Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

April, 2009

  • Here’s my desktop theme for Windows 7 RC

    mydesktop

    Keep your desktop clean or else…

  • There’s a meter on your ISP connection

    What if your cable, DSL, or fiber optic internet provider decided to create some data tiers and set some arbitrary caps?  Well, be sure and check out the latest news on the subject.

    How would this affect you?  I know in my case, there could be a dramatic change in my lifestyle, but I haven’t assessed the overall impact.  For instance, if it got so cost prohibitive to run a home office environment, would I start commuting to a central office location again?  What are the upsides?  What are the downsides?

    I’m pretty sure even with the added cost of internet access, it’s still going to be more cost effective, and better for the planet for me to use a home office setting for the work I do.  I used to be the typical commuter when I first moved to the Dallas area.  I’d put 18,000 – 20,000 miles per year on a vehicle.  In March of 2007 I sold my Infiniti G35 Coupe and purchased a Honda CIVIC Coupe.  My Civic just turned over 11,000 miles.  Run those numbers in your head or on paper. 

    In my case, it’s going to take a huge shift in cost to force me to start commuting again.  I’d rather commute for other reasons.  For instance, doing daily presentations in the Las Colinas MTC.  That would be a good reason. 

    But to get this back on track for the original topic, how much data do you use per month?  What if you were capped at 100GB?  How would this affect streaming video, or gaming, or downloading big virtual machines?

    I think the trials some of the cable companies are trying are going to upset a lot of customers.  How is it going to look if those companies jack up the rates, then announce record profits a few quarters later?  It’s going to look just like the petroleum companies and their earnings when we hit $4.00 per gallon.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7 – product site goes live

    There has been a lot of interest in the next version of Virtual PC, now known as Windows Virtual PC.  The product site just went live at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/default.aspx.  The download is supposed to be on the technet.microsoft.com subscriber download area but I can’t get there at the moment for verification.

    There are some other documents you’ll be interested in the meantime as well. 

  • Wired is still in – My next mouse

    My peers always look at me funny when I whip out my wired mouse from my backpack.  Then again I always laugh when they try to get Bluetooth working with Windows Server.  Well, they won’t be looking at me funny in a few weeks when I whip one of these bad boyz out!

    Introducing the Sidewinder X3.

    X3Front

    And for the record, my favorite mouse of all time is still the Wireless Laser Mouse 8000.

  • IIS Smooth HD Streaming Tech Overview – now available for download

    silverlight logo Smooth Streaming dynamically detects local bandwidth and CPU conditions and seamlessly switches, in near real time, the video quality of a media file that a player receives. Consumers with high-bandwidth connections can experience high definition (HD) quality streaming while others with lower bandwidth speeds receive the appropriate stream for their connectivity, allowing consumers across the board to enjoy a compelling, uninterrupted streaming experience and alleviating the need for media companies to cater to the lowest common denominator quality level within their audience base.

    This enables companies to boost brand awareness and advertising revenues by extending average viewing times through higher quality true HD (resolution greater than 720p) experiences. They can also benefit from unprecedented network scalability using distributed HTTP-based Web servers and offer better quality to more customers.

    Get the rest of the info @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=03d22583-3ed6-44da-8464-b1b4b5ca7520.

  • It was only a matter of time… the Apple platform becomes a target

    apple Unfortunately it appears all of those Macs that have been procured are going to need to pay more attention to security matters, really soon.  The days of not having to worry about a virus, worm or any other security matter are coming to a close.  Heck, that door needs to be officially shut now.

    I think we’ve all known this for a long time.  As any platform gets popular, it’s going to become an attractive target for criminals.  That’s just the law of physics.  So it didn’t surprise me to see the article, “iBotnet: Researchers find signs of zombie Macs” written by Ryan Naraine published today.  Was it really a question of IF?  No, probably not.  It was really a question of when.

    Now granted, the origins of the problem stem from the use of pirated copies of some Apple programs.  I don’t even need to read the article to surmise the rest.  Why people download “free” software like this is beyond me.  How the hell would anyone know what an executable program does from an untrusted source?  The answer is that you don’t.  And it doesn’t matter if you are using a Mac, Linux or Windows.

    The moral of this story is pretty simple.  If you are a Mac user, you need to start paying more attention to what is coming and it should be no surprise that you are going to need good tools to defend against the coming attacks. 

    You can debate the merits of the story, but I think common sense should probably prevail here.  As the number of Mac users grows, so does the interest of criminals.  They aren’t going to ignore that target.  It isn’t a matter of if.

  • Imitation is the best form of flattery

    v11chameleon_body I was heading over to the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 11 forum area at novell.com when I stumbled across a contest link.  I clicked the link and it took me to the webpage at http://howdoyoulinux.com.  Right off the bat I said to myself WTF (well that’s funny)! This looks nearly identical to the contest we’re running. Hmmmmmmm.

    Which reminds me.  Our contest deadline is coming up pretty soon.  In fact, the deadline for submissions is 4/30/2009 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.  So time is running out fast.

    It sure is a strange coincidence.  It’s strange their contest is so similar to ours.  But it was really strange I found it after downloading SLED 11 this weekend and decided to go check the forums to see if other people have some of the same questions I do.

    I was considering updating the SLED virtual machine I am using in the Interop Road Show, but I have just about talked myself out of that.  Besides, I still need to test Centrify DirectControl to see if works in the SLED 11 virtual machine.  I’ll get to it eventually, but I would not be surprised to find out that I need an update for DirectControl

    Anyway, looks like there’s two good contests going on.  One we’re putting on and is nearly at the deadline.  And then of course there’s the one I spotted today.  Good luck contestants.

  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5 for Windows 7 RC now available

    windows7_bloglogo The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5 helps customers understand their application compatibility situation by identifying which applications are compatible with the Windows 7 RC and Windows Vista® operating system and which require further testing. ACT helps customers lower their costs for application compatibility testing, prioritize their applications, and deploy Windows more quickly.
    You can use the ACT features to:

    • Verify an application's compatibility with a new version of the Windows operating system, or a Windows Update, including determining your risk assessment.
    • Become involved in the ACT Community, including sharing your risk assessment with other ACT users.
    • Test your Web applications and Web sites for compatibility with new releases and security updates to the Windows® Internet Explorer® Internet browser.
    System Requirements
    • Supported Operating Systems: Windows 2000 Service Pack 4; Windows 7; Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1; Windows Vista; Windows XP Service Pack 3
    • Supported Database Components: Microsoft® SQL Server 2005, Microsoft® SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
    • Miscellaneous Software Requirements: Microsoft® .NET Framework, version 2.0

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=24DA89E9-B581-47B0-B45E-492DD6DA2971&displaylang=en.

  • Exchange 2010 product and beta details announced

    ExchangeSvr_h_c In addition to this swanky new logo, the Microsoft Exchange team has announced information about the new product.  Exchange 2010 will help organizations reduce costs, protect communications and delight e-mail users with capabilities to do the following:

    Lower costs with more flexible deployment and management options. Exchange 2010 provides organizations with the same enterprise-grade capabilities whether deployed on-premises or as a service from Microsoft or partners — or as a mix of both. Further, for customers deploying the server, the new release simplifies the way organizations provide always-on communications and disaster recovery, meaning administrators spend less time managing their e-mail system. Exchange 2010 further improves performance running on lower-cost direct-attached storage, enabling organizations to dramatically reduce storage costs by up to 85 percent without sacrificing performance or reliability.

    Protect information and meet compliance requirements with the new e-mail archive. As e-mail volume grows, companies must address increasing compliance, legal and e-discovery concerns, but today, according to Osterman Research, only 28 percent of organizations currently archive their e-mail content (Osterman Research, 2008). Exchange 2010 introduces an integrated e-mail archive. The new solution makes it easier to store and query e-mail across the organization using the Exchange software that organizations already know and use.

    Improve user productivity with the ultimate inbox experience. Basex Inc. recently estimated that the average number of corporate e-mail messages received per person per day is expected to reach more than 93 by 2010. In addition, businesses lose $650 billion annually in productivity due to unnecessary interruptions including those from e-mail (Basex, 2008). Exchange 2010, together with Microsoft Outlook 2010, will give people more control over their communications with features such as these:

    Exchange 2010 Beta Announcement

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    There’s a ton more information on Exchange 2010.  I am particularly interested in the new voicemail and unified communications features that are coming.  In fact, I am already starting to use some of them with my Exchange 2010  mailbox.  Here’s a nice list of Vmail and UC goodies coming:

    Voice Mail Preview: Exchange Server 2010 will facilitate the cumbersome task of navigating through voice messages. With Exchange Server 2010 speech-to-text translation, the user can read the contents of the audio recording in the same fashion they would read an e-mail. Furthermore, if the resulting voice messages are opened using Microsoft Office Outlook 2010, the text of the voice mail preview will become "actionable". Recognized names, contacts, and phone numbers will all be identified with icons that the user can select to add contacts, call using Office Communicator, or send e-mail. To facilitate navigation of the audio, clicking in the text will cause the voice mail to jump to that word and continue playing.

    Protected Voice Mail: Exchange Server 2010 solves the problem of unauthorized distribution of the messages by securing the message content, specifying the users who may access that content, and the operations that they may perform on it. It uses Active Directory Rights Management Services to apply Do Not Forward permissions to voice messages that are designated either by the sender (by marking the message as private) or by administrative policy. This prevents the forwarding of protected voice mails in a playable form to unauthorized persons, whatever the mail client used.

    Message Waiting Indicator (MWI): Now with Unified Messaging, users are notified of the presence of new/unread voice mail by lighting the lamp and providing a count on their supported desk phone. Additionally, users can configure their text messaging notification account to receive the beginning content of the voice mail preview in the SMS.

    Auto Attendant: Users are often looking for a person in an organization, but are unsure of the extension or exact phone information. Exchange Unified Messaging's Auto Attendant enables users to easily navigate to the person they are trying to reach when calling an organization with either the telephone keypad or speech inputs to navigate the menu structure, place a call to a user, or locate a user and then place a call to that user. An auto attendant gives you the ability to:

    • Create a customizable set of menus for callers

    • Define informational greetings, business hours greetings, non-business hours greetings, and holiday schedules

    • Describe how to search the organization's directory and connect to a user's extension

    • Enable external users to call the operator

    Call Answering Rules: Unified Messaging enables users to have more control over their call flows. For a salesman, this could mean the difference between sending an important sales lead to his voice mail instead of finding him on his cell phone or home phone. Call Answering Rules present callers with custom greetings, Find-Me, and call transfer options, in addition to leaving a voice mail. Moreover, these rules can be preceded by conditions (such as caller-IDs, time-of -day and Exchange free/busy status), giving end-users greater control over how they can be reached over the phone.

    Outlook Voice Access: Users now have control over their Inbox with Outlook Voice Access via a telephone keypad or voice inputs. This enables anywhere access to their mailbox when a user is away from a computer or Internet-connected device. Now users no longer have need to worry about being late for appointments or being disconnected when traveling, as they can instantly call into their mailbox to manage their calendar, contacts, and e-mail.

    Enhanced Caller ID: Users can get more context and information about their callers with Enhanced Caller ID.  Callers are often not a part of a user contact list or organization's directory.  For these cases, Windows Live Search will be used to try and determine the calling party.  If a match is found, the result will be placed on the calling line of the message to better inform the user where the call came from.

    Language Support: More users can now listen to and interact with their e-mail and voice mail in their native language or dialect. Exchange Server 2010 offers a broad range of language support with support for 16 languages including three varieties of English, plus Mandarin, Cantonese, European and North American versions of Spanish and French, and several other European languages.

    References

    Exchange 2010 Beta Download

    Go get it @ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd185495.aspx. TechNet subscribers can of course get the beta in the subscriber download area.

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate and WAIK – now available

    ws2008 r2 blog logo With all the fuss around Windows 7 and Windows Virtual PC, I thought a friendly reminder about a certain server operating system might be in order.  Yes, today marks the RC milestone for Windows Server 2008 R2 and as you are hopefully aware means we are getting ready to close the gap in several key areas of web and virtualization features and performance.

    At the moment you’ll need to be a TechNet subscriber to get the goods, but I would imagine they will open the pipeline for everyone on Cinco De Mayo Internet Crush Day (May 5th).

    While you are at it, be sure to download the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 automated installation kit affectionately known as the WAIK. It’s in the R2 server area. Lots of new improvements to that bad boy.  And if all of this doesn’t keep you busy for a few months, I don’t know what will.

    Wait, I nearly forgot Exchange Server 2010 and Office.  Grin.

  • Install Open Source Software (OSS) on Windows the easy way

    Some of you have attended the Interop Road Show events we are currently delivering across the USA.  At those events you have seen us install Apache, MySQL, PHP, Drupal and Wordpress on Windows Server 2008.  Astute observation will reveal some of the installs and tweaks aren’t particularly easy, and especially prone to error in front of a live audience.

    Want to do it the easy way?

    Introducing the Web Platform Installer (Web PI).  There are a couple of versions available.  The version 2 beta is looking really good so be sure to check them both out.

    image image

    Go get them @ http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx.

  • Testing the Sprint U300 3G/4G wireless card

    FW300DOWMX_LPI Sometimes it’s fun to get out on the bleeding edge of technology.  Sometimes not.  It’s decision time for the Sprint U300 I have.  Keep it and hope Sprint updates Sprint SmartView to work with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, or return it now and revisit it later this year when they light up the Dallas area with 4G high speed coverage.

    I think the smart money is on the return.

    I tested three of the five operating systems I need this device to work with.  It works on Windows Vista Enterprise SP1 64bit and Windows Server 2008 64bit.  By works I mean the 3G chipset and software work.  The 4G network is currently only available in Baltimore.  Dallas and a number of other cities will be added to the 4G network this year.

    Another strike against the device is speed.  So far, I have yet to see speeds above 500k out of the U300.  I thought it was my imagination with the two Palm Treo’s I’ve tested the past few months, but now I no longer think it’s my imagination.  I am just not seeing good broadband speeds from the Sprint EVDO network, Rev. A or otherwise.

    Although I am sad about it, it looks like this technology doesn’t fit my needs.  If you are a Sprint developer, please look closely at how SmartView works with Windows 7.  I could not get it to work and I tried the latest available build of Windows 7, and the latest version of SmartView located at the U300 Downloads area.  Considering there’s a note at the bottom of that page for 64bit users, it would appear the issue I am seeing is a known issue.  I hope that gets worked out.  64bit isn’t just a fad.

  • Pixels, Quizzes and Fun – ServerQuest II launches

    image

    Ok, get your geek on at http://www.microsoft.com/click/serverquest/ or click the pic above.  Fun infotainment.

  • IIS Media Services 2.0 – now available for download

    ws2008 IIS Media Services is a set of media-related extensions for Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 that provides an integrated HTTP-based media delivery platform. IIS Media Services 2.0 contains three extensions:

    • Smooth Streaming – on-demand adaptive streaming to Silverlight
    • Bit Rate Throttling – meters the speed that media is delivered to a player
    • Web Playlists – secure sequencing of media content

    You can also download two additional beta IIS Media Services extensions from the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) by selecting IIS Media Services 3.0 - Beta. The two additional beta extensions available are:

    • Live Smooth Streaming – live adaptive streaming for Silverlight
    • Advanced Logging – rich, real-time client- and server-side logging

    Get the x64 version @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7bdc72a9-553c-4bad-b309-111b1b96e286.

    Get the x86 version @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5b0d0fe6-3b59-4a2c-b391-51f91d3cb6f7.

  • Interop Road Show – Texas events this week

    interop_banner_180x150 Don’t forget we just started the Microsoft Interop Road Show and there are events in Dallas and Houston this week.  The event in Dallas is actually at our office in Las Colinas, Texas (also known as Irving).  Confused?  Don’t be.  See all of the information at http://www.technetevents.com/interop/index.htm.

    Irving Registration Link

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032406100

    Houston Registration Link

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?Culture=en-US&EventID=1032406101

  • Here Comes the Hammer

    the hammer comes

  • Talking About Windows

    image

    Check out the new website at http://talkingaboutwindows.com/.

  • Office 2007 Security Guide – now available for download

    The 2007 Microsoft Office Security Guide provides prescriptive Group Policy setting and security configuration recommendations to help strengthen the security of computers running the 2007 Microsoft Office release on computers that run Windows Vista or Windows XP in domain–based environments.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=a12eca33-a20d-45e2-895c-5e021f3ae4c5.

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

    ws2008 This Solution Accelerator consists of a security guide and an overview packaged in a .zip file format. The security guide is a Word document intended for IT and security professionals. It includes three chapters that discuss methods and best practices that will help to secure a Hyper-V environment. The overview is a two page description of the security guide and other virtualization Solution Accelerators that are available. Brief descriptions follow for each of the chapters in the security guide.

    Chapter 1: Hardening Hyper-V This chapter provides prescriptive guidance for hardening the Hyper-V role. It discusses several best practices for installing and configuring Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 server with a focus on security. These best practices include measures for reducing the attack surface of a server running Hyper-V and recommendations for properly configuring secure network and storage devices.

    Chapter 2: Delegating Virtual Machine Management This chapter discusses several available methods for delegating virtual machine management so that virtual machine administrators only have the minimum permissions they require. It describes common delegation scenarios, and includes detailed steps to guide you through using Authorization Manager (AzMan) and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM 2008) to separate virtual machine administrators from virtualization host administrators.

    Chapter 3: Protecting Virtual Machines This chapter provides prescriptive guidance for securing virtual machine resources. It discusses best practices and includes detailed steps for protecting virtual machines by using a combination of file system permissions, encryption, and auditing. Also included are resources for hardening and updating the operating system instances running within your virtual machines.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2220624b-a562-4e79-aa69-a7b3dffdd090&displaylang=en.

  • Anyone notice who wrote the April TechNet Magazine cover story?

    Mongo For those of you that get TechNet Magazine, you may have noticed the April cover story was written by none other than Matt “Mongo” Hester.  The article is of course about Internet Explorer 8, and as usual Matt did a great job of describing many of the improvements that have been made to our latest web browser.

    Check out the article directly at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.ie8.aspx where he covers the following topics:

    Download Internet Explorer 8 @ http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/worldwide-sites.aspx.

  • Want my Twips? Follow me at twitter.com/keith_combs

    Today we released a massive array of products in an equally massive number of languages.  Today was quite possibly the biggest milestone release Microsoft has ever had.  It will of course be eclipsed on May 5th when we make all the binaries for Windows 7 RC, Windows Server 2008 R2 RC, Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) RC and the Windows Virtual PC Beta available on the public download centers.  One word: HUGE.

    I will be setting up a number of blog posts and screencasts over the coming weeks and months as we march to RTM.  I will also be posting a number of short tips on twitter.  If you want to catch my “Twips”, then follow me online at http://twitter.com/keith_combs

  • Office 2007 SP2 is now available for download

    Today the availability of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system was announced. The service pack includes major performance enhancements for Office applications, most notably Microsoft Office Outlook, as well as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. One big benefit is SP2’s boost to interoperability — with this release, Office supports additional built-in file formats such as PDF and ODF.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b444bf18-79ea-46c6-8a81-9db49b4ab6e5&displaylang=en.

  • US Central TechNet, MSDN and ArcReady Events Announced – register now!!!

    image

    Session 1: Windows Server 2008 R2 – Optimize your Time

    Get a jump start on your peers with Windows Server 2008 R2 by joining us for this no nonsense technical session, where we will discuss the critical improvements in the next version of Windows Server. Some have argued that, given the impressive scope of new functionality in Windows Server 2008 R2, it should not be an “R2” release, but rather should be given a completely new name. They point to features such as Direct Access, Branch Caching, Live Migration, Powershell 2.0, and VDI that will help you cut down on the amount of time you spend doing mundane tasks, reduce end user frustration and support headaches, and give your mobile workforce a competitive edge through ubiquitous access to company data. There’s a good chance that by attending this session you’ll find a way to save time and money with Windows Server 2008 R2, and so you’ll get the time you spend with us back many times over.

    Session 2: Windows 7 – Maximize Your Potential

    In designing Windows 7, the engineering team had a clear focus on what we call ‘the fundamentals': performance, application compatibility, device compatibility, reliability, security and battery life. Early reviews of Windows 7 seem to indicate that the choice to focus on the fundamentals is resonating well with many users and professionals. And, IT professionals will further benefit from the enhancements to manageability and security. You’ll also learn how your investments in testing and evaluating Windows Vista will pay off in the transition to Windows 7. Come see firsthand what all the buzz is about in this demo-intensive session where we explore the UI improvements, performance gains, and manageability enhancements in the next client operating system from Microsoft.

    Session 3: Internet Explorer 8 – Get Excited About the Browser Again

    Internet Explorer is currently the most widely used browser in business, and while we’ve seen nice incremental improvements to IE in recent history, we haven’t seen as many truly earth shattering changes. Well, many agree that the next release of IE, Internet Explorer 8, provides the most compelling upgrade to IE in many years. In a typical day, users spend 2 hours or more per day in the browser, so significant improvements here can have tremendous impact on productivity and the way we work. The browser needs to be thought of in the same terms as an operating system—it has to be rich, robust, interoperable, easy to use and secure. Internet Explorer 8 is a browser that meets these needs and more for users, enterprises, IT professionals and developers alike. Come learn how the new improvements, too numerous to mention here, are driving many to get excited about the browser again.

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

    IT professionals interested in learning about the next generation of Microsoft platforms and tools.

    WHERE ARE THE EVENTS?

    Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please select a link below or head on over to http://www.technetevents.com/unleashed/.

    Location/Registration

    Date

    Time

    Waukesha, WI

    4/28/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Austin, TX

    4/28/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Bloomington, MN

    4/30/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Cleveland, OH

    4/30/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Indianapolis, IN

    5/4/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Chicago, IL

    5/5/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Columbus, OH

    5/12/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Houston, TX

    5/12/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Mason, OH

    5/14/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Overland Park, KS

    5/14/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Dallas, TX

    5/19/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Southfield, MI

    5/20/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Downers Grove, IL

    5/20/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    St. Louis, MO

    5/21/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Nashville, TN

    6/11/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

    Knoxville, TN

    6/12/2009

    3:10pm – 5:00pm

     

    image

    Session 1: Internet Explorer 8 for Developers

    The Windows Internet Explorer 8 browser makes it easier to explore and interact with the web. Did you know that there will be a new standards mode by default? While it can easily be turned off, knowing the potential to impact this may have on many sites that have been crafted around various features in past versions is a good idea. Attend this session to learn which current practices you need to change and how the new standards mode affects your development techniques and your existing sites. We review tools that are built into Internet Explorer 8 to help developers debug and create Web pages. We also discuss Web Slices, Accelerators, and Search Suggestion – all of which are key new features in this latest release.

    In this session we’ll show you:

    · Developer Tools

    · Selectors API

    · Use and create accelerators

    · Use and create web slices

    · Use and create search suggestions

    · AJAX Navigation enhancements with Virtual Earth demo on history, AJAX Cross Domain Calls

    · CSS improvements (printing, counters, new pseudo classes)

    Session 2: Developing on Microsoft Windows 7

    Building applications that are easy to use, visually appealing, and offer high performance is a challenge that developers face every day. Innovative applications can greatly improve the user experience, empowering companies to differentiate their services and solutions. However, developers are increasingly asked to do more in less time, while also optimizing the power and performance requirements of their applications. The Windows 7 platform makes it easy for developers to create engaging, user-friendly applications by providing familiar tools and rich development features that allow them to take advantage of the latest PC capabilities. In this session we will explore the new Taskbar and Jump Lists, the Scenic Ribbon, file management with Libraries, and Windows Web Services among many other enhancements to the new operating system.

    In this session we’ll show you:

    · New Features in Windows 7

    · Use and create jump lists

    · Scenic Ribbon API

    · Use and create Libraries

    · Windows Web Services API

    · Additional enhancements that support development

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

    Developers interested in learning about the next generation of Microsoft platforms and tools.

    WHERE ARE THE EVENTS?

    Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please visit http://www.msdnevents.com/unleashed.

    Location/Registration

    Date

    Time

    Waukesha, WI

    4/28/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Austin, TX

    4/28/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Bloomington, MN

    4/30/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Cleveland, OH

    4/30/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Indianapolis, IN

    5/4/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Chicago, IL

    5/5/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Columbus, OH

    5/12/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Houston, TX

    5/12/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Mason, OH

    5/14/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Overland Park, KS

    5/14/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Dallas, TX

    5/19/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Southfield, MI

    5/20/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Downers Grove, IL

    5/20/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    St. Louis, MO

    5/21/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Nashville, TN

    6/11/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

    Knoxville, TN

    6/12/2009

    1:00pm – 2:50pm

     

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    Architecting for the Client Tier

    The client (or presentation) tier of our applications is taking on an increasingly important role. Users are expecting more compelling user interfaces, but they also want more functionality from their applications. In this ArcReady we examine how to design and deliver well architected client applications that will be easy to maintain and extend.

    Session 1: Trends and Patterns on the Client Tier

    In our first session we will take a vendor and platform neutral look at some of the trends and emerging technologies that can be used on the client tier. We will look at techniques like Mashups, technologies like Natural User Interfaces (NUI) and the increasing importance of the mobile platform. We will also look at some common patterns that can be used in the architecture of the client tier.

    Session 2: Applying Microsoft Technology on the Client Tier

    In our second session we will take some look at how we can use Microsoft technologies to create well architected and compelling client applications. We will look at technologies like Silverlight and WPF that can be used to create compelling clients. We will also look at technologies that can be used to make your applications more extensible for future development. We will also examine some architectural guidance developed by the Microsoft Patterns and Practices group.

    WHAT IS ARCREADY?

    · A forum for aspiring and practicing architects to discuss industry trends

    · An overview of Microsoft’s roadmap as it relates to software architecture

    · A mechanism to solicit your feedback

    · An opportunity to showcase the work you do!

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

    Architects and Senior Developers who are interested in becoming an architect.

    WHERE ARE THE EVENTS?

    Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please visit www.arcready.com.

    Location/Registration

    Date

    Time

    Waukesha, WI

    4/28/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Austin, TX

    4/28/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Bloomington, MN

    4/30/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Cleveland, OH

    4/30/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Indianapolis, IN

    5/4/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Chicago, IL

    5/5/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Columbus, OH

    5/12/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Houston, TX

    5/12/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Mason, OH

    5/14/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Overland Park, KS

    5/14/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Dallas, TX

    5/19/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Southfield, MI

    5/20/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Downers Grove, IL

    5/20/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    St. Louis, MO

    5/21/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Nashville, TN

    6/11/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

    Knoxville, TN

    6/12/2009

    9:00am – 11:45am

  • IT Manager Community Talks coming up – Virtualization and BI

    Kevin Remde and his colleagues at IT Management Community are doing a series of chat sessions they call “talks”.  Find out how Microsoft products and technologies address your issues, and engage with your peers to share best practices. These chats are a great opportunity to have your questions answered, hear from your peers and members of the guest panels.  Here are the details for the next couple of talks.

    IT Manager Community Talk with Kevin - Virtualization (Level 100)         4/9/2009 11:00 AM         

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032409138&Culture=en-US

    Join a discussion with your peers to kick off the Community Talk series addressing Virtualization Solutions and answering your questions to demystify virtualization, simplify your understanding of the technology and its purpose today and discuss the ways in which Microsoft can help jumpstart your efforts.

    IT Manager Community Talk with Kevin - Business Intelligence (Level 100)         4/20/2009 11:00 AM

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032409141&Culture=en-US

    Get involved with your peers in the new Community Chat addressing Business Intelligence (BI) and answering your questions to demystify BI Solutions, simplify your understanding of the technology and discuss the ways in which Microsoft can help jumpstart your efforts.

  • Windows Client Road Show Featuring Windows 7, R2 and Internet Explorer 8

    Spring brings not only rain and flowers (you know, April shows and May flowers), it also brings our spring technical events. And this time our technical events are taking on a slightly different form.

    Okay, to be completely honest, we are still calling the sessions ArcReady (our event for architects and those who want to become architects), MSDN Events Unleashed (for the developer), and the new TechNet Events Unleashed (for the IT Professional). But we are also doing something different for the spring event series: there's a single, connected theme running throughout all events.

    And what is that theme, you ask? It's all things next generation Windows client, featuring Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8!

    Windows 7

    +

    Internet Explorer 8

    ArcReady – Brain Food for the Architect
    The client (or presentation) tier of our applications is taking on an increasingly important role. Users are expecting more compelling user interfaces, but they also want more functionality from their applications. In this ArcReady we examine how to design and deliver well architected client applications that will be easy to maintain and extend.

    Topic 1: Trends and Patterns on the Client Tier
    In our first topic we will take a vendor and platform neutral look at some of the trends and emerging technologies that can be used on the client tier. We will look at techniques like Mashups, technologies like Natural User Interfaces (NUI) and the increasing importance of the mobile platform. We will also look at some common patterns that can be used in the architecture of the client tier.

    Topic 2: Applying Microsoft Technology on the Client Tier
    In our second topic we will take some look at how we can use Microsoft technologies to create well architected and compelling client applications. We will look at technologies like Silverlight and WPF that can be used to create compelling clients. We will also look at technologies that can be used to make your applications more extensible for future development. We will also examine some architectural guidance developed by the Microsoft Patterns and Practices group.

    MSDN Events Unleashed – Get Your Dev On
    Internet Explorer 8 recently released to the web, and with that release comes a wide range of new capabilities that developers can exploit. Of even more impact to developers everywhere is the upcoming release of Windows 7, also bringing with it several new capabilities for consumers and developers.

    Topic 1: Internet Explorer 8 for Developers
    The Windows Internet Explorer 8 browser makes it easier to explore and interact with the web. Did you know that there will be a new standards mode by default? While it can easily be turned off, knowing the potential to impact this may have on many sites that have been crafted around various features in past versions is a good idea. Attend this session to learn which current practices you need to change and how the new standards mode affects your development techniques and your existing sites. We review tools that are built into Internet Explorer 8 to help developers debug and create Web pages. We also discuss Web Slices, Accelerators, and Search Suggestion – all of which are key new features in this latest release.

    Topic 2: Developing on Microsoft Windows 7
    Building applications that are easy to use, visually appealing, and offer high performance is a challenge that developers face every day. Innovative applications can greatly improve the user experience, empowering companies to differentiate their services and solutions. However, developers are increasingly asked to do more in less time, while also optimizing the power and performance requirements of their applications. The Windows 7 platform makes it easy for developers to create engaging, user-friendly applications by providing familiar tools and rich development features that allow them to take advantage of the latest PC capabilities. In this session we will explore the new Taskbar and Jump Lists, the Scenic Ribbon, file management with Libraries, and Windows Web Services among many other enhancements to the new operating system.

    TechNet Events Unleashed – Supporting the Backbone of the Industry
    Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and Internet Explorer 8 represent both a wave of change and disruption to IT operations as well as an opportunity for IT professionals to have a big impact on their organizations.

    Topic 1: Windows Server 2008 R2 – Optimize Your Time
    Get a jump start on your peers with Windows Server 2008 R2 by joining us for this no nonsense technical session, where we will discuss the critical improvements in the next version of Windows Server. Some have argued that, given the impressive scope of new functionality in Windows Server 2008 R2, it should not be an “R2” release, but rather should be given a completely new name. They point to features such as Direct Access, Branch Caching, Live Migration, Powershell 2.0, and VDI that will help you cut down on the amount of time you spend doing mundane tasks, reduce end user frustration and support headaches, and give your mobile workforce a competitive edge through ubiquitous access to company data. There’s a good chance that by attending this session you’ll find a way to save time and money with Windows Server 2008 R2, and so you’ll get the time you spend with us back many times over.

    Topic 2: Windows 7 – Maximize Your Potential
    In designing Windows 7, the engineering team had a clear focus on what we call ‘the fundamentals': performance, application compatibility, device compatibility, reliability, security and battery life. Early reviews of Windows 7 seem to indicate that the choice to focus on the fundamentals is resonating well with many users and professionals. And, IT professionals will further benefit from the enhancements to manageability and security. You’ll also learn how your investments in testing and evaluating Windows Vista will pay off in the transition to Windows 7. Come see firsthand what all the buzz is about in this demo-intensive session where we explore the UI improvements, performance gains, and manageability enhancements in the next client operating system from Microsoft.

    Topic 3: Internet Explorer 8 – Get Excited About the Browser Again
    Internet Explorer is currently the most widely used browser in business, and while we’ve seen nice incremental improvements to IE in recent history, we haven’t seen as many truly earth shattering changes. Well, many agree that the next release of IE, Internet Explorer 8, provides the most compelling upgrade to IE in many years. In a typical day, users spend 2 hours or more per day in the browser, so significant improvements here can have tremendous impact on productivity and the way we work. The browser needs to be thought of in the same terms as an operating system—it has to be rich, robust, interoperable, easy to use and secure. Internet Explorer 8 is a browser that meets these needs and more for users, enterprises, IT professionals and developers alike. Come learn how the new improvements, too numerous to mention here, are driving many to get excited about the browser again.

    Event Schedule
    Here is a quick summary of the events scheduled this spring, starting in late April and concluding in mid-June.

    ArcReady MSDN Events Unleashed TechNet Events Unleashed
    Waukesha, WI – April 28, 2009 at 9:00am Waukesha, WI – April 28, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Waukesha, WI – April 28, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Austin, TX – April 28, 2009 at 9:00am

    Austin, TX – April 28, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Austin, TX – April 28, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Bloomington, MN – April 30, 2009 at 9:00am

    Bloomington, MN – April 30, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Bloomington, MN – April 30, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Cleveland, OH – April 30, 2009 at 9:00am

    Cleveland, OH – April 30, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Cleveland, OH – April 30, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Indianapolis, IN – May 4, 2009 at 9:00am

    Indianapolis, IN – May 4, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Indianapolis, IN – May 4, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Chicago, IL – May 5, 2009 at 9:00am

    Chicago, IL – May 5, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Chicago, IL – May 5, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Columbus, OH – May 12, 2009 at 9:00am

    Columbus, OH – May 12, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Columbus, OH – May 12, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Houston, TX – May 12, 2009 at 9:00am

    Houston, TX – May 12, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Houston, TX – May 12, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Mason, OH – May 14, 2009 at 9:00am

    Mason, OH – May 14, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Mason, OH – May 14, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Overland Park, KS – May 14, 2009 at 9:00am

    Overland Park, KS – May 14, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Overland Park, KS – May 14, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Dallas, TX – May 19, 2009 at 9:00am

    Dallas, TX – May 19, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Dallas, TX – May 19, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Southfield, MI – May 20, 2009 at 9:00am

    Southfield, MI – May 20, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Southfield, MI – May 20, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Downers Grove, IL – May 20, 2009 at 9:00am

    Downers Grove, IL – May 20, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Downers Grove, IL – May 20, 2009 at 3:10pm

    St. Louis, MO – May 21, 2009 at 9:00am

    St. Louis, MO – May 21, 2009 at 1:00pm

    St. Louis, MO – May 21, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Nashville, TN – June 11, 2009 at 9:00am

    Nashville, TN – June 11, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Nashville, TN – June 11, 2009 at 3:10pm

    Knoxville, TN – June 12, 2009 at 9:00am

    Knoxville, TN – June 12, 2009 at 1:00pm

    Knoxville, TN – June 12, 2009 at 3:10pm

     

  • System Center Data Protection Manager - virtual labs go live !!!

    sys center dpm If you’re like me, you might have declined to setup DPM thinking you don’t have adequate hardware to do some testing and learning.  Well, now you don’t have to.  Jason “All Backed Up” Buffington has informed me that his motley crew has just posted some cool new labs.

    Virtual Labs are nice.  You have the opportunity to test drive our products via a VMRC ActiveX control in your web browser.  The process is simple and painless.  Sure beats setting up the environment yourself.

    The DPM team released three labs and there are more on the way.  See Jason’s blog post at http://blogs.technet.com/JBUFF/archive/2009/04/01/try-DPM-2007-SP1-with-just-a-web-browser.aspx for the full details on the Technical Overview, SQL Server and SharePoint DPM labs.

    I also told Jason today that the name for his blog reminded me of a certain skit Phil Hartman used to do on Saturday Night Live.  Grin.