Private Clouds are increasingly important to the efficient operations of your business. The System Center 2012 products provide everything you need to build, secure, maintain and manage your Private Cloud. You can get all of the latest Betas, Release Candidates and Evaluations by clicking one button!
If you haven’t heard about Windows XP Mode features that are a part of some versions of Windows 7, go check it out at the Windows XP Mode Virtualization site.
The great news is that Microsoft has expanded this offering to allow people that do NOT have systems that support Hardware Virtualization to use Windows XP Mode. We have updated the XP Mode site with new bits for users that are unsure of what their systems support or know they don’t have the virtualization extensions on their particular hardware. That means more people than ever can utilize this fantastic transition technology to “migrate” applications over to Windows 7.
You can find the Microsoft Press release here – “Microsoft Accelerates Desktop Virtualization”
Today I participated in an event with CDW on Unified Communications in Portland, OR. I have compiled a list of resources for the attendees that I hope will prove valuable in learning more about and evaluating Microsoft Unified Communications products and strategies. If there is a particular piece of information you are looking for, please let me know!
Exchange 2010 Server Unified Messaging Landing Page – Exchange is an integral part of our Unified Communications platform. Exchange provides email and voicemail integration as well as other key features to add value and simplify your messaging needs.
Office Communications Server 2007 R2 – OCS is the “cornerstones of Microsoft’s UC solution, is the platform for presence, instant messaging, conferencing, and enterprise voice for businesses around the world”
Technet Virtual Labs for OCS 2007 R2 – Get your hands on OCS and test out installation, implementation and run time scenarios without haveing to spend valuable time building your own test environment. Use out
The Compelling Case for Conferencing White Paper – This white paper details Microsoft Conferencing solutions and the ROI that can be realized. (Written by Wainhouse Research and UniComm Consulting)
Achieving Cost and Resource Savings with Unified Communications – A white paper put together by UniComm Consulting on Implementing UC and the savings that can be realized.
Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program – Want to know if your existing or future PBX/IP-PBX implementation will work with Microsoft UC? Check this page out. Also a good resources for developers who are interested in developing UC solutions.
Unified Communications Webcasts and Podcasts – Microsoft has produced a large number of webcasts and podcasts related to Unified Communications. Most of these are available for download and offline viewing at your convenience.
Office Communications Server 2007 R2 on Technet – Technet has a wealth of information for IT Pros that are looking at implementing UC solutions.
OCS and UC Case Studies – a number of companies have provided case studies on their implementation of Microsoft UC Solutions.
UC Hardware Information – This page lists qualified vendors and hardware for Microsoft Office Communicator.
Office Communicator 2007 R2 Resource Kit – Interested in extending functionality and developing solutions for OCS? Start here!
Microsoft OCS Team Blog – This is where you can talk to the people that are working on OCS.
Microsoft Unified Communications team Blog – This is where you can find new information and interface with the people involved in Microsoft’s UC strategy.
If for some reason you have NOT heard about the new Windows Phone 7 devices…..STOP! Click this link to see more. Go ahead…I will wait.
Welcome back! :)
I am super excited about Windows Phone 7! The demos I have seen and my own experience with the Zune HD device has me itching to get a Windows Phone 7 device….NOW! Of course we are all going to have to wait until the holiday season to get out hands on one.
Personally, I have 5 primary uses for my mobile computing platform
Browse the Web Read email (compose only short emails) Tweeting Texting Maps/GPS/Directions
Browse the Web
Read email (compose only short emails)
For most other things, I have just not been able to get excited about using a small, hand held device. Sure, I have a few apps that are interesting or fun, but very little that I find to be critical to my everyday use outside of the list above (admittedly, Facebook access is moving up the list). I even prefer to have a separate device for music (Zune HD) because the device is smaller and easier to manage than a “phone sized” device.
Call me old, outdated, unable to accept change….whatever you want. I like the larger screen experience. particularly when it comes to videos/movies. i don’t care who you are, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jennifer Aniston *all* look better on a large movie screen. I will settle for the big screen TV in my home only because I have invested in a good TV and a good surround sound system. Smaller formats than that and I am left feeling very unsatisfied with the viewing experience.
When it comes to applications though, there is a lot more leeway. We have all been using, Office products, the web, Photoshop, and any number of other applications on a desktop/laptop system for years using a smaller screen format. There isn’t much to be gained with most applications by moving them to a larger screen format (even if the trend is to larger screen dimensions and higher resolutions for more screen real estate). But there is much to be said for moving them to a smaller screen format. We gain portability, mobility (I see these as two unique, distinct things) and, depending on the implementation of the application, perhaps better usability. Plus, look around – EVERYONE has a mobile phone. It is a huge and growing market.
One area that is growing at a huge rate, is the mobile gaming segment. Now I am not a mobile gamer. I just don’t find any of the games that exciting and again, I like the larger screen format. The idea of playing World of Warcraft or any other MMO on a mobile platform is completely unappealing to me.
Ok. Bad Example. I don’t know of anyone who thinks that playing a game like WoW on a mobile platform would be as rich of an experience. But there are a tremendous number of other opportunities for converting other games to a mobile platform. There are also any number of unrealized games to yet evolve as technology evolves and the mobile platform continues to develop.
That is where this announcement on the Official Microsoft blog comes in. Yesterday, we announced XNA Game Studio 4.0 as well as some other very cool phone related technologies.
XNA Game Studio 4.0 will provide developers a means of creating games across several platforms including windows Phone 7. The XNA tools are also what are used for Xbox game development as well. So imagine games that can be used in both places! Better yet, games that utilize both platforms to extend the gaming experience! Maybe you have a Zune HD….well ZNA is used for Zune game development as well.
Windows Phone Marketplace will provide an access point for game developers to showcase their finished products. This is where consumers will go with their Windows Phone 7, Zune HD, and Xbox’s to get the latest and greatest wares!
Each month through June 2010, we’ll bring you a 60-minute Architect focused Webcast to educate on the latest trends/topics and how new technologies can align with your business needs.
March 25, 2010 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST
Title: Extending Your Sites Reach with IE8 Add On Features
Abstract Today's users are getting more sophisticated and they expect more features from the sites and services they use. In this session learn about how to implement low effort, high value add-ons that expand your sites reach and bring value to your customer base .
Link to Register: https://swrt.worktankseattle.com/webcast/4240/preview.aspx
Presenter: Jim Cirone Architect Evangelist, Microsoft Jim Cirone is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism team. He joined the DPE team 3 years ago after spending 10 years in Microsoft's services group architecting and delivering complex solutions. In his current role he is focused on new and emerging web technologies.
March 26, 2010 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST
Title: Windows Azure Design Patterns
Abstract: One of the challenges in adopting a new platform is finding usable design patterns that work for developing effective solutions. The Catch-22 is that design patterns are discovered and not invented. Nevertheless it is important to have some guidance on what design patterns make sense early in the game.
This webcast attacks the problem through a set of application scenario contexts, Azure features and solution examples. It is unique in its approach and the fact that it includes the use of features from all components of the Windows Azure Platform including the Windows Azure OS, Windows Azure AppFabric and SQL Azure. In this webcast you will learn about the components of the Windows Azure Platform that can be used to solve specific business problems.
Link to Register: https://swrt.worktankseattle.com/webcast/4241/preview.aspx
Presenter: Bill Zack Architect Evangelist, Microsoft
Bill Zack is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft. He comes to this role after serving as a Solutions Architect in the Financial Services Unit of Microsoft Consulting Services. His experience includes developing, supporting and evangelizing .NET/SOA based frameworks used to jump-start development projects for financial services companies.
Today’s plan is to work from home because I need to record some demos for people that attended my events in Portland and Seattle in the past two weeks. In Portland I ran out of time (I didn’t manage Q&A Time well and it was first delivery). In Seattle, we had a projector issue that made demoing virtually impossible. Maybe those issues were the precursors to other problems yet to come.
I woke up this morning, made some breakfast, grabbed my first cup of coffee and then came down to the dungeon (basement office) to get settled in for the day. I decided to take a quick glance at the news and noticed that things were resolving very slowly. In my home network I usually find this to be an issue with my DNS server. A quick check and sure enough, there is a problem. Only the problem isn’t so much with the DNS service as much as it is with the network as a whole.
My DNS server is virtualized and managed within an isolated AD domain. My Exchange is virtualized as is my Web Server. All of these services are hosted on the same Hyper-V server and the VHD’s are stored on a mirrored drive for redundancy. Well, that mirror broke. It broke badly enough that Windows took both drives in the mirror offline. That meant DNS resolution was taking longer than normal as things failed over thus slowing down access to just about everything.
Long story long and……. now the mirror is re-synching which is causing a slow access issue of it’s own since it is re-synching close to 500gigs of data.
Once I have confirmed things are okay there I will settle into recording the demos and getting them posted online. In the meantime, look for posts shortly with links to the slides and a document that allows you to replicate the demo environment that I am using.
Tip – You can tell if I am working on my home network/web server when the banner on this blog loads slowly or not at all. That banner picture is actually own my home server.
If you have ever heard these words, they are usually followed by a sense of dread and a red face. If it is around Christmas time, we can blame our kids and everyone else we are over-extending ourselves for in the interest of giving. But when it happens after having a business lunch with a co-worker, it can be mystifying and a bit embarrassing. Thus was the situation yesterday.
I started the day with a successful transaction at an ATM to get some cash to add to my ID/Badge card. At Microsoft we can use our badges in the campus cafeterias to avoid digging through purses and wallets for payment. Just slap the badge on a scanner and, voila!, meal is paid for. My badge had run out of funds so I grabbed some cash from the ATM to add to my card.
When lunch rolled around, I met a co-worker for some Pho (btw…Saigon City in Bellevue, WA has the fastest service I have ever had at a Pho restaurant…and good Pho too!) and to talk about some events we are planning. The bill comes around and I go to pick it up using the same bank ATM card I used just hours earlier. Moments later, the server comes back and says (rather humorously), “Your wife must have gone shopping….your card was declined”. I actually thought he was joking but turns out he was serious. I go for my AMEX card and….”Oh…we don’t take those here.”
When I was much, much younger, if I heard “Your card was declined” I would have known it was because I was youthfully and without regard to my credit score over-extending myself and likely known I was going to eventually hear those words. I would have feigned ignorance, blamed the bank, the 3 day hold on deposited checks, or really anyone but myself. I wouldn’t have felt any real embarrassment because I knew it was going to happen sometime. But these days, I am supposed to be a responsible (ha!) adult (ha!) and respect the financial institutions that move money around the system and the proprietors that expect timely compensation for the wares and services they provide.
Needless to say, I was at a loss and YES, I was very embarrassed. My co-worker picked up the tab, and on the drive back to the office I violated my “don’t browse the web while driving” rule and looked up my account just to make sure I had at least the $15 bucks for lunch. Well, I had enough for several lunches and then some so I chalked it up to a freak banking error and finished the drive back to work.
Fast forward to earlier today… I am ordering pizzas for an event this evening and I use the SAME card that was declined yesterday. I don’t give it any thought because I KNOW I have money in the account. I call the order in, provide my card number, say thank you and we say goodbye. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Until 3 minutes later when the pizza guy calls me back and asks me to read the card number to him again because he must have typed it in incorrectly. I provide the info again and this time wait for him to run it. Sure enough – declined. So I provide a different card, which goes through just fine and begin the process of trying to figure out what is going on.
A call to my bank results in them confirming my card has been blocked. Why?
“Have you been traveling?” – Sure, I was in Portland last week for an event.
“Have you traveled out of state?” – Sure. I went to Texas over New Years.
“Let me give you a number to our Fraud Control Company. They will be able to assist you further”
Now…..because of horror stories I have read about in the media and the work I have done around security over the years, I was beginning to think the worst. Visions of destroyed credit, money vanishing from accounts, and some wahoo strolling around the country buying houses, boats and luxury cars in my name left me with a very uneasy feeling in my stomach. Not to mention I just knew this would be the start of a very, very long process of routing through phone systems, speaking to anything BUT a human being, getting no real answers, and ultimately living out of a van down by the river.
But, that is not what happened….
Surprisingly, I called the phone number provided for the fraud center for my bank and within 3 mins I was speaking to a real human being. I was prompted for a few pieces of information and then, much to my dismay, they actually gave me information in return.
“Have you been traveling?” – Yes. Portland. Last week for work.
“Have you been to Florida recently?” – Nope. Last I was in Florida was a year ago for work and vacation.
“What cities in Florida?” – Orlando.
“Not Miami?” – Nope. Never been to Miami. Don’t think I have even had a connecting flight through Miami.
“Well sir, we can confirm then that your card was compromised.”
Somehow, someone forged a physical copy of my card. The fraud center knows this because it was an attempted physical swipe transaction at a Wal-Mart in Miami, FL on March 1st. The transaction amount was for $311.24. It was flagged, declined and my card blocked. It was flagged because I had used the card the same day and actually swiped it at a couple of merchants here in the Redmond area. The fraud center will confirm with my bank that the transaction was a fraudulent transaction and the account number associated with my card should remain blocked. I need to work with my bank to get a new card.
Whew! and Awesome! Win for the good guys!
Sure, I will need to go to my bank and fill out some forms. Sure it is still a little nerve-wracking that someone managed to get enough information about my account to make a duplicate card. But it is also very re-assuring to experience first hand some of the safety controls that have been put in place to prevent the bad guys from making off with my hard earned cash and merchandise from a merchant. All said, I am happy to head to the bank to get a new card if that is the only fall out from a situation like this.
But I do have one concern…..What would have happened if that duplicate card would have been used at the local Fred Meyer’s I shop at?
Maybe it is time to revisit the checkbook…..
*** Updated ***
3/3/2010 - I transposed 2 numbers in my posting of the price. I inadvertently listed the final cost with discount as $215.28 when it is actually $251.28. My apologies for the confusion.
On the left side of my blog, you will see a clickable banner for a great deal on a TechNet Plus Subscription. You can get 28% off the normal price just by making sure you use TNITE09 as the promotion code when you order a *NEW* TechNet Plus Direct Subscription. That drops the price from $349 USD to - $251.28 USD !!! This offer is set to expire on March 31, 2010 so don’t drag your feet.
Just a reminder that our next monthly meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at Lincoln Square Center in Bellevue at 6:00PM.
Our guest speaker will be Vijay Sen of Microsoft. Vijay is a senior Program Manager on the Data Protection Manager (DPM) team. His presentation topic is "Say Goodbye to Data Loss with Microsoft DPM 2010.”
Come learn how you can use Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 to easily and cost-effectively protect your data on Exchange, SQL, Hyper-V, SharePoint, laptops and much more. See live demos on how you can use Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 to protect, monitor and recover! Also get an opportunity to tell us what you think the next version of DPM needs to do to better meet your needs.
Vijay's bio is available here.
New Members If you are a new member, please go to Links on our Web site for directions to the Lincoln Center. Meeting agenda and other details are available under Announcements. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Food We will be providing pizza and soft drinks so please make sure that you RSVP so we know how much pizza to order.
We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.
Seattle Windows Networking User Group
Good Day Everyone! Here are some resources for the current session I am delivering along the West Coast. I was in Portland last week to deliver this session and promised some resources and my slides would get posted, so here they are!
For those of you reading this from outside of the Pacific NW, this same presentation is being delivered in cities across the US. Check here for a location closer to you! -- U.S. Cloud Computing Series
Windows Azure Home Page – main landing page for all things related to Windows Azure
Windows Azure Team Blog – Connect to the team that is bringing you the future of computing!
SQL Azure Team Blog – Connect to the SQL Azure team!
Azure Platform Resources on MSDN – Tremendous resource for IT Pros and Developers
Windows Azure Platform Training Kit – Demos, presentations and hands-on-labs for learning more about Windows Azure and related technologies
Azure Pricing – Current Windows Azure pricing (as of Mar 1st, 2010)
Windows Azure TCO and ROI Calculator – Link to the TCO/ROI tool – Great tools to see if Azure makes sense from a cost perspective!
Kelley Blue Book Case Study – This link has even more in depth information on what KBB did with Azure and other Microsoft products.
Windows Hyper-V Home Page – main landing page for all things related to Hyper-V
Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog – These guys are the experts!
Virtual PC Guy (Ben Armstrong) – Fantastic Virtualization Resource
Hyper-V on Technet – In depth information for IT Professionals
TechNet Deployment Center – Practically everything and anything you need to know about Microsoft deployment technologies lives here
Windows Deployment Services Getting Started Guide – Start here if you are new to Microsoft Deployment technologies
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Team Blog – This guys know how to get Windows on a machine!
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Download – Our latest Deployment Toolkit
Windows Automated Installation Kit Download – Tools for automating deployment of Windows Server 2003 and later and Windows Vista and later…
Disk2VHD Tool – Download the tool that creates working VHD files from physical disks