virtualboy blog

Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Holiday time for me, but VirtualboyTV.com is Online and Kickin’

Holiday time for me, but VirtualboyTV.com is Online and Kickin’

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That’s right folks, the time has come to take a short break, which in all honesty, couldn’t have come at a worse time (you’ll know by next week what I’m on about :-)) but hey ho, you’ve got to have some holiday time!  How can you keep busy with Microsoft virtualisation whilst I’m away?  We’ll, there are plenty of up to date resources and blogs out there, but if you’re need to get a strong grounding in the technologies, then VirtualboyTV could be the answer.

Virtualboy TV

A month or so back, I announced a new site, aimed at Microsoft Partners and Customers, that would aim to provide detailed demo and overview videos on Microsoft Virtualisation technologies.  These were hosted on a site called blip.tv, with my site specifically known as virtualboytv.blip.tv.  This was all fine and dandy, but it didn’t allow me to brand it enough, to customise the navigation and layout how I wanted, and in all honesty, it was a ‘good enough’ solution, rather than something I’d be really proud to promote.  So, I started looking around at the possibility of building a front end for my blip.tv content.  Bring in Office Live Small Business.  Now, I’m no website designer – I used to know a bit of HTML, CSS and the like, but that was in a previous life, however I feel I’ve got a reasonable eye for design, what looks good, what’s functional, and what looks pants.  With the Office Live SB editing tools, it enabled me to rapidly build out my website environment, whilst also, when required, allowed me to dip into the code to do some advanced editing and customisation.

The great thing about Office Live Small Business, is that in the least part, it’s free.  They give you free hosting, and they give you a free domain name for a period of time.  A .co.uk address is free for 2 years, and a .com free for one.  They didn’t do .tv addresses unfortunately, but if I’d have wanted to buy that somewhere else, and use it with Office Live’s hosting, that’s fine too.  .tv address's were around £60 though – I’m keen, but not that keen! :-)  You get 500mb free (great for me, as my vids are held on blip.tv still :-) but you can upgrade to a subscription if you need more.  It’s all very flexible.

Once signed up, follow the guides to build your site and you can very quickly produce some compelling eye candy.

The End Result

Welcome, VirtualboyTV.com

If we start with the homepage – this is where you’ll find the show player, which allows you, in the browser, to select an episode from the right-hand side, and watch it in the central area.  Full screen is fine too, and the quality of blip.tv’s videos, leaves YouTube with much to desire. By default, the Show Player will always present, at first, the most recently uploaded video.

Home

If we then move across the top level navigation bar, to episodes.  You can, obviously, view all the episodes from the Show Player on the home page, but what if you want to download those videos, or provide a link to someone, for that specific video?  Well, the episodes page is the answer.  Firstly, clicking episodes presents you with a grouping of the key areas of Microsoft Virtualisation; Server, Desktop, Presentation, Application and Management.  I’ll be producing videos for all of those areas over time, but these take time!  There are plenty of Server videos so far, but that’s it!

Episodes

If you click on Server Virtualisation, you’ll be presented with a list of episodes, categorised by technology, and video type, so there will be a couple of ‘overview’ videos, which involve myself (and in the future, others too), talking about technologies using slides, and demo videos, where I’ll be talking over actually doing something with the technologies.  These demo videos are grouped by product, i.e. Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Hyper-V Server 2008 and so on.  For each episode listed, you have the option to download it (by right clicking, and save-as, or watch it.  By clicking ‘watch it’, you’ll be taken to that episode’s dedicated page, looking something like this:

DemoPage

The episode page has a brief synopsis, a duration, and a download link too.  These downloads are the original files I uploaded, so 1024 x 768 (in most cases), WMV format.

With that, I’ll sign off.  Hopefully you’ll find this site useful – I’m trying to provide content that’s usable, useful, relevant, and easy to follow.  It mght not suit everyone’s taste, and admittedly, my voice will get on your nerves after a while!  Although if you download the WMV you can obviously play them at double speed, at which point I become the 4 chipmunk alongside Alvin, Simon and Theodore.  There won’t be any Mythbusting, nor any fud-generation – that’s not how I work, and anyone who knows me knows that to be the case – If Microsoft are going to do well in this Virtualisation marketplace, it’s my belief that we have to do it on merit, rather than taking potshots at competing technologies, and I would hope that would be the same for the competition.  Again, that’s what these videos are aiming to do; provide you with correct (at least I think so!) factual information, and let you, the viewer, make your mind up.  Microsoft Virtualisation contains some fantastic technologies, but so does Citrix and VMware – there’s a lot of choice out there now; hopefully VirtualboyTV will help you understand our story, if just a little bit.

So, to close, check out VirtualboyTV.com, and if you’re interested in creating an Office Live Small Business site, you can check out all the details for that, here.

See you on the 4th May :-)

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