Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

September, 2011

  • The Adventures of BATCHMan and Boy Blunder Cmdlet

    BatchManThe one superhero to whom all others pale in comparison is faster than that so-called Flash guy with his efficiency of code and able to leap past unbelievable expectations of clients (more than SomewhatSuper Guy). He has the endurance of an all-night developer trapped in a last-minute bug fix and the strength of an IT pro standing in an overheating datacenter.

    It’s your friend and mine: BATCHman!

    …and his Boy Blunder Cmdlet.


    And for those of you that must have a YouTube video, here it is. Evil grin.


    Ok, there’s 67 seconds of your life you can never get back.  Ha!  But fear not, BATCHMan and Cmdlet are actually doing great work at  Honorary Scripting Guy and crazy man Sean Kearney looks a lot like someone just crazy enough to pull this off.

  • Put People first with Windows Phone 7.5

    Snazzy new video and hip beat.  Let's tweet.

  • Windows 8 – The Developer Preview

    buildFullLogo_web“You probably want to try out the preview release—and you can. Starting at 8PM today, Seattle time, you can download all of the code that attendees at BUILD received. This includes 32 or 64 bit x86 builds, with or without development tools. The releases also include a suite of sample/SDK applications and the SDK (please note these are merely illustrations of potential apps, not apps that we intend to ship with Windows 8). The ISOs are linked to from You download with a Windows Live ID (which you might want to use to test out some of the new roaming features).”

    See the full post at

  • Amazon starts selling a new Kindle - smaller and lighter


    See for full product information and a great comparison chart to the other available Kindles.  Although the price you see thrown around is $79, keep in mind this the ad supported device.  If you don’t want the commercials, it’s $109.  The same is true for the new Kindle Touch 3G.  They have the $149 ad supported price or it’s $189 without ads.

  • Windows 8 Secured Boot Architecture explained

    The Windows engineering team has published several articles about the new boot possibilities for Windows 8.  Here’s an excerpt from the most recent post on the subject:

    There have been some comments about how Microsoft implemented secure boot and unfortunately these seemed to synthesize scenarios that are not the case so we are going to use this post as a chance to further describe how UEFI enables secure boot and the options available to PC manufacturers. The most important thing to understand is that we are introducing capabilities that provide a no-compromise approach to security to customers that seek this out while at the same time full and complete control over the PC continues to be available. Tony Mangefeste on our Ecosystem team authored this post. –Steven Sinofsky

    0675.Figure-1---Windows-8-Platform-integrity-architecture_406B7F53Quick Summary
    • UEFI allows firmware to implement a security policy
    • Secure boot is a UEFI protocol not a Windows 8 feature
    • UEFI secure boot is part of Windows 8 secured boot architecture
    • Windows 8 utilizes secure boot to ensure that the pre-OS environment is secure
    • Secure boot doesn’t “lock out” operating system loaders, but is a policy that allows firmware to validate authenticity of components
    • OEMs have the ability to customize their firmware to meet the needs of their customers by customizing the level of certificate and policy management on their platform
    • Microsoft does not mandate or control the settings on PC firmware that control or enable secured boot from any operating system other than Windows

    See the rest of the information and the entire post @

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 RC - now available for download

    SCVMM_logoSystem Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 delivers industry leading fabric management, virtual machine management and services deployment in private cloud environments. VMM offers key new features that include hypervisor creation and management, network management, storage management, private cloud creation, self-service usage and service creation. It features deep investments in server application virtualization, service design and service modeling all of which can be used to efficiently offer an on-premises private cloud.

    [UPDATE for 4/23/2012] - The information on the supported upgrades below is incorrect and out-of-date.  The RC download description was updated last September, but this blog entry did not receive that update.  The information on the SCVMM blog post supersedes the information here.  Sorry for the confusion.

    Feature Summary:

    • Fabric Management
      • Setup Upgrade
        • *New in RC: The following upgrade paths are enabled (supported only for TAP customers in production):
          • VMM 2008 R2 SP1 --SC VMM 2012 RC -- SC VMM 2012 RTM
          • SC VMM 2012 RC -- SC VMM 2012 RTM
      • Hyper-V and Cluster Lifecycle Management – Deploy Hyper-V to bare metal server, create Hyper-V clusters, orchestrate patching of a Hyper-V Cluster
        • *New in RC:
          • ISO or CD-based OSD for environments with DHCP without WDS
          • OSD will now convert dynamic to fixed type of VHD destination
          • All network adapters on host can be configured during provisioning
        • *New in RC:
          • Ability to bypass cluster validation during cluster creation
          • Run cluster validation reports on-demand
          • New Cluster status tab to view an aggregated status and a cluster validation report
          • Ability to see current CSV owner in the properties of the cluster
      • Third Party Virtualization Platforms - Add and Manage Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX Hosts and Clusters
      • Network Management – Manage IP Address Pools, MAC Address Pools and Load Balancers
        • *New in RC:
          • Simplification of the logical networks in the Fabric workspace
          • Ability to see IP addresses that are in use from a IP pool
          • Added support for Microsoft Network Load Balancer
          • Gateway and DNS are no longer mandatory fields for logical networks
          • Load balancer can now support affinity to logical networks
      • Storage Management – Classify Storage, Manage Storage Pools and LUNs
        • *New in RC
          • Create persistent sessions to iSCSI array and logon initiator to array
          • Better scalability of storage operations - LUN create, snapshot, clone, masking, and unmasking
          • Option to create storage groups per cluster (BETA only supported creation of storage group per node in a cluster)
          • Enablement of MPIO feature when provisioning a new Hyper-V server
          • Automatic MPIO device claim
          • Support for arrays that implement OnePortPerView
      • Update Management- Keep your VMM Fabric Servers (VMM roles, hosts, and clusters) up-to-date with patches.
        • *New in RC:
          • Share a WSUS root server between System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2/ System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta
          • Hyper-V Cluster Orchestration- Nodes put into VMM Maintenance Mode can be set to trigger Maintenance Mode in Operations Manager.
      • Resource Optimization
        • Dynamic Optimization – proactively balance the load of VMs across a cluster
        • Power Optimization – schedule power savings to use the right number of hosts to run your workloads – power the rest off until they are needed.
          • *New in RC:
            • Set Operations Manager Mode for powered down hosts
        • PRO – integrate with System Center Operations Manager to respond to application-level performance monitors.
          • *New in RC:
            • Support added for System Center Operations Manager 2012 Beta
            • VMM will ship two sample PRO Packs: Cluster scale out and Service scale out MPs
    • Cloud Management
      • Abstract server, network and storage resources into private clouds
      • Delegate access to private clouds with control of capacity, capabilities and user quotas
      • Enable self-service usage for application administrator to author, deploy, manage and decommission applications in the private cloud
    • Service Lifecycle Management
      • Define service templates to create sets of connected virtual machines, OS images and application packages
        • *New in RC:
          • Service Designer and Specialization UI enhancements
          • Added ability to use Service Template Patterns
      • Compose operating system images and applications during service deployment
        • *New in RC:
          • IP-based provisioning
          • New application instance view
      • Scale out the number of virtual machines in a service
      • Service performance and health monitoring integrated with System Center Operations Manager
      • Decouple OS image and application updates through image-based servicing
        • *New in RC:
          • Streamlined ability to enable OS VHD updates to a Service Template
          • Publish updated Service Templates in order to update Service Instances
      • Leverage powerful application virtualization technologies such as Server App-V

    Whew! Go get it @

  • Lenovo counters with IdeaPad Ultrabooks™

    If you thought Lenovo would be sitting on the sidelines while Toshiba, Acer, ASUS, Samsung and other OEMs go after the ultralight notebook space, think again.  Today Lenovo announced the IdeaPad U300, U300s, and U400.  Pretty cool new consumer oriented machines.  I can't wait to see what's coming in the ThinkPad line.  In the meantime, here's some info on the U400.


    U300 Specs -

    U300s Specs -

    U400 Specs -

  • Check out the newly announced Toshiba Z835 Ultrabook

    Toshiba_ZIRVINE, Calif.—Sept. 1, 2011—Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today unveiled the Portégé® Z830 Series, the company's first Ultrabook™ using 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors. Weighing less than 2.5 pounds1 and featuring a 0.63-inch (15.9 mm) profile, the Portégé Z830 Series is about 20 percent lighter and 40 percent thinner than the award-winning ultraportable Portégé R830 Series. These new systems offer unprecedented portability, durability and essential features with visibly smart style and responsiveness—and start at under $1,000 MSRP2.

    Supporting the latest 2nd Generation Intel Core processors3 and ultra-fast DDR3 memory, the Portégé Z830 Series provides the performance needed for work and entertainment plus improved power management for great battery life. The Ultrabook device's 128GB solid state drive4 delivers an extremely responsive experience, increased durability and increased energy efficiency. Paired with Toshiba's new exclusive Hi-Speed Start Technology, the Portégé Z830 can power on and get users up and running at work or home in just seconds.

    "The Portégé Z830 Series sets a new standard for thin and light systems, not just in portability, but also in affordability for such cutting-edge designs," said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Toshiba's engineering achievements and expert craftsmanship have resulted in a brilliant and fully thought-through innovation that exceeds expectations, perfect for both mobile business professionals and consumers."

    The Portégé Z830 Series is built with a host of convenience-driven features such as a full-size LED Backlit and spill-resistant keyboard that makes typing easy in low light conditions and helps guard against accidents. The Ultrabook also includes Toshiba's USB Sleep & Charge5 technology to give users the freedom to power up their smartphones even while the system is powered down. Stereo speakers with enhanced audio technology from Waves Audio make the Portégé Z830 ideal for listening to music, watching movies and video chatting.

    The Ultrabook devices feature a light, yet durable magnesium alloy casing that is reinforced with an enhanced Honeycomb Rib design and new internal structures that provide shock absorption and increased rigidity. The systems also feature Toshiba's EasyGuard® Technology, designed to address the security, reliability and durability issues mobile users encounter.

    Portégé Z830 Series Ultrabook systems will be available in November 2011 at select retail stores as well as through select Toshiba Preferred Partner Program resellers and directly at

    Image Gallery:

  • New Changes to Zune Music Pass in the US

    Zune_Vrt_4C_SOn October 3rd, in the US, we will be introducing a new, lower priced version of Zune Music Pass at $9.99 per month. The plan will provide unlimited, on-demand access to more than 14 million songs and tens of thousands of music videos. Unlike the current Zune Music Pass offering, it will not include 10 MP3s to keep each month. In addition, as part of the new $9.99 offering, subscribers will be able to download songs and synchronize them on up to a total of four devices (1 PC + any combination of PC, Zune device and Windows Phone), and continue to enjoy unlimited access to streaming on Xbox 360 and on

    Once the new Zune Music Pass offering is available, the $14.99 plan with 10 monthly MP3 credits will no longer be available to new subscribers. However, current subscribers can stay on their existing Zune Music Pass plan if they choose and will also have access to streaming music videos.

    More information @

  • Have a great idea for Windows Phone? Here’s the stack

    UserVoiceWelcome to the Windows Phone Feature Suggestion Box! Please vote for a feature suggestion or submit your own!

    We've created this site as a tool to help Microsoft understand how customers use Windows Phone and we welcome your feedback.

    Please note that the Windows Phone Feature Suggestion Box is moderated and is a voluntary participation-based project, and if your submission is not a product feature suggestion it may be removed. Please do not send any novel or patentable ideas, samples or demos which you do not want to grant a license to Microsoft. See the "Terms of Use" link below for more information. Please limit your suggestions to 25 words or less.

    Also, be sure to check out all the features now available in Windows Phone 7.5!

    Add a suggestion or vote for the current items @

  • Windows 8 App Compat Cookbook - now available for download

    This document builds on the concepts embodied in the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Application Compatibility Cookbook ( and the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Application Quality Cookbook ( Like them, this document provides developers with the means to become familiar with how to verify the compatibility of their apps with the new operating system and provides an overview of the few known application incompatibility issues in Windows and Windows Server Developer Preview. The Cookbook contains more than two dozen topics divided into two major sections:

    • General Compatibility
    • New Features and Enhancements

    We invite you to check out these topics to learn how to optimize your apps to take advantage of what this newest release of Windows has to offer.

    Go get it @

  • Ben “The Virtual PC Guy” Armstrong is the next Talk TechNet guest on 9/2 at 9am PST

    imageBen “The Virtual PC Guy” Armstrong has been on the leading edge of many of our virtualization developments for years.  Ben joined Microsoft during the CONNECTIX acquisition back in 2003. During his tenure here at Microsoft Ben has helped shape the virtualization offerings with Virtual PC, Virtual Server, Hyper-V and more.  Ben is an avid gamer and has a great blog on virtualization and other cool technology at  

    This is a great opportunity to ask Ben questions about the Microsoft virtualization products and services.  In the meantime, be sure and checkout the TechNet Virtualization hub at  

    Register @

    Call in starting at 9am PST via telephone number 800-229-0449 PIN: 5639.  Hit *8 to let us know you have a question.

  • Windows 8 Adds .ISO and .VHD Mount Support


    I have a pretty huge library of Microsoft products.  Those products were downloaded from my TechNet Subscription in .ISO form.  A few of those .ISO files are burned to physical media but in general it’s only the OS images I need for bare metal installs.  The rest of the library is typically used for testing and demonstrating Microsoft products here on my blog, customer meetings, conferences and seminars.

    Like many of you, I have often needed to crack open the .ISO or .VHD file to check something in the structure, a file version, or something else.  I’ve always resorted to a variety of tools and utilities to create, burn or mount .ISO files.

    Thankfully some new support is coming to Windows.  The Windows engineering team has detailed what will be provided in Windows 8 at the blog post.

    Be sure to read Rajeev Nagar’s description of the feature and support that is coming. Enjoy!

  • Fire Relief Concert tickets on sale at noon on 9/23

    imageWillie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks, Lyle Lovett, and Asleep at the Wheel will perform at Fire Relief: The Concert for Central Texas at the Austin's Frank Erwin Center Oct. 17 along with special guests Eric Johnson, Steve Miller, Joe Satriani, Shawn Colvin and the Court Yard Hounds and the Texas Tornados. Emcees for the evening will include Kyle Chandler and Turk Pipkin.

    Tickets will go on sale Friday, Sept. 23 at noon and are $25, $35, $100 and $250 VIP. The VIP ticket price includes premium seating and access to the VIP Lounge in the Lone Star Room. There will also be a silent auction with specialty items autographed by the artists, and T-shirts with the concert’s logo for sale.

  • Second Place?


    Here's second place from the Ferrari World Design Contest 2011.  See the metamorphosis at  See the Ferrari contest site for information on the other projects and winners.

  • Acer announces the Aspire S Ultrabook™ Series


    Today at IFA in Berlin Acer finally announced the Aspire S Series of Ultrabooks ™.  See the press release at  For more hardware porn, head on over to the picture gallery at the site.

    It will be interesting to see what reviewers think of this design.  It’s really minimal.  Very few ports.  Reminds me of the Samsung Series 9 and the lack of ports on it.  They are offering some good SSD options but I’m not sure about US pricing.  The press release above says:

    “Priced between €799 and €1199, the Aspire S3 will start to roll out in select regions in September and ramp-up in October, and is expected to become Acer's star product during the fourth quarter. For product price, specifications and availability in each country, please contact Acer's local operations.”

    This market is going to be very competitive and given the current economic situation in the USA, the features you get for the price is going to be very important.

  • Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” update enters Delivering Phase

    windows phone WP-tag_blue_v1_rgbThis morning, at roughly 10 a.m. Pacific time, we began rolling out the Mango update to phones around the world. I’m sure you’re as excited as we are: Windows Phone 7.5 (aka Mango) is our largest and most feature-packed software refresh to date.

    I do want to emphasize that today is just the start. Our plan, as I’ll explain in a moment, is to ramp up delivery gradually—but make the update available to most existing customers within 4 weeks.

    I’m sure you have lots of questions about the update process and especially when you’ll be able to install Windows Phone 7.5. Here’s our plan.

    See the rest of this blog post at

  • HTC Announces Windows Phone OS 7.5 devices - TITAN and Radar

    imageWith the largest screen of any Windows Phone, the HTC TITAN lets you work big and play big. Sporting a 4.7” screen and an ultra-slim 9.9mm unibody contoured design, the HTC TITAN is unlike anything you’ve ever held.

    It’s the perfect phone for multitasking, enhancing your work efficiency, editing Office documents with the big virtual keyboard and making your entertainment and photos really come to life.

    See the TITAN full specs at

    See the Radar information and specs at

    Go Mango!

  • 20 Years of Inventing the Future

    imageIn the 20 years since it was founded, Microsoft Research has grown from a small group of researchers to approximately 1,000 computer scientists at research labs on four continents. During this growth, the mission of Microsoft Research has remained persistent: to advance the state of the art of computer science and transfer key new technologies into Microsoft products.

    In addition to making advances in technologies that can contribute to better products, research at Microsoft also affords an opportunity to use our computer science technologies to help scientists make progress on some of the great problems facing our society. This was the vision for the technical computing initiative we began in 2005, and now we have Microsoft researchers working in collaboration with leading academic researchers throughout the world on a wide range of problems related to health and the environment.

    See some stories at

  • Poseidon's Cable Haven

    CableHeaven Hope we are protecting this.

  • Didn’t attend //BUILD? No problem, hit PLAY

    buildFullLogo_webBUILD is a new event that shows modern hardware and software developers how to take advantage of the future of Windows. Learn how to work with the all new touch-centric user experience to create fast, fluid, and dynamic applications that leverage the power and flexibility of the core of Windows, used by more than a billion people around the world.

    Hear how the UI was designed to work seamlessly with a diversity of devices and form factors. Go behind the scenes and learn all about the new app model that allows you to create powerful new apps. All while retaining the ability to use your existing apps. Web-connected and web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript have access to the power of the PC. Touch-optimized browsing, with the full power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10 transforms your experiences with the web. BUILD is the first place to dive deep into the future of Windows.

    Head on over to for the replays of the keynotes and sessions.

  • Microsoft Certified live conference event - free Virtualization session

    ws2008 r2 blog logoThis free 3 hour session presents a current look at Virtualization – An update on the technology, overview of certifications, and a discussion of the career opportunities available. Presented by two experts in the field: Symon Perriman and Rick Claus, you won’t want to miss the first in our new series of Career Conference live events. Registration is free of charge!

    Date and time: October 4, 2011 | 8am-11am PDT | Live online training

    Register @

  • WOOT - 64GB waterproof USB stick for $49.99


  • It’s almost midnight. Time for Gears of War 3


    Gears of War 3 goes in sale in two hours.  Hope you got some sleep.

  • Deployment ailments? The Deployment Doctor cures them on Talk TechNet at 9am PST tomorrow


    Talk TechNet is all about discussing topics and trends in the world of IT Professionals.  In this show we’ll have guest Rhonda Layfield. Rhonda is a Microsoft MVP and SME on deployment technologies. She is an author, consultant and trainer.  Rhonda has been in the IT community for almost 30 years and writes for Windows ITPro magazine when she isn’t out delivering courses on this subject.

    Please join us tomorrow morning at 9am PST for Deployment day on Talk TechNet.  Please register at

    Or, if you would like to call in directly, feel free to call 800-229-0449 at 9am PST and use pin 5639.  When you are ready to ask a question, press * 8 to let us know.  See you in the morning!

  • "Beyond 9/11" by TIME - Powerful


  • Hyper-V is coming to Windows 8

    “Whether you are a software developer, an IT administrator, or simply an enthusiast, many of you need to run multiple operating systems, usually on many different machines. Not all of us have access to a full suite of labs to house all these machines, and so virtualization can be a space and time saver.

    In building Windows 8 we worked to enable Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last 2 releases of Windows Server, to function on the client OS as well. In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer’s hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).”

    See the complete blog post at

    Looks like my dual boot days are coming to an end.

  • Office 365 News Windows Phone 7 app released

    Fabio Correa developed and has just released a new Windows Phone 7 application that pulls in Office 365 information from a variety of sources.  You’ll see entries from the Office 365 blog, other technical blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  The application is free.

    You can follow the link into the Zune software to check it out or simply search for “Office 365 News” in the Marketplace on your WP7 device.  Enjoy.


  • Lync for Mac 2011 Released to Manufacturing

    See the blog post at for more information.  See for the product marketing site.