit the first month you use your Windows Azure MSDN benefit, then $50 USD per month for subsequent months. 

And starting June 1, 2013 you now have the ability to run your MSDN software in Windows Azure VMs. This cloud use right applies to all software included in the MSDN subscription, except Windows client and Windows Server.* Additionally, you’ll be able to use your MSDN software with qualified MSDN cloud partners – more details will be available soon. Check out the Visual Studio and MSDN licensing white paper for more information on cloud use rights. 

You can also take your ALM solution to the cloud with the Team Foundation Service MSDN benefit.§ Team Foundation Service is an end-to-end solution that handles the critical elements of lifecycle management. It’s kept up to date with the latest tools, including traditional version control and Git repositories, enterprise agile portfolio management, and team room collaboration. Learn more about the latest features and register today! 

Simplified Password Sync to Azure AD and Office 365

At the end of May 2013, Alex Simons and the Active Directory team released a simple solution aimed at providing quick and effecient password synchronization from an customer owned Active Directory to Azure and/or Office 365. Although the solution creates “issues” associated with sync-ing password it does get rid of many of the complexities that was previously implemented using FIM Sync and PCNS.

This new password sync capability has many advantages over existing 3rd party solutions that synchronize your on-premises passwords to Azure AD/Office 365:

  • We don’t sync plaintext passwords – The solution syncs hashes of hashes of your user’s passwords greatly reducing the risk of a password leaking.
  • You don’t need to install any new software on your Domain Controllers OR reboot your DCs.
  • Users don’t need to change their password in order for their password to initially sync to Azure AD.

Check out the Active Directory Team Blog or TechNet for more information.