Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

March, 2008

  • Silverlight Streaming v2 Test - check this out

    I'm doing some work with the Expression Suite v2 Beta and part of that is control over the player properties for the streaming video.  This is pretty important for posting to my blog.  But I do believe I have this figured out now.  Here's a HD 720p stream.  In order to play this video, you probably need a rather fat pipe.  If it doesn't play smoothly, please comment on your ISP connection.

    For the embedded player control below, there are a few things I'd like you to test.

    1. Full screen button - on the player bar, the icon on the far left makes the video play full screen. ESC gets you back out of full screen mode.
    2. Pause - check to see that it pauses and resumes.
    3. FF/Rewind - with this embedded control, it doesn't really fast forward or rewind.  It should however move the current video position on clicks to either button.  I noticed you can't really move around in the video until the download is complete.

    What do you think?  Pretty rad, eh?

    [UPDATE] I have changed the encoding so that the bit rate is now 3MB instead of 6MB.  I am also testing the download and autoplay UI in Encoder v2 Beta.

    [UPDATE for 6/15/2008]  It's back to 6MB.

  • Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise x86 Full DVD (integrated) now available

    vista_wallpaper The Windows Vista SP1 image rollout continues and at this point TechNet Direct subscribers can download the Enterprise x86 DVD image.  I'm sure the x64 image will arrive in the next day or so.  Keep your downloader warmed up.

    For those of you with subscriptions, you know there are VL MAK keys available so you can begin some serious testing with the 32 bit platform.

    Enterprise has nearly all of the feature set you would ever want, but it lacks the Media Center shell and a couple of other features found in Ultimate.

    See http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/editions/default.mspx for more information on the different versions of Windows Vista.

    Enjoy!

    [UPDATE] The x64 .ISO file is now posted.  Subscribers, go get it!

  • How do you learn?

    A recent Wall Street Journal article, "The New Workplace Rules: No Video-Watching" written by Bobby White highlights the fact that many people are watching videos at work.  It's even more interesting that the heaviest consumption of those videos takes place during the lunch hours.

    I worry about this for a couple of reasons.  First, if the corporate IT departments block all incoming video streams I'll be cut off from you.  No more screencasts.  No interesting videos.  Possibly no webcast replays.

    But I worry most because we have pretty grandiose plans.  Everyone on my team has a HD camera.  Some of us are just figuring out how to use them.  We aren't experts like Ben Waggoner so it's taken longer than planned to actually create some content. 

    As a creator of content I'm genuinely enthused about the tools and technologies.  What's not to love?  Laptops and desktops are powerful.  HD video cameras are almost affordable.  Software is now powerful and relatively easy to use.  I look at this as a tool for my job, information delivery.

    What to create?

    I recently developed a test video.  The Windows Server 2008 Overview video is a high definition 720p video I created from scratch.  This is a dress rehearsal for the tools and techniques I'm learning and honing.  This particular video uses several media elements and is just over 60 minutes in length.  The beginning is an introduction shot here at my home office using the Sony HD camera I have.  It also incorporates Powerpoint and demonstration captures using Camtasia 5.

    My Criticisms of My Video

    micro0572I'm pretty critical of my work, so let me highlight some of the stuff I dislike about the video, then I'll highlight the stuff I like.  Lastly, I want to ask you a few questions that will help me in the direction I am headed.  Pay no attention to the outlaw at right.

    In the introduction, you'll notice I start off smiling nicely enough but the tone gets all too serious.  I need to drop 20 pounds.  Don't we all?  I'm obviously over concentrating which becomes apparent with the smirk at the end of the intro.  Have you ever tried to shoot video of yourself and deliver a salient set of remarks.  It isn't easy so as I practice, I'll get better. 

    I'm very used to walking around on stage with 30-1000 people in the audience.  Trust me, talking to 1000 people is easier than looking into a camera or recording audio.  Imperfections are highlighted when recorded.  The lighting in the video is a little dark.  It was late in the day and the sun was already almost gone.  I'm thinking of shooting my future intros poolside.  It'll be more fun than the office look.  You'll be especially jealous if you see a perfect top shelf margarita sitting next to me.

    This is the first screencast style video where I used Powerpoint.  The main reason I did it was because I wanted to see what recording widescreen 1280x720 slides would look like.  If you look closely on the beginning and ending slides (video bumpers), some of the graphics are slightly stretched but the Powerpoint deck looks killer.  I'll fix graphics issues better in future versions of my work. 

    My delivery of the material is ok, not stellar.  I considered recording it again but have decided that I probably won't.  I have way too many subjects to cover.  So I fumble my words here and there on a few of the slides.  This is also true in the demonstrations.  This is primarily because I just snatched the slides and went to work pretty quickly on the test and demos.  I just wanted to slam something out there that would demonstrate the possibilities.  See some of my motivations in the next section.

    So basically you have a 60 minute video overview.  The intro video is pretty good for a rookie that is learning.  The slides and demos look amazing.  When you are watching the video, be sure to set Windows Media Player to fit the player on resizes.  Try the video full screen or at other sizes that suite you.  Be sure to try the video at 100% zoom which is 1280x720.  If you are using a large square 4:3 ratio monitor, you'll see black bars on the top and bottom because this is a widescreen video.  Matt Hester didn't like that much.

    Feedback I would like from you

    I would like to learn a lot from this test, but I need your help.  My intention was to create a 60 minute high definition video that I could use to test the tools, techniques, our platform(s), your ISP connection and thoughts. 

    When you are watching video on a subject, what is your pain threshold?  Is 60 minutes too much?  Many of our webcasts are 90 minutes.  Do you prefer shorter bursts of say 10-20 minutes?  I've been doing 5-10 minute screencast demos but when you add powerpoint, it doubles the time easily.

    Do you like or dislike Powerpoint mixed with the demos?  Powerpoint is a great tool for providing references, animations and other information.  Would you prefer the information via a conversational video or in text via a blog post like this?  How did the slides look to you?

    The demos are typical of what I've been doing the past couple of years with a couple of key differences.  They were shot at 1280x720 resolution instead of 1024x768.  They were shot at 30 frames per second instead of 15.  The bit rate for the video is much higher than any of the work I've created in the past.  This is the reason the demos and slides look killer.  What do you think?

    How is the streaming?  I've been experimenting with the various delivery platforms and I'm nowhere near done yet.  I have at least two more content delivery platforms to test.  This particular test is pure streaming.  I've also been testing Silverlight progressive download playback and it's promising as well.  This video should stream pretty well for most of you here in the US that have a 3meg or better ISP connection.  It's a variable bit rate stream with a peak of 3meg.  My FIOS 15/2 connection plays the video smooth as glass.

    What tools do I use?

    I used a variety of tools.  Camtasia 5, Expression Encoder v2 Beta, Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition, and Windows Media Encoder were all actually used at various points to create the final video result.  On the hardware side, my Sony HDR-HC7 video camera, and a Dell XPS 420 was used for the final encoding.  I'll get into the details of capturing, editing and final production in a future blog post.

    Call To Action

    Be critical.  Tell me what you dislike.  Tell me what you like.  Tell me how you learn.  Tell me what subjects we aren't covering effectively.

    [UPDATE]  Here's the Silverlight version of the video.  This Silverlight player is going to playback the exact stream from the link above.  You have two viewing options with this player.  The small version that is embedded below, and full screen.  You can go full screen two ways.  Either double click the player, or click the button on the far left of the player controls. 

     

  • My baby survived the Windows Vista SP1 install

    windows vista ult As you'll recall, back in December I purchased a Dell XPS 420 then posted comments about my new toy.  There was a lot of interest in that post and it received a lot of comments from the community. Since December, my baby has been running all of my applications very nicely.  I'm still on Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and the last clean install I did was the early part of January.

    I've refused to add any updates or applications that were beta.  The only exception I made was for Expression Encoder v2 Beta.  I needed it to crank out a big project which is discussed at my post titled, "How Do You Learn?"  That encoding job took 5 hours on my quad proc machine.  Imagine if I had used my laptop.  Toast. 

    I've been tempted by all sorts of interesting betas but have managed to keep my temptations in check.  Because I knew SP1 was being delivered to the world today, I did a nice little Ghost backup of my machine yesterday and waited for the announcement today.  Funny, I just noticed they jumped from Ghost v12.0 to v14.0.  What happened to v13.0 ???  The ghost guys are apparently superstitious.  That's what they get for playing with ghosts too much.

    Ok, back on topic.  I downloaded the standalone installer from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=874a414b-32b2-41cc-bd8b-d71eda5ec07c&DisplayLang=en then let it rip.  It completed without issue in less than an hour.  My XPS 420 is still able to watch and record premium high definition content delivered courtesy of Verizon FIOS TV.  I am glad that still works.  Otherwise you would have seen a grown man cry.  Grin. 

    I expect all of my other applications to continue to work but I have not had a chance to test them all.  I'm testing some other stuff that gets released to the world tomorrow.  Hint hint. 

    [UPDATE for 3/21/2008] Right after I did this install, I went out of town so I didn’t get a chance to really shake it down properly.  It became apparent this morning that my machine doesn’t like SP1.  It would freeze then unfreeze.  I would see the NVIDIA video driver crash and recover.  HD playback wasn’t good.  So I restored my Ghost backup (that I took just before applying SP1).  I have reported it issues internally and hopefully Dell and Microsoft can reproduce the problems then come up with a solution.  I won’t be testing SP1 on my personal machine until I get a strong indication that things are resolved.  I have way too much video work right now and I need it to be stable.

  • Here’s 7 minutes of your life you’ll never get back

    Ever wonder what happens when you hand some cameras to a bunch of Microsoft IT Pro Evangelists?  Scary stuff.  Actually, we’re having a lot of fun with them as we figure out the toolset, microphones, lighting, etc.  In this stellar installment, I interview Matt Hester.

    As you can probably tell, Matt and I are bound to get in trouble with these things.  We interviewed a bunch of customers at the Houston, Texas Windows Server 2008 Launch Event.  We’re going to be at the Phoenix, Las Vegas and Dallas launch events as well.  Come chat with us.

    We’re thinking of driving from Phoenix to Vegas and hitting each watering hole along the way.  We are making an assumption they actually exist.  Might be fun to have a few long necks with the locals.  “Hey buddie, you running Hyper-V in that John Deere?”  Ha!

    Ever looked at the price of a combine?  $300,000 for the 2008 John Deere Corn Combine.  Wow!  I wonder how long it takes to pay one off.

    Note to Self: Don’t chew gum when on camera. 

  • Spring has arrived in Texas

    Spring3-3-2008

  • Any birders out there?

    Cedar_Waxwing My Cedar Waxwings arrived a couple of days ago.  I'll have to see if they hang around and finish off my Yaupon Holly berry's. They usually come by my house around this time each year as they migrate back north.  By the way, the picture at right is probably the best picture I've ever seen of a Waxwing.  Be sure to see the super high resolution version.

    I've seen flocks of them pick my bushes clean in a day or two.  Hungry little suckers.  I guess they leave Mexico and head North when spring starts coming on.  They probably wish they would have waited a few more days.

    My next arrivals will hopefully be the nesting pairs of Barn Swallows that come back nearly every year and build a nest on my back porch.  They are fun to watch.  They fly fast and do all sorts of loops.  They seem to have fun trying to get me as I jump in the pool.  Ha! 

    BarnSwallowSo why the fascination with nature?

    Probably because the location I grew up in had all sorts of critters.  It started in Houston, Texas.  I lived in a neighborhood bordering Rummell Creek and Buffalo Bayou.  We used to catch and release all kinds of turtles, snakes and animals.  Of course the alligator gar, alligators, fish and other critters in the bayou meant there was never a dull moment.  I was really young then.  I had no idea growing up playing in that area it would lead to a lifelong appreciation for nature.  The area is now a park and nature preserve.  Who knew?

    After we moved from Houston to Conroe, we of course explored the west fork of the San Jacinto river near my house on a daily basis.  A lot of the time is was via the knobby tires of our motocross mini bikes and motorcycles, but we always stopped to rest and enjoy the mosquitos. 

    EagleThere are all kinds of critter in Conroe as well.  I used to have a pet raccoon that liked to ride on my head as I drove my 71 Mustang.  People tend to freak when your coon skin hat looks at them.  He got big and mean about the time it was mating season for some reason.  I turned him loose and he found a female coon in short order.  They would come eat the dog food and wrestle my dog.  The female hung around the house for years and years.

    Lake Conroe is home to Bald Eagle and we would see them frequently as it's a breeding and nesting ground.  It's funny how many people didn't believe me when I told them that.  You see, my summer job was to take the Houston city slickers (as we called them) out skiing.  I was the boat driver, ski instructor, and beer guide.  Those were the days. :)

    Anyway, none of those years included a computer or Xbox.  We spent our time outdoors.  I didn't really appreciate it then but I look back on those years as my indoctrination into the world of nature.  If I ever stop blogging, you'll know I headed to the Amazon or some such adventure. 

    Until then, I get to enjoy the birds using the Central Flyway.  Lots of them.  But you have to look for them.  What's next?  Hummingbirds baby!!!

  • Just when I thought winter was history...

    If you don't like the weather in Texas, wait a few hours.  Just when I thought spring was here for good, Old Man Winter decides to blow one last time before we retire him until next November.  I've seen it snow here in Dallas as late as 3/15 so the fact it's snowing outside right now is still pretty rare.

    Here's the current view from http://www.wfaa.com/weather/radars/northtexas/.

    OldManWinterGivesUsTheBird

  • Windows Server 2008 launch slide decks now available

    Session 1 | What's New in Windows Server 2008

    Download PowerPoint Presentation

    Session 2 | Virtualization and Your Infrastructure

    Download PowerPoint Presentation

    Session 3 | Securing Your IT Infrastructure with Windows Server 2008

    Download PowerPoint Presentation

    Session 4 | Exploring Windows Server 2008 Web and Application Technologies

    Download PowerPoint Presentation

  • Server Unleashed wallpapers, screen savers, and buddy icons

    Someone commented in my Server Unleashed post that they would like a poster or wallpaper.  Well, ask and yee shall receive.  When you go to the site now, there's a new SilverLight object for the robot.  Check out the Toy Box area for the goods.

    ToyBox

  • Windows Vista SP1 is now available

    vista_wallpaper Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is an update to Windows Vista that addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability, performance, and compatibility issues; supporting new types of hardware; and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also will continue to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage Windows Vista. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone version can be installed on systems with any of the following language versions: English (US), French, German, Japanese, or Spanish (Traditional).

    Get the x86 standalone package @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b0c7136d-5ebb-413b-89c9-cb3d06d12674&DisplayLang=en.

    Get the x64 standalone package @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=874a414b-32b2-41cc-bd8b-d71eda5ec07c&DisplayLang=en.

    Enjoy!!!

  • I wonder who this ad is aimed at?

    x300

    I think this ad is fascinating.  I started to doctor it and chop all of the text from the shadow down.  Then the ad would look like it was produced by the company it is likely targeted at.  Now Lenovo needs to come up with a logo.  Maybe an orange with a bite or two out of it would be appropriate.

  • Windows Vista SP1 free USA unlimited phone support

    I found a little gem today I wasn’t aware of.  M3 Sweatt posted an article on his blog about the Windows Vista SP1 installation and application compatibility support that is being provided free of charge via a toll free number.

    For the support options, see the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Support Page.  When you go there, right at the top of the page is, “Unlimited installation and compatibility support is available at no charge until March 18, 2009.

    Sweatt !!!  Here are a couple of snips from the page:

    image

    image

  • Have 60 minutes to catch up on Windows Vista SP1 ???

    vista_wallpaper I missed the live broadcast of the Springboard Live event the other day.  If you didn't read my blog post about it, no worries.  However I watched the event replay from start to finish last night, and I thought there was a lot of great information.

    There were several aspects I liked about the show.  First, I always like to hear about actual customer deployments of our products.  I thought they did a great job of describing their rollouts.  Second, I liked the fact the panel wasn't all Microsoft people.  I still felt like there were a few Kool-aid moments, but I was pleasantly surprised that everyone wasn't drinking it.

    So over the weekend or in your spare time, I highly recommend watching the video at https://ms.istreamplanet.com/events/Default.asp.  I think you'll find some treasures in the information.  Definitely worth your time.

  • Going from Vista RTM to SP1 without stopping at update.microsoft.com

    vista_wallpaper There has been a lot of discussion about Windows Vista SP1 slipstreaming.  I understand why people want to do that with their corporate desktops.  For those of you that are individual users and only have the original Windows Vista RTM disk, what do you do?  Can you flatten a machine with that disk, then apply SP1 without ever going to update.microsoft.com to get updates?

    The answer is yes.  I had a Windows Vista Enterprise VL VM just waiting to test this scenario.  The VM was created in October and activated.  It has never had any software or updates installed.  It's just been sitting on the disk waiting patiently for SP1.

    Today, I downloaded the standalone installer and upgraded the VM to SP1.  No issues.  It took less than an hour.  Sweet.  Going from RTM to SP1 without installing all of the updates at update.microsoft.com rocks.  Of course those updates are going to start feeling lonely now.  Don't worry, they'll have friends soon enough.

    So if you don't have a fancy TechNet subscription and the integrated SP1 DVD, no worries.  You can pretty much accomplish the same thing with your original disk and the standalone installer.  Enjoy!!!

  • Apple iPhone to play nice with Exchange Server

    iPhone It's still a few months off, but this week Apple and Microsoft announced that Apple has licensed ActiveSync for the iPhone.  Exchange Server is the premier messaging system on the market and is widely used by corporations around the world.  The iPhone has garnered it's share of publicity and interest so it seems natural that a killer phone would want killer email. 

    If you head on over to http://www.apple.com/iphone/enterprise/, you'll see Apple is accepting applications into their beta program.  Here's the excerpt from their page about Exchange:

    Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support

    If your office uses Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or 2007, iPhone 2.0 software will allow you to wirelessly push company email, calendar events, and contacts over Wi-Fi or EDGE networks to iPhones. With secure push email and over-the-air contacts and calendar features, users will stay up to date wherever they go. And thanks to the iPhone Multi-Touch display, users will find it easier to perform common tasks such as accepting meeting invitations and finding contacts in the company directory or Global Address List (GAL).

    IT administrators can securely manage any iPhone that contains confidential company information with remote wipe and enforced security and password policies. These device configuration and remote management capabilities allow IT departments to quickly and seamlessly deploy iPhone throughout their companies.

    You should also check out the question and answer section with Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Terry Meyerson at http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/Features/2008/mar08/03-06EASqa.mspx

    Interesting times indeed...

  • Is the laser on?

    I’ve been a fan of Verizon FIOS since day one.  I was one of the first people outside the initial pilot on Keller, Texas to receive the service.  I’ve had it over three years.  The data service has been stellar.  Reliable.  Fast.  Cheap.  How many people say that about any computer service?

    At the time FIOS TV was made available in my area, I was a FIOS Business customer running a static IP plan.  I was hosting five domains using Microsoft Small Business Server Premium.  SBS is a great product for that implementation.  ISA, Exchange IIS, etc.  It’ll spoil you rotten.

    During the first couple of years of FIOS use, I was using it only for data.  I was not using the video offering.  You see, someone decided businesses would not want TV services so that wasn’t engineered into the business plans, or I should say not in the static IP plans.  For that reason, I was stuck using Charter Communications for my video services.

    Charter became unreliable and eventually after a huge outage, I kicked them to the curb and switched to FIOS TV.  That took a lot of work because I had to move our domains, email and websites to a hosting plan.  We are using 1and1.com for those services and I am happy with their price and reliability. We use the $9.99 per month business plan.

    FIOS TV has been a pretty good service with a few exceptions.  Their HD DVR is pretty lame so I switched to a TiVo Series 3.  There’s just one problem.  There’s only a few HDTV stations on the FIOS TV service and it’s customer base is starting to get restless.  Everyone seems to want 150 HD channels.  The problem is that I don’t think there’s 150 quality HD channels.

    Let’s talk about quality for a second.  It’s been pretty widely reported that FIOS TV is one of the best services in the US for watching high definition programming.  The working theory is that Verizon compresses the programming signal less than anyone else.  We’ll see if that theory holds up.  But the quality you get largely depends on the source.

    For instance, some of the programming coming down that pristine fiber strand has already been butchered.  One channel in particular I know has the habit of taking a standard definition source and trying to upscale it, stretch or zoom it for widescreen formatting, and calling it HD.  It’s crap and they know it.

    The same thing will happen when everyone is forced to switch from analog to digital this year.  You’ll simply get digital crap instead of analog crap.  But it will be digital and the FCC can mark it off their list of things to do.  Why do I call it digital crap?  Because garbage in produces garbage out.

    It takes work to convert a classic source to a beautiful HD master piece.  I don’t know what it took to digitize “Lawrence of Arabia”.  I went looking for the details of how Sony did it, but so far I haven’t been able to come up with some decent facts.  The HD version of the movie was broadcast on HDNET 2/10/2008 and I recorded it to my TiVo Series 3, and my Dell XPS 420.

    So what’s my point?  My point is, that even when everyone in the USA is forced to go digital this year, even when most of the cable and satellite providers have 150 HD channels, don’t expect those channels to broadcast 24x7 of high quality HD content.  It simply doesn’t exist right now.  You aren’t going to see “Lawrence of Arabia” quality programming coming down your dish, cable or fiber connection across all of those networks.  It’s a classic and how many classics do you actually see getting produced these days?

    I’ll settle for a small number of great channels with premium programming.

  • Windows Server® 2008 Network Shell (Netsh) Technical Reference

    ws2008 Netsh is a command-line scripting utility that allows you to display or modify the network configuration of a computer that is currently running. Netsh commands can be run by typing commands at the netsh prompt and they can be used in batch files or scripts. Remote computers and the local computer can be configured by using netsh commands.

    Netsh also provides a scripting feature that allows you to run a group of commands in batch mode against a specified computer. With netsh, you can save a configuration script in a text file for archival purposes or to help you configure other computers.

    The Windows Server® 2008 Network Shell (Netsh) Technical Reference provides a comprehensive command reference for networking technologies such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Network Policy Server (NPS), Network Access Protection (NAP), and Routing and Remote Access Services (RRAS), among many other technologies for which there are netsh commands.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=f41878de-2ee7-4718-8499-2ef336db3df5&DisplayLang=en.

  • Updated Volume Activation v2.0 Technical Guidance

    ws2008 Technical documentation for planning, deployment, and operations of Volume Activation 2.0 for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. Includes the Volume Activation 2.0 Overview Guide, Planning Guide, Deployment Guide, Operations Guide, Resources, FAQ and Technical Attributes.

    • Volume Activation 2.0 Overview Guide, Planning Guide, Deployment Guide, Operations Guide - Provides planning, deployment and operational guidance for activating volume editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
    • Volume Activation 2.0 Resources - Provides a list of resources for Volume Activation 2.0.
    • Volume Activation 2.0 FAQ - Answers to frequently asked questions about Volume Activation 2.0.
    • Volume Activation 2.0 Technical Attributes - Spreadsheet detailing Volume Activation 2.0 technical attributes.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9893f83e-c8a5-4475-b025-66c6b38b46e3&DisplayLang=en.

  • Stump The Panel Time

    Still undecided about Windows Vista?

    Join Mark Russinovich and a panel of experts at 9:00 A.M. Pacific Time, March 5th for a live, interactive discussion on adopting Windows Vista into a desktop infrastructure.

    The panel will feature leading third-party Windows Vista adoption subject-matter experts including Mark Minasi , author of Administering Windows Vista Security: The Big Surprises; Tony Bradley, foremost security expert and Microsoft Enterprise Security MVP; and Jerry Honeycutt, author, speaker and Deployment Forum MVP, as well as IT Pros from customer organizations that have tackled Windows Vista adoption and deployment—all discussing the challenges, workarounds, and tips & tricks that they have learned along the way and the benefits of adoption. Members of the Windows product team will also be on hand to help answer questions and speak to specific Vista hot topics.

    Ask your questions live during the event or e-mail your question in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com. The panel will answer as many questions as they can during the 60-minute event so take advantage of this opportunity to ask the experts and find out what you want to know about Windows Vista adoption.

    Springboard Live! Interactive Virtual Roundtable - http://ms.istreamplanet.com/events
    Wednesday, March 5, 2008
    9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    For access to guidance, resources, tools, and straight-talk articles today, visit the Springboard Series for Windows Vista.

  • Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V reaches RC milestone

    ws2008 It's official.  The virtualization team has hit their release candidate milestone.  You'll be able to grab the bits from the download center later this morning.  In the meantime, here's an excerpt from the press release:

    REDMOND, Wash. — March 19, 2008 — Reaching the next major milestone in virtualization development, Microsoft Corp. today made broadly available a feature-complete release candidate of Microsoft Hyper-V, the hypervisor-based virtualization software available with various versions of Windows Server 2008. A beta of Hyper-V was included with Windows Server 2008 when it launched last month, and this release candidate provides updated, near-final code.

    Hyper-V provides customers with efficient and cost-effective virtualization infrastructure software. It enables customers to reduce operating costs by increasing hardware utilization, optimizing infrastructure and improving server availability. Customers and partners can download the release candidate at http://www.microsoft.com/Hyper-V by 10 a.m. PDT today.

    See the rest of the press release @ http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/mar08/03-19RCHyperVPR.mspx.

  • Microsoft Search Server Express 2008 - get it FREE !!!

    Everyone likes free stuff.  Microsoft Search Server Express is FREE!

    Get Me Now

  • Attention Blu-ray player price gougers

    Supply and demand.  Can't live with em, can't shoot em.  Tom's Hardware is reporting that the price of Blu-ray players went up pretty significantly as the HD-DVD competition disappeared.  I'm in shock, aren't you?  There are a few predictable things in this world.  One of them is greed.

    khan The second is revenge.

    If the Blu-ray player makers and resellers think I'm going to rush out and buy a player right now, think again.  What were those imortal words of Khan again?  Let's reprise, shall we?

    "To the last, I will grapple with thee. From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee."

    Ok, that's probably a little harsh for the situation but I can hold out for a while.  First of all, my upscaling DVD player does a pretty nice job with regular standard def DVDs.  And regular DVDs are a hell of a lot cheaper than Blu-ray disks.

    I also get plenty of HD content from Verizon FIOS TV.  And it looks like I'll be getting more.  The cable companies seem to be in this battle for who has the most HD channels.  I don't care if Verizon ever wins that battle but a few more channels would not hurt, and it's pretty much a given that's going to happen in 2008.

    So basically I'll sit this one out for a while and ignore the Blu-ray makers and players.  Jack your prices all you want.