Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

February, 2013

  • The Pixel

    I am a fan of great notebook screens.  I have some of the best on the market.  Needless to say, the Google Pixel launch caught my eye.  Here’s a pic of the pix with links to the relevant information.  Looks a lot like the Retina Mac.


    Anyone buy one yet? It’s only $1449 for the 64GB model. See That is probably the most expensive screen on the market.  I’ll pass.

  • Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 Now Globally Available

    Internet Explorer 10 is available worldwide in 95 languages for download today. We will begin auto updating Windows 7 customers to IE10 in the weeks ahead, starting today with customers running the IE10 Release Preview. With this final release, IE10 brings the same leading standards support, with improved performance, security, privacy, reliability that consumers enjoy on Windows 8, to Windows 7 customers. MORE

  • DirectAccess Single Server Setup with Mixed IPv4 and IPv6 in Windows Server 2012 - Test Lab Guide available

    DirectAccess provides users with the experience of being seamlessly connected to their intranet any time they have Internet access. When DirectAccess is enabled, requests for intranet resources (such as email servers, shared folders, or intranet websites) are securely directed to the intranet, without the need for users to connect to a VPN.

    DirectAccess enables increased productivity for a mobile workforce by offering the same connectivity experience both inside and outside of the office. The Windows Routing and Remote Access Server (RRAS) provides traditional VPN connectivity for legacy clients and non-domain members. RRAS also provides site-to-site connections between servers. RRAS in Windows Server 2008 R2 cannot coexist on the same edge server with DirectAccess, and must be deployed and managed separately from DirectAccess.

    Windows Server 2012 combines the DirectAccess feature and the RRAS role service into a new unified server role. This new Remote Access server role allows for centralized administration, configuration, and monitoring of both DirectAccess and VPN-based remote access services. Additionally, Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess provides multiple updates and improvements to address deployment blockers and provide simplified management.

    This guide provides step-by-step instructions for configuring DirectAccess in a single server deployment with mixed IPv4 and IPv6 resources in a test lab to demonstrate functionality of the deployment experience. You will set up and deploy DirectAccess based on the Windows Server 2012 Base Configuration using five server computers and two client computers. The resulting test lab simulates an intranet, the Internet, and a home network, and demonstrates DirectAccess in different Internet connection scenarios.

    Go get it @

  • Office 2013 Quick Start Guides released


    Go get em @

  • Office IT Pro Garage Series Launches

    4428_hostsJeremy Chapman, resident deployment guru for Microsoft, is launching a new blog series on Office they are calling the “Garage Series for IT Pros”.  In addition to providing a wealth of information on deployment, it looks like they are going to do some crazy stuff like jump out of a perfectly fine aircraft.  No thanks. Grin.

    See for the announcement and video.

  • How many of these do you have?

    imageEngadget just released the results of the Readers Choice Awards for 2012 at

    As you can see, the Microsoft Surface RT won Tablet of the Year.  Kudos to the Surface team.  Nicely done!

    You’ll also notice Nokia nailed the Smartphone of the Year award for the Lumia 920.  Sweet!

    I’d like a Mars Rover scaled down to chase the armadillos with.  Can I get it with the net option too? Tired of those critters messing up my yard.

  • HTC One Announced

    A couple of days ago HTC announced a sweet looking smartphone they call the HTC One. This looks like a nice handset but I am anxious to see if they’ll take the form factor and create a Windows phone.  With a Quad core and 64GB of memory, I should be able to run some hyper-v virtual machines, right? Grin.


    See for all of the information and specs on the phone.

  • Office 365 for Business Announced

    OfficeGACTA_PageREDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 27, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced worldwide availability of a major new update to its Microsoft Office 365 services for business. Microsoft’s most complete Office cloud service to date has new features and offerings tailored to the needs and budgets of small, medium-size and large organizations. In addition to updated Microsoft Lync Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft SharePoint Online services, business users can now get the rich Office applications they are familiar with, on up to five devices, delivered as an always up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 features enhanced enterprise social capabilities with SharePoint and Yammer today, and Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, instant messaging (IM), and voice by June. The new Office 365 service is available today in 69 markets and 17 languages and will be available in an additional 20 markets and 16 languages in the second quarter of this year.

    See the rest of the press release at

  • Halo 4 Team Uses Agile, Cloud-Based Big Data Solution

    The Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. To date, more than 50 million copies of Halo video games have been sold worldwide. As developers prepared to launch Halo 4, they were tasked with analyzing data to gain insights into player preferences and support an online tournament. To handle those requests, the team used a powerful Microsoft technology called Windows Azure HDInsight Service, based on the Apache Hadoop big data framework. Using HDInsight Service to process and analyze raw data from Windows Azure, the team was able to feed game statistics to the tournament’s operator, which used the data to rank players based on game play. The team also used HDInsight Service to update Halo 4 every week and support a daily email campaign designed to increase player retention. Organizations can also take advantage of data to quickly make business decisions.

    See the full case study at  This one is pretty interesting. Grin.

  • Evaluating Virtual Smart Cards Guide - now available for download

    The goal of this document is to present an overview of Trusted Platform Module (TPM) virtual smart cards (VSCs) as an option for strong authentication. It is intended not only to provide the means for evaluating VSC use in an enterprise deployment, but also to provide the information necessary to deploy and manage.


    Go get the guide @

  • Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office

    This add-in enables you to embed a Creative Commons license into a document that you create using Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, or Microsoft Office Excel. With a Creative Commons license, authors can express their intentions regarding how their works may be used by others. The add-in downloads the Creative Commons license you designate from the Creative Commons Web site and inserts it directly into your creative work.

    To learn more about Creative Commons, please visit its web site,

    To learn more about the choices among the Creative Commons licenses, see

    Microsoft Office productivity applications are the most widely used personal productivity applications in the world, and Microsoft’s goal is to enhance the user’s experience with those applications. Empowering Microsoft Office users to express their intentions through Creative Commons licenses is another way Microsoft enables users around the world to exercise their creative freedom while being clear about the rights granted to users of a creative work. In the past, it has not always been easy or obvious to understand the intentions of some authors or artists regarding distribution or use of their intellectual creations.

    Go get it @

  • Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 3–now available for download

    Microsoft has released an update for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. In addition to the application improvements mentioned in this article, Office for Mac 2011 is now available as a subscription offering. For more information about subscription, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
    This update provides the latest fixes to Office for Mac 2011. These include the following:

    • Meeting invitation times are displayed inaccurately in Outlook for Mac
      Fixes an issue that causes meeting invitation times from non-Exchange calendar servers to be off by one hour during certain times of the year.
    • Slides in collapsed sections cover other slides in Slide Sorter view in PowerPoint for Mac
      Fixes a display issue that involves collapsed sections in Slide Sorter view.
    • Hash tags (#) in hyperlinks aren't saved correctly in PowerPoint for Mac
      Fixes an issue in which hyperlinks that contain hash tags (#) aren't saved correctly.
    • Crash occurs when you use Paste Special with a partial table in PowerPoint for Mac
      Fixes an issue that causes PowerPoint to crash when you use the Paste Special option to copy and paste part of a table.
    • RTF text that's saved in PowerPoint for Windows can't be pasted into PowerPoint for Mac
      Fixes an issue in which RTF text that's saved in PowerPoint for Windows can't be copied and pasted into PowerPoint for Mac.

    Go get it @

  • Postermania for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V - get these downloads

    Posters are a great way to wrap your mind around some of the subsystems (roles and features) that are part of complex products.  Here are some cool posters for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.


    Go get em @

  • System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Toolkit - download now available.

    Package Conversion Manager (PCM) A new version of the PCM tool has been released. The new version supports both System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager. the new tool can be found at The new release comes in 6 languages.

    Physical to Virtual (P2V) Migration Toolkit
    The System Center 2012 Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit facilitates the re-utilization of existing x64 server hardware using virtualization technologies, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V. The P2V Migration Toolkit was specifically designed to assist in situations where there are remote Configuration Manager 2007 SP 2 site servers that need to be retained during side-by-side migration process to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. The P2V Migration Toolkit is geared to supporting P2V migrations at remote, branch offices that do not have existing onsite Virtual Machine Manager infrastructure.

    Support ending for System Center Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit
    For purposes of a lifecycle policy, “tool” means a utility or feature that aids in accomplishing a discrete task or a limited set of tasks. To assist in your planning efforts, some tool versions provide 12 months notification prior to the end of support. System Center Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit is such a tool and Microsoft will continue to support this version through July 27, 2013.

    System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Toolkit The Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Toolkit contains nine downloadable tools to help you manage and troubleshoot Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. The following list provides specific information about each tool in the toolkit.

    • Client Spy - A tool that helps you troubleshoot issues related to software distribution, inventory, and software metering on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
    • Policy Spy - A policy viewer that helps you review and troubleshoot the policy system on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
    • Security Configuration Wizard Template for Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager - The Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) is an attack-surface reduction tool for the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Security Configuration Wizard determines the minimum functionality required for a server's role or roles, and disables functionality that is not required.
    • Send Schedule Tool - A tool used to trigger a schedule on a client or trigger the evaluation of a specified DCM Baseline. You can trigger a schedule either locally or remotely.
    • Power Viewer Tool – A tool to view the status of power management feature on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
    • Deployment Monitoring Tool - The Deployment Monitoring Tool is a graphical user interface designed help troubleshoot Applications, Updates, and Baseline deployments on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
    • Run Metering Summarization Tool - The purpose of this tool is to run the metering summarization task to analyze raw metering data
    • Role-based Administration Modeling and Auditing Tool – This tool helps administrators to model and audit RBA configurations.
    • License Tracking PowerShell Cmdlets - The PowerShell cmdlet “Get-ConfigMgrAccessLicense” is used to get license usage information for all the servers and clients within scope of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. The cmdlet returns a list of licensable features and a list of unique users and devices per unique licensable feature.

    Go get the goods @

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