Cool new nanocrystal display (will the the acronym be NCD?) technology is revealed in this Technology Review article.
I love the OLED display on my portable music player. Once you see these displays, you don't want to go back to LCD. However, the quantum dot displays that are the focus of this article are thin, flexible, easier to see in sunlight and less power hungry than current laptop displays. "It will also cover more of the visible color spectrum than current displays and produce such high-contrast images that today's flat-screen displays will look dull and washed out by comparison" the article states.
On these quantum-dot displays each pixel emits pure color, resulting in more saturated color than even high-end CRTs. This also means a 30% larger range of colors at 1/30th the power consumption.
Any day Microsoft publishes a checklist that will make the life of the IT Pro easier is a good day.
Good day - please pass on the Home Office Security Checklist to your users, and encourage them to take the steps therein. It will reduce your headaches and "attack surface" by some degree that is non-zero. Even though the corporate IT Pro's span of influence usually stops at the corporate network firewall, your user's exposure to malware and bad actors does not.
Alessandro's blog quotes Mike Neil (MN), Virtual Machine Technologies Product Unit Manager at Microsoft, RE the Active Directory requirement for Virtual Machine Manager Beta 1:
VI: There are any plans to provide a VMM version not requiring Active Directory?
MN: System Center Virtual Machine Manager beta 1 will require Active Directory and the initial thinking is for the final released product to be the same. However, the primary reason for getting the software into customer hands in beta form is to identify opportunities to improve the software. Active Directory is currently required for security purposes to ensure that access to images on the network is authenticated and secure. Active Directory also provides benefits by allowing the SC VMM administrator to identify and understand all the physical servers running virtual machines that are installed in their environment and the use of Distributed File System to replicate images automatically across the network.
This is almost word for word the same answer you can find in the Virtual Machine Manager FAQ.
If you missed Eric Winner's WinHEC demo during BobMu's speech fast forward to about 38 minutes into the playback.
You may also want to check out:
MYITFORUM Windows PowerShell mailing list
Virtualization Technical Resources (MOM Pack, VSMT, Host Clustering Whitepapers, etc)
Download Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise Edition (free, full version, not time-bombed)
Download Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 BETA (includes support for VT systems)
Download Virtual Machine Additions for Linux
Jesper has a great new article on why no technology or software solution is going to dig us completely out of our security problems. Read it for the great writing, authentic voice and cogent thoughts.
If you are a person involved in what we call at Microsoft (this week) "Content Publishing", read it for the following passage that should be burned into the brains of everyone who "publishes content" at Microsoft (bloggers, I am looking at you too):
"Finally, host-based outbound firewalls are a perfect example of why pure technical solutions can fail. These firewalls ask users intelligent questions, such as the one you see in Figure 1.
The problem is that these dialog boxes were not exactly written by people people. They were written by propeller heads, for propeller heads, because the propeller heads typically do not know any real people. When the average user is confronted with this dialog, he does not actually see it at all. What he sees is a lot like Figure 2.
For all these reasons, technical solutions to what are essentially people problems do not work very well. They may help technical people, but technical people do not need the help."
Rejoice that the boffins at TechNet have released a new scoped TechNet search, that includes an RSS feed of your favorite search. How great is that?
You scope your search to the products and technologies that are relevant to you, then save your search query as an RSS feed, so that future search results matching your query will automatically show up in the feed. TechNet calls this "Enhanced Search" and all I can say is "yipee, where have you been all my life?"
Not to mention that you can now do Robert Scoble-esque saved searches (as RSS feed) of phrases that may be important to you, like "Carmine sucks" or things of that sort.
Did I mention that there's also a search blog, where you can directly express your glee, or point out gaffs?
This is what I call salty goodness. Why? You are an IT Pro - studies say you are risk averse, or you work for a risk averse IT shop. New tech is alluring, but risky. Wouldn't it reduce risk for you to know that you can go ahead and download the new tasty bits, try them out, and in the background your saved search on "tasty bits" is diligently collecting up all the new TechNet, KB and TechNet blog instances of "tasty bits"?
I've just become the proud owner of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 Beta FAQ.
What is Virtual Machine Manager? Why blog about the FAQ?
It is a bootstrapping problem. I need to develop and publish a Frequently Asked Questions file for a Beta 1 V1 product that isn't out yet, and has no method to collect questions. Makes it hard to figure out which ones are FA.
I am working some of the traditional methods of doing this at Microsoft, for example:
1) Predicting what people will ask, then writing the Q and the A.
This "back to the future" approach is not so bad if you are measured on output. If you are measuring yourself on effectiveness however, you need a method to collect feedback on how well you anticipated what people would ask. This is traditionally hard to do, because after you have delivered the <predictive> FAQ, you are assigned other deliverables, so you don't have time to collect the data on how well you anticipated the questions. Highly wasteful, but a standard approach. You can see the current output of this approach here.
2) Copying the questions from the nearest technology you can find.
This “sympathetic magic” approach has worked for primitive medicine men for a long time, and is copied extensively at Microsoft. “After all,” the thought goes “why reinvent the wheel?”
3) Index, index, index, and index some more
This encyclopedic approach involves taking an axis through the product information (usually features) and then turning every item into a question and answer. Some people think this is being thorough. I think it is crazy.
I want to add a new approach – ask the customer.
What are your questions about System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 Beta 1? Leave comments here so I can track and reply. Thanks in advance.
Joe Wilcox wrote yesterday on microsoftmonitor.com:
"I would contend that blogs are now Microsoft's major communication vehicle for reaching pretty much everybody. Microsoft partners and competitors--and the news media, for that matter--should take note."
He's not the first to bring this up, but interestingly, no one is contradicting him.
How things have changed in a year.
Here's the trend I think IT Pros will be wagging chins over next year (or sooner):
The MSDN content Wiki Beta has the goal "to extend the documentation with code examples, tips and tricks, and other information that you add."
See the pattern? Devs start blogs.msdn.com. IT Pros follow with blogs.technet.com.
What should the IT Pro version of the msdnwiki look like? Leave comments.
For this year's charity fundraising auction inside Microsoft I auctioned off juggling lessons. Anyone can learn to juggle, and with practice, can learn to love it.
You don't have to juggle to appreciate this you tube video, but if you do, you will be amazed. It looks pretty cool even if you know nothing about juggling. Be sure to watch it all the way to the end.
Those of you inside Microsoft who think about innovation - are you watching?
Greg Kennedy's newest manipulation routine, the juggling of 3, 5 & 7 balls on the inside surface of an 8-foot high inverted cone. Visit www.innovativejuggler.com for more info.
Check out the excellent .NET show episode featuring the Scripting Guys on WMI scripting. The script center has a new article on WMI scripting in Vista, as well as great Windows PowerShell scripts.
Here is a snip of the transcript to pique your interest:
Yesterday Bill announced to the company and the world that he's giving two years notice. How many groups even get two weeks notice these days?
F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." Conflicting thoughts are whizzing around the company today in the aftermath of Bill's announcement.
Personally, I can't express it better than an employee did yesterday at the "town meeting" - As an employee and Microsoft shareholder, I am sad that Bill will be moving from FTE to part-timer. As a citizen of the world, I rejoice at Bill's decision to take his time and energy to the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Fitzgerald also said "Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind. "
What we all call Microsoft today is in large part the result of Bill's ability to put what is on his mind into effect. I can't wait to see what will happen in education and healthcare worldwide when Bill's mind moves full-time to those problems.
I love Microsoft. But I would change missions with Bill in a heartbeat if he asked.
A biochem researcher at the University of Washington here in Seattle has gone public with the inevitable - a new application of the SETI at home idea. WIRED news reports David Baker has so far signed up about 60K people to donate spare PC cycles to help find the cure for diseases like HIV and cancer. The http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/ not-for-profit project uses your donated computing cycles to help research protein folding and docking. Highly reccomended, and educational.
If you have old Pentium 2s laying aroudn the garage - you don't need a monitor and keyboard. Reformat them with Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs, stick a cheap wireless USB NIC on them, and set them off sharing the workload. Much better than sending them to the landfill.
I am watching the webcast right now in which Bill Gates is announcing his transition to full time Gates Foundation work in 2 years. See the PressPass announcement for details.
Hrm, wonder of the Foundation needs a lead technical writer?
How to Virtualize Infrastructure Workloads (Level 200) Thursday, June 08, 2006, 11:30 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)
In this webcast we focus on virtualization technology and we offer an introduction to Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2. We also outline Microsoft's vision for the technology over the next few years. This session provides a high-level overview of the different solutions that you can implement with virtualization.
Virtual Server Scripting and Integrated Management (Level 300) Tuesday, June 27, 2006, 11:30 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)
This webcast covers scripting basics with the Component Object Model (COM) API. Learn how to use scripting to automate management tasks in a Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 environment. We also provide detailed examples of how scripts can be integrated with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) to more easily manage your entire virtual environment.
Transitioning to Windows Virtualization (Level 300) Thursday, June 29, 2006, 11:30 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Join this webcast to learn more about Windows virtualization, a new technology in Microsoft Windows Server code-named “Longhorn.” We introduce the key scenarios for Windows virtualization and new features and improvements in Microsoft Virtual Server, including better performance. Find out how you can start adopting Microsoft Virtual Server today and transition to Windows virtualization by leveraging the unified format.
You can find/filter all TechNet webcasts on the handy calendar view here.
CNET News reports that Microsoft will soon publish its internal dev guidelines on protecting PII. This article quotes Peter Cullen:
"This is designed for an IT pro or a developer, in terms of: 'If you're building an application that does X, this is what we think should be built,'" he said. "The public document will use a lot of 'shoulds.' Inside Microsoft, those are 'musts.'"
Worldwide IT pros and devs will see the standard we hold ourselves to. They can push back on that if they wish. They can tell us the standard needs to change, and they can tell us for sure if they see that we are not meeting the publicly disclosed bar.
Kudos to Peter. It takes guts to do things like this.