23 Replies Latest reply on Aug 13, 2019 5:19 PM by doorknob

    Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)


      TLDR version: Can Microsoft possibly make it any more difficult to sign up for an Azure Cloud account if you live in a rural area without available mobile wireless connectivity? (Rhetorical question only - if they put some more creative thinking into it, of course they can.)


      I can't seem to find the proper magic spell to get registered for the Azure Cloud account that I will need to participate in the Azure Sphere contest(s).


      Maybe it's due to simple user error(s), but I'm wondering whether it's because I live in the middle of nowhere as far as mobile phone connectivity is concerned, but the sign-up process evidently requires a mobile phone connection to receive either a text or a phone call from Microsoft as part of account verification. Google Voice did not work for me for either text or phone call.


      Are the folks at Microsoft so comfortable in their metropolitan-center-high-speed-mobile-phone-access bubble that it never occurred to them that there are people who live in rural locations that may have hot-and-cold-running-wired-internet service but no wireless network access whatsoever? If so, then Azure Cloud has a fatal flaw that makes it "designed to fail". It has me wondering what other unexpected lacunae I'm going to encounter if I ever do manage to successfully get signed up for Azure Cloud.


      The response from the Azure Cloud sign-up server was decidedly "less-than-helpful" - it suggests contacting 'support' for assistance, and helpfully provides a link - but that link takes you to an Azure sign-in page - how can I sign in to contact support if my registration attempt was not successful?


      I understand that for security purposes they might be reluctant to provide me with any possible clues as to why my sign-up failed, but it leaves me stuck in 'nowheresville' wondering if I might be better off taking up a safer sport such as stamp collecting.


      Yeah, this is mostly a rant, but it is also useful feedback in case anyone who cares about Azure Cloud usability and has an opportunity to make a difference stumbles across this post.


      My next plan of attack is to try signing up using the Edge browser instead of Chrome (to help appease the deities), and I will submit my smartphone's phone number and request that they send me a text - and then I will hop in the car and drive 20 minutes to somewhere where I can get a wireless data signal.


      I'll report back in about an hour, stand by for the update...

        • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

          I can see how that would be frustrating, but it should be only once (unless you enable MFA sign in on your account).


          Can your mobile phone company provide you with a femtocell? That should allow you to route your phone over your internet connection.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

              I'm not sure about the mobile phone company (T-mobile) being able to provide that - it's a complicated story and not a very interesting one - but the phone and phone service were a gift from a friend, and the service is in her name, so I am not 'known' to T-mobile - but I can look into that anyway.


              The not-so-fun saga continues, however - I drove to a place where I could get a wireless data signal, and sure enough there was a text message waiting for me:


              verify code texted to my smartphone from Azure


              I didn't get home right away, because, if I'm going to drive 20 minutes to get a wireless data signal, I might as well get some food shopping done while I'm out - but when I returned, I dutifully keyed in the code and submitted it to Microsoft for verification.


              So everything is cool now, right?


              Bzzzzzzzt - wrong answer.


              "We couldn't verify your code..."

              We could not verify your code

              I did key in that code correctly, didn't I?


              Maybe there is some top-secret security stuff going on, where you must enter that code within X number of minutes of the code being sent (but of course no such limitation was disclosed in the screens that I viewed or in the text message itself).


              For my next attempt I'm going to bring my laptop and phone with me when I drive to get a wireless data signal - I will use the smartphone as a WiFi hotspot for the Windows laptop - but I will have to walk through the registration process from the beginning, because I originally tried to register on my desktop development PC, and there does not appear to be any way to transfer the registration attempt from that PC to my laptop (or to use remote desktop software to access the original registration attempt screen when I am in my car).


              I'll report back later on...

                • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                  Finally, finally I was able to sign up, using the smartphone hotspot strategy that I described above, after driving to a location where I could grab a wireless network connection..


                  It still reflects poorly on Microsoft and their flawed conception of what constitutes an appropriate way to vet new users of their services.


                  Now, onto the next step(s) - I wonder what other obstacles and mischief Microsoft has hidden up their sleeves (he wondered, wonderingly)...

                    • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                      Congratulations on reaching this part of the quest. I figured there are few who as stubborn as myself to see things through the end. I wish you the best of luck. Your ingenuity to come up with a solution earns you the badge "what to do when you have no idea what to do". Dave's believes the water is fine, let us know by documenting as you wade deeper. Avoid warm spots, there are not necessarily a good thing.



                        • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                          Re: "avoid the warm spots", almost spit out my hot tea when I read that :-)


                          I will keep on plugging away at things with Azure Sphere - In fact, I registered for the "Sensing the World Challenge" because the Azure Sphere concept actually has good potential for helping me to realize some IoT-related ideas that I've been mulling over for a long time - it will be great if it lives up to its potential (but I have lots to learn before I can come anywhere close to determining whether or not it's actually the right solution for me).


                          So, despite my grumpiness at having been forced to expend an unexpectedly large amount of time and effort and gasoline just to accomplish something that I had expected to breeze through in a couple of minutes, I will continue further along this path to see where it leads.

                            • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                              Now don't you be going and wasting good tea on my account.


                              It is always nice to hear of successes. Something to be said for dog determination. To bad you had to invest so much to get this far. Maybe the rest of the journey won't be as arduous? Best of luck.


                              I have a couple of hooks in the waters of Raspberry Pi questions but nar a nibble yet. Might be using the wrong bait for that water or there might be no fish.


                              All these water and fishing analogies I think I will go for a flick morrow. A little brook up the highway might have a mornings fun trouting.



                          • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                            Unfortunately the 'trials and tribulations' continue...


                            The calendar pages are flipping by faster than in a low-budget 1940's film noir 'B' movie - if I can't figure out how to get my board connected 'tout de suite', well, there's not a whole lot that I'll be able to do with the sensing the world challenge...


                            Problem is, I can't seem to get the SDK version installed properly for use with Visual Studio 2019 - I keep running into this error message:


                            Service 'Azure sphere Device Communication Service' (AzureSphereDeviceCommunicationservice) failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start system services.


                            (yes, I launched the SDK install from cmd.exe 'run as administrator', but to no avail)


                            I've been relearning more than I ever cared to relearn about Windows Services and running services.msc and poring over the event log - it seems that ultimately the problem may be due to an "invalid handle" exception that prevents the service from being started.


                            azure sphere device communication service failed to start


                            But what that really means and how to fix it elude me.


                            I may need to muck around with the TAP driver to see if that is working or not, but I'm not quite sure where to start - I do see the three virtual com ports being created when the board is plugged in, so at least that much is working - maybe I haven't exhausted my googling potential, but so far the only slightly promising lead that I've seen was sitting in the Microsoft azuresphere forum at https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/8b19e10b-4d88-4de0-a805-e0eeff6d88bc/azure-sphere-device-communication-service?forum=azuresphere however it's not clear that the underlying causes are the same. Nevertheless I will muck around some more before throwing in the towel.


                            (It had occurred to me that maybe Visual Studio 2019 might be too bleeding-edge for my purposes, but so far I have not found an installer that will let me go back in time to 2017 and try that instead - maybe a little more effort will yield satisfaction in that department, however.)


                            Again, this is just a continuation of a rant, it's not really a cry for help.


                            I'm not doing this as part of my 'real job', so there are limits to how much time and effort I can devote to it right now...

                      • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                        Wow. Yours is the second posting on the trials and tribulation of Azure Sphere accounts I have read. A perusal of Azure Sphere search results on this site doesn't provide many success stories. It appears to me, anyone entering the arena to battle the Azure Sphere needs to spend time reading the posts or they will discover on their own a path scattered with perils.


                        I contemplated throwing my name in the hat. FREE! was such an appealing offer. My country being excluded from participation made the decision for me. It seems I dodged a bullet in not participating and yet the bullet is taking out you and others who are participating.


                        I can't recall the last time I had a positive experience dealing with Microsoft products or services? I never looked forward to having to sign up. Promises and delivery never matched. I confess, 20 years exposed to *inx systems has made me jaded when in come to dealing with the purveyor of the blue screen of death.


                        Good luck on your quest for the magic amulet. I recommend if you you find it, make a post. Maybe you will earn some cooperation points that you can use later on.



                        • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                          I'm glad you finally got things sorted. It does sound like it was a PITA in your particular circumstance.


                          To be fair though, multi factor authentication using a phone is not unusual nor confined to Microsoft. If they didn't do it they'd probably be criticised for poor security.


                          If you go into this hoping that Microsoft disappoint you then I'm sure you will confirm and reinforce this. I started with Microsoft and progressed to feeling comfortable with Linux. I hit bumps. It wasn't always easy and often unfamiliar. It would have been easy to "pick a side" in the pointless battle. We all need to be polyglots these days. Approach it with an open mind and you'll get help over the inevitable bumps along the way.


                          Over gone all hippy on you, so I feel I should sign this off with "peace, man".

                          • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                            Wow, who knew that was simmering under the surface. To think, I made a conscious effort to not respond to your last Pollyanna post.


                            I do apologize for being the millstone around Ed neck, dragging him down to the blue depths of where he has chosen to step off. (ha another water reference, I slay myself).


                            As for Azure Sphere, the project was not open in my geographic area. Even if it was, I had already decided it wasn't a project I could afford to spend time on. Further discovery, that it required MS services, only reinforced I made the right decision for me. Retirement already has enough frustrations:)


                            If recalling experiences supporting O/S's, is bashing Microsoft, then I am guilty as charged. I will use a MS product as penance. Can you recommend one that will punish me appropriately?


                            In future posts, I will encourage members to only see the glass as half full. I understand to some people, with that outlook they are not as disappointed or the avoidable frustrations are not as annoying when things don't go smoothly.



                            • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                              It's cloud solution so of course, it will have tons of problems in comaprison with a standard embedded board, I didn't expect anything else. I'm a little bit annoyed by how integrated it is and unusable without connecting it into microsoft ecosystem, and I won't be using them for anything in near future but I can see the use for them in some specific solutions.

                                • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                                  Are you part of the product development team?


                                  I would expect a certain amount of overhead getting the system established. The trials for Ed just seemed a little excessive. He did manage to get some groceries on his trip to civilization so it wasn't a total loss.


                                  Looking at the posts related to Azure Sphere, there are others who experienced problems getting registered. It doesn't appear to be smooth even with instructions. Just think, in the current test group assuming 20K units distributed, if 1% of the participants have issues you are talking 200 calls to tech support.


                                  In a former life, as a person responsible for tech support, that number would be unacceptable. It sounds like you are interested in finding a solution, so best of luck.



                                • Re: Azure Sphere - is Azure Cloud "designed to fail"? (account startup problems)

                                  Sorry for your troubles...

                                  But here is some skinny https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/authentication/howto-mfa-mfasettings#selectable-verification-met…


                                  What you want to do is change to a phone call. Your phone will ring. When you answer you get a voice recording. Hit # and the verification will magically disappear. I do this at work when changing passwords every month. It is a pain in the a@@, but I was required to.

                                  Hope this helps