Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

April, 2008

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 Beta now available for download

    This morning at the Microsoft Management Summit we demonstrated a number of new technologies we’ve had under wraps for a while. See the press release for more information on Bob Muglia’s keynote. One of the products I really dig is System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.  No, that wasn’t a typo.  SCVMM 2008 was demonstrated on stage and is now available for download through http://connect.microsoft.com.  Once there, go to the Connection Directory then the Business Solutions area. Of course you could just try clicking the screenshot below.  That might work as well.  Hint hint.

    SCVMM Download Here’s a screenshot of the connect site and the beta download of SCVMM 2008.  As you can see, you can go sign up and start downloading the bits right now.  The sign up process is fast and painless.  I know, highly unusual.  Grin.

    I’ll be doing some screencasts soon on the product.  It looks like the product group is going to let me use their demo system so I’ll likely do a multi-part screencast series to show all the in and outs to managing Hyper-V and ESX.  Should be fun.

    Why do you care about this product?

    There are lots of reasons, but there are a couple of key reasons.  First, SCVMM 2008 will allow you to manage virtualization workloads running on Windows Server 2008 with the Hyper-V role.  And of course the most requested feature is the ability to manage VMWare ESX server virtual machines. 

    Here are the Top 10 Features :

    1. Designed for virtual machines running on Windows Server® 2008 and Microsoft Hyper-V™ Server
      Hyper-V is the next-generation hypervisor-based virtualization platform from Microsoft which is designed to offer high performance, enhanced security, high availability, scalability and many other improvements. VMM is designed to take full advantage of these foundational benefits through a powerful yet easy-to-use console which streamlines many of the tasks necessary to manage virtualized infrastructure. Even better, administrators can manage their traditional physical servers right alongside their virtual resources through one unified console.
    2. Support for Microsoft Virtual Server and VMware ESX
      With this release, VMM now manages VMware ESX virtualized infrastructure in conjunction with the Virtual Center product. Now administrators running multiple virtualization platforms can rely on one tool to manage virtually everything. With its compatibility with VMware VI3 (through Virtual Center), VMM now supports features such as VMotion and can also provide VMM-specific features like Intelligent Placement to VMware servers.
    3. Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO)
      Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) enables the dynamic management of virtual resources though Management Packs that are PRO enabled. Utilizing the deep monitoring capabilities of System Center Operations Manager 2007, PRO enables administrators to establish remedial actions for VMM to execute if poor performance or pending hardware failures are identified in hardware, operating systems or applications. As an open and extensible platform, PRO encourages partners to design custom management packs that promote compatibility of their products and solutions with PRO’s powerful management capabilities.
    4. Maximize datacenter resources through consolidation
      A typical physical server in the datacenter operates at only 5 to 15 percent CPU capacity. VMM can assess and then consolidate suitable server workloads onto virtual machine host infrastructure thus freeing up physical resources for repurposing or hardware retirement. Through physical server consolidation, continued datacenter growth is less constrained by space, electrical and cooling requirements.
    5. Machine conversions are a snap!
      Converting a physical machine to a virtual one can be a daunting undertaking – slow, problematic and typically requiring you to halt the physical server. But thanks to the enhanced P2V conversion in VMM, P2V conversions will become routine. Similarly, VMM also provides a straightforward wizard that can convert VMware virtual machines to VHDs through an easy and speedy Virtual-to-Virtual (V2V) transfer process.
    6. SCVMMAdmin Quick provisioning of new machines
      In response for new server requests, a truly agile IT Department delivers new servers to its business clients anywhere in the network infrastructure with a very quick turnaround. VMM enables this agility by providing IT administrators with the ability to deploy virtual machines in a fraction of the time it would take to deploy a physical server. Through one console, VMM allows administrators to manage and monitor virtual machines and hosts to ensure they are meeting the needs of the corresponding business groups.
    7. Intelligent Placement minimizes virtual machine guesswork in deployment
      VMM does extensive data analysis of a number of factors before recommending which physical server should host a given virtual workload. This is especially critical when administrators are determining how to place several virtual workloads on the same host machine. With access to historical data -- provided by Operations Manager 2007 – the Intelligent Placement process is able to factor in past performance characteristics to ensure the best possible match between the virtual machine and its host hardware.
    8. Delegated virtual machine management for Development and Test
      Virtual infrastructures are commonly used in Test and Development environments, where there is constant provisioning and tear down of virtual machines for testing purposes. This latest version of VMM features a thoroughly reworked and improved self-service web portal, through which administrators can delegate this provisioning role to authorized users while maintaining precise control over the management of virtual machines.
    9. The library helps keep virtual machine components organized
      To keep a data center’s virtual house in order, VMM provides a centralized library to store various virtual machine “building blocks”-- off-line machines and other virtualization components. With the library’s easy-to-use, structured format, IT administrators can quickly find and reuse specific components thus remaining highly productive and responsive to new server requests and modifications.
    10. Windows PowerShell™ provides rich management and scripting environment
      The entire VMM application is built on the command line and scripting environment, Windows PowerShell. This version of VMM adds additional PowerShell commandlets and “view script” controls which allow administrators to exploit customizing or automating operations at an unprecedented level.

    Other links and references

    http://connect.microsoft.com for the SCVMM 2008 Beta.

    http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowForum.aspx?siteid=17&ForumID=1825&SiteID=17 for the TechNet forum area.

    http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/scvmm/default.mspx for the product website.

    http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/default.mspx for the Microsoft Virtualization website.

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mgmtsummit/default.mspx for the MMS 2008 “Virtual” press room.

  • Microsoft Management Summit 2008 - Day 1

    image The Microsoft Management Summit 2008 is off to a stellar start.  I think this is the biggest MMS I’ve ever seen.  The location (Las Vegas) has a lot to do with it.  There are people from all over the world here.  I did notice one thing that was consistent… excitement and enthusiasm.  That is really refreshing. 

    My day started bright and early Monday as the first Hands On Lab proctor for the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) product labs.  Being the first on the job this morning, I naturally sat down immediately and started cruising through the demos.  I fixed two errors in the instructions, updated all the guides, then sat back and answered customer questions through the lunch break at about 2pm.

    Most of the customer questions were similar.  How do I manage ESX?  How do I manage Hyper-V?  How does SCVMM fit into the rest of the Microsoft management family of products?  Where can I get the next version of SCVMM?  A lot of those questions I can’t answer publicly, yet.  In due time my friends.

    After a lunch break, we had an all hands staff meeting then prepped for the Expo.  At the MMS 2008 Expo, I worked the SCVMM booth and talked to literally thousands of people.  How do I know?  Because I gave away a couple thousand copies of Windows Server 2008.  I personally gave away close to 1000 copies.  Everyone I spoke with was in a really good mood and seemed to be having a great time.  It helps to be Santa Claus.  Food and beer help, too. Ha!

    Tomorrow is one of the big keynote events for the summit with Bob Muglia.  His keynote session and the demos are going to blow away the attendees.  We also have a few surprises up our sleeves so keep your eyes focused on the news coming out of the show.  Lots of action coming.  Stay tuned...

  • Get Ready to Rumble

    Hot Wheels is having it’s 40th anniversary and to commemorate, some of the automobile companies has created some fun scale model vehicles.  Here’s a pic of the Honda Racer.  Wired did a great article on the event at http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/04/honda-goes-a-li.html so check it out with all of the other cool pictures.  Sure would be fun to take this machine out for a spin.  I’m not sure about gas mileage though.

    HondaRacer

    Thanks to Marty for the tip on the article.  Bet this thing whips the crap out of my Civic Coupe.

  • Matt Makes the Homepage of Edge

    edge_FULLCOLOR Matt Hester is one of the subject matter experts on my team in the Search and Sharepoint product mix.  Recently Matt recorded a screencast on installing Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS) 2007 on Windows Server 2008.  Specifically, he talks about how to slipstream the service packs into the install, in order to avoid Program Compatibility Assistant errors. 

    Ready to watch?

    Head on over to http://edge.technet.com/Media/Installing-MOSS-2007-on-Windows-Server-2008/ and check it out!!!

  • I Spy the Windows XP SP3 download

    XP3 download

    I noticed this morning that Windows XP SP3 is now on the TechNet subscriber download area. See my download from Akamai above.  To the best of my knowledge, the bits are being provided to TechNet and MSDN subscribers ahead of just about everyone else this time around.  This is a direct result of your feedback during the Windows Vista SP1 rollout or lack thereof. 

    This is also a direct result of Viral Tarpara and myself raising the red flag, and Christine Betts for helping get this accomplished.  For the moment it's the patch for existing systems.  I'll see if I can find out when the fully integrated Windows XP disks might be posted.  Here's a snip of the download description.  Enjoy.

    image

    [UPDATE]  If you weren’t already familiar, see the TechNet Windows XP SP3 forum for more information.  And of course there’s the TechNet Windows XP TechCenter.

  • HTC is coming to the USA – see the new 30 second spot

    Interesting commercial.  What company does it remind you of?

  • Interview with Harold Wong - Exchange Guru

    While interviewing customers at the Windows Server 2008 launch events, I managed to snag Harold Wong on his way to lunch and ask him about fifty questions.  The video turned out really well which is surprising because Harold didn't act like he really wanted to be on camera.  But Harold was a great sport about it, and as you can see in the video, we had fun doing it.

    If you don't know Harold, he is one of the Exchange Subject Matter Experts (SME) in Microsoft and has solid infrastructure skills.  He's mild mannered but don't rile him up too much, he's a marital arts practitioner.  When Harold isn't heads down in a server product, you'll find him shaking hands with our customers, User Group leads, and MVPs.  Harold is one of two Community Champs on our team, so if you have a group and want to work more closely with Microsoft, be sure to contact Harold via his blog.

    Harold is also an aspiring people manager, so if your Microsoft product group is hiring, here's a great candidate and interview.  He certainly gets a hire recommendation from Matt and I.

  • Who's going to be first to run your laptop with this?

    RaptorEye I can already see it now.  Someone is going to pull the 2.5" Western Digital VelociRaptor™ 300GB 10,000rpm drive from the IcePack™ frame and stuff it in a laptop.  I wonder if it's even possible.

    Or if that doesn't work, I wonder if this baby will go in a standard 3.5" eSATA enclosure.  Again, someone will try.  Heck, who cares.  I'd like this drive to be my OS drive in my Dell XPS 420.  I see a new Windows Vista backup and restore in my future.

    Here's some information directly from Western Digital on this little predator:

    • Killer Speed – Built on the performance bloodlines of WD Raptor, these 10,000 RPM drives, with SATA 3 Gb/s interface and 16 MB cache, deliver mind-bending performance. Not only are they 35% faster than the previous generation of WD Raptor drives, but they also beat out all other competitors in the field.
    • Rock-solid Reliability – Designed and manufactured to mission-critical enterprise-class standards to provide enterprise reliability in high duty cycle environments. With 1.4 million hours MTBF, these drives have the highest available reliability rating on a high-capacity SATA drive.
    • Double the Capacity – State-of-the-art technology packs twice the capacity per disk compared to its older brother WD Raptor, resulting in 300 GB of high-performance storage space in this enterprise-class drive.
    • IcePack™ Mounting Frame – The 2.5-inch WD VelociRaptor is enclosed in a 3.5-inch mounting frame with a built-in heat sink that keeps this powerful little drive extra cool when installed in a 3.5-inch drive bay. Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF™) – Optimizes operation and performance when the drives are used in vibration-prone, multi-drive chassis.
    • SecurePark™ – Parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface resulting in improved long-term reliability and increased drive protection when the chassis is moved.

    See the product info @ http://www.wdvelociraptor.com/.

  • More Windows Server 2008 launch event interviews

    As I'm sure you are aware, Matt Hester and I shook a lot of hands at the Windows Server 2008 launch events we attended in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Las Vegas.  Matt pulled the videos he recorded and here's the new ones from his camera.

    In Dallas Matt interviews a neighbor (also named Matt) that just happens to be a developer and parent of a soccer player on Matt's sons team.  I think he must have paid Matt off.  Ha!  Anyway, here's their quick chat.

    Over in Phoenix, Matt and I managed to grab a few other nice interviews.  In the first interview Matt chatted with Jonathon Jervell about IIS and how he learns new Microsoft technology. 

    In the next interview Matt chatted with 3 members of a fantastic Phoenix User Group:  Arizona's Small and Medium Business User Group (AZSMBUG.ORG)  As you can tell we had a lot of fun during the interview.  I highly recommend the if you are in the area  attend their meetings that occur on the 2nd Thursday at the Spaghetti Factory!  Had a lot of fun with this interview check it out!

     

    In the last interview, Matt chatted with a local partner Myron Johnson of RTA Information Technology in Phoenix  (who is also a member of AZSMBUG.ORG).  They chatted about Cougar, the next version of Small Business Server!

  • Who's your Daddy MacBook Pro? The ThinkPad T61p

    t61p I've been hearing for months and months how great the Apple MacBook Pro is at suspending and resuming from sleep, and how Windows Vista sucks.  Don't believe it.  My Lenovo ThinkPad T61p thumped the MacBook Pro handily in my testing yesterday afternoon.

    Just like my previous testing, I decided to time a series of tests that seem pretty real world to me.  This time around I didn't test Windows XP.  I tested the Apple MacBook Pro and OS X against the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p with Windows Vista x64 SP1.  For this round, I decided to do nothing but sleep/resume testing.  I tested the time it took to sleep by closing the lid with and without applications running.  Resume times were tested by opening the lid with and without applications running.  I also tested sleep/resume times with the lid open.

    Both machines are set to sleep if the lid closes.  No password was needed on resume. The ThinkPad was set so that power button presses put the machine to sleep.

    Who owned who?

    I never expected the results I saw yesterday.  I was a little worried about it because of the great Apple hype machine.  But man, the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p obliterated the MacBook Pro in some of the tests.  I'll get to the actual data points in a moment. 

    Before I did the testing, I asked our internal Lenovo discussion alias for advice on what I should be using in terms of drivers and software before the testing.  I was being pretty cocky about it, but as usual our dedicated Lenovo engineer offered up what turned out to be great advice.  I updated the BIOS on my ThinkPad, and also updated the system interface, wireless, power management, and sata disk drivers.  In short, my 64 bit machine is performing extremely well from a power management perspective.  All of the drivers came from the public download area.  I reset the Windows Vista Power profiles to default settings and set my machine on the Power Saver.

    OS Only

    With no applications running other than the operating system, the ThinkPad T61p took on average 13.5 seconds to fully sleep.  The MacBook Pro took on average 27.6 seconds to full sleep with no apps running.  With no applications running, the ThinkPad T61p took 7.8 seconds to resume.  The MacBook Pro took 3.2 seconds to resume.

    When I added applications to the mix, things changed pretty drastically.  I didn't fire a lot of applications up, but I did make sure to run Outlook 2007 and IE7 on Windows Vista.  On the Mac, I had Safari and Entourage 2008 running.  Both of the email clients were fully synced prior to testing.

    Running Applications

    With the applications running, the ThinkPad T61p took only slightly more time to sleep, but the MacBook Pro took a pretty big time hit.  The T61p took on average 15.5 seconds to sleep.  The MacBook Pro nearly doubled it's time to 47.4 seconds on average to sleep. 

    Here's the strange part.  With the applications running, the T61p resumed from sleep more quickly than if no apps were running.  Don't ask me why.  Strange.  It took on average 3.7 seconds to resume.  The MacBook Pro also improved with applications running and averaged 2.75 seconds.

    Summary

    The results weren't what I expected.  I fully expected the MacBook Pro and OS X to dominate the ThinkPad T61p and Windows Vista.  That didn't turn out to be the case as the Lenovo ThinkPad did very well on all of the suspend timings, and was right there with the MacBook Pro on resumes.  Congrats to the Lenovo and Windows teams.  You rock.

    Like I mentioned in the previous round of file copy tests, the differences weren't drastic.  Even if we are looking at the extremes for putting one of these machines to sleep, there was still only a 30 second difference. The gap on resume times was much smaller and frankly, both machines wake up and display a screen near instantly.  I was also impressed at how quickly the network was available and in use by the email clients.

    You might be wondering if I did any special tweaking of the ThinkPad.  Nope.  The Thinkpad T61p is running the retail version of Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and all of the drivers or system software came from either the Lenovo download area, or the update.microsoft.com servers.  Now granted this is not the OEM image Lenovo ships, but it is basically a stock Windows Vista x64 system.

    The next round of tests I have planned will be more subjective.  I'm going to describe my likes/dislikes of OS X, Windows Vista and SUSE 10.  I plan to look first at the graphical interface in each OS, then probably the apps that ship with the OS.  I'm also thinking about doing a comparison of Apple Final Cut and Sony Vegas on these two machines with my HD video camera.

    To be continued...

  • A Hailstorm the size of Texas

    The picture says it all, but you would not believe the front the blew through Texas this evening.  It rained hail across the state like most people, even in Texas, have never seen before. When was the last time you saw a front stretch from the Red River to the Rio Grande?

    TexasSize

  • I wonder if they'll hook an Xbox 360 to this?

    still_03Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision™ Is Dallas Cowboys’ Choice for New Stadium

    World’s Largest 1080p High-Definition LED Video Displays Will Span 60 Yards

    WARRENDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Dallas Cowboys, whose ingenuity and reputation for excellence are the gold standard in the National Football League, have selected Mitsubishi Electric to provide all of the fully integrated high-definition LED video displays, LED fascia ribbon boards and scoring display systems for their new stadium, which is scheduled to open for the 2009 NFL Football season.

    The one-of-a-kind, four-sided scoreboard will feature the world’s largest LED high-definition (1080p) video displays. The center-hung structure consists of four Diamond Vision™ video displays, with the two main sideline displays measuring 72 feet high by 160 feet wide and two Diamond Vision™ end-zone displays measuring 29 feet high by 51 feet wide. It will be suspended 110 feet directly over the center of the playing surface and stretch from one 20-yard line to the other.

    See the full article and specs at http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/news/sections/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&newsId=20080416005327.

  • Does Tax Day define success? You bet it does!

    April 15th is an interesting day.  For those of you that are small business owners, you know what I mean.  As you start off building a business, the yearly tax deadline spells out all to well how your business did.  Your CPA is going to look at you and ask when you plan to make money.  The IRS is going to ask the same thing.  In the initial year or three, your business likely looks like a hobby.

    Then all of the sudden with any luck, around year three or four, the tax day declares that you’ve made it and are successful.  How do you know?  You have a nice fat tax return indicating you owe money to the government.  Yippee !!!  Oh it gets better.  If you are really successful, you get to pay taxes every three months from here on out.  Hip Hip Hurrah !!!

    I am of course talking about my wife’s business.  She’s the hardest working woman I know.  She’s been building a retail business here in Southlake, Texas and had a wonderful year.  I am very proud of her accomplishments.  She deserves success and if the tax bills rolling in are any indication, it’s coming.  I keep threatening that if she makes enough money, she’ll have to support me full time!!!  She of course already does, but she’ll get the yearly gadget bill, too.  Grin.

    Pretty soon she’ll have the official Master Chief costume at her shoppe.  Matt Hester and I want to take the costume and the new Hummer and drive it across the US and have some fun.  Anyone game?

  • Windows Vista Screencast – Hyper-V Remote Management

    By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the Remote Server Administration Toolkit (RSAT) that released and your ability to run those tools on Windows Vista SP1.  Around the same timeframe, we shipped Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V RC0.  A week after that, we shipped the RC0 tools that allow you to manage a Hyper-V role server from a Windows Vista SP1 admin workstation.

    Here’s a quick 8 minute screencast on the subject to show you where to get the tools and once installed, what it looks like from your Vista desktop.

    Like I mentioned in the screencast, you have a few chores to make this work.  The number of steps really depends on the infrastructure you are working with, the authentication models, etc.  To run the tools, the obvious first prerequisite is Windows Vista updated to SP1.  It can be either a x86 or x64 version of Windows Vista.  The screencast above was recorded on Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1.

    Next, you need to download the packages needed to update Windows Server 2008 to Hyper-V RC0, update your guest VMs, and install the management tools on Vista.  Get the four packages at the following locations:

    Now that you have the bits, install the update to Windows Server 2008 first.  After that, you’ll probably want to update any existing VMs with the updates as well.  That is rather tricky considering the RC0 update will break the integration components and networking adaptors for beta virtual machines.  You have a couple of choices.  You could use a Legacy Network Adaptor and access the update from a share on your network, or you could build an .ISO and mount it.

    As for the permissions needed to run the remote management tools, that is also rather tricky depending on the network you have.  In my case, my test environments are all in separate workgroups.  For my connection to succeed, I need to use an account that is local to the Hyper-V server.  I also need the appropriate WMI firewall ports to be open, DCOM permissions need to be set, etc.  I had planned to document those steps in detail a couple of weeks ago, but got busy with the video stuff.  Thankfully, John Howard has already done this and published it to his blog.  Here are the scenarios you’ll likely need to consider and the steps to fix them up:

    As you can see, there’s work involved updating to RC0 and running the tools.  Don’t let that dissuade you from trying.  Running the Hyper-V admin tools from Windows Vista SP1 rocks.  It’s certainly going to enable all kinds of interesting virtualization scenarios. 

    Other References:

  • Who's the fastest OS in the land? WinXP vs Vista vs OS X

    Last weeks "interesting" Gartner report on Windows reminded me I had some unfinished business.  I've actually been waiting for Windows XP SP3 to release before I ran some tests, but I decided to go ahead and have some fun today while watching the Masters.

    Round One - Cold Boot Timings

    Round one goes to OS X and the Apple MacBook Pro.  Surprised I said that?  Well, it wouldn't be a very credible blog post if I lied, and frankly I wasn't really surprised at the result.  The MacBook Pro is well known to boot, suspend and resume very efficiently and quickly.  I haven't yet tested the suspend/resume timings.  That will come later.  One thing before we get to the details of the cold boot test, the MackBook Pro didn't spank the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p with Windows XP or Windows Vista.

    vista_wallpaperI set each OS to boot and automatically login to an ID.  As soon as the desktop was displayed and the browser icon was visible on an application bar, it was launched.  Each of the browsers were set to hit my blog homepage.  IE7 was the browser used for Windows XP and Vista.  I tested both Firefox and Safari on OS X.  The OS X Safari combo was the fastest combination.  The MacBook Pro averaged right at 60 seconds for this test.  But the ThinkPad T61p with Vista and IE7 was right behind is with an average of 1:10.  Windows XP with IE7 followed that with 1:15.  As you can see, there was no earth shattering difference.  So the bottom line on cold starts is that if you are really worried about 15 seconds each day, you have too much time on your hands.  Hit the power button and get your coffee.  Each of the machines will be ready when you get back.

    Round Two and Three - File Copies

    Round two goes to the ThinkPad T61p.  The second and third round of tests were file copies.  I had heard so many stories that Windows XP totally kicks Windows Vistas butt, that I really wanted to see for myself.  Unfortunately I waited until after I had already installed Vista SP1 so I don't have RTM test results.  The SP1 test was interesting though.  I have seen reports SP1 is actually slower than Vista RTM.

    For the file copy test, I decided again to use something real world.  I copied my documents around.  I was careful to shutdown the machines and drives in order to flush any cache after each copy.  The block of data (my documents) amounts to 7366 files, 1537 folders, clocking in at a whopping 42.7GB.  Not huge, but enough to be annoying for file copies.  The files are a healthy mix of big, medium and small files of all sorts.

    I did some tests on the T61p that isn't possible on the MacBook Pro because the MBP doesn't have the ability to have two internal SATA drives.  Not surprisingly, the T61p internal SATA to SATA file copy with Windows Vista SP1 x64 was the fastest copy. It accomplished the copy in a little over 19 minutes.  As with the cold boot test, it wasn't an earth shattering difference in my opinion from the fastest file copy test to the slowest file copy test.  You might note here that Windows XP Pro x86 took 30 minutes to complete the internal SATA to SATA copy.  11 minutes longer than Windows Vista x64 SP1.  It's pretty clear to me from that test Vista is holding it's own nicely.

    The next round of copies involved an external SATA enclosure using USB 2.0.  Enter from stage left, the MacBook Pro. The MBP won this round, but it didn't best the 19 minute test above.  I don't have a 34mm eSATA ExpressCard to use in my Mac, so I couldn't test using that interface.  The first test I did was to copy the files from the external SATA drive to the internal MacBook Pro hard drive.  I have the 160GB 7200rpm drive in my MBP.  The MBP did that in short order taking only 22 minutes.  From there, I did copies from the internal drives back out to the external SATA drive.  I did that from Windows XP, Windows Vista and OS X.  For the OS X test, I reformatted the drive with the native journaled OS X file system.  OS X took 30 minutes.  Windows XP took 36 minutes.  Windows Vista took 40 minutes.  As you can see, significant differences but hardly time enough to kill a cold beer.

    Hardware Used

    Lenovo ThinkPad T61p with 4GB of memory, NVIDIA Quadro FX 570m, Intel T7500 Core 2 Duo.  The MacBook Pro is nearly identical from a hardware standpoint.  Same CPU, same GPU and the same amount of memory.  The T61p has one thing that the Mac doesn't.  The T61p has a multibay drive bay that allows my to insert a second hard drive and test SATA 150 to SATA 150 file copy performance.  All of the drives used are 7200rpm SATA drives.  The external SATA enclosure is a Vantec 3.5" eSATA enclosure and contains a 500GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA 300 drive.  The USB 2.0 connection was used, not eSATA.  eSATA could only have been tested with Windows because I have a 54mm ExpressCard which is incompatible with the Mac.

    Summary

    I learned something by doing these tests.  The main thing I learned is that the performance of the three operating systems is closer than I thought.  In fact, it's really a waste of time to debate it.  In this busy age, a few minutes here and there aren't worth having the holy war I see waged when the various camps talk about the Mac and OS X, Windows XP and Windows Vista.  Now granted we aren't testing applications here, and the tests above were really simple, but I'm comfortable with the results. 

    It used to be that day that you could point at the price of Apple hardware and software and question the premium they used to charge.  Apple has smartly lowered those prices and removed that argument from the equation.  Apple is also holding the Windows OEMs to a high standard by having a highly tuned platform.  By owning both I can tell you there isn't a big difference in the performance and stability of the two platforms, if you are running hardware that is properly designed for Windows Vista, and the Vista installation is properly installed and configured.

    The next few comparisons I plan to make will compare the ThinkPad to the MacBook Pro from a hardware perspective, then some of the features of the three operating systems.  When we get to the user interfaces and features, we'll crank up the war of words.  Who knows, you might be surprised what I write.

  • Windows Server 2008 isn't going to be my prime OS

    That was fast.  I like it when I achieve a result fast.  In this case, I was testing Windows Server 2008 to see if it could really be my full time primary operating environment.   All the kewl geeks are doing it.  There's just one problem, I hit a show stopper.

    ws2008 When looking at doing this, I decided to move my existing Windows Server 2008 install to a different hard drive.  The Windows Server 2008 Backup/Restore feature set makes this all too easy.  I did a backup to an external disk, then restored from the external disk to the newer, larger drive. 

    If you've never used the Windows Vista Complete PC toolset, you should check it out.  The Backup/Restore process with Windows Server 2008 is very similar.  After the restore completed, I used DISKPART to extend and therefore grow the system partition to fill the drive.

    Then I started installing and testing applications I need to run on Windows Server 2008.  Since this base image already had Office 2007, Camtasia 5, and some other core apps installed and working, I picked a different key application I need.  My first install and test was with Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition v8.0d.

    One thing I dislike about Vegas... it forces you to activate and register the product before you can use it.  So I had to burn an activation.  I hate that, don't you?  Especially when you find out the application won't run.  A wasted activation.

    But the good news is that I hit this show stopper quick.  Since I want that tool in my arsenal, it's back to Windows Vista I go.  This is perfectly fine with me.  I'll use Windows Server for server stuff, as intended.  I'm too busy to install a bunch of other apps to see what else doesn't work.

  • Microsoft RDP Client for OS X - Beta 3 now available

    If you are running OS X on a Mac and want to connect to a Windows server or client machine via a remote desktop connection, you should download and try the latest beta.  I’m still on the previous release, but this caught my eye so I thought I would mention it.  This will of course work for physical or virtual machine connections.

    I used this client for some demos I did with Matt Hester where we were showing what the Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007 experience is like for a Mac user using FireFox or Safari.  I would demo the experience side-by-side all from my MacBook Pro and compare the experience to IE7 on the MOSS server.  Makes for a very interesting demo.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=6671113a-8601-42b9-bcb5-ceec68f81090&DisplayLang=en.

  • Interviews from the Dallas launch event

    Matt Hester and I spent some time earlier this week at the Dallas Windows Server 2008 launch event.  As usual we spent the morning talking to a variety of customers.  Here are a couple of the interviews I recorded.  I’ll add the one’s Matt did as soon as he has them ready for me.

    My first interviewee (victim) was Louis Morton.  We had a good chat about a variety of subjects.  Louis was a great sport.  Louis works for a large global IT service company here in Dallas.  Check it out.

    The second person I interviewed was Caleb Jenkins.  Caleb is a newly minted Microsoft developer MVP and Senior Consultant at Improving Enterprises in Dallas. I see Caleb everywhere I go in Dallas for some reason.  Probably because he’s very active in the developer community. See his blog at http://calebjenkins.com when you have a moment.  Enjoy.

  • Don't let this happen to us

    history76156222.jpg

    I think Hugh sums it up nicely on his blog post at http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004480.html.  Are all of the Web 2.0 things just huge time sucks?  It's funny, the day I create a twitter account is the day Hugh deletes his.  Coincidence?  I guess the real question I am confronted with is, can a tool like Twitter be an effective way to have a conversation with a lot of people or should it be totally informal conversation just between friends?

    My peers think the IT Pros of the world won't use twitter.  If that's true, then I'll have to decide later what to do.  I know more than just "IT Pros" read this blog. 

    But does twitter scale?  For instance, if I start a conversation about whether Microsoft should be designing, building and selling a Microsoft branded laptop, wouldn't it be better to have the comments logged in blog comments or in a forum?  I guess we are going to find out soon enough.  Should be fun.

  • I'm a Twit

    Any of you on Twitter?  It's pretty interesting.  It's like instant messaging for voyeurs.  Be a lurker (follow).  Right now I'm such a newbie, that there isn't a lot of action for me.  I'm not quite sure who to follow so I just added a few of the folks I know. 

    Robert Scoble got pounded today during the Olympic Torch fiasco in San Francisco.  He was complaining he couldn't keep up with all of the messages flying by.  It's no wonder, he follows nearly 20,000 people on twitter.  Imagine if half are commenting at the same time on the same event.  Whosh!!!

    It brought back memories of the MVS JES2/3 HASP and VTAM consoles we had back in the early 80's.  In the early days, you could respond to events occurring in the system, but as the mainframes got faster and additional jobs were added, it became nearly impossible to see all of the messages flying by.

    Anyway, it might be fun to get a bunch of you online.  Here's how:

    1. Go to http://twitter.com/signup and Join.
    2. Go to http://twitter.com/KeithCombs which is my Twitter site and click the Follow button.  Now you'll see all of my brilliant remarks.
    3. Go to http://www.twhirl.org/ and consider installing the Twirl client.  It's makes watching and participating in the active "tweets" a lot more fun.
    4. Checkout TinyTwitter at http://www.tinytwitter.com/m/ for your Windows Mobile phone.

    [UPDATE for 5/2/2008]  I'm probably going to delete my twitter account.  I'm not seeing much value in the software.  If I didn't miss any tweets from my peeps it might be different.

  • Tornados in Texas...again

    image

    If you are in Breckenridge, Texas right now, you aren't having fun.  I hope nobody gets hurt.

  • Blog till you drop?

    Wow.  I just read the NY Times article, “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop” by Matt Richtel.  That’s a pretty scary article, and I assure you, blogging won’t be my undoing.  Family genes most likely will.

    One thing I noticed in the videos Matt and I have shot the past few weeks is that I am not the lean mean motocross machine of my youth.  Of course I’m not.  But that also doesn’t mean I have to be so fluffy either.  The problem is that it wasn’t too long ago that I was lean and mean.

    I’ve actually been having some discussions with my wife lately about health and fitness.  Of course like all things, it’s put up or shut up.  So far I’ve been all lip service and unfortunately the video camera is all too unforgiving.  But that’s a good thing. 

    No, I am not going to do anything drastic but it is time to smell the flowers more (walk), get my hands dirty (yard work), do some cardio (elliptical stepper), and get stronger (universal gym stations followed by free weights).  I know how, I just haven’t done it in the past few years.  Time to get off my ass and actually use my 24 Hour Fitness membership.  It’s bikini season.

    There’s one thing I noticed about the article above that’s troubling.  It seems all of those folks worry 24/7 about getting the scoop.  I guess that is what it’s always been like for newspaper and TV reporters.  The internet has just magnified it, especially with smart advertising.  Notice any advertising on our blogs?  Hail no.  Not even on my personal blog (which I rarely post at).

    Matt Hester and I have had some good conversations the past few weeks about family, our jobs, the pace we keep, travel, and all that stuff.  Great conversations.

    I’m going to cut back slightly on the number of posts you see here.  It’s spring and I need to devote more time to me, stealing my wife from her business and taking her on a vacation (or even a day off), and getting some chores done around here.

    You’ll still see roughly 20 posts per month but you’ll notice a shift slightly.  I’ve been queuing screencasts in my head and I’ll start executing on those now that some of the video dabbling is complete for now.  By the way, before I shift gears back to demo mode, I will be wrapping up version 3 of the blogging guide I maintain.  It’s basically a guide on how a Microsoft employee can create a blog, customize it, do screencasts, streaming video, use Silverlight, etc.  It keeps expanding and I’m going to put the finishing touches on this version, this week.

    I promised I would publish some of that information publicly.  I will follow through with that promise soon.  The internal version is nearly complete.

    So it’s time.  Time to get more sleep.  Time to exercise more.  Time to eat better.  Time to enjoy life more.  And of course, time to spend more time in the eternal quest for the perfect margarita.  Grin.

  • Earth Day is April 22

    In honor of the upcoming Earth Day on April 22, here's a video that illustrates the beauty of our home, and why you should care.  Pay no attention to the Great White having a snack. 

  • Symmetrical 15meg speeds rock

    At lunch time, I called Verizon to bump my FIOS data plan speeds up a notch.  I left my download speed alone (15meg) but had them change the upload speed from 2meg to 15meg.  Yep, I have a 15meg connection each direction now.  I’m on the month-to-month plan for $72 USD.  They have cheaper and faster plans on the East coast, but I’ll take it.

    Here’s a speedtest.net result from some testing this afternoon (the GMT on the pic is wrong).  Yes, they re-provisioned my connection about two hours after I called.  Nice!

    1513 1514

    This is going to really improve my ability to upload screencasts and video from my home to the content delivery networks we are testing.  My wife is really going to like the improvement in speed for web publishing as well.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell her.  Let’s see if she notices.

  • Things that make you go hmmmm…

    That was really weird.  The last post I did (now deleted), corrupted my Internet Explorer cache.  In fact, the blog post did it to two machines I have.  Scary. It was a relatively simple post with a small image, some text, a few hyperlinks, and a Silverlight player.  What was even weirder, is that the normal reset functions in IE7 didn’t fix the issue.  I had to go into the C:\Users\<userid>\AppData\Local\Temp area and delete all the files manually.  That fixed things.

    It’s always scary when you post a blog post, and you can no longer get to your blog.  I’m thinking, “What have I done?”  Wets shorts.  I guess that’s what I get for bragging about my upgraded internet connection.  If you put a hex on me, it worked!!!

    When the going gets tough, the tough use the DEL key.

  • Interviews from the Phoenix and Las Vegas launch events

    Matt Hester and I just got back from Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada where we attended the Windows Server 2008 launch events on both locations.  We took along our video cameras for the ride and captured some customer and partner conversations.  As soon as Matt has the videos from his camera posted, I’ll add the links to this post.

    In the meantime, checkout the conversation I had with Paul Chrisco of Chrisco Consulting.  Paul is the owner of his firm and as you can clearly see in the video, a straight shooter.  Anyone that starts a business from scratch needs confidence, and Paul’s confidence in himself and his business comes across very nicely as well.  The video is just over 10 minutes in length.  Enjoy.

  • To Partner or Not To Partner

    Last summer Mike Calligaro posted an interesting article on the Windows Mobile team blog.  He lays out the Pros and Cons to “go it alone” or not.  Although the article was written months ago, it’s still very relevant for a variety of reasons and I’m not just talking about the mobile cell device scenarios.

    Recently Wired Magazine published an article about Apple. “How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong”, written by Leander Kahney, is an interesting view of Apple and how they build products.  It does a good job of discussing management styles and results.  Obviously Apple is producing, now. 

    winvista So what does it take to compete?  How aggressive should a company be?  Should you be secret about your plans?  Evil or not evil, that is a question.

    As Mike points out in his article on Windows Mobile, there are many variables.  It’s interesting the article was written eight weeks after the Apple iPhone launched.  Do you think the timing was coincidental?  I think you can answer that one for yourself but the iPhone, iPod and MacBook continue to bring up a question…

    Should Microsoft go it alone?

    I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but I often wonder if we should build a laptop.  It would be interesting to have a slim powerful laptop running some flavor of Windows that boots quicker, suspends/resumes quicker, consumes less power, runs cooler, and runs more applications in the box and more reliably than the MacBook Pro OS X combo.  It would of course have to have a backlit Windows logo.

    Could we do it?  Should we do it?

    I’m on the fence.  Part of me would love to see smoking hot (not temp mind you) Windows logo’d laptop that runs circles around the MacBook Pro and demonstrates Windows superiority.  But why bother with all of the R&D that would be needed when we clearly have some killer machines already in the channel, the partner channel?

    I have an Apple MacBook Pro.  I also have the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p.  The have equivalent speed.  The T61p runs Windows and every other OS on the market with OS X being the exception.  The MacBook Pro (MBP) runs every OS on the market only because it’s the only legal way to run OS X.  There are other laptops on the market that are as fast or faster than the MBP.  Both of my machines are very reliable, but I have seen rare hiccups on each.  If I were actually counting, I’d have to say the MBP has probably scared me more times than the T61p.

    So who’s going to knock the iPhone off it’s perch?  Is the iPhone the device to beat?  Should Microsoft make a phone?

    To Partner or not to partner, that is the question.

  • When Upscaling DVD Players Are Good Enough

    Tonight I was surfing the guide on my TiVo S3 an noticed Showtime HD has Casino Royale scheduled.  Considering I had just watched half of the movie last weekend on DVD before heading to Phoenix and Las Vegas, I thought it was pretty interesting timing.  So I setup the recording and watched a different movie.  I also set my Dell to record the movie as well.  Keep in mind I am feeding the Dell and TiVo with FIOS TV.

    A few minutes ago I started watching the Showtime HD version of the movie.  Much to my dismay, Showtime is showing a chopped version.  By chopped I mean it is zoomed and therefore you cannot see the full theatrical frame.  Why do they do this?  I know why they do it.  They want to fill the screen as opposed to having black bars on the top and bottom. 

    I hadn't planned on comparing the DVD to the Showtime HD version, but I was noticing some bad motion on the Showtime version.  Some of the motion stuff I noticed was likely a combination of factors.  The zoomed movie doesn't help such matters.  But I started paying closer attention to the actual picture quality (PQ).

    In short, my Sony standard definition upscaling DVD player was doing a pretty remarkable job.  And the standard def DVD player had one thing the Showtime HD version didn't...  the entire picture.  I can understand taking a widescreen movie and chopping it to fit a 4:3 aspect ratio screen, but there is little excuse to chop a 2.35:1 ratio movie for widescreen playback.  Let's not forget Verizon had nothing to do with the cropping of the movie by Showtime.

    For a more interesting look into the antics of the cable providers (chopping and compression), see the post at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=13393488&postcount=1.  This is a great comparison of Comcast to Verizon FIOS TV. 

    The HD programming content war is going to happen.  Eventually enough consumers are going to become educated on this stuff and start demanding better quality.  It will be interesting to see what standards of measure can be agreed upon.  If they can be agreed upon.

    Until then, buy yourself a good upscaling DVD player for less than $100 and enjoy your current movies because you have no control over what the networks and cable providers do to the content.  No control other than to vote with you dollars by discontinuing service but even that's too extreme for me. 

  • Walt spills the beans on new iPhone release?

    image Walt Mossberg was filmed talking about a lot of interesting subjects a couple of days ago.  He went on a bit of a rant about the lame broadband connections most people have in the US.  In fact, he singled out Verizon.  I thought that was pretty interesting considering he has a Verizon FIOS fiber connection (or so it seems).  I don't really disagree with him.  I think everyone in the US should have a 100meg fiber connection, too.

    While he was talking about the barriers to successful adoption of download and streaming video, he mentioned the speeds of cell phone connections.  He dropped a bit of a bomb during that discussion.  He said the Apple iPhone would be 3G in 60 days.  I'm not sure if he had permission to say that, but it's too late.  It's all over the internet.  See the article and full video at http://www.beet.tv/2008/04/ftc-should-stop.html.

    If that is really true, I hope Apple is smart enough to put 32 or 64GB of memory in the next gen device.  If they do that, it's going to make it real hard for HTC and some of the other device makers to wrestle away mind share from the iPhone.  It would certainly make it a lot more attractive to me.  Assuming of course the price is right...

  • "Making any money on your island?"

    Avatars.  Islands.  Second Life.  Innovation that's the rage.  Or is it?  I thought it was fascinating that IBM made the following commercial.

     

     

     

     

    This is a stark contrast to the IBM Real Business in 3-D Internet section of ibm.com and of course their efforts with Second Life. Here's part of the description from the website:

    "With the Business Center, IBM is bringing together its 2-D website and real IBM sales people within a popular 3-D virtual world. This is a powerful combination. It provides a new way for clients and IBMers to meet, work together, and do business."

    So what do you make of Second Life?  Have you ever used it?  As you can see, IBM is using this virtual world technology to connect their customers to customers as well as the IBM sales and service personnel.

    Is this something Microsoft should be involved in?  While I was at the Windows Server 2008 launch event in Houston, Texas I had lunch with Zain Naboulsi.  Zain is a zany Microsoft Developer Evangelist who brings an awesome amount of energy to everything he does, including Second Life.  While we were talking, I decided to fire up the video camera and get some of his impressions on video.  Here's the interview with him.

    I'm definitely on the fence.  Like many virtual worlds or areas of the grid that offer anonymous personalities, it's really anything goes. And like the islands of the world, there are islands that are safe for business or your family, and there are other islands where let's just say, clothing is optional. 

    So while some people treat the Second Life system as a game, other corporate entities are looking at this as a way to connect with customers.  I worry about this a little because I know your time is already precious so I'm wondering if such an initiative will be sticky enough to live long and prosper.  I guess you'll have to judge for yourself.

    How do I find the TechNet stuff there?  Well, you first need to join Second Life at http://www.secondlife.com.  After that, look for and join the "Micrsoft TechNet on Second Life Group".  Apparently it's part of the Microsoft Island. 

    Chris Avis is now our Microsoft IT Pro Second Life leader for the TechNet team.  If you have questions, contact him at http://blogs.technet.com/chrisavis/contact.aspx.  Chris has been involved in the online world since dial-up BBS systems so I'm sure he'll make the island entertaining.  He knows how to throw a party.  <insert parrot head music here>

     

    This is a stark contrast to the IBM Real Business in 3-D Internet section of ibm.com and of course their efforts with Second Life. Here's part of the description from the website:

    "With the Business Center, IBM is bringing together its 2-D website and real IBM sales people within a popular 3-D virtual world. This is a powerful combination. It provides a new way for clients and IBMers to meet, work together, and do business."

    So what do you make of Second Life?  Have you ever used it?  As you can see, IBM is using this virtual world technology to connect their customers to customers as well as the IBM sales and service personnel.

    Is this something Microsoft should be involved in?  While I was at the Windows Server 2008 launch event in Houston, Texas I had lunch with Zain Naboulsi.  Zain is a zany Microsoft Developer Evangelist who brings an awesome amount of energy to everything he does, including Second Life.  While we were talking, I decided to fire up the video camera and get some of his impressions on video.  Here's the interview with him.

    I'm definitely on the fence.  Like many virtual worlds or areas of the grid that offer anonymous personalities, it's really anything goes. And like the islands of the world, there are islands that are safe for business or your family, and there are other islands where let's just say, clothing is optional. 

    So while some people treat the Second Life system as a game, other corporate entities are looking at this as a way to connect with customers.  I worry about this a little because I know your time is already precious so I'm wondering if such an initiative will be sticky enough to live long and prosper.  I guess you'll have to judge for yourself.

    How do I find the TechNet stuff there?  Well, you first need to join Second Life at http://www.secondlife.com.  After that, look for and join the "Micrsoft TechNet on Second Life Group".  Apparently it's part of the Microsoft Island. 

    Chris Avis is now our Microsoft IT Pro Second Life leader for the TechNet team.  If you have questions, contact him at http://blogs.technet.com/chrisavis/contact.aspx.  Chris has been involved in the online world since dial-up BBS systems so I'm sure he'll make the island entertaining.  He knows how to throw a party.  <insert parrot head music here>

     

    This is a stark contrast to the IBM Real Business in 3-D Internet section of ibm.com and of course their efforts with Second Life. Here's part of the description from the website:

    "With the Business Center, IBM is bringing together its 2-D website and real IBM sales people within a popular 3-D virtual world. This is a powerful combination. It provides a new way for clients and IBMers to meet, work together, and do business."

    So what do you make of Second Life?  Have you ever used it?  As you can see, IBM is using this virtual world technology to connect their customers to customers as well as the IBM sales and service personnel.

    Is this something Microsoft should be involved in?  While I was at the Windows Server 2008 launch event in Houston, Texas I had lunch with Zain Naboulsi.  Zain is a zany Microsoft Developer Evangelist who brings an awesome amount of energy to everything he does, including Second Life.  While we were talking, I decided to fire up the video camera and get some of his impressions on video.  Here's the interview with him.

    I'm definitely on the fence.  Like many virtual worlds or areas of the grid that offer anonymous personalities, it's really anything goes. And like the islands of the world, there are islands that are safe for business or your family, and there are other islands where let's just say, clothing is optional. 

    So while some people treat the Second Life system as a game, other corporate entities are looking at this as a way to connect with customers.  I worry about this a little because I know your time is already precious so I'm wondering if such an initiative will be sticky enough to live long and prosper.  I guess you'll have to judge for yourself.

    How do I find the TechNet stuff there?  Well, you first need to join Second Life at http://www.secondlife.com.  After that, look for and join the "Micrsoft TechNet on Second Life Group".  Apparently it's part of the Microsoft Island. 

    Chris Avis is now our Microsoft IT Pro Second Life leader for the TechNet team.  If you have questions, contact him at http://blogs.technet.com/chrisavis/contact.aspx.  Chris has been involved in the online world since dial-up BBS systems so I'm sure he'll make the island entertaining.  He knows how to throw a party.  <insert parrot head music here>

    [UPDATE for 4/14/2008]  Chris Avis has posted more information on his plans at http://blogs.technet.com/chrisavis/archive/2008/04/14/second-life-and-a-windows-2008-launch.aspx.

  • Interviews from the Houston launch event

    Matt Hester and I trekked down to the Houston, Texas launch event held a couple of weeks ago and interviewed a few of the folks attending the event.  We first setup camp upstairs next to the Partner pavilion area.  It was a good location with lots of traffic but unfortunately it was next to the Developer Track room so these devs kept coming by to bug us.  Get it?  Hee!  Ok, bad joke and I'm totally teasing.  We love devs, too.

    You'll notice I'm posting these videos with no edits.  Just the raw footage.  I considered doing some edits, transitions, etc. but I think the unedited footage makes it more real.  I probably should have chopped the middle from the interview Matt did of me, but I figured it's all good.  Grin.

    Our first victim is Jason.  As you can tell in the video, Jason is a typical developer going where the project work is.  He has some interesting comments about the complexity of using our documentation, application frameworks and developer tools.  This video is a little over 7 minutes in length.

    Our second interviewee is Wynonya.  I though that was a kewl name, especially shortened to No Na.  She's a web developer that wears many hats including the role of SQL designer.  No Na had nothing but praise for our tools.  This video is slightly over 9 minutes in length.

    The third video is a interview Matt Hester did of me.  We moved downstairs next to the IT Pro Track room and as you can see, the lighting was better.  As usual we're horsing around a bit in the video, but you'll get a little insight on how I became a nerd.  Basically, it's my Father and IBM's fault.  This video is 6 minutes and 49 seconds long.  That is the exact same length of the interview I did of Matt.  Scary.

    The fourth interview we did is with a partner named Keith Ford.  Matt does the interview and it's a quick conversation with Keith about how a new consultant gets a new business off the ground.  The video is right at 4 minutes in length. Enjoy.

    http://msinetpub.vo.llnwd.net/d1/keithcombs/interviews/KeithFord.wmv

    The next series of interviews I'll post are from the Phoenix and Las Vegas launch events.  "See you" then.

  • 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008

    We're a little less than halfway through the series we started on Windows Server 2008.  So far, nine of the 24 parts are available for on demand viewing.  Here are the links to the on demand parts that are available, and the sign up links for some of the upcoming sessions.

    On-Demand Webcasts

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 01 of 24): Overview (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 02 of 24): Server Virtualization with Hyper-V Features and Architecture (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 03 of 24): Managing Hyper-V (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 04 of 24): Presentation Virtualization with Terminal Services RemoteApp (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 05 of 24): Terminal Services Gateway and Terminal Services Web Access (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 06 of 24): Deploying and Migrating to Terminal Server (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 07 of 24): IIS 7.0 Overview and Architecture (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 08 of 24): IIS 7.0 Advanced Management (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 09 of 24): IIS 7.0 Centralized Configuration (Level 300)

     

    Live Webcasts

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 10 of 24): IIS 7.0 Diagnostics and Troubleshooting (Level 300)

    Friday, April 4, 2008                    9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 11 of 24): IIS 7.0 Web and Applications Support (Level 300)

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008             9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 12 of 24): Migrating and Upgrading to IIS 7.0 (Level 300)

    Friday, April 11, 2008                     9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 13 of 24): Server and Print Management (Level 300)

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008           9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 14 of 24): Windows PowerShell (Level 300)

    Friday, April 18, 2008 9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 15 of 24): Windows Deployment Services and Microsoft Deployment (Level 300)

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008           9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 16 of 24): Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Features (Level 300)

    Friday, April 25, 2008 9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: 24 Hours of Windows Server 2008 (Part 17 of 24): Migrating to Active Directory Domain Services in Windows Server 2008 (Level 300)

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008           9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M. Pacific Time

  • Windows Active Directory (AD) - Inside Out 11 Part Series

    Like the Group Policy series links I just posted, there are some core concepts with Active Directory that are timeless as well.  We are updating the content to include changes to AD since the release of Windows Server 2008.  Until then, here are some links to the eleven part series we did a while back.

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 01 of 11)—Active Directory Logical Concepts—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 02 of 11)—Active Directory Physical Concepts—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 03 of 11)—Active Directory Replication and the Operations Masters Role—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 04 of 11)—Installing and Managing DNS—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 05 of 11)—DNS Features and Configuration—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 06 of 11)—Interoperability and Migration from Novell Directory Services—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 07 of 11)—Migrating File Resources from NetWare to Active Directory 2003—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 08 of 11)—Deployment and Interoperability with NT 4.0 and Windows 2000—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 09 of 11)—Administration Features—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 10 of 11)—Replication Features and Forest to Forest Trusts—Level 200

    TechNet Webcast: Active Directory Inside Out (Part 11 of 11)—Group Policy Management Console and Software Restriction—Level 200

  • Windows Group Policy Fundamentals - 14 Part Webcast Series

    Windows Group Policy is a topic that is relatively timeless.  For those of you looking for some fundamental information, don't forget the fourteen part series we did a while back.  It's a good starting place.  We are planning an update to the series so hang tight until then.  In the mean time, here are the on demand webcast links for the series.

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 01 of 14): Introduction to Group Policy (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 02 of 14): Applying Group Policy (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 03 of 14): Creating and Editing Group Policy Objects (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 04 of 14): Managing Group Policy with GPMC (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 05 of 14): Managing Group Policy Operations with the GPMC (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 06 of 14): Group Policy Processing Behavior-Initial Processing of GPOs (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 07 of 14): Group Policy Processing Behavior-Using Objects to Affect GP (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 08 of 14): Group Policy Administrative Templates (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 09 of 14): From Basic to Advanced: Security (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 10 of 14): From Basic to Advanced: Security Templates and IPSEC (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 11 of 14): Designing and Planning Group Policy (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 12 of 14): Managing Your Group Policy Environment with GPMC (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 13 of 14): Troubleshooting Group Policy (Level 200)

    TechNet Webcast: Group Policy Fundamentals (Part 14 of 14): Group Policy Best Practices (Level 200)

  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2008 released

    ws2008 Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2008 unifies the tools and processes required for desktop and server deployment into a common deployment console and collection of guidance. The fourth generation deployment accelerator adds integration with recently released Microsoft deployment technologies to create a single path for image creation and automated installation. MDT’s tools and end-to-end guidance reduce deployment time, standardize desktop and server images, limit service disruptions, reduce post-deployment help desk costs, and improve security and ongoing configuration management.

    Microsoft Deployment Toolkit technologies eliminate interaction time required to install desktop and server operating systems. Interaction at the targeted computer may take a few moments using the Lite Touch Installation (LTI) method or it can be completely automated using Zero Touch Installation (ZTI). Zero Touch Installation utilizes Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Systems Management Server 2003 with the Operating System Deployment Feature Pack. Lite Touch Installation can be used when software distribution tools are not in place.

    Microsoft Deployment Tookit 2008 also uses Configuration Manager 2007’s stand-alone media-initiated operating system deployment feature. This release offers project management guidance for all deployment roles and separates technical documentation for the products and technologies to facilitate automation tasks.
    Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 enables deployment of the following Microsoft products:

    • Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate (32 and 64 bit) RTM and SP1
    • Office Professional, Professional Plus, Enterprise, and Ultimate 2007
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Server 2003 R2 (32 and 64 bit)
    • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (32 and 64 bit) or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition


    Choosing the Right Version
    Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 is offered in two versions to support Solution Accelerator component installation on x64 or x86 hosts. Select the version that corresponds with your host hardware type. Both versions of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit support deployment of x86 and x64 Windows operating systems.
    The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Quick Start Guides are available as a separate download on this page for those who want to quickly evaluate MDT by viewing condensed, step-by-step instructions for using it to install Windows operating systems.

    The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 Informational Materials file also is available as a separate download on this page for anyone who wants to learn more about the accelerator before downloading the full package. It includes a Getting Started Guide and Release Notes.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3bd8561f-77ac-4400-a0c1-fe871c461a89&DisplayLang=en.

  • Security Whitepapers now available

    The Microsoft US National Security Team is composed of strategic security advisors who work with Microsoft customers, partners, MS internal constituencies and the information security industry to promote the adoption of security processes and technologies. The NST also focuses on driving vertical security solutions for a wide range of industries. To this end, the NST has produced a number of white papers that address the specific security needs of particular industries, such as the professional services and financial services industries.

    Get the papers @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4cd29b01-eed8-45f5-ab1e-ff1e1aef7b22&DisplayLang=en

  • Windows Server 2008 screencast – Bitlocker

    My good friend Chris Henley has put together a very innovative look at Bitlocker.  It’s unfortunate Chris missed the disco years at the Cat’s Meow in San Marcos, Texas.  He would have really enjoyed it.  However, those years are recorded vinyl history so you’ll have to relive them in the following screencast. 

    Trust me, Chris is a master story teller and you won’t be disappointed.

    How much does a 1997 Trans Am in pristine condition go for these days?  A bunch I guess.  Oh, and if you would like to watch the screencast with Windows Media Player or download it for offline playback, click http://msinetpub.vo.llnwd.net/d1/chrishenley/Bitlocker.wmv.  Be sure to RIGHT CLICK the link and SAVE AS if you want to download it.

  • Finally, the fast HTC Touch Dual is coming to the US

    TouchDualPeople have been asking me what to buy for their next cell phone.  I’ve been telling them to wait for the announcements this week from the CTIA conference being held here in Las Vegas.  Well HTC spilled the beans on one of the handsets I have my eye on.  The HTC Touch Dual is finally landing here and it appears it will be the full high speed version.

    One of the interesting bits of the announcement from HTC is the following:

    HTC Touch Dual Availability and Features
      Best Buy will be the first to offer the HTC Touch Dual, which will be available through select Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile retail outlets, online at BestBuy.com and htc.com.

    image Huh?  Now that’s interesting.  Makes you wonder if the device can be subscribed to multiple networks giving us some freedom, finally.  Details are a little sketchy, but it looks like at&t will be at least one of the networks.  Kewl with me. 

    The real question is can it compete with the buzz around the Sony Xperia.  The Xperia X1 is a slick little device and with a 3” screen, it’s more than capable of delivering a good phone, audio and video experience.  It’s going to be an interesting battle.

    Price will obviously be a big factor and I’m guessing the Xperia isn’t going to be cheap.  On the other hand, it might be nice to have a device that is a great phone and also handles video playback well.  What’s the highest capacity MicroSD card on the market?

  • What Happens in Vegas… gets blogged


    Come find Keith Combs and Matt Hester at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas on 4/3/2008 as we talk with the folks at the Windows Server 2008 launch event.  We’ll have some fun on camera and give you the opportunity to speak your mind.  This is a great opportunity to talk about your pet project, ask questions, or let us know what you dislike about Microsoft.  Come on Las Vegas, let’s see what’s happening in this fascinating city.  Are you up for the challenge?

    The Silverlight player is using the video at http://msinetpub.vo.llnwd.net/d1/matthester/challenge.wmv.

  • Last blog post – I’m headed to Apple

    Remember that Windows Vista SP1 blog post about “I have your back!” ???  Well, apparently nobody had mine so my last day with Microsoft will be April 11, 2008.  I probably won’t post many more blogs posts here.  The empire is obviously nervous about anything I do so I’ll be nice until then.  Until then…

    apple What about after?

    Well, that’s a different story.  I am taking a couple of weeks vacation after that, then I start work for Apple.  Yep, you read that correctly.  My role will be very similar to the one I have now, except I get to evangelize all things Apple.  They want me to focus on OS X integration with AD, cross platform identity management, desktop management, security, etc.  In short, stuff right up my alley.

    What about blogging as Apple?

    I wrote that into my employment agreement.  Yep, Steve had to sign off on it.  I’ll be blogging, screencasting, webcasting, doing live events and stirring up the usual amount of trouble. 

    And the good news is that I won’t have to move to Cupertino.  I’ll obviously be spending a lot of time there especially to begin with, but I don’t have to pick up and move my family, have my wife sell off her business, etc.

    So, it’s been a wonderful 12 years at Microsoft, but it’s time for a change.  Before I’m really gone I hope to have a new email address, blog domain and other contact information worked out.  If not, just keep and eye out for http://blogs.apple.com.  It’s coming.  Finally.

    Ok, APRIL FOOLS SUCKAS !!!  :)

    Do you really think I would switch?  Come on, even I’m not that evil.