Hey – Welcome to my shiny new blog!
My name is Matt McSpirit, and I am a Partner Technology Specialist here at Microsoft in the UK. I’ve worked at Microsoft for the last 6 months, and during my time I’ve been introduced to many new areas of technology, so I thought it was about time I started sharing my feelings and opinions on some of these technology areas.
Before I get cracking, let me explain what a “Partner Technology Specialist”, or PTS for short, actually does here at Microsoft. As you may or may not be aware, Microsoft has a huge number of Partners, across a huge size scale. Basically, my role revolves around working with these Partners using the three C’s; Coach, Compete and Close.
If we take 'Coach' as a logical starting point; through programmatic activities such as Sales Academy, Notes from the Field, Skills Builder, 1:1 and 1:many activities we help partners to build the most capable and effective third party sales force in the industry.
‘Compete’ on the other hand, focuses on key competitors. The PTS team will engage on competitive opportunities with partners and SMB customers to ensure we win and ensure we help recruit competitive partners.
Finally, ‘Close’ which, when needed, the PTS team engage directly on customer opportunities with partners to drive deals to closure – increasing the velocity of our pipeline.
So, I have explained what a PTS does, but I haven’t discussed what my S in PTS actually is i.e. what do I specialise in? Well, I say specialise….I’m always learning, so I guess the term “specialist” would be quite generous, but I am trying! Anyway, over the last 6 months, I’ve taken a real shine to the world of Virtualisation. This is one particular area where things are booming for Microsoft. There has been a huge amount in the press about the roadmap that Microsoft will follow in the Virtualisation world, and I hope I can begin to open your eyes to the potential of our products, both current and future, in this particular technology area.
More recently, I have become involved with 2 other product areas, and in traditional TLA (Three Letter Acronym) style, these are MOM and SMS, which, in English, stand for Microsoft Operations Manager and Systems Management Server respectively. These products, especially MOM, integrate well with my work in Virtualisation, and both are extremely capable products; a message I hope to convey in this blog.
Although these 3 areas will make up the meat of the blog, if I find something out there in the world of technology that really makes me take a step back, I'll make sure you guys hear about it. It may be cool technology, it may be functional technology, and on occasion, I may even discuss non-Microsoft technology! I guess you will just have to wait and see!
In an article published on CNet, it is claimed that Microsoft is developing it's own music and video device which will compete with Apple's iPod, and it is also creating it's own music service to rival iTunes! Cool!
It is believed that Robbie Bach, who headed up the development of the Xbox, is overseeing the project. I personally don't yet have a portable media player, but one I was considering investing in was the Creative Zen Vision M. The screen quality is excellent, the interface is intuitive and simple to use, it has an FM tuner and the battery life is reported as excellent. Prices are also dropping all the time, however, with the announcement of a Microsoft Media Player, I may just hold back for now.
One of the strong points for the Creative Zen Vision M, is the excellent integration with the new Windows Media Player 11. If you have not had the chance to use the new media player, I would strongly recommend giving it a go, by downloading the free beta, here. Anyone who is familiar with Media Centre, will feel instantly at home. The search functionality is slick and it makes finding your music incredibly easy, and the ability to copy and paste your album art for your music is an excellent addition.
The integration with URGE, MTV's music service, is also second to none. URGE has been created with WMP11 in mind, so its layout is consistent with that of WMP11, and hence, intuitive and easy to use. I have to admit, I used to be an iTunes user, even though I have never owned an iPod, but I can safely say, I will not be going back.
You can find a cool gallery of WMP11 screenshots on CNet News. Check it out!
Something I always find a little fiddly is networking virtual machines together in Virtual PC. I'm currently working on my Windows Server 2003 MCP (70-290) and to aid my learning, I'd like to have a domain controller running in a VM and also a VM XP client, and these are required to be networked. I'd also like them to have internet access. An easy way to configure your virtual machines to meet these requirements can be found in an excellent post at simon.says blog.
I hope you find it as useful as I did.
Fancy trying out Office 2007 without downloading the beta? It's your lucky day!
This real-time test drive does not require product installation or download - it's the fastest way to try out 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. In just minutes you can start exploring Microsoft Office through your Web browser on your own, or follow the step-by-step tutorials to experience all of its useful features. The online test drive offers the perfect opportunity for everyone to experience an easier and better way to work.
Find out more information on the 2007 Microsoft Office System preview site.
Included in the Test Drive are:
Since it was released last month, there have been more than 2.5 million downloads of beta 2 - a pretty good statistic I think.
If you love the Test Drive, why not take it that extra step and download the beta. You won't regret it!
PTS-TV allows you to get news direct from the Partner Technical Specialists. In bite-sized installments we deliver technology, solution and product insights, and point you towards additional resources to help you learn more. PTS-TV allows you to not only see the PTS Team talking about the hottest and latest topics but also to comment on the discussion. There are also some cool outtakes which are worth watching!
So far, there have been videos on Unified Communications, Information Worker, Security and Virtualisation to name but a few. Those, and many others, can be found here.
This particular installment sees Chris Parkes discussing Business Intelligence, paying particular information to Business Scorecard Manager. You can read more on BI at Chris's Blog. You can also stream or download the video.
I've been lucky enough to be using the beta of Live Messenger for a while, and I have to be honest, I really wouldn't want to go back to an older version. To put it simply, this is more than just another version of messenger. With Windows Live Messenger, users have a service that goes beyond basic text IM by helping them connect and share with voice, video and more. Features such as full screen voice and video calling, Windows Live Messenger enabled phone handsets, Sharing folders and Live Contacts to name but a few. I was using my laptop the other night when an old-sounding telephone ring started coming from my speakers - a colleague from France was calling me through Live Messenger. Having used other VoIP software products before, I was instantly sceptical, but upon picking up, all scepticism disappeared. The quality was exceptional, no lag, clear sound - and it was free! Try it for yourself! I've also used the shared folders, again, an excellent inclusion, and very useful.
Some of the less-major features, but little things I find useful include offline messages, so I can leave a message for someone when they next log on, and also the way that messages are grouped together into conversation pieces. Little things, but they make a difference.
You can find out more information here and you can download the new Windows Live Messenger here.
Try it, you might just like it!
This particular instalment of PTS-TV sees Steve Marsh discusses, Information Worker, in particular, focussing on the new 2007 Office System. Steve also takes a chance to discuss the graduate scheme (that I am currently a part of!) as Steve was part of the previous year's intake. He also talks about "her indoors" preventing him from playing his Xbox! Under the thumb Steve.....! ;-)
In terms of Office 2007, Steve discusses some of the changes in the new system, such as the improved user interface, SharePoint versioning and blogging direct from Word! Awesome!
Feel free to stream or download (right-click, save as) the video. If you would like even more info on Office 2007, head over to Mr Marsh's blog!
If you are in need of any information specifically around Virtual Server and Virtual PC, why not take a look at virtualserver.tv. This website, created and maintained by Andrew Dugdall, covers areas such as installing and managing Virtual Server and Virtual PC, scripting, creating virtual machines, migrating and much more. I'd really advise taking a look!