Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

January, 2013

  • Office 365 Home Premium Announced

    NEW YORK — Jan. 29, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced worldwide availability of Office 365 Home Premium, a reinvention of the company’s flagship Office product line for consumers. Office 365 Home Premium is a cloud service designed for busy households and people juggling ever-increasing work and family responsibilities. The new offering includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications; works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs; and comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling — all for US$99.99 for an annual subscription, the equivalent of US$8.34 per month.

    See the rest of the press release and details at

  • Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals Jump Start - Wednesday 1/30 from 8-5

    The Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) team is excited to announce the second Jump Start in a three-course virtualization series. This course is designed for VMware professionals looking to get up-to-speed with how Microsoft virtualization and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V works and compares with VMware vSphere 5.1. This one-day event will feature Microsoft Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman and Technical Product Manager Matt McSpirit (both VMware Certified Professionals) delivering an engaging, demo-rich, live learning experience.

    The the full agenda and register at

  • Surface Pro Announced

    Surface Windows 8 Pro comes bundled with a pen and features Palm Block functionality. This pen makes for an amazing experience for writers, graphic designers or even engineers.

    Today we announced the Microsoft Surface Pro. See the Surface Pro website for more information. See the specifications for the details on the hardware. See the press release at  Save your pennies.  It is for sale on February 9, 2013.

  • Acura NSX Gets Closer to Reality


  • System Center 2012 SP1 - now available for download

    Today we announced the final release of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, which helps deliver on Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision to provide customers with one consistent platform for infrastructure, apps, and data – spanning customer datacenters, hosting service provider datacenters, and the Microsoft public cloud. Together with Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 SP1 helps customers take advantage of the latest technical advances in storage, networking, virtualization, and management to help transform their datacenter into a resilient platform for long-term growth while enabling future growth into the cloud.

    See the Server and Cloud blog post at

    See the press release at

    See Microsoft VP Michael Park’s blog post at

    And of course, see the download page at

  • Cloud OS Trivia Challenge - check out the cool prizes


  • The New Corvette Stingray is unveiled !!!


    See the gallery and other information at  I’d like one, or two.

  • Windows 7 and Windows 8 Dual Boot from VHD

    During the football games today, I decided to run some dual booting experiments using a ThinkPad T430s, Windows 7 Ultimate x64, and Windows 8 Pro x64.  In the ThinkPad is a 320GB HDD. 


    On the initial test, I decided to split the hard drive right up the middle and create two partitions.  One for Windows 7 and one for Windows 8.  Conventional wisdom has always advised to install the most recent operating system last and I did just that. 

    The Windows 7 install proceeded without issue.  Once I had verified that was operational, I popped the Windows 8 DVD into the machine and booted from it.  Windows 8 installed without issue and everytime the machine is booted, you are presented with a menu so the OS can be selected.  Since Windows 8 is the default, you can just let it boot or select Windows 7.

    People have been booting from multiple partitions for years.  There’s just one problem, how do you take a partition and move it to another HDD or SSD and machine, then re-use it?  It isn’t easily done though tools like Acronis True Image Home 2013 certainly make backup and recovery easier these days.

    Boot From VHD

    When Windows 7 came out, there was a new technology called “native boot from VHD”.  For the uninitiated, VHD stands for virtual hard disk.  Native boot from VHD allows you to store the OS, apps and data inside a single VHD file.  By installing the OS into the VHD, it is rather easy to backup via a file copy, and of course move and use on another storage device.

    Back in May of 2009, I spent a considerable amount of time documenting how to implement boot from VHD.  See the blog post at for that work.

    Today I decided to see if the same techniques and commands would work with a Windows 7 and Windows 8 implementation.  I am happy to say the instructions worked very nicely.  The resulting Windows 7 VHD file was 7GB.  The resulting Windows 8 VHD file was 8GB.  Coincidence? LOL

  • Anything interest you from CES 2013 this week?

    imageI browsed the articles and stories throughout the week, but I was pretty surprised at the stuff that didn’t interest me. I guess I expected more laptop news but there just wasn’t much on that front.  My biggest surprise was the new Ultrabook™ specifications for Intel Haswell based ultrabooks.  Apparently they now require a touch screen.  I’m not sure how I feel about that yet.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the requirement impacts screen quality. 

    Like last year, Samsung decided to make some interesting product announcements.  They of course rolled out some fascinating HDTV’s, but once again they announced some new laptop designs.  Here’s the new Samsung Series 7 Ultra.

    The screen on this model is a 1920x1080 resolution screen and apparently they will have touch and non touch models.  The touch model is listed as 1.65kg which puts it at 3.6 pounds. The Series 7 Ultra is over a pound heavier than my Series 9. 

    See the rest of the specs at Looks like a hot new seller for Samsung.

    Then there’s the refreshed Samsung Series 7 Chronos.  This 15.6” bad boy is packed with technology. The new Chronos is sporting a 1920x1080 resolution touch screen, higher end graphics card, up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD if desired. 

    In order to accommodate all of the tech, the Chronos is slightly thicker and weighs in at 2.35kg or 5.1 pounds.  That seems to be pushing the “ultrabook” envelope if you ask me, but I haven’t read the details in Intel’s logo program.


    As you can see in the picture above, the Samsung Series 7 Chronos is similar to the Ultra in appearance. I have a feeling this machine is going to be popular with the folks looking for a machine with more muscle.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the options and prices are.  It shouldn’t be too long.  It appears Samsung is trying to get their new machine in the channel in the first half of 2013.

    There was also a mention in the Samsung press conference about the Series 9 machines.  The executive on stage said the Series 9 would also be getting the 1080p screens.  That got my attention.

    Anyone else see something noteworthy in the announcements from this week?

  • Robots Rock and Roll

    This brought a smile to my day.