Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

April, 2012

  • NVIDIA Launches GeForce GTX 690

    gtx_690“Despite the stupendous performance of the GeForce GTX 690, some gamers are destined to clamor for more. That's where Quad SLI comes in. When two GeForce GTX 690s are connected via an SLI motherboard, four GPUs work in unison in Quad SLI mode. Each GPU works on a distinct frame for a total of four frames in flight at a given time. The resulting performance is simply otherworldly.

    In Battlefield 3, at 2560 x 1600 with all settings maxed out, the framerate exceeds 120 FPS. Crysis 2 runs just shy of 100 FPS. And in the most demanding game, Metro 2033, the performance scales almost linearly to reach 56 FPS.”

    Lots of information in the article at

    See the press release at

    Breaking pocketbooks everywhere in May.

  • Windows Server 2012 - beta hands on labs now available


    We just released a boatload of hands on labs (HOLs) based on the Windows Server 2012 beta.  More are on the way but I thought you would be interested in the first crop.  Enjoy!

  • Get the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack

    imageThe Microsoft Camera Codec Pack enables the viewing of a variety of device-specific file formats. Note: Clicking Download means you agree to the Microsoft service agreement and privacy statement. Additional details below.

    • The Microsoft Camera Codec Pack enables the viewing of a variety of device-specific file formats in Window Live Photo Gallery as well as other software that is based in Windows Imaging Codecs (WIC).
    • Installing this package will allow supported RAW camera files to be viewable in Windows Explorer.
    • This package is available in both 32-bit (MicrosoftCodecPack_x86.msi) and 64-bit (MicrosoftCodecPack_amd64.msi) versions.

    See the supported devices, legal notices, and get the bits @

  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 - now available for download

    Deploy Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, and Windows Server 2008 R2 with the newly released Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012. MDT is the recommended process and toolset for automating desktop and server deployment. MDT provides you with the following benefits:

    • Unified tools and processes, including a set of guidance, for deploying desktops and servers in a common deployment console.
    • Reduced deployment time and standardized desktop and server images, along with improved security and ongoing configuration management.

    Some of the key changes in MDT 2012 are:

    • Comprehensive tools and guidance to efficiently manage large-scale deployments of Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 365.
    • An enhanced user-Driven Installation (UDI) deployment method that utilizes System Center Configuration Manager 2012. UDI lets end users initiate and customize an OS deployment on their PCs—via an easy-to-use wizard.
    • Ease Lite Touch installation through integration with Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT).
    • This release provides support for deploying Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a lab environment.


    Got get it @

  • Updated Translator App for Windows Phone Released

    Screen Capture (11)Presenting the new Translator App for Windows Phone. Powered by the same technology behind Bing Translator, the new Translator app takes advantage of Windows Phone platform's unique features to deliver a great translation experience, enabling you to go to new places with confidence. The app features video, audio and text translation, as well as a new offline mode that allows you to translate without a data connection.

    Go get it @



    In a global society, with the proliferation of digital content on the web, mobile devices and applications, there is a growing need for people to be able to read and communicate in their native language.  Enabling communication and business across languages is a significant value that Microsoft delivers to consumers, customers and partners.

    Microsoft Translator provides a set of powerful but simple-to-use technologies that can help companies accomplish cross-language communication and language translation goals, and consumers experience high quality language translation.  Whether seeking solutions for language detection, speech synthesis, product localization or empowering communities to protect native languages, Microsoft Translator provides the services to accomplish a variety of translation goals across web, desktop and mobile devices.

    Microsoft Translator provides a set of powerful but simple-to-use APIs that can help customers accomplish cross-language communication and language translation goals, and consumers experience high quality language translation.  It is a state-of-the-art statistical machine translation system translating between any of the supported languages, and powering millions of translations every day across Microsoft products like Bing, Office, Internet Explorer and external products like Facebook, Trip Advisor, eBay etc. For more technical information about Microsoft Translator, please visit

  • Windows Azure Media Services Announced


    LAS VEGAS — April 16, 2012 — At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2012 conference today, Microsoft Corp. announced new media services and guidance to enable content providers and customers to realize the power of cloud computing. The new cloud-based Windows Azure Media Services is designed to make creating, managing and delivering media to any device easier than ever by offering a comprehensive set of ready-to-use first- and third-party media technologies. Microsoft also published a new Broadcast Reference Architecture that offers prescriptive guidance on how media companies can architect their solutions to improve systems performance management as they move toward the cloud.

    See the full press release at  After that, head on over to the Azure site at

  • Windows 8 Editions Announced

    Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 RT were announced today.  Here’s an excerpt from the Windows Team blog:

    “Today I would like to share information with you on the editions that will be available for "Windows 8" when it is released to market. We have talked about Windows 8 as Windows reimagined, from the chipset to the user experience. This also applies to the editions available – we have worked to make it easier for customers to know what edition will work best for them when they purchase a new Windows 8 PC or upgrade their existing PC.

    Windows 8 has the flexibility you need - whether you’re on an x86/64 or a WOA PC. You can use a touch screen or a keyboard and mouse – and switch anytime. It’s beautiful, fast, and fluid design is perfect for a wide range of hardware. And you’ll love browsing through the Windows Store and downloading all the apps you want. And those apps can work together too so you can share photos, maps, contacts, links and whatever else you want faster and easier. All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience.”

    See the full announcement at  Be sure and take a look at the feature chart comparison in the bottom of that blog post.

  • Watch the Microsoft Management Summit Keynotes

    SysCnt12_v_rgbLearn firsthand how Microsoft management solutions can empower you in your cloud computing journey and help you manage a wide range of different devices in your organization. Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of the Management and Security Division at Microsoft, returns to keynote both days at this year’s Microsoft Management Summit.

    While keynotes begin at 8:30am PST, it is recommended that you log in at 8:15am PST.

    Day One Keynote

    Microsoft Private Cloud. Built for the Future. Ready Now.
    Tuesday, April 17, 8:30-9:45AM
    Cloud computing and the delivery of true IT as a Service is one of the most profound industry shifts in decades. Join Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Management and Security Division, as he shares Microsoft’s vision for cloud computing and shows how System Center 2012, as part of the Microsoft private cloud, will enable you to deliver the promise of cloud computing in your organization today.

    Day Two Keynote

    A World of Connected Devices
    Wednesday, April 18, 8:30-9:45AM
    Clouds and cloud-connected devices are changing the world of work and our daily interactions. Tech-savvy and always-connected, people want faster, more intuitive technology, uninterrupted services, and the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, on a variety of devices. Join Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of the Management and Security Division at Microsoft to learn how System Center 2012 and Windows Intune can help IT embrace this new reality today, and in the future, by making the right intelligent infrastructure investments.

  • Blown Away by Nokia Lumia

    Snicker.  Better listen to your women boyz.

  • Lenovo ThinkPad W530 pic leaks to the web - goodbye traditional keyboard


    I don’t know if the image at is a prototype or of the coming Ivy Bridge based ThinkPad W530, but it’s causing quite a stir in the ThinkPad community.  Gone is the traditional keyboard.  From the picture it appears Lenovo has gone with a keyboard similar to the one you find on the ThinkPad X1.  Hope it is backlit.

  • Now this is a hailstorm!

    I heard about this storm dropping 2-4’ of hail, but dismissed it until I started checking the Tornado forecast for the weekend.  I stumbled across this photo taken Wednesday by the National Weather Service in Amarillo, Texas.  Yikes!!!  I hope I never see that kind of hail.


  • SQL Server 2012 Product Guide - now available

    SQL12_v_rgbThe SQL Server 2012 product guide download contains the latest datasheets, white papers and technical presentations to help you evaluate the SQL Server 2012. The product guide organizes the content for easier viewing. This version of the includes the top content from the prior versions of the product guide plus 24 new presentations covering level 200 and 300 content for 2012. The overview page includes a link to the hosted SQL Server Virtual labs so that you can try out SQL Server 2012 without having to download the product.

    Go get it @

  • Office for Mac SP2 - now available for download

    ofc-logoMicrosoft has released an update for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. This update provides the latest fixes to Office for Mac 2011. Additionally, this update contains stability and reliability improvements.

    See the list of fixes @

    Go get the download @

  • Micron Announces 256GB mSATA drives are in production.

    imageBOISE, Idaho, April 10, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:MU), one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced a new solid-state drive (SSD) that broadens Micron's client product portfolio to serve the rapidly emerging Ultrabook™ category. The newly announced drive is based on the proven architecture of Micron's popular RealSSD™ C400 drives, providing the same high performance and reliability.

    The RealSSD C400 mSATA SSD ships in capacities ranging from 32 gigabytes (GB) to 256GB with a SATA 6 gigabits per second (Gb/s) interface for the high data throughput that is ideal for the "instant on" responsiveness demanded by Ultrabook systems. The drive's focused high performance[1], low power consumption and caseless design enable better computing experiences in ultrathin form factors. Additionally, the established design leverages Micron's proven 25 nanometer (nm) MLC NAND Flash and manufacturing and testing capabilities.

    See the full press release at  See an initial review at  There’s another review that popped up at AnandTech.  See

  • 24 Hours With the AT&T NOKIA Lumia 900

    Cool Video.  Order your Lumia 900 now at

  • What is IaaS ?

    cloudIn defining Infrastructure as a Service we need to drill into specific characteristics that a cloud platform provider must provide to be considered Infrastructure as a Service. This has been no easy task as nearly every cloud platform provider has recently promoted features and services designed to address the infrastructure as a service and cloud computing market. Fortunately, as the technology has evolved over time, a definition of cloud computing has emerged from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

    Want more information? Check out the full article at Enjoy!

  • Microsoft Exchange Conference - registration is now live


    Register now @

  • System Center RTM bits break cover - now available for TechNet subscribers

    The astute TechNet Subscriber might have noticed some new downloads on the download center.  Yep, the RTM binaries are available for download ahead of the coming out party at the Microsoft Management Summit.


    If you have a subscription, go get em.