David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small. I specialise in Windows Intune and SBS 2008.
This blog is purely the personal opinions of David Overton. If you can't find the information you were looking for e-mail me at admin@davidoverton.com.

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April 2006 - David Overton's Blog

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  • Cool backup e-mail when it has succeeded & tape changing scripts

    Hi guys, I just saw this and decided it is so awesome (as someone told me this one featured paid for an alternative backup product). Put simply, Marina Roos has documented a 2 minute process to add e-mail alerts when backups succeed. The details can be found at http://www.smallbizserver.net/Default.aspx?tabid=266&articleType=ArticleView&articleId=143 At the same time, I was asked in the forums about compression of tapes and I found Sean Daniels blog, which had a auto tape changing scripts in it. The article can be found at http://seanda.blogspot.com/2004/10/sbs-2003-backup-hack_05.html enjoy the new week ttfn David
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  • Off topic - Good Luck to Susanne in the London Marathon

    Susanne is running in the London Marathon - if you want to know more about her preparation, go have a look at http://spaces.msn.com/susannedansey/ . If you want to help with her chosen charity, again, go have a look at http://www.justgiving.com/susanne to add some more cach to this truely worthwhile charity. ttfn and go Susanne gi :-) David
  • Ever wanted a "Microsoft" show that your customers could look at on how to use a server

    This is just a very quick one. I found this interesting little tool on the web which is almost customer safe, but explains the value of a server. Download, customise the powerpoints and use when ever you are at an exhibition etc. This is the " Information Worker’s Guide to the Windows SBS Computer Network " and according to the site performs the following: Through a series of interlinked PowerPoint shows or "modules," the "Information Worker's Guide to the Windows SBS Computer Network" provides users with a high-level overview of the Windows SBS network. As they progress through the modules, users learn how Windows SBS can help them keep company data secure, improve personal and team productivity, and communicate more effectively with customers and co-workers. Along the way, they are introduced to Windows SBS features and functionality and to the basic scenarios of working remotely and staying connected. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d566b19a-63c9-48d4-8add-ed7f99c9024c&displaylang=en ttfn David
  • Leave, holiday, R&R, time off, painting the nursery or Vacation - I will try to take some

    Hello, it is that time of year for me where I need to take some time off to do family things, namely build and paint a nursery – I have a wonderful daughter and baby number 2 is due to arrive mid-June, so I am shortening the distance I will travel to Partner Groups and trying to make sure I remember what 6 hours unbroken sleep feels like as I know this will change. So, this week will be light on reports as I take my leave, although I am sure one of two items will pop into my head before Friday :-) ttfn David
  • Lots more about the new Office UI - and some scenarios on how it all works together

    Hello, It is rare that I copy from MS newsletters, but I suspect many people do not get the UK MSDN (developer) newsletter, so since this issue talks about the online videos for Office 2007 and scenarios on how it all works together, I thought I should highlight David Gristwood, a great colleague who cares passionately about Office Development and also wrote this little article. I have clipped it to remove some of the more developer oriented content. Note the links for the videos to see more of the product. ttfn David Office Developers Conference, Redmond - David Gristwood <sniped> One of the big announcements was openXMLDeveloper.org , a community site supporting Open XML. You can see the video on demand here . (Bill Gates also gave an interview with InformationWeek just before the dev con, which you can read here , which explains more of his thinking) Part of the keynote included a very compelling demo, that showed end to end the various client and server elements of the Office platform all fully integrated (Excel services, SharePoint, Open XML, Workflow, etc). It showed a number of scenarios that I think many people can relate to, and find relevant to their own business or systems they need to build / integrate with. The new Office UI seemed to be well received, especially as delegates got to see the recently released Technical Refresh 1 version. Most seemed very positive about the amount of time it would take users to get used to it, and how much more discoverable it is, and how difficult it would be to go back to 2003. One of the best ways to see the new UI in action is to check out this short video . You can also see some screen shots and discussion on Jensen Harris's blog . There was a big emphasis on the server side element to what has traditionally been a more client based offering. Many attendees were impressed how rich the server technology stack now is. SharePoint 3.0 provides integrated workflow support (via Windows Workflow Foundation), native support for ASP.NET 2.0, as well as out-of-the-box...
  • The Power of the Wizards

    Many of you know that I am a Star Wars fan (anyone seen my avatar?), but you may also remember me telling everyone to "Use the wizards, Luke, use the wizards" over 3 years ago when explaining that SBS can help make life easier. Today, when playing catch up on a number of blogs, I noticed this article from Susan Bradley that said all I wanted to say / have been saying: http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2006/04/08/89925.aspx A blog worth reading, and I especially like the start: Well..actually more likely.. once you screw up the box so much .. you learn yourself why there are some wizards you should just never bypass..... and the biggie... the granddaddy of the wizards that you should not bypass unless you want me to personally hunt you down... is the basic install wizard of Small Business Server in the first place. HandyAndy's web site has the screen shots..but make your life and your customer's life easier by letting the box install everything as it wants to be laid down by that SBS installer. I don't care if you don't use Exchange and use Pop protocol inside of Outlook (ugh). I don't care if your client doesn't know what Sharepoint is....there just might be a time in your clients future that they might need it and want it and then you'll have to get those bits back on the box. Thus it's easier to install the SBS box and let it do it's "thing" and then when you are done, then go back and inside the "services" manually disable those services you don't want running. But do yourself a huge favor and let the box do what it wants do to. And don't even think that you can install SBS "by hand" like the big server boxes. Do ensure that user folders and Exchange get moved over to different partitions of course, but don't even think of installing a SBS box by hand the "manual" way. I really couldn't put it better, so read the who entry, then have a look at the blog - you will not regret it :-) ttfn David
  • Win prizes for telling us about how you have improved your customers' solutions

    Hello again, One of the common conversations we have is around how some SBS implementations are very poorly done. Then, the quality partners, often Partner Groups or SBSC members re-implement the solution to much higher standards. Microsoft has a competition to reward those excellent designs now – details found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/technet/designit/default.mspx . This is the design IT competition with entries required by 3rd May. There is also a charity entry piece there too. Prizes include: Winner The winner from DesignIT will be awarded a trip to the Ice Hotel in Sweden for two people Runners up The four finalists that are runners up in the public vote will be awarded either: An Xbox 360 A Creative Zen (MP3 Player) A Smartphone A Media Centre PC The ten shortlisted designs will be exhibited in the DesignIT exhibition commencing 30 May 2006. The exhibition will be held at the Arndean Gallery, London ttfn David
  • Do you want to understand more about Small Biz and Microsoft, meet cool people, influence and discuss our strategy

    OK, so the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is coming. As with many things in the MS International world, we have some firsts coming up. The WPC is always a huge event for understanding and changing MS strategy and networking with both key MS people and also key people in the community. This is also the time to hear from industry experts about the external influences on the market and how to take advantage and prepare for them. You may think this all sounds a big "la-de-da", but a little while ago at WPC someone asked Steve B in an open session why MS people had great demos, but our partners did not. Within 6 months we had added the Technical Demonstration Toolkit for partners to our offerings. You can have this impact if you ask the right questions too. We have a day in the pre-conference dedicated to Small Business, with a fee for non-SBSC members, but SBSC people get entry for free. More information on the conference can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference/ and it is already being discussed on http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=1708#1708 While I don't have all the final information (in fact it is very draft), below is what I can share. Now I do have a baby due in June, but all being well I may well be there with you. If you want more information, let me know. We understand that being a partner who sells to small businesses means working hard day in and day out to help your customers, leaving you little time to learn about new market opportunities, or network with other partners that sell to the small-business market segment. To help you continue to capitalise on this market opportunity, we are hosting an all-day event to help you get the download on industry trends and market insights. The Microsoft Small Business Symposium 2006 will be held July 10, 2006—the day before the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference kicks off—in the U.S. city of Boston, Massachusetts. · Hear the latest from industry experts. · Network...
  • Fixing SMTP Issues

    Do you find yourself struggling to fix SMTP issues with your Exchange set up? If so, give this tool a try and things might look much better for you. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=BC1881C7-925D-4A29-BD42-71E8563C80A9&displaylang=en ttfn David
  • GPRS sync of CRM data to mobile now available

    When we launched MS CRM, the world was wise and fair and rightly said that CRM was great for customer relationships, but perhaps only fair to good for the gentle, overworked sales person on the road. To this end, various ISVs brought out tools that would enable PDAs to work with MS CRM. Microsoft took this feedback on-board and indeed a new CRM client was born, which would enable PDAs to work, but somehow lacked one special ingredient. While PDAs did indeed sync with MS-CRM, a wireless of through PC connection was required, making the concept of true PDA only sales people a mere dream for many. Finally Microsoft has accomplished the desires of many. Hail, we have a new CRM client, one that "goes mobile" and can do so without a wire to a PC or even a WiFi (although these can be used), for finally the GPRS is not a dream, but a tool to provide syncronisation for PDAs to MS-CRM. If such a venture is just what you were looking for, then you can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=EA5A3566-7EC8-4AFE-BBFA-91E7210C55C4&displaylang=en , which for many is a tad long, so it is also linked in the files section - http://uksbsguy.com/files/18/windows_mobile/entry178.aspx for the entry - of http://uksbsguy.com/files to search through the menus. As always there is a wee catch, and that is that for GPRS sync you need Windows Mobile 5, otherwsie all other functionality requires 2003 or above (providing your hardware can handle it) So, if you can handle it, Go Do!! ttfn David P.S. Have a happy Easter!!!!!!
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  • What did SB+ ever do for me?

    One of the recent heated discussions has been around the services that Microsoft has started to offer to consumers and small businesses. Last night at the Thames Valley Partner Group I was asked in Microsoft was going to start servicing customers directly. This was then followed by Matt's presentation ( http://www.axxis.com ) on SLAs and much discussion was had about how people do/don't want to deal with those "how do I format my Excel spreadsheet" type questions. So I thought I would highlight the services Microsoft offers, for both consumers and small businesses, but we are hardly alone in this and I think it ties up to Vlad's post at http://www.vladville.com/2006/04/your-potentialour-passion-they-took-r.html . The world is constantly changing, online services are being offered by many people and Microsoft is working to see how new partner can benefit and existing parnters can take advantage of them. So let's look at the services: SB+ / One Care - information about this can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/uk/businesscentral/small-business-plus/default.aspx?xid=sbp_bc_btn and the pricing is detailed https://www.microsoft.com/uk/businesscentral/small-business-plus/about-small-business-helpdesk-loggedin.htm . This is often just sorting out stuff that can be found on MS web sites, but can be hard to find. This is often the type of work that most partners do not enjoy doing, or is often not profitable. This is discussed on the SBSBPI web site http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=115&highlight=onecare with people generally coming out positive, plus we are looking at how to make it even MORE partner friendly. We do have other services coming, such as http://www.officelive.com and http://ideas.live.com , however these are not finished products yet, so are either free, or will be advertising funded in the future. This will include services like hosting, Instant Messaging, e-mail etc. Many of these we have offered for a while already, or other competitors have come into the market meaning that the dynamics...
  • Are your SBS customers wanting to move off SBS to bigger things?

    I often tell people about organisations that have outgrown their SBS system. Many people are not aware that the answer to this problem is the Transition Pack. For those who are, they often worry about "what is involved" and "how long will it take". Believe it or not, I have not used the transition pack yet, so while my copy is on order, I thought that I would share this resource to help you understand more. It covers everything from licensing, to documentation through to process. http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2006/01/12/417350.aspx Let me know what you think David
  • Do you want to pre-register for info on the upcoming betas

    I just came across this place to register for info on betas via Technet. It may well be worth signing up. Since I already run Office 2007 & Windows Vista, I can wholeheartedly say these are great productivity tools. Exchange 12 has so many fabulous features that I can't wait. The down side is that Exchange will not ship for SBS until after Windows Server Longhorn, which means we will have several months of Exchange 12 shipping and the only way to add it to an SBS environment is via an additional server, x64 enabled. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/beta/preregister.mspx is the link you need to go see. ttfn David
  • SMBNation photos from Susanne

    Expect more photos to surface, but Susanne has put some some up on her personal blog (did you know she has 3). Anyway, photos of the gang - http://spaces.msn.com/susannedansey/photos/ . Just don't ask why it looks like I am hopping in one of them - it was one of those timing shots. I forgot my camera, so no photos from me. Expect to see other photos linked on the site soon. ttfn David
  • What a great post by Vlad - arguing about Microsoft and the changing market

    Not thta I wish for this to turn into a "look over there" type of blog, I read the article http://www.vladville.com/2006/04/your-potentialour-passion-they-took-r.html at Vlad's site (he also does the podcasts at www.sbsshow.com . Anyway, I am always telling people the market is changing and he talks about this - we need to constantly find new business models. very much worth a read :-) ttfn David
  • Jo Carpenter from Microsoft joins the blogroll

    Hello everyone, as you may know my workload has got a bit silly, so I have the pleasure in announcing that Jo will be assisting me in the land of Small Business. She will specifically be focusing on how Office (2003 & 2007) works for small business. Her blog can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/jo_carpenter/default.aspx or the RSS feed at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/jo_carpenter/rss.aspx . Say welcome and start asking her questions :-) ttfn David
  • Susanne has gone for the split personality

    Now you all know how great a community leader Susanne is (and if not, better go find out by seeing here community site at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk ) and that she has her blog on this site, well she has now struck out on her own as well - have a look at her posts on http://www.uksmbgirl.co.uk/blog/ ttfn David
  • Thinking about SLAs to improve your business, or better documentation or swinging?

    We are priviledged to have some of the SBS GREATs speaking over the next 3 nights on these subjects and more and if you wanted to join in, now is a great time to "come on over" to the Partner Groups. Details of the events can be found at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk and you will find people speaking in Dublin (Jeff Middleton on Swing Migration), London tonight (Karl and Matt on documentation and SLAs), Birmingham on Tuesday (Karl, Jeff (I think) and Matt on documentation, swing migration and SLAs) and then in Thames Valley on Wednesday with Karl and Matt again. On the subject of SLAs, I have posted a short piece in the forum at http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/258.aspx for people to expand the discussion around. ttfn David
  • So what did Microsoft ever do for me - or latest offers and help with licensing?

    One of the things that I am often hearing is how Microsoft could do more for opur partners - and I don't disagree, but in many cases the things I am asked for are already available. One of the goals of SBSC is to enable me to spend my time with better quality partners, and for Microsoft to direct customers to those quality partners. There are lots of other benefits and purposes too, such as providing focused support and offers, listening to your needs and delivering on them etc. Two things that people have asked me for recently are: Help understanding what "offers" Microsoft has running at the moment - check out http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/sales_and_marketing/promotions/default.aspx?page=latest for a full list Help me configure against my license needs -See the license configurator - http://members.microsoft.com/partner/uk/sales_and_marketing/gearup/ One nice feature of the configurator is that you can compare various license types. We are also running a couple of campaigns at the moment, but the one I like is the "Right Server" campaign, designed to pitch SBS into those businesses larger than 25 users, but still where SBS sits - have a look at the material at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windowsserversystem/rightserver/default.mspx and let me know what you think. One if the items I really like in there are the webcasts on what SBS can do for you - have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windowsserversystem/rightserver/webcasts.mspx for more info. ttfn David
  • Blog moved to new URL and redirection in place against old URL

    Hello, I wanted to move my blog to an easier URL, and I have done so - the new URLs are: RSS - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/rss.aspx WEB - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/default.aspx Atom - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/atom.aspx However when looking at the logs for the site, lots of people were trying to access via the old entries, so I have put in place a simple re-direction piece of software that re-writes the URL from the old to the new without yopu having to know. Once the new URLs take over in popularity I will remove this software. Obviously I would like you to change your Favourites and Reader software as soon as possible. For those who are interested, the re-direction software can be found at http://www.isapirewrite.com/ and the 1 line I had to put into their httpd.ini file was: RewriteRule (.*)david_overton_blog_more_technical(.*) $1doverton$2 Not exactly difficult to manage and that changes the longer name to the shorter one whereever it is found. ttfn David
  • Off-line site

    While I was away in Amsterdam my SBS box crashed twice, so I took the server offline today to run a lenght memory and hard disk test - neither returned any results, but the system appears to be crashing from random hardware issues - I will update you with hwo I diagnosed it soon. ttfn David
  • Off topic- another feature played with in Vista

    Hello again everyone, I have been playing with a new feature in Vista . It is the the ability to dictate directly into the operating system or application, so for example this blog was dictated using a the headset and Windows Vista speech recognition of my UK accent. While it can be frustrating while windows lands my voice one benefit at least is that I no longer have to spell check what type type is this is automatically performed by the voice recognition technology. It can even be set to use my local language so words which would normally be spelt in the American way such as a magazine are now starting the English way. While this technology is not knew I had spent many hours in the past training this sort of behaviour into applications before where is now it is taken over a short amount of time to get it right. The process of correcting its mistakes is also very nice as is the way in which you can now move around other applications including Internet explorer by showing that numbers for all of the places where you can click and then enabling you to voice activated a particular number. Okay that's enough for this particular entry it was really just to see how difficult this would actually be. It's turned out to be very simple in the end. ttfn David
  • Microsoft in the community and Susanne Dansey as a case Study

    Hello there, while looking at what Microsoft is doing in the UK as a responsible member of the community I noticed the following entry with Susanne in the picture. It turns out that Susanne has helped us with the information. Her story can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/citizenship/stories/susanne.mspx , and it mentions her site http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk and of course her blog can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/default.aspx on this site. Finally, if you want to know more about Microsoft and the UK community, go have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/citizenship/default.mspx ttfn David
  • Microsoft makes Virtual Server Free and buys Pro-Clarity

    Well folks, I could not tell you this was coming (and only knew about the price change in Virtual Server), but it is quite a day for news. VS becoming free means that all you who wanted to look at it for Swing Migrations, or small projects can now do so, although check the requirements for licesnes inside the VMs. Anyway, the two News items are: April 3, 2006 • Microsoft Agrees to Acquire ProClarity, Enhancing Business Intelligence Offering Leader in advanced analytics adds to Microsoft’s comprehensive BI capabilities. • Q&A: Bringing the Benefits of Virtualization Technology to the Mainstream Microsoft delivers Linux support and makes Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 available to customers at no charge as part of its ongoing effort to radically simplify IT management. ttfn David
  • Blog moving

    My blog will be moving to the new address of http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/default.aspx and the RSS feed will become http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/RSS.aspx on the 9th April. Until then, continue to use this feed
  • 2nd Partner Group lead now blogging on the site

    This is just a quick note to say welcome to Ian Watkins who is the London Partner Group lead and also a recent SBSC member. Ian is now also blogging on the web site. His blog can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/ianwatkins/default.aspx or the RSS feed at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/ianwatkins/rss.aspx . Ian joins Susanne with her blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/default.aspx or the RSS feed at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/rss.aspx . Look out for more soon. ttfn David
  • Off topic - This is awesome - BBC plans for internet & Vista

    Hi guys, this is something that truely knocked me out - check out the next gen of BBC with Windows Vista - site found at http://blog.mix06.com/virtualmix/archive/2006/03/17/BBC_demo.aspx and the video is linked through the video files forum on the site http://uksbsguy.com/files/18/videos/default.aspx ttfn David

(c)David Overton 2006-13