Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

February, 2009

  • What is the best developer laptop on the planet, and why?

    HP I’ve been discussing various aspects of the developer world with Andrew Kass lately and as you know I am not short on opinion.  So I thought I would ask you a couple of questions.  I know a lot of you are either developers, used to be developers, or know and have to deal with developers.  Grin.

    What is the best laptop for a developer, and why? 

    Sounds like a simple enough question but there are a lot of variables.  And if you were going to buy a machine today, what would it be? 

    What operating system would you run?  What would the toolset look like?

  • R2 Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) – guide now available

    ws2008 r2 blog logo The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical, distributed database that contains mappings between names and other information, such as IP addresses. DNS allows users to locate resources on the network by converting friendly, human- readable names like www.microsoft.com to IP addresses that computers can connect to.

    DNS is a critical infrastructure service that supports the Internet and corporate networks. Users and applications rarely ever attempt to locate other computers directly by IP address; name resolution is performed first instead. Web, e-mail, and instant messaging, applications and technologies like Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) rely on DNS to perform their operations.

    Because DNS does not offer any form of security, it is vulnerable to spoofing, man-in-the-middle and cache poisoning attacks. Attacks of this kind can compromise all future communications to the host. For this reason, it has become critical to develop a means for securing DNS.

    Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a suite of extensions that add security to the DNS protocol. The core DNSSEC extensions are specified in RFCs 4033, 4034, and 4035, with additional RFCs providing supporting information. Specifically, DNSSEC provides origin authority, data integrity, and authenticated denial of existence. In addition to several new concepts and operations for both the DNS server and the DNS client, DNSSEC introduces four new resource records (DNSKEY, RRSIG, NSEC and DS) to DNS. This guide provides an overview of DNSSEC and information about how to deploy DNSSEC on the Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 operating systems.

    Get the guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7a005a14-f740-4689-8c43-9952b5c3d36f&DisplayLang=en.

  • Windows 7 Screencast – BitLocker To Go

    Lets face it, we all make mistakes.  Fortunately there’s a new Windows 7 feature that might just save your bacon if you misplace a USB drive with sensitive information on it.  You’ve probably heard about BitLocker.  It’s the drive encryption technology that’s been around now for a little while.  With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, we took another step and now allow you to encrypt more than just the operating system drive.  BitLocker To Go is an easy to use encryption technology that will allow you to encrypt the contents of a USB stick or drive and prevent prying eyes from looking at your data.  Considering the number of recent horror stories about all sorts of sensitive data getting into the wrong hands, this feature is long overdue.

    BitLocker To Go extends BitLocker data protection to USB storage devices, enabling them to be restricted with a passphrase. In addition to having control over passphrase length and complexity, IT administrators can set a policy that requires users to apply BitLocker protection to removable drives before being able to write to them. BitLocker To Go also allows users to more securely share data with users who have not yet deployed Windows 7.  Windows 7 gives administrators more control over how data in their environment is protected. From policy configured Active Directory Domain Services integration for the escrow of recovery keys to simple and efficient hardware recovery processes, BitLocker provides an integrated management experience for IT professionals.

    BitLocker To Go adds administrators control over how removable storage devices can be utilized within their environment and the strength of protection that they require. Administrators can require data protection for any removable storage device that users want to write data upon; while still allowing unprotected storage devices to be utilized in a read-only mode. Policies are also available to require appropriate passwords, smart card, or domain user credentials to utilize a protected removable storage device.

    Screencast

    Take a look at the following 9 minute screencast to get an idea of how this works.  It’s rather easy to setup and use.  That’s the whole point.  Make it easy for the user to use, and they’ll use it.  Be sure to double click the player for a full screen view, or use the player's full screen button on the bottom far right.  The player tool bar pops up if you hover on the bottom portion of the video.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    For more information:

  • Are you ready to screencast? Want to win me? Stay Tuned…

    t61p

  • You know you want me – compete for me soon…

    xbox360_composite

    Not me, the Xbox 360 silly.

  • The Effects of Audio on Performance

    One of the more interesting aspects of running with the Kingston SSDNow M Series drive I have is the perception of speed.  Actually when using the drive, it isn’t perception but reality.  It’s fast.  But it’s also silent and that adds, or more accurately, takes away a whole dimension.

    I really noticed this the other day.  I was trying to decide what operating systems I wanted to continue to maintain for my Dell D820.  I’ve maintained a Windows XP Media Center 2005 image for it for a long time now.  Time to kill that.  So I decided to whack it and install our new internal build of Windows 7.

    Now keep in mind I’ve already been using Windows 7 on that machine with the SSDNow drive.  But this time around I’m installing on a traditional disk.  When I started the install, I immediately noticed how much nosier the machine was.  Then I started watching the disk light and listened to those awful disk access sounds.  It immediately made me think everything was slower.  Of course it was, but the added noise just intensified the perception. 

    Then I got to thinking.  What perception do I have of my MacBook Pro and the fact it’s nearly silent as well?  That always annoyed me about the Mac.  How dare they make such a quiet machine and show all of the other OEMs it can be done.  Now to be fair, the MacBook Pro I have can get a little noisy when it heats up and kicks the fan into high gear.  You really know when that happens.  Sounds like a jet turbine spinning up.

    The reduction in noise by a SSD drive is impressive.  I can just imagine walking into a data center in the not too distant future filled with racks of SSD drives or memory and the room is near silent as compared to current data center standards. Lights out and silent.  “Sounds” impressive.

    So the upside to having the SSDNow drive is the silence and not having to listen to the search indexer or whatever is happening on the disk as the day goes by.  The down side is not have ten 500GB SSD drives for all of my machines.  Heck, I’d settle for a 160GB drive at the moment but like I always say, dreams are free.  Interesting stuff noise is.

  • Windows 7 Screencast – Problem Steps Recorder (PSR)

    Are you the “Computer Guy” ???  You know, the Saturday Night Live character Nick Burns played by Jimmy Fallon?  Well, one of the reasons computer users bring out the “Nick Burns” in many of us is the disconnect in communications and lingo between computer experts and computer users.

    Thankfully the developers of Windows 7 have included a blood pressure reducing little tool called the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR).  You won’t find a whole lot of information on this nifty little tool yet, but nearly everyone that sees it and uses it agrees, this baby rocks. 

    Psr.exe is available in both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.  Some people may refer to it as WER PSR for the Windows Error Reporting angle.  Unfortunately this application is not capturing video (a common misconception), but hey, it’s still a really nice way to alleviate the communication pain between users and a Tier 1 helpdesk, cut time and cut frustration.

    The Screencast

    Check out the following 4 minute screencast demo on this feature.  Be sure to double click the player to see the large full screen view or use the full screen button on the bottom right portion of the player controls.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight
  • TechNet and MSDN Unleashed Webcast: Windows Vista to Windows 7

    windows7_bloglogo There is an event next Saturday you might consider watching and listening to.  It’s the first of many Springboard Technology Expert Panel (STEP) events to come.  The STEP program is made up of Microsoft employees, MVPs and MCTs. 

    This particular event is being delivered live in our west coast offices, but we will simulcast the event via LiveMeeting.  So you’ll be able to listen to the presenters, see the demos, etc.  Attend remotely via Live Meeting. Here is the registration information and link:

    Date: 2/28/2009 – yes, it’s a Saturday

    Time: 8:00 AM - 1:30 PM PST – the folks on the west coast need to get up early.  The rest of us don’t.

    Register @ https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=135966

    Session Descriptions

    • Is Vista Still Relevant? Windows Vista - The Path to 7 - With Windows 7 on the horizon, is Vista still relevant? This presentation will cover why Vista is the best path to Windows 7 readiness as well as discuss the key underpinnings in the Windows 7 OS and product evolutions with Server 2008 R2, IPv6 and beyond. Focus will be around top 10 things IT Pros should know about Windows Vista and its evolution in Windows 7.
    • Welcome to Windows 7 - This session will be an overview of the GUI and Feature improvements in Windows 7. This will include Task Bar/System Tray Improvements, Aero Features, System Improvements, Control Panels and Features, Desktop Improvements, IE 8, and other under-the-hood information.
    • Windows 7 Deep Dive - Deep Dive will dig into Windows 7 and the new or redesigned under the hood features in the product. The topics covered will be:
      • Microsoft’s understanding of the needs of IT Pros when designing Windows
      • Hardware Readiness
      • Improved Applications
      • Application Compatibility
      • AIK
      • VHD Images and Imaging
      • DISM
      • Dynamic Driver Provisioning
      • Multicast Multiple Stream Transfer
      • Streamlined Installation and File Migration
      • USMT
      • DHCP Hint
      • Enterprise Application Compatibility
      • Windows Troubleshooting Platform

    There will be a whole host of people answering questions real time in the LiveMeeting client so make sure you have that installed and working ahead of time.  You should also plan to listen to the session via the LiveMeeting audio, not your phone.  Sorry, the number of phone ports is limited.  I’m sure this will be recorded for offline playback and viewing anyway.

    One last thing.  I just went through the click to attend registration process and although it’s less than ideal, it gets the job done.  You’ll have to ignore some of the information on the confirmation you receive.  For instance, it lists a conference calling number but no participant code.  I don’t know if that is intentional, but I thought I would mention it since the LiveMeeting organizer, Harold Wong, would prefer you use LiveMeeting audio anyway.

  • Windows 7 Editions Announced

    windows7_bloglogo REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 3, 2009 — Last month Microsoft delivered the beta version of Windows 7 for public testing. Today the company announced its plans for Windows 7 SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) strategy, explaining that Microsoft expects that a majority of customers will be best served by two primary editions of Windows 7: Windows 7 Home Premium for consumers, and Windows 7 Professional for businesses.

    To get some more detail on today’s news, PressPass spoke with Mike Ybarra, general manager for Windows.

    PressPass: What will change in the way you package and market Windows 7?

    Ybarra: We've received great feedback from customers and partners through Windows XP and Windows Vista, and have learned a lot about how to communicate what’s available in different editions of the operating system. At the same time, we have a customer base of over 1 billion along with many partners, so it’s important to make sure the right edition of Windows with the right features set is available for them.

    The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition. As an example, some business customers using Windows Vista Business wanted the Media Center functionality that is in Windows Vista Home Premium but didn’t receive it in Business edition. Customers won’t have to face that trade-off with Windows 7. With Windows 7 there is a more natural progression from one edition to the next.

    The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops. This way, customers can enable the scenarios they want across the broad hardware choices they have.

    The third change lies in how we broadly communicate in the marketplace, to make these choices as simple and clear as possible for customers and partners.

    See the rest of the article at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2009/feb09/02-03Win7SKU-QA.mspx.

    More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/.

  • What’s happening in this picture? Use Netmon to figure it out?

    Ok, here’s an interesting picture from my network this morning.  Can you figure out what’s going on?  Is Windows 7 confused?  By the way, Netmon 3.x is a really powerful network tool.  I was using it yesterday to diagnose a completely different question.

    image

    Get Netmon 3.2 @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=f4db40af-1e08-4a21-a26b-ec2f4dc4190d&DisplayLang=en.  See the Netmon blog @ http://blogs.technet.com/netmon/.

  • Windows 7 Springboard Roundtable Series Today

    springboard Join Mark Russinovich and a panel of subject matter experts for a live discussion of what's in store for IT pros with Windows® 7. Learn about the evolution of features like Group Policy, BitLocker To Go™, DirectAccess, BranchCache™, and AppLocker™ then get tips on troubleshooting, deployment, and application compatibility. Bring your questions—Mark and the panel will answer as many as they can during the hour-long event, then publish the rest in a Q&A after the event.

    Date: Thursday, February 12th
    Time: 11:00am Pacific Time

    ADD TO CALENDAR

    As part of the “virtual” experience, you may submit your questions about Windows 7 Beta to the panel live during the event—or submit questions in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com.

  • Dell XPS 435 breaks cover at dell.com

    image

    No mention of a digital cable tuner option yet, but it certainly has some nice specs.

  • Microsoft Thrive - website portal launches

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    I took the opportunity to listen to the fine folks in our sister business unit discuss the new Thrive website at http://www.microsoft.com/thrive

    I know all too well how important advice around one’s career is, especially right now.  How?  Well I lost a bunch of friends in the first round layoff right here at Microsoft a couple of weeks ago.  My org at that time is now history.  I was moved to a new org, have a new manager, have a new territory, and in some respects a new job.  So trust me, it’s been a little nerve racking the past couple of weeks for me as well.

    I nearly lost my job a few years ago when the project I was working on was abruptly terminated and I was asked to find a new job.  This was a few months after 9/11, and the economy wasn’t doing well.  A few weeks later I was literally four hours from being unemployed.  Kai Axford interviewed me.  Pat Hayes hired me.  If those guys ever call for whatever reason, I’m on a jet.

    Nobody is going to force you to be great.

    Let that sink in a bit.  It’s all too common for good people to accept the status quo or not really elevate themselves above those around them.  Why the hell not?  Why aren’t you raising the bar?

    To produce greatness you typically need help.  A creative workplace.  A good manager that can shield you from the corporate bs and let you focus on important priorities.  Some peers that you trust.  And of course good resources to help you be the sharp point of a spear.

    I’m pretty sure the goal of the Thrive site is to help you become that point.  Or if you’re already there, keep you there.  Today the site has three main areas.  Career Care, Technical Competency, and Business & IT Alignment. 

    I’ve only started looking at the first two sections.  Some of the information is pretty good.  I particularly like the interviewing and resume tips.  I suck at interviews.  I hate being the interviewer.  Ask Matt Hester about his interview with me and Kai Axford.  He almost wet himself on the first comment out of my mouth.

    The Technical Competency area looks pretty familiar to me.  Lots of product oriented knowledge on some hot technologies.  I’m not sure it’s hitting the mark, but that’s one of the reasons I am writing this.  We’ll get to my ask of you in a minute.  I have not had time to explore the Business & IT Alignment area yet, but I will.

    Phase I and II

    What you see is essentially the first phase.  It’s the launch and I’m certain it isn’t all things to all people.  We all know any v1.0 project is like that.  The business unit that developed this has some creative ideas I think you’ll like coming for the next phase, and that’s only a few weeks away.  I was pretty surprised to hear that today.

    I posed the question to them on the LiveMeeting we had today, “How does this site help people find a job, keep their job, or make money today?”  It’s a pretty direct question but I’m a pretty direct guy.  This is my ask of you.  What do you need help with?  What does the site lack?

    Hold their feet to the fire.  We really care what you think so let us know if the site is helpful or not.  If it isn’t, what could we do to improve it?  Feel free to comment here on my blog in plain sight or use my blog’s contact form to send email directly to me.  I will be happy to get your comments in front of the right people.

    I know it’s hard out there and some of you are not really Thriving and are in survival mode.  I totally get that.  That’s why it’s especially important to me to get your thoughts conveyed to the people that produced this.  If I can help, I will.  Best regards, Keith.

    [UPDATE for 2/11/2009]  Matt Hester has posted a video interview with Julie-Anne Arsenault.  Julie-Anne is the PM responsible for the site.  See the interview and background at http://blogs.technet.com/matthewms/archive/2009/02/11/interview-thriving-as-an-it-pro-a-chat-with-julie-anne-arsenault.aspx.

  • amazon kindle 2 pictures surface – I want one

    amazon_kindle_2 pencil thin

    I don’t know about you, but the new pics of the Kindle 2 look stellar.  If the articles on engadget and other blog sites are true, we’ll find out if the pictures are legitimate on 2/24/2009.  The line to buy one forms behind me.  Warm up those credit cards.

    [UPDATE for 2/9/2009]  I ordered one today.  I’ll write about it when I receive it in a few weeks.  Looking forward to it.

  • Mobile World Congress 2009 – New Windows Mobile videos, pics and more

    Today at Mobile World Congress 2009, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer along with key mobile partners, HTC, LG and Orange, unveiled new Windows® phones featuring new user-friendly software and services. The next generation of Windows® phones will be based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and feature a new user interface and a richer browsing experience. In addition, Windows® phones will feature two new services: My Phone, to sync text messages, photos, video, contacts and more to the Web; and Windows® Marketplace for Mobile, a new marketplace that will provide direct-to-phone mobile applications and can be accessed from both the phone and the Web.  See the rest of the press release…

    Videos

     

    Pictures

    honeycomb  iemobile  lockscreen

    For More Information

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mobileworldcongress/default.mspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mobileworldcongress/materials.mspx

  • Updated TCP/IP registry values whitepaper – now available

    This white paper describes the registry values for the TCP/IP protocol stack in Microsoft® Windows Vista™ and Windows Server® 2008. The intended audience for this paper is network engineers and support professionals who are already familiar with TCP/IP (both IP version 4 [IPv4] and IP version 6 [IPv6]).

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=12ac9780-17b5-480c-aef7-5c0bde9060b0&DisplayLang=en.

  • SCVMM 2008 Management Pack released – download now

    SCVMM_logo The VMM 2008 Management Pack monitors virtual machines running on Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server, and VMware ESX Server hosts that VMM is managing, as well as the managed virtual machine hosts, library servers, and other VMM components.

    This management pack is tightly integrated with VMM 2008 to implement the following features:

    • Comprehensive health monitoring of virtual machines
    • Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) in VMM
    • VMM reports
    • Diagram views available from the VMM Administrator Console
    • Note: The Microsoft.SystemCenter.VirtualMachineManager.Pro.2008.Public class in the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 PRO Library management pack has been redefined as an abstract class.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d6d5cddd-4ec8-4e3c-8ab1-102ec99c257f&displaylang=en.

  • Messenger:mac 7 update released for OCS R2

    image Messenger for Mac 7.0.2 is an integrated communications client that enables you to communicate with contacts within and outside your organization. Messenger for Mac 7.0.2 is a Universal application that is built to run on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macs and makes it easy to take advantage of the full power of real-time communications.

    Messenger for Mac 7.0.2 improves overall quality and conversations with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2.
    -------------------------------------------
    Important Messenger for Mac 7.0.2 does not work with Live Communications Server 2005. If your organization uses Live Communications Server 2005, you should use Messenger for Mac Version 6.0.
    -------------------------------------------
    For more information, see the http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/messenger/default.mspx

    Grab the download @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=86ae6ab4-f766-4246-831e-dc5dbdbe4757&DisplayLang=en.

  • New TechNet Subscriptions – discount available

    image

    Monthly friendly reminder for new discounted TechNet Plus Subscriptions. Start a TechNet Plus subscription with my TMSAM07 discount code.  Click the picture above to get started.

    If you aren’t familiar with the different subscription options, see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/bb892756.aspx.

  • DirectAccess Technical Overview – now available

    DirectAccess The Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating systems introduce DirectAccess, a new solution that provides users with the same experience working remotely as they would have when working in the office. With DirectAccess, remote users can access corporate file shares, Web sites, and applications without connecting to a virtual private network (VPN).

    DirectAccess establishes bi-directional connectivity with the user’s enterprise network every time the user’s DirectAccess-enabled portable computer is connected to the Internet, even before the user logs on. With DirectAccess, users never have to think about whether they are connected to the corporate network. DirectAccess also benefits IT by allowing network administrators to manage remote computers outside of the office, even when the computers are not connected to a VPN. DirectAccess enables organizations with regulatory concerns to extend regulatory compliance to roaming computer assets.

    This paper describes the benefits of DirectAccess, how it works, and what you will need to deploy it in your organization.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=64966e88-1377-4d1a-be86-ab77014495f4&DisplayLang=en.

  • Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Security Guide – beta now available

    ws2008 For organizations that seek cost-effective operations, the benefits of virtualization are more evident than ever. Microsoft® Hyper-V technology allows consolidation of workloads that are currently spread across multiple underutilized servers onto a smaller number of servers. This capability provides you with a way to reduce costs through lower hardware, energy, and management overhead while creating a more dynamic IT infrastructure.

    Virtualization technologies are causing enterprise organizations to shift their thinking about IT. The Hyper-V Security Guide can help you elevate the security of virtualized Windows Server® environments to meet your business-critical needs. This accelerator provides IT professionals like you with recommendations to address your key security concerns around server virtualization. The guide provides authoritative guidance that relates to the following strategies for securing virtualized environments:

    • Hardening Hyper-V. The guide provides prescriptive guidance for hardening the Hyper-V server role, including several best practices for installing and configuring Hyper-V with a focus on security. These best practices include measures for reducing the attack surface of Hyper-V as well as recommendations for properly configuring secure virtual networks and storage devices on a Hyper-V host server.
    • WalkHardVirtual machine management and delegation. The ability to safely and securely delegate administrative access to virtual machine resources within an organization is essential. The guide highlights several available methods to administer different aspects of a virtual machine infrastructure and ways to control administrative access to different servers and at different levels.
    • Protecting virtual machines. The guide also provides prescriptive guidance for securing virtual machine resources, including best practices and detailed steps for protecting virtual machines by using a combination of file system permissions, encryption, and auditing.

    Join the beta program.  Then bookmark this link to the program site to get the latest information about upcoming events.

  • Windows 7 Screencast – Resource Monitor (resmon)

    The other day I was complaining to myself (grumbling) about some application on my system using the wireless network nearly constantly.  That sort of thing bugs me.  It’s not like I was visiting one of those horrific myspace sites laden with heaven knows what.  I suspected it might be one of the Silverlight player controls on my blog.

    Since I had recently added the post David Tesar did on edge.technet.com, the spotlight was put on the Silverlight player in that post.  Sure enough, it’s the culprit.  It’s autoloading the data when the page is displayed.  See for yourself at http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2009/01/28/internet-explorer-8-rc1-admin-kit-ieak-now-available-for-download.aspx.  I reported this to the Edge team so hopefully they will change their defaults for their players.  Mine don’t do that.

    But how would you triage and troubleshoot the problem?  My first inclination was to fire up netmon and start sniffing the wireless traffic.  Netmon is a super powerful tool, but it’s probably overkill for spotting the culprit.  What I should have done instead was fire up resmon.exe on Windows 7.

    The new Resource Monitor in Windows 7 adds a lot of capabilities to the tool you see in the Reliability and Performance Monitor of Windows Vista.  I really like those new views and displays so I thought it would be good to bring it to your attention.

    Screencast

    See the following 7 minute screencast on Resmon.  As always, you can see the video full screen by double clicking the Silverlight player, or use the full screen button on the bottom right of the player toolbar.  Enjoy!

    Get Microsoft Silverlight
  • Just in time for Valentines Day – V12 Vantage

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  • TechNet Events for SouthCentral (Texas) Added – register now!!!

    image I have really good news for those of you in my district.  First of all, everyone on the team formerly known as the Microsoft Across America TechNet team is now part of the US Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) group.  My territory is now specifically defined as the Microsoft SouthCentral District (SCD) which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. 

    The other good news is that I am not alone.  John Weston and I will be splitting the load.  The most immediate and visible indication of this is that we were invited to join the DPE Q3FY09 (Q1CY09) events already in progress.

    In discussing this with DPE SouthCentral Audience Manager, Brian Moore, we decided to pick a topic we thought you would be interested in and that my team could deliver right out of the gate.  We picked Windows Server 2008 with the intention it would naturally flow right in some discussion around it’s successor (Windows Server 2008 R2) in Q4FY09.  We’ll also likely do some content on Windows 7 then as well.  Sound good?

    For those of you in the other states, don’t worry much.  We are in a transitional period at the moment and the result of our move to DPE really means a LOT more events for everyone in my district.  I am really pleased about that and I know you will be as well. 

    Please contact me directly if you want me to attend a User Group or MVP meeting you are holding and I will see if I can add it to my schedule of speaking engagements. In the meantime, here’s the description of the session we’ll be delivering this quarter.

    Session Description

    In this session we will look at Windows Server 2008 and the improvements that have been made to Microsoft’s premier server operating system.  Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is the most advanced Windows Server operating system yet, designed to power the next generation of networks, applications, and Web services. With Windows Server 2008 you can develop, deliver, and manage rich user experiences and applications, provide a highly secure network infrastructure, and increase technological efficiency and value within your organization.

    Windows Server 2008 introduces several new capabilities including 64bit virtualization, a robust web and development platform, improvements in networking, security, high availability and disaster recovery.  In addition, there is a new “Core” installation option that reduces the operating system overhead by removing the graphical user interface thus freeing resources and lowering the potential security attack surface.  Come see demonstrations on many of the features in a technical deep dive you won’t want to miss!

    After we discuss Windows Server 2008, we’ll briefly discuss the improvements coming in Windows Server 2008 R2 which is in development and now available for beta testing.

    Event Schedule

    TechNet Events Unleashed starts at 3:00 PM and end by 5:00 PM.  Click the city below to be taken to the registration page.

    Austin, TX – March 10, 2009 3:00 PM

    Irving, TX – March 19, 2009 3:00 PM

    Houston, TX – March 24, 2009 3:00 PM

    I’ll be delivering the events in Austin and Irving.  John will be delivering the session in Houston.  I look forward to seeing you there as we embark on a new journey with DPE.

  • Want to win $5000 creating a game in Silverlight?

    image 

    Go to the http://www.serverquestcontest.com/index.aspx site for more information.  See the official rules at http://www.serverquestcontest.com/rules.aspx.  The clock is ticking.  Get coding.  Good luck!!!

  • Windows Azure Services Training Kit – Feb update now available

    WinAzure_h_rgb

    The Azure Services Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Azure Services Platform. The February release includes the following updates:

    • 19 demo scripts that walkthrough several of the services
    • 10 presentations covering the entire Azure Services Platform
    • 3 additional hands-on labs for Live Services

    This technical content covers services including: Windows Azure, .NET Services, SQL Services, and Live Services.

    Get is @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=413e88f8-5966-4a83-b309-53b7b77edf78&DisplayLang=en.

  • Windows 7 Latest News on UAC Changes

    windows7_bloglogo There are some breaking developments associated with the Windows 7 UAC settings, as well as other security settings in the product.  As you may have heard, there has been a considerable amount of external discussion and comment about the UAC settings that shipped in the Windows 7 Beta.  As you might imagine, there was a considerable amount of internal discussion as well.

    Well, the Windows product group has decided to make some changes.  Here’s an excerpt from the blog post:

    “With this feedback and a lot more we are going to deliver two changes to the Release Candidate that we’ll all see. First, the UAC control panel will run in a high integrity process, which requires elevation. That was already in the works before this discussion and doing this prevents all the mechanics around SendKeys and the like from working. Second, changing the level of the UAC will also prompt for confirmation.”

    “We want to reiterate the security of the system overall. Windows 7 is SD3+C and is designed to be more secure that Vista—that’s our priority. None of us want to have Windows 7 be perceived as being less secure than Vista in any way, because our design point is to make sure it is more secure that Windows Vista, by default.”

    See the full post and a lot more information @ http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/05/uac-feedback-and-follow-up.aspx.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program – now accepting applications

    momentumThere are a number of new products in the pipeline that are going to have a dramatic impact on the desktop environment for the next three to five years.  Surely by now you’ve seen and heard about Windows 7.  Any good desktop is only as strong at the backend servers used for email, database, web, etc.  That means Windows Server 2008 R2 at the core.

    • Interested in learning more about the newest Microsoft technologies?
    • Need help to evaluate different Microsoft products and features?
    • Willing to test and pilot in production Microsoft beta products?
    • Would like to have access to exclusive forums and Microsoft product support?
    • Want to share your early adoption experience with the IT Pro community world-wide?

    If you answered yes to those questions, then I strongly encourage you in learning more about Momentum program by simply sending me an email at my contact page.

    Momentum is a Microsoft sponsored program focused on supporting “early adopters” – IT professionals who bet on the newest technologies to drive business value for their companies and advance in their careers The program offers several benefits.  Through the Momentum Portal, participants will have access to the following benefits free of charge for one year:

    • In-Depth Technical Content
    • Managed Forums
    • TechNet Plus Direct Subscription
    • PSS Support Requests
    • Webcasts & Architectural Reviews with Product Teams (Selected Projects)

    There is one small ask with the program, if you want to participate you will be required to share your experience with the world, via post on my blog, or an interview on the phone.  I know some of you may be very interested.

    When your ready to get involved and tell your story drop an me email at http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/contact.aspx.

    [UPDATE for 2/18/2009]  If you sent me a note requesting consideration but didn’t bother to send me your full name, your email was deleted.  Sorry folks, this is a professional program not a text message from your phone and I will not guess at your name.