Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
I don't recall if I've ever posted a little batch file I use to populate Active Directory (AD) with some test data. Kevin asked me for it earlier this morning so I thought it might be of benefit to the rest of you for your test labs, VMs, etc. Here's the code from the batch file. Be sure to rename the extension to run it as a batch file. Duh. Grin.
Get it @ http://msinetpub.vo.llnwd.net/d1/keithcombs/downloads/Add_Users_and_OUs.txt
Wouldn't you know it? The day I get back from Hawaii a nice new Lenovo ThinkPad X301 arrives at my doorstep. I sure wish it had arrived a couple of weeks earlier but it just wasn't in the cards. Anyway, I've been using it for the past couple of days and I thought I would offer some quick thoughts on the unit I received. I'll offer a more detailed review in a few weeks after I've had a chance to really put it through it's paces.
OMG! After using the T60p and T61p's with their extended 9 cell batteries for the past couple of years, I could not believe how light the X301 feels in your hands. It only weighs 3 pounds. It's so light I threw it in my backpack with all my other stuff for the event I delivered last week in Costa Mesa, California and didn't even notice the extra weight.
Just for grins I took the ThinkPad T61p out of my backpack along with it's "travel" charger. I left everything else in my backpack. I could not believe how much lighter the backpack felt. So I left the hotel room and went downstairs to the event location and handed my backpack to Chris Henley and Harold Wong and asked them to tell me what was different. They took the bait. They said I didn't have a laptop in the bag. Then I pulled the X301 out and shoved it into their hands. Ha!
I've been using the X301 almost the entire weekend as my web surfboard. The X301 brings the lap back to laptops. The reduced weight and heat means you won't need any lap protection like you do with most other laptops. In fact, I wore shorts most of the weekend and had it sitting on my legs. The machine barely gets warm. Certainly not hot. Nice.
Bryan Von Axelson was hanging out with Harold and Chris and was fondling the X301. He asked me what type of hard drive the slim light machine has. I told him I hadn't actually checked before I got on the plane. So he whipped out the phillips head screwdriver and we pulled the drive cover and drive. Sure enough, this little bad boy has the 64GB SSD drive. 64GB seems small to me, but I could deal with it. The SSD drive is nice and fast and doesn't appear to generate a lot of heat. Those are big plusses in my book.
The machine I was shipped is model 2774-18U. This model has the 13.3" WXGA+ (1440x900 native res) LED backlit screen. That screen, like the T400 I tested, is super bright when cranked up to max. 1440x900 is a nice resolution for a 13.3 screen. I must admit however I do prefer my T61p 15.4" screen better, but that's because I enjoy the 1680x1050 resolution.
That's it for now. I'll write a more detailed review of all of the features in a few weeks.
I've been using the Lenovo ThinkPad X301 for almost three weeks now so before too long I'll have to return the eval unit I have. With that in mind I thought now would be a good time to run down all of the pro and cons for the unit I have.
You'll be happy to know there are very few cons. But price cannot be overlooked. The machine I have on the lenovo.com buying site goes for a little over $3000. I don't know about you, but for that price I'm going to shop the market heavily before I drop that kind of change on a machine.
The Machine Specs
I have an evaluation unit with the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor SU9400 with ultra low voltage, dual-core, Intel HD Boost, 800MHz system bus, and 3MB L2 cache. 4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3, non-parity, dual-channel memory in the two 204-pin SO-DIMM sockets. 13.3" (338mm) WXGA+ (1440x900) TFT color, anti-glare, LED backlight, 300 nits, 16:10 aspect ratio, 250:1 contrast ratio screen. Integrated camera on top of screen, 1.3-megapixel, fixed focus. Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD (GMA 4500MHD), in GS45 External monitor support via analog DB-15 connector or DisplayPort; Maximum external resolution: 2048x1536@75Hz. It has the 64GB SSD drive and has the DVD drive in the fixed bay slot. The rest you can see in the ThinkPad specs in tabook.pdf.
When I wrote the first impressions blog post about ten days ago, I had not tested the battery life. I have tested it a few times over the course of the past couple of weeks and at first I thought I was getting terrific battery performance. You see, I made a mistake.
I thought I was using the 3 cell battery. But in fact when I started checking the specs in tabook.pdf, I noticed this model ships with the 6 cell battery. So I flipped the machine over and popped the battery out. Sure enough, the part number matches the 6 cell battery part numbers. I don't know. Is 4 hours of continuous use good for a 6 cell X300 or X301 battery? According to the Lenovo website, I should be seeing 4.3 - 10 hours of battery life. I am barely making 4 hours hours so I don't see how I am supposed to make 10 even with the DVD drive pulled and a battery in it's place. Especially since it's only a 3 cell battery. And just in case you are wondering, I am using the Max Battery Life power management profile with battery stretch turned on. The only real modification to the environment I made was to turn the LED brightness up since I can't read and type at the level that profile uses.
Makes you wonder how much power is used by the screen. There sure seems to be a discrepancy from the Lenovo published results and my actual results. Another battery test I did over the course of a couple of days was the sustained DVD playback torture test. The Lenovo ThinkPad X301 lasted only 2.5 hours in my tests. Not exactly great. Plan on using a airplane adaptor for long flights.
The LED Backlit Screen
The 13.3 LED backlit screen is super bright. In fact, unless it's daylight or you're in a well lit room, it's probably too bright. I always knock the brightness down a level or two via the FN+END hot key combo. Which brings me to a complaint about the T400, W500 and now the X301. The brightness controls are no longer as granular as they are with the T61p and other models. With the T61p, I knock the brightness down 6-8 clicks. On the models I am complaining about, that's 2 clicks. See what I mean? It's more difficult to reach a desired comfort level because the difference in each click is much greater with the backlit LED screen controls.
When you don't run the LED backlit screen at full power and brightness, you will lose some color and contrast. It isn't that bad, but I really noticed it when I used the X301 for 6-8 hours then switched back over to my T61p. The other thing to remember that when running battery stretch mode, Windows Vista Aero Glass is disabled and you are set at a 16 bit color depth. I can live with that on a temp basis but I would not want to run like that all the time. I have not tested to see how big a contribution this makes to power savings.
All in all, I like the 1440x900 LED backlit screen resolution. You'd better like because other than the keyboard, it's one of the things you use most with the machine. On a personal basis I now prefer 15.4 widescreen laptops with a native resolution of 1680x1050. It seems to fit my eyes the best at this point in my life. This is something each of you is going to have to decide on as well. 1440x900 on a 13.3 is a good resolution but it may not be suited to you.
Cooling on the X310 is impressive. I have not been using my Targus heat guard the entire time I've been using this machine. My surmise is that the SSD storage cuts the heat considerably. That and the thermals associated with the CPU and GPU chipsets. If you like to use a laptop on your lap while wearing shorts, you are going to like this machine. Nice and cool.
64GB SSD Storage and Performance
I'm sure one of the reasons this machine stays cool, and cost more is the SSD drive. It's also one of the reasons the machine is virtually silent even when starting or launching apps. It's really weird not to hear the tell tale sounds of a hard drive actuator arm moving and seeking those luscious sectors on the platters we have grown to love and loathe. One of the beauties of a hard drive that is on it's way out is the fact many of them sound like it long before they fail. What does a SSD drive sound like before it fails. Or does it just suddenly have a heart attack? According to my reading, these drives will in theory last longer due to fewer moving parts. Er, make that no moving parts.
Take a close look at the Windows Vista WinSAT test results in the screenshot just above.. As you can see, the SSD drive is fast. It scored a 5.9 on the "disk" test that was performed. A lot of people don't know this, but faster hard drives can have a more dramatic impact to performance than CPU or RAM in many cases. And the cool thing, pun intended, about SSD drives is that they are fast, consume less energy, give off less heat, are quiet, etc.
The Intel SU9400 CPU isn't any slouch either. As you can see above, it scored a 4.6 on the WinSAT test. Not bad. Not as fast as my T61p's T7500, but this is a small ultralight machine. The net effect is a great Windows Vista environment with and overall score of 3.8. You'll notice the Intel integrated graphics chipset holds the score back some, but I haven't observed any significant problems with the speed of the graphics. I'm not playing Crysis either.
This little machine should have no problems running the usual business applications we all know and love. Office 2007 runs very nicely. I have not tried any resource intensive apps like a video editor or something else that is going to work over the CPU. It should handle email, spreadsheets, presentation software, web surfing, etc. in stride.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X301 retains the legendary keyboard feel associated with the ThinkPad heritage. It's a full size keyboard and has nice area from the front edge of the machine to the keys to rest your hands. This is also the location for the built-in speakers and it had me wondering how much dirt is going to accumulate as a result of being in such close proximity to your hands. By the way, the speakers are pretty good. Nice and loud for such a small pair.
Unfortunately Lenovo did not backlight the keyboard. I'm still on the fence for the whole backlighting issue. It sure looks cool but how necessary is it really? It would sure come in handy for long flights on dark planes, or texting in a closet, but where else? Anyway, Lenovo still has their famous keyboard light available via the FN+PgUp key combo.
Case Construction and Ports
The X301 case is plenty sturdy. The backlit LED panel lid doesn't seem as strong as the lid on my T61p. It could be my imagination because according to the Lenovo website it's made of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber design is supposed to be strong and reduce weight. It has more flex than I am used to, but it's probably nothing to worry about. The rest of the case is solid as a rock.
The ThinkPad X301 has no shortage of ports. Along the back are ports for USB, VGA, Display Port, Ethernet and the wireless on/off switch. On the left side there are two USB ports and jacks for a microphone or headset. The left side also has the SSD drive cover and bay. There are no ports on the front or right side.
This machine is an awesome little machine. Fast, light, cool running, great screen, awesome keyboard, etc. If you need a great machine and can afford this, I don't think you'll have any problem sleeping at night over your purchase. I sure wish I could keep it, but I need to ship it back soon.
Earlier this week I received the Sprint HTC Touch Pro. I really didn't start playing with it until Thursday because I just came off a busy couple of weeks. It's always like that following a vacation. So what's this new phone like? Is it a keeper?
I don't know about you, but I've always been a sucker for lots of chrome. I miss the days when you could buy a car with a big chrome bumper. Now days, everything is painted plastic. Well, I guess someone on the Sprint design team likes chrome, too.
The Sprint HTC Touch Pro is a looker. Of the Touch Pro units I've seen directly from HTC, ATT, etc., this unit is my favorite. As you can see in the picture at right, the face and edges around the screen are shiny chrome. The back cover is plastic but it is painted a matte silver to look like aluminum and matches nicely with the rest of the phone. It looks really nice but I wonder how it will look over time with wear and tear.
Probably the next thing you notice about the unit is the high quality screen. It's the first thing you see when you hit the power button. At 2.8" the screen isn't massive. But HTC did make the screen relatively high resolution at 480x640. As a result, the TouchFLO™ 3D add-in, themes, pictures and video all look great. It also makes surfing the web with Opera or Pocket IE nicer as well.
The screen is also a touch screen. It seems to work pretty well with your finger but so far I am not real happy with it's sensitivity to the stylus. I went through the alignment setup program a couple of times already to see if I could get it to work more to my liking. It's ok, not bad but I would prefer that I didn't have to press so hard on some areas.
I have seen some complaints about the keyboard being too flat. It is rather flat so it's very different compared to something like the Palm Treo Pro or Samsung Saga. It doesn't bother me too much because I don't do a lot of texting. For those of you with callused thumbs and thumb 120 chars per second, you'd better check this out pronto when you get the device.
The backlighting for the keyboard is very nice. One of the other things I like about the keyboard is access to most of the special keys I use. Special keys were on short supply on my Palm Treo 750 and Treo Pro.
Let's face it, the Windows Mobile interface that's been around for several years now is not the most exciting in the world. But it's easy to use and sometimes there's a lot to be said for just getting the job done easily. With all of that said I was anxious to try the HTC TouchFLO™ 3D interface to see how I like it.
Like a lot of folks, I wanted to turn the TouchFLO™ 3D add-on off and just use the standard interface that comes with Windows Mobile. It wasn't that I disliked TouchFLO™ 3D, but more because I wanted to see how the unit responded with the regular WinMo OS and interface. After running without TouchFLO™ 3D for a day or so, I turned it back on and have been running with it ever since. I would suggest giving it a chance as well. I didn't see any significant degradation of performance with TouchFLO™ 3D. However, if the memory of the Touch Pro gets constrained by a bunch of running programs, you will see the overall environment slow and that includes TouchFLO™ 3D. So keep an eye on the number of programs you leave running.
A number of people I know also run the wonderful software from Spb Software House. Those folks have all sorts of cool customizations for Windows Mobile like the Spb Mobile Shell. If I keep the Sprint HTC Touch Pro I'll probably try their mobile shell and see if I like it better than the TouchFLO shell.
Data Network Speeds
I figure if you're going to buy a 3G or EVDO phone, you might as well test the connectivity. Unfortunately my home is in a cell phone dead zone. Not really dead, but poor enough reception that I don't get high speed 3G or EVDO service from Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile or Sprint. So every time I go to the store or run some errands, I'm hitting a few of the mobile test sites to see how the Sprint network is doing.
So far I have not been impressed with the speeds from the Sprint network. I haven't traveled with the phone yet so all of my testing has been here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I haven't been anywhere near 1MB download speeds with this phone. For that matter, I have not been above 500KB. That isn't a good sign. I routinely got 700-800KB on my ATT and Verizon phones. This is probably going to be a deal breaker for me. Make sure you test your phone thoroughly in your area and as you travel.
So far the voice call clarity and volume has been very good. I didn't expect anything different. I haven't seen many complaints with the HTC Touch Pro in general so it's good to see that it's working nicely on the Sprint network. Since I don't have or use a Bluetooth earpiece, I will not be testing calls using that technology. I know a lot of you make many calls in this manner so I'd recommend checking that out pretty quickly if you decide to order one.
One of the biggest complaints I've seen leveled at the HTC Touch Pro is that is doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. I would prefer to have one, too. I will be testing the adaptor over the next few days with my Shure ear buds. If I spot any problems I'll come back and update this post.
One of the most important aspects of any phone, especially a "smart phone" is the battery life. The problem with battery life is that everyone has different usage patterns. I may say the battery life is great, but it might suck for you. In fact, I have seen a number of complaints levied at the HTC Touch Pro. This is a bit disconcerting. The first day I had the phone I charged it fully then managed to drain the battery by the end of the day. That drain happened just by fiddling around with all of the settings on the phone. After using the phone for a few days I am suspicious that the screen is a big power consumer. During that first day of fiddling I was using the screen a lot.
Now that I have settled into what is a normal usage pattern for me, I am getting a couple of days of battery life. I don't use Bluetooth and I turned off Exchange ActiveSync Direct Push. I have my phone set to sync every 15 minutes during prime hours and every 30 minutes in off hours. I am not very chatty on a cell phone so the lion share of the time the phone is sitting there waiting for a call or syncing email. It gets used a lot more when I am traveling, but I won't be traveling before I need to make a decision to keep it or not. One thing is for sure, playing movies on this phone is going to kill battery life. Sounds like a fun test.
I am no where near done testing this phone but so far I like it. Can I live with it for a year? Yea, probably. The Sprint corporate rates I get are really perfect for my needs. I like the flat rate pay what you use style plan. I rarely use 400-450 minutes per month so paying for that is silly if I don't have to. That's one of the things I like about Virgin Mobile USA. Rock bottom prices.
There are very few cons with the phone that I can find, except maybe the Sprint EVDO network speed. I'm hopeful the rumors are true and Verizon is in fact going to be launching their HTC Touch Pro, and the Samsung Omnia this week. If so, I'll get a chance to compare price of the Touch Pro, and possibly get my hands on the Omnia before I have to return the Sprint HTC Touch Pro. Let me know if you have any questions.
[UPDATE for 11/29/2008] Returned. In the end I didn't like the build quality of my unit. The unit I had made all sorts of crutching sounds when using the buttons and screen. This is likely due to the connection between the keyboard and the rest of the phone but the bottom section of my phone didn't seem like it was made properly.
I didn't like the circular navigation button. It didn't work very well in my opinion and the lack of other assignable buttons to use for navigation help really hurt the use of the phone.
IIS Media Pack 1.0 provides media-specific extensions that make delivering media from IIS simple, and cost-effective. Building on the security, reliability and manageability of IIS 7.0, IIS Media Pack protects media assets as it increases scalability by supporting more concurrent users per server. IIS supports all media file types, including WMV, FLV, and MP4, and provides a great way to use your existing Web infrastructure to deliver compelling rich media content to clients such as Microsoft Silverlight. With IIS 7.0 and IIS Media Pack 1.0, you can:
Get the 64bit pack @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=93d59f79-9555-473d-a07a-e21020d1fc25&DisplayLang=en.
Get the 32bit pack @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2cf81f25-1692-41f7-b916-db5c7e44e6ea&DisplayLang=en.
My honey always complains I never tell her what I want for Christmas and it's hard to buy stuff for me because I already have everything. Ok, issues solved... grin. Dreams are free.
OneCare subscribers currently enjoy the benefits of always-on virus, spyware and malware protection, centralized backup to keep personal information safe, and management features to keep PC’s optimized and running smoothly. But a majority of consumers around the world do not have up-to-date antivirus, antispyware and antimalware protection.
In hopes of getting more consumers protected, this week, Microsoft announced that it will offer a new security solution to consumers at no cost beginning in the second half of calendar year 2009. This new offering will focus on getting the majority of consumers the essential protection they need by providing comprehensive, real-time anti-malware protection, covering such threats as viruses, spyware, rootkits, trojans, and other emerging threats, in a single, focused solution.
In order for us to focus on delivering this new security solution to millions of customers around the world, we have decided to phase out Windows Live OneCare and will discontinue retail sales of Windows Live OneCare subscription service beginning June 30, 2009.
For more information, see the remainder of the OneCare Team blog entry at http://windowsonecare.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!C29701F38A601141!10418.entry.
For a mere $799, you can be the owner of a brand spanking new X1. Now how many of you are running out the door right now to go get one? Need more information first? Here’s the low down…
The Xperia™ X1 is a global communication device that offers the latest in unlocked cellular smartphone technology. This 3G enabled device lets you access the internet, videos, pictures, GPS and other applications with the tip of your finger. Boasting space for nine panels, you can personalize the X1 interface to suit your needs. Work efficiently while you're on the move with the ability to manage your email, calendar and Microsoft® Office documents. Additionally, the X1 features a 3.0-inch, high resolution, touch screen display, distinctive arc slider design with full QWERTY keyboard and sophisticated metal body. You can even take pictures in portrait or landscape mode with the built-in 3.2 megapixel camera.
With Windows Mobile® OS inside, you can enjoy your favorite entertainment and work efficiently on the move. Connect easily to your office using the familiar Windows interface to manage your email, calendar, and Microsoft Office documents, such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Windows Mobile® also includes Outlook™ Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile, Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, Windows Live™ client, ActiveSync® client and more.
Browse the internet with Internet Explorer Mobile or Opera™ Web browser 9.5. Even view videos from sites like YouTube™, or download videos to your Media Experiences panel.
For a fast internet connection in hotspots, the X1 has Wi-Fi support.
More information at http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/products/mobilephones/overview/x1?cc=us&lc=en. Purchase at the Sonystyle online store or BestBuy.
We’re bringing the PDC to you! For just $99 you’ll get the best of the PDC in your own backyard and hear all of the exciting announcements around the Azure Services Platform and Windows 7. Other sessions include the latest developments in .NET, Silverlight, Surface, Parallel Programming, Live Mesh, and more.
Register today to stay current in an ever-competitive job market, enhance your skills and gain access to the next generation of tools and technology.
The Cost? Just $99.
And, did we mention that attendees will get some cool giveaways?
Locations and Dates.
12/9/08 Houston, TX 12/11/08 Orlando, FL 12/16/08 Atlanta, GA 1/13/09 Chicago, IL 1/13/09 Minneapolis, MN 1/16/09 Washington, DC 1/20/09 New York, NY 1/22/09 Boston, MA 1/22/09 Detroit, MI 1/26/09 Dallas, TX 2/19/09 San Francisco, CA
12/9/08 Houston, TX
12/11/08 Orlando, FL
12/16/08 Atlanta, GA
1/13/09 Chicago, IL
1/13/09 Minneapolis, MN
1/16/09 Washington, DC
1/20/09 New York, NY
1/22/09 Boston, MA
1/22/09 Detroit, MI
1/26/09 Dallas, TX
2/19/09 San Francisco, CA
The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2.0 helps organizations maintain virtual machines that are stored offline in a Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager library. While stored, virtual machines do not receive operating system updates. The tool provides a way to keep offline virtual machines up-to-date so that bringing a virtual machine online does not introduce vulnerabilities into the organization’s IT infrastructure.
The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool combines the Windows Workflow programming model with the Windows PowerShell™ interface to bring groups of virtual machines online just long enough for them to receive updates from either System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Windows Server Update Services. As soon as the virtual machines are up-to-date, the tool returns them to the offline state in the Virtual Machine Manager library.
This Solution Accelerator includes the following components:
Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8408ECF5-7AFE-47EC-A697-EB433027DF73&displaylang=en.
Hawaiian time is interesting. If you’ve ever been to the islands there, you know what I mean. You can barely drive a car over 30 miles per hour. You day starts at sun up, and you feel like you’re running late. It is after all 10 or 11am according to your body clock. The waves and Mai Tai’s sooth your spirit.
I’m getting ready to head to the west coast again tomorrow for a TechDays event. After that I’ll post some footage from the long desired helicopter tour I took. It was totally rad. Expensive but well worth every penny. I’ll also write about the island we visited and some of the activities.
In the meantime, checkout some of the video clips at http://www.bluehawaiian.com/kauai/video/. I was sitting in the front right seat. Shootgun! My honey was the co-pilot in the middle next to the pilot.
There are a number of whitepapers and guides that just went online in the past few days for Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS). Windows® Essential Business Server provides an integrated server and management system for midsize networks. These documents explain how to install Windows Essential Business Server in a production environment. The guides describes the procedures that you follow in the Windows Essential Business Server Installation Wizard.
Preparation and Planning Guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=13e06404-46a9-421d-8147-0e0a4ace9601&DisplayLang=en.
Installation Guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=11c34b73-a9aa-4beb-940d-2ab93b167fdc&DisplayLang=en.
Security and Protection Guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=cf9a2c7b-3e30-4f38-9b58-d3b4fde780e0&DisplayLang=en.
Getting Started Guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=50b567b1-d653-4b25-9d30-6e1c1b822840&DisplayLang=en.
Migrating DNS to EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=09ba5591-5dc8-46c9-a22b-26f5ca090294&DisplayLang=en.
Migrating AD to EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d79d7afd-df62-4353-9abf-7cbc8e49cd3d&DisplayLang=en.
Migrating DHCP to EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e7087924-2d5f-4379-b083-14c7c0aea831&DisplayLang=en.
Migrating SBS 2003 to EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=191b141e-3a1f-4c1b-bd2d-15623751e518&DisplayLang=en.
Migrating Exchange to EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=fb0f9f7e-8769-4585-a85c-509165a3f93e&DisplayLang=en.
Migrating WSUS to EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4a9229be-e9dc-40f8-b90e-035bf7879716&DisplayLang=en.
Monitoring EBS @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=15f67b03-082e-4ce2-8545-424de2feb356&DisplayLang=en.
John Weston is the subject matter expert on our team for the Microsoft unified communications products. He recently setup his camera at a meeting and captured some demos while talking to the audience. If you haven't seen these products in action, be sure to watch both of the following videos. Once you start playing the video, double click it to go full screen.
See http://www.microsoft.com/uc/default.mspx for the product area.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 is now available on the TechNet Plus Subscriber download center. All 3.5GB can be had in a variety of languages. If you aren’t familiar with the product, now’s the time to start trying it our with your Hyper-V, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and ESX servers.
See http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2008/10/21/system-center-virtual-machine-manager-2008-rtm-s.aspx for some information on the high level features of the product. It isn’t a complete list so for the full dump, see http://www.microsoft.com/scvmm. Before you go too crazy installing everything, you might consider the laptop post I did on the subject.
And of course if you aren’t a TechNet Plus Subscriber, now is a good time to consider making the plunge. Use my promo code TMSAM07 for 15% off.
Head on over to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/bb892754.aspx and check out the various subscription options. You can have DVD’s shipped to you or opt for the lower cost option of download only. Don’t forget each subscription includes two support incidents which more than pays for the subscription if you use them. Enjoy.