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 2007 - David Overton's Blog

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  • Some Technical Longhorn documentation

    Windows Longhorn Beta 3 Microsoft have unveiled the first publicly available test version of Windows Server, code-named “Longhorn” as Beta 3. The release allows people to evaluate the increased control, flexibility and protection and is available for download today at http://www.microsoft.com/getbeta3 . Please note this public beta is not supported for use in a production environment. The final version of Windows Server “Longhorn” is on track for release to manufacturing in the second half of 2007. http://www.microsoft.com/getbeta3 Windows Server "Longhorn": Server Core Organisations need their servers to be running effectively for as much time as possible. Windows Server "Longhorn" Server Core helps organisations to achieve this goal. Now, administrators can choose to install Windows Server "Longhorn" with only core server functionality and without any extra overhead. By reducing the roles that can be performed by the server, and removing the graphic user interface (GUI), the organisation can expect improved security and reduced management overhead. The full list of Server Core roles includes: DNS Server, DHCP Server , Active Directory Domain Controller (including Read Only Domain Controllers), File Server, Print Server, Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services, Media Services and Virtualisation. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=6687608 ttfn David Technorati tags: Longhorn
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  • Using Silverlight to tattoo my hand with SBSC - more demos, community and more

    I was watching the MIX Keynotes, which just blew me away with the news regarding speed of deployment, platform options, browser options, developer options, demos and just sooo much more. It is just worth going to http://visitmix.com and watching the keynotes - it will really blow your socks off. Using one of the demos from http://silverlight.net/samples/1.0/Ink-Tattoo-Studio/default.html I just tattoo'd my hand using a web based app - this is something I would expect from a client app. enjoy David
  • What does it take to run Office 2007 on a PC (Windows XP and Vista)

    I saw this on Darrens blog ( Office Rocker! : Is your PC beefy enough for Office 2007? ) and decided that I would add to it. One point Darren makes very clear is that Office 2007 will run on Windows XP SP2 or Window Vista (you do not need to have Vista - just as Office 2003 will run on Windows Vista too). The Office 2007 spec is one of the more comprehensive that I have seen, which is good - just like Vista it scales according to the capabilities of the PC it is running on. You will note that to get grammar checking, contextual spell check and search you would need a 1GB machine, whihc is the minimum recommended spec for a Vista Business machine. If you are a power user, go for more memory. I run a 1GB machine at the moment, but when I have 10 windows open it can get sluggish swapping between the applications. Anyway, this is what Darren said: The hardware spec on our website says a few other interesting things, in small print at the end of this list has some of the exceptions: 2 gigahertz (GHz) processor or higher and 1 GB RAM or higher recommended for OneNote Audio Search . Close-talking microphone required. Audio Search not available in all languages. Grammar and contextual spelling in Word is not turned on unless the machine has 1 GB memory. 512 MB RAM or higher recommended for Outlook Instant Search . Send to OneNote 2007 print driver not available on a 64 bit operating system. ttfn David Technorati tags: Office 2007 , Specifications , memory , Windows Vista , Windows XP
  • ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Firewall, VPN and Proxy - all the server stuff can still be used with Vista clients too

    So you have sold SBS and Windows Mobile, but your customer gets a problem - how do you diagnose it and fix it - have a look at the ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Firewall, VPN and Proxy . It contains the following sections: Installation Initial Configuration USB Issues Guest Issues Firewall and Proxy Issues Outlook Errors Synchronization Errors Mobile Information Server / Outlook Mobile Access Exchange ActiveSync Error Codes and Solutions Missing Calendar, Contacts or Tasks Items Security Advisories ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - General ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Limitations ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - 85010014 ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Firewall, VPN, Proxy ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Logs & Services ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Connection Flow USB Advanced Network Functionality Microsoft ActiveSync 4.2 Troubleshooting Using ActiveSync 4.x and Visual Studio 2005 and the Emulator Understanding ActiveSync or WMDC Partnerships ttfn David Technorati tags: Troubleshooting , ActiveSync , Windows Mobile
  • Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference - will you be in Denver?

    I attended last year and the UK partners that went said that it was a very worthwhile experience, especially the Pre-event of the Small Business Symposium (eg http://www.uksmbgirl.co.uk/blog/archives/date/2006/07/ and . This year we have that again - see below or http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference/precon.htm Microsoft Small Business Symposium 2007 The second annual Microsoft Small Business Symposium is the event for Microsoft Small Business Specialists and other technology providers who want to energize their small business practice! You will hear strategies and methods from industry experts to help you effectively manage your time, build business value and reduce financial barriers to continued business growth. Come interact with your peers and Microsoft as we examine the recent technologies, issues and forces driving today’s small business marketplace. I expect to see a number of UK partners there again this year. More details from Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference This premier partner conference will take place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, July 10-12, and will provide a wide range of valuable resources for all Microsoft Partners. Leverage your Microsoft investment by sharing in future business opportunities, get hands-on training, and network with your Microsoft team and your extended partner community. Over 10,000 partners, industry experts, speakers, exhibitors, Microsoft executives, and many others are expected to attend this year’s conference—don’t miss out! What’s waiting for you at Worldwide Partner Conference? Hear from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other leading executives on how to position your business to take advantage of Microsoft strategies and overall vision in Conference Keynotes . Dive deep into the latest solutions with Hands-On Labs and Sessions , taught by industry experts. Celebrate your successes using Microsoft products & solutions at the Microsoft Partner Program Awards Luncheon and Ceremony. Gain even more knowledge and...
  • Job aids (things to help you do your job) with Microsoft Office 2007

    2007 Microsoft Office System Be productive while using the new versions of Microsoft Office desktop applications. · Microsoft Office Fluent User Interface Get Started · Microsoft Office Charts and SmartArt Get Started · Microsoft Office Styles Get Started · Microsoft Office Tasks Get Started · Microsoft Office Tasks Learn More Everyday Work Discover best practices for working with e-mail, organizing your time, and more. · Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Work Smarter Checklist · InfoPath 2007 Forms Get Started E-mail · E-Mail Basics Get Started · Outlook 2007 E-Mail Signatures Get Started · Outlook 2007 E-Mail Rules Get Started · Outlook 2007 Out of Office Assistant · Delegating Outlook 2007 Access Learn More · Outlook 2007 and SharePoint Server 2007 Integration Overview · Outlook 2007 and SharePoint Server 2007 Integration Get Started · RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Overview · Subscribing to Web Content with RSS Time and Task Management · Microsoft Office Tasks Get Started · Microsoft Office Tasks Learn More · Multiple Calendars Get Started · Sharing Outlook 2007 Calendars Get Started · Managing OneNote 2007 Notebooks Learn More ttfn David Technorati tags: Job Aids , Office 2007
  • Microsoft Silverlight (the new name for WPF/E) - the future of web based apps - try some samples on the site

    I saw the news about Silverlight and the things that struck me was that it was a) cross platform and b) provided a fantastic experience. You can also use the Expression tools to build this stuff. So much was I impressed by the stuff that I have hosted it on my server for you to see what is there. To find out more go to Microsoft Silverlight It does pretty graphics, movies, effects like turning pages and more. If you install the runtime (you must have .Net 3.0 installed - i.e. native on Vista and installable for Windows XP) then pop along to http://uksbsguy.com/febctpsamples to see the demos. To get started you need to do some downloading (click below for Windows or http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/asp/downloads.aspx for Windows and MAC): System Requirements and Installation Instructions There are a number of blogs on this product and they can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/asp/blogs.aspx . It is also worth noting that the Silverlight web site ( http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight ) will be enabled with this technology today :-) Ok, so to the tech demos - obviously download the Sample Code for youself from the downloads pages about, however, the samples on the site look like this: Film Strip Provides a simple tool to show a group of bitmaps in something like an old fashioned movie film reel (hint, click the arrows at the bottom of the screen) Grand Piano Play 1 octive on the piano using the keys on your keyboard (z->m for the white keys for C through to B and then SDGHJ form the flats or black notes) PageTurn This is an electronic magazine with realistic page turning experience - inside a browser!! Grab the corner of the page on the bottom left to turn the pages and click the little two page icon in the far bottom corner of the screen to show the thumbnails. Sleek Video Player This video player itself did not inspire me much, however the video did make me laugh a lot!! I did notice that when I hover over the bottom of the video I get the option to move the slider along, which is neat! Sprawling...
  • Longhorn beta 3 (the next version of Windows Server) is available to download

    OK guys, so this is NOT Cougar - don't expect a beta of this for a while - I will post when we are getting closer, honest - however if you want to get a taste of where the product is heading too, then download Longhorn. For real flavour, you might want to get the 64-bit version as this is what you will be running with SBS v.next. Source: Microsoft Windows Server code name "Longhorn" Home ttfn David Technorati tags: Longhorn , 64-bit , download , beta 3
  • World's first IT support professional - just made me laugh

    [updated with a URL rather than embedded object] I got this mailed to me at work and just p**sed myself laughing - even my good lady thought this was fun. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMa3QBqf3t4 ttfn David Technorati Tags: Fun , Support , IT Support
  • Got SBS Premium (or an ISA firewall) and Vista customers - you will need the updated ISA Server Firewall Client

    Just a quick note to say that if you have a SBS customer who has some PCs with Vista then you will need the updated ISA firewall client. You will need to go to this page - ISA Server Firewall Client Firewall Client for ISA Server Brief Description Firewall Client for ISA Server installs the Firewall Client software on 32-bit and 64-bit computers running supported Windows operating systems. It is also worth noting that the install script will look something like this \\Servername\shared folder\SETUP.EXE /Q /P "SERVER_NAME_OR_IP=Servername ENABLE_AUTO_DETECT=0 REFRESH_WEB_PROXY=1" Note this will almost certainly force a reboot due to the changes in the Winsock stack. ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISA , ISA Firewall client , SBS , SBS Premium
  • SBS 2003 R2 & CALsare now on the Academic Price list so you can sell SBS to schools again :-)

    Hi guys, I've just picked this up from one of our internats web chats and thought I would share it. SBS will be on the Academic Price List and available in all languages (SBS Standard, Premium + 5 CAL packs) through Volume Licensing as of April 1st. For FPP, retailers will be able to get the product as of May 4th. This is great news and I have had it confirmed that it is on Wescoasts price list, plus some other distributors. ttfn David
  • Back from Holiday - lots to do, holiday snaps

    Hello everyone - I'm back, as they say. I managed to fill my inbox while away, so stopped getting mail on Friday. I do have lots still to process, so it will be a little slow. If you want to see the photos, pop along to http://uksbsguy.com/photos/sailing/default.aspx ttfn David
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  • Site work underway

    I am in the process of upgrading the site - expect some spotty service while this happens. thanks David
  • Where in the world is David?

    Well, some of you will know that I love sailing and this week I am indulging that love. Right this moment I am in a 44 foot sailing yacht anchored just off of a beautiful beach in Antigua. We have caught a few fish (you should have seen the ones that got away), sailed through a squal, briefly seen dolphins and a few other moments that i shall follow up with pictures. Normal service shall resume next week :-) Ttfn David Published with BlogMailr
  • How to open Office 2007 (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007) files on Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003 by downloading the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for File Formats

    I get asked this question quite often, so I thought I would point out the download location for the tool to make files work between Office 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007. Just to cover off some details - Office 2007 can save in Office 97-2003 file format as well as the new Open XML and PDF file formats. Using this download, files can be opened and saved in Office 2007 format in Office 2000 and later. Of special note is that if you are using Microsoft Office XP or 2003 you MUST install all High-Priority updates from Microsoft Update before downloading the Compatibility Pack . Also, if you don't have those Office programs, but you have the viewers (Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003) then you can use the pack to view files saved in these new formats. For more information about the Compatibility Pack, see Knowledge Base article 924074 . Also Note: If you use Microsoft Word 2000 or Microsoft Word 2002 to read or write documents containing complex scripts, please see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925451 for information to enable Word 2007 documents to be displayed correctly in your version of Word. Finally, if you are planning on installing this for lots of users the administrative template for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint converters contained within the Compatibility Pack is available for download. thanks David Technorati tags: Office 2007 , Office 2003 , Office XP , Office 2000 , Word , Excel , PowerPoint , Open XML , file compatibility
  • Do you wish there was a good list of questions to understand a customers business and technical needs? Well you had better look at the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit FAQ (and win copies of SBS 2003 R2 to sell)

    I should have blogged on this ages and ages ago, but somehow I thought everyone knew about this already. It is a set of tools (pointers to documents, Q&A recording tool, customisation tool and general web based advice) to help you sell your services by understanding the needs of your customers and share this information easily around the business. The best place to start is the FAQ page ( Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit FAQ: Toolkit Updates ), which has loads of good links - below is just the start of the good information. Also, if you do a few assessements and submit the data to Microsoft, you could earn a free copy of SBS 2003 R2 for you to do with as you will - give to your partner at home, sell to a customer, mount on the wall as the only free thing Microsoft has ever given you :-) Find comprehensive answers to your questions about how to download, install and use the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit (English only). For further information about the Windows Small Business Server Assess and Win offer, the Assess and Win offer for Microsoft Small Business Specialists, or the localised toolkits, please review the Assess and Win FAQ . Toolkit and Assessment Overview Getting Started with the New Toolkit Installing and Uninstalling the Toolkit Toolkit Updates Assessment Templates Creating Custom Templates Saved Assessments Assess and Win: Earn a Free Copy of SBS 2003 R2 Microsoft Products Included in the Toolkit ttfn David Technorati tags: SBS 2003 R2 , Technology Assessment Toolkit , Selling
  • How to add external contacts to the GAL (global address list or the list of names found by default in Outlook) by adding them to Active Directory

    So you may remember the call for help that led to the article How to add public folders to the list of contacts in Outlook : We currently have several public folders which contain email address and contact information for people outside of our company that we want to keep up with. I would like to put these in the All Contacts list on the server, so everyone can open it and reference it when sending email. The only thing I can find it to put them in Active Directory so they can be on the list. Surely there is another way to get this done, but how. I also am not opposed to manually typing them in (and weeding out old contacts), but don't feel very comfortable putting 800 outsiders in my AD. Having proposed the solution in the above link, I then got back the following reply: Thanks David for the reply. I have some address books in the public folder that I have done that to, but was trying to move away from the public folder and have the addresses included in the "All Contacts" under the "All Addresses" section for the organization. Is there a way to do that? Well there is a way - there is a huge difference between a contact in Active Directory and a User. If you add “contacts” to the AD they will appear in the address lists. Personally, I would suggest that to avoid anyone accidently sending a mail to a customer instead of someone internally you did not merge the two lists together, but you could export your contacts via Outlook and then use a script to load them into AD as contacts. A scripted way to add contacts from a CSV or Excel file can be found at http://computerperformance.co.uk/vbscript/vbscript_contact_create.htm#Example_2:_Script_to_create_a_Contact_from_Spreadsheet_Data_ Ttfn David
  • How to configure SBS / Exchange to forward or duplicate mails to an external e-mail address

    I have been using this for as long as the UK SBS GUY site has been around (it is how the admin mails get to me at Microsoft), but when I went looking for the "how to do this" blog item, I could not find it. After much searching of my blog I resorted to searching live.com and there was the article - not mine, but the one I used. http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/MF015.html It is very common for some of your users to express an interest in having their mail delivered to a mailbox that is external to your organization. For example, the user is going to be working away from the office and would like their mail to be delivered to their Hotmail account. Another request might be to have their mail delivered to a different person altogether So I can finally give them the credit they deserve. ttfn David Technorati tags: forwarding mail , exchange , sbs 2003
  • Win an XBOX 360 or 5 x Office and Vista while getting Microsoft to pay some or all of your Marketing Campaign Builder Expenses for Small Business PC, Branch Office solutions or Build Customer Connections Campaigns. Time limited - ends 30th April 2007

    Hopefully I have your attention, which is good. Microsoft UK are trying to encourage the use of our marketing tools and also gain some feedback. First of all, the prizes for the best feedback - an Xbox 360 system OR 5 x Vista Ultimate AND 5 x Office 2007 Pro. Next, the cash - we can offer a limited number of people £150 towards a marketing campaign - if that covers the whole of the campaign, then so be it and it has cost you nothing! This money is to be used at the UK Partner Campaign Builder portal. OK, so now for the pitch! As many of you know we like to help our partners in many ways here at Microsoft and one area that small business partners have asked for help is in the marketing area. Campaign Builder is a one stop shop to either produce materials and run the campaign yourself, or use the agency to run the campaign for you (or at least print the materials). Well, we have a limited number of discount vouchers to make this a £150 easier process. The idea is simple to do, simply do the following this April (2007 for the pedants) Visit the Business Efficiency/ Small Business PC Campaign page to learn more about the campaigns Visit Partner Campaign Builder and get up to £150* towards your first Business Efficiency/ Small Business PC Campaign with Partner Campaign Builder You then need to enter the promotional codes as below Send an e-mail to Doverton@microsoft.com with the subject “I used campaign builder and it worked for me” with the details of how you used the campaign and what it has done to help your business and if necessary what it should do better. Send the e-mail by the end of May and we will read them and pick out a winner for either 5 x Office 2007 and 5 x Windows Vista Ultimate OR a Xbox 360 core edition for the 3 rd week of June (you choose which prize you want). (we will notify you of you success via a return mail to your e-mail address and will publish the winning reason on the blog site). We may also ask to discuss the benefits of Campaign Builder with you further to improve the service or ask to...
  • I have had many people ask me questions recently that should go via the UK Partner Contact Us Page, so if you want to ask Microsoft a question and you are a partner, give these people a try - they might be in when I am not :-)

    I honestly want people to talk to me - really, but I don't want to be the 1st point of contact, unless you really don't know where to go, so here is how it works. I went to the UK Microsoft Partner Page - http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner - at the bottom is a "Contact Us" button - it goes here - Contact Us . If you cant find what you want via the support pages or the ask partner route, or want to tell me what was easy or hard, then PLEASE, PLEASE contact me. Bear in mind that my role is aimed at Microsoft partners. To make life easy, here are some of the more important routes to contact Microsoft for UK partners: General Enquiries To report problems accessing links or downloads , with navigation, or if you have content-related questions, please contact us . We’ll respond - usually within 1 business day. For general enquiries, including pre-sales product and service information, technical, sales and marketing support , and information about the Certified and Gold Certified Partner programme, contact the Ask Partner Hotline . The service is available 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays Telephone UK: 0870 60 70 700 Ireland: 01450 2113 Email: askpartner@microsoft-contact.co.uk Contact your Regional Service Centre to get help with your programme membership and associated tools, benefits and resources. Use this downloadable guide to learn everything you need to know about Microsoft Partner Programme benefits , requirements, fees, competencies and enrolment - Microsoft Partner Programme Guide Would your customers like to contact Microsoft ? Visit the Contact Microsoft UK - Website for Customers website for the address, email address and telephone numbers they can use. Sales and Technical Support Options Get information about the support available at each level of programme membership, as well as competency-based services and fee-based offerings. - Technical Support Options for Microsoft Partners As a Certified or Gold Certified Partner, you can request assistance to resolve Microsoft-related...
  • How to add Public Folder Contacts to the list of Address Books in Outlook so anyone can send e-mail to a shared contact

    I was recently asked by someone how to do this. Considering the fact that there are pre-defined public folders in SBS, including those for contacts I thought it was worth sharing this with a wider audience. Set this up for a customer using SBS and they can easily share contacts across the whole business. Add the contacts folder to the favourties list and they are also cached offline :-) I found the answer by experimentation, but then this article describes it well too. The magic tab in Office 2007 (and 2003) is pictured below from my system. How to add Public Folder Contacts to the list of Address Books First thing you need to make sure that the public folders has a contact list created. Also, double check the permissions so that your users can view the contact list. To setup the Contact List in the Address Book navigate to your public folder and find the contact list you want to add. Right-click on the Contacts Folder and click properties . Click on the Outlook Address Book tab. Check the box next to “Show this folder as an email address book. If the check box is unavailable you need to add the Outlook Address Book to your profile. Click on the Tools menu and then click on Email Accounts . Click Add a new directory or address book, and then click next. Click Add additional Address book, and then click next. Click Outlook Address Book , and then click next. Click OK and restart outlook. After this is complete you can go back to the contact list and then follow the steps on adding the contact list to your address book. Source: How to add Public Folder Contacts to the list of Address Books - AppRiver ttfn David Technorati tags: Outlook , Public folders , contacts
  • Channel Expo Show presentations - Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Windows Server (SBS, Naked, Home Server and Longhorn) sales slides

    If you visited the Channel Expo show this year then you probably saw one or two Microsoft presentations on desktop and server solutions. James Akrigg and Matt McSpirit provided the desktop entertainment while I covered off what servers we have out there and what is coming in the near future. We promised the slides and here they are: Desktop (Windows Vista and Office 2007)- Office 2007 PowerPoint Desktop (Windows Vista and Office 2007)- PDF Server (SBS, Windows Server 2003 R2, Longhorn and Home Server) - Office 2007 PowerPoint Server (SBS, Windows Server 2003 R2, Longhorn and Home Server) - PDF James has an amazing blog (Out of Office) at http://blogs.technet.com/outofoffice Matt touches many aspects of desktop technology including that for small business at http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit Have a look at the blogs and enjoy the presentations. ttfn David Technorati tags: Channel Expo , Vista , Office 2007 , SBS 2003 , Nakes Servers , Home Server , Longhorn
  • Important Update on SBS 2003 upgrade from RTM (SP0) to SP1 for Premium customers who wans ISA 2004

    If you have recently tried to upgrade from SBS 2003 RTM you might have hit a minor issue - we did not have the premium tech CDs available. While we can not promise them to be available today, the problem is being worked on and the issue will be resolved. However, the supply of CDs is limited, so if you plan to do this, order the CD now and save the CD for when you want to upgrade. The URL with the information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/downloads/sp1/default.mspx . Standard users will still just need to download the SP1 bits. Premium users will need to download the SP1 bits AND order the Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium CD3 which contains the bits needed for ISA. An update will be posted on April 30, 2007. thanks David Technorati tags: SBS 2003 , Service Pack 1 , ISA 2004
  • What to do if you need the migration pack (transition pack) for SBS 2000

    First off I have some bad news for you - this pack no longer exists (although if you search the web hard enough you might find someone with a legitimate one to sell). However, this pack would have taken you to Windows 2000 - not exactly the best destination, so what are your options? Migrate to SBS 2003 and get the Transition Pack for SBS 2003 Ditch SBS and just buy Windows Server 2003 and migrate the information by hand If the number of users is still going to be below the 75 CAL limit and it was the 50 CAL limit of SBS 2000 that was the problem, then simply move to SBS. Some useful reading will come from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555040 and http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/d/c/6dccf9b4-d915-4c95-b5af-100b89e02add/SBS_MigratingSBS2k.doc ttfn David Technorati tags: SBS 2000 , Migration Pack , Transition Pack , Windows Server
  • Help to make the Office 2007 document type a standard (Open XML) - click the link

    I love standards - they make life easier. TCP is one, ODF is one, SNA is one, ASCII and EBDIC are. Even PDF is one. It just makes life easier. In this connected world standards are a good thing and sometimes more than one standard is very good. Microsoft has offered the Open XML (Office 2007 document format) as a standard too. We can have it as a standard in a short time frame or a long time frame. I want you to sign the petition to help it happen in the short time frame. Even Novell are supporting this as they see it as just making their customers lives easier. Go here and sign the petition to help move things forward in the short time frame. If you want to see how developers could use the standard have a look at http://openxmldeveloper.org/posts.aspx . You might wonder why I am asking you to do this. Well I've read the text at the microsoft.com site on Open XML and I like the idea of this being a public standard that people can write to without having to pay for the right to do so and the knowledge that writing to the standard will give them good interoperability. My 1st three years after University was writing document converters, including those for Microsoft Office and Open XML would have made my life MUCH MUCH easier. To aid interoperability, XML-based file formats can unlock data in documents and help integrate front- and back-office processes. Recognising these benefits, Microsoft has implemented XML-based formats in successive releases of Office. Both public and private sector customers have expressed their preference for making Open XML an open standard so that they have broad rights to use, without cost, any Microsoft patents necessary to implement all or part of the format. Responding to this, Microsoft and others called for the standardisation of Open XML. On 7 Dec 2006 Ecma International, a highly respected standardisation body, approved the adoption of Open XML as an international open standard. The strengths of Ecma Open XML are clear: Ecma Open XML was developed through the collaborative efforts...

(c)David Overton 2006-13