is now powered by Windows Azure

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.11.2012 at 23:45

I am happy to inform that I have just finished migrating this WordPress blog from a third party hosting provider to the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud.

Windows Azure offers both Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), helping customers achieve higher degrees of agility and scalability. Windows Azure enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any operating system, language or tool.

Here is a list of services currently offered:

  • Web sites (Iā€™m using it for this blog)
  • Virtual Machines (host your VMs on the cloud)
  • Mobile Services (backend solutions for mobile apps)
  • Cloud Services (infinitely scalable apps ā€“ PaaS)
  • Big Data
  • Media (create, manage and distribute media in the cloud)

Here are some screenshots from my Windows Azure portal:




Windows Azure gives me the capability to dynamically scale the number of instances my website runs on anytime I want, helping me deal with spikes in web traffic/utilization:


The Windows Azure dashboard also lets me monitor my website easily. For instance, in the below dashboard I see a spike in the morning when I was importing posts into the new WordPress installation and the web application was processing those posts. Later in the evening I made the DNS change to switch my Azure instance into production, and the traffic started coming in.


YallaKora ā€“ Experience the Euro 2012 Football Championship in HTML5!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 08.06.2012 at 18:07

I am excited to share the launch of a new HTML5 experience project with, one of the biggest sports sites in MEA. A unique HTML5 experience has been developed for the Euro 2012 Football Championship that will take place from 8 to 30 June 2012.

Bookmark the page now :

The project provides full details of the teams, top players, Stadiums , schedules, results & news in both Arabic & English languages. The website gives best experience with Internet Explorer 9.

Here are some screenshots from the website:





Hey, I’M A PC!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.11.2008 at 07:48

Can you spot someone familiar in here?


I’ve made it on the Windows I’M A PC website, and there’s a picture of me with that sadistic grin on my face. Vampire Bat

PS: I’ve managed to get my own authentic "I’M A PC" T-shirt.

And we’re back online!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.04.2008 at 07:09

I just checked again this morning, and I find that my blog has been ‘unblocked‘.

What happened last night is still a mystery. My blog (and Adnan’s) were not accessible inside the UAE since 9:30 PM. As per Adnan, the blogs were ‘unblocked’ by 2:00 AM.

BTW, YouTube issue is still not fixed.

An electronic visa for Bahrain

by Shijaz Abdulla on 16.12.2007 at 14:28

I’m off to Bahrain on Tuesday to spend the Islamic festival of Eid Al Adha with family & friends. Being an Indian resident of the UAE, I will need a visit visa to enter Bahrain.

I was delighted to know that a Bahrain visit visa’s can be applied for and received over the internet! The Bahrain government has taken a great step forward in simplifying the visa application process and making it available online.

You simply visit the Bahrain eVisa website, enter the required passport information, make sure that you meet the eligibility and submit your application. The fees for issuing the visa is paid online by credit card. Within 3 days, the authorities will verify your application and you can print your visa online. Bon voyage!

Eid Mubarak!

Family trees and forests

by Shijaz Abdulla on 06.11.2007 at 07:08

Just wanted to share an online experience.

I came across this website called Geni from a friend of mine. It helps you construct your family tree. For each family member you add to the tree, you have the option to specify his/her email address. Each such user receives an invitation to view and/or modify the tree. You can also add photos/thumbnail pic and personal details (birth/death date/place, occupation, education, etc) for each person on the tree.

It is really interesting when more people related to you get drawn into the excitement and you end up seeing more people in your family tree and eventually you get to know more about your roots and the origins of your family.

That said, Geni doesn’t make your family tree for you. It only provides you with an easy-to-use, fairly secure interface. It’s up to you and those related to you to actually build the tree!

My family “tree” (well, it’s more of a jungle now) is now eight generations deep and covers family members up to two centuries ago. Kind of makes me stop and think of the distant past.

IIS 6: “Path specified cannot be used at this time”

by Shijaz Abdulla on 31.07.2007 at 13:50

“Path specified cannot be used at this time”

One of my web servers running IIS 6.0 said this to me when I tried to open the Internet Information Services MMC console. It just wouldn’t let me connect to the server via the MMC console. The web sites hosted on the server were available merrily though.

All i had to do to bring the IIS console back to its working state was to restart the IIS Admin service and re-open the IIS MMC console. I guess IIS just needed a little kick to get back to work again.

Update: On 19 Dec, 2007, Microsoft released a hotfix that addresses this issue.

How to run a command as SYSTEM

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.07.2007 at 08:51

The SYSTEM account is an internal account used by the Windows operating system that is similar to the administrator account, and has access to all resources, but cannot be fully managed by the user. The SYSTEM account is used internally by the OS for tasks like starting services and running processes.

There is, however, a way by which a normal user can execute commands or start processes in the context of the SYSTEM account. I’ve written an article about it on my website: “How to run a command in the context of the SYSTEM account

Microsoft website, 1994

by Shijaz Abdulla on 04.02.2007 at 20:40

I was jaywalking.. er.. contributing on Wikipedia, when I came across a very interesting screenshot from the stone age… umm.. 1994 (what’s gotten into me?)

It’s a screenshot of the Microsoft website, back in 1994.

And look, its got a text-only link… for those lesser mortals who didn’t have browsers/computers that supported graphics 12 years ago … (And that too, I bet not more than 16 colors). In those days, the whole Microsoft website ran on just 3 servers and they used to get about 125,000 hits each day.

Just for kicks, here’s how the Microsoft website looks like today (4-Feb-2006):

Today its the world’s most visited website – I love this company!

See also:
“A Brief history of Microsoft on the Web”