Canon MX700

It’s a fancy looking printer. Scanning, Faxing, Printing, built-in networking. But it is quite the difficult device to set up. For anyone else who is interested, here is the process:

  1. Hope that someone else has already set up the printer on the network so you don’t have to figure that part out.
  2. Create a local administrator account on your laptop, then login with that account (a domain account with local admin permissions is not enough for some strange reason…)
  3. Download the canon driver from the internet and install (I think It’s something like a 3.4GB download, which is about average for printers nowadays)
  4. Plug in the USB cable, wait for driver install to finish (better not do this before installing the driver, because the out-of-the-box windows plug-and-play drivers won’t work)
  5. Unplug the USB cable (I know… you just plugged in it. Bear with me)
  6. Delete the canon printer and fax that now appear in your printers list (I guess you can leave them if you don’t mind sharing a USB cable with everyone else)
  7. Install the printer drivers again, this time with the network option instead of the USB option (why couldn’t I do this in the first place?)
  8. Go to the printers list and delete the fax device that was added (unless you like having a long list of useless items in your printer list)
  9. Log off of your local admin account and log in with your domain account (but only if you want to use email and such)
  10. Delete the old local admin account to clear it out
  11. Open notepad. Type something in. File – Print. Wait for paper to come out of the printer.
  12. Discover that due to the long printer setup time, the ink in the printer has dried out and you need to buy more ink.
  13. Cry. Pull an Office Space.
    This post is dedicated to all those who have fought with a printer and lost.

Wordpress and Azure Websites: I want my Domain Name

Update: You can now point your domain name directly at your Azure Website without any of this nonsense. Read the announcement for more details.

If you set up Wordpress on a free Azure Website, which means you went with the Shared model, you may have discovered that Microsoft gives you a custom subdomain, such as However, if you want to use a custom domain, such as, you can’t.

You can try pointing directly to the IP address of your server, or you can even try using a CNAME to point to, but neither will work.

Custom domains are available today, but only on reserved Azure Websites.
Custom domains are planned for the future for shared websites, according to @scottgu
However, with a little bit of jQuery, we can get it to work like we want, even on a shared website.

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Azure Upgrade Costs

So you have an application running in Azure, running on a set of web and worker roles, and you need to upgrade it. What do you do?

Well, you could redeploy your application to the live, production instances of your web and worker roles, but that would result in half an hour of downtime or so. That’s probably not the best option if you have users that connect to your site, unless you have periods of time where it doesn’t matter if your site is down.

You could also do an in-place upgrade

The third option is to do a VIP Swap, where you set up a completely new set of servers in Azure with the new version, then you click a button and your production IP address immediately starts routing to the new servers.

The following chart, from Mark Russinovich‘s recent talk on Azure, shows some of the limitations with these three options:

That’s great, but how much is this going to cost?

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MySQL on Azure

Yes, it’s true. Microsoft is now providing hosted MySQL on Azure, via ClearDB. For now the MySQL hosting is free, but Microsoft will likely charge for it once the trial period ends. You can sign up for a MySQL database when creating an Azure Website. See my other post for information and screenshots on the sign-up process.

There are, however, a few limitations on the MySQL databases.

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Installing WordPress on an Azure Website

I’ve been a fan of Azure for a while now, but some of my coworkers, @cromwellryan and @stevemgentile, have compared it with Heroku and found it to be lacking. Heroku hosts web applications that have cloud scale an can be quickly deployed with git. Microsoft has apparently heard these complaints and recently released Azure Web Sites.

So what is an Azure website and how does it compare with what we’ve had in the past with Web and Worker Roles? And how do you create a website with Azure websites?

This is the first of a 2-part series of posts:

  1. Setup of Wordpress on Azure websites
  2. Migrating a blog from Blogspot to Wordpress on Azure websites
    Let’s get started.

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Knockout and Click-to-Edit

Knockout is lots of fun to work with. It uses the MVVM pattern to drastically simplify javascript - you no longer have to mess around with finding elements and updating them or retrieving values from elements. All you have to do is work with a viewmodel and the DOM is kept in sync automatically. Here is a small example of one of the fun things I made with knockout recently.

I needed to implement click-to-edit for an element on a page that is bound to a Knockout viewmodel. The idea with click-to-edit is that you see text on a webpage, and when you click it, you are able to edit it, then when you click away, the edit box goes away. You can see it in action on the Result tab below:

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