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Ho, ho, ho! Merry Techmas!
Have you been good boys and girls this year? Providing you’ve been on your very best behaviour, Father Techmas wants to hear from you. We’d like to see your Techmas technology wish list, and the three funniest efforts will win a copy of Office Professional Plus 2010. Be warned, though - Father T is a tough chap to impress – in fact he told me he thinks developers are much funnier than IT professionals. But what does he know? Prove him wrong in 200 words or less by 16th December, and we’ll let you know the next day if you tickled his fancy enough to win. Don’t forget to check out the terms and conditions below (yawn).
Letters to Father Techmas Competition Terms and Conditions
1. ELIGIBILITY: This competition is open to UK residents who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees’ families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and life partners).
2. TO ENTER: To enter post your letter to Father Techmas in the blog’s comments box . The person submitting the funniest letter, as selected by three judges, will win a copy Office 2010 Professional Plus. Only one entry per person will be accepted. Incomplete, damaged, defaced or illegible entries may be deemed invalid at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.
3. TIMING: This competition runs from 9 December The closing date of this competition is 5pm GMT 16 December 2010. Completed entries must reach Microsoft no later than the closing date.
4. USE OF DATA: Personal data which you provide when you enter this competition will not be used for future Microsoft UK marketing activity.
5. SELECTION OF WINNER: Three judges will select their favourite letter from all the entries and the winner will be notified by email on 17 December 2010 by 6pm GMT. The winners may be required to become involved in further publicity or advertising.
6. PRIZE: The prize is one copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus with an estimated retail price of £330.00. Prize as stated and non-transferable. No cash or other alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The prize will be dispatched within one week of the competition’s closing date. Prize may be considered a taxable benefit and the winner will be directly responsible for accounting for any tax liability arising on their prize.
7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their surname being made publicly available. The winner’s surname will be available for a period of 3 weeks after the closing date by emailing email@example.com
8. OTHER: No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this competition or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Microsoft’s decision shall be final. Microsoft reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this competition at any time without notice.
9. Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.
Woohoo! Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 is now available for you to trial on TechNet. If you don’t know what it’s all about, read on:
Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 simplifies and improves endpoint protection while greatly reducing infrastructure costs. It builds on System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and R3, allowing customers to use their existing client management infrastructure to deploy and manage endpoint protection. This shared infrastructure lowers ownership costs while providing improved visibility and control over endpoint management and security.
Evaluate your socks off.
At this time of year it’s traditional for everyone to start planning for next year but what are the most important things for an IT Professional to do in the coming year? Next year is going to be the year when we start to see widespread cloud (both public and private) adoption now that some of the big players have proven the path. It’s going to be a year where things need to be completed and where you get things ready to take on the next set of challenges. You need to have your client and cloud in alignment and ready to work seamlessly together. So here’s my top list of 10 new years resolutions for the IT Pro.
1. Complete (or start if you haven't) your Windows 7 upgrades
Lots and lots of people have already started on the path of upgrading their clients to Windows 7. Tools like the WAIK, MDT and System Center make it easier than ever to migrate and technologies like XP Mode, App-V and Med-V and help from toolkits like ACT 5.5 take much of the pain out of ensuring application compatibility. 2011 though is the year you need to be running Windows 7 so that your users can have the best experience that you as an IT Pro can give them, better support, easier use and frankly it’s not fair to make them use an OS that had training materials distributed on VHS!
2. Eradicate IE 6 from your company, replacing it with IE8
Internet Explorer 6 is the the scourge of web developers everywhere. They need to develop separate fixes to make things run in IE6 that need to in other browsers, costing more in development, testing and management time. Moving up to IE8 (which you can do on XP or along with your Windows 7 upgrade) is the way to go. “Ahh but IE9 is on it’s way with all it’s beauty” you say. This is true, 2011 will see IE9 land and yes, it’s true you’ll want to deploy that too, but the move to IE9 will be much easier from IE8 and besides IE8 is more manageable and more secure than any other browser(thanks to InPrivate Browsing and Filtering and being part of your regular patch infrastructure) .
A modern browser means you are protecting your customers, your company and your own reputation.
3. Start understanding and using cloud services like BPOS, Office 365, Windows Intune
2010 has definitely been a year of excitement about the cloud, it’s literally everywhere – even on a CNN panel debate a couple of days ago where they just used the term “cloud” because it was cool. 2011 will be the year that businesses start to derive value from cloud solutions, the fastest of which will be email and BPOS and Office 365 are poised to do that with true enterprise class email. More over though the ability to manage your environment will start the move to the cloud with Windows Intune being a very good starting point.
4. Learn new skills; upgrade your certifications
For lots of people “get a new job” will be top of their new years resolutions list. Make it easier on yourself by upgrading your certifications. It’s something I’m currently doing having just sat all the IT Pro entry level MTA exams. Certifications might not mean that much to you in your current role but when you go looking having certifications on your CV gets you through that level of Recruitment consultants that are just looking for you to tick some boxes. The most important thing though is the knowledge that you gain from doing the courses and that’s what helps you perform better in your current job.
5. Do your number one alpha geek project
It can’t all be about work. Get your Media Center working at home. Learn how to take great photo’s or make excellent videos with the camera you got for Christmas or in the sales. Get yourself a Home Server to keep all your family memories safe or create your quadro-copter / UAV.
6. Use free virtualisation solutions
Microsoft give you virtualisation for free in Windows Server 2008 R2. Turn on the Hyper-V role and as long as you don’t install anything else on your Hyper-V server you can use your Windows 2008 R2 license again on that box. That means you can get great density from that single bit of hardware and because it’s Windows – not some Lunix distro with hard to find drivers that needs specific hardware – you can use Hyper-V on almost any server made in the last few years. And yes Hyper-V does the cool stuff like live migration too.
7. Build applications for the cloud
Azure is a true cloud platform that uses almost any language that you want to build your application in so that you can architect a solution that really makes the best use of the clouds elasticity to grow and shrink and your applications and data needs. Tim Anderson even thinks it’s ready to rock. For a great example of an application built on Azure take a look at
8. Get Silverlight onto every corporate desktop
Silverlight is bit of an unsung hero but it should be a part of your standard Windows 7 deployment. It’s used by Office 2010 to make synchronising to the cloud (public and private) slicker and to train your users with free interactive training built into Office 2010. SharePoint 2010 uses it to look even slicker and you can share corporate insights with simplicity with SharePoint and PowerPivot. Not only that but your Developers can create super slick applications and reuse code simply thus reducing development time and costs.
9. Make sure you have good anti-malware protection
2010 saw us make Microsoft Security Essentials free for businesses of 10 computers or less and it has always been free for home use. Install it on any machines without AV and make sure you keep it updated.
10. Get fit and loose weight
Come on you know you need to do this one too….
Simon May is an Evangelist for Microsoft specialising in Client and Cloud. Simon’s blog covers Windows deployment and Microsoft Public Cloud, when he’s not writing for TechNet or explaining technology he’s normally playing with Media Center PCs, taking photos or renovating houses.
I’m a huge fan of IE9 which is why I made a bunch of videos about it but what I like is that we’re really pushing ahead with innovation in the space and it feels like hardly a week goes by without there being something (really) good to say about it. The thing is it’s still in beta and not what people should be using right now you should be deploying Internet Explorer 8 as part of Windows 7 and as an upgrade to anything else. Which is why it’s super news that IE8 is included in these figures. NSS Labs have just released a report that – independently – proclaims Internet Explorer 8 and 9 the most secure browsers on the net. Oh how things have changed!
Internet Explorer 8 stops 90% of all malware attacks and IE9 builds on this by stopping another 9% with things like Application Reputation. To provide contrast that’s 5X more than Firefox, 9x more than Safari and 33x more than Chrome.
What does this mean to me, your average IT Professional?
It means lots of things, depending upon your point of view…
You can trust Internet Explorer 9 because of Built-in security, reliability, deployment and control
Try IE9 and check out the Internet Explorer Tech Center on TechNet
Enjoy festive times on the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog as the lads talk Windows PowerShell with Ebenezer Script, Bob Snippet, and Tiny Shim. The A Windows PowerShell Carol series of posts comes courtesy of Microsoft MVP Sean Kerney – find out more about him on the HSG blog. You can also follow the scripting guys on Twitter.
Find out in this new TechNet Edge video – here’s the blurb:
Learn about Microsoft IT's deployment of Windows Server 2008 R2, a release that builds on the Windows Server 2008 foundation. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes technology improvements aimed at giving client computers running Windows 7 a reliable and flexible network productivity feature set. Included features are DirectAccess, Microsoft Branch Cache, and BitLocker ToGo, as well AD DS policies that integrate with Terminal Services’ new RAD and VDI desktop and application virtualisation features allowing administrators to deploy virtualised apps and desktops based on policy.
So now you know.
New for you - Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010 Service Pack 1 provides an easy and secure remote access solution with a focus on application intelligence and granular access control. Forefront UAG 2010 SP1 is the one solution to fit all of your remote access needs, as it provides centralised management and policy control across all users, devices, and network resources.
Visit TechNet to download.
Well, it’s that time of year again and we’re about to shut up shop and head home to our families for Techmas. It’s been an exciting few months on the UK TechNet blog since we wrote our first post back in July. Thanks for helping to make it successful and jolly good fun.
Have a very merry Techmas – we’ll be back in the New Year.
L-R: Andrew Fryer, Sam Taylor, Georgina Lewis, me (Rachel Collier), Simon May.
Ho, ho, ho…merry Techmas. Well, boys and girls, Father Techmas has been busily reading the letters you sent him and he’s told me which three of you he’ll be sending a copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010. I offered to tell you myself, but Father Techmas insisted he wanted the news to come direct from him. So, without further ado, it’s over to the big man himself…
And the winners are…
If your name appears below, give it a little click and see what happens.
Well done to the three of you. Write to me with your addresses and I’ll have a couple of elves send out your parcels.
Hopefully you’re winding down for Christmas this week, so what better time to sit back and enjoy this Windows 7 webinar with Tim Philips from The Register. Tim’s joined by Dale Vile from Freeform Dynamics and Microsoft’s Julie-Ann Muir and Doug Elsley to discuss the challenges and choices around Microsoft desktop upgrades.
Watch the webinar and find lots more Windows 7 resources on the TechNet Springboard pages.