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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August 2007 - David Overton's Blog

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  • Service Packs, Vista and a Q&A with Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft, discusses the company's plans for the first service pack of Windows Vista.

    A few people have asked me about Vista SP1 - what will it contain, how big will it be, can you tell me more, so I thought I would share these two articles with you. One is a press report of a discussion with Shannon on http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Windows-Vista-SP1-weighs-in-at-1GB/0,130061733,339281624,00.htm which states things like: the company has revealed that test versions of the update are currently 1GB As for what's in the Vista update, it's mostly a collection of existing fixes and tweaks aimed at improving stability and reliability of the operating system ability to encrypt multiple hard drive partitions using Vista's BitLocker feature removable storage file format known as exFAT as well as for EFI (extensible firmware interface), an alternative to the BIOS (basic input output system) that handles the initial start-up of a system changes to Vista's desktop search feature in response to complaints from Google or http://www.betanews.com/article/Windows_Vista_SP1_Will_Uninstall_Group_Policy_Management/1188398636 Probably in response to a few users' bewilderment over the seemingly unrestricted accessibility of what had actually been one of Windows Vista's most requested new security tools, Group Policy Management Console, Microsoft announced today that the act of installing Vista Service Pack 1 will simply delete the tool altogether Finally a Q&A was released on the Microsoft PressPass REDMOND, Wash, Aug. 29, 2007 – Microsoft today shared details on its plans for the first service pack of Windows Vista, including a timeline for its release. To learn more, PressPass spoke with Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice President of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft. PressPass: There has been a lot of speculation around the first service pack for Windows Vista. When will it ship, and why are you just now sharing information on Windows Vista SP1? Jon DeVaan, Microsoft Senior Vice President, Windows Core Operating System Division DeVaan : We’re targeting the first quarter...
  • Business Contact Manager (BCM) on Office 2007 error and the .Net framework

    I got an e-mail a few week back that showed a customer getting the following error with BCM: "Business Contact Manager failed to load". "Business Contact Manager failed to initialize Common Language Runtime Class not registered I was not able to respond timely, but I did get feedback that the issue was caused by a problem with the installation of the .Net framework. Updating and re-installing the framework fixed the problem. The partner that solved the problem was Pat Summers of PCS Enterprises in the US :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Business Contact Manager , BCM , error , .Net
  • Halo 3 is Gold - so I post about the trailers and then see that it has released to manufacturing

    OK, so I just posted about the trailers and now the product is finished according to this "mag" Halo 3 is Gold : Next Generation - Interactive Entertainment Today, Video Game and Industry News Halo 3 is Gold The fight is ready to be finished: Halo 3 has gone gold and is heading to manufacturing. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Halo 3 , Xbox 360
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  • Halo 3 - Silverlight based build and watch trailers - promo site and fun

    I'm no great Halo Wiz - why, I don't have the reactions of a 21 year old to beat them in network play, but I do enjoy playing against the cpu inside the box (whenever I join a network match I nearly always end up dead in a few second.. ho hum). Anyway, the graphics of the xbox 360 always impress me as does the UI of some of the games. Halo 3 is coming and there is now a site with great trailer videos, background info and more. For those of you who don't believe that Halo is reality, have a look at some of the film (yes film, not graphics) that was shot and for example, see the Warthog that was used ( http://www.bungie.net/images/News/WeeklyUpdate/WarthogB110707.jpg ) Anyway, enjoy the site and enjoy building your own trailers too :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: xbox 360 , Halo 3 , trailers
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  • How to improve Array Performance in .Net programming

    I have been known to write the odd program, often using a large number of arrays for some of the manipulation I do. Multi-dimensional arrays is something I have done a lot of, so seeing this little tip from CodeGuru to speed them up and reduce memory footprint is a great benefit for me. Below are a few snippets, but read the whole article to know more. Jag It Up What is a jagged array, and why does it have such an alarming name? I can't answer the second question, but I'll give the first one a shot. A jagged array is essentially just a one-dimensional array where each element contains its own one-dimension array. It's an array of arrays! (For those who just must jump ahead—you know who you are—yes, you can indeed have arrays of arrays of arrays through infinity or until your memory runs out. But, let's not go there now....) How is an array of arrays different from a two-dimensional array? I'm glad you asked. This is where the jaggy bit comes in. In a two-dimensional array, you have a fixed number of elements in each dimension. It might be 10 by 10, providing 100 elements, for example. In a jagged array, your primary array has a fixed number of elements, but then each element array can have any number of elements. So, you could have a primary array with 10 elements, where the first element holds an array of 12 elements, the second has 7 elements, the third has 20, and so on. If you imagine the 10 by 10 array as a square, the right edge of that square becomes quite jagged when it is replaced with the array-of-arrays. The benefit that immediately comes to mind is a savings in memory—you only use the number of elements needed for each element array, rather than giving a second dimension the maximum number of elements you'll ever need and then having a lot of blanks. The benefit that's not obvious is the accelerated processing time! So, how do you declare a jagged array in your code? Here's an example: Dim EmployeesByRegion()() As Integer = {_ New Integer() { 12, 25, 7, 33, 2 }, _ New Integer...
  • Tool to modify UAC behaviour in Vista using Group Policy - BeyondTrust Privilege Manager

    I am one of those people who always leaves UAC enabled - I like to see when something (*cough* - Adobe Update - *cough*) wants to execute with admin privilege on my system and then get the choice as to whether to allow it or not. However, not everyone likes the choices that are presented by default with the GPOs ( Group Policy Objects ). Coming to the rescue are tools to help enhance these offerings, such as the Privilege Manager from BeyondTrust. Sometimes people forget that Microsoft is a platform for others to build on and this is no different. Their product enables pre-defining the responses to UAC based on a number of variables. While I have NOT tried the product, it is getting good reviews. You can however download an eval copy for free if you so desire. One thing to bear in mind is that when a tool like this is used, you weaken security - why, well, even if you use a SHA1 hash to work out if an application is safe or not, a clever hacker will use plugins, dll's etc to attack that product - it does not have to have the main .exe file to breach the security and once they are in, they are in. You can find out more about Privilege Manager from the FAQ at BeyondTrust | Privilege Manager FAQ , however a short snippet is below (which I have cut around, so there is much more under each section): Applications are targeted on the Application tab, which allows you to specify an application by one of several criteria. This includes: Path to an executable file supports wildcards and environment variables Folder of one or more executable files including wildcards and environment variables Hash rule SHA1 hash of the targeted executable file MSI Path rule target Windows Installer installation of specified packages MSI Folder rule ActiveX rule My gift to those of you who are UAC challenged :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: UAC , Vista , Security , Group Policy
  • New blog "hackers @ microsoft"

    A new blog has opened at Microsoft called "hackers @ microsoft". As many people know Microsoft is very strongly involved in the security arena. Part of this is having people who have hacked or now hack against our products to understand how to make them more secure. This group of people know have a voice in the blogsphere. Welcome to a new blog from Microsoft. The focus of this blog is likely to be a little different from most other blogs you'll see on blogs.msdn.com. Microsoft employs some of the best hackers in the world and actively recruits them and develops them. They work on all kinds of projects, whether it be in development, research, testing, management and of course security. Of course, there is controversy even in the word " hacker " but I don't think that should stop us from using it in the manner I think is the most appropriate. At his or her core, a true hacker is someone who is curious and wants to learn how systems work. This can and of course at Microsoft is done in an ethical, legal manner. We employ " white hat hackers " who spend their time pentesting and code reviewing applications and software looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities so that others don't once we've released that code into the wild. We employ many many smart testers who know more about some of our software then perhaps the architects who designed it. We also employ some of the top researchers in their industry, dedicated people working on the bleeding edge of whats going to be common place in the next 5 or 10 years of computing. So yes, Microsoft does have hackers, and its time to introduce you to some of them and show you what it is, exactly that they do. Generally most of the content you'll read and people you'll meet on this blog will be somehow related to security but not all by any stretch. -techjunkie hackers @ microsoft ttfn David Technorati Tags: Hackers , Hacking , Security , Microsoft
  • New Silverlight based search engine from Microsoft (tafiti)

    I like new ways to visualise my web searches and the new tafiti beta from Microsoft is a great example of looking at things. Not only does it search books, web, rss, images and news sources, but it is also presented really well, you can easily save items and finally you can see a tree of relationships between the items found. To understand more about what it can do, have a look at http://www.tafiti.com/faq.html . Below is a sample search and the interface and some searches saved on the shelf that I can come back to at any time. Below is a sample tree view of a search. The amount of details can be controlled by the slider bar at the bottom of the screen ttfn David Technorati Tags: Search , Tafiti , Microsoft , Silverlight
  • Web scams trick one in five US surfers - vnunet.com

    This applies to the UK as well as the US, however recent surveys which showed that people in the UK were prepared to give up their password for chocolate. Anyway, the rules are: If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is You have not : won the lottery failed a bank security test had someone try to hack your account and you need to re-enter them had bad feedback on a site you have never heard of, or without your full name in the e-mail Got someone at a bank in another country wanting to give you some money If the mail is not sent to you and only you, then it is very, very, very unlikely to be real If the phishing scanner says it is a bad site, trust it unless you know that the address is the address bar is real, and then still don't enter personal information Even if they don't want your mail, handing over your personal details is telling them what they need to know in the real world. If you are asked to disable your system security, don't! Web scams trick one in five US surfers - vnunet.com Nearly one in five US adult surfers has been a victim of at least one internet scam, according a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft . Some 81 per cent of these victims admitted that they did something to compromise their own security, such as opening an e-mail message that appeared to be from a legitimate person or company. Security experts at Microsoft said that the biggest threats facing consumers online this year are criminals posing as trusted third parties to extract personal information. "Microsoft has witnessed a shift in criminal behaviour in the past year," said Adrienne Hall, senior director of communications and marketing at Microsoft. "The internet has changed the way we live, but many of the experiences that make the internet so valuable in our daily lives also require us to share information about ourselves that can present certain risks." Despite increasing media exposure and user education about identity theft and online fraud, many people are still not getting the...
  • 5 Popfly invites to hand out - let me know why you want it

    OK, So I now have 5 Popfly invites to hand out. It you want one, e-mail me via this link ( send request ). I'll look at the invites on Monday and send out some invites. thanks David Technorati Tags: Silverlight , popfly , invites
  • News this week - multi-core chips need some software help and some software re-architecting to make them most effective at delivering extra performance .. and of course, there is more multi-core to come!

    I've read the two articles - Computer-Chip Makers Pick Up Pace in Multicore Race - WSJ.com and BetaNews | AMD: Will More CPU Cores Always Mean Better Performance? and realised they were both harping on about the same thing - the need for better use of mutli-core / multi-processor technology. In a former life I helped people make their software take advantage of many cpus and the scheduling of tasks, sharing of information and understand how many processes can put load onto the memory, disk and internal buses is a huge area of learning. Whether it is a 8-core or a SMP 8-processor box, the problems are the same. If 8 cpus all demand a disk read from different regions of the disk, then you have 8 disk seeks, which could mean 1-8 x 8ms wait for the processes. In computer terms, waiting for 64ms for a disk read (as the 8th cpu would do) is almost an eternity for a cpu. What is more, if the disk regions are on 8 separate disks to stop I/O bottlenecks then the i/o bus and front-side-bus might not be able to take that amount of data without some scheduling difficulties. Anyway, it is interesting to hear how task scheduling, memory protection and run-time engines changes make me think that these are really just little scratches on the surface of a deep problem. As anyone will tell you who has got their product running in a 64-node cluster - it takes software re-design and more than just creating a bunch of threads or lock management. Anyway, the articles are worth reading to see where it is going. I have snipped the articles, so click the links above to read the full articles. Computer-Chip Makers - Pick Up Pace in Multicore Race A race to cram more electronic brains on computer chips is accelerating, and prompting new moves to address the difficulty of programming such complex creations. <snipped> "We've really eliminated every reason not to go to quad-core," said Kirk Skaugen, a vice president in Intel's digital enterprise group. {ed - really, what about helping with mutli-processor / multi-core...
  • A selection of WPF-based (Silverlight) applications

    I saw this blog entry and just had to share it - a number of Silverlight application (don't know how many will work with the updated Silverlight builds) - WPF Cornucopia - A selection of WPF-based applications . Below are some of my favourites. There are many more on the blog entry Some cool WPF and Silverlight applications that you can download or play with today. The deployment model has been added so that you know what you are getting into as far as installation goes. Lots are using ClickOnce .application files and .xbaps, so installation is trivial! My Web Pages Starter Kit New with Silverlight Demo (Web Application) New York Times Reader Next-generation online reading experience for the NY Times (MSI) Microsoft Calendar Printing Assistant Generate printed calendars from your Outlook schedule (MSI) Microsoft Expression Blend Designer tool for building WPF experiences (MSI) Microsoft Expression Design Illustration and graphic design tool (MSI) Microsoft Windows Live for TV 3D access to Messenger contacts from Media Center or IE (MSI) Wikipedia Explorer 3D exploration of related articles from Wikipedia (Application) iBloks Mashup application for creating 3D movies (MSI) RikReader RSS Reader that integrates with Internet Explorer 7 (Application) Nostalgia Yahoo! Flickr browser and photo manager (Application) Cine.View Netflix movie queue manager (Application) Actipro Wizard A control for building wizard dialogs in WPF (XBAP) British Library Turning the Pages British Library's 'virtual viewer' for some of their most precious books (XBAP) ITN Hub Player Video clips and news stories from ITN (Application) Evolution Media Center HTPC Front-end with stunning animations and dynamic XAML-skinning (ZIP) WeatherNews Weather visualization (XBAP) DOSV Computer Configuration (XBAP) Roxio Central DVD and CD Burning Software (Application) 90 Degree's Radius Reporting Tool for Business Data (Application) Forbes.com Reader News Reader Application from Forbes.com (Application) Seattle Post -Intelligencer PI Reader...
  • Security is a journey, never a destination

    I was watching the Bourne Identity the other night and Marie asked "how did they find us", to which Bourne replied "we let our guard down, we got lazy". This is so very true for computer security - you can't stop updating your systems, updating your anti-malware tools, updating the firmware in your firewall and more. To highlight this I saw the article below. There was an operating system that claimed it did not suffer from the issues of needing constant TLC. Then 5 of the 8 community servers were compromised. Nice. Ubuntu Servers Hijacked, Used to Launch Attack Members of the Ubuntu colocation team suggest the attack could have begun with a Chinese IP address. The Ubuntu community had to yank five of the eight Ubuntu-hosted community servers sponsored by Canonical offline Aug. 6 after discovering that the servers had been hijacked and were attacking other machines. It was suggested during an IRC (Internet relay chat) meeting of the Ubuntu colocation team Aug. 14 that the source of the troubles might have been a Chinese IP address trying to log onto the servers by brute force "for a long time now it seems," said a participant. On Aug. 14, the community began to bring the machines back up in a safe state so that they could recover data from them. Unfortunately, according to Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon, the servers were all found to be out of date, stuffed with Web software, and missing security patches—at least in the instances where it was easy to determine what version they're running. "An attacker could have gotten a shell through almost any of these sites," Bono wrote in a posting, regarding a change to location server policy that resulted from the incident. Ubuntu Servers Hijacked, Used to Launch Attack ttfn David Technorati Tags: Security , Linux
  • Are you an IT related architect (Office Business Application, Windows Server Security or Services Revolution aka SaaS) - if so then one of these events could be for you

    I've hung up my architecting gloves, but I still get the e-mails. I saw this and thought there were a few partners out there who would want to take advantage of the events. As a practising or aspiring architect, it's vital to keep up to date with the latest news and technological developments to make sure your work remains at the cutting edge. By attending a free Microsoft Architect Forum you'll learn how to get the most from your architecture and gain information to aid your architectural decisions. The Architect Forum series gives you free access to one-day events providing an expert overview of a specific topic as well as fantastic networking opportunities. To register for one of these events, follow the relevant link below: Office Business Applications Architect Forum - 13 September 2007, London Office Business Applications are an emerging class of application that helps businesses unlock the value of their line-of-business (LOB) systems and turn document-based processes into real applications. Office 2007 has expanded off the desktop embracing the concepts of SOA and leverage the fundamental shift to combining software plus services. In this forum we will discuss the architectural elements of the Office Technical Platform and discover how these elements can be applied across several business scenarios. Windows Server Security Architect Forum - 11 December 2007, Reading Security, alongside reliability and interoperability, is central to Microsoft's software design philosophy. Yet it is still an area where Microsoft is perceived to underachieve. However, security is a very broad term that can be used to describe a great many number of IT scenarios. In this forum we will discuss the central role of security in the architecture of Windows Server 2008 (codename Longhorn) in relation to Systems Management scenarios such as web and application management, high availability, and server virtualisation. The Services Revolution Architect Forum - 19 February 2008, Reading The first Internet-based services...
  • 1st SBS webcast from series of 3 - SBS & the OEM Pre-installation Kit (OPK) by Sven

    I should have posted this information a few days ago, but I am making up for it now. Anyway, Sven's presentation can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/events/entry4621.aspx and he has also gracefully provided a number of scripts to make the install even simpler which can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/events/entry4622.aspx . Enjoy David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , OPK
  • CRN says "Microsoft Partners Stake Claims In Sharepoint Goldmine"

    I saw this and thought it further highlighted that partners are seeing huge opportunity with SharePoint - both portal and services. You can load WSS v3 onto a SBS box or use WSS v2. The opportunity is still huge. Microsoft Partners Stake Claims In Sharepoint Goldmine It's getting tough to find a Microsoft partner who isn't either reaping the financial benefits of deploying Office Sharepoint Server 2007 or eagerly planning to add it to their portfolio. Released last November, Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007, also known as MOSS, is a workflow and collaboration engine that integrates with the Office platform and features Web content management, enterprise content services, enterprise search, and business process and business intelligence tools. Although it initially attracted interest primarily from medium and large enterprises, Sharepoint is now penetrating the SMB space, says Stephen Moss, COO of NSPI, a security solution provider in Roswell, Ga. that hosts Sharepoint sites for other companies. "Companies of all sizes are beginning to get the idea that content management and portals aren't just exclusive to enterprises," said Moss. Microsoft normally doesn't publish sales figures for individual product lines. But last month at its annual financial analyst meeting, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said that Sharepoint revenue grew 35 percent to more than $800 million in fiscal year 2007, and is on track to become a billion dollar business. "Sharepoint is growing rapidly because it's the first product from Microsoft that really is a universal framework," said Ken Winell, senior vice president at PCubed, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Gold partner. "Sharepoint is as substantial a product as the Web browser, because of the way you can integrate other platforms tightly into it." Microsoft Partners Stake Claims In Sharepoint Goldmine - Software - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness ttfn David Technorati Tags: SharePoint , Partners , Microsoft
  • SKYPE outage blaming Microsoft - what a load of bull

    Here I am on holiday, but I just had to comment on this. SKYPE claim a sudden reboot of client PCs caused their network to fail and that this reboot was caused by Windows Updates. I've done some checking and the WU this month caused reboots like it did any other month, yet no other month has this process caused any SKYPE issues. Since there was nothing different this month, the only conclusion I can come to is that this is rubbish. What is more is that WU staggers updates to avoid a world wide reboot and internet load problem. Given the total collapse of SKYPE I think they are trying to avoid the fact that they have a problem. If rebooting PCs can bring their network to a grinding halt then I would say they have a major architectual issue! Just my opinion, but I think this story smells a bit. ttfn David Published with BlogMailr
  • Application news for developers - x64 support, application people ready assessments, Vista Gadget security inspection and SharePoint development

    While I am on holiday I thought I would forward these items for the developers out there. The http://blogs.iis.net blog looks awesome for IIS7 information, including videos and the other MSDN information demonstrates how to develop SharePoint tools. Application support Is Your Application Platform People-Ready? Complete the Self-Assessment and Find Out Take the Application Platform Infrastructure Optimisation assessment to measure the effectiveness of your current infrastructure in platform-agnostic terms, and compare your application platform infrastructure against industry best practices and the latest IT research. http://www.microsoft.com/business/peopleready/appplat/ac/apio.mspx Inspect Your Gadget http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bb498012.aspx Today, the Windows Vista Sidebar hosts Gadgets built from HTML, JavaScript, and potentially ActiveX controls. Because Gadgets are HTML, they are subject to Cross-site Scripting style bugs. These bugs are extremely serious because script in the Sidebar is capable of running arbitrary code in the context of the locally logged-on user. This article outlines some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets. ISV Support for Windows Server X64 White Paper The time is right for ISVs and developers to make the move to supporting their existing applications and developing new native applications for Windows Server x64 Edition. IIS7 related videos on blogs.iis.net Tips for Classic ASP developers on IIS7 I was reminded the other day just how many classic ASP applications and developers there are out there! The original ASP rocks, I remember experiencing it for the first time back in 1996/97 when it first came out with IIS3, and being amazed at h ... http://blogs.iis.net/bills/archive/2007/05/21/tips-for-classic-asp-developers-on-iis7.aspx Using ASP.NET Forms Authentication with all types of content on IIS7 (Video) One of my favorite ASP.NET features is forms authentication, supported by the powerful membership...
  • Windows Client (Vista and XP) - Active X installer service, Volume Activation Tool, Diagnosing XP crashes, modifying the boot configuration parameters

    If you use volume licensing with Windows Vista then you need to be aware of the tools to manage them - it is not as simple as it used to be as you now need a management tool inside the business. VAMT answers this as does Desktop Management. Then we have some webcasts on slow networks, diagnosing crashes in Windows XP (although many of the techniques work for Vista too), backup and restore in Vista, using the ActiveX installer Service and Boot config parameters VAMT 1.0 (x86) The Volume Activation Management Tool enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). VAMT v1.0 is only available as a US-EN (x86) release. Best Practices on Managing Windows Vista Desktops Get best practice guidance for managing Windows Vista desktop operations. Windows Vista Service Life-Cycle Management (WVSLM) provides concise guidance to help minimise the total cost of ownership of desktop infrastructure. Process guidance and document templates help make service management concepts from the IT Infrastructure Library and the Microsoft Operations Framework tangible and easily implementable by focusing on a single and common IT service. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7137227 TechNet Webcast: "The Network is Slow": Identifying the Cause of Slow Network Communications (Level 200) The Offline Crash Diagnostic tool for Windows XP is available - http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=923800 TechNet Magazine: The ActiveX Installer Service in Windows Vista How do you secure the desktop against malicious ActiveX controls without limiting application compatibility? We'll take you on a tour of the ActiveX Installer Service (AxIS) in Windows Vista that addresses this issue with a new way to manage ActiveX controls. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7137204 Discover How to Modify Boot Configuration Parameters In the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) Editor FAQ, find out what the BCD store is, why it was created, where it's located in the registry, how to modify it and...
  • If you want to see what Vista, Media Center, Xbox 360, Movie Maker, Home Server and more can do when you use Vista, then go to this event in Manchester, Newcastle, Falkirk and London.

    This was only 2 or 3 times overbooked last time it ran and had rave reviews. Now there are another 4 events to choose from. I found them at the Microsoft TechNet UK Events website. James and Matt will be hosting, so it is bound to be huge fun Vista After Hours You may be familiar with Windows Vista at work – whether you have deployed it or are evaluating it – but have you ever thought about the possibilities of Vista outside work? This session, aimed at IT professionals, explores not only the built in elements of Vista (such as Search, Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and the Networking and Sharing Centre) but also how you can extend your Windows Vista Experience with Windows Media Centre, Xbox 360 and specific applications to open up a new world of gaming and home entertainment. 20 September 2007, Manchester: Vista After Hours 25 September 2007, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Vista After Hours 27 September 2007, Falkirk: Vista After Hours 03 October 2007, London: Vista After Hours Timings: 18:00-18:30pm- Registration and Tea/Coffee 18:30pm-19:45pm- Session 1 19:45pm-20:05- Food and refreshments 20:05-21:20- Session 2 21:20- Close Speakers: James Senior, Vista Technology Specialist, http://blogs.technet.com/james Hello there! I’m James Senior and I work in Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Group whose sole purpose is to help our partners and customers understand and use our latest technology. As you would expect, Windows Vista features prominently in my work at the moment but my background in software development means I also spend some of my time involved in the world of Software as a Service (SaaS). Did I mention I also dabble in a bit of High Performance Computing? In my spare time I enjoy playing Basketball and filling up my ½ terabyte Media Center with music and recorded TV. Matt McSpirit, Vista Technology Specialist, http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit I joined Microsoft back in January 2006 as a Partner Technology Specialist, working primarily with our Virtualisation technologies. Since July of last year, my primary...
  • David, holiday, comments on posts will not get approved unless you sign-in

    OK, so this is really simple. I'm off on my holidays for two weeks and I won't be updating the site (I do have some posts that will appear, but nothing will be topical as I won't be writing anything during that time). If you want to make MY life easier and have your comment posted for others to see, before you post a comment to the blog, go create an account, sign in, and then post a comment - unless it comes under scrutiny from the spam or rude word filter it will get published. Thanks - I hope you all have a lovely time on your holidays this summer (is it summer??). ttfn David
  • FoxPro Service Pack beta

    Many years ago I used to do database development and my preferred environment was FoxPro. Well, were now on version 9 and the latest service pack is in beta. Have a play, but think how you can move to Access or SQL in the future. Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2 and "Sedna" - Beta This download contains the BETA release for Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 SP2 and the "Sedna" add-ons. This release has two parts: The Sedna Beta download contains six components: VistaDialogs4COM, Upsizing Wizard, Data Explorer, NET4COM, MY for VFP and VS 2005 Extension for VFP. The VFP 9.0 SP2 Beta download contains a patch that can be applied to VFP 9.0 or VFP 9.0 SP1. In addition to fixes to the core product, this patch contains significant enhancements to the Reporting features. Note that the SP2 patch can only be applied to VFP 9.0 or VFP 9.0 SP1. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=05A0E7C9-43C1-417F-8810-AE7D7C66BAC8&displaylang=en ttfn David Technorati Tags: Foxpro , beta , service Packs
  • Site Updated as opinion of Government body said the site was too Microsoft

    I know I work for Microsoft and never hide the fact, but this site is not about "Isn't Microsoft Great", it is about offering tips and advice on technology and how it impacts ISV's and small businesses. The opinions here are mine and NOT MICROSOFT's. So I've changed the background and removed the SBSC logo (as much as it hurts me as I have earned it privately outside of Microsoft) and stated up the front that this is not an official site. I hope you like the new look -the background is a paint effect of one of my Antigua holiday photos and the graphics on the top left are simply a PowerPoint set of graphics saved as a png file. Amazing what you can do with PowerPoint. Anyway, hope the site looks OK. ttfn David
  • Microsoft Surface Parody joke

    I saw this and thought I would share it :-) http://www.sarcasticgamer.com/2007/06/ms-surface-how-we-would-have-done-it.html ttfn David Technorati Tags: Surface , Joke
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  • Security for Windows Vista (understanding more about UAC), Networks, plus advice and guidance

    Security is always a big subject area. Over the last two months Technet have published the following items that will help understanding and delivery of secure systems base do Microsoft technology. Windows Vista TechNet Magazine: Inside Windows Vista User Account Control Mark Russinovich explains that User Account Control (UAC) is one of the most misunderstood new features in Windows Vista. But its goal -- to enable users to run with standard user rights -- can solve many security issues. Get an inside look at the problems UAC addresses and see exactly how this new feature works. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=6803653 Network Security Internet Protocol Security Enforcement in the Network Access Protection Platform This white paper describes the Network Access Protection (NAP) platform, how IPsec protects traffic, and how IPsec Enforcement in NAP provides system health policy enforcement for IPsec-secured communication. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=144cc69f-790f-4f52-8846-3f3b8584d7cd&DisplayLang=en Introduction to Network Access Protection Read this white paper for an overview of the NAP business scenarios, an outline of the components of NAP, and a description of how NAP works. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5d5e243a-23a8-479c-9f2d-37d6d79153e7&DisplayLang=en Step-by-Step Guide: Demonstrate VPN NAP Enforcement in a Test Lab Test lab to demonstrate VPN NAP enforcement http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=729bba00-55ad-4199-b441-378cc3d900a7&DisplayLang=en General Microsoft Security Intelligence Report http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=6755495 The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report provides a comprehensive understanding of the types of threats Windows customers face today so they can take appropriate action to help ensure they are better protected. The report highlights trends observed over the past several years, leveraging data collected by Microsoft between July 1 and December 31, 2006, from numerous sources including the Microsoft...
  • Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Technet information inc Cluster Edition information, AD Explorer, IIS7, Scenario feedback for Windows Server 2008

    Windows Server 2003 (including Cluster Edition) HPC Grid-Computing White Paper This paper explains the benefits of integrating Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 with Platform Computing's LSF grid-enabled solution, and describes the architecture and configuration of this integrated high-performance computing (HPC) solution. HPC Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Solution Brief FLUENT 6.3 running on the Windows Compute Cluster Server operating system yields a cost-effective parallel processing solution for CFD analysis. FLUENT 6.3 users running simulations on Windows can exploit the larger memory address space provided by 64-bit systems to run more detailed FLUENT simulations. CCS 2003 Partner White Papers Learn more about compute clusters, today's applications, and options available to you from CCS Partners. Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator Version 2.04 This is the latest version of the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator enables connection of a Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP host to an external iSCSI storage array. The Microsoft iSCSI software initiator makes it possible for businesses to take advantage of existing network infrastructure to enable block-based Storage Area Networks without having to invest in additional hardware. Active Directory Explorer v1.0 Active Directory Explorer (AD Explorer) is an advanced Active Directory (AD) viewer and editor. You can use AD Explorer to easily navigate an AD database, define favorite locations, view object properties and attributes without having to open dialog boxes, edit permissions, view an object's schema, and execute sophisticated searches that you can save and re-execute. AD Explorer also includes the ability to save snapshots of an AD database for off-line viewing and comparisons. When you load a saved snapshot, you can navigate and explorer it as you would a live database. If you have two snapshots of an AD database you can use AD Explorer's comparison functionality to see what objects, attributes...
  • SQL 2005 & 2008 webcasts, recovery tips, developer tools, best practices, Silverlight development and more

    As you know SQL 2005 has been released and we are already seeing SQL 2008 on the horizon. To keep up to date and step into the future the following should be able to help with understand the products, finding information about solutions using them and developing solutions using them, SQL Server 2005 SQL Server Premier Field Engineers Deliver SoundBytes The UK SQL Server PFE team is preparing a series of SQL Server SoundBytes aimed to deliver proactive content to our Premier customers via LiveMeeting. Premier SoundByte sessions will be ideal for customers who need proactive information, for whom it may not be convenient to leave the office to come to a workshop. These sessions are set to run from the beginning of September 2007 through to the end of December 2007 and will range from Clustering a SQL Server 2005 Database System, to Database Mirroring, Configuration Best Practices through to SQL Server in a SAN Environment, Corruption / Detection and Recovery of a SQL Server 2005 System. Please contact your TAM if you are interested in attending a SoundByte Session and they will arrange your attendance for the specific topic, agenda and date / time. For more information regarding these SQL Server 2005 SoundBytes, checkout the UK SQL Server Premier Blogsite : http://sqlblogcasts.com/blogs/thepremiers/ SQL Server 2005 Books Online (May 2007) Download an updated version of Books Online for Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Books Online is the primary documentation for SQL Server 2005. The May 2007 update to Books Online contains new material and fixes to documentation problems reported by customers after SQL Server 2005 was released. Refer to "New and Updated Books Online Topics" for a list of topics that are new or updated in this version. Topics with significant updates have a Change History table at the bottom of the topic that summarizes the changes. Beginning with the February 2007 update, SQL Server 2005 Books Online reflects product upgrades included in SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 (SP2). http://www.microsoft...
  • Vista Squad meeting in London on 6th September 2007

    Thenext Vista Squad meeting is around the corner and we have a great line-up foryou! We also listened and the next meeting is in London. MikeTaulty and Stephen Lamb will be presenting and this should be a massive eventin terms of content. If you can please leave a comment at the link belowto let us know you’re attending, this will allow us to cater better fornumbers and refreshments. http://vistasquad.co.uk/blogs/announcements/archive/2007/08/10/vista-squad-3-0.aspx Pleasespread the word through your contacts, blogs and any other means, we would bevery grateful. See you then! Date: 6thSeptember 2007 Time: 6pm onwards Location: MicrosoftLondon (Cardinal Place) 100 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL Agenda: 6:30pm: Start, so plan to arrive just after 6pm. 6:30pm – 7:30pm Stephen Lamb: Windows Deployment 7:30pm – 8:00pm Break 8:00 – 9:00pm MikeTaulty: WPF and Silverlight There will be a copyof Vista Ultimate up for grabs! Published with BlogMailr
  • SharePoint webcasts, business information, KB support information and developer information

    When I talk to partners delivering solutions on Windows SharePoint Services V2, V3 and even for some Portal server is becoming a real business opportunity. When I met with Vin of Wem & Co the other day, some of the stuff they were doing was amazing! Anyway, here are the 3 things I thought might be useful - one being the SharePoint VHD so you can just download and play. SharePoint information Creating Business Value through Better Collaboration http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/Browse.aspx?DisplayLang=en&nr=20&productId=353C4E9D-9E78-4435-A360-01BB7F540D17&sortCriteria=date Tools Office SharePoint Server 2007 VHD This download comes as a pre-configured VHD. This download enables you evaluate Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/Browse.aspx?DisplayLang=en&nr=20&productId=353C4E9D-9E78-4435-A360-01BB7F540D17&sortCriteria=date Webcasts TechNet Webcast: Workflow in Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies 2007: Out-of-the-Box and Creating Custom Workflows (Level 200) In this session, we discuss the integration of Windows Workflow Foundation into Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0; how workflows are designed, stored, and used; and which capabilities are enhanced by taking advantage of client and server technology. We explain different authoring tools and techniques, including how to create no-code workflows using Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and provide guidance on deployment and management in a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment. http://www.microsoft.com/events/EventDetails.aspx?CMTYSvcSource=MSCOMMedia&Params=%7eCMTYDataSvcParams%5e%7earg+Name%3d%22ID%22+Value%3d%221032340734%22%2f%5e%7earg+Name%3d%22ProviderID%22+Value%3d%22A6B43178-497C-4225-BA42-DF595171F04C%22%2f%5e%7earg+Name%3d%22lang%22+Value%3d%22en%22%2f%5e%7earg+Name%3d%22cr%22+Value%3d%22US%22%2f%5e%7esParams%5e%7e%2fsParams%5e%7e%2fCMTYDataSvcParams%5e TechNet Webcast: An In-Depth Look at SharePoint Server 2007 Search Technology (Level 200) In this...
  • How do I take a public folder offline

    I seem to have been asked this a number of times recently, so here is the answer. To take a public folder offline, simply add it to your favourites and then enable synching of public folders. Mark the public folder as a favourite (right click on the folder and select make favourite Go into your account settings and ensure that public folders are enabled for caching Tools / Account / Properties for the Exchange Account / More Settings / Advanced - then tick the box Now, when you sync the favourite public folders will be copied too. That is it ttfn David Technorati Tags: Offline , Public Folders
  • Windows Live Hotmail will soon bring you more of your requests, better performance, huge amounts of storage, de-dupe of contacts, message forwarding, Out of Office and much more

    You can tell from the title the favourite things I have found testing the latest version of Hotmail - well it is now public - we start rolling these features and more out over the Hotmail clusters. For more information look at the Ellie Powers-Boyle blog post Your mail is here, come and get it!: August: Hotmail will soon bring you more of your requests, better.performance . Obviously if you are a Office Live customer then you will also see these changes coming to you. For the international of us, I have called "Vacation Replies" Out of Office - you know what I mean then :-) 13 August August: Hotmail will soon bring you more of your requests, better performance We went out of beta in May, and we’re already releasing something new. Today, these new features will begin to roll our gradually to all our customers over the next few weeks, so if you don’t immediately see them, be patient, they’re coming! It’s a fun time to be working on Hotmail. We already did a ton of work to get the basics ready to get out of beta, so now we’ve been able to add some more of the extras that our more advanced users have been asking for. We’re continuing to collect feedback and using it to guide which areas of the product to improve next. Thanks to all of you who were beta testers, have clicked the “feedback” link in Hotmail, or leave constructive comments on the blog. We’re listening! Performance : We’ve been hearing you loud and clear across the world: speed is one of the most important aspects of a web-based email service. We’ve spent more time in this release identifying what parts of the product are slowest and fixing those. We hope that you notice an improvement when this update is released to your account, and we’ll continue our work on performance in future releases. Quality of Service : Our last release went quite smoothly, and we’ve been continuing to monitor the live site to make sure that we’re providing e-mail that is reliable – you always want to be able to get to your mail, and we hear you! More storage! Just when...
  • Explore Web Development with ASP.NET 2.0 webcasts and virtual labs

    In my new role I find I need to get up to speed on the MS Dev technologies. I found the page Explore Web Development with ASP.NET 2.0 which seems to have lots of education for me in the ASP.Net 2.0 world. Microsoft ASP.NET is a set of Web application development technologies that enables programmers to build dynamic Web sites, web applications, and XML Web services. Whether you already use ASP.NET 2.0 or want to start, watch our webcasts and participate in our virtual labs to see what it can do for you. This series will help you learn about the improvements in ASP.NET 2.0 and better understand how you can utilize ASP.NET 2.0 to create faster, more secure Web applications. Webcasts During this series, learn how you can use membership and personalization to build rich Web sites, use the new provider model to customize ASP.NET for your enterprise, and more. Virtual Labs Take part in these virtual labs to learn about the major improvements introduced with ASP.NET 2.0 and see how you can create richer Web applications. It's simple—no complex setup or installation is required. You get a downloadable manual and a 90-minute block of time for each module, and you can sign up for additional 90-minute blocks anytime. Virtual Labs for you to participate in: ASP.NET 2.0 Configuration and Health Monitoring ASP.NET 2.0 Creating a Web Site ASP.NET 2.0 Data Access ASP.NET 2.0 Membership, Login Controls, and Role Management ASP.NET 2.0 User Interface Enhancements: Master Pages, Themes, and Controls Webcasts still to happen: MSDN Webcast: ADO.NET Step by Step (Part 15 of 16): Reading and Writing XML and the XmlDataDocument (Level 200) Wednesday, August 15, 2007 9:00 A.M.–10:00 A.M. Pacific Time MSDN Webcast: Silverlight 1.0 Overview (Level 200) Wednesday, August 15, 2007 11:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. Pacific Time MSDN Webcast: ADO.NET Step by Step (Part 16 of 16): Using ADO and ADOX in the .NET Framework (Level 200) Wednesday, August 22, 2007 9:00 A.M.–10:00 A.M. Pacific Time MSDN Webcast: Building ASP.NET AJAX Applications for Windows...
  • Will Virtualisation really crush the server market and Virtualised Windows on Linux... not likely

    From the register I saw the article " Virtualization Software to Crush Server Market " and it sort of made me laugh. Last year saw a dramatic drop in growth of Server shipments, both Microsoft and non-Microsoft. One explanation given is that virtualisation has increased so much that less servers are being bought, but the growth was still strong, just not in actual servers. I have seen the growth of virtual servers, but don't think it really accounts for the hundreds of thousands of servers that fill the gap that appeared in the research last year. VMWare's growth does not account for this, nor does the impact on Windows licensing that would be seen. Analysts and executives came out this week and declared that x86 server shipments will likely decline as VMware, Microsoft, and a host of startups push their virtualization wares at speed. In a rare feat, Schwartz and Sacconaghi also happen to agree about another trend that virtualization will drive. They're claiming that customers will buy larger, more memory- and component-packed servers moving forward to handle the demanding virtualization code. Why consolidate a couple of workloads on a two-socket box when you can consolidate more software on a four- or eight-socket system and deal with less hardware management overhead? According to Sacconaghi, the trend toward larger systems will hurt Dell, since it has specialized in two-socket gear. It will, however, also hurt Sun, since x86 virtualization will only speed the move away from Unix systems. <snip> The mainframe arena - the place where VMware pinched its genius - has survived virtualization for a long while, as has the Unix market. Each segment, including the x86 market, has its unique attributes, making apples v. apples comparisons tough. Still, customer demand for more horsepower serves as constant across all three markets, and we suspect it will keep overall demand for servers high, despite virtualization code. Moving this theory along, Microsoft has announced that the license for Vista...
  • Nano-tech to use old mechanical designs to implement technology rather than simply copying silicon

    One of my University lecturers help at the London Science Museum to build the Babbage difference engine around twenty years ago. Engines like this which is very mechanical based are obviously simple ways to implement functions of modern cpus in nano technology. It was a a nice surprise to see the article " Antique engines inspire nano chip " where we see that this is progressing. “The blueprint for a tiny, ultra-robust mechanical computer has been outlined by US researchers. ”What we are proposing is a new type of computing architecture that is only based on nano-mechanical elements,” said Professor Robert Blick of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the authors of the journal paper. “We are not going to compete with high-speed silicon, but where we are competitive is for all of those mundane applications where you need microprocessors which can be slow and cheap as well.” ttfn David Technorati Tags: Nano Technology , Babbage , Difference Engine
  • Recent Business Contact Manager Questions and Answers

    I was just writing this e-mail back to someone who e-mailed me and I decided to blog it. - Is there a way to timestamp notes in Outlook by itself, or is the only way to get Business Contacts Manager? Everything in outlook has a timestamp, but obviously BCM has better facilities. You could write a short piece of VBA to add a time stamp button to the Notes form - Are the contacts stored in Outlook 2007 the same as those contacts stored in BCM or are they stored completely differently? Outlook contacts are stored in a PST file while BCM contacts are stored in a SQL database. To see the differences between the fields in contacts in BCM and Outlook, have a look at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/05/04/what-is-the-difference-between-an-outlook-contact-and-a-business-contact-manager-bcm-in-office-2007-contact.aspx - If the contacts are different, will other third party programs like Plaxo be able to update files based on BCM or only the Outlook contacts? It depends on how they are accessed – you would need to talk to the 3 rd party vendor - Are there any good sources of training on BCM 2007 from MS or from third parties like the BCM for Dummies or BCM for idiots? Other sources of good info? http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/002-9623379-7360062?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=business+contact+manager - And finally if I migrate 3500 contacts from ACT to BCM are there problems with the import or can third party programs assist? I heard there were issues like only 800 contacts can be imported and all the timestamps in ACT will be lost when history records are imported? I think this is not true, but I’ve not got ACT to find out. The import can hit problems if you are not based in the US as time records get screwed up, but exporting to CSV file, loading in Excel and then importing seems to work. ttfn David Technorati Tags: BCM , Business Contact Manager
  • The Linux is beginning to admit that Microsoft might have some good ideas, but shows that it is still important for you to code the kernel and there still is not a way to know an application will run on it!

    You know me, I like talking about Linux and when I saw these three articles I thought I had to share them. They all came out last week. The 1st article discusses the need for a bit more respect between the Windows an Linux camp. Microsoft has tried to put fact behind the arguments against Linux adoption and while some people think the surveys were doctored (they were not), they did start the discussion as to why each OS was better. I have said before that this should not be a religious discussion, but an evaluation based upon needs. In some cases people will choose Linux, in others Windows. It is nice however to have this recognised by the Linux community. While the article only discusses Microsoft's PR, there is an underlying respect beginning to grow with statements like "has a good track record in fending off competition" have to mean more than just marketing otherwise it paints most users as pretty stupid. One other thing discussed is the fact that the lack of release synchronisation causes users pain. Backwards compatibility does not seem to be high on the Linux charter of needs and therefore seems to always cause problems when running a complex system with something that does NOT come in the box, which is quite often. To this extent Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian called on the Linux community to develop a standard application-certification process for independent software vendors (ISVs) . Ron and his company however are not flavour of the month with the Linux community for their "audacity" of signing a deal with Microsoft - something so "bad" that explicit changes were made to GPL v3 to stop it happening, which is about as silly as it gets. For the Linux community to tell you that you are bad for signing business deals is simply stupid. Meanwhile, Andrew Morton, a co-maintainer of the Linux Kernel reminded people recently that they should get involved, help code Linux . For most of my partners this is an OMG moment - they don't want to code Linux, they want to sell solutions and...
  • How unified communications could be with Exchange 2007 and Office Communications Server (OCS)

    Unified Communications, VoIP, IM, e-mail, messaging, call redirecting, talking to your calendar - so hard to explain in words, so easy to watch in this short demo. A bit cheesy, but it works ttfn David Technorati Tags: Unified Communications , Exchange 2007 , Office Communications Server , VoIP
  • SBS Technet Chat Transcript published

    Hi folks, this is a really simple one - I had the pleasure of answering some questions at a TechNet chat a few weeks back - that chat has now had a polished transcript published on the web at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/chats/trans/sbs/07_0713_tn_sbs.mspx . thanks David Technorati Tags: SBS , SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , Technet , Chat
  • Microsoft launches beta of "skydrive" - a disk in the cloud (and now you can use it in the UK too)

    Another "it is here" moment. Skydrive gives you, today, 500MB of storage in the cloud, free of charge. You can set up permissions to control who can read and write files. I love it. In fact, I love it so much that I have put all my demo videos that I recorded recently up there. The Skydrive team blog can be found at http://skydriveteam.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!977F793E846B3C96!124.entry . Click for the Training Videos to be downloaded as videos. Top features for me are: Upload and download documents with permissions on files Embed file stores in web pages Drag and drop upload process Accessible everywhere For some eye candy: - Home Screen - Documents sub folder - Folder Options - Change Folder Permissions - Embed your SkyDrive into your web site - Drag and drop files for uploading - The upload process - Non ActiveX upload page ttfn David Technorati Tags: SkyDrive , Live , SAS
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  • Microsoft, web services, new business models and small business

    In the IT market the term "change is the only constant" has been around for years (well, certainly since I left ICL where change was not constant, but that was due to the contract that dictated that everything did not change, so fell behind). Note, this post is purely the ramblings from my mind, not a statement from Microsoft in an Official or Unofficial capacity We've seen big iron, then smaller systems, the rise of SMP, the reduction in IT hardware and software costs for solutions, the rise of Microsoft servers, client server, 3-tier, clustered computing, multi-core and now internet enabled computing. There is much more, of course, to come, but how we deliver IT to customers has changed too. Of course, this is all generalised and some people have always been at one end or the other, but general acceptance is always shifting - remember the ASP business model of the late 90's - dead, yet here it is again with Software as / plus service. The pricing of some services even appears to be £0, yet you pay by clicking on adverts or by others buying adverts for you to see. Business Models Google and salesforce.com have once again shown that non-distributed computing means that a central failure grinds everything to a halt, just as Terminal based computing did before SAS was being considered. While you can architect to reduce these impacts, when they happen, hundreds to millions of people are impacted and if that is your business, it can be fatal. Once upon a time it was building PCs, then custom PCs, then servers, then core infrastructure, now ICT. However this is all the technical "stuff". We now deliver solutions more than just boxes (I know some always did) and the need to move beyond core infrastructure is a business necessity if you have not already moved this way. Excitement about a new "gizmo" (OS, application, gadget etc) is now tempered with "So what can it do to improve my business and is it worth it." One of the conversations I have had repeatedly with partners over...
  • Questions from today's Webcast

    I promised to load the questions from todays webcast. The blog on the webcast can be found at Slides from todays Webcast on Windows SharePoint Services on SBS (WSS v2 & WSS v3) . The Questions were: Do uploaded files take up space in the system partition or can they be stored in a different partition They can do - all files are stored in the SQL database, so moving the SQL database will move the files from the system partition. if the existing SharePoint 2 is almost empty - will you loose out anything if you upgrade? Don't upgrade it - do a clean install and then move data across Do you recommend any books for end-user/creators? If you do this search, you can see a couple of books http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=windows+sharepoint+services+book+sbs&src=IE-SearchBox - some people seem to rate the step by step book. You have a contacts list, can a specific detailed with field relevant to my business be created? Any fields can be added or removed from the WSS contacts fields, so yes, you can create specific fields and make them mandatory if you want Can the Share Point SQL Data be moved to another server by copying the SQL Database file or is there more involved Moving the SQL database using standard SQL processes will work just fine. WSS talks to SQL, so providing the SQL Services are running normally everything will be fine Can you give non members of the domain access to view specific area and documents You can enable anonymous access to the site and then control what anonymous users see. Other users can sign in to see secured data. You mention Webcasts on WSS, are the links on your website? These are not on my site, but if you look a the TechNet site or the webcast announcements in my blog you will find them. ttfn David Technorati Tags: WSS , WSS v2 , WSS v3 , Sharepoint , Windows SharePoint Services , Webcasts , Questions
  • SBS 2003 Configuration Webcast - presentation and key links

    Part 2 or 3 for the Webcast series was how to configure SBS and discussed things like disk, memory, dual NICs, firewalls and the Pop3 connector. The presentation can be found here . Useful links from the presentation: WSUS upgrade documentation http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/05/02/installing-wsus-3-0-on-sbs-white-paper-released-including-when-you-already-got-wsus-on-there-or-need-to-upgrade.aspx Transition pack http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2006/09/18/Transition-Pack-for-Windows-SBS-2003-R2.aspx The questions from the event: Is there anything different we need to do on the server with Win Mobile 6 devices? No, it works, but you still need to be aware of the need for a certificate by a trusted root authority on the SBS box for Smartphones (just the same as all previous versions) On the install it showed Active sync 3.8 available to install, why not the latest version? I have not updated the box, but you can load a later version of ActiveSync onto SBS What is the URL to access outlook web access? https://www.mydomain.com/exchange or via https://www.mydomain/remote When you do http://SERVER/ConnectComputer does it setup the outlook profile? Yes Is it possible to upgrade from SBS2003 to WIN2003? Yes, using the transition pack as discussed in the slides When you set up a folder for users do you have to setup a share and permissions as well? No, this is done for you When you set up a folder for users do you have to setup a share and permissions as well Answered: This is all done automatically - each user has a folder created that only they can access - it is automatic - nothing for you to do, except for turning on Redirect My Documents in the SBS user manager What about if you have a general folder on another drive that you want a group of users to access Answered: then you can share and set up access as per any windows server ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , Network Setup
  • Vista updates (performance fixes) now out

    OK, so there I was posting that they were coming and now 2 days later they are here. If you want to improve Vista, go get them: Title Release Date Popularity Update for Windows Vista (KB938194) This is a reliability update. Install this update to improve the reliability of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #15750 Update for Windows Vista (KB938979) This is a performance update. Install this update to improve the performance of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #12367 Update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems (KB938979) This is a performance update. Install this update to improve the performance of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #16432 Update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems (KB938194) This is a reliability update. Install this update to improve the reliability of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #16951 ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Performance , Application Compatibility
  • Slides from todays Webcast on Windows SharePoint Services on SBS (WSS v2 & WSS v3)

    Today I did my last Webcast on SBS. It was the 3rd of a 3 parter on SBS. Part 1 was about how to use the OPK, part 2 was on Configuring SBS. I will post links to part 1 & 2 later today, but thought I would get the last one out 1st. If you watched the Webcast you will know that explorer crashed on my machine stopping the demos with word and excel working, which was not desired, but I did load 2 beta patches onto my system yesterday, so now the diagnosis as to wether that was the problem begins. Anyway, if you want the slides set they can be found here . Some of the useful links from the deck are: WSS v2 Office 2003 web parts (the last ones) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=38be67a5-2056-46a1-84b1-337ffb549c5c&displaylang=en Samples and information http://www.sharepointcustomization.com/wss/articles.htm Enable Office 2007 support http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/03/13/how-to-get-companyweb-windows-sharepoint-services-v2-to-work-with-office-2007.aspx Backup and restore of WSS using admin command line http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/support/articles/backup_restore_sbs2003.mspx#EPDAE Recycle bin support in WSS v2 http://mindsharpblogs.com/Todd/archive/2005/10/06/719.aspx WSS v3 Comparison of v2 & v3 features http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsserver/sharepoint/techref/versions.mspx External access to v3 site & renaming it to companyweb http://msmvps.com/blogs/cgross/archive/2007/01/25/companyweb-sharepoint-v3-part-1.aspx - Enable e-mail for WSS v3 site http://www.mrict.co.uk/resources/incoming_email_for_wss_3_and_sbs.asp Since the Office integration failed to fire due to the beta patches I will re-record these and post on the web. ttfn David Technorati Tags: WSS v2 , WSS v3 , Windows SharePoint Services , SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , Office System
  • The UsefulTechnology Blog: Windows Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode

    Since this is coming, I thought I would share this with you - if your customers find lots of "genuine" warnings and then rebooting every hour... think about this as a cause :-) Well, think about the non-genuine license. That does not mean that the customer has necessarily knowingly bought ripped off software, but it does happen. You may have recently read about the $500M bust of a piracy ring - they were not giving the software away to their customers - they were selling it as full price product. Windows Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode Now, think about it, does that look genuine? It's not a widely publicised feature, but users of Windows Vista who fail to properly activate their software may find themselves in Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) . In this state, you will be unable to use any of the Windows Vista Premium features like Aero Glass and ReadyBoost, nor will you be able to play any of the built-in games. Tougher still you'll only be able to use the computer for one hour before it automatically logs you off. The UsefulTechnology Blog: Windows Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Piracy
  • They're coming - the list of fixes in those new Vista fix packs - soon going out to beta and then to the rest of the world

    [updated to correct grammar in title - thanks to Warren Jacobi for pointing it out to me] I have been hearing about these at work - I don't have them yet, so can't comment on them, but apparently they will be going to trial soon and then out via updates. 938979 Vista Performance and Reliability Pack This update resolves a number of individual issues which may be affecting some computers running Windows Vista. These issues have been reported by customers using the Error Reporting service, product support, or other means. Installing this update will improve the performance and responsiveness for some scenarios and improves reliability of Windows Vista in a variety of scenarios. Some examples of the improvements contained in this update are: • Improves performance in resuming back to the desktop from the Photo and Windows Energy screensaver. • Resolves an issue where some secured web pages using advanced security technologies may not get displayed in Internet Explorer on Windows Vista. • Resolves an issue where a shared printer may not get installed if the printer is connected to a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 system and User Access Control is disabled on the Vista client. • Resolves an issue where creating AVI files on Vista may get corrupted. • Improves the performance in calculating the ‘estimated time remaining’ when copying/moving large files. • Improves performance in bringing up Login Screen after resuming from Hibernate. • Resolves an issue where synchronization of offline files to a server can get corrupted. • Resolves a compatibility issue with RAW images created by Canon EOS 1D/1DS Digital SLR Camera which can lead to data loss. This only affects RAW images created by these two specific camera models. • Resolves an issue where a computer can lose its default Gateway address when resuming from sleep mode. • Improves the performance when copying or moving entire directories containing large amounts of data or files. • Improves the performance of Vista’s Memory Manager in specific customer scenarios...
  • My RSS reader

    I subscribe to a lot of blogs and reading them all can be a bit of a pain. If you want to see who I read, have a look at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/files/entry4501.aspx to get the OPML file. I store and read some in Outlook, but the rest need something bigger. The tool I seem to be using a lot at the moment is RikReader. It is not perfect, but it works nicely for me. RikReader FAQ "Codename: RikReader" is an RSS Reader which complements the RSS Platform delivered by Microsoft in Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 . The RSS Platform makes it possible to share feed subscriptions and items between multiple applications. "Codename: RikReader" provides only reading and searching capabilities. To manage your feed subscriptions, it's recommenced that you use Internet Explorer 7. What does RikReader offer over Internet Explorer 7? A unified view of all your feeds: See all your items in a single view. "Codename: RikReader" collapses the hierarchy of feeds and folders into a single list of items ordered by date. A dynamic interface: Any new items or changes to the feed store will automatically show up in the current view. Full-text, indexed searching: Perform advanced searchers over all of your items, instantly, in one go. It has several views and search facilities and ties into the Internet Explorer RSS engine, which is where Outlook gets its info from. Below is the standard, searching and multi-column views: Things I would like to see added are: UI when it is working so you know how far it is progresses in its thinking Better filtering options so I can do more than just last day or last 7 days Sorting of results - by blog, by date, by unread entries in that blog I don't consider the lack of these features a big problem today. ttfn David Technorati Tags: RikReader , RSS , Reader
  • Simple overview of what is in Windows SharePoint Services 2007 & MOSS 2007 and how to develop on them

    For those who wish to expand into SharePoint enhancements (remember that you can enhance the site without any dev tools using the browser features) I found this simple blog entry ( Know your options for developing with SharePoint 2007 - Program - .Net - Builder AU ) and it is quite nice. Read the whole blog, but here is a snippet. The editions of SharePoint One of the more confusing aspects of SharePoint is that there are two versions available: Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. Developers follow the same basic steps to get started with SharePoint regardless of the version. Here's an overview of both offerings. |> WSS: This is the so-called "free" version, as there are no additional licensing issues. It is included with the Windows Server 2003 operating system (version 2.0). The current 3.0 version is available via download. It provides core document management, collaboration, and search functions, which include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, e-mail support, and Office 2003/2007 integration to name a few. WSS will suffice for small organisations or departments. |> MOSS: The server product is built on top of WSS. Along with the core WSS functions, it adds enterprise search and people search capabilities, along with an unlimited document repository, personal sites, additional Web parts, workflow, content syndication, and much more. MOSS targets organisations that will store more than 500,000 documents, which are usually larger enterprise customers. SharePoint utilises SQL Server on the backend. You may choose to use an existing SQL Server installation or the limited version (think MSDE) included with it. Development tools There is more than one way to get involved with SharePoint development. The most basic approach involves a FrontPage-esque tool and evolves to full-blown development with Visual Studio. Before exploring external tools, SharePoint provides browser-based editing tools that allow you to manipulate and customise SharePoint applications...
  • Mix:UK 07 - Want to know more about building solutions using Silverlight, Expression and Live Services in the UK? With UK Early Bird registration until 10th August

    I intend to be there - it will be great if you can be there too if this is for you. I have to say I think it is an incredibly exciting area. Have a look at Mix:UK 07 for more information. Latest event news: Registration and schedule now live! About Mix:UK 07 Mix:UK 07 is the premier event for web designers and web developers to: Get creative inspiration from design and development gurus, web agencies and innovators Discover how technologies like Silverlight, Expression and Live Services are already being used to create a new generation of rich media experiences and RIAs (Rich Interactive Applications) Connect with others in the industry who, like yourself, have a passion for innovation and creativity and have built personal and business success on that passion. Register now, early-bird rate expires soon! Until the 10th of August 2007 we’re offering a discounted early bird registration price of £199, saving you £100 from the standard price of £299. Speakers Announced to Date. We are proud to announce that Scott Guthrie, General Manager in Microsoft's Developer Division, will deliver the keynote for the event along with George Moore, General Manager for the Windows Live Developer Group. In addition, Scott will be delivering a number of sessions on Silverlight and ASP.NET. Other speakers just announced include: Andy Hood , Creative Development Director, AKQA Beau Ambur , CEO of Metaliq Inc Paul Dawson , Head of Interactive Media, Conchango Danny Thorpe , Senior Software Designer and previously architect of the Gears API at Google, and former Chief Scientist at Borland and Chief Architect of the Delphi compiler Pete Barr-Watson , Interactive design industry veteran and best-selling author Check out the full lineup of speakers here . What others have said about the Microsoft technologies to be presented at Mix:UK 07 Technorati Tags: Silverlight , Expression Web , Expression Suite , Live Services , RIA , Developers , ISVs
  • Thank-you for helping my site grow - I hope it will continue to help

    I have now had my site open for 16 months. In that time you have managed to ask me loads of questions and I hopefully have answered plenty too. Lets both keep this up. We are currently running at about 1.2+ million page views per month and about 300,000+ RSS sync requests per month. Keep the questions coming :-) ttfn David

(c)David Overton 2006-13