Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

August, 2008

  • Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Technical Overview for IT Pros

    ie8b2 Internet Explorer 8 is enterprise ready: Internet Explorer 8 is the business-ready browser with Enterprise-class deployment, management, compatibility and security as a standard. It is designed to be compatible with applications written for Internet Explorer 7 and has a complete range of deployment tools including a deployment guide, Internet Explorer Administration Kit for customization, Slipstream, Systems Center Configuration Manager and Windows Server Update Services. More than 1,300 group policies are included in Internet Explorer 8 that allow IT professionals to customize Internet Explorer 8 to meet the needs of their enterprise.

    Internet Explorer 8 reduces security risks: Internet Explorer 8 reduces the risk of your IT environment being compromised by a wide range of evolving security and privacy threats on the web. Internet Explorer 8 is specifically designed to help users maintain their privacy with features such as InPrivate™ Browsing and InPrivate™ Blocking. The new SmartScreen® Filter provides protection against social engineering attacks by identifying malicious Web sites trying to trick people into giving up personal information or installing malicious software, blocking the download of malicious software and providing enhanced anti-malware support. Internet Explorer 8 helps prevent the browser itself becoming an attack vector: it is built with the Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL) and provides more granular control over the installation of ActiveX® controls with per-site and per-user ActiveX features. The Cross Site Scripting Filter protects against attacks against web sites themselves.

    Internet Explorer 8 provides speed and efficiency for the user: Many of the usability features in Internet Explorer 8 are designed to make the user experience better. Users can customize how the browser is used and work the way they want faster. Internet Explorer 8 also enables businesses, IT professionals and developers have a richer, yet more controlled and managed browser.

    Get the full details @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=bc9c6664-8782-4851-a932-359ce8b5bdb5&DisplayLang=en

  • Internet Explorer 8 Admin Kit (IEAK) - now available for download

    ie8b2 Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) 8 Beta programs and tools make it easy for you to deploy Internet Explorer 8 and manage custom browser software packages. Here is a quick overview of the tools included:

    • IEAK Toolkit. The IEAK Toolkit contains helpful tools, programs, and sample files, such as bitmaps and a sample sign-up.
    • Internet Explorer Customization Wizard. The Internet Explorer Customization Wizard browser guides you through the process of creating custom browser packages. When these packages are installed on your clients' desktops, they'll receive customized versions of Internet Explorer with the settings and options that you selected in the wizard.
    • Windows Installer (MSI). IEAK 8 supports creating an MSI wrapper for your custom Internet Explorer 8 packages to make enterprise deployment via Active directory possible.
    • IEAK Help. The IEAK Help includes many conceptual and procedural topics that you can view by using the Index, Contents, and Search tabs. You can also print topics from the IEAK Help.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=65033653-2721-4232-84e1-bf863631ba47&DisplayLang=en

  • Internet Explorer 8 screencasts – Faster, More Secure, More Reliable

    image

    Matt Hester has done it again.  He has produced some nice screencasts that discuss and demonstrate the improvements being made to the Internet Explorer 8 Beta.  Like many of you, I am particularly interested in the new privacy technologies (InPrivate™) going into the product. 

    Here are the links to Matt Hester’s posts and screencasts on three major areas of interest:

    Faster - http://blogs.technet.com/matthewms/archive/2008/08/27/internet-explorer-8-beta-2-screencast-faster-and-easier-browsing.aspx

    Secure - http://blogs.technet.com/matthewms/archive/2008/08/27/internet-explorer-8-beta-2-screencast-more-secure-and-private-browsing.aspx

    Reliable - http://blogs.technet.com/matthewms/archive/2008/08/27/internet-explorer-8-beta-2-screencast-more-reliable-and-interoperable-browsing.aspx

    If you click the pic above, it will take you to the area for downloading Internet Explorer 8, not match.com.  Sorry.  Grin.

  • Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) screencast – Build a Custom Bootdisk

    Chris Henley just released a new screencast on his “Blue” blog.  This time our master storyteller has created a screencast on Windows PE.  In the screencast Chris shows you how to get up and running in 17 minutes on a topic that’s a bit tricky the first time you do it.  Chris has more information in the subject in his blog post at http://blogs.technet.com/chenley/archive/2008/08/27/custom-win-pe-images.aspx.  There’s a direct link there to the video in case you want to download it and watch it offline.  If you are lazy like me, you can run the Silverlight version just below.

    We need to get him to tell us why he named his blog, Blue.  And we need to get on film me whipping his fanny in pool.

  • Dell Latitude D630 owners get 8GB memory support

    Blair Bigger of Microsoft MCS Federal informed me today that a BIOS update gives Latitude D630 users access to 8GB of memory.  This does of course assume 8GB is installed and you are running a 64bit OS.

    Blair indicated it is the BIOS update dated 8/13/2008.  Looks like it is sitting at http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&releaseid=R194000&SystemID=LATITUDE%20D630&servicetag=&os=WV64&osl=en&deviceid=13457&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=12&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=1&libid=1&fileid=267710 on the Dell support website.

    Go forth and prosper!

  • Have $10,000 to blow on an Apple iPhone ???

    image If you have an extra ten grand laying around, why not blow it on some bling?  The folks at http://www.athem.ch/collections/apple-iphone-3g.php will be happy to help you elevate yourself above the lowly masses with a diamond rimmed Apple iPhone 3G. 

    According to the site, this is 3.75 carats in the worlds most sought after gem and mobile device. 

    Why be everyday snuuty when you can be world class snuuty.  However, there’s no guarantee the diamonds will improve 3G signal reception and prevent dropped calls, nor will they automatically get you to the head of the line at TSA checkpoints.

    Then again, if you have this phone, TSA checkpoints are probably a bad memory in your past.

    I have no idea if the diamonds cut through the the current crop of leather, plastic or rubber cases.  But I would imagine the jeweler will be happy to make you a custom platinum and leather case.

  • Do you have your Quad core laptop on order?

    The next wave of processing power for laptops has begun.  OEM’s have been quietly adding laptops to their online buying configurators.  If you are curious about the specs for the processors, Intel has published the spec for the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300.  As you can see, they are positioning this processor as a gaming and multimedia notebook platform.

    I would hope so.  This processor is faster than the Quad core processor in my Dell XPS 420.  Only slightly, but it’s there.  I can’t help but wonder though how these processors are really going to perform in the field, and how long they’ll last.  Can a laptop efficiently cool the chassis and prevent premature failure?

    Up until this weekend, I didn’t know how much these babies were going to cost.  You can start to get a peek at that now.  For instance, you can go to Lenovo’s public internet site for the US and load up a Lenovo ThinkPad W700 for $5300.  Dell has yet to add the rumored Precision M6400 laptop to their website so it’s hard to get a feel for how the market will really start out since there aren’t that many makers with orderable configurations right now.  Just below is the config from the Lenovo buying site with no EPP or corporate discounts added.  One thing worth mentioning here.  There were no extended warranties offered.  I’m assuming this is a webmaster oversight and error.  You should not buy a machine like this with a 1 year warranty.

    image 

    Developers that want a big screen laptop that compiles code fast are going to really dig this machine.  I would imagine there are several worker profiles that would be interested in a portable/luggable computer with this set of performance characteristics.  I have asked a lot of my DPE brethren why they like the big heavy Dell 17” laptop and answer was consistently the screen.  They would put up with the size and weight to get a portable screen with the real estate they need for Visual Studio.

    In my particular case, I would only be interested in the CPU for video editing and transcoding.  Unfortunately for the portable workstation makers, I’ve already asked my employer to invest in a desktop class video editing workstation and it arrived last Friday.  More on that later. Keeping it a secret for the moment.

    How much power do these machines consume?  Well the accessories area for the W700 provides an interesting clue.  Although the CPU itself is a new 45nm design, the power supply for the ThinkPad W700 is 170 watts.  That doesn’t really surprise me considering the machine has a big screen, multiple hard drives, a Blu-Ray internal burner option, digitizer option, etc.  It also has me wondering about the lap in laptop.  Will it be so toasty that you need a special laptop air conditioner?  I’m supposed to get a ThinkPad W700 evaluation unit for testing so I’ll defer that discussion until we’ve had a chance to see for ourselves.

    Until then, come on Dell.  Spill the beans and publish the Precision M6400 Quad configuration and prices.  Inquiring minds are waiting.

  • Wireless Networks for Hyper-V Virtual Machines

    ws2008 By default Windows Server 2008 does not use wireless connectivity for networking.  This of course means there will be no wireless connectivity for a bunch of virtual machines running under Hyper-V.  You can of course change all of that and it’s really pretty easy.

    The first thing you need to do is enable the wireless capabilities of Windows Server 2008.  This is accomplished by enabling the feature called “Wireless lan service”.  After the service is enabled and running, you can add the drivers for your wireless chipset and get things going.

    Now that you have wireless connectivity working, it’s rather easy to make the wireless network available to Hyper-V virtual machines.  In my case, I always setup three virtual networks.  Guest to Guest, Guest to Parent, and Guest to LAN. 

    Now the assumption here is that you are using a laptop and are in a setting where you do not have ethernet connectivity.  This is typical of doing demos at a hotel setting or some other venue where no wired connection is available.  Or, you might be using a home office connection and the ethernet card is tied up with a crossover cable to another machine.  Or some other weird scenario. See the screenshot below for an example of my typical laptop settings.

    Hyper-V Virtual Networks 

    The simplest way to provide wireless connectivity is to bridge the wireless network with the Guest to Parent virtual network.  Here are the steps and a screenshot of the final result:

    1. Go to Control Panel | Network and Sharing Center
    2. Click Manage network connections under the Tasks in the top left portion of the window.
    3. Click the connectoid for your wireless card, and the Guest to Parent virtual network (or whatever you called it).  You need to select both at the same time so hold down the CTRL key while doing this.
    4. Right click and select “Add to bridge”.  Give it a few seconds to create the bridge.  You should see something similar to the following.  This screenshot is a little misleading because as you can see, my ethernet adaptor is enabled and working.

    bridge

    At this point your virtual machines should have access to the wireless network and any DHCP server present there.  This works really well for a home office setting when you need access to Microsoft Update for patches, or activating a VM.  Quick and dirty stuff.  Keep in mind this is not designed to scale for high capacity operations so don’t plan on using this on a production environment.

    I am also experimenting with using RRAS and a cell phone card to provide wireless access.  When I get that working, I’ll do another post on the nuances for that design.  If someone has already gone down that path and has it documented, send it my way.  I have a couple of different cell phone cards I’d like to try from Verizon and AT&T.

  • Hyper-V Planning and Deployment Guide – now available

    ws2008 Hyper-V provides software infrastructure and basic management tools in Windows Server 2008 that you can use to create and manage a virtualized server computing environment. This virtualized environment can be used to address a variety of business goals aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs. For example, a virtualized server environment can help you:

    • Reduce the costs of operating and maintaining physical servers by increasing your hardware utilization. You can reduce the amount of hardware needed to run your server workloads.
    • Increase development and test efficiency by reducing the amount of time it takes to set up hardware and software and reproduce test environments.
    • Improve server availability without using as many physical computers as you would need in a failover configuration that uses only physical computers.

    Got get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5da4058e-72cc-4b8d-bbb1-5e16a136ef42&DisplayLang=en

  • The Ultimate Steal – WOW !!!

    image

    Now is a really good time to be a student.  See the full terms and eligibility of this promotion for the school listings, validation, etc.  Another piece of information that caught my eye is the program length.  Here’s a snip from the page on that:

    Promotion Duration:
    This offer commences at 12:00PM Pacific Daylight Savings Time on July 1, 2008 and all purchases must be made via the Promotion web site by 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time on December 31, 2010 at which time the offer ends.

    Like I said, WOW !!!  Head on over to http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimatesteal-us/default.aspx and get signed up.

  • Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides – the list gets longer

    File Name: File Size

    Creating_and_Deploying_Active_Directory_Rights_Management_Services_Templates_Step-by-Step_Guide.doc

    158 KB

    Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services in a Multiple Forest Environment Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    314 KB

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

    209 KB

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

    278 KB

    Deploying an Active Directory Rights Management Services Licensing-only Cluster Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    196 KB

    Deploying SSTP Remote Access Step by Step Guide.doc

    639 KB

    Removing Active Directory Rights Management Services Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    156 KB

    Server Manager Scenarios Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    225 KB

    Server_Core_Installation_Option_of_Windows_Server_2008_Step-By-Step_Guide.doc

    421 KB

    Step_by_Step_Guide_to_Customizing_TS_Web_Access_by_Using_Windows_SharePoint_Services.doc

    157 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node File Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2008.doc

    341 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node Print Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2008.doc

    335 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide for File Server Resource Manager in Windows Server 2008.doc

    386 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide for Storage Manager for SANs in Windows Server 2008.doc

    217 KB

    Step-by-Step Guide to Deploying Policies for Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.doc

    1012 KB

    Step-by-Step_Guide_for_Configuring_Network_Load_Balancing_with_Terminal_Services_in_Windows_Server_2008.doc

    159 KB

    Step-by-Step_Guide_for_Windows_Deployment_Services_in_Windows_Server_2008.doc

    309 KB

    TS RemoteApp Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    370 KB

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

    370 KB

    Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Certificate Services Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    247 KB

    Windows Server 2008 Foundation Network Guide.doc

    490 KB

    Windows Server 2008 Network Policy Server (NPS) Operations Guide.doc

    469 KB

    Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guide for DNS in Small Networks.doc

    537 KB

    Windows Server 2008 TS Gateway Server Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc

    667 KB

    Windows Server 2008 TS Licensing Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    323 KB

    Windows_ Server_Active_Directory_Rights_Management_Services_Step-by-Step_Guide.doc

    272 KB

    Windows_Server_2008_TS_Session_Broker_Load_Balancing_Step-By-Step_Guide.doc

    234 KB

    Get them @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=518d870c-fa3e-4f6a-97f5-acaf31de6dce&DisplayLang=en

  • Making way for new stuff ???

    image I’m starting to get quite a collection.  You know what I mean.  Old networking gear, phones, portable media players, etc.  I always wonder if I should sell some of my stuff. 

    But I would rather die that sell something to Charles.  You know the type.  They circle the dead looking for scraps.  The classic buy low, sell high.  I am of course teasing Charles (he’s a friend) but it’s a good strategy.

    Buying at the beginning of a technology shift or curve means paying a premium for the goodie you want.  Take for example the 4GB memory sticks for laptops right now.  You are going to pay an arm, leg and kidney for them right now.  But in a few months the price will normalize as inventories fill.

    Classic supply and demand.

    But is there a demand for a used launch Sony PSP?  How about a Zune 80 Original?  Or maybe a Archos 605 WIFI?  My gut tells me I can sell anything on eBay because one mans trash is another mans treasure.  That’s the problem.  I keep really good care of my stuff and I’d rather keep it and let it gather dust than sell it for pennies. 

    I just sold my Palm Treo 750.  It was in immaculate condition.  One year old.  Never dropped.  Always kept in a soft leather case.  It sold in literally 30 seconds on our internal phone discussion alias.  $150 with extra batteries, charger, original box, never used car charger, etc.  Basically a great deal for someone needing that phone at that moment in time.

    So if I decide to sell some gadgets and old equipment, what’s the best way?  eBay?  Craig’s list?  Should I accept PAYPAL?  I’ve never been much of a seller but I might as well start making some room for new stuff.  A new house to put more stuff in is too expensive.

    Should I just use my wife’s costume selling ecommerce site?  I could certainly create a technology page there and accept credit cards very easily.  Anyone been down this path?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

  • Did your iPhone do this?

    LOL!!!  Sweet

  • The Exchange Team goes on camera

    At TechEd 2008 Harold Wong managed to snag a bunch of the Exchange Team and get some interviews on camera.  Harold does a really good job of interviewing them and as you can see he has now posted some of the videos to the edge.technet.com website.

    To simplify matters a bit, I grabbed the embedded code from each of the videos and have them linked up below.  If you look closely at each player, you can see the length of the video. Harold has some more videos on the way so here’s the first batch.  Enjoy!!

    Brent Alinger talks about testing of Exchange Server 2007 in Hyper-V (among other things).

     

    In this interview, Becky Benfield covers information on CCR and other HA / Business Continuity options.  This includes stretch clusters with Windows Server 2008.

     

    Ken Ewert talks about Sustained Engineering for Office Communications Server (among other things).

     

    Interview with Peter Schmatz (Office Communications Server team).  Peter discusses things like the Best Practice Analyzer for OCS and other integration items.

     

    Sean Smith, Sr. Network Engineer with CorVel, shares a little bit of his experience on deploying Office Communications Server 2007 at his company.

  • Archos releases new set of portable media devices

    Archos is the maker of my favorite portable media player (pmp).  I have the 605 WIFI and it has been a trusty companion.  Well Archos doesn’t rest on it’s laurels and just released information on their new product line of portable media players.  Here’s the marketing blurb on the Archos | 5:

    The Daily Companion

    ARCHOS, award-winning for its constant technology innovation and leadership in portable media players now introduces a new concept: the Internet Media Tablet. The ARCHOS 5 is the flagship of the new range, bringing the customer a new way to enjoy Internet, Media and TV…in a handheld device.
    Uncompromised Web surfing in the palm of your hand
    With its built-in capabilities, your Internet Media Tablet becomes the ultimate way to surf the web. The amazingly sharp and high-resolution screen lets you navigate effortlessly through the web just like you would on a PC.  Browsing becomes almost seamless with the ARM® Cortex™ processor and the Adobe Flash™ 9 video support. Surfing on a handheld device has never been so fast and smooth.  The full email application lets you read, write, download and send attachments, and manage your contacts.
    Your entire digital library in a thin handheld tablet
    The ARCHOS 5 features a very high capacity internal hard drive from 60 GB to 250 GB, in slim and sleek enclosures.  You can thus download a vast number of music and video from the unique selection of renowned movie and music partners assembled in the Media Club. You can play movies in HD or DVD quality for the richest media experience on the go.
    The ultimate TV experience at home or on the go

    Enjoy your ARCHOS content back on your TV, with the DVR Station. Schedule recordings in few clicks any TV program from you cable channels or your setup box, and choose when and where you want to watch them. Play back all your digital content from your ARCHOS 5 to your TV, even in HD quality, at 720p. With the TV Snap-on, Digital free TV is broadcast live on your Internet Media Tablet, wherever you are.

    Have fun discovering you future daily companion.

    See the full specs @ http://www.archos.com/products/imt/archos_5/specs.html?country=global&lang=en.

  • Dell becomes the new portable virtualization champion?

    If you’ve been paying attention to the parade of Intel Centrino 2 (Montevina) announcements, you noticed Dell, Lenovo, HP and others have announced some pretty sweet laptops.  What nerd wouldn’t love to have a Quad core laptop?

    Dell announced some interesting hardware.  Of course the new Dell Latitude E series is getting a lot of the press right now, but the Precision M6400 got my attention.  Supposedly the upcoming M6400 will have four SoDIMM slots allowing for up to 16GB of memory.  Combine that will multiple hard drives and an eSATA port right on the machine and you have a very powerful portable virtualization platform.

    These 17” “laptops” are obviously going to be expensive.  And I really wonder how much they’ll weigh.  I can’t wait to see the true specifications for the Dell Precision M6400.  I bet it’s the size of a Sparcstation 10.  Hopefully it won’t run hot enough to cook a pizza.

  • The Ultimate Steal – returning August 20th

    image

    Looks like a great deal goes back online this week.

  • Wild west or managed desktops?

    vista_wallpaper If you read the post I did a couple of days ago, you probably noticed the user is running a number of applications that have no business purpose on a corporate machine.  I’ve been following the internal thread and it brought a few questions to my mind and I wondered how you are handling similar issues in your company.

    In the case of the post at http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2008/08/14/how-many-applications-are-you-starting-with-windows-here-s-36.aspx, the user has 36 applications that are being started with Windows.  The comments on that post indicate it isn’t particularly unusual.  That seems a little high to me, but I’ll go with the flow for now. 

    But it’s clear this user is running a number of applications that are outside the scope of business.  So do I.  So do you.  But at what point do you put your support foot down? 

    The ban hammer is very apparent in the server world.  Running production workloads means keeping the well oiled machine working at top performance and most people don’t install just any application on a server without some quality testing.  Most people…

    But what about the desktop?

    How do you handle users that call into the helpdesk with an issue, but have a ton of non business applications installed?  Best effort support?  Do you help them for a while but eventually it leads to flattening the machine and dropping the corporate image on it again via glass, WDS, SCCM, or some other mechanism?

    For that matter, how are you preventing the installation of a bunch of software that has no purpose on the machine?  Are you lenient about such matters or do you draw the line?  Where’s the line?

    The user in the case above is reporting a relatively consistent blue screen with his machine when resuming from sleep.  Now keep in mind we have thousands of machines running the exact same Windows Vista image, but I can tell he’s installed all sorts of software, driver updates, etc. 

    Remember the “RENAISSANCE WIRELESS SERVER” from the post below?  Amazingly enough, there are very few search results for that string and one of them describes malware.  However, when I asked the user if he knew what it was, he said yes.  It’s a software service that comes with the Alphasmart NEO.  So it is apparently a legit app.

    So back to the question, does your company have well managed desktops and policies for this sort of thing, or are those desktops the wild wild west?

  • It’s strange outside

    Cool and rainy.  Texas sighs with relief.

    image

    image

  • How many applications are you starting with Windows? Here’s 36

    I was on a thread today regarding some issues a user was having with their laptop.  The msinfo32.exe information was requested and received.  I was looking at the usual stuff then expanded the Startup Programs node of information and saw the list below.  OMG.  Folks, don’t let your people run this many applications at startup.  This is obviously an unmanaged machine.

    HorrorHouse

  • August TechNet events – registration open

    Session 1:  “Why Vista?”

    While those “Mac vs. PC” commercials are entertaining, they don’t tell the whole story – especially when it comes to Windows Vista with Service Pack 1. In this session, we’ll dispel some of the common myths and misperceptions about Windows Vista. We’ve been listening to your feedback since Vista’s initial release and we’ll address the top deployment blockers as reported by you, the customer. You’ll get quality technical information about why installing or upgrading to Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 can increase end-user productivity, improve stability and reliability, give IT staff more control of the desktop, and help secure your networking environment. Learn the truth about Microsoft’s new operating system and prepare to leave this session with a fresh perspective on Windows Vista.  

    Session 2: Managing Windows Vista with Windows PowerShell

    Windows PowerShell provides scripting capabilities to automate system administration activities that can really help IT pros increase their productivity. In this session, we’ll focus on using Windows PowerShell with Windows Vista to manage and automate common client administration activities. We’ll explore the features and capabilities of Windows PowerShell and the Windows Vista operating system functions that can be automated, plus activities that can be automated to troubleshoot Vista client computers. Finally, we’ll touch on the new capabilities you can expect in the next version of PowerShell.

    Session 3: Group Policy Preferences, Templates and Scripting

    As an IT professional, you’ve probably mapped user network drives with logon scripts – which meant you had to write and debug the logon script, store the script in a central location, then run the script by configuring user objects in Active Directory or by creating a Group Policy Object. Sound familiar? Now think about all the other settings you’ve configured using logon scripts or similar methods. With Group Policy Preferences, you can cut costs (and headaches) with a simple, central system to configure, deploy and manage operating system and application settings. In this session, you’ll get the inside track on the Group Policy enhancements in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista. You’ll learn about Group Policy processing, scripting, features, and how to use the template format. Don’t miss this informative session on the latest Group Policy preferences.

    Register now!

    Date

    City

    State

    TechNet Event

    8/19/2008

    Jacksonville

    FL

    TechNet Event

    8/19/2008

    Chicago

    IL

    TechNet Event

    8/21/2008

    Columbia

    SC

    TechNet Event

    8/21/2008

    Webster Grove

    MO

    TechNet Event

    8/26/2008

    New York

    NY

    TechNet Event

    8/26/2008

    Des Moines

    IA

    TechNet Event

    8/28/2008

    Edison

    NJ

    TechNet Event

    8/28/2008

    Kansas City

    MO

    [UPDATE for 07:00 CST on 8/14]  John Baker and I spotted errors on the registration links above and we have notified the appropriate teams to fix them.  Pay careful attention when you click the link to see that it’s pointing at the right city.  I’d hate for people in Chicago to get directions to South Carolina because gas is expensive.  It’s possible the links in the four other posts have some “irregularities” as well.  I have asked that all links get verified.

  • August MSDN events – registration open

    MSDN Event
    Join us for a 4 hour MSDN Event where we will cover 3 separate sessions focusing on Visual Studio, WPF and Vista Security.

    Session 1
    Demystifying WPF
    Today’s applications need to do more than simply work.  They need to draw in the user, and provide a differentiated experience. This means moving beyond battleship gray forms, boxy UIs, and providing a positive user experience.  Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) provides powerful capabilities to develop a compelling user interface, the kind that makes an application stand out.  In this session, we’ll examine the core concepts of WPF such as layout panels, data binding, styles and control templates, and we’ll use them to develop an application UI from the ground up.

    Session 2:  Ten reasons your applications will be more secure when deployed on Vista 

    Reputations are tough to shake – particularly in the software industry. While Microsoft Windows has enjoyed great market share, especially in the desktop OS space, its industry position has made it a target for hackers worldwide. Microsoft leadership recognized the need to develop a security engineering approach that could withstand global Internet scrutiny, and Windows Vista is the first desktop operating system to embody this significant philosophy shift. Vista is built from end to end with security at the very forefront of the project. In this session, you'll learn 10 reasons why your application is more secure when it's deployed on Vista. We'll also cover new capabilities designed to protect memory, minimize privilege and provide resource-oriented access control, plus a plethora of additional security enhancements.


    Session 3:  Developing Applications with Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
    Service Pack 1 and Visual Studio 2008 introduce a wide variety of new features for targeting Windows, Office and the Web. This includes more controls, a streamlined setup, improved startup performance, fresh graphics features, improved AJAX support, and much more. We’re also introducing the ADO.NET Entity Framework and ADO.NET Data Services, which are designed to simplify application data access by providing an extensible, conceptual model for data from any source, while enabling this model to closely reflect business requirements. Don’t miss this lively session and learn how to use these powerful new features in your applications.

    Register Here!

    Date

    City

    State

    MSDN Event

    8/19/2008

    Jacksonville

    FL

    MSDN Event

    8/19/2008

    Chicago

    IL

    MSDN Event

    8/21/2008

    Columbia

    SC

    MSDN Event

    8/21/2008

    St. Louis

    MO

    MSDN Event

    8/26/2008

    New York

    NY

    MSDN Event

    8/26/2008

    Des Moines

    IA

    MSDN Event

    8/28/2008

    Edison

    NJ

    MSDN Event

    8/28/2008

    Kansas City

    MO

  • August Momentum events – registration open

    Microsoft Momentum Event: A Solution Briefing for IT and Business Executives

    This event is designed exclusively for IT executives that want to understand what business value can be derived from the latest technology solutions.  During this event, we will discuss how  to simplify infrastructure management, improve security and enhance productivity throughout your organization. Our experts will also discuss Microsoft’s vision around software + services and how it could affect your industry, as well as, how to optimize your infrastructure.  For attending, you’ll receive a free IO assessment from a local Microsoft partner.

    Who Should Attend?

    ·         IT Executives who wants to learn how IT investments can facilitate business efficiency

    ·         IT Leaders from organizations that have between 25PCs and 200 PCs

    What you’ll learn:

    • How the latest desktop Windows Vista and server management solutions can increase efficiency across users
    • How to Improve security for your business information using Windows Vista BitLocker technology.
    • How to recover lost data quickly
    • How virtualization technologies can help you realize cost benefits throughout your IT infrastructure  
    • How to facilitate collaboration and content management throughout multiple departments and your mobile workforce using the Office 2007 and Sharepoint 2007
    • How the next generation web solutions can become a platform solution for your organization
    • How to enhance business insight using reporting solutions for better and timely business decisions

    This is a great opportunity for you to connect with other IT professionals within your industry. We’ll provide networking time over breakfast for individuals that register in advance. This event is open to other members of your IT team so please pass on registration information to them.

    Seating is limited for this event so please register in advance.

    Register Now!

    Date & Time

    City

    State

    Momentum Core

    8/19/2008 8:00a

    Jacksonville

    FL

    Momentum Core

    11/18/2008 8:00a

    Denver

    CO

    Momentum Core

    8/19/2008 8:00a

    Chicago

    IL

    Momentum Core

    8/21/2008 8:00a

    Columbia

    SC

    Momentum Core

    8/21/2008 8:00a

    Webster Grove

    MO

    Momentum Core

    11/20/2008 8:00a

    Billings

    MT

    Momentum Core

    8/26/2008 8:00a

    New York

    NY

    Momentum Core

    8/26/2008 8:00a

    Des Moines

    IA

    Momentum Core

    8/28/2008 8:00a

    Edison

    NJ

    Momentum Core

    8/28/2008 8:00a

    Kansas City

    MO

  • August TS2 Partner events – registration open

    Partners – Attend a TS2 event!

    Join us at the next TS2 event in your area, where we will focus on exciting Microsoft technologies that will broaden your portfolio of customer offerings and boost your ongoing revenues.

    Our TS2 team will offer sales tips to help you promote the following products:

    • Small Business Server 2008 & Essential Business Server 2008

    • Response Point VoIP Phone System

    • Software + Services

    Date

    City

    State

    Click here to register!

    8/19/2008

    Jacksonville

    FL

    TS2

    8/19/2008

    Chicago

    IL

    TS2

    8/21/2008

    Columbia

    SC

    TS2

    8/21/2008

    St. Louis

    MO

    TS2

    8/26/2008

    New York

    NY

    TS2

    8/26/2008

    Des Moines

    IA

    TS2

    8/28/2008

    Edison

    NJ

    TS2

    8/28/2008

    Kansas City

    MO

    TS2

    Register now! Make sure you www.MicrosoftTS2.com to meet the team, view educational webcasts, and more!
  • August Dynamics events - registration open

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM & ERP Events for Partners – Register now!

    Partners - Looking for new ways to expand your offerings and grow your business? Be sure to attend the Microsoft Dynamics partner event in your city!

    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Event: We’ll discuss how you can empower your customers with unprecedented choices of how to buy, run, and use Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and also how to increase your reach by addressing opportunities in new geographies, market segments, and industries.

    • Microsoft Dynamics ERP Event: Learn how Microsoft Dynamics ERP can adapt to the changing environments of organizations through collaboration and extensive business intelligence, and how it integrates with Microsoft Platform tools. We’ll show you how to position Microsoft’s ERP offerings to better engage with your customers and prospects.

     

    Register NOW for your local event, and even take home some software!

    City

    Dates

    Register Here!

    Time

    Chicago, IL

    19-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Briefing

    9a - 12p CT

    Chicago, IL

    19-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics ERP Briefing

    1:30p - 4:30p CT

    Denver, CO

    21-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Briefing

    9a - 12p MT

    Denver, CO

    21-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics ERP Briefing

    1:30p - 4:30p MT

    Fargo, ND

    21-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Briefing

    9a - 12p CT

    Fargo, ND

    21-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics ERP Briefing

    1:30p - 4:30p CT

    Bellevue, WA

    26-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Briefing

    9a - 12p PT

    Bellevue, WA

    26-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics ERP Briefing

    1:30p - 4:30p PT

    Ft Lauderdale, FL

    26-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Briefing

    9a - 12p ET

    Ft Lauderdale, FL

    26-Aug

    Microsoft Dynamics ERP Briefing

    1:30p - 4:30p ET

  • Porting your phone number can be fun

    Please note there is a healthy dose of sarcasm in the title of this post.  In all actuality, porting a phone number you like is an extremely interesting proposition.  You get to see the inner workings of the wireless telephone providers customer service organizations and back-end systems.  This is not for the faint of heart.

    When the Apple iPhone came out, I considered getting one.  One of the pre-requisites for getting one of those little marvels is to get off the at&t corporate contract if you want to keep your number.  A lot of people I know just got a new number and moved on, but I’ve had my number for over a decade and I kinda like it.  It has a lot of repeating digits and after ten years I can remember them.

    flare Considering a number of phones are hitting the US market between now and Christmas that are on my short list, I figured I’d go ahead and position myself to move wherever I like when the time comes.  It might be back to at&t, or Sprint, or Verizon.  Sorry T-Mobile, until you get your 3G act together I won’t be moving that direction.

    In order to position myself I decided to purchase a cheap Virgin Mobile phone and buy a Minute Pack.  Buying the minute pack right away was a mistake.  You see, when Virgin ports a number from another carrier to the phone, that effectively deactivates the account that was setup for the Virgin Mobile device to start with.  They basically create a new account on the porting process but it won’t have the minutes you paid for.  Moral of that story is to do the port, then purchase a minute pack.

    Now you might be wondering about the capabilities of this new phone.  Don’t bother.  It isn’t a Windows Mobile device.  It’s just a phone and that is all I am using it for.  So no, I can’t delete your email while I am on the road.  Grin.

    The Flare pictured at right is an astonishing simple little phone.  It just works and goes for five days or more on a fully charged battery (stand by).  It isn’t fancy but what do you expect for $30 USD?  As you can see from the minute pack link above, the prices are good.  400 minutes for $30 and the balance rolls if you buy another minute pack by the deadline.  They have all sorts of pay as you go plans and options. 

    The porting process itself was pretty ugly.  I did my homework first and reset my passwords to simplify things and printed off the information that would be needed.  When I told Virgin Mobile to start the process Monday, the at&t connection to my previous Palm Treo 750 went dead within minutes.  My Flare didn’t come alive until today.  That’s three full days without a phone.  I know a lot of people would be going through withdrawal symptoms if that happened to them.  Heck, I’d probably have to take my daughter to the hospital.  “No text messaging for three days?  What am I going to do?”  Go catch a frog.

    Everything is now complete.  I get to go through the porting process again in a few weeks or months.  We’ll see who the lucky winner will be.  Until then we get to wait and see how much the HTC Touch Diamond, Touch Pro, Sony X1, Samsung Omnia and other devices will be.  I’m leaning towards getting the HTC Touch Pro in October but I’d really like to get my hands on the X1 first.  The rumors on the internet indicate the X1 is a HTC device inside so it might be really similar to the Touch Pro.  Who knows.  Time will tell.

  • The Glass House

    What’s that old saying?  People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.  I would imagine by now many of you have heard about the unfortunate problem affecting VMWare virtualization products today.  If not, be sure to see http://kb2.vmware.com/kb/1006716.html at the VMWare Support Site.  The products affected are VMware ESX 3.5.x, VMware ESXi 3.5.x Embedded, and VMware ESXi 3.5.x Installable.

    Here are the symptoms described in that article:

    “A virtual machine fails to power on, fails to leave suspend mode, or fails to migrate with VMotion and the following message is displayed in the vmware.log file for the virtual machine:

    This product has expired. Be sure that your host machine's date and time are set correctly.
    There is a more recent version available at the VMware web site: http://www.vmware.com/info?id=4.
    --------------
    Module License Power on failed.

    Currently running virtual machines will continue to run but will not be able to perform migration with VMotion, suspend or power on virtual machines.”

    This is an unfortunate situation and I hope VMWare resolves it quickly and easily.  Hopefully this isn’t affecting many of you.  May the force be with you.

  • Seen www.live.com lately ???

    image

    [UPDATE for 8/11/2008]  Apparently the kewl pictures are for the USA based web browsers only.  I have no idea why the global dns name for live.com would be implemented in such a manner with the global Oympics taking placing.

  • What do you get with 25 years of Texas heat?

    A big fat bill.  Yep, after 25 years of apparently pretty good service, the old air conditioner gave out.  Now for those of you that don’t live in Texas, let me give you a clue.  Air conditioning in the summer is a top priority.  Pretty much everything else takes a back seat until it is fixed.

    We bought the house used and it was built in 1985.  The attic air portion of the system is the original equipment for the house.  The outside compressor was fixed under warranty six years ago.  Why is it stuff like this always happens after a warranty expires?

    Anyone replaced the entire system on their house lately?  What did a 4 ton heat pump system set you back?  Good bye 9/15/2008 bonus if I was getting one.  Waaaaaa.  Time to cry in my beer.

    Guess I’ll sleep on a raft in the pool tonight, or the studio, or my wife’s shoppe.

  • SQL Server 2008 RTM now available for download

    Attention TechNet subscribers!!!  SQL Server 2008 Workgroup, Web, Developer, Standard and Enterprise are available in various architectures via the TechNet Plus Subscriber download area.  I’m a little surprised we released an x86 version with the mass move to 64bit chipsets, but hey, go figure.

    If you aren’t a subscriber, be sure and use my promotion code of TMSAM07 to get 15% off a new subscription.

    See the subscription information at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/default.aspx.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 RTM's !!!

    imageTransparent Data Encryption - Enable encryption of an entire database, data files, or log files, without the need for application changes. Benefits of this include: Search encrypted data using both range and fuzzy searches, search secure data from unauthorized users, and data encryption without any required changes in existing applications.

    Auditing - Create and manage auditing via DDL, while simplifying compliance by providing more comprehensive data auditing. This enables organizations to answer common questions, such as, "What data was retrieved?”

    Enhanced Database Mirroring - SQL Server 2008 builds on SQL Server 2005 by providing a more reliable platform that has enhanced database mirroring, including automatic page repair, improved performance, and enhanced supportability.

    Automatic Recovery of Data Pages - SQL Server 2008 enables the principal and mirror machines to transparently recover from 823/824 types of data page errors by requesting a fresh copy of the suspect page from the mirroring partner transparently to end users and applications.

    Hot Add CPU - Dynamically scale a database on demand by allowing CPU resources to be added to SQL Server 2008 on supported hardware platforms without forcing any downtime on applications. Note that SQL Server already supports the ability to add memory resources online.

    See all of the other new features and benefits @ http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver.

    See the press release @ http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2008/aug08/08-06SQLServer2008PR.mspx.

  • The New Batmobile?

    1001 horsepower.  $2,200,000 US dollars. Drop dead gorgeous?  If it’s your FY08 bonus it is.

    image

    Configure and order yours @ http://www.bugatti-configurator.com/.

  • Have you seen this evaluation promo? Cool stuff

    I’m sure if I read the fine print it says something about Microsoft employees are ineligible to win.  Drat.  You guys get to have all of the fun.  Speaking of which, there are other prizes up for grabs.  Zunes, Xbox 360 Elites and the HP Home Server are all there for the taking.  See the prizes at https://www.microsoft.com/Infrastructure/Evalu08/prizes.aspx.  See the official rules at https://www.microsoft.com/Infrastructure/Evalu08/Rules.aspx.  Let me know if you win anything.  Good luck!!!

    image

  • Looking for a poor mans Windows Server 2008 backup

    ws2008 I am considering moving to Windows Server 2008 as my full time production environment.  One of the hurdles to doing this has been lifted.  I am referring to the fact that up until recently, Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition didn’t run on Windows Server 2008.  The latest version (version 9) now runs nicely.

    However, I have another unique requirement.  Actually it’s probably not that unique.  I need to be able to take a full image backup and restore it to another hard drive.  With Windows Vista, I have a lot of different options.  Symantec Ghost, Acronis True Image Home, the built in Complete PC feature, etc. are all options for a relatively low price.

    But when you switch to Windows Server 2008, add a decimal point or more to the price of a backup solution.  So needless to say I’m looking for a solution on the cheap.  The lowest cost route appears to be using the built in backup feature.  Unfortunately that feature brought some Windows Vista baggage along that I really don’t like.  Specifically, the restore drive must be equal to, or greater than the size of the source backup drive.  In other words, if I am backing up a 320GB drive, I cannot restore to a 200GB drive.  Big bummer.

    I am also considering building a WinPE 2.1 solution to imagex a capture, and use the captured .WIM to apply it to a different hard drive.  This would probably be the lowest cost alternative of the bunch if it works.  Then of course there’s DPM.  Checking to see if Home Server will do what I want.

    Anyone doing something similar today?  Have a backup/recover solution you like for cheap?  I’m looking for something that works on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 for less than $100 if possible.  Let me know.

    The only reason I’m even going down this path is to use Hyper-V and Windows Server 2008 on a full time basis.

  • 0-60 Teal Green in less than 5 seconds

    Evora