Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

August, 2007

  • Windows Mobile 6 on the Palm Treo 750

    treo750 Two weeks ago I was in Seattle for my yearly training.  I attended a late night content review and was surprised when the Palm US sales team showed up to talk about the relationship with Microsoft.  In return for getting between us and a cold frosty mug sensation, they handed out the Palm Treo 750 with Windows Mobile 6 installed to everyone that was there.  So how good is this device?

    The only way to find out is to activate the phone and give it a whirl.  So I started up a corporate account with AT&T and a few days later my SIM arrived.  My SIM took the long way getting to my house.  Apparently FEDEX likes to send everything to Memphis.  Someone I know mentioned it's actually required due to some commerce law.  I hope that isn't the case.

    Since I've been a Verizon Motorola Q user for over a year, I figured a comparison was in order.  Now keep in mind my preferred phone OS is the Windows Mobile Smartphone version, not Pocket PC.  I like single handed operation.  It's interesting because the description of the differences in the FAQ  is almost invalid with the Windows Mobile 6 release.  See the HTC Touch for further evidence of that.  That little phone is super sexy.  I had one in my hands two weeks ago.  Another reason I am moving back to GSM SIM based phones.

    Some Side-by-Side Notes

    When you start looking at the devices side-by-side, there are some differences for sure.  The Q has that thin kewl feel to it but it's a little wide and square.  That makes the holster wider.  Button layout and design on both devices are good, but already I prefer the tactile feel sidebysidesmallof the Treo.  The Q buttons are harder to press and have an oblong pill shape.  I like the fact that the Q buttons have more space between them, but I'm not finding that to be too much of an issue on the Treo, and I just started using it.  Lets face it, neither has a 60wpm keyboard.  If you are typing long messages, use a laptop.  Both have a nice screen although I like the longer portrait screen on the Treo better. Silent vibration is good on both.  It appears that battery life is pretty similar on both but I just started testing that.  I hope the Treo has better battery life but it's not looking like it so far.  I need to hit the road with it for about a week to see how it behaves before I really know. 

    Download Speeds

    Yesterday I spent some time testing the 3G speed on the Treo 750.  I used the 1meg test link.  At my house, the Treo can barely use the 3G network and routinely clocked 600k download speeds.  When I moved into Southlake proper and had better tower coverage, the Treo speeds jumped to about 750k.  This is comparable to the Q's EVDO speeds from Verizon.  It's about time everyone caught up with Verizon.  Also keep in mind my Q isn't an EVDO Rev A device.

    Windows Mobile 6

    To be fair to the Q, it isn't running Windows Mobile 6 (WM6).  I think I would be much happier with it if it did.  The improvements we've made to WM6 were apparent right away.  I had to go look at the Windows Mobile 6 features to figure out what we did, and what was the work from Palm.  I still don't have that totally figured out, but the Delivering Great Performance and Value for IT Professionals datasheet was an excellent start. 

    Unlocking - since we push pin unlock policies to Exchange users, I must use a pin after 15 minutes.  Locking and unlocking the Treo keyboard is much easier than the Q.  Entering the pin is also much easier.

    HTML email - some of my MacBook Pro buddies have this annoying habit of changing rich text or HTML email into plain text.  Most of the phone users do the same thing.  WM6 and the Treo 750 don't.  I can read the pretty colors and pictures, and when I reply, it keeps the formatting intact.

    Global Address List - I like the ability to look people up in the corporate address book.  This comes in handy for email, but it also super handy for looking up phone numbers for people in your company.  Now if we could just get people to keep their information up-to-date.

    Phone functions - I want my device to be a phone first and a PDA second.  So far I like the intelligent design of button usage, easy access to voice mail, ability to see missed calls easily, etc.  It's much cleaner on the Treo 750 but I don't yet know who to give the credit.  Ok, scratch that.  I give the credit to us for the core OS, Palm for a nice device, and AT&T for good integration of all of the above.  Although this particular phone is a WM6 SmartPhone, it's similar to a Pocket PC style device because it has a touch screen.  I'm not really using the screen much, but it's nice to have when you want to use the stylus.

    Security - there are a plethora of new security features.  I can now open DRM'd email.  You can encrypt storage card data (highly requested).  There's an array of new certificate support and the device can essentially be a full citizen on your corporate network.  This gives administrators and users a stronger more secure platform for applications and personal data.

    Speed - I talked about network speed above.  It isn't earth shattering but it's nice to see ATT/Cingular in a competitive position now.  The improved speed of the OS is also apparent.  Part of that comes from a more intuitive design and better phone mechanics.  It really appears we listened to all of the feedback because I keep saying thank you as I use the phone.


    We have a hit.  Microsoft certainly has a hit with Windows Mobile 6.  Palm has a hit with the Treo 750 and I am appreciative for the opportunity to try it out.  AT&T is sitting pretty nicely with the iPhone and this device.  I do not know when the WM6 versions of the Treo 750 will start to ship, but you are going to like it.  I assume AT&T or T-Mobile will have the HTC Touch pretty soon as well.  Lots of goodies coming for Christmas, that's for sure.


    [UPDATE 1]  My first battery test lasted 48 hours.  Not bad.  That included a few phone calls, lots of speed tests, lots of dinking around in the system with the LCD turned on, changing the cell radio bands several times to test various configurations, etc.  Not exactly daily usage.  Not only that, the phone was sitting here at my house most of the time which is close to being a dead zone and therefore puts a higher drain on the device (as coverage drops and it scans again).  One complaint I have about the device is the lack of visual feedback from the status light.  It's normally off so if you are used to seeing a green light when things are good, get used to the off indicator means that now.  I guess it saves power by not lighting the light.  Sneaky.  If you see the light on and yellow, the signal probably dropped.  If you see red, it probably means the battery is getting ready to be toast.  My device came with an extra battery and battery charger.  Inside the box there are sync cables (proprietary end on one side, usb on the other), ear buds, and car charger cable (nice).  Like most people, I would have preferred to have it charge and sync from a standard USB cable but I am used to carrying the AC charger cable on the road.  I've only lost one in about eight years.

    [UPDATE 2]  Ok, I've been on the road with the device and it has performed extremely well.  I'm getting at least 48 hours or more of battery life although I still have ActiveSync set to sync on 30 minute intervals.  I've done a lot of speed testing and I have yet to break the 1MG download speed mark, but speeds have been consistently above 650k everywhere I've been, except at my house.  I also took the time to download Mobile Device Center 6.1 and sync with my Windows Vista machine.  That worked pretty well and I nuked a bunch of crap on my MiniSD card.  I took a picture of my dog on the couch without a flash in low light conditions.  I was surprised at how well that turned out.  Another thing I did this week was try out some of the kewl tools from  I tried the Mobile Shell, Pocket Plus, and Phone Suite tools.  Mobile Shell was my favorite.  Oh and for those of you that read this post this far, I've been promised a number of devices will be heading my way.  Supposedly the first one on the list will be the Motorola GSM Q.  Should be fun.  I hope they send a HTC Touch, too.

  • What OS is this?


  • Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) - weekend issue explained

    This weekend a number of users got caught up in an issue with our Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program.  I'm reposting the explanation from

    "We're continuing to investigate what happened but here's a quick update to yesterday's post. The issue with processing validations began Friday afternoon at about 3:30 PM Pacific time and through a combination of posts to our forum and customer support the issue was discovered by evening. By about 11:15 AM Pacific on Saturday morning the issue affecting the validation service had been analyzed and resolved such that validations were again being processed properly. Our data shows that fewer than 12,000 systems were affected worldwide and that many of those have already revalidated and are fixed. This is encouraging news but we want to emphasize that one bad customer experience is one too many and that we're committed to learning from this experience and working to prevent this type of event from occurring again.

    We're also looking into the reports of comments made about the expected length of the issue and how support inquiries were handled overall during this time.  I heard a report that one of our support folks indicated that the issues would not be fixed until Tuesday, that was incorrect. We'll be looking closely at how/why that statement was made.

    Let me call out here that we take issues like this very seriously and when anything like this happens it receives our full attention. I heard directly from a couple of users yesterday who experienced this issue. They confirmed to me that they were able to re-validate their systems successfully and had no other issues. As I mentioned yesterday the fix for anyone affected by this is to revalidate their system at our site. This can be done by visiting our site ( and clicking the ‘Validate Windows' button in the upper right area of the homepage. For customers who need additional support Microsoft already offers free support for WGA issues starting with diagnostics and other tools and information. In North America support for WGA issues is available at 1-866-530-6599. Internationally it varies somewhat so to find out more about our support options go to (there's a link to technical support at the bottom of the page).

    This validation failure did not result in the 30-day grace period starting and no one went into reduced functionality mode as a result.  The experience of a system that failed validation in this instance was that some features intended for use only on genuine systems were temporarily unavailable.  Those features were Windows Aero, ReadyBoost, Windows Defender (which still scanned and identified all threats, but cleaned only the severe ones), and Windows Update (only optional updates were unavailable; security and other critical updates remained available).  Also, the desktop message about failed validation appeared.  And as I indicated, these features return to normal and the desktop message disappears when an affected system is revalidated at our site.

    As always, we welcome feedback about the program so please feel free to contact me here through the blog or post a comment.

    Published Monday, August 27, 2007 2:04 PM by alexkoc"

    As Alex indicates, we are far from being done looking at this incident.  I too will be looking closely at what happened, perceptions of our customers, and what we can do moving forward to earn your trust.  Since I am moving into a different role starting October 1st, I'll be looking at all of this from a different view.  I'll let you know more about that as we get closer to that date.  In the meantime, I sincerely hope everyone is back up and running, and having fun.

    [UPDATE] See for the gory details.

  • OEM's start to quietly ship Windows Vista CableCard HDTV capable PC's

    Finally !!!  After six months since the official Windows Vista launch date, we're starting to see the PC based HDTV DVR field start to have some competition.  Timing could not be better because Intel recently slashed the Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor pricing and before long, it will become a standard offering.  I like to leap processor generations so my aging single proc home MCE 2005/Vista Ultimate machine is going to get a nice face lift over the next 6-8 months. 

    For those of you that have been following the Windows Vista OCUR happenings, you know that there are some high end offerings that have been offered for several months now.  You're going to need to be a rock star to afford those.  I guess if you are building a multi million dollar house and home theatre, what's ten or twenty grand on a kewl media center pc and disk system?


    Velocity Micro

    For us mere mortals, Velocity Micro has some nice offerings.  They've been selling them for a couple of months now.  Their Media Center line offers some home entertainment friendly models or a couple of standard mini tower models.  I like the looks and configuration options for the CineMagix™ S85 Home Entertainment PC.

    I mean, Velocity Micro has it going on.  You can choose from several different power supplies, cooling systems, case colors and windows, etc.  Check out all of the processor choices and notice they have the faster big brother, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700.

    Velocity Micro offers a huge array, pardon the pun, of storage choices.  RAID 0, 1 and 5  configurations are all offered and although they are charging a bit of a premium over the DIY market, the premium isn't too bad.

    One thing that isn't offered by Velocity Micro or any of the other OEM's below is an x64 certified configuration.  I'm investigating that internally to understand what is going on.  My next machine OS is going to be x64, period.  I don't want to worry about any memory limitations in the OS, BIOS or hardware.



    Hewlett Packard

    Last week HP started selling the HP Pavilion Media Center m8100y.  Like the Velocity Micro above, the m8100y offers the Q6600 Quad processor as a configuration choice.  HP also offers several memory configurations, three video card choices, up to a terabyte of storage and of course the ATI Digital CableCard tuner.

    Unfortunately, the m8100y currently is only offered with a single digital cable tuner.  I'm hoping that's an oversight on the ordering website.  Considering they just started selling the machine, there's plenty of time for that to change.  The EPP pricing looks pretty good right now, but I'm in no hurry to buy.  I'm in no hurry because I bought the TiVo Series 3 to handle my HD DVR duties until this market has more offerings and lower prices.


    xps410 Dell

    Then of course, there's our buddies at Dell.  This week they silently added a high definition SKU to the online ordering site.  To see the new XPS 410 packaging, go into the Home Desktop area and select the XPS 410.  Select the Hi-Def viewing package to see the configuration choices.

    Strangely, the XPS 410 isn't offered with a Quad processor.  They offer the Quad with the XPS 410, just not with the HD offering (with CableCard support).  Like I said, strange.

    They have some beefy Core 2 Duo dual core selections, but I'm no longer looking at those.  I'm guessing the XPS 410 is getting close to the end of it's model life, so I would not be surprised to see this change before Christmas.

    Like the Velocity and HP above, the prices are pretty decent though I think everyone is charging WAY too much for the ATI digital cable tuner.  Maybe AMD/ATI is distributing them at a high price and there is little margin...  who knows.

    Fortunately Dell is offering the XPS 410 with a dual tuner configuration.  They snuck that in because two days ago, the XPS 410 was only offered in a single tuner configuration.  I guess they got enough phone calls to warrant the addition.



    The market is expanding.  That's a very good thing for you and I.  Before too long, the Quad will be the entry level desktop machine.  Well maybe not the entry level, but it's already becoming a standard offering.  The Intel price cut had a lot to do with that.  Thank you Intel.  Combine that with some beefy hard drives and you have a nice HDTV recording solution that will also play games, run applications, etc.  Checking your email on a 58" HD screen is interesting.  Don't want a PC in the den?  Use the Xbox 360 to extend the Media Center experience across your home network.  Enjoy.

  • Hub and Spoke package delivery systems

    I ordered a new cell phone plan and AT&T is shipping me a 3G SIM for the GSM phone.  My little SIM card started it's journey pert near my house.  It's taking the scenic route to get there.  Can you guess who the carrier is?  You would think some "sort" of exception would be made on routes like this, but I guess a system is a system, right?


    Aug 1, 2007  8:20 PM

    At dest sort facility  



      4:05 PM

    In transit  



      3:53 PM

    Departed FedEx location  



      10:53 AM

    Arrived at FedEx location  



    Jul 31, 2007  11:21 PM

    Departed FedEx location  



      10:15 PM

    Arrived at FedEx location  



      10:04 PM

    Left origin  



      1:05 PM

    Picked up  



      11:17 AM

    Package data transmitted to FedEx 
  • Windows Vista sleep states demystified

    Machine sleeping is a bit of a mystery to many of us.  It's one of those magical things that when it works right, really makes using a laptop computer, or Media Center recording machine a thing of beauty.  I've been meaning to write an article on Magic Packets, but I see Robert Hensing just posted an article called, "Hybrid sleep in Vista and S0 - S5 explained".  Robert has some links to good resources on the subject so check it out.

    I started investigating sleep states due to an issue that cropped up on my Windows Vista Ultimate desktop machine here at my house.  You see, my Vista box wouldn't stay asleep.  It would sleep when it was supposed to (15 minutes), but 60 seconds later it would wake right back up.  That's annoying.  How's a machine going to get any rest?

    Since I had not seen this condition before, I started looking at new additions to the machine and network.  I wanted to point the finger at my HDHomeRun network tuner.  Maybe the new video card or router?  Nope.  As it turns out, it was probably my busy network keeping it awake.  I know how it feels.

    The fix was simple.  I just needed to set the network card so that it would only wake the machine when it received a "Magic Packet".  Now why would I do that?  Or more important, what device will send one of those magical frames?  Well, as it turns out, our friend the Xbox 360 does.  So after making the appropriate change to the nic properties, the machine wakes up for three reasons.  If I hit the power button, if it's time to record a TV show, and if I tell my Xbox 360 to use the Media Center extender feature.  When Xbox does that, it sends the magic packet, wakes the machine, logs in, and starts the remoting experience.  Pretty kewl eh?  Magic.

  • Don't get burned by your burner

    Take a look at the definitions for the word rely at  Do those definitions describe your DVD burner(s)?  Up until recently it certainly did for my external Sony DRX-710UL.  However, my trusty friend has let me down a couple of times over the past month or so, and when I turned to the laptop DVD burner, you guessed it, I got burned.

    Burning CD's and DVD's for entertainment is one thing but burning them for work is a whole different ball game.  I've been doing build up, tear down work as I discover the feasibility of two screencast series I'm putting together.  The first will be on System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 (SCVMM)  followed by Windows Server Virtualization (WSv). Stay tuned for some important announcements on both of those products this week.

    For those of you that do a lot of testing, I don't have to tell you how much work it is to create stuff, capture it with Ghost or Imagex, then verify your captures worked so you can move forward to the next phase without fear.  When captures work, rolling back and starting over is easy.  When captures don't work, it adds a lot of unnecessary time to a project.  If you are like me, you can't afford to give up time for stuff that SHOULD be working.

    What am I whining about?

    Well obviously some DVD's I created over the past couple of days were coasters.  The problem is that they weren't obvious coasters right away.  For instance, a Ghost restore keep telling me the ghost image I had created was invalid.  It was partially right.  It was valid on the hard drive it was created on, just not the bootable DVD I created afterwards.  If that wasn't bad enough, I used another DVD burner and the DVD was bad there.  I finally figured out after doing a restore directly from the hard drive the image was stored on, that the image was in fact GOOD !!!  Oh, I was soooo mad.

    A similar problem occurred with the SCVMM installation DVD I burned.  The install was failing when using the burned DVD.  After reviewing the log, I spotted a CRC error on the copy of an install file.  Sure enough, the install image worked fine from the hard drive, just not the DVD's the wretched drives were creating.

    I have three variables in the bad DVD picture.  The DVD burners (two of them), Windows Vista, and an old copy of Roxio Creator Classic.  I am actually most suspicious of Roxio since it is acting badly anyway.  It's probably time to buy the latest version of it or Nero.  Any suggestions on Windows Vista compatible DVD burning tools?  Must be able to burn from .iso and also create bootable DVDs.  What's the most popular tool on the Mac or Linux?

    [UPDATE]  Well, this is getting interesting.  I have confirmed it isn't the media, or the the DVD burners.  I spotted Roxio on sale at BestBuy for $49 so I bought a copy.  Roxio 9.1 failed on Windows Vista even though it has the certified for Windows Vista logo.  I know, Roxio 10 will probably come out in a few weeks.   

    So I started being a little more rigorous in sandboxing this problem.  I attached the external Sony DRX-710UL to my MCE 2005 machine and it burned the bootable disk without issue.  I then uninstalled Roxio 7.5 on the MCE 2005 machine and installed Roxio 9.1.  Success again.  So everything works fine on Windows XP Media Center Ed 2005.  Roxio 7.0, 7.5 and 9.1 does not work on Windows Vista.  Time to see if I can get my money back or a store credit... Should have gone with Nero as suggested...

    Just to provide some clarity, I have tested using three machines, three DVD burners, two different types of media, and two operating systems.  Run the test matrix through your calculator.  I did my due diligence.

  • How about a little crow with that DVD burner dinner?

    Ok, do you want the good news or the bad news first?  Well, the good news is that I was right.  The bad news is that I was right.  Huh?  What are you talking about?  Ok, remember a few days ago I was whining about my DVD burns not working, then I narrowed things down to Roxio 9.1?  Well, that wasn't entirely accurate. 

    Roxio 9.1 Data ProjectYou see, I'm used to using Roxio Creator Classic so of course that's what I was testing with (creating bootable Ghost restore disks).

    Then I stumbled across the shell they really want you to use.  As you see in the screenshot to the right, it's very different from the Creator Classic interface (assuming you have seen it). 

    But the biggest difference is that it works.  That's the good and bad news.  Because it works, I can't in good conscience return the product.  I have integrity.  I don't want a retailer like BestBuy to eat any sort of return cost.  If the product was truly defective it would be a different story.

    Why would I want to return it, if it works?

    Because with rebates, Nero 7 is free right now. Ok, if I buy it online it'll cost me $7 in shipping.  If I go to Fry's in person, it's free.  Heck, I'll probably go ahead and get a copy of Nero anyway.  Free is free and I'm a rebate tracking son of a gun.

    I have to go to Fry's anyway and swap memory for my new toy arriving next week.

    Speaking of rebates, where's my TiVo rebate? 

    Have a fun three day weekend everyone!

    [UPDATE]  The deal on Nero at the Fry's website is gone.  They must have sold out.  I'm guessing a new version is coming because free is a fabulous deal, and the deal I got on Roxio was half price.  Roxio probably has a new version coming, too.

  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Windows Defender

    Windows Defender (formerly known as Microsoft AntiSpyware) is a feature of Windows Vista that helps customers protect their computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware.

    Windows Defender lets you make conscious choices about software installed on your PC by providing always-on protection that monitors key system locations, watching for changes that signal the presence of spyware. Superior scanning and removal technologies use up-to-date spyware definitions created by Microsoft, with help from Windows Defender users who submit reports of potential new spyware.

    From installation to maintenance and updates, Windows Defender is simple to use and comes with preconfigured settings and guidance to help you become more secure. An improved user interface gives you more control over your software. Common tasks such as scanning, blocking, and removing unwanted software are easier than ever, and a Software Explorer helps you understand which software and services are running on your computer and stops or disables “rogue” software. Windows Defender automatically handles many common tasks and interrupts or alerts you only in the case of issues that require immediate action.

    Windows Defender takes advantage of many of the platform enhancements in Windows Vista, including improved caching technology that allows scans to run faster and User Account Control, which enables the software to run without requiring the user to elevate privileges to scan or remove spyware from the system.

    Integration with Microsoft Internet Explorer allows downloaded files to be scanned before they are saved or executed, reducing the chance that spyware might be installed by accident. “Scan on execute” functionality provides an added layer of protection, and integration with Windows Security Center helps you keep track of spyware protection alongside other security and safety features.

    Windows Defender is available for Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and Windows Vista.

    Only genuine Windows customers can receive product downloads, Windows updates, and special offers. Windows Defender will validate that your copy of Windows is genuine before installation on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1. Furthermore, Windows Defender will only remove severe threats for machines that are not genuine. Low, medium, and high threats will be detected, but not removed unless your copy of Windows is genuine.

    The Screencast

  • Windows Server 2008 Step-by-step Guides - download now

    The Windows Server 2008 documentation train just keeps on rolling, all day long.  It's summer time and we're in full swing as we head into the release cadidate waves for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc.  So, without further delay, head on over to and grab the Windows Server 2008 goodies.


    File Name: File Size

    Creating and Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services Templates Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    382 KB

    Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services in an Extranet Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    209 KB

    Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    194 KB

    Server Core Installation Option of Windows Server Longhorn Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    631 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node File Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server Longhorn.doc

    579 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node Print Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server Longhorn.doc

    581 KB

    Using Identity Federation with Active Directory Rights Management Services Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    584 KB

    What's New in Failover Clusters.doc

    354 KB

    What's New in Terminal Services for Microsoft Windows Server Code Name Longhorn.doc

    696 KB

    Windows Server Active Directory Rights Management Services Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    264 KB

    Windows Server Code Name Longhorn Beta 3 Active Directory Certificate Services Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    480 KB

    Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Release TS Gateway Server Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc

    903 KB

    Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Release TS Licensing Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc

    514 KB

    Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Terminal Services RemoteApp Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    634 KB

    Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Windows Deployment Services Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    582 KB

  • 135 miles per gallon, 0-60 in 4 seconds

    Tesla RoadsterAnyone have their deposit down on the Tesla Roadster?  Oh come on, it's only a $30,000 dollar deposit and you'll have the car by the end of 2008.  All kidding aside, this is an interesting vehicle. 

    Think about it, no exhaust pipe.  I wonder what it's like to go from 0-60 with no big thumping V8/V12 engine noise and blaring exhaust pipe.  That must rock when you are in the mountains of Colorado.  It's going to scare the crap out of people, too.  Imagine that thing blasting by you silently.

    How much does this vehicle cost?  Just under $100,000 USD for the base price.  If you get all of the options, it's $107,275.  But hey, it has iPod and BlueTooth integration.  Darn sure better for that amount.

    How do you charge this thing?

    Here's my favorite quote from the website, "Plug and play. If you can plug in your cell phone, you can plug in your Tesla Roadster."  I really thought that was pretty funny.  See the charging and batteries area for more information.  See the safety section if you would be concerned about driving around in a vehicle surrounded by lithium ion batteries.  Another favorite quote from the site is, "Designing a safe, large lithium ion battery is difficult, but not impossible."  Maybe they should have a chat with the laptop battery makers.

    If nothing else, maybe Tesla Motors will be the catalyst for a whole new generation of electric cars.  I always wonder though how these types of vehicles are going to hold up in the heat of summer in places like Phoenix, Dallas, etc.  I guess time will tell, and that appears to be just around the corner.

  • Here's my definitive Windows Vista SP1 information

    I'm feeling lazy today...  Actually, that's far from the truth.  I have completed the construction of my System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) demo environment, completed three required training classes, and rebuilt the Polaris for my pool.  All of that just today.

    I figured the rest of the bloggers would have flooded the RSS feed with Vista SP1 information.  I was right.  So I went looking for a comprehensive post to link to.  Looks like Kai Axford wins.


    Looks like Kai was lazy, too.  It must be the dog days of summer...

  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - the Calendar

    Chris Henley is one of the better story tellers on my team.  We've been trying to get him to write (via his blog) more but like many of you, he's a busy bee raising a family and working here at Microsoft.  Fortunately we were able to convince him to record some screencasts on his favorite features in the Windows Vista Product Guide.  So, without further delay, head on over to and enjoy the show. 

    Next week, Kevin Remde will be posting another screencast on a feature in this guide.  I'll let you know when this goes live. 

  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Security Center

    Windows Security Center (WSC) helps make your PC more secure by alerting you when your security software is not up-to-date or when your security settings have potential weaknesses that should be corrected. For example, WSC shows you the status of your firewall settings and tells you whether your PC is set up to receive automatic software updates from Microsoft.

    WSC originally debuted in Windows XP SP2. In response to feedback from customers and third-party security companies, Microsoft has made improvements to WSC in Windows Vista, including showing the status of antispyware software, Internet Explorer security settings, and User Account Control. In addition, WSC can monitor multiple vendors’ security solutions running on a computer and indicate which are enabled and up-to-date—a feature that other security center solutions do not have or do not do as well as WSC. Windows Security Center monitors the following security components for Windows Vista.

    Firewall: Windows Security Center monitors the installation of a firewall solution, including the Microsoft Windows Firewall and third-party solutions. WSC monitors the presence of a firewall solution as well as the security state of the firewall. If any issue is detected with the firewall state, the user is alerted and provided with an appropriate guided experience to correct the problem from within Security Center.

    Automatic Updates: Windows Security Center verifies that Automatic Updates is enabled and using Microsoft’s recommended settings. If the Windows Automatic Updates service is not running or if settings differ from the recommended settings, the user receives an alert notification and will be provided with a way to enable Automatic Updates in WSC.

    Antivirus: Windows Security Center verifies the installation of antivirus solutions. When present, WSC reports whether real-time scanning is enabled and if the virus signature files are up-to-date. If any of these conditions are not met, the user receives an alert notification and is prompted with a way to resolve the problem.

    Antispyware and other malware protection: Windows Security Center verifies the installation of third party antispyware solutions as well as Windows Defender. When a third party antispyware solution is present, or Windows Defender is on, WSC reports on whether scanning is enabled and if the spyware definition files are up-to-date. If any of these conditions are not met, then the user receives an alert notification and is prompted with a way to resolve the problem.

    Internet security settings: Windows Security Center monitors the security settings that are associated with Internet Explorer and alerts the user whenever those security settings are lower than the recommended levels, which might put the user at risk. WSC provides a button to restore settings which the user can use to have WSC fix the settings or take the user to the control panel where the user can fix the settings manually.

    User Account Control: To help ensure a safer computing experience, the User Account Control (UAC) service and policy must not be disabled or degraded. Window Security Center monitors the status of UAC and notifies the user if UAC has been changed to a setting different from what Microsoft recommends. WSC provides a button to restore UAC to the recommended settings in this case.

    The Screencast

  • Office Communication Server 2007 - trial download

    For the past few weeks my team has been using Office Communicator Server 2007.  From my laptop, I can make a telephone call, receive calls, route calls to voice mail or other telephone numbers, ring multiple phones at the same time, hold multi point conference calls and utilize webcams, etc.  All of the whiz bang unified communications offer an interesting array of presence features. See the Quick Reference Card for a good description of the client side view. I particularly like the corporate address book integration.  Instant messaging has taken on a whole new realm, especially with Microsoft RoundTable in the conference room.  That thing is scary good.  It's fun to talk and walk around a table.  Try it!

    I am also one of about 75 people in Microsoft with a Windows Mobile 6 Palm Treo 750.  The kewl thing is that it's the build you'll be able to buy from AT&T when they release it.  The fast 3G speeds, improved WM6 interface, and integration with OCS is beyond fascinating.  I'll be doing a side-by-side comparison with my Verizon Motorola Q very soon so stay tuned for that.

    Does OCS 2007 sound interesting?  Well, why not take it out for a spin?  Here's the abstract for the download:

    Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 introduces a wide range of new features, most notably enhanced presence and enterprise voice capabilities, enabling users to place computer-to-computer calls and to place outbound calls to, and accept incoming calls from, traditional (PBX/PSTN) phone users. Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 also introduces robust call-forwarding features, support for USB audio devices, automatic setup of audio and video devices, and the ability to add Active Directory Domain Services distribution groups to your Communicator Contact List.

    Download @

    See all of the other OCS 2007 downloads @

    And of course, the technical library is @

  • Can your backup solution do this?

    DPM 2007-06 smal



    Well then you need to head on over to the DPM Team blog or Jason Buffington's blog and start learning about Data Protection Manager 2007 and the other magic he has up his sleeve.  In fact, Jason just posted a nice screencast at on the VSS writers that are used to backup the workloads we expect to be important to you.  Check it out!!!

  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Complete PC Backup and Restore

    While file restore is useful in cases of file loss and data corruption, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore is most useful for disaster recovery when your PC malfunctions. image Available only to Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate Edition users, Complete PC Backup and Restore is capable of restoring your whole PC environment, including the operating system, installed programs, and user settings, as well as data files. You can restore your PC content back to its original PC if its hardware problems were fixed, or to a replacement PC if not. Complete PC Backup and Restore can be initiated from within Windows Vista as well as from the Windows Vista installation CD in the event the PC is so corrupt it cannot startup normally from the hard disk.

    The Screencast

  • Podcasts, Webcasts and Chats oh my!!!


    TechNet Podcast: An Interview with Iain McDonald on Windows Server 2008 Fundamentals

    Interviewer:  Chris Henley

    Join Iain McDonald in a candid conversation about the powerful improvements to the core fundamentals in Windows Server 2008 from the Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems. Learn about notable improvements to networking, advanced security features for Windows Firewall, performance and reliability monitoring, failover clustering, and the file system.


    TechNet Podcast: An Interview with Bryon Surace on Windows Server Virtualization Scenarios and Architecture 

    Interviewer:  Chris Henley

    Tune in for the interview with Bryon Surace as he provides a brief overview of the new Windows Server virtualization technologies incorporated in Windows Server 2008. He will provide an overview of the scenarios, architecture and key features.


    TechNet Podcast: An Interview with Bill Staples on Windows Server 2008 Web and Application Platforms

    Interviewer:  Chris Henley

    Windows Server 2008 is a powerful Web application and services platform. Join Bill Staples as he talks about the release of Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.0 in Windows Server 2008, which delivers a completely modular, extensible Web server with expanded application hosting, while retaining excellent compatibility and solving key customer challenges.


    TechNet Podcast: An Interview with Bob Visse on the Benefits of Windows Server 2008 Features

    Interviewer:  Chris Henley

    Join this conversation with Bob Visse for an overview of the new and enhanced features in Windows Server 2008. Learn how Windows Server 2008, with its built-in Web and virtualization technologies, is one of the most robust, secure, and reliable foundation on which to develop, deliver, and manage rich user experiences and applications; provide a secure network infrastructure; and reduce costs while increasing technological flexibility and value within your organization.




    TechNet Webcast: Windows Server 2008 Technical Overview (Part 1 of 2) (Level 300)

    Presenter:  Matthew Hester

    Friday, August 3, 2007, 11:30 A.M.–1:00 P.M. Pacific Time

    In this webcast, we take a look at the new Windows Server 2008 operating system. Right now this product is in the beta phase, with many of the final features and components present and functional. Join us as we explore some of the new core operating system features and see how they enhance productivity and performance. In the next session, we take a look at the new security and networking features of Windows Server 2008.


    TechNet Webcast: Windows Server 2008 Technical Overview (Part 2 of 2) (Level 200)

    Presenter:  Michael Murphy

    Friday, August 10, 2007, 11:30 A.M.–1:00 P.M. Pacific Time

    In the second half of this webcast series, we continue exploring the new Windows Server 2008 operating system. This product is now in the beta phase, with many of the final features and components present and functional. Join us as we look at some of the new security improvements, and also discuss a new feature called Network Access Protection (NAP). Finally, we explain in detail the significant changes and improvements Terminal Services has undergone since the previous version of Windows.


    Microsoft Webcast: Windows Server 2008 Security Enhancements (Level 200)

    Presenter:  Ward Ralston, Sr. Technical Product Manager

    Thursday, August 9, 2007, 11:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. Pacific Time

    Windows Server 2008 offers many new security features to help organizations become more secure and better adhere to today's multiple compliance mandates for security. Join this webcast to learn how Windows Server 2008 defends against malicious software (malware), improves authentication and access control, and helps protect your data. In this overview, we highlight the new security technologies found in Windows Server 2008, including Server and Domain Isolation, Network Access Protection (NAP), public key infrastructure (PKI) enhancements, Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption, Windows Rights Management Services (RMS), and more.


    TechNet Webcast: A Technical Overview of Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services (Level 200)

    Presenter:  Blain Barton, IT Pro Evangelist

    Friday, August 17, 2007, 9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    In this session, we examine Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008. For organizations that have remote users, Windows Server 2008 adds improvements and innovations to Terminal Services that facilitate better integration of remote and local applications on client computers, access to these same remote programs via a Web browser, and a means to access remote terminals and applications across firewalls. Because Windows Server 2008 will ship on x64, it has the ability to use the additional processors and RAM that x64 offers, which increases the number of users that a Terminal Services server can support by 3.4.


    TechNet Webcast: UNIX Interoperability in Windows Server 2008 (Level 200)

    Presenter:  Michael Murphy, IT Pro Evangelist

    Monday, August 20, 2007, 11:30 A.M.–1:00 P.M. Pacific Time

    Join this session to see how the UNIX interoperability components in Windows Server 2008 can help you integrate UNIX and Windows-based systems to reduce costs and deliver a complete solution. In this session, we explore and demonstrate:

    ·         The benefits of UNIX interoperability in Windows Server 2008.

    ·         The Subsystem for UNIX-Based Applications (SUA) architecture.

    ·         Identity management in a mixed environment.

    ·         Using the SUA managing identification.


    TechNet Webcast: Managing Distributed Branch Office Environments with System Center and Windows Server 2008 (Level 300)


    ·         Rex Backman, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation

    ·         Jason Buffington, Senior Technical Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation

    ·         James Galvin, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation

    ·         Jeff Wettlaufer, Technical Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation

    Thursday, August 23, 2007, 11:30 A.M.–1:00 P.M. Pacific Time

    Distributed branch office configurations within many enterprise organizations are increasing in number and growing in complexity. Delivering and sustaining efficient and reliable IT services to these mission-critical branches is vitally important. In this webcast, we highlight the Microsoft System Center portfolio of IT management solutions and Windows Server 2008. We discuss various IT solutions and architectures that can help you deliver quality IT service management for branch environments, including data protection and recovery, configuration management, and performance and event management.


    TechNet Webcast: Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Branch Office Technology (Level 300)

    Presenter:  Blain Barton

    Friday, August 31, 2007, 9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    In this webcast, we talk about the Next Generation TCP/IP Stack in the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating systems. The Next Generation TCP/IP Stack is a complete redesign of TCP/IP functionality for both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) that meets the connectivity and performance needs of today's varied networking environments and technologies. During the session, we examine the many security, performance, and scalability improvements that the Next Generation IT Stack introduces, and we discuss how you can prepare your network for IPv6.



    TechNet Radio:  How Microsoft Does IT:  Future of Server Virtualization

    Interviewer:  Kevin Remde, IT Pro Evangelist

    Speaker:  Devin Murray, Microsoft IT Group Manager

    Building on the success of leveraging Virtual Server 2005 R2 for Microsoft IT’s Virtual Server Utility, we look forward to leveraging Window Server virtualization feature to drive additional value and move virtual machines as the commodity data center platform offering.



    Windows Server 2008 - Management, Security and Improved Performance for Your Remote Infrastructure
    August 28 10:00 A.M. PST

    Experts:  Not available at this time

    Add to Calendar | Join Chat Room

    Join us for a Q&A on the new features in Windows Server 2008 that will help you manage and secure your remote infrastructure as well as WAN performance improvements included in the new TCP and SMB protocols.  Ask our experts about Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption, improvements in Active Directory, Server Core, the Next Generation TCP stack and SMB 2.0.

  • I spy OCS 2007 in the download area

    Heads up TechNet Online subscribers!!!  I was digging out a product ID in the TechNet Online are for some installs I'm doing and low and behold I see a nice new nugget in the download area.  Sure enough, Office Communication Server (OCS) 2007 Standard Edition is now available for download.

    If you aren't familiar with the product, here's the blurb from the FAQ:

    Office Communications Server 2007 builds on the foundation of Presence and Instant Messaging, Federated Communications and Remote Call Control delivered by Live Communications Server 2005 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2005. Key new features include a number of improvements to Instant Messaging and Presence capability such as integration with Microsoft Exchange Server distribution lists as well as the addition of software-powered VoIP, allowing users to make, receive and manage voice (phone) calls using Office Communicator 2007 running on their computer and multi-party on-premise audio/video and Web conferencing. Office Communications Server 2007 also supports the ICE framework of protocols, allowing users to take advantage of these communications capabilities from wherever they are without needing to establish a VPN connection.

  • See if you can find my picture on Tafiti


  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Windows Firewall

    A firewall is a critical first line of defense against many types of malware. Properly configured, it can stop many kinds of malware before they can infect your computer or other computers on your network. Windows Firewall, which comes with Windows Vista, is turned on by default and begins protecting your computer as soon as Windows starts. The Windows Firewall Control Panel is designed to be easy to use, with several configuration options and a simple interface.

    More advanced than the Windows Firewall in previous versions of Windows, the firewall in Windows Vista helps protect you by restricting other operating system resources if they behave in unexpected ways—a common indicator of the presence of malware. For example, if a component of Windows that is designed to send network messages over a given port on your PC tries to send messages via a different port due to an attack, Windows Firewall can prevent that message from leaving your computer, thereby preventing the malware from spreading to other users.

    The Screencast


  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Windows Experience Index

    When you do advanced tasks with your PC, the performance capabilities of your PC hardware—the processor, memory, graphics card, and storage—can make a big difference. But understanding these capabilities and how they interact can be challenging.

    Windows Vista introduces Windows Experience Index (WEI) to help you understand your PC’s performance capabilities, and to ease the task of buying new PCs, hardware, and software.

    Windows Experience Index is a simple, numeric system that rates how well your PC can run the performance-oriented features in Windows Vista, such as the new Windows Aero user interface, multiple monitors, high-definition TV, and personal video recording. The numerical rating can also help you match the right software to run on your PC.

    The Windows Experience Index rating is determined during the installation of Windows Vista. The rating is computed by running a set of capability tests on five critical hardware components:

    Each test results in a capability score between 1 and 5.9 for the component. Since a PC’s performance is limited by the lowest performing component, the overall test result, or “base score,” for the PC is determined by the lowest of the five scores.

    The rating system is particularly useful for consumers when:

    • Buying a new PC: The WEI score of a PC can help you determine if it will be able to perform well in its intended use and take advantage of all of the capabilities of Windows Vista.
    • Upgrading a PC: The WEI scores can be used to determine which PC component would be the most beneficial to upgrade and what performance change you might expect.
    • Buying software: Microsoft is working with software developers to include the recommended Windows Experience Index score on software packages. When buying new software, consumers will be able to use this score to determine if their PC would be able to run the software well.

    Retailers and PC, hardware, and software manufacturers can also use the Windows Experience Index to help customers shopping for PC hardware and software by:

    • Displaying the Windows Experience Index of PC and components they sell
    • Better inform customers about recommended system requirements needed to run their software
    • Enabling customers to compare the performance rating of different products

    The Screencast


  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - User Account Control

    clip_image006Most user activities, such as surfing the Web, sending email, and using productivity applications, do not require administrative privileges. Yet most people log on to their home PC with an account that has full administrator privileges. This puts the PC at greater risk from viruses, spyware, and other threats.

    User Account Control (UAC) in Windows Vista makes it easier to use your PC with standard user privileges. You can create a separate user account for each member of the family and control which websites, programs, and games each person can use and install.

    UAC also helps families with children protect their PCs from malware such as viruses, worms, and spyware that might be hidden in programs that appeal to children. UAC makes it practical to give children their own standard user account, so that if a child tries to install a new piece of software, the system will prompt for an administrator account password to approve the action.

    Even when you use an administrator account, UAC provides additional protection. By default, most programs run with the permissions of a standard user, which limits the potential damage they can do.

    If you need to start a program that requires administrator privileges, the system will prompt you for an administrator password.

    The Screencast

  • North Texas weather YTD stats

    You think your weather is intense?  Check out the stats our local ABC affiliate, WFAA, put together for tonight's broadcast.

    And 2007 isn't anywhere near over yet...



  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Welcome Center

    As people begin using a computer for the first time, they typically complete a set of tasks to optimize the computer for their use. Such tasks include connecting to the Internet, adding user accounts for different people, and transferring files and settings from another computer. Windows Vista includes Welcome Center, a screen that presents all of these tasks in one easy-to-find place so users can easily and quickly set up their computer and do so on their own schedule. Below the tasks for Windows is a pane where the computer manufacturer can list tasks and offers. Welcome Center automatically appears when the computer is used for the first time and can optionally appear on future starts as well.

    The Screencast


  • NFL Network begins HD season this weekend

    I am looking forward to having a new channel this year.  One of the Verizon FIOS HDTV benefits is the ability to receive NFL Network in HD.  Of course the pre season for US NFL Football officially kicks off this weekend and having another broadcast channel will be great.  For all of you Directv snobs, take that.  :) 

    And for you Europeans, I know it isn't your brand of football with the pads and all, but you know what whimps we are.  Maybe the Superbowl should pit the European Football champ against the US NFL Football champ.  Then we'll see who's the champ...

  • Spaceworld - taking the NASA tour via Photosynth

    spaceworld You are probably getting ready to see all sorts of blogs posts on this because frankly, Photosynth is very very cool.

    Photosynth uses hundreds of standard digital camera images to construct a three-dimensional view of an environment or "synth". These synths can be explored much like a video game, allowing you to explore, zoom into tiny details, and see where the photographer was standing (or flying) when they took the pictures.

    Now that you know what is is, head on over to to see the NASA collections.

    Current NASA collections include:

    • The interior and surrounding area of the Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest one-story building in the world, used for housing external fuel tanks and flight hardware, and the location of the Orbiter stacking with the solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank to prepare for the space shuttle launch.
    • Endeavour on the launch pad including amazing detail shots taken from a helicopter
    • The previous flight STS-117 Shuttle Atlantis returning from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility.

    For some background on this project, see the video at or the collections at  See other Phtotosynth collections at

  • Sound off if you want to shape the future of TechNet Plus

    I stay in pretty close contact with the TechNet Subscription Program Management team.  When I spot a product I think you'll want to test that isn't on the download area, I ping them and offer my thoughts.  They are asking for similar thoughts right now.  Head on over to and tell Kathy what you like and dislike, what you'd change, etc.  This is a great way to shape the future of an already awesome resource.

  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Windows Update

    As a licensed user of Windows Vista, you are entitled to software updates to the operating system periodically released by Microsoft. These include upgrades to Windows Vista features, updates that improve reliability and performance, and updates that provide new security protections against malware and other potentially unwanted software. Microsoft might also provide software updates to improve performance or reliability that are supplied by your computer manufacturer for other software and hardware components on your PC.

    Windows Update determines which updates are applicable to your computer and can download and install them automatically if you choose, keeping your computer up-to-date and more secure.

    Advances in Windows Update

    In Windows Vista, the capabilities of Windows Update make updating easier and less disruptive.clip_image004

    • Easier. In Windows Vista, Windows Update can automatically download and install both High Priority and Recommended updates. Previously, only updates classified as High Priority could be installed automatically, and users had to manually select and download other available updates.
    • Less disruptive. Updating occurs in the background, and flexible options are provided for completing the updating process. If an update requires a restart to complete installation, you can schedule this for a specific time when it won’t disrupt your work. You can also postpone a previously scheduled restart until your current work is complete. And when a software update applies to a file in use, Windows Vista can save the application’s data, close the application, update the file, and then restart the application.

    Using Windows Update

    clip_image006To make sure your computer stays up-to-date, Microsoft recommends using the Automatic Updates feature of Windows Update. This ensures that both High Priority and Recommended updates are downloaded and installed in Windows Vista. This preference option is provided during the initial setup of Windows Vista, or you can set it at any subsequent time.

    clip_image008For users interested in taking a more active role in managing the update process, Windows Vista includes a range of preference options. These provide control over how you are notified about the availability of updates, as well the option to review and approve updates before they are downloaded or installed.

    At any time, you can also proactively check to see if any updates are available for your PC. The Windows Update control panel allows you to scan for updates, review details about each one, access your updating history, and manage your updating preferences.

    The Screencast

  • Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Computer Setup

    Windows Vista significantly simplifies the process of setting up a new computer. Users are asked to complete only the most essential tasks so they can get to their desktop as soon as possible and begin enjoying their new computer. Users can quickly review their language and country settings, and review and accept the Microsoft Windows and computer manufacturer license terms. They then create a user account with their username and password, and personalize their computer with a unique computer name and desktop wallpaper. After selecting automatic updates for Windows to help keep their computer up-to-date, and reviewing their date and time settings, users can view optional offers from the computer manufacturer and begin using their computer immediately.

    The Screencast


  • Be careful what you wish for...

    The rain is gone.  It isn't coming back until sometime in September.  So we are stuck with this for a few weeks.  We'll take it.  Why?  Cause we're used to getting hammered by this kind of heat for months.


    US Current Temperatures


    Oops, my paste job linked directly to the map on

    so this picture is dynamically changing.  LOL.  Kewl.