According to our IT Pro customer feedback the number one dis-satisfier is finding the technical information they need. When they find technical content from Microsoft, they general review it favorably. Finding it is the chief frustration.
I was taught that one strategy for improving performance is to find the chief roadblock or chokepoint to improving your performance, and eliminate it. For example, statistically speaking, the biggest roadblock to mastery of a particular sport is and insufficient number of hours of practice. It is true that after a certain number of hours of practice, you can start to develop bad habits if the practice is not guided by someone more experience, such as a coach. However, this problem only appears some number of hours down the road. Conclusion: the first thing, the most important thing you can do to improve your game is – practice more.
In the world of technical writing, I like to explain to new writers that the laws of supply and demand in economics apply to writing. The scarcity you must learn to manage in order to succeed is – the reader’s attention. It matters not if your piece of technical writing contains diamond-sharp prose or epoch-making insight – IF YOUR AUDIENCE CAN'T FIND IT.
A recent pilot we ran illustrates how social media and technical content can cooperate to help IT Pros find the content they are looking for faster.
The problem: Microsoft support reported that a number of customers were calling for support with the symptom “"Stop: 0x0000001E" Error Message During Setup”. The three most-likely causes for this error are:
Further research on a combination of related search engine keyword searches showed over 18,000 global monthly searches. This number was taken as an indicatorof many more customers with this issue that were not *yet* calling Microsoft support. It seemed that few of these searches were finding the existing Microsoft Support KB that addressed the issue, because "STOP 0x1E" is a common bug check code.
The solution: we created some additional content in social media channels, including blogs, Twitter (twitter.com/winsrv) and the TechNet wiki to help Hyper-V users direct their attention (the scarce resource, remember?) to the relevant KB *for them*:
"STOP: 0x0000001a" error message on a computer that has an Intel Westmere processor together with the Hyper-V role installed on Windows Server 2008 or on Windows Server 2008 R2”
The result: Microsoft support calls for this issue are no longer on the top of the list, and the same keywords searches are about half (~7,.000). We take that to mean that fewer customers are having this problem and unable to find the fix using search engines.
These are trending metrics, and do not prove causality, however, we are hopeful that they point towards a strategy we can use to help IT Pro customers find the content they need, and thus reduce their number one pain point with our content. What do you think? Leave feedback..
Tell your friends.
As the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) put is: “Use caution when opening attachments, even if they appear to have been sent by someone you know.” I have seen lots of reports recently of an American Airlines e-mail scam.
A version I have seen in my “consumer” free e-mail account junkmailbox looks like this:
Tips you can watch for:
For further info see Email and web scams: How to help protect yourself.
The new www.answerdesk.com service offers free support 24/7/365 with the option to upgrade to paid support right there if the free session does not suffice. *
*Currently for English-speaking customers, however some Answer Techs do speak other languages, and you can filter/select those ones if you wish.
What’s not to like? This is your get-out-of-tech-support-to-my-friends-and-family-jail-free card! Enjoy
Just sign the paper first
and then pick from the self-service menu:
1. Windows and Office – called “premium software support” ($99/hour if the free session does not work) NOTE: the “latest software": list on the website is Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Office applications (2010, 2007 and 2003).
2. PC optimization (the website does not distinguish or exclude server-class PCs)
3. virus removal and protection
4. one-on-one personal training
You get to select your “answer tech” based on profile information filters, such as their pics, language, service name, number of cases and rating. Curiously, “on line right now” is *not* one of the filter criteria – MSFT – you listening?
From the FAQ (http://www.answerdesk.com/support/faq.s2):
"As always, be vigilant when opening any PDF attachments in unsolicited emails."
Headsup that Symantec today issued a warning of Adobe Reader Zero-day being exploited in the wild. Go smack your users and remind them what happens when you open attachments that drop backdoors on the system.
Symptoms and error messages for corrupted Hyper-V VHD files are numerous, from the VM refusing to start, to failures to attach the VHD with messages like
"Failed to open attachment 'C:\ directory \MyVHD.vhd'. Error: 'The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.'”
There are many possible causes why your VHD may become corrupted. It is not necessary to figure out the exact cause if you need it back fast: just restore the VHD from your latest backup, or as Ben Armstrong puts it in his blogpost“Run data recovery tools inside the virtual machine."” As with all things in IT “fast” is a relative term – restoring a 500 GB disk from backup can take hours. Plan accordingly.
If you are going to take the time to investigate the cause, or do not have a backup, then you must “go all forensic”.
No mater what the VHD type, most common causes of data corruption in the VHD (whether fixed or dynamic) are from:
If you can trace back the chain of events leading to the corruption, you will usually find a failure either by disconnecting storage while the virtual drive was being created or moved over the network Note that switching the disk-type from one to the other or expanding the disk may cause the problem, and, for some people, it has solved the problem. Sometimes this failure is not hardware, but caused by 3rd party encryption and anti-virus programs that have been installed on the host.
This Core Team blog post shows one way to begin your analysis.
Fixes to try:
For freee training on Failover Clustering with Hyper-V: Designing a Highly-Available Infrastructure for the Private Cloud
Register here: http://mctreadiness.com/MicrosoftCareerConferenceRegistration.aspx?pid=287
Here's what is covered:
Symon Perriman and Elden Christensen are your presenters. Reccomended.
Did I mention it is free?
We have seen a decline in support cases from Hyper-V customers reporting issues that involve the error message “0x0000001” and “Stop 0x0000001a since the release of SP1 for Windows Server Hyper-V R2. Our advice for Hyper-V users, the solution is to install SP1. This TechNet Wiki article tells you How to Install and Manage Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1.
However, there are confusing results presented in search engines, because these error message strings are also found in Windows 7 and Windows XP. Folks who are in a hurry – for example those dealing with some critical and cryptic error – do not always read the content we publish with dogmatic precision.
Ninjas in lore specialize in not being seen. However, here is a group of community supporters inside Microsoft who are building community around the the TechNet wiki. Inside Microsoft, the employees working on this are called TechNet Ninjas. They are not so much into the hiding. They have a blog.
One of the most prolific* of the Ninjas, Ed Price, sat down with me recently for a chat.
Here is the short (~5 min) video.
You can also follow the Ninjas on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/WikiNinjas
*Ed’s profile pageallows you to see all his activity, and marvel thereat
IT Pros have longed asked for a way to understand “what changed in this information that you just updated”? A change log. The diffs.
On the TechNet Wiki you can see this by using the History tab.
Example, we just updated the Hyper-V: Update List for Windows Server 2008 R2. It us around 2k words, in a FIFO list! Kindofapaintoscan.
This link gives you the view when you select two most recent versions in the History tab, and then click Compare Versions (new stuff in GREEN):
Now, this list is in FIFO order, so you can intuit that the new stuff is at the end, but that isn’t always the case in every doc, right?
This wiki feature can be used on any article on the TechNet Wiki. You can easily see the diffs between the “first posted” or “authoritative” version and the most recent edit.
I am reading a great book for IT Pros who want to learn PowerShell: Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches. Why do I have PowerShell on the brain right now?
Don puts it this way: “…your choice is, Learn PowerShell, or would you like fries with that?”
The book is excellent for IT Pros. Best of all, you can use the CTP version of PowerShell 3.0 on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 to practice and get ahead of the competition.
Download the PowerShell 3.0 CTP for free-as-in-beer here: Windows Management Framework 3.0 - Community Technology Preview (CTP) #1
“Some of the new features in Windows PowerShell 3.0 include:
Ned Pyle has a comprehensive blog post that guides you through the important new stuff revealed at BUILD for IT Pros in Windows Server 8. Go read his blog post Windows 8 for the IT Pro: The New Plumbing.
If, like me, you want to start your reading with the Hyper-V stuff, here is the clip from his post to quickstart:
Virtualization, Networking, & High Availability
Enjoy. Thank Ned and leave a comment on his post if you feel inclined.
At the Build conference Windows Server 8 demo, Bill Laing crammed 7 demos into his session.
Here’s the skip-to guide (all times are *ish*):
VM Scale skip to timecode 7:00
Virtual SAN – 9:00
Live Migration of VM without shared storage/SAN/Clustering – 11:00
Network stuff (tasty) - 14:00
Virtual Switch (teaser) – 26:00
New multi-machine management UI (snover-licious) – 29:00
Windows PowerShell automation – 34:00
“workflows” – 36:00
Data dedupe and SMB – 38:00
Hybrid apps – 50:00
At the Build conference last week, Bill Laing, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft's Server and Cloud business, opened the conversation with his blog post Windows Server 8: An Introduction. More info is at Windows Server 8.
Bill is hosting the conversation over on the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform blog. Laing said “I’ve asked some of our engineering leaders to write posts on this blog to further explain some of the hundreds of new features. Be on the lookout for those posts in the coming weeks and months.” Watch that space, subscribe to the RSS feed to catch the new info soonest.
You can catch the video of Bill’s keynote over at Windows Server 8 | BUILD2011 | Channel 9.
Infoworld gives their top 10 list at 10 best new features of Windows Server 8.
Some I think are important include:
Ever wanted to create your own collection of technical documentation on the fly as you look for information on the TechNet Library? Now you can.
Microsoft has released a beta version of the Print/Export Multiple Topics tool (winning tool name, eh?). This is a special view of the TechNet Library that allows you to select articles, group them in a collection that persists across web sessions (requires sign in), and then print them or export them to a file. This tool requires at least Internet Explorer 8, or the latest versions of other major browsers.
To try the tool:
1. Go to the TechNet Library: in my case the URL is http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/default.aspx
2 Sign in. (required to print and persist your collection across web sessions)
3. Click Lightweight view
4. Search/find a library article you would like to add to your collection. In my case, I’ll use the Best Practice Analyzer for Hyper-V page, because the page also shows links to other BPAs (that collection would look nice on my mantle-piece).
5. Click the small icon next to the printer icon in the top right corner of your screen
Note: If you are using IE9, and you do not see the icon,
Click the Compatibility View button in IE
6. Click Print Multiple Topics
7. Click Start. A new toolbar will appear in the web page. Browse as you normally do, with the toolbar activated.
8. Add articles or topics to your collection:
In my case, I am going to add all those other BPAs:
9. Click Collection.
Review and rearrange your collection's content as it makes sense to you and then print or export. You can export to HTML* or PDF.
* If you export to HTML with the intention of accessing the pages offline, make sure you choose "save as Web Archive (.mht)" or "Webpage complete" in your browser when you save the generated document. Note that web browsers work best with small HTML pages, so HTML format is not recommended for large collections.
In my case, I’ll try .PDF for my collection of BPA articles, and then I’ll click Generate.
11. A few seconds later, I have my file, and I right-click to download it.
Give it a try. We hope you like it. Please send feedback/suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post as comments on this blog.
Recently, I claimed to be mini-microsoft, and Spartacus. No one believed me
My point was, on the internet, no one knows you are a dog…
Unless you are part of the Technet/MSDN community!!
As of today, if you click on the username of folks you see blogging/tagging/participating in the wiki/forums/galleries – you can see what they have been doing!
One of the cool things about the TechNet Wiki is that anyone can author content. One of the scary things about the TechNet Wiki is that anyone can author content!
However, when I see a wiki article authored by this guy, a quick look at his profile make me feel pretty confident that I can trust what he wrote.
Likewise, I think this (Virtual PC) guy prolly knows about Hyper-V:
What do you think? What other information can we show you on this profile page that will help? Leave feedback.
Microsoft has a wiki. It is called the TechNet Wiki. It is free-as-in-beer.
A one minute “fly-through” video is at: http://youtu.be/gj5Ug0CEg70
One of the “wiki ninjas” (a group of wiki early adopters committed to helping others use the wiki) has compiled a nifty list of wiki articles that will help you get up and contributing on the wiki.
If you use Twitter, follow the hashtags #TNWIKI and #WIKINIJAS
All the stuff written at http://minimsft.blogspot.com/
– I wrote that.
I’m not really mini …but how *exactly* would you know that? Folks who know me would say “It is obvious from your blog and other writing that you are not mini.”
My other writing? How would you find that exactly? TechNet does not have bylines…yet.
One way is to look at my TechNet profile, which now shows you some of my recent activity.
You can click the links and go to the things I’ve written on my blog, or in the wiki, or forums, gallery or the TechNet Library annotations. You can then judge for yourself whether it looks like the same person wrote those things, and the things on the minimsft blog.
Today, nobody know you are a dog, except Google and Facebook.
The “What Google and Facebook are Hiding” video helps frame this “filer bubble” problem. If you rely on Google and Facebook or the mainstream media to verify identity and authority of information, you’ll end up thinking certain bloggers in Damascus are real, rather than fiction. Or that Sharia has come to NYC (read the comments and background to discover the woman in question is an “alternative marketing” person).
A commentator on this Jaron Lanier NYT post put it this way “In the Fox News economy, no one is ever punished for lying..”
Now, back when I was a kid, if the teacher suspected us of either guessing or cribbing in math class, she would tell us we had to “show your work.”
So Beware. A wise man once told me to beware of folks claiming abilities or achievements that cannot be verified right then. Way he put it “Ever notice the thing about people claiming to be the great lovers and fighters? They can’t show you in public.”
Reagan put it this way – “Trust. But verify.” (I am not sure he really understood that V. Lenin apparently coined this phrase…but I digress.)
One way to verify “authority” is to find and examine transaction history. For much of the social web, that history is partly/mostly/all in the RSS feed. This video shows you How To Subscribe To RSS Feed From Outlook and Internet Explorer IE9.
HINT: If you use Outlook, you can write rules and custom search folders to make this archeological function easier, such as “Only posts from TONYSO that contain the words “PLUGH” and “XYZZY."**
I’m not really mini, I am really the crabby office lady.
No, not really. I am the sitting duck.
**The director’s commentary track for this blog posts notes that if you get these references from the 70’s you are totally awesome.
Like a lot of people in technology, I call myself an auto-didact. This means I like to fool myself into believing that I am largely “self-taught.” It is part of the mythical life of Americans in particular that the individual can succeed as a lone-wolf. I say mythical not in the sense that it doesn’t exist, but in the sense of it is so absent from daily life as to be rare and magical.
The fact is that in any area of proficiency – the smart play for a human is to “watch, and learn.” The military/martial skill schools long ago codified the algorithm pretty well:
“See 1. Do 1. Teach 1.”
repeat as necessary.
So, say you are starting out and want to learn “How to be an IT Pro”. The tribal wisdom for ages has been “See <that person over there of demonstrated proficiency>? Go watch what they do. LEARN.”
In this interwebz era – how to do?
Here’s a start - work your way through the free-as-in-beer Test lab Guides on the TechNet Wiki. Then contribute one yourself. Virtualization and Hyper-V makes this particularly easy.
Welcome to the community.
There is a new feature on the TechNet Wiki. Push a button, generate a Table of Contents (TOC) for your article.
Click Edit, add [toc] and then save
Check it out, let us know what you think.
The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group is one group of developers with which I do not wish to tangle.
If the reports are correct and these special developers were involved in the recent operation in Abbottabad, I can only say, thank you for your service.
The TechNet wiki shows two RSS feeds:
There is also a feed for a tag in the the tag cloud:
I use Outlook 2010 to feed each of these into a folder. I then write filter rules on the folders to show me stuff that has keywords I am interested in tracking.
However, you can hack the articles feed to show you a specific tag, like this:
Which gets you your custom-feed: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/search/Searchrss.aspx?wikis=5&tags=WS08&orTags=0
If you want to make your own categorization/table of contents/custom navigation scheme through the wiki, just start a new tag, tag the articles you want with that tag, and then subscribe to the custom tag feed.
A manager of mine, Stuart Macrae, once told me “People don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect.” My first GM, Rick Devenuti, used to remind us “You cannot improve what you do not measure.”
Time has come (it is actually past due, but that’s another story) and the folks responsible for the TechNet wiki are interested in your feedback on Recommended Metrics: How To Measure Community and Social Media.
This is your chance. Help them get the metrics right, and the behavior you desire will follow. Neglect this opportunity, and the easy measures, like “page views” will rule this day and all others.
Doug from Office Casual strikes again, helpful vid: The fastest way to Search Commands in Office
Download the free Search commands for Office: http://officelabs.com/projects/searchcommands/Pages/default.aspx
Some folks on the TechNet Wiki have started a wiki topic to assist IT Pros in Japan who may have to do some unplanned server take-downs. Check out http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/windows-server-emergency-management-resources.aspx and add your useful links for:
Luckily, machine translation comes for free thanks to the Bing Translator widget. Hopefully the translation to Japanese is “good enough” to get them through the emergency.
Thanks in advance for your help
Lors d'événements clients il y a quelques années nous commencé distribuaient des Guides une page"survie" (imprimé des deux côtés et stratifié) avec des liens vers des ressources importantes. Les versions de wiki de la survie Guides visent à faire les mêmes choses sans tuer les arbres ou à l'aide de machines de lamination.Veuillez ajouter des ressources vous être utiles, ou ceux qui sont ici, par exemple les paragraphes ajout de réorganiser - c'est le wiki way !
Voici quelques ressources sur le réglage des performances et de la mémoire virtuelle.
This blogs post is in French, which I do not speak, courtesy of the translator widget on the TechNet wiki: http://blogs.technet.com/b/tonyso/archive/2011/02/22/translate-the-tnwiki.aspx, via this Wiki article.
Now, if you read French, and this machine translation is not par excellence, then you are kind of stuck, because this is a blog post. However, if you want to bop over to the TechNet Wiki, start a new article,
and drop in this text, with your corrections, and then Save – Rock on ma mec!