If you read my previous post and bothered to go out to the Robert Scoble's post which prompted it, you will see me kind of going toe-to-toe with Robert. In my own opinion, I think Robert just doesn't like being confronted much less being wrong which is why we have been going back and forth. I also think he has become such an Apple fanboy that he can't see past his Mac to understand that there are excellent products and features being delivered by lots of companies besides Apple.
But that is just my opinion.
I would like for you, the 12 regular readers I have - :) - to correct me if I am wrong.
If you want the short version, go read Scoble's post. Then read comments #5(me), #7(Scoble), #24(me), #28(Scoble), #32(Scoble), #39(me), #41(Scoble), #44(Me).
I would like to know if, in your opinion, it is me or Robert that does or does not get it.
I wish I had my camera today to take a picture of the crowd. I was in the big room just after the key note and I believe they had seating for about 1500. I estimate about 1200 people for my Windows 2008 overview session. Lots of great interaction and questions throughout the day. I look forward to the emails from people that I could not get around to during the live event and of course those questions I just simply did not have the knowledge base to answer.
Thanks to everyone that came up after the sessions to speak to me. One of the reason I do what I do is so I can interact face-to-face with the people using our products. I enjoy the feedback positive and negative. It helps keep me grounded and more in touch with the people that use our products and technologies. You rock!
I have a list of things to post about from the sessions today but I am now running on fumes. I make an early flight tomorrow over to Harrisburgh, PA for the next event so look for a flurry of posts after I get settled in.
As I noted during the sessions, don't hesitate to contact me if you need information. I don't have all the answers in my head but I can find the people that do.
I canceled my cable TV service today. Later this afternoon I am going to drop off the HD DVR and since I have consistently overpaid my bill for the last year they actually owe me money when all is said and done. People that know me real well might think I have lost my mind. Partly because they know how much TV and how many movies I watch and partly because......they know how much TV and how many movies I watch.
I love TV. I have grown up in the TV generation. My generation started watching TV when the bulk of it was still in black and white. We lived through the transition to color. We lived through the transition from an antenna on top of everyone's house to having cable. We lived through the added competition and cheaper pricing that satellite services have brought us. We lived through early adopters putting antennas back on top of the house to get HDTV signals over the air. If I wanted to hold on for another 8 months I would experience the cut off of analog signals when we go digital.
But I decided to cancel my cable service for several reasons --
Cost - I was spending roughly $100 a month on cable TV service. It wasn't anything fancy, a basic package upgraded with all of the HD channels they offered and an HD DVR. No premium movie channels and no sports packages. That's $100 a month for something that up until the 70's was 100% free. Sure, cable introduced a bunch of cool stuff but 30 years down the road, there are really only a small number of channels and shows worth watching on the 100's of channels offered (IMO) and $100 a month just isn't worth it. So that is $1200 a year I get to keep and in these troubling financial times, the more money in my pocket, the better.
Selection - My cable company offered 25 HD channels (not including the premium HBO type HD channels). But they do not offer and have no plans to offer SciFi HD, or Monsters HD which I would love to have. When compared against DirectTV's HD lineup, they just can't match it. And since they are the only cable company in town, it seems to me they have no desire to add additional services to make it worth my money to stay with them. Problem is, I can't get DirectTV because of all the tall tress on my property and I don't want to add a huge mast on the property to mount a dish on just to make it happen.
Time - There just isn't enough of it. I watch a LOT of TV and movies. It is an incredible time suck and I want some of the time back to accomplish other things in my life. I am not getting any younger and neither are my wife and kids. The fence needs mending, the south 40 needs some work, and I have camping to do.
It's still going to be out there - The major networks place most of the shows I would be interested in watching on their web sites within 24-48 hours of the original air date. Failing that, everyone releases DVD compilations just before the new season begins. So I can rent what I REALLY want to watch and play catch up when I need to. Nothing like spending a rainy day in your pajamas watching episode after episode of Battlestar Galactica..... I also believe most movies are worth watching on the big screen in the theater, opening weekend when the crowd gets into it.
I also truly believe that the broadcasters and Hollywood have lost the war against P2P and file sharing sites. They will never be able to prevent content from being distributed digitally over the Internet. It only takes a BitTorrent client and decent Internet connection and 30 minutes to locate, download and start watching a compressed HD version of most TV shows and movies (....or so I've heard....). They are going to figure this out sooner or later and digital distribution will become the standard means of getting content in the next 5-10 years. I have mentioned in several seminars that I am far less impressed with the 100's of CD's and DVD's people have on display at their houses and far more impressed with people that have Home Theater PC's that allow them to call up what they want to consume within seconds without having to dig a CD or a DVD out of a case, watch all the previews and THEN get to the movie. Long ago I ripped down my entire music and DVD collections and put it all in crates in the basement. There will come a day, and a lot sooner than many think, where we don't own any physical media at all except for a big RAID array where it is all stored. So call me an early, early adopter.
Thus begins my one year long experiment with no TV services (officially starts July 1st). I will consume what I can from the content providers web sites and supplement the rest with DVD rentals, and going to the movies. I know where the bars are that show my favorite sports teams live and I have season tickets for the Seattle Thunderbirds. I haven't watched live news broadcasts regularly in years (does anyone anymore?) and I know enough people with DVR's that I can capture anything else I may want to see through them.
Time to start working on the honey-do list.....
Many IT Pros still don’t know that Microsoft offers a bare metal hypervisor. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 installs directly on your hardware with a very minimal set of Windows Server components to optimize the virtualization environment. This Hyper-V platform eliminates many of the common Windows Server infrastructure features such as Active Directory, DNS, IIS, DHCP, and more. Below you can see a comparison between the Add Roles and Features Wizards for a Windows Server 2012 and Windows Hyper-V Server 2012.
Because the code doesn't even exist on the platform, there is a significantly reduced attack surface that enhances security. Combine this with built in BitLocker support, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 is an excellent, secure solution for remote sites where there may not be the same level of physical security. VMware has no capability within the vSphere Hypervisor that can enable the encryption of either VMFS, or the VMDK files themselves. Instead, they rely on hardware-based or in-guest alternatives, which add cost, management overhead, and additional resource usage.
More importantly, there is typically very little to patch on Patch Tuesday. For instance, if there is a critical Windows DNS patch that requires a reboot, it simply does not apply to Windows Hyper-V Server. The result – a significant reduction in host downtime which means the guest workloads don’t have to be migrated or incur any downtime while the host is rebooted. In the essence of transparency – we are not perfect. There are patches that will require a Hyper-V host to be rebooted (here is a KB article for Hyper-V 2012 specific patches). However, in the event there is a patch that requires a reboot of the host, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 allows you to migrate workloads to other Hyper-V servers or to leverage a replica VM while a host is being rebooted. Something the free VMware offering specifically doesn’t support. To get this for VMware you must purchase the much more expensive VMware offering. I like free!
But when you consider that a patch reboot is a relatively small part of what goes on in production, I feel the absolutely most important aspect of this is reduced resource usage by the host itself. Ideally, you want any hypervisor used in productions to consume as little resources at the host level as possible leaving as much as we can for the VM’s we are hosting. Microsoft Hyper-V Server accomplishes this by eliminating the code for extraneous services completely.
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 doesn’t compromise on any Hyper-V Features either. Even though this is an absolutely free hypervisor, it fully supports all of the same enterprise feature sets of a Windows 2012 Server with the Hyper-V role enabled.
This contrasts the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor offering that cripples some features such as moving running workloads easily to another VMware server, lack of high availability features, and a cap on the VMware host of 32 gigs of installed memory (this is a hard cap too the VMware license key will not be accepted if the host has >32 gigs of memory installed!).
Finally, we aren’t finished innovating in the bare-metal virtualization space. Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is just around the corner and it boasts new updates and features to further enable IT Administrators to optimize their virtualized environments and reduce costs.
If you want to take a look at some of the new features, download the Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 Preview here -
Why Hyper-V? - Competitive Advantages of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 over VMware vSphere Hypervisor
What’s New in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2
vSphere 5 vs. Hyper-V 3 (Beta)
There has been some discussion recently on some DL's here at Microsoft about sites that re-post blog posts without permission. I will call it what it is which is the theft of copyrighted materials for the purpose of monetary gain. I don't like saying copyrighted because copyrights get a bad rap these days depending on who you speak to, but from the perspective that *I* sat down and *I* wrote the blog post, the work does belong to me. If someone else wants to repost it, at least credit me with the original posting. Anyway.....most of the talk on the DL is about how to address it and deal with it and block it and stop it and blah blah blah blah....I decided to blog about it and then see if this post would get stolen too.
Check this out...if you look at the comments for my three most recent posts to my blog --
More P2V Conversion FUN with SCVMM 2008... Four machines down and one to go! Slides and additional info from Technet Presentation...
More P2V Conversion FUN with SCVMM 2008...
Four machines down and one to go!
Slides and additional info from Technet Presentation...
All three of those posts have a pingback linking to mstechnews.info and then the first parts of my posts duplicated verbatim with a link back to my posts near the end of each entry. If you click on the calendar links to the right you will see that several Technet and MSDN blogs are getting the same treatment all in the quest for advertising dollars from some unscrupulous miscreant.
In reality I don't care all that much because it isn't taking money away from me. I receive no advertising revenue from my blog. But I don't like what I am doing to be diluted. I also don't like people getting redirected off to 3rd party sites that are sprinkled with ads, click-throughs and who knows what else. I really don't like what I am posting to get listed as "Anonymous" when I am hardly anonymous. If I wanted to post things anonymously I would create an anonymous blog.
So...to the owner of mstechnews.info... If you want to link to me....fine. If you want to use pieces of my blog posts in your own.....also fine....as long as you credit me. But please.....
Stop stealing my blog posts......
ps....I will start deleting these kind of pingbacks in the future.
note......WHOIS on mstechnews.info via CodeFlux
For that matter.....Do you even like Microsoft Webcasts?
My team is on a conference call right now and we are discussing webcast attendance and how to get more people to attend. All of us are raising some interesting questions but we are on the inside and may not have an appropriate perspective. I want to know what you think about our webcasts and what you want from them. More Demos? Less Demos? Different topics? How deep should we go? Are they discoverable? Are they too long or too short? Guest speakers? I am just throwing things out there.
You tell me -What do you want in a webcast?
I had a great time today! We had some issues with getting everyone into the venue but it was amazing to me that those of you I spoke to about it understood. I appreciate that understanding. I hope the information I provided was beneficial and worth your time. I am still in Harrisburg and I am still up for Karaoke if someone wants to give me an email or a ring, I will be there!
Oh yeah....caffeine and sugar are your friends.... :)
(subtitled - Isn't technology supposed to be making our lives easier? Simpler? Less complicated?)
I hear that all the time - why can't it just work? I say it all the time - why can't it just work?
I am watching TV last night. Actually I am watching a PVR recorded episode of 'Lost' when all of a sudden, the cable/DVR box shuts off. Just that. Nothing else. TV is playing. Surround Sound is powered up. All the lights stay on in the house. I turn the unit back on, go the PVR list, select 'Lost', and hit resume.
For the record, I am with Millennium Cable, and everything about their service is horrible. Despicable customer service. Horrific pricing. Unbelievably high number of service outages. But I am locked in because they are the ONLY cable provider that services my area. I can't get OTA signals for HD, and because of the trees and hill where I live, Dish and DirectTV can't get a signal. So I am stuck.
When I finish, I realize that 'Ugly Betty' is recording in the background so I go grab a beer, come back to the couch and start watching 'Ugly Betty'. Forty minutes in, the recording stops. It never finished recording. BitTorrent can be your best friend.
So my wife mentions to me that she was going to watch "Grey's Anatomy" from last week and it wasn't in the recording list. I check the Series Recordings and sure enough, "Grey's Anatomy" is supposed to be recording. So I spot check....'Scrubs', 'The Office', 'My Name is Earl', 'The Deadliest Catch'.....all show up on the series recording list, none of which have been recording.
Why can't it just work?
My wife and I went with my neighbor this last weekend up to the Skagit Valley to check out the Tulips Fields. We bring our digital camera of course so we can take pictures of these fabulous fields of tulips. I even buy two separate packs of AA batteries to make sure I have enough juice.
Field #1 - Camera turns off, but as soon as I press the shutter button, it turns off. I swap batteries. Same thing. Swap batteries again. Same thing. Batteries appear to be fine, camera just seems to have remapped the power off button to the shutter button.
I am playing my XBox 360 yesterday afternoon - 'Need for Speed: Most Wanted'. I am running my way through the 60 or so maps in the challenge series. I am somewhere between maps 30-40 driving the Pizza delivery car (slow!) in a Tollbooth Challenge. I am about 3/4 of the way through the track, coming over a hill and I see the horizon, then more horizon, then more horizon, as I crest the hill, the game freezes up. (note - this is the ONLY XBox 360 game of the 1/2 dozen or so I play regularly that has ever frozen up).
Last week I am at a hotel with free wired Internet access. I decide to check email and fire up the laptop. I get to a desktop, I open IE, the spinny spins.....and spins....and spins and then......404. I start jumping through the hoops of troubleshooting before ultimately calling the support number conveniently located on the placard on the desk. Resolution? Unplug the "router thingy" under the table, count to 5, plug it back in. Now it works.
I am in airports a lot. I always use the check-in kiosks when possible to avoid talking to the overly stressed out counter reps. It is almost always faster too, even if checking bags. Almost. I swipe my ID, select my flight, verify my seat, select the number of bags I am checking, then......."UNABLE TO COMPLETE REQUEST - PLEASE SEE COUNTER AGENT". 35 minutes later I am told "Huh, I don't know why that happened". Here is your boarding pass. Have a nice day."
Microsoft is not exempt from this. I have a laundry list of Microsoft products and technologies I can run through here as well. And I will in time. But I think it is only fair to speak to the product teams before I do. Maybe I am not configured correctly. Maybe my machine has some other conflicting issue. I am going to eliminate those possibilities before I post anything here. But I will post about it.
The purpose? I am growing increasingly frustrated with the complexity of technology and how difficult it is to get what should be ultra simple things to work properly and consistently in today's world. I can write a letter to my cable company, the airlines, the hotel Internet provider expressing my frustrations above, but unless a few thousand other people do as well, not much will come of it. I work for Microsoft though. I should be empowered to effect change within this company and in the products and technologies we provide to......everyone.
It should just work.
I have my list of things I am going to go to the product teams about. What do you want me to go to them about? Hit the comments. Email me. Call me.
I have spoken about my home network at a few presentations and during the breaks there have been plenty of "oh yeah!?!?! well I have....." conversations. I think some of the most interesting conversations are around how we name our machines and networks. I have spent over and hour sitting at the name your computer screen trying to come up with the perfect name for machines. Most of the names means something (if only to me) and some I just chose on a whim. A little later I will talk more about the names of my machines.
I have been looking forward to upgrading the home network for a while now. I have been running some very old machines at home for what seems like ages. It is time to retire some of them. I am picking up some new hardware here and there but I like to keep machines around until they just stop running. I would love to rip and replace, but I also want to retire some day. So many of my machines will still be in use in some capacity.
Below is some detail on what the permanent machines in my current network look like as well as what my plan is. There is a little something interesting about each machine. There are 6-12 VM's running test stuff as well under Virtual PC scattered across most of the machines.
Warning, some of these machines might be older than you....
All but one machine is homebrew...
wallofvoodoo - my trusty firewall - (The band Wall of Voodoo sang "Mexican Radio". Just thought it would make a good name for a firewall) This is a dual Intel 400mhz machine. It is in a rackmount case with industrial fans. By and far the loudest of my machines. It has a gig of RAM and runs Windows 2003 R2 and ISA 2006 well enough, but it also has a 10 gig hard drive which is on it's last legs. I have had to reduce logging on it a few times just to keep the drive from filling up. I don't know what is to become of this machine yet. Probably become a test box.
The new firewall hardware will be an Intel 2.4ghz with 2 gigs of RAM and a couple of old 80 gig drives. I may have this machine do DNS as well as DHCP.
wallace - my web server - (named after William Wallace in "Braveheart". The web server was put up to manage my first blog. William Wallace fought for freedom and the blog was about the freedom to say whatever I want. My attempt at being meaningful...). My only name brand machine. This is a dual Intel 1ghz Gateway Server with 2 gigs of RAM. Win2003 R2, SQL 2005, Community Server. Wallace houses my only raid array right now. It consists of three 4 Gig Seagate SCSI drives in a stripe set attached to the onboard SCSI. Why? because I had the drives. I put the page file there just for the heck of it.
bobobobobobo - my DC/Exchange/DNS Server/Cert Server/File Server - (I was channel surfing and came across a cartoon of the same name. Laughed so hard I nearly wet myself. Decided I wanted something to make me smile every time I saw the name) - The newest hardware I have right now. AMD DualCore x64 3800+ with 2 gigs of RAM and four 500gig SATA drives. This machine gets a workout as a file server and Exchange server. I host a number of mail domains for myself, friends and family. But it mostly gets pounded as a staging area for files of all kinds.
This machine is getting migrated/upgraded to Win2008. This is one of two 64 bit machines which run Exchange for me. I am backing up data, flattening in, then laying down Win2008 and Exchange 2007 Hub, CAS, MB then restoring data.
sleestak - DC for old AD domain - (sleestaks rock!) - Identical box as wallofvoodoo except 4 - 250 gig drives. This machine was a test domain I set up. I want a second DC for redundancy on my permanent domain so it is getting converted. No Hardware changes. Will be a DC but may also get burned to glass, flattened, and used as a test box now and then.
crashnburn - Exchange Edge - This machine was originally supposed to be a crash'n'burn box for testing. My first was with Exchange Edge and Forefront for Exchange and was so impressed I decided to keep it in play. This one stays the same. Identical hardware as bobobobobobobo. Kind of a waste as an Exchange Edge server but until I stand up the big Hyper-V box.....
vidtopia - Vista Ultimate Media Center - (video + utopia = vidtopia) - My wife wanted a media center so I built this for her almost 6 years ago. It used to have two OTA HD tuners and a single standard def tuner installed. The HD tuners were pulled when we moved to WA. We are one the wrong side of a hill. We don't actually use it for recording any TV these days. We use the crappy DVR from my cable company only because of of all the hokey content restrictions on HD content. I am working up a Dual OCUR tuner Dell XPSW420 to replace this machine and put a real Media Center back in the living room. Vidtopia is connected to the big screen so we use it for photo, video, printing editing as well as playback of all of our digital content. Intel HT 3ghz, 2 gigs of RAM and 750gigs of drives. Oh yeah...this is also my karaoke machine! This is the only machine in the list that is not in the basement.
godzilla - old firewall - (godzilla breaths fire....who the hell gets past godzilla?) - Dual 300mhz Intel 512megs RAM, two 10 gig hard drives. Used to be primary firewall, then decommissioned and fashioned into a member of my ISA array. Doesn't actively filter traffic. Just there for ISA testing.
phoney - MS Phone Machine - (duh!) - This is my oldest machine. I purchased this AMD DX4-120 in 1995 as my second ever IBM PC. I learned DOS, Win95, then back to Win3.1 and NT4 on this machine. It only has 8 megs of RAM but that is all that an unpatched version of Win95a needs. I have my Microsoft MP-900 phone connected to it and still use it as an answering machine now and then.
mijo - the better half's tablet - (who doesn't have a trillion nicknames for their spouse? My wife's name is Jeanne (pronounced 'gene'). I call her Jeanne-O-Mac, which became Meaj-O-Nac, which became mijo......simple.....) - It's just a tablet.
demotopia - demo laptop - (demonstrations + utopia = demotopia) - This is a Lenovo T61p. Quite simply the best machine I have ever used. Period. It is a work computer but I included it here because it is actually joined to my home domain and not Microsoft's.
So there you have it. I have a few cases, mobo's, and assorted peripherals laying around that I will build out for one test or another.
godzilla and phoney are off more than on these days and just might end up in the parts closet.
I also have a couple of 2TB TeraStations for storing digital media and I am building out a Quad Core Intel box with 8 gigs of RAM and 4TB of drives to act as a Hyper-V and Data Protection Manager Server. I may duplicate this setup and split DPM away as a dedicated backup box.
I am documenting my process for updating the network. Look for posts on the trials and tribulations....
You may have noticed that I haven't posted any updates on the home network lately. I decided to halt my current plans and take another path. As a result I am looking for a "super server" of sorts. On that will virtualize most of the loads I need to run and also be expandable for many years going forward. I posted a similar request to some internal aliases and received some good advice and suggestions. I would like to open it up a little thogh so I am posting the request here as well.
The goal is to virtualize 6-10 of the PC's that run in the basement to one machine, then use SCVMM and DPM to manage and backup. I should note that some of the workloads are pretty insignificant but I will be moving two DC's, an Exchange server, a SQL Server, and a Web Server into the VM environment. SQL is not heavily used but Exchange and the Web server are (I host about 30 domains).
My thoughts are to get a machine that will be used for a number of years (I have PC's that are 10+ years old that I am going to decommission). My thoughts are to get a machine with the following minimums --
Dual Quad Core CPU's
16+ gigs of RAM
onboard SATA RAID
SCSI is an option but I would prefer to stick with SATA
on board Gigabit Ethernet (required and preferably two ports)
I am quite comfortable building my own systems so I welcome suggestions on specific MoBo's or even complete server systems. Price is a consideration but the system is going to be pricey no matter what so I am keeping an open mind.
What do you suggest?
This week I am going to a bunch of internal training as a part of our TechReady readiness effort. Since I am going to be speaking to you about this stuff afterwards, what should I be focused on? What do you want to know about? What do I need to know about when I come speak to your company? User Groups? School?
I am all ears....
Yeah, yeah, yeah.....Chris Henley beat me out by presenting in Los Angeles last week, but nothing is like New York (btw...that is me sinking the putt if you click the previous link). I am sitting in the green room at the Sheraton Towers on 7th Ave, just blocks from Times Square. I am still on Hawaii time and feeling the time difference. But there is an exhilarating buzz throughout the place that is surprisingly invigorating. I hope the energy carries me through the day.
I wish everyone could attend this event. Like I said, nothing is quite like New York. The weather is spectacular today. A great day for a launch event. When I came in at 7am there were already a couple hundred people mulling around waiting for things to begin. The keynote doesn't even start until 9am. It is now 8:30 and there are what appears to be thousands waiting to get into the main room. You don't need coffee with all the energy in the place. Having some anyway...
David Campbell is the keynote speaker. He is a technical fellow (...really smart dude...) working in the Server Engine group. I don't do much with SQL but I am very interested to hear what he has to say. SQL is everywhere. I imagine many people don't even know they are running SQL when they are. SQL Express is used by many, many desktop type applications. I have a SQL Server at home to support my personal blog but beyond the configurations the blogging software makes, I don't actively do anything with SQL. I bet a lot of other people are in the same boat. That needs to change.
It is now 8:35 and I need to do a final trim on my decks. You will never suffer death by PowerPoint at one of my events....
As a part of upgrading my network, I am toying with the idea of using Windows 2008 server as a Workstation. It has most of the same features as Vista and what it doesn't have I don't really need anyway. I mentioned this in a seminar a couple weeks ago and that I had stumbled upon a site that gives information on use Win2008 as a workstation. You can find that site here.
I am slowly converting things at home ad hope to provide an update later today....
This morning I sat down with a couple of folks and we brainstormed up an event that we would like to try out. We are going to try to turn this around on pretty short notice so I am asking for your feedback on what you would like to see.
The concept is to have an event at a local MS office where you bring in your own machine and we will help you get Windows 7 installed to it. The simplest method of doing this would be to have you plug into a local LAN, PCE boot, and we will use WDS to give you some flavor of Windows 7. We may also just have you install from physical media. We are also going to try to make sure you have physical media or, at the very least, provide access to an .ISO image that you can download and burn to disk in the event you want to start over.
Regardless, there will be time while the install is running for us to have some 30-90 minute presentations on Windows 7, Q&A sessions, Roundtables, etc. This is where I would appreciate your feedback.
What would you want to see/do during the hour or so that Windows is installing?
What would you want to see/do during the hour or so that Windows is installing?
The first of these events will be in the Redmond/Seattle area with plans to expand quickly across the US. If we are successful, maybe we can make this happen across the world!
Talk to me!
We now have a Windows 7 Launch Event site up and running that has information on where we are doing launch events and how to get registered. For my area, the events are in Seattle on October 12th and Portland on October 14th.
About two weeks ago I made an impulse buy of a netbook PC. Consider it my contribution to stimulating the economy. I was at Fry’s pricing some hardware and getting ideas for a new TV for a Media room I am working on when I saw all the tiny netbooks and just became fascinated with them. It is one thing to see pictures online or even see the occasional netbook while traveling, but to see a couple rows of tiny machines and think that each one has more power than the gigantic (by comparison) machines we were buying just a decade ago is a bit mind-boggling.
While I had not planned on buying one upon walking into Fry’s, I have done quite a bit of research on different models and the pros and cons of a netbook purchase. I had mad up my mind I was going to get one but had also come to the conclusion that I wanted to wait until Windows 7 netbooks were available. I use Windows 7 on every client machine I have at this point and it is absolutely fantastic. The idea of rolling back to Vista, much less Windows XP seems silly to me at this point. But I also decided that if I waited on Windows 7 I would probably then tell myself to wait on the next flavor of Windows and so on and so on and…. I just hadn’t planned for the purchase. I did it anyway, and here is why….
First – What I Purchased
Box smaller than my Lenovo Laptop! Acer Aspire One (Model ZG5 – Config: A0A150-1635) Intel Atom N270 CPU 1.6 ghz 1gb DDR2 RAM (upgradable to 1.5gigs) 8.9” WSVGA Screen 160gb Drive Lan and WiFi of course Built-in WebCam Windows XP Home Edition
Box smaller than my Lenovo Laptop!
Acer Aspire One (Model ZG5 – Config: A0A150-1635)
Intel Atom N270 CPU 1.6 ghz
1gb DDR2 RAM (upgradable to 1.5gigs)
8.9” WSVGA Screen
Lan and WiFi of course
Windows XP Home Edition
Next – Why I purchased
Weight/Size – This unit weighs in at 2.3 lbs. But lets add some context to this. Practically all of the netbooks weighed about the same to me when I was picking them up. With few exceptions I could not tell a noticeable difference in weight between different machines. It weighs less than half the weight of my T61p which is a welcome change. The Acer is very small. Almost too small for me. There were one or two units that were smaller but I am a big guy with big hands. I don’t care for standard laptop keyboards anyway so when it comes to netbooks, ALL of their keyboards are too small to me so I reconciled myself to just dealing with it.
Left – Lenovo T61p / Right – Acer Aspire One
Feel – I am a big fan of substance. Again, some context. When software manufacturers stopped putting paper based user manuals in the boxes with the software and instead placing them on the CD/DVD itself – BUT! – the packaging size remained the same and the cost of the software remained the same, I felt a bit ripped off. Back in the 80’s when you picked up a piece of software it had some weight to it. The heavy user manual inside gave the box some substance. I felt like I was getting something for the hard earned cash I was plunking down. Granted 1980’s software was the Constanza Wallet of software with unnecessary stuff piled in and it killed a bunch of trees to boot, but I felt I was getting my money’s worth.
This unit has a good weight to size ratio for me. The combination makes me feel as if I am getting my money’s worth. Compare that to my iPhone which cost *more* than the netbook and I feel like the iPhone is a complete rip off. Not exactly a fair comparison but I think you will get my point. The netbook weighs enough to make me feel like I paid for something real and little enough to make it very easy to carry around.
It also feels good. All the edges are soft and round and the unit fits comfortably in my hands. It is very easy to carry and so far has proven to feel very natural when toting it around. There is one exception to this – the rubber feet on the bottom of the unit are too large and hard for my taste. Particularly the foot on the front left of the unit (it’s actually not the rubber feet themselves. It’s the way they are mounted). I would prefer they be smaller and softer/stickier. But I think all laptops suffer from this issue. Dear Laptop Industry – develop a material that mounts flush with the bottom if the laptop, prevents slippage and absorbs shocks and you will be praised.
Performance – The Acer Aspire comes with Windows XP Home edition with 1gig of RAM and a 1.6gig Intel Atom proc. I haven’t used XP in ages and I have never used XP Home edition outside of basic testing (XP Home doesn’t join Windows Domains which I run at home). I am also spoiled by the performance of Windows 7 on my Lenovo T61p and Windows 7 on my Quad-Core 8 Gig Ram Media Center at home so nothing will meet my expectations. But I am pleasantly surprised by how responsive the Acer is with XP. Netbooks are designed to get the most out of the batteries they have and that comes at the sacrifice of power. However, web pages come up just fine (Using IE7) and Office 2007 (I upgraded it) apps run great. Outlook is responsive (connected to home mail server where I have significantly less email to deal with). Since this machine is going to be used for browsing, email, and light media use, I have not loaded a bunch of other apps to it and don’t intend to. I am sure that over time it will begin to pile up as it does with most systems but I am determined to keep it as light weight as possible.
By the way, from power off to Outlook 2007 up and running to compose an email and my home pages open in IE is about 4 mins. Not bad time if you ask me.
Price – Fry’s had this unit for $299. Even as an impulse buy, I have been unable to find a cheaper price anywhere on the web that is worth mentioning. The cheapest price I found was $270 and it goes for as high as $370. Go to Fry’s if there is one near you.
To sum it up, I bought a netbook because I wanted light weight portability in a basic web/mail PC. I bought this particular unit because it felt good in my hands, it was neither too heavy not too light, and the price was right (being my fave color of blue didn’t hurt either!). It is great for what I use it for and I have no further expectations from it so I am good.
TechNet Video: How to Enable Editing of Company Knowledge in SCOM 2007 R2
Download WMV Download | WMA | MP3
System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 has a feature in management packs that allows for adding “Company Knowledge” to management packs thus enabling a local knowledge base for more information about monitored systems. In this short screencast we will show how to enable this feature and how it can be used to create an internal knowledge base for resolving issues quickly and efficiently.
My team – West Region Developer and Platform Evangelism Team – recently had an off-site meeting. The goal was to review deliverables from the first half of the year and set expectations for the remainder of the year (through July 1, 2012). It isn’t all business though. We had a team dinner one night and someone showed an old picture of themselves. Then someone else did and so on and so on. I will be the first to admit, that old pictures of me are…..humorous.
If you look at the comments in my Private Cloud Toolbox post, one of my peers, Michael Palermo, dared me to swap out my blog picture for one of the pics I showed at the off site.
I actually showed several old pictures to my peers so I am not sure which one Michael was referring to. So I am going to take it one step further and swap out my blog pic every two weeks for a few weeks to show a few different old pics. Check back every now and then to get a chuckle (not to mention some technical information)
Once every 4 years, we get an extra day in February. I have always found the hoopla around that extra day to be a bit humorous. Some people make a big deal out of it. For many others it just goes by completely unnoticed. I expect it is just another day to most except those that were born on February 29th and those that get paid on the last day of the month.
I was thinking about the extra day last night and thought “Maybe I should just do something interesting since I won’t get that day back for another 4 years”.
I thought that would be a great day to kick off live streaming.
It is going to be a low key affair. I don’t have a formal plan. I am just going to stream and take questions via email and twitter and comments on this blog post. You are even welcome to call me. If I can figure out on the fly how to stream your audio, we will take questions live.
If no questions come in then you will get the privilege of watching me do work - email, tweeting, reading tech news, loading a certain operating system that might come out today, and complaining about my toothache.
Oh…since the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is live, I will also be downloading and installing it during the day.
How to join the conversation – Send Questions to -
Twitter - @chrisavis
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
phone – 425-705-8506
Comments on this post
We had great success with the IT Camps we started in March! Thank you all for the support of the events. We have a new series of IT Camps coming up in May and June. The will be essentially the same format with a few subtle tweaks:
The events will start at 8:30 AM and end at 4 PM (versus 8 AM – 12 PM) We will have a Hands-On component as part of the afternoon agenda You get to help pick the content / topic of discussion for a good portion of the presentation slots (and maybe even get to present yourself if you want) We will only have two “official” presentations – one from Microsoft and one from Vision (Double-Take)
The events will start at 8:30 AM and end at 4 PM (versus 8 AM – 12 PM) We will have a Hands-On component as part of the afternoon agenda You get to help pick the content / topic of discussion for a good portion of the presentation slots (and maybe even get to present yourself if you want) We will only have two “official” presentations – one from Microsoft and one from Vision (Double-Take)
To participate in the afternoon session, you will need to bring your own computer (laptop preferred) with the following minimum configuration:
•x64 compatible processor with Intel VT or AMD-V technology •OS that is either Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server “8” Beta •4GB RAM (8 GB preferred) •At least 40GB of free disk space (75 GB preferred)
•It is also important that the machine you use for the hands on sessions does *NOT* have any encryption enabled (this applies to Bitlocker as well as ANY 3rd party encryption)
Just like the last round, we really want you to dive the open discussion we have at the IT Camps. To effectively do this, we need you to submit your suggestion for topics now. You can either email them directly to me or feel free to add a comment to this post. I look forward to your topic suggestions!
To register, please visit the appropriate links for your city.
Date City MS Evangelist Vision Presenters May 15, 2012 Denver, CO Harold Wong Mike Stewart & David Paquette May 17, 2012 Mountain View, CA Chris Avis & Harold Wong Greg Ross & David Paquette May 22, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Harold Wong Greg Ross & David Paquette May 23, 2012 Irvine, CA Harold Wong Greg Ross & David Paquette May 24, 2012 Portland, CA Chris Avis Mike Stewart & David Paquette May 29, 2012 San Francisco, CA Chris Avis Greg Ross & Doug White May 30, 2012 Phoenix, AZ Harold Wong Greg Ross & David Paquette May 31, 2012 Redmond, WA Chris Avis & Harold Wong Greg Ross & Doug White June 5, 2012 Albuquerque, NM Harold Wong Mike Stewart & David Paquette June 7, 2012 Boise, ID Chris Avis Greg Ross & David Paquette
The Los Angeles Event is showing as full, but don’t despair. The location is in the process of being moved and hence why registration is not actually being accepted at this time. I will update as soon as this is completed.
The Phoenix Date is currently listed incorrectly on the registration page. The correct date is May 30th and the registration page will be corrected.
Agenda and abstracts of Sessions
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM Check-In and Welcome
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM: Future of Virtualization: What’s new with Hyper-V in Windows Server “8”
As virtualization continues to grow, Microsoft is continuing to grow our capabilities in this space. This session will focus on some key enhancements in Hyper-V in the upcoming version of Windows Server “8”.
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM: Vision (Double-Take) Presentation
Come and see how your organization can benefit from no-downtime physical and virtual migrations. With Double-Take Move, you can migrate from anywhere into Hyper-V while users are online and productive. See how Double-Take provides real-time data movement on any hardware platform into a Hyper-V environment. And this can all be accomplished through the ease of use benefits and integration with System Center 2012. Microsoft and Vision – providing the tools you need for fast and easy migrations.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Open Topics
12:00 PM – 12:45PM: Lunch
12:45 PM – 2:15 PM: Open Topics
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Hands-On-Lab: Configure Hyper-V Settings in Windows Server “8” Beta
With the release of Windows Server “8” Beta, this is a great opportunity to get some hands-on with the new server product and start working the new capabilities of Hyper-V. In addition to this, Vision will also have Virtual Machines (VMs) that you can import and get hands on experience with their products.
Vision / Double-Take Presenters are:
Doug White – Senior Product Manager Double-Take Products David Paquette – Product Manager Double-Take Products Mike Stewart – Solution Architect Greg Ross – Solution Architect
I always get asked when is the next IT Pro in-person event taking place. I want to give everyone a heads up that we are very close to having all the registration links for the West Region IT Camps available for the rest of this calendar year. With that said, there are a few that are already available and I want to make sure to get the information out to you now since the first few are taking place at the end of September.
Cloud OS Signature Series
This series of events takes place in 4 major cities in West Region – Irvine, CA, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO and San Francisco, CA. These events start with a keynote and then breaks out into three different tracks. The IT Professional Track is where our IT Camp content is being delivered. If you want to see the entire schedule for the day, please go the the Series Landing Page. I am including the dates and direct IT Professional track links for the four cities in this series below:
September 20, 2012: Irvine, CA September 27, 2012: Seattle, WA October 10, 2012: Denver, CO October 11, 2012: San Francisco, CA
We will be delivering the same IT Pro content at our IT Camps as well. In fact, in our regular IT Camps, we will have more time for Hands On Labs since we won’t have the main keynote and the DevOps session like there is in the Cloud OS Signature Series events. Below is the list of cities and their registration links. Currently, I only have the registration links for Los Angeles and San Diego, but I will update this blog post later today or first thing on Monday when I get the final list. I just want to get the word out about the Los Angeles and San Diego events since those are taking place on September 24th and 26th, respectively.
September 24, 2012: Los Angeles, CA September 26, 2012: San Diego, CA October 2, 2012: Mountain View, CA October 4, 2012: Tempe, AZ October 9, 2012: Redmond, WA October 15, 2012: Las Vegas, NV October 19, 2012: Portland, OR [NOTE - Date Change!!!!]October 22 , 2012: Tucson, AZ
November 26, 2012: Mountain View, CADecember 6, 2012: Bellevue, WA
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – Check In
9:00 AM – 10:15 AM – Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM – Break
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM – Windows Server 2012 Storage
11:15 AM – 11:30 AM – Break
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Overview of Windows Azure IaaS
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM –Hands On Lab
Windows Server 2012 has been Released to Manufacturing (RTM’d) with general availability on September 4th. This latest release of the Windows Server operating system, which has been heralded by industry analysts as the most impressive update to Windows Server since Windows Server 2000, includes sweeping enhancements across key areas: Virtualization, Storage, Networking and Management. In addition, we’ve also recently released a Preview of the new Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities in our Windows Azure cloud offering.
Please join us at an IT Camp near you for a hands-on technical discussion about implementing these new capabilities: Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Shared-Nothing Live Migration, Storage Pools and Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Bring your own laptop (requirements below) to participate in Hands-on Lab activities. Stay tuned for additional IT Camps this year where we’ll also target the new Networking and Management features.
To participate in the afternoon hands-on lab session, you will need to bring your own computer (laptop preferred) with the following minimum configuration:
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
With the introduction of Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V has definitely matured and will become a major force in the Hypervisor space. As virtualization becomes the norm in our customer’s datacenters, IT Professionals are becoming more concerned with Fault Tolerance, flexibility and scalability of the virtualization infrastructure. Needless to say, Microsoft has focused on these areas in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and in this session, we will get into the details of the following key enhancements:
Windows Server 2012 Storage
One of the most common uses of Windows Servers is for File and Print Services. Windows Server 2012 has huge improvements in the Storage capabilities as well. Storage Spaces happens to be one of these new capabilities that allows an organization to group different storage devices into a pool from which to create thinly provisioned volumes. Another new capability is data de-duplication that allows for storage savings by reclaiming physical space use on the hard drive by multiple copies of the same file. This session will focus on these two enhancements as well as continuously available file shares.
Overview of Windows Azure IaaS
When Windows Azure first released a few years ago, it was our Platform as a Service offering in the public cloud space. This too, has matured and we recently released a preview of Infrastructure as a Service offering in Windows Azure. This new offering allows an organization to host a Virtual Machine with various Operating Systems (including Linux) and different applications such as Active Directory Domain Controllers or SharePoint Server as an example. These VMs in Azure can also be connected with PaaS instances in Azure or on-premises infrastructure. This session will provide an overview of this new capability and how to get started.
Hands On Labs
The Hands On Labs will focus on providing hands on experience configuring the different aspects of Windows Server 2012 that was discussed in the morning sessions as well as configuring IaaS capabilities in Windows Azure.
I have had several people email telling me they can't locate the slides for the launch content on my blog. I am just using the Search field on the left sidebar of my blog and looking for "slides" and I am finding them as 4 of the first 5 hits. Ignore the top hit as that is from an old event.
Please comment here if this is not working for you and I will ping our IT staff.
I was in Hartford, CT at 2pm Eastern Time yesterday. I walked in the front door of my house last night at about 11pm Pacific. I made some leftovers, cracked open a beer, and watched American Idol on the DVR. Woke up this morning at 6am, made some breakfast (no beer), and set myself up for my webcast - Part 7 of the 24 hours of Windows Server 2008 - IIS - which starts at 9:30am - played a couple of Guitar Hero 3 tracks to get the blood pumping and now I am typing up this blog. Immediately after the webcast I hop in the car to head back to the airport to fly to Spokane where I will be delivering the Windows 2008 Server launch event. Then back home Thursday night.
Great turnout in Seattle yesterday! The weather stayed in check and we had a great event. Great questions from the crowd during the sessions and breaks too. I have had a few people email me questions as well. Feel free to let me know what I can help you out with and I will get you in touch with the right people.
I saw a number of familiar faces from the presentations I have delivered in Tacoma, Olympia, and over on the East Side. I even saw one of our truly dedicated attendees who comes down from Vancouver, BC to see our events (sorry I didn't get a chance to say "Hello!", Shah).
Btw.....how many of you have retold to bad jokes I told at the event? I know some of you have.... :)
Lots of reasons why I like this post!
1) I like the content I am delivering in this one. Short, Sweet, to the point. This is the kind of stuff I want to do!
2) How many people even know when have a Secure FTP server service in Windows now?
3) This is my first SilverLight embedded post! I have been chomping at the bits to do some of these and just have not taken the time. Over the past 2 days I have been working off of a document that my buddy Keith Combs put together for our team that was tremendously helpful in getting me going.
4) This is going to push me to leverage my new Quad Core/8 Gig of RAM boxes. Rendering videos down has always been painful and these two boxes should alleviate a lot of the time wasted watching progress bars crawl across the screen.
Now for the real post content. As noted above, not too many people even know that we have a Secure FTP service for Windows now. We haven't exactly gone out of our way to let the world know, so I want to do my part. As usual, I am using my home servers so you won't see all the Contoso stuff for the demos.
An excellent source of information on the new FTP services and EVERYTHING IIS related is at the IIS.net web site.
btw....you can go full screen by double-clicking on the video during playback or using the button on the far left of the player toolbar.