Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

February, 2011

  • Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) SP1 - now available for download

    windows7rc_bloglogoThe Windows® Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) is a set of tools and documentation that support the configuration and deployment of Windows® operating systems. By using Windows AIK, you can automate Windows installations, capture Windows images with ImageX, configure and modify images using Deployment Imaging Servicing and Management (DISM), create Windows PE images, and migrate user profiles and data with the User State Migration Tool (USMT). Windows AIK also includes the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), which enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK).

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=696dd665-9f76-4177-a811-39c26d3b3b34.

    [UPDATED 2/22/2011] Ok, this has been corrected and updated.  The supplement is now at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=0aee2b4b-494b-4adc-b174-33bc62f02c5d.

  • Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 on a ThinkPad W510

    ws2008 r2 blog logoNext week is the general availability date for Windows Server 2008 SP1.  It just so happens the 2/22 GA date is also National Margarita Day here in the US. I figured I’d better get this written and posted ahead of time.  Just in case someone wants me to judge a contest or something.  Grin.

    For this install, I considered the various approaches someone might take to install R2 SP1 on the Lenovo ThinkPad W510.  For instance, you might decide to remove the primary hard drive or SSD and insert a new drive for Windows Server.  Swapping drives on the W510 is more of a hassle on the W510 than previous ThinkPad's because the bay is below the machine instead of on the side, like it should be. 

    With that in mind, I decided to install R2 using the “boot from VHD” method.  The target of the install will be a single file on a high capacity drive in the W510 Ultrabay.  In order to do that, you’ll need the Lenovo Serial ATA Hard Drive Bay Adapter III.

    There are really three or four phases to the following instructions.  The first set is prepping the environment for Windows Setup.  The middle set is the install of R2 into the VHD file and what I would call the core driver installs.  The last phase includes installing drivers and applications that are optional but nice to have. 

    Make sure to go to the Lenovo driver download area and download all of the drivers you’ll need.  At a minimum you’ll need the driver for the Intel Ethernet nic in the W510.  It requires a manual install.  Once the OS is installed and running with the Ethernet nic, you can grab anything else you might want or overlooked.

    Prepping the Install Environment

    My W510 is configured with an Intel 160GB SSD in the primary drive bay, and a hard drive adaptor in the Ultrabay where the DVD normally goes.  In the hard drive adaptor is a 500GB Hitachi Travelstar 7200rpm drive.  This 500GB drive will most likely be replaced with their new 750GB drive soon. My R2 SP1 installation is going on the Hitachi drive via the magic of boot from VHD.

    bdcedit data

    As you call see, I already have Windows 7 installed to a typical volume on the primary storage device (SSD), and an installation of R2.  The Windows 7 install was from scratch last weekend and I used the Win7 Ent SP1 x64 integrated .ISO image.  The R2 is an old install already present on the hard drive I added to the BCD store with a couple of simple command. 

    The R2 entry will eventually be deleted because there’s really no need to have two installations.  I am showing the BCD entries for two reasons.  First, you can clearly see the R2 path.  Our new R2 SP1 path will be identical but with a different filename. 

    Second, if you don’t change the description you’ll have two entries with the same string after we are done.  That gets a little confusing but it is easily fixed with the BCDEDIT /set command and some additional arguments to change the description.

    Creating the VHD File for Storage

    1. Run an elevated instance of CMD
    2. Dump your BCD store settings using the BCDedit > bcdsettings.txt command.  It’s nice to have that handy in case you mess something up later.
    3. Exit CMD
    4. Press the Windows key or click the Windows pearl in the bottom left of the Win 7 screen
    5. Right mouse click Computer
    6. Click Manage
    7. Click Disk Management
    8. Click the Action menu item
    9. Click Create VHD
    10. Enter the file location, VHD disk size, and verify the Dynamic disk type is selected. I size mine relatively small at 40GB.  This is important.  When the VHD boots, it will expand to this size.  In my case, I always need to have 40GB of free space on the Hitachi drive otherwise the OS won’t boot.  If you don’t want to worry about this, use a fixed disk type instead.
    11. Click OK.  You’ll see the VHD get created and mounted.  The end result is an uninitialized disk in the Disk Management list.
    12. Right mouse click the new disk and Initialize it.  I am still using MBR for the time being.
    13. Right mouse click the unallocated partition and select the New Simple Volume menu item.
    14. Click Next for size (we’re using it all)
    15. Click Next on the drive letter (most likely E:)
    16. On the Format dialog box, format it quickly but give the volume a name in the label.  I label all of my drives and volumes so it’s apparent which one I’m looking at.  I called mine R2SP1.
    17. After you click Finish, you are ready to install the OS.

    Installing R2 SP1 to the VHD File

    1. Reboot your computer and boot from an external DVD drive with the R2 SP1 DVD.  If you don’t have an external drive but have a worthy USB stick, you can burn the integrated .ISO to the stick and use that method.  In this case I used glass.
    2. After Windows Setup is up and running (gray screen with the Install Button), do a SHIFT+F10 key combo to launch a CMD shell.
    3. Enter DISKPART to run the disk partitioning and volume utility
    4. Enter LIST DISK for information purposes. Commands are not case sensitive.  I am only using upper case for readability.
    5. Enter LIST VOL
    6. Enter SELECT VDISK FILE=d:\r2\r2sp1w510.vhd
    7. Enter ATTACH VDISK
    8. Enter LIST VOL
    9. Exit DISKPART
    10. Exit CMD
    11. Click Install Now
    12. Pick the Enterprise Full SKU for installation
    13. Accept the EULA after you read it fully (like you always do)
    14. Click the Custom option for the install
    15. Click the volume we created previously to select it then click next.  Ignore the warning about it not being a valid target.  It’s wrong.  Maybe someday the Windows product group will officially endorse and support this method for installation.  Right now they don’t.
    16. Setup should proceed as expected then reboot. 
    17. As prompted, enter an Administrator password
    18. Complete the “Initial Configuration Tasks”  I usually do the time zone, computer name, and change the Windows Update setting to check for downloads but let me decide what to do.  I certainly don’t allow downloads until I am ready much later.

    Core Driver Installs

    Assuming you followed my advice at the beginning of this article, you have all the needed drivers downloaded and available.  If you look at the Lenovo Driver Downloads area for the ThinkPad W510, you’ll see there are 80 installation packages as of 2/19/2011.  We are going to use about a third of that when it’s all said and done.  If you are only doing the core drivers, we’ll use a lot less.

    1. Install Intel Chipset drivers oss911ww then reboot.  It’s decision time.  Do you want to use the inbox driver that shipped with SP1 for your SSD and rotational disk, or do you want to use the Intel store driver or Intel Rapid Store Technology (RST) drivers?  For this install, I am going to use the inbox driver so I need to remove the Intel store driver.
    2. Launch Server Manager and go to the Diagnostics | Device Manager snapin area.
    3. Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers
    4. Right mouse click the Intel ® 5 Series/3400 Series controller
    5. Select Uninstall from the context menu
    6. Check delete driver software for this device and click ok. Reboot.
    7. Install NVIDIA display drivers in 6md636ww.  This will give you multimon and higher resolution support for the remainder of the installs. There is a later driver package directly from NVIDIA at their website you might consider.  The both seem stable.  Please keep in mind all of these drivers get rev’d eventually so if you are reading this months after 2/19/2011, adjust accordingly.
    8. Install the Intel Ethernet driver from 6irf24ww_764.  Technically all you can do is run the package installer.  It doesn’t actually install and enable the nic.  We still have to do that manually.
    9. Launch Server Manager and go to Diagnostics | Device Manager
    10. Right mouse click the banged out Ethernet controller.
    11. Select the Update Driver Software menu item
    12. Click Browse my computer
    13. Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
    14. Scroll down the list and click Network Adaptors to select it, then click Next
    15. Click the have disk button
    16. Click browse
    17. Go to c:\drivers\win\ethernet\pro1000\winx64\ndis62 and select the e1k62x64.inf file.
    18. Click Open
    19. Click OK
    20. Select the 82567LM-3 nic in the list and click Next
    21. Click Yes on the compat warning dialog box
    22. Click Close. You’ll notice a few seconds after this driver installs that Windows Update will tell you there are some Important updates. As of 2/19/2011 there are 8 updates.  Ignore them for now.  We’ll install them a little later.
    23. Install the Intel wireless drivers in 6mws21ww
    24. Custom install
    25. Intel Wifi Link driver only.  If you have a need for diagnosing Wifi issues, you might install the Intel Wifi Connection Utility at this point.  It gives you some decent tools to tell you what AP you are connecting to, signal strength, what bands you are using, etc.  I don’t normally install this but it can come in handy even on the road.  Let the Intel install complete.  Now that we have the driver in place, we need to enable things in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
    26. Launch R2 Server Manager
    27. Click the Features area and install the Wireless LAN Service feature from the list of available features.
    28. Left click the network icon on the bottom right of the task bar notification area so see the list of available Wifi networks.  Connect to the network of your choice. 
    29. Install the NEC USB 3.0 drivers from 6my206ww.  If you haven’t done so already, there is a firmware update for the USB 3.0 chipset in 6myf01ww.

    At this point you have installed all of what I would call the core drivers needed to effectively use Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Hyper-V with the Lenovo ThinkPad W510.  However, you’ll notice in device manager there are still quite a few banged out drivers.  This next section installs many of the remaining drivers.

    Installing Optional Drivers for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

    1. Go to the services list and start the Windows Audio Service.  Make sure to set it to Automatic or delayed start.
    2. Install the Ricoh multicard driver from 6hss74ww. Ignore reboot request.
    3. Install the webcam driver from 6nca19ww. I have not tested it’s operation yet.  Ignore reboot.
    4. Install the Ultranav driver from 6hgy31ww. Ignore reboot.
    5. Install the Ultranav control panel applet and utility from 7vgq14ww. Ignore reboot.
    6. Install the Lenovo LCD panel driver from 79oi22ww.  This actually doesn’t install automagically so you’ll need to do this manually using the .INF file at c:\drivers\win\monitor.  You’ll certainly want to do this if you are using the FHD screen and color sensor.
    7. Install the modem driver from package 6ima04ww.  I cancel out of the Netwaiting and Digital Live Detect installs that are spawned by this package.  I haven’t used a modem line in over 5 years, but you never know when you might need to fax something.
    8. Reboot
    9. You likely notice on the reboot a device driver install for the integrated smartcard reader fails.  You can fix that at anytime by looking at the details and telling it to get the best driver from the catalog servers.  I didn’t write down the exact steps but it’s pretty apparent what to do. Might as well do that now.
    10. If you plan to do any screencast capturing with Expression Encoder 4 or Camtasia from TechSmith, you must install the Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktop Experience feature.  If you want to run the Lenovo Power Manager, you are also going to need to install the .Net Framework feature.  Go ahead and install both sets of features using Server Manager.  This proceeds pretty slowly.
    11. Install the Power Management driver from 83ku11ww.  Ignore reboot request.
    12. Install Power Manager 3.40 from 83u415w0. Ignore reboot.  If you didn’t install the .Net Framework in the previous steps, it’s really required to use Power Manager.  .Net Framework 4.0 can be downloaded and installed here if you prefer.
    13. Install the Conexant audio driver from 6na127ww.  This is needed when using Camtasia and other audio capturing products.
    14. Install Hotkey drivers from 83vu54ww.  I do not install the magnifier or the new autoscroll feature in this package. Ignore reboot
    15. Install the updates via Control Panel | Windows Update.

    Done!  Well, almost.  If you look at the device list in Device Manager, you’ll see the PCI Simple communication controller and Bluetooth still banged out.  You can install the Intel AMT driver from 6ir120ww if you just can’t stand it.  If you do, you can go to the Control Panel | Programs and Features area and remove the Intel AMT programs and services.  It will leave the driver in place but remove the overhead of the AMT services.

    I don’t know anyone who has ever managed to get Bluetooth working in Windows Server 2008 so I just ignore it.  I use a wired mouse connected to a KVM switch in my home office, and the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000 for my travels (or couch).

    If you want to make Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 look pretty, you can set the Themes service to automatic and turn on Aero Glass support.  Enjoy!

  • Windows Command-line Reference - now available for download

    windows7rc_bloglogoThe Windows command-line tools are used to perform various tasks related to Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. You can use the command reference to familiarize yourself with new and enhanced command-line tools, to learn about the command shell, and to automate command-line tasks by using batch files or scripting tools.

    Here’s a test.  What does the Clip command do?

    What’s scary is how many of these commands I actually do know.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=5fb255ff-72da-4b08-a504-1b10266cf72a.

  • Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 to the Lenovo ThinkPad T410

    ws2008 r2 blog logoA friend of mine was having some issues with his R2 install.  He was trying to get the Ethernet and wireless drivers to work on the Lenovo ThinkPad T410.  The T410 and W510 are pretty similar so I dropped a test hard drive into my T410 and ran some tests.

    First things first.  Make sure you’ve updated your BIOS to v1.35.  This bios is located at http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-74268.  You’ll notice I’m pointing you to the article for the Windows installer.  It appears Lenovo has finally nailed down how to update the BIOS correctly from a x64 version of Windows.  I have updated my W510, T410 and T410s using the various installers as opposed to downloading the .ISO images they supply and booting from a burned CD.

    Next, take a look at the Core Driver Installs section of my blog post at http://blogs.technet.com/b/keithcombs/archive/2011/02/21/installing-windows-server-2008-r2-sp1-on-a-thinkpad-w510.aspx.  I just did some quick testing so I have not tested the NVIDIA video driver yet.  The wired and wireless cards are working per the instructions there.  Follow them pretty precisely and you shouldn’t have any issues.  I will do more testing this week on the T410 and if I spot any deviations from the W510, I will come back and mention them here.  Enjoy.

  • How about a pet Nano Hummingbird robot?

    image

    You really must see this thing fly. Amazing!  See it at http://www.avinc.com/nano.

  • If you put a keyboard on my phone, use something like this

    image

    Anyone remotely interested in gaming will appreciate the work Sony is doing in their XPERIA Play device.  I was all gung ho when Sony first came out with the XPERIA but that wore off in a few seconds after I actually got to hold and feel their first generation phone. I never bought one.  It just didn’t feel like it was worth the money they were asking for it.  Hopefully this device will reverse that.  Can’t wait to see it up close and personal.  I hope someone builds a Windows Phone that is similar.

  • Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 - Service Pack 1 Docs Now Available

    windows7rc_bloglogoMicrosoft® continuously collects feedback on Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating systems from its customers and partners. This feedback results in enhancements that help improve compatibility, reliability, performance, and user experience. These enhancements are typically made available in the form of regular updates delivered via Windows Update and, in some cases, the Microsoft Download Center. All updates are then rolled-up, along with additional enhancements, into a single package called a Service Pack. By integrating these updates into a thoroughly tested single service pack, Microsoft aims to provide a single high-quality update that will minimize both deployment and testing complexity for customers.

    Service Packs help ensure that your systems are up-to-date. Updates to the Windows operating system, including updates released with bulletins from the Microsoft Security Response Center, are only built for currently-supported service packs. Installing the latest service pack ensures customers have the maximum support lifecycle for their investment.

    ws2008 r2 blog logoService Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 includes previously released updates and will deliver a number of powerful new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 for virtualization and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). New techniques in memory management with the addition of Dynamic Memory functionality, as well as the ability to deliver full-fidelity graphic experiences in remote and virtualized environments with Microsoft RemoteFX™, enable organizations to realize the greatest possible potential from their infrastructure. The resulting increase in efficiency and functionality allows for accelerated server consolidation, a more powerful virtualized desktop infrastructure, and an increased return on technology investments.

    Get the docs @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=61924cea-83fe-46e9-96d8-027ae59ddc11&displaylang=en

  • More birds of prey - McLaren MP4-12C

    McLaren

    Configure yours at http://www.mclarenautomotive.com/uk/p11/Configurator/default.aspx#/configurator.

  • Converting a ThinkPad T410s Optimus from Physical -> Native Boot from VHD

    windows7rc_bloglogoLike a lot of other folks, I’ll be attending the MVP Summit.  I contemplated which laptop to take.  I have a number of options but unfortunately the machine I want to take is my personal ThinkPad T410s.  It’s slightly over three pounds, has a powerful dual core i5 processor, lots of memory, a fast SSD for the primary drive, and the fabulous Ultrabay where I can host a second hard drive.  Did I mention light?  Yea, it’s about a third of the weight of my W510 and brick.

    In order to use my T410s, I have to solve a number of issues.  The most annoying issues are the corporate requirements to use the network.  The machine must be joined to the domain to integrate well with the IPSEC boundaries.  I need that next week.

    Now technically there is a guest network I could use but it’s a bit of a hassle and I really need to be on the corporate network anyway.  So I pulled out the Intel 1.8” SSD and popped in my Crucial C300 and started installing Windows 7.  After I got things pretty well cooked, I realized this isn’t what I want to do at all.  What I really want to do is run a multi boot environment so I can also bounce into Windows Server and Hyper-V, too. But I don’t want to throw away my Windows 7 install and work.  What to do?

    P2V to the Rescue

    You’ve likely heard the term P2V.  Normally this means converting a physical machine to a virtual machine.  This is common for aging hardware where you want to continue to use the software environment.  That sounds just like to ticket for me.

    Technically I’m not really converting my physical machine to a virtual machine.  What I’m really doing is capturing the OS, applications, and my user data then stuffing it all inside a virtual hard disk file (VHD).  Later, we’ll make it bootable and usable but we aren’t using a hypervisor, and aren’t emulating hardware.

    The upside and benefit to this approach is that I can still take advantage of the physical hardware and it’s full fidelity and speed, but encapsulate it inside a single file that is very reusable and portable.  How?

    Sysinternals Disk2Vhd

    There are a number of utilities and methods to capture a physical machine.  I decided to try the Disk2vhd program from the Sysinternals TechNet site. I downloaded it, unpacked it, took a quick look at the .CHM helpfile then let it rip.  I told it to capture drive C: and create a VHD on an external eSATA drive and enclosure.

    There are a number of considerations to think about.  First, the Disk2vhd tool will create the target VHD as a dynamic disk VHD and size the allocation equal to the source physical drive.  There’s a problem with that.  Because the source in the case was a 128GB SSD drive, when the new VHD is booted, it will expand to that size.  Therefore, the storage device that is used to store the VHD must always have at least 120GB of free space even though the VHD is only using 44GB at present.  I am not a big fan of this and hope it changes down the road.  The storage device in this case is 2.5” Hitachi 500GB 7200rpm hard drive and has 250GB of free space.  Plenty of head room for now.

    Second, there are disk signature implications.  The impact area is the BCD store so you must be careful if you intend to continue using the source disk with the new VHD.  In my case, the Crucial C300 used as the physical source is not present because I pulled it back out, and I am using the Intel 160GB SSD.  The moral of the story, pay particular attention to the before and after of your BCD store entries.

    After I captured and created the VHD, there’s only a couple of easy steps to get this setup and working the way I want.

    BCDBoot to the Rescue

    The next step I wanted to accomplish is moving the resulting VHD file from the external eSATA drive and enclosure to the internal ThinkPad Ultrabay hard drive adaptor and drive.  This is of course a simple copy.  But the real fun comes next.

    Like some of the other native boot from VHD articles I’ve written, Windows has a nifty command line utility for adding entries to the BCD store and making them available at boot time.  So all I need to do was mount the VHD and use BCDboot to do that. Here are those steps:

    1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard or click the Windows 7 start pearl at the far left of the task bar.
    2. Right mouse click Computer.
    3. Select Manage from the context menu.
    4. Click the Disk Management snapin in the left nav.
    5. After it has initialized, Click the Action menu at the top of the MMC console shell.
    6. Click the Attach VHD menu item.
    7. Browse to the location of the VHD and select and open the VHD.  In my case, this is D:\Win7\KEITHCOT410s.vhd.  Make sure to note the drive letter that is assigned.  Mine is E:
    8. Open an elevated CMD console.
    9. Enter BCDBOOT E:\windows
    10. Exit the CMD shell.
    11. Reboot Windows 7

    You’ll notice the new entry has been added and available when your machine reboots.  Now you can easily flip between your personal environment and a corporate desktop.  The last add to the BCD store becomes the default boot environment and unless you adjust the descriptions, they will have the generic “Windows 7” or “Windows Server 2008” descriptions for the entries.  I always tweak those settings so I can easily tell the difference.

    For instance, BCDEDIT /set {current} description “Windows 7 (Corporate)” is the command I used to reset the description for this BCD store entry.  {current} is valid if it’s up and running.  If it isn’t, use the long GUID in the curly brackets.

    Now keep in mind I started with an environment that was built on the same machine.  If it’s different, keep in mind you may need to sysprep and go back through device detection.  It really depends on the source and target.  For this example, I didn’t need to worry about such matters.  Pretty kewl, eh?  Enjoy.

  • You Had Me at Dual-Channel 10Gbps per port - Thunderbolt

    thunderbolt

    Thunderbolt technology is a new, high-speed, dual-protocol I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity, and flexibility. This high-speed data transfer technology features the following:

    • Dual-channel 10 Gbps per port
    • Bi-directional
    • Dual-protocol (PCI Express* and DisplayPort*)
    • Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices
    • Daisy-chained devices
    • Electrical or optical cables
    • Low latency with highly accurate time synchronization
    • Uses native protocol software drivers
    • Power over cable for bus-powered devices

    Intel's Thunderbolt controllers interconnect a PC and other devices, transmitting and receiving packetized traffic for both PCIe and DisplayPort protocols. Thunderbolt technology works on data streams in both directions, at the same time, so users get the benefit of full bandwidth in both directions, over a single cable. With the two independent channels, a full 10 Gbps of bandwidth can be provided for the first device, as well as additional downstream devices.

    See the Intel site at http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm for more information.  See the technology brief at http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/325136-001US_secured.pdf if you want something you can print.

    I could use some higher speed interconnects but adoption, price, etc. will determine a lot.  USB 3.0 hasn’t exactly taken the industry by storm so we’ll see what happens with Thunderbolt 1.0.

  • Sprint Announces HTC Arrive Windows Phone 7 device - Available 3/20/2011

    SprintArrive

    Details at http://www.sprint.com/arrive

  • What if? New Windows Phone Ad sneaks out

  • Ben Rudolph and Ryan Asdourian show off some cool notebooks

    Ben the PC Guy and cohort Ryan Asdourian get more toys than I do.  Yea, I’m jealous and bitter.  Just kidding. Recently, they shot some video in the lobby of Building 37 near my favorite internal Starbucks location.  In the video Ben and Ryan talk about several notebook computers they think are worthy of your consideration.  I agree with most of them.  See Ben’s blog post on the subject complete with links to some of the goodies.  Here’s the video.

    Of the machines in the video, I would certainly like to try the Toshiba Kid’s PC, Sony Z, ASUS U36Jc, and the Lenovo U260.  I think the ASUS or Lenovo would be a particularly good fit for my wife, though she’ll likely get my ThinkPad T410s before too long.

  • Office Deployment - get some answers at Talk TechNet on 2/23/2011 at 9am PST

    TalkTechNetTalk TechNet is all about discussing topics and trends in the world of IT Professionals.  In this show we’ll have guest Jeremy Chapman. Jeremy is a Microsoft Senior Product Manager and popular speaker at the various IT Professional conferences like Tech Ed and MMS. Jeremy has been focused on deploying Windows and is now doing the same thing for the Office Product Group. Call in and join us for what promises to be a lively 60 minute session.  Get some burning questions answered.

    Register @ https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032476772&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US.

  • Detroit Muscle is Back

    image

    The all new Camaro ZL1 with 550 horse's. See http://www.chevrolet.com/camaro-zl1/. Available “early 2012” so even if you make Santa’s Nice list this year, you won’t have one in time for the next Dallas ice storm.  I wonder what this baby is going to cost.  I’m thinking pretty much the same price as a Corvette.

  • Internet Explorer 9 RC Product Guide - now available for download

    IE9_v_rgb

    With Windows® Internet Explorer® 9, your websites look and perform as if they were native to Microsoft® Windows. Today’s websites and browsers only use ten percent of what your PC offers, but with Internet Explorer 9 you can tap into the power of your whole PC so your websites shine.

    You can take full advantage of your PC’s hardware through Windows, and enjoy graphically rich and immersive experiences that are as fast and responsive as native applications installed on your PC. With a new, streamlined experience, you can focus on the websites you love with a clean look that integrates seamlessly with Windows 7.

    A robust set of built-in security, privacy, and reliability technologies keeps you safer and your browsing experience uninterrupted. Web developers also get support for HTML5 and modern web standards that take advantage of the graphics processing unit (GPU) means that the same markup not only works across the web, but runs faster and delivers a richer experience through Windows and Internet Explorer 9.

    This guide describes new features in Internet Explorer 9, highlighting the top features, and provides additional information about features specific for end users, developers, and IT professionals.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=d4a95d6a-5995-4078-a5cf-81fb207084bc.

  • Expression Encoder 4 Service Pack 1 - now available

    image

    http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Encoder4SP1_WhatsNew.aspx

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 breaks cover

    image

    Pretty impressive feature set. I definitely want to see this one up close. See Sammy’s info site at http://galaxytab.samsungmobile.com/.

  • Windows Phone KINECT Demo Debut

  • The Cost of Civic Duty

    A few weeks ago I received a jury summons.  You know the drill.  As a citizen, you are expected be be part of the judicial system and appear when summoned for jury pools. In this case, I was summoned for Municipal Court. I thought that was a little odd.  I didn’t even know we had jury’s for Municipal Court.  Apparently we do.

    So this morning I show up bright and early.  Myself and 30 others wait patiently for the clock to strike 7:58am so the officer can have us go through the metal detector.  The detector is turned up on super sensitive mode so everything comes out of the pockets.  Watch, jewelry, shoes, belt, you name it. 

    Next, we head to the jury waiting room.  They have some nice coffee and ice water for everyone.  There’s just one problem.  After about 15-20 minutes, we get kicked out of the room because someone forgot to reserve it and it’s double booked.  I’m not sure how that happens.  We’re asked to go ahead and go upstairs to the court room.

    We fill up the seats in the court room and hang out there for a while.  In comes this nice lady who proceeds to tell all about herself, the city, our city bond rating, how great the court system is, and why it’s important.  I agree with her.  I enjoy the rights and freedoms we hold dear.  She also emphasizes that this court has a rule that the parties must reach a plea 10 days before the court date, or the trial must happen.

    After we go through all of the instructions, she reads off our juror numbers.  I’m number 12.  It means I have a pretty good chance of being a juror for this trial.  No big deal.  I’ve been a juror before and this isn’t going to be bad anyway.  This is a Muni court.  This isn’t going to be a criminal rape or murder case.  Thankfully.

    We are asked to take a break, use the restrooms, etc.  The courthouse we’re in has WIFI access so I spend the next 30 minutes checking the news and piddling around.  Then comes the call for the potential jurors to huddle up.

    We are informed the defendant decided to pay the fine and plead guilty.  We are told thank you for doing our duty and that we are dismissed.  We are not required to serve as jurors for another 2 years because although we weren’t used today, we are now exempt.

    One of the citizens asked what the charge was that we were supposed to hear.  The lady answered, “Running a stop sign.”  Really?  Seriously?  Really!

    I am all for a jury of your peers and the right to have a trial and your day in court, but really.  This ticket was extremely costly and I’m not talking about the fine from the city.  I actually wonder what the true cost is. 

    Justice is an interesting thing.

  • Thunder Snow

    Obviously this guys hasn’t spent much time in Texas or Florida in the spring.  Otherwise he’d realize he is in danger. Hold that mic up real high.  Not!  And for the record, the other day was my first experience with Thunder Snow.

  • Office Web Apps - Guide for IT Pros - now available for download

    ofc-brand_h_rgbOffice Web Apps gives users a browser-based viewing and editing experience by providing a representation of an Office document in the browser. When a user clicks on a document stored in a SharePoint document library, the document opens directly in the browser. The document appears in the browser similar to how it appears in the Office client application. The Web app also provides many of the same editing features as an Office client application.

    Office Web Apps provides this representation of an Office Word document, PowerPoint presentation, Excel workbook, or OneNote notebook using native browser objects such as HTML, JavaScript, and images. Each document type is handled differently depending on the Office Web Apps services started and whether the Office Web Apps Feature is activated.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=515dd67e-3ff6-4f0d-bc45-cfc8ba742055.

  • Windows Security Survival Guide goes live on the TechNet WIKI

    ws2008 r2 blog logoMany companies invest a good amount of money trying to protect their resources by adding more software, additional layers of protection and also by enhancing policies and procedures to enforce security. However, many companies do not realize yet that many of those security goals can be accomplished by correctly configuring the Windows operating system and taking advantage of the built in security features. The goal of this article is to give you the core foundation on Windows Security and how to take advantage of Windows operating system security capabilities to achieve company’s security goals. This survival guide it’s yours, feel free to enhance it with your insights around this subject.

    Full article courtesy of Yuri Diogenes @ http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/windows-security-survival-guide.aspx.

  • Let’s face it, we’re spoiled rotten

    How about some comic relief and perspective?  Soo true.

  • Internet Explorer 9 hits RC milestone! Download now available

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    Head on over to the IE homepage or directly to the download area.  I certainly like the changes and features that have been improved since the Beta. Much better experience for me. 

  • Back in Black

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    Porsche Boxster S Black Edition. Great for Texas winters and summer nights. Slightly less than a Superbowl ticket.

  • Talk TechNet - Episode 3 - Small Business Server with Amy Babinchak - 2/2 at 9am PST

    TechNet Webcast: Talk TechNet with Keith Combs and Matt Hester – Episode 3: Amy Babinchak on Small Business Server and Windows Home Server (Level 200)

    Talk TechNet is all about discussing topics and trends in the world of IT Professionals.  In this show we’ll have guest Amy Babinchak. Amy is a Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) MVP five years running. Amy is President of Harbor Computer Services and an international speaker on SMB security. Call in and join us for what promises to be a lively 60 minute session.  Get some burning questions answered.

    Register now @ https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032476334&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US if you are going to use a PC and LiveMeeting.

    We know you are stuck in the ice.  Call in from your car.  Phone: (800) 227-8104 PIN: 4684

  • Talk TechNet show at 9am PST today on Deployment!

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    Registration at https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032476754&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US.

    Dial-in number = (800) 229-0449 pin 5877