Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

October, 2011

  • Triumph Steve McQueen™ Edition

    imageTriumph has joined forces with the estate of Hollywood icon Steve McQueen to create a limited edition motorcycle that pays tribute to the late actor’s love of the British brand’s products.

    Based on the classic Bonneville T100, just 1,100 of the Steve McQueen™ Edition will be sold worldwide. Featuring a host of modified parts, the design is inspired by the Triumph Trophy TR6 that McQueen insisted on riding during the famous stunt scene in The Great Escape, and features a military-style Matt Khaki Green livery, stencil-style Triumph decal on the tank and the actor’s signature on the side covers.

    Featuring a solo seat and black luggage rack, the McQueen bike has also been fitted with a rugged skid plate and small black-bodied headlamp. The Triumph Steve McQueen™ Edition features a host of other blacked out components, including wheel rims and hubs, handlebars, rear springs, mirrors and front mudguard supports.

    To confirm the bike’s provenance, each machine is individually numbered with a plaque placed on the handlebar clamp, while owners will also receive a certificate of authenticity with their machine.

    More information at

  • Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry


    I don’t think this is the most expensive phone ever made, but it’s certainly up there.

  • New System Center Release Candidates - now available for download

    • SysCnt12_v_rgbSystem Center 2012 Configuration Manager RC provides comprehensive configuration management for the Microsoft platform that can help you empower users with the devices and applications they need to be productive while maintaining corporate compliance and control.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection RC, built on System Center Configuration Manager, provides industry-leading threat detection of malware and exploits as part of a unified infrastructure for managing client security and compliance that can help you simplify and improve endpoint protection.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center Operations Manager 2012 Beta provides deep application diagnostics and infrastructure monitoring that can help you ensure the predictable performance and availability of vital applications and offers a comprehensive view of your datacenter, private, and public clouds.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center Data Protection Manager 2012 Beta provides unified data protection for Windows servers and clients that can help you deliver scalable, manageable, and cost-effective protection and restore scenarios from disk, tape, and off premise.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center Orchestrator 2012 RC provides orchestration, integration, and automation of IT processes through the creation of runbooks that can help you to define and standardize best practices and improve operational efficiency.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 RC provides virtual machine management and services deployment with support for multi-hypervisor environments that can help you deliver a flexible and cost effective private cloud environment.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center App Controller 2012 Beta provides a common self-service experience across private and public clouds that can help you empower application owners to easily build, configure, deploy, and manage new services.
      Available in these languages: English
      System Requirements >>
    • System Center Service Manager 2012 Beta provides flexible self-service experiences and standardized datacenter processes that can help you integrate people, workflows, and knowledge across enterprise infrastructure and applications.
      Available in these languages: Chinese (Simplified), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish
      System Requirements >>

    Go get them @

  • Productivity Future Vision (2011)

    I love videos like this.

  • Winter is coming - arm yourself


    He with the best toys wins the snowball fight. Get it @

  • NOKIA outs new Windows Phone devices


    At the Nokia World keynote early this morning, Nokia announced it’s plans to connect a billion new people in emerging markets. In addition to the global vision, Nokia also announced availability of some new Windows Phone devices (pictured above). The keynote replay is currently on the homepage for Nokia World 2011 so go listen when you have a spare 90 minutes.  The first 35 minutes is about the emerging market plan.

    I like the look of the Lumia 800.  I can’t wait to see it up close and personal.  I’ll have to wait a few more months for the US launch, but it’ll give me time to read some of the reviews of the European devices.  If you happen to be in the UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany or the Netherlands, you can pre-order the device right now.  See the price checker.

  • Happy Birthday Windows XP


    Ever notice the similarity in the wallpaper color and the colors on my blog?  Total coincidence. Grin.

  • Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 released and now available for download

    ws2008 r2 blog logoThe Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 provides storage (disks) over a TCP/IP network. It turns a computer running Windows Server into a storage device which provides shared block storage. You can use Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 to perform a variety of storage-related tasks, including the following:

    • Provide shared storage for Hyper-V to enable high availability and live migration
    • Consolidate storage for multiple application servers (i.e. Microsoft SQL Server or Hyper-V)
    • Provide shared storage for applications hosted on a Windows failover cluster
    • Enable diskless computers to boot remotely from a single operating system image using iSCSI

    The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is an economical solution suited for a development or test environment and a small, medium, or branch office production environment. It enables storage consolidation and sharing on a Windows Server by implementing the iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) protocol, which supports SCSI-block access to a storage device over a TCP/IP network. For details on how to manage iSCSI targets, see

    This download package includes the following items:

    • x64:
      • iSCSItarget_public.msi: Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 service component for Windows Server 2008 R2.
      • iSCSITargetClient_public.msi: Virtual Disk Service (VDS) provider, Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) provider, and high-performance computing (HPC) providers to support diskless boot in HPC clusters.
    • x86:
      • iSCSITargetClient_public.msi: VDS provider, VSS provider, and HPC providers to support diskless boot in HPC clusters.
    • Documentation:
      • iSCSItarget_Gstart_R2.doc: Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 Getting Started Guide
      • iSCSI_33_relnotes.doc: Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 Release Notes
    • Autorun.inf: Automatically starts Index.htm to display install options
    • Index.html: Main menu page for installing software.
    • Bkgd-page-servers-dynagrid.jpg: Used by Index.html.
    • Copyright.jpg: Used by Index.html.
    • Wsr2logo.bmp: Used by Index.html.

    Go get is @

  • Exchange Server Active Directory Schema Changes Reference, October 2011

    Exchange_v_rgbThis download includes the Exchange Server Active Directory Schema Reference, which provides information about the changes that Microsoft Exchange Server makes to the Active Directory schema when it is installed. The Exchange Server Active Directory Schema Changes Reference includes changes made by Exchange Server 2010 SP2, Exchange Server 2010 SP1, Exchange Server 2010, Exchange Server 2007 SP3, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007, and Exchange Server 2003.

    Go get it @

  • Microsoft Lync for Mac 2011 14.0.1 Update

    ofc-logoThis update resolves an issue for users of Mac OS X 10.7.2 (Lion) that causes Microsoft Lync for Mac 2011 to close unexpectedly when you sign in. This update also resolves an issue that prevents users from signing in to Office 365. This update is required for all users who use Lync for Mac 2011 with Office 365.

    Get it @

  • App-V Downloadable Documentation Page


    Looking for some Application Virtualization (App-V) information?  Here’s a nice download page with all of the docs in a nice ordered list.  Go get em @

  • Dear Santa, I want this. It’s only $650,000

    I’ll take one. More information @ Engadget.

  • NOKIA Expected to Announce Windows Phones at NOKIA World on 10/26

    windows phone WP-tag_red_v1_rgbLast night at the AsiaD conference, Windows Phone President Andy Lees indicated NOKIA will announce Windows Phones at NOKIA World.  Andy discussed the partnership with NOKIA and other OEMs as well as the Windows Phone momentum and developer support.  See the interview by Ina Fried at along with the highlight video.  Comments about NOKIA World begin at 00:57 seconds. 

    See for other topics discussed in the interview along with some pictures of the demonstrations.

    I personally can’t wait for the NOKIA information.  I have always wanted a NOKIA phone.  It’s going to be on my list for Santa Claus. Hope I’m not on the naughty list. Well maybe I do.

  • Windows Phone President Andy Lees shows off Samsung Focus S

    FocusSAndy Lees, Microsoft Windows Phone President did some show and tell of his own at the AsiaD conference last night.  In particular, Andy displayed the coming AT&T Samsung Focus S for the first time in public, the Samsung Focus Flash, and the HTC Titan. 

    For the first look pictures and more information, head on over to the Windows Phone Blog.

  • New ASUS Transformer Revealed at AsiaD

    ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih brought some show and tell to the stage this evening.  Checkout this picture of the coming ASUS Transformer.

  • Big Box of Awesome II - Enter now for a chance to win


    Head on over to and enter the Big Box of Awesome II sweepstakes. See for the official rules.

    I hate that rule that goes something like “You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and”.  Sad.

  • Windows Phone 7.5 Custom Ringtone How-To

    windows phone WP-tag_red_v1_rgbFinally!  I installed Windows Phone 7.5 to my ATT HTC HD7S this morning and shortly after that success, I set out to replace the lame ringtone.  Yes, you can now implement custom ringtones on your phone and although it isn’t as simple as finding a song in your music collection, it isn’t impossible either.

    There are really several key aspects you must pay attention to.  First, the Genre for the song must be Ringtone.  Therefore you are going to need to edit the metadata for a song.  Second, the song must be less than 40 seconds and smaller than 1MB in size.  As you can see, you are going to need an audio file editor to create the ringtone you want.  After creation you simply need to add it to your Zune collection on the phone so it will show up in the list of available tunes.

    Want more precise instructions?  See John Garland’s blog post on the subject @  He covers all of the bases for you very nicely.  Enjoy your sweet Mango!

    The first ringtone I created is a 35 second clip from the beginning of “Down With the Sickness” by the rock group Disturbed.  I’ve been using that track for presentation sound checks for years and it seemed only appropriate to pay homage.  We’ll see what the folks in the grocery store think next time I’m there and receive a call.  Evil grin.

  • Welcome SKYPE !!!



    See the official press release @

  • ASUS Zenbook website launches - product about to go on sale everywhere

    ASUS had their coming out party in New York City yesterday and showed off the shiny new Zenbook™.  The new Ultrabook™ from ASUS has an impressive set of creds in the spec sheet.  For instance, the ZenBook™ UX31 boasts a 450nit 1600x900 13” screen.  That should be enough brightness for tanning purposes and vitamin D production.  Here are the specs:


    If you haven’t seen some of the pictures of this notebook checkout the following picture. I really need to see this thing up close and personal. I’m very curious how it really looks and feels, especially the keyboard.  It’s a shame the keyboard isn’t backlit.


    See the website for more hardware porn, features, and all of the channel partners and retail locations where the Zenbook is about to go on sale.  I did some checking and although it’s after midnight here, the embargo for the USA must last until west coast time.  Got your credit card ready?  Should be good for quite a few AA miles.

  • South African Biker T-Boned by Antelope


  • Acer S3-951 Ultrabook now available for pre-order

    Acer America today announced the North American availability of its first Ultrabook, the Acer Aspire S3-951.  This featherweight Ultrabook powers on instantly, connects to the Web in seconds and provides up to 50 days of stand-by time, or 6 hours of continuous usage.  As slim and easy to carry as a magazine, it includes a powerful Intel Core i5 Processor, speedy solid state drive for quickly booting the operating system, roomy hard drive, and essential USB and HDMI ports.


    See the full press release at See the area for one hub of information. 

    Then of course there’s the other marketing site at  Two marketing hubs?  Interesting.  Ready to buy?  Head on over to and plunk down $899.  It’s also available for pre-order at Fry’s and other locations. Check the specifications carefully.


    This video is actually pretty good.  But they should have named the S3 the USS Enterprise or something to go with the starfleet boldly go where no Ultrabook has gone before theme.  Grin.

  • Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) - Volume 11 Released and available

    0_day_vuln_infographic_FINALWith a collection of data from Internet services and over 600 million computers worldwide, the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) exposes the threat landscape of exploits, vulnerabilities, and malware. Awareness of threats is a preventive step to help you protect your organization, software, and people.

    Worldwide Threat Assessment is an analysis of the global impact while Regional Threat Assessment provides detailed telemetry by location. Protection methods appear in Managing Risk.

    SIR volume 11 provides data from January to June 2011 and features the article “Zeroing In on Malware Propagation Methods”. Here’s the first paragraph from the article.

    “Among the array of technical and non-technical mechanisms that malicious parties have at their disposal for attacking computers and stealing data, the zero-day vulnerability—a software vulnerability that is successfully exploited before the software vendor has published a security update addressing it—is especially significant for security professionals and attackers alike. Zero-day vulnerabilities—according to the conventional wisdom, at least—cannot be effectively defended against, and can arise at any time, leaving even security-conscious IT administrators essentially at their mercy. While technologies like Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) have been introduced to make it more difficult to reliably exploit software, and processes like the Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL) have been shown to reduce the incidence of software vulnerabilities, these vulnerabilities continue to capture the imagination.”

    Download the SIR 11 PDF now @ the Microsoft download center.

  • Don’t forget to download the Office 2010 SP1 .ISO’s

    ofc-logoI nearly forgot to download the .ISO files for Office after the SP1 release.  That is until I did a new install and went to fetch a key a little while ago.  Be sure and get some.


  • Ars Technica: Windows Azure Tops in Cloud Speed Test

    imageMicrosoft’s Windows Azure has beaten all competitors in independent tests using Compuware’s CloudSleuth testing tool. Article triggers heated discussion.

    What do you think about the article?  Lots of interesting comments.

  • Small form factor PC’s - checkout the ZOTAC ZBOX nano VD01

    imageI still haven’t given up the idea that my Samsung 55” HDTV can be successfully driven by a cool little Windows 7 or Windows 8 box.  Zotac just announced Zotac Zboz.  Catchy name.  Sounds familiar.

    I’d like to put something like this in my entertainment center and have it record FIOS TV from a Ceton USB or HDHomeRun Prime network tuner. 

    Anyone doing this?  I tried this before with an ATOM based Acer Revo and it didn’t work out so well.  Anyone have thoughts on the chipset in this?  Click the pic for the manufacturer information or the link below.

    See  Looks like they have a .PDF data sheet at

  • Microsoft® Office 365: Connect and Collaborate Virtually Anywhere, Anytime

    CoverTrain. Coffee shop. Soccer field. Now you can connect, collaborate, and get things done—virtually anywhere—using Microsoft Office 365. Guided by business productivity expert Katherine Murray, you’ll get a running start with Office 365 cloud-based business services. And you’ll take wing as you learn best practices for connecting the people and resources you need, and orchestrating the results you want.

    Connect, collaborate, consult, and create from virtually anywhere

    • Set up your Office 365 site, manage access, and add mobile devices
    • Create, edit, and share documents on the fly
    • Share files, calendars, and updates from your team site
    • Manage email, contacts, and appointments with the Outlook® Web App
    • Stay connected via instant messaging, voice, chat, and social media
    • Host live web meetings incorporating audio, video, and slide presentations
    • Create a public website to share information with clients and customers
    • Use workflows to collectively track project tasks and progress

    Title: Microsoft® Office 365: Connect and Collaborate Virtually Anywhere, Anytime
    By: Katherine Murray
    Publisher: Microsoft Press
    Formats: Print, Ebook, Safari Books Online

    Print: July 2011
    Ebook: July 2011
    Pages: 336
    Print ISBN: 978-0-7356-5694-9 | ISBN 10: 0-7356-5694-0
    Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7356-5693-2 | ISBN 10: 0-7356-5693-2

    Release information at

    Free eBook download @

  • Exchange Server AD Schema Changes Reference - now available

    Exchange_v_rgbThis download includes the Exchange Server Active Directory Schema Reference, which provides information about the changes that Microsoft Exchange Server makes to the Active Directory schema when it is installed. The Exchange Server Active Directory Schema Changes Reference includes changes made by Exchange Server 2010 SP1, Exchange Server 2010 SP2, Exchange Server 2010, Exchange Server 2007 SP3, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007, and Exchange Server 2003.

    This is the September 2011 edition of the reference guide.  Go grab it @

  • SQL Server 2008 SP3 released - download now available

    SQL08_v_rgbMicrosoft SQL Server Sustained Engineering group is pleased to announce the release of SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3. Both the Service Pack and Feature Pack updates are available for download on the Microsoft Download Center. As part of our continued commitment to software excellence for our customers, this upgrade is free and doesn’t require an additional service contract.

    SQL Server 2008 SP3 contains fixes to issues that have been reported through our customer feedback platforms and Hotfix solution provided in SQL Server 2008 SP2 Cumulative Update 1 thru to Cumulative Update 4.  Service Pack 3 also includes supportability enhancements and issues that have been reported through Windows Error Reporting system.

    A few customers requested updates in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP3 are:

    • Enhanced upgrade experience from previous versions of SQL Server to SQL Server 2008 SP3. In addition, we have increased the performance & reliability of the setup experience.
    • In SQL Server Integration Services logs will now show the total number of rows sent in Data Flows.
    • Enhanced warning messages when creating the maintenance plan if the Shrink Database option is enabled.
    • Resolving database issue with transparent data encryption enabled and making it available even if certificate is dropped.
    • Optimized query outcomes when indexed Spatial Data Type column is referenced by DTA (Database Tuning Advisor).
    • Superior user experience with Sequence Functions (e.g Row_Numbers()) in a Parallel execution plan.

    See more information at

    Get the download @

  • Rest in Peace Steve


    My condolences to the Jobs family, Steve’s friends and colleagues, and the Apple employees.

  • You know you want it - LEGO® Shuttle Expedition


  • XBOX 360 brings new generation of TV entertainment to the den


    REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 5, 2011 — A new era in television begins this holiday where your entertainment becomes instantly searchable, easily discoverable and enjoyable in extraordinary new ways from a single device — Xbox 360. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to roll out the next generation of TV entertainment on Xbox LIVE, the online entertainment service for Xbox 360. Nearly 40 world-leading TV and entertainment providers, including Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K., Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy, will begin rolling out entertainment services to the console this holiday, in more than 20 countries.

    See the full press release at  You can also get more information at the blog post on this subject.

    Now I need to study this more fully especially considering my TiVo Series III is due to be replaced before too long.  MCE, XBOX or TiVo?  Should be fun regardless. 

  • Apple Announces iPhone 4S


    Today Apple held a small press event at 4 Infinite Loop and managed to crash all of the “live” blogging sites covering the event.  That was followed by crashing.  After the smoke cleared an iPhone 4S emerged with an updated processor, gpu, camera, and other solid features.  Get all the information at or click the pic above.

  • Have you checked out ?

    image is a great way to look at all of the applications and games available for your device. Be sure to check it out when you have a few minutes from the big screen on your desk. Enjoy.