Keeping Up with New Information with RSS, Twitter, and Read Later

I wanted a solution to view the RSS feeds of my favorite bloggers in the same place as the items I've tagged in my 'read later' app. This single place needs to be available on my Windows 8 device (a Surface Pro 3 which I dearly love), preferably in an app rather than "just" a web browser.  I've found a solution that's been working well, so I thought I'd pass it along.

Feedly:  RSS feeds to follow my favorite bloggers

Pocket:  Read Later app to compile links - these most often come from links I see on Twitter

Readiy:  Windows 8.1 app to display Feedly and Pocket items in one place

My "Pocket Reading List" is just another RSS feed for Feedly to pick up which is how they get compiled together. Here's a sample of what things look like within Readiy:

As you can see, the Pocket items don't display the same preview as the RSS items do, nor the author, but that's ok. At least they're in one place which gives me a much better chance of actually reading the content.

Once in a while I'll also send a YouTube video link to Pocket. Those don't show up inside of Readiy but they do in the Pocket interface. That's not a big deal to me since I save a lot, lot more articles than videos.

I'm sure there's many different ways to accomplish this same thing. This method was very simple to set up and since the components integrate with my iPhone and Windows 8.1 tablet/laptop, it's been working well for me. 

Signing Into SSMS 2014 as Domain User on Non-Domain Computer

Overview:  Just a quick tip about one way to run an application, such as SQL Server Management Studio, under the context of a domain user if you're not on a domain computer. 

Last week I started a new client engagement and we were tackling connectivity and setup.  For this engagement our team isn't working on VMs or client-provided equipment; we're using our own equipment owned by BlueGranite (my employer) rather than the problem. Ok.

However, my SQL Server credentials are Windows-based. Except that I'm not on the domain of the client. So I found myself trying to run SSMS as another user (the shift-right click thing) and it wasn't working.

The solution is the RunAs command with the /NetOnly switch.  RunAs executes a program under a different user account than the current login. When we add in the /NetOnly switch, it specifies the RunAs will pertain to remote access only -- meaning any connections made to other remote computers (like when we connect to a database in SSMS) will be made with the new user specified.

Here's the syntax for launching SSMS for SQL Server 2014 (with a default install location):

runas /netonly /user:domainname\username "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\120\Tools\Binn\ManagementStudio\ssms.exe"

When you hit enter, you'll be prompted for the password associated with the domain user's account.

After you provide the password, it'll launch the application. Even though the SSMS login window doesn't indicate it, your remote connections will be made using the domain user identity rather than the local user.


If you'll be using this technique a lot, you probably want to create a custom shortcut. I went old school - typed the command into a text editor, saved it as a .bat file, and stuck it on my desktop. 

The nice thing is you can do this with a ton of programs. This technique can be used for testing or even performing a quick task with an elevated security account.

Comparison of Surface Pro 3 to Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3

Today I used my new Surface Pro 3 for the entire workday and thought I'd share the differences I've noticed as compared to the Surface Pro 2.

I purchased the first model that offered 8GB of RAM. The Microsoft website is a bit confusing on this point - it makes it look like 4GB or 8GB of RAM is a choice. Well, it is, but what I learned is the first two models (64GB and 128GB of storage) both come with 4GB of RAM. The first model to offer 8GB is the 256GB of storage. So, I have 256GB of storage, 8GB RAM, and the i5 processor.

What is Different about the Surface Pro 3?

Size.  The biggest difference is, of course, screen size. The bigger 12" screen size really makes a big, big difference in usability. The design is more thin and sleek with a bit less weight.

Left:  Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Surface Pro 3

Left:  Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Surface Pro 3

Angled keyboard on the Surface Pro 3

Angled keyboard on the Surface Pro 3

Keyboard.  The pad on the Type Keyboard is smooth now - I like the feel of it much better than the old keyboard.  The keyboard also has a magnetic strip across the top so you have the choice of angling it up a bit (as shown in the picture on the left) or leaving the keyboard flat on the desk. The choice there is a nice touch.It's a bit harder to touch the taskbar icons on the screen if it's angled up, but that's just a bit of an adjustment.

Pen.  The pen is very different. It has 3 buttons on it to launch OneNote, perform right-click operations, and erase.  I haven't used the pen much yet, but I'm really looking forward to breaking it in.

Left: Power supply on Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Power supply on Surface Pro 3

Left: Power supply on Surface Pro 2   |   Right: Power supply on Surface Pro 3

Power Supply.  The power supply got a little smaller which is always great. Its connector is still magnetic, but shaped a bit differently. The new shape makes it just a bit easier to insert into the charging port on the right hand side.

Kickstand.  The kickstand in the back also is now adjustable to nearly any angle you want which should help with using it on a lap or lying on the couch. The kickstand is firmer to adjust but it's not difficult once you get the feel for it.

What Things Got Relocated on the Surface Pro 3?

Start Button.  The Start button moved from the bottom middle to the right middle (if it's sitting landscape like the picture shown at the top).

Power Button.  The power button moved from the top right to the top left.

USB Port.  The USB port moved from the left to the right.

MicroSD Card Reader.  The MicroSD card reader is now tucked away behind the kickstand. At first I had a bit of trouble locating it, but it being out of the way is probably a good thing.

What Stayed the Same in the Surface Pro 3?

Mini Display Port.  The Mini Display Port stayed the same, which is great because I have video adapters for both VGA and HDMI that I can continue using.

USB.  There's still one USB port available on the side (two would have been great, but I have a small hub so that's ok). The power supply still has a USB charger which is handy to charge my cell phone.


In summary, I like the Surface Pro 3 a lot - although I knew I would considering how much I liked the Surface Pro 2. The bigger size is really great. I've gotten to where I really value the portability of a device like this - and I used to be someone who most valued a large monitor (although I do have a second monitor in my home office).

I've been going back and forth between laptop and tablet up until now. Horsepower for running demos (like a full SharePoint BI environment) is the only concern that I need to test out more fully at this point. I'll be firing up my local VMs soon, and I suspect I'll be taking advantage of Azure a bit more going forward for demo purposes. I'm planning to use the Surface Pro 3 as my primary machine most of the time, so we'll see how that goes. 

Excerpt from Surface Pro 3 User Guide

Excerpt from Surface Pro 3 User Guide

Update 7/10:  After installing Hyper-V, the Sleep setting is no longer available. Paul Thurrott discusses the issue here:  Hyper-V and Connected Standby.


Resources for Installing and Configuring BI with SharePoint 2013 and SQL Server 2012

I’m embarking on a new project to build a brand new squeaky clean VM environment from the ground up, including SharePoint 2013, SQL Server 2012, and Office 2013.  This will serve as my new “on-premises” environment for use with Hyper-V.