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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November 2007 - David Overton's Blog

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  • Is Vista really that bad or do we have rose tinted glasses - How well was Windows XP accepted in the early years

    I have had a bit of a rant with Vlad over at Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 Performance Stats: Flawed Samples or Market Reality? and the comments are good - the communication is very worthwhile, but I thought I would share some of the "what was it like with Windows XP" reality. That does not excuse the issues people see, but rather highlights the fact that with XP, it took some time for things to bed down and hopefully what you are seeing with Vista is a more responsive Microsoft and partner eco-system. Complaints about Whistler (Windows XP and 2003) come in the form of performance, adoption rates, application compatibility, relevance - all things people are complaining about today with Windows Vista. I will say it again - ONLY DEPLOY VISTA IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS. What is more, only deploy Windows XP on new machines if there is a compelling reason to NOT deploy Vista . Remember that if you buy Vista Business / Ultimate and downgrade you can then re-load Vista at a later date without having to re-buy the OS. Buy XP and you will have to purchase the OS too. Performance Vista does many things to improve performance, but there is a limit as to how much juice you can squeeze into a firmly boxed space. 1GB of RAM is now a minimum and with multi-core coming along, scaling sideways is not a more important trick that raw performance. Vista has many things under the bonnet to improve performance, but in some scenarios it still does not work like XP. Just look at the "fix" that Alistair found for his Dell - Alistair likes Vista and found out that the Dell SATA drivers were making is go slow ENT Review: Windows XP - I feel I could be reading a Vista review For IT organizations that have already standardized on Windows 2000, however, the rationale for upgrading to Windows XP is altogether less clear cut. <snip> Speed and Performance Considerations We deployed Windows XP on a 1.4-GHz Athlon system (512 MB of RAM); a 1-GHz Toshiba Tecra 8200 laptop (256 MB of RAM); a 500-MHz IBM Thinkpad 570E laptop...
  • Action Pack - you now have to take an exam to qualify ... so do so!

    I suspect that you will have seen this everywhere before, but just in case, see below - notice that SBSC and Web Developers, designers and agencies get an even more valueable kit: Enhancing the value of Microsoft Action Pack Subscription In response to feedback from our partners, on 30 November 2007 we will unveil a new renewal and subscription procedure, as well as launch two new special edition kits. This is all part of our continual effort to enhance the value of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS), our quarterly toolkits of software and resources that help our Registered Partners stay competitive, meet their sales goals and grow their business. Essential courses and assessments Starting 30 November, new MAPS subscribers must take an online course and pass an assessment (with a score of 70% or higher). From 1 March 2008, those partners that would like to renew their subscription will also be required to take an online course and pass an assessment. Most courses run for an hour, while our straight forward assessments take just 30 minutes. All are 100% subsidised. Launch of special edition kits We're launching two new editions, supplementary to the standard Action Pack kit and offered to qualified partners up to twice per year, at no additional cost. They include: Small Business Specialist Community toolkit for actively enrolled Microsoft Small Business Specialist Partners. Toolkit for Web developers, designers and agencies. Ideal for partners wanting to build a business practice with Web offerings. If you have any questions regarding your current Action Pack subscription, please call the Regional Service Centre on 0800 917 3128 . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Action Pack , SBSC , Web Developers , Developers
  • How to make Office 2007 always save in Office 97-2003 format

    This is another area I get a lot of questions, so I thought I would share the answer. While my person preference is to tell people to load the tools onto Office 2000/XP/2003 machines as documented at 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 - David Overton's Blog for some people this is not an option. So, how do you force Office to save in the older format? If you want to do it to lots of machines then look at http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/07/14/default-save-as-doc-and-xls.aspx . If you want to do it on your own personal machine, try this: Go the the "Opal" or the round Office button, and select Word Options Then go to the save tab and choose the file format you want, so Word 97-2003 for .doc files. You need to do the save in Excel and PowerPoint to get those too do it too. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 2007 , Office 2003 , Office XP , Office 2000
  • MSDN Evaluation Center for Office system, Biztalk, SQL Server 2005/2008 and Windows Server 2008

    I just found the MSDN Evaluation Center online today to give you evaluation resources that you might develop against. These include BizTalk Server, Office Communication Server, Office Enterprise , SharePoint Server, SharePoint Designer, SQL Server 2005, 2008, Express 2005 SP2, Windows Server 2008. I've pasted much of the content, but all the download links etc are country specific, so I have removed those. Click on the link above to get to download this stuff! MSDN Evaluation Centre Welcome to the MSDN Evaluation Centre, the central location for all Microsoft developer product trials and beta evaluations. Try a product before you buy it or test the latest beta to see what is in store for the next release. Start at the beginning of the evaluation process and follow the new products as they go through to the final releases. Remember to check back often as new products will be added as they become available. As you evaluate your software, we'll provide you with comprehensive and relevant insights and information delivered to your inbox. Resources like: Webcasts | Virtual Labs | Community insight | White papers| E-Learning | Events Featured Evaluations BizTalk Server BizTalk 2006 R2 Regardless of the size of your organization, you need best-in class infrastructure. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 delivers enterprise-class infrastructure that enables you to connect .NET applications and infrastructure with your non .NET applications and platforms, as well as those of your partners. Office system Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Microsoft’s unified communications platform enables developers to efficiently build secure, productivity enhancing applications on top of an extensible software foundation. Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 provides a comprehensive suite of applications that developers can extend to deliver solutions that make data and processes more accessible and relevant to users. With Office Enterprise 2007 you can build solutions that give users the power to collaborate...
  • BBC NEWS | TV rivals (BBC, ITV, C4) form on-demand service

    I saw this and had to share. I signed up to the BBC iPlayer service and it is very good. Now all 3 major TV channel providers are looking to put make everything available under one hood ... fantastic. From the BBC news site - BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV rivals form on-demand service TV rivals form on-demand service Channel 4's Ugly Betty is one of the shows likely to be on the service The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are to launch a joint on-demand service, which will bring together thousands of hours of television programmes in one place. The service is set to go live in 2008 and will offer viewers access to current shows and archive material. Plans will have to be approved by the BBC Trust and the other broadcasters' boards, and a name for the service will be unveiled ahead of its launch. The three broadcasters currently offer their own separate on-demand services. The BBC's iPlayer and ITV's catch-up service will continue to exist along the new online "aggregator", which will provide a complement to the established providers. However, Channel 4's 4oD will no longer be a standalone service once it is incorporated within the project. Programming from all three broadcasters will be available for free download, streaming, rental and purchase via the internet, with expansion on to other platforms planned. ttfn David Technorati Tags: TV on Demand , On Demand , VOD , Internet TV
  • Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here>

    I saw the article at ZDNet ( Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test - ZDNet UK ) and at various other places and decided to comment. It compares a 1GB XP machine and a 1GB Vista machine and says that Vista is slower - both using beta service packs. This article links back to the blog of a certain benchmarking company ( http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-xp-sp3-yields-performance-gains.html ) and the result was an article with quotes in it like: "Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds. Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent." Now this annoyed me twice. So did they turn off things like the pre-loading of applications, was this a fresh PC or one where the inbuilt tools could optimise themselves? Did they turn off new features like and anti-spyware and search engine, the graphics etc? You can't add a bundle of new features and get it all for free - they have to load and boot up time is the most likely time. "The tests, run on a Dell XPS M1710 test bed with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM, put Microsoft Office 2007 through a set of productivity tasks, including creating a compound document and supporting workbooks and presentation materials." Now this also annoyed me, even more. a Vista machine with the recommended MINIMUM amount of RAM, but XP with eight times it's minimum recommended. Microsoft clearly recognised that Vista's new features require more memory, as do Office, so they have one machine that is 5 years skinny on features and another that has 5 years worth of extra features and security built in. Come on. What about trying it on a 2GB machine, or one that the tests have been run on a hundred times so the optimisation engines in Vista can get to work. I've done benchmarking...
  • Office Open XML file format information or Standard ECMA-376 and the OOXML SDK information on MSDN

    I saw this question asked internally today, so I thought I would share. If you want to develop to use the Open XML document format you probably want to look at two things. The Microsoft resources (eg http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-gb/office/aa905545.aspx ) and the ECMA resources Standard ECMA-376 . On the MSDN site you will find documentation and a MS SDK (less interest if you are developing using a functional language for your mainframe ). The ECMA site has the following: Standard ECMA-376 Office Open XML File Formats (December 2006) This Standard defines Office Open XML's vocabularies and document representation and packaging. It also specifies requirements for consumers and producers of Office Open XML. An Office Open XML overview is available on the Ecma website. Copy these file(s), free of charge: File name Size (Bytes) Content ECMA-376 Part 1 350 630 zipped DOCX file ECMA-376 Part 1 1 441 795 zipped PDF file ECMA-376 Part 2 341 625 zipped DOCX file with 2 Annexes ECMA-376 Part 2 1 286 494 zipped PDF file with 2 Annexes ECMA-376 Part 3 6 625 515 zipped DOCX file ECMA-376 Part 3 5 930 003 zipped PDF file ECMA-376 Part 4 14 477 799 zipped DOCX file with 4 Annexes ECMA-376 Part 4 29 008 573 zipped PDF file with 4 Annexes ECMA-376 Part 5 99 655 zipped DOCX file ECMA-376 Part 5 687 279 zipped PDF file Just thought I would share for those who know I am a big fan of easy access to the innards of document formats. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Open XML , Office System , Office Open XML , ECMA-376 , Open Standards , Developer
  • What is in Office Accounting for accountants... well, multiple account views, sharing, customisation and more, but it is not an practice management solution

    I saw that someone said on one of the online forums that there was not anything in Office Accounting for Accountants. I beg to differ. This product is not something that offers anywhere near the same capabilities of someone like Iris for Practice Management - it is not designed to do so, it is aimed at small businesses who want a simple to use accounting package and then a tool for accountants to simply extract and manage data from it. I am not an accountant, but Microsoft offer several areas for Accountants with Office Accounting: Ability to customise the product to brand it for a specific organisation, such as an accountant, ISV or partner Ability to monitor several people's accounts from the one place and gather updates via an secure online process (through Office Live) Client sends accounts to accountant, continues using them and then the changes are synchronised back from accountant without data loss Run payroll for multiple clients Single Journal entry with VAT that spans multiple dates, customers and suppliers Full audit on transactions and modifications to spot fraudulent actions easier Ability to produce a number of the reports that accountants may well want to automate A Microsoft backed network designed to listen to the needs of accountant and deliver further benefits for them - aka Microsoft Professional Accountants' Network which also provides the following software and support benefits: Free Support Free unlimited support until September 2009 Access to managed newsgroups Access to invitation-only training events specifically for accounting professionals Free Software One complimentary license of Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 One complimentary license of Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2007 All in all I would say that was quite a lot for something that is potentially free for customers and free for accountants!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft Office Accounting , Office Accounting , Office System , MPAN , Microsoft Professional Accountants Network , Accounting , Accountant
  • Another Vista UI tweak - change the size of the thumbnail (preview) picture in Vista Aero when you hover over an icon in the taskbar

    The final one from Ave, another amazing UI tweak. Thumbnail Sizer Thumbnail Sizer allows the user to change the size of Vista's Window thumbnails that show when one hovers over the taskbar button for the window. download from Ave's Vista Apps ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista Tweaks , Vista
  • 3D Rotating (swaying gently back and forth) User Pictures in Windows Vista Start Menu

    Another User interface trick that I am now using from Vishal's blog - it just adds minor touches to Vistas UI. 3D Rotating User Pic in Windows Vista Start Menu Ave’s 3D UserPic In the old longhorn 4xxx days, the startmenu user picture was more animated as it was today. Today, we get a cheap alpha-fading effect when you hover over an item: the user picture simply blends with the icon for a while. Back in the days, the user picture was actually rotating when you had the start menu opened. This application tries to achieve that effect. Screenshot ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Glass/ translucent Toast and balloons in Vista from Tweaking with Vishal

    I got a mail from a MVP asking me to link to his site. This is not that uncommon an experience, but often I can not find anything in common, however Vishal's request is different. I found lots to link about. Added to this is the fact that Steve Clayton recently blogged on something I covered ages ago (Steve's was at Change your Vista logon screen and mine at Vista enhancements and utilities (changing the screen savers, adding extra search functionality , but I've just realised he's not got me on his blog roll!!) The 1st link is how to go from the "new" opaque balloons translucent ones ala early betas of Vista Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista From this To this: GlassToast Download link and more at Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista | Tweaking with Vishal ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Aero
  • What has Visual Studio 2008 got for developers of applications for Windows Mobile devices

    I saw the story at Visual Studio 2008 adds mobile application features that summarised the new features in Visual Studio 2008 for mobile application developers and realised that developing for the small platform is getting easier and easier. I plan to see a master at work in a couple of weeks on using the .Net Micro framework, which is even smaller, but the stuff you can produce with the stuff for mobile is amazingly flexible. Eric has an update on training available for Visual Studio 2008 which includes the Compact Framework stuff at Visual Studio 2008 Training Kit updated for RTM Visual Studio 2008 adds mobile application features <snipped> Microsoft says, "developers will be able to build a mobile device client application that works [even] in a partially connected environment. The application will be able to send and receive data from a server, even if the device disconnects or roams." New features for developers, summarized previously by a post on the Windows Mobile Team Blog , include: Automated functional testing of managed code An enhanced device emulator (version 3.0) that permits simulation of real-world changes in device state, such as signal dropoff or battery running dead NET Compact Framework 3.5 , introducing new features such as LINQ and as an implementation of the Windows Communication Foundation enabling device to device and device to server communication over the Exchange Activesync transport The ability to build SQL Server 3.5 Compact Edition applications using the Visual Studio 2008 designer experience Mobile developers need to use Visual Studio 2008 above to build Windows Mobile applications, according to the blog post. Those who already have the Windows Mobile 6 SDK or SDK Refresh installed will need to reinstall it after they're done with installing Visual Studio 2008. Visual Studio 2008 supports the following platforms: .NET Compact Framework 3.5 .NET Compact Framework 2.0 .NET Compact Framework 1.0 (projects will be upgraded to 2.0) Windows Mobile 6 (by installing the...
  • Photos, photography, JPEG XR, Photosynth, the future of photography and Seadragons - why all the excitement?

    It's funny working in an industry where if you are not going at 50,000 miles an hour you are considered to be standing still. One area where Microsoft is speeding along is photography. In this post I will explore the announcements, the demos, short and long term products and then the future that lots of people are beginning to see. For me, the fact that people are already seeing such a future and its possibilities is very exciting (both the visions and the fact they are having them without drugs!! (humour)) Look at the recent events: Raw photo support in 2005 - Microsoft and Imaging Industry Leaders Unveil Support for Digital Photo HD (which some people thought was a JPEG killer.. tut tut) - HD Photo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia JPEG XR - JPEG committee supports Photo HD as next gen JPEG TrustedReviews - Official Jpeg Successor Is Microsoft's HD Photo Now this is all very nice, but so what - a better format for bigger pictures, that could be a bit like FAT disks getting FAT32 format, but it is not. Now read about Photosynth and Seadeagon and you realise that people are not just seeing a HD future, but a future where seeing details and accessing them is much, much easier: The demos by themselves are awesome - Chris Koenig : Seadragon and Photosynth If you haven't already seen Seadragon or Photosynth , then you need to watch this video from TED 07 . The speaker, Blaise Aguera y Arcas , is an Architect at Microsoft, and responsible for the Seadragon product. This is AMAZING technology - absolutely unbelievable what they've been able to do here. You can try out Photosynth for yourself today, but Seadragon itself is not publicly available (I can't wait to get my hands on this Seadragon demo)! The short term future is described by people like Pete: Microsoft & Photography - Pete's Eats I've been a heavy Photoshop user since v2.5 now but thought I'd do some research at Microsoft to see what kinds of things we have to offer too. I have to say, I was pretty surprised at the content...
  • Lots of Partner training (new url) - Licensing 101, Sales 101, Office PerformancePoint, Office Business Applications (OBA), Enterprise Search, SharePoint Services and Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007, Infrastructure Optimisation (IO) ...

    [updated with a working URL] Partner Licensing 101 – The next one is being held on the 4 th December 2007 This session will equip sales people with a top level knowledge that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about Microsoft licensing. Target Audience: This session is aimed primarily at sales people from all Partner types, although it is appropriate for all Partner roles whether in Sales, Purchasing or Technical. The course is ideal for new starters looking for a good introduction to Microsoft licensing or just a great as a refresher for those who have taken a break from Microsoft licensing. This session is suitable for people who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical perspective and need to demonstrate the correct way for customers to purchase. Click Here to register For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Partner Sales 101 - The next one is being held on the 5 th December 2007 - Aim: This session will equip sales people with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about the business benefits of Microsoft technologies, and associated areas such as licensing. -Target Audience: This session is aimed at sales people. People within a partner organisation who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical or business point of view and people who are not technical experts and do not demonstrate software, but talk about the possible solution outcome. -Objectives: For the sales person to gain an understanding of all key Microsoft technologies, with additional focus on infrastructure, and the Portals and Business Intelligence solutions, Windows Vista, Office 2007,the Microsoft Dynamics products and the fundamentals of Microsoft licensing. Click Here to register for the 5 th December 2007. For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Technical training. This four day instructor-led workshop provides students with the knowledge and skills to architect...
  • Microsoft Releases Another SQL Server 2008 CTP

    I've seen plenty of blog entries saying this has not yet shipped, but I've just been to the download site and SQL Server 2008, November CTP is definitely there: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3BF4C5CA-B905-4EBC-8901-1D4C1D1DA884&displaylang=en There are several people talking about it, such as SQL 2008 CTP5 First Glance , however perhaps the best item I saw was from Steve Lamb who was offering " Would you like with free technical support to help you deploy Windows Server 2008, System Center ". I think that would be a yes :-) Microsoft Releases Another SQL Server 2008 CTP This third update includes compatibility with Windows Vista and the upcoming Windows Server 2008. "SQL Server 2008 running on Windows Server 2008 provides customers with trusted and secure access, high availability through revamped failover clustering, and simplified scripting through Powershell," Francois Ajenstat, director of product management for SQL Server, told eWEEK here at the TechEd IT Forum conference, which starts Nov. 12. This latest CTP, which Ajenstat likens to a traditional second beta, has a lot of substance and new features, he said, noting that the SQL team is targeting one more CTP prior to the product's launch in late February 2008. This latest update to the software also brings with it new features, such as a resource governor, which enables users to define resource limits and priorities for different workloads to ensure predictable performance, and backup compression, which requires less storage to keep backups online and which runs significantly faster since less disk I/O is required, he said. Another new feature, transparent data encryption, enables the encryption of an entire database, data files and log files without the need for application changes. "Encryption enables organizations to meet the demands of regulatory compliance and overall concern for data privacy," Ajenstat said. Also included are new cube design tools to help users streamline the development...
  • Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 Released - MSDN members can download the product and the Express and trial versions are available for download now too.

    I just saw this as Scott's blog while preparing something on SQL 2008 CTP. This is an amazing set of tools now released!! Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 Released Today we shipped Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5. You can download the final release using one of the links below: If you are a MSDN subscriber, you can download your copy from the MSDN subscription site (note: some of the builds are just finishing being uploaded now - so check back later during the day if you don't see it yet). If you are a non-MSDN subscriber, you can download a 90-day free trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite here . A 90-day trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Professional (which will be a slightly smaller download) will be available next week. A 90-day free trial edition of Team Foundation Server can also be downloaded here . If you want to use the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions (which are much smaller and totally free), you can download them here . If you want to just install the .NET Framework 3.5 runtime, you can download it here . Quick Tour of Some of the New Features VS 2008 Multi-Targeting Support <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> ASP.NET AJAX and JavaScript Support <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> VS 2008 Web Designer and CSS Support <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> Language Improvements and LINQ <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> Data Access Improvements with LINQ to SQL <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> Browsing the .NET Framework Library Source using Visual Studio <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> Lots of other improvements <snipped - see the original blog entry for more> The list above is only a small set of the improvements coming. For client development VS 2008 includes WPF designer and project support. ClickOnce and WPF XBAPs now work with FireFox. WinForms and WPF projects can also now use the ASP.NET Application Services (Membership, Roles, Profile) for roaming...
  • Data recovery for small businesses by true professionals

    A while back I had the pleasure of working with some guys in one of the UK's largest and probably most capable data recovery companies. They did everything from simple recoveries to physically broken media recovery and proved that the excuse "the dog ate my homework Mrs Teacher" could be proven and recovered from. Well, that was then. Now a group from this company, including Justin who I worked with have broken away to create their own small business and they continue to offer a huge amount of experience and are keen to work with SBSC partners to build their network and solutions. They offer 8 people each with years of experience from one of the leading recovery vendors Clean blench facilities for handling all levels of hardware related data recovery from all storage media. No fix no fee and trade pricing from less than £200 [ed: they did name a price, but I decided you could go talk to them to learn more] . Flexible service options. Standard services turnaround in an average of 2-3 days. Computer forensics and electronic discovery capabilities also. Justin said to me "I am sure you are aware of lots of companies offering data recovery services at the logical or software fix level, but we are really into the physically damaged drives with issues such as burn out chips on the PCB, head crashes or even seized bearings that most smaller DR companies have issues dealing with." I've used them for both simple and complex recoveries and it was always worth it. To contact them go and have a look at Palmer Data Recovery or can also e-mail Justin directly at jreynolds@palmerdata.com . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Data recovery , Small Business , SBSC
  • MSDN Events in November (Silverlight dynamic applications, SharePoint, SQL Server 2008, web applications and Smart Client) and not in Reading, but Manchester, Edinburgh, Bradford, Birmingham and Bristol ... and one in Reading

    MSDN Events – Free Technical Events for Your Partners We have the following free MSDN developer events taking place as listed below covering various topics/technologies. It would be great if you could communicate these events with your partners to offer them the opportunity to receive technical 'know-how' demos and insights into our latest technologies. · 15 November 2007, Manchester MSDN: Building Dynamic Web Applications with Microsoft Silverlight · 20 November 2007, Edinburgh MSDN: SharePoint for Developers · 21 November 2007, Edinburgh MSDN: SharePoint for Developers · 22 November 2007, Bradford MSDN: SQL Server 2008 · 27 November 2007, Reading MSDN: An Introduction to the Microsoft Web Platform (and how do it for zip, nvada, zero cost to you) · 28 November 2007, Birmingham MSDN: Web, Web, Web: Visual Studio 2008, ASP.NET 3.5 and Silverlight · 29 November 2007, Bristol MSDN: What’s new in Smart Client Development Click Here If you wish to view the overall events homepage. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Developer , Silverlight , SharePoint , SQL Server 2008 , Smart Client
  • Where to get lots and lots of information on BCM (Business Contact Manager) 2007

    I found this blog and realised several things. 1) The Brelsford family (no, they are not related) are very good in the small business space. 2) I now have a BCM 2007 hero. Who am I talking about? Bill Brelsford - http://blog.rebarbusinessbuilders.com/about.html - who says "For the past 20 years, I have been working with and for small businesses in a variety of roles." I love BCM and here are some of the things he has written about BCM. It is worth noting that Bill does not just write about BCM, but many things including marketing and many other issues that a small business would face. BCM: Setting Up Marketing Campaigns in BCM Tracking Customer Anniversary Dates in BCM Getting Started Managing Suspects in BCM Small Business CRM It has to be worth a look. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Business Contact Manager , BCM , Small Business
  • When digging holes in the garden, watch out for suspicious objects... it might mean you have to get the bomb squad out!!

    It was a rare weekend, I had agreed to do some digging in my parents garden to put up two arches. Some of you will know my dad - Derek Overton from various SBSC events. They live just over the way from a piece of MOD land that used to be used for all sorts of things and bangs were not unusual. Anyway, we were drilling into the ground when we hit something that should not be there - it was tubular and metallic. Having joked a bit that "who knows what it could be when around here" Dad decided to call the police. They arrived, examined it, decided since one of them used to be in the army that it could be dangerous, so calls were made to the bomb squad. The bomb squad said it sounded potentially hazardous, so came for a visit :-) The neighbours were obviously quite interested when we had 2, then 3 police cars out the front of the house and finally the bomb squad van and army folk. Finally, several hours after the 1st phone call the object was declared safe and that it had not ever have been a threat, but was shaped very similarly to some known ordinance, hence the concern. Right, back to work and life. David Technorati Tags: Personal , Bomb Disposal
  • How to start a VPN automatically on boot with Windows

    My dad was asking me about a branch office solution where clients connected to the AD controller, but needed to VPN to get to the AD. My preferred option is to either have a VPN on the router or a DC in the branch office, but failing both of those, perhaps this is the answer? Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP I recently needed to figure out how to make a Windows XP machine connect to a particular VPN automatically on reboot, before anyone logged into the machine. I eventually managed to assemble bits and pieces of information floating around the net into a working solution to the problem, but it wasn’t completely addressed in any single location, so I thought I’d stick the details in my blog for other people to Google and use (if you found this blog entry useful, please add a comment and let me know!). The first thing I tried was to look for a property I could set on the VPN network connection to tell Windows that I wanted this connection to start automatically when the machine boots. I couldn’t find one; I doubt there is one. <the details on how to fix this are in the blog at Something better to do » Blog Archive » Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP > ttfn David Technorati Tags: Branch Office , VPN , Windows
  • Do you need a Windows server solution for people with 50-250 users? Have you heard of "Centro"? Well, Windows Server Centro is now the Windows Essential Business Server and you can now participate in the beta!

    From the http://blogs.technet.com/kevin_beares/archive/2007/11/07/windows-server-centro-is-officially-unveiled-and-has-a-new-name.aspx a small amount about Centro and the tech beta. This is produced by the same team who build SBS 2003 R2 and SBS Cougar. More on those next year. Windows® Essential Business Server is the new Microsoft server solution for small to medium businesses, with 50 to 250 client computers in their organizations. Windows®Essential Business Server offers a standardized server configuration that is designed to meet the needs of most midsize businesses. The configuration is optimized to meet the currently recommended practices for networking, security, collaboration, and remote access. The tightly integrated Windows Essential Business Server simplifies setup, migration, and licensing for Microsoft infrastructure server products that a midsize business uses most frequently. Most network services and resources are managed through a single Windows®Essential Business Server Administration Console, which is accessible from anywhere on the network or remotely over a virtual private network. Windows®Essential Business Server is installed on three physical servers. These are referred to by their primary roles in the network: Windows®Essential Business Server Management Server – Centralizes management of your Windows Server "Centro" network. Enables and manages worker collaboration and network services. Windows®Essential Business Server Security Server – Manages security, Internet access, and remote-worker connectivity. Windows®Essential Business Server Messaging Server – Provides messaging capabilities and manages network services. If you are interested in joining the Windows®Essential Business Server upcoming Beta 2 effort; Please go to http://connect.microsoft.com , Click on Invitations and sign in with your Windows Live ID (Passport ID). Enter the following invite ID: EBSE-VKDP-276Y . You will be asked to take a short survey. Once you complete the survey we will evaluate your application for...
  • Microsoft's Small Business Blog : Fancy winning £5,000?

    I saw this at Microsoft's Small Business Blog : Fancy winning £5,000? and thought I would pass it on. Fancy winning £5,000? We’ve just launched the Microsoft Office Live £5,000 prize draw and you’re amongst the first to hear about it. You have the chance to win £5,000 or one of several £100 Amazon gift cards. Just click the link and enter the prize draw at https://microsoft.eprize.net/officeliveuk . If you haven't explored Office Live yet it really is worth spending some time looking at what it could do for your business. Microsoft Office Live is a set of Internet-based tools aimed at helping small businesses to quickly and easily create a professional web presence. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Small Business , Office Live
  • New reliability, compatibility, USB and MCE Updates to Windows Vista available via Windows Update now. The USB update fixes 1-2% of all Vista crashes!!

    I saw this on the blog and thought I would tell you all about it. I'm testing SP1, so I did not see it on my updates, but SP1 has this in it, so I think it is worth getting!! New Updates to Windows Vista available via Windows Update this week As you probably know and as we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we use Windows Update to periodically deliver updates for Windows Vista. We do this so that customers need not wait for a service pack or another or larger release to benefit from the ongoing improvements we make to Windows. With Windows Update, we can regularly service Windows as quickly, effectively and unobtrusively as possible, so that keeping your Windows OS up-to-date is easier and more convenient for you. All you have to do is make sure you are signed up to have updates installed automatically, and you’re good to go. Continuous improvement is the name of this game. The non-security updates planned for release through Windows Update this week include: An update on system compatibility, reliability and stability : extends the battery life for mobile devices, improves stability of wireless network services, and shortens recovery time after Windows Vista experiences a period of inactivity, among other fixes. An update to USB core components : mainly affects systems returning from sleep or hibernation, fixing problems causing 1-2% of all crashes reported. An update to Windows Media Center : among other things, affects interaction issues occurring between Media Center PC and Microsoft Xbox 360 when Xbox 360 is used as a Media Center Extender. The links in the above list will lead you to the KB article related to each update in case you want more information on them. And, when they’re made available via Windows Update (expected to occur Tuesday 13th), you can also right-click each entry in Windows Update to get its 400-word summary description. These and similar updates will be wrapped into SP1 for those of you considering installing them in one fell swoop. We’ll let you know here on the blog when we have more...
  • Office Accounting Professional 2008 ships in the UK ... download the free Express version, buy or try the Professional version for extra features (Multi user, SQL support, sales order, purchase order etc) and also sign up for online services (Paypal, BACS

    Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 It is finally here!! There are 2 major versions - the free version and the paid for version, plus a number of add-on services you might want to buy too. You can get lots of information at http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk/default.aspx and if you are an accountant then the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network is for you ( http://accounting.microsoft.com/mpanuk.aspx ). You can download the Express Version here: You can Download Free Trial here It says about itself: Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional is an easy to use, comprehensive accounting package that works with other Office applications you already know. Easy to learn and use Works just like Word, Excel and Outlook Get started in minutes with wizards that import your data Save time managing everyday tasks Share and reuse data across Word, Excel and Outlook Manage customers, suppliers, employees and stock Pay bills, track expenses, send invoices and bank online Get a complete view of your business Run customisable reports so you always know how you’re doing See all your important data in one glance with the Digital Dashboard Get reminders of important deadlines, pending bills and overdue invoices Product Overview information is available here: Product Overview Product Overview Below are the product features and the comparison between the 2 versions Top Features Click for details Get up and running in minutes Import data from Sage © or Excel * Choose from dozens of business templates to set up your company Work in the familiar Microsoft Office interface Visit the Resource Centre to get help with common questions Save time on everyday tasks Track your income and expenses Manage customers, suppliers and employees Print cheques, create quotes and invoices Bank online and download transactions Get paid faster with PayPal invoices Get reminders for recurring documents and activities Save time with Office integration Track billable time, create quotes and send invoices in Outlook Export reports to Excel with one...
  • Ricardo (you know, the engine / power train experts) now offer their solutions on Windows Server 20003 Compute Cluster Edition. Cool. Windows HPC is moving along nicely. Oh, Corporate Modelling is not doing badly either!

    I've been very lucky this year to get some great accounts. I have two in the HPC world, neither sit in my traditional small business space, but their solutions are still amazing to understand. Corporate Modelling who offer a great new concept in business process management, modelling and business solution creation, using the latest techniques in business service modelling, process modelling, business solution and application generation techniques. This is a great platform for requirements such as new insurance products and six-sigma to mention a few. I hope to have more to say about this soon. Anyway, Ricardo . They have just had their European User Conference which I have to admit more than stretched me in trying to understand some of the details of what goes on inside an engine, but one thing I did get loud and clear was that to "simulate" that information with a high degree of accuracy takes a LOT of computing power A single run could take days on a powerful workstation, thus tying up the workstation, so Ricardo have been offering HPC solutions that chop the problem up and significantly reduce the run time. Until now this offering did not include Windows as a HPC platform, but that has now all changed. Windows based HPC is now offered by Ricardo and they think it will clear up some problems their customers have with drivers and management of the clusters. Microsoft offers a special version of Windows Server specifically designed and priced for the compute intensive area of HPC. When talking to people able the HPC offering from Ricardo people sighted three reasons they wanted clusters: Reduce the time taken for a run Increase the accuracy of a simulation Run a spread of options in one go, but not increase the time to get results In terms of why people would or should look at a Windows HPC solution, Ricardo gave me the following advice: People who run Windows desktops need the extra compute power, but were not prepared to go for a non-Microsoft solutions now have a solution For some, setting up, running...
  • Whitepaper on Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware

    It is funny how things happen. I was debating with my dad which was better - building a new server and re-joining the clients, migrating via AD in a VPC to give the server the same name or adding the server and dealing with the fact that the "server" has a name change. I then told my dad that I had blogged about this and he should have read the document, only to discover that I had not. I've seen it covered in a few places. I'm always open to feedback on this sort of information. I am pro-VM based migrations but people seem to think they are too hard, so more on that would be really good. The Official SBS Blog : Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 ... Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware - E-Bitz ... Whitepaper - Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware Microsoft has released a new whitepaper and set of worksheets entitled: ” Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware “ Sections include: Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware Worksheet 1 Source and Destination Computer Information Worksheet 2 SMTP Connector Settings Worksheet 3 Exchange Server 2003 Global Settings Worksheet 4 Location of Data for Line-of-Business Applications and Location of General User Data Worksheet 5 Windows Small Business Server 2003 Settings Worksheet 6 Shared Folder Information The whitepaper outlines the following steps for migrating from an existing computer running Windows SBS 2003 to new hardware: Evaluate the current status of the source server. continued at Whitepaper - Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware | NoGeekLeftBehind.com ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , Migration , Tips
  • Do you know who should be the British Small Business Champion 2008? If so, you might want to read this press release as it also carries a £10,000 prize

    My good friend Peter Scargill is the IT Chair at the FSB ( http://www.fsb.org.uk ) who have spent a good deal of time adopting Microsoft Technology. While looking at their recent press releases I noticed that they have the Small Business Champion 2008 competition running. FSB launches British Small Business Champions 2008 Date: Monday, November 12, 2007 Ref: PR 2007 83 FSB News Release PR/2007/83 Issue date: Monday 12 November 2007 FSB launches British Small Business Champions 2008 The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today launches British Small Business Champions 2008 (BSBC) to coincide with the start of Enterprise Week. BSBC is the only national awards scheme solely for small businesses. Entries are invited from thriving businesses that are well run and highly regarded by staff and customers. Businesses have to have been trading for at least five years at the time of entering and employ no more than fifty staff. Across the UK, six Area Champions will be chosen and these six businesses will go forward to the national final. One business will be chosen as the National Champion and scoop the top prize of £10,000. For BSBC 2008 there are two additional categories: Young Entrepreneur and Most Promising New Business, both sponsored by AIMS Accountants. These have been chosen as a way for the FSB to show support for the new generation of up-and-coming businesses. Entries in both will go straight to national judging. BSBC was launched by the Federation of Small Businesses in 2002. It is now firmly established as the most prestigious and highly valued of business awards for the small business sector. What former winners say about BSBC: “Entering BSBC is a good exercise for you and your business. It makes you focus on what is good about your business…and helps you identify any weaknesses. I hate forms. Running a small business we have so many. The BSBC one was pretty straightforward.” Graham Barnard, The Happy Hutch Company, BSBC National Champion and Northern Area Champion 2007. continued at FSB Press Releases Got to...
  • Want Office 2007 with a 50% discount? You have until Christmas to upgrade and get a 50% discount with Open Value Subscription

    Again, browsing the small business blog and I thought this was very interesting: Why wait? Upgrade now to 2007 Office and save 50% Until 31 December 2007 you can get a 50% discount off the 2007 Microsoft Office system when you upgrade through the Microsoft Open Value subscription programme. Why do it this way? Because you get a huge discount, you can manage your payments over three years to help your cash flow, you’ll receive a single agreement for all your software licences, and get the benefit of Microsoft Software Assurance, which offers version upgrades and training and partner services. Learn more about the benefits of upgrading here . Microsoft's Small Business Blog : Why wait? Upgrade now to 2007 Office and save 50% ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 2007 , UK , Discounts
  • Windows Vista UK Web Special Offers (I saw 18% off at one site and yes, it is legit)!!

    I just saw this at Windows Vista: Special Offers retailers are offering 15%+ off of Vista. You need to look at the sites yourself to determine which one has the best price for your needs, but still - nice amount to have removed in the UK!!. Shop By Retailer Shop By Brand Shop By System Builder ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , Discounts , UK
  • UK SMB Girl » DemoShowcase goes SBSC

    This is old news, but in-case you have not seen it, here we go. The Demo Showcase is an extremely valuable sales and learning tool, but it is also a benefit of the being a Certified Partner. Most SBSC partners are not Certified partners though, so this is a great win. DemoShowcase goes SBSC October 25th, 2007 Great news! Microsoft Corp. have finally allowed one of the greatest tools that bridges the gap between the techies and the sales teams. Vijay announced it on his blog after the much anticipated Worldwide SBSC PALs meeting. Thank you to Nigel Postings and Chris Parkes for taking the feedback the Community has been generating over the last few months regarding this and helping to make a difference with the big guns. Keep an eye out for it in your Action Packs (I assume?) UK SMB Girl » DemoShowcase goes SBSC ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , Demo Showcase
  • Fixing the last 2 problems with my Search Server Express - DCOM error 10016 (application settings do not grant Activation Permission form COM) and Gather warning 2436 for Search Services on my home server

    Obviously when I wrote the last blog entry on installing search server , not quite everything was working, although I did not realise it until a few errors appeared in the event log. The errors appear below - one is a DCOM permissions error and the other is a Gather error. The DCOM error Event Type: Error Event Source: DCOM Event Category: None Event ID: 10016 Date: 09/11/2007 Time: 06:35:26 User: NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE Computer: HOMESERVER Description: The application-specific permission settings do not grant Local Activation permission for the COM Server application with CLSID {61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1} to the user NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE SID (S-1-5-20). This security permission can be modified using the Component Services administrative tool. For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp. Fixing the DCOM error is all about setting permissions in the DCOM system. The magical application was IIS WAMREG admin Service. I worked this out by following the instructions in the KB article at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/920783 . The Gatherer error Event Type: Warning Event Source: Windows SharePoint Services 3 Search Event Category: Gatherer Event ID: 2436 Date: 09/11/2007 Time: 06:50:19 User: N/A Computer: HOMESERVER Description: The start address <sts3://homeserver/contentdbid={d067c159-4b98-4bb4-85d9-0d440121788b}> cannot be crawled. Context: Application 'Search index file on the search server', Catalog 'Search' Details: The object was not found. (0x80041201) For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp. This error relates to the fact that we have removed the search from http://<servername> and added a different virtual server name. If you look at http://www.kevincornwell.com/blog/index.php/windows-sharepoint-services-wss-30-search-setup-notes/ then you will see that you need to also change the Alternate Access Mappings. Do this and your event viewer errors will go!...
  • How to install Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express - including how to install on Windows Home Server

    I wrote about the search products the other day, but I then decided to take it for a spin. The easiest server for me to install on was a Windows Home Server, so here is the process. Download the software and run the setup program and run the preparation tool: Now run the installation tool. For me, I don't want much installed on the C drive, but I do have some drives known as E and F. Once this is done, now go via the web to configure it. I asked for it to crawl my file shares, web sites and more I then did a test search and it all worked :-) Now, when I went back to the WHS sites, things were not so good. I discovered that the new site that Search Express clashed. There was 2 things I needed to do. One was to change the host header for the search site so that it did not clash with the default site. This is done in IIS admin and if you need instructions on how to do this, just drop a comment for me to know. Anyway, do this, but that was not enough. It enabled the default web site to start, but now search was broken. To fix that I had to set up SharePoint so that it knew about the new name for the site. The place that documents this is http://store.bamboosolutions.com/kb/article.aspx?id=10460 . Use the information to create a new site for "SharePoint - 80". Use the new host header you put in for the site and don't forget to add an entry to the DNS if needed! That was it, Search installed and WHS back to normal. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Home Server , Search Express Edition 2008
  • Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express is available as a release candidate and will be free when it releases. This is all the power of SharePoint search engine integrated into 1 web page

    I have only just been able to start playing with this, but it is looking good. I'm told that it does NOT YET load on SBS, but that the issue is being looked at (the auto config tools that make it so easy clash with the pre-defined IIS settings for SBS) and the plan is to support SBS too. I will look at how to hack it on SBS yet :-) More info can be found at Enterprise Search from Microsoft . So what is it? (basically, web, share and application search capability with lots of abilities, but some important ones picked out below). Familiar Search Experience Empower your users to quickly find the information they need through a familiar Search Center interface Pinpoint the most relevant information you need with recommended best bets , authoritative sources , term definitions , hit highlighting , and query correction . Retrieve concise and clear search results with duplicate collapsing , allowing you to quickly review a wide variety of relevant information. Stay on top of new information relevant to your work by subscribing to update notifications of your search results using e-mail and RSS alerts . Build upon a familiar user interface and application platform that lets you customize your search experience and the actions you can take on your search results. Search Center. Empower your people to quickly find the information they need through a familiar, web-style search interface and easy-to-use query syntax. Re-configure the layout of Search Center elements without writing any code. Content Summaries. Quickly browse textual summaries of content that appears in the context of your search terms. Hit Highlighting. Quickly spot where your search terms appear in search results and content summaries. Best Bets and Definitions. Highlights editorialized sites or definitions for common search terms likely to have a single authoritative answer. Query Correction. Receive helpful "Did you mean?" suggestions for misspelled queries. Duplicate Collapsing. Find the content you're looking for faster using more concise...
  • Windows Home Server - Do I need a static IP address to use the "access my photos / music from anywhere on the internet" functionality and how do I set it up anyway?

    I saw this question recently and thought I would publish the answer: "NO, nothing special is needed, although your ISP must allow web port access" Windows Home Server uses a dynamic DNS service to enable access to http://<servername>.homeserver.com , can configure your router to open the appropriate ports (80, 443, and those needed for remote access) and if you share a guest password to your friend/relatives, they will be able to browse your pictures. More information on the domain can be found at http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/archive/2007/08/08/homeserver-com.aspx To do it, open the Home Server Console Open the settings page Go to the remote access page Select the change or configure option to get to the main wizard Type in your Windows Live ID details (only 1 domain per ID / server) Choose the domain name you want Confirm the domain is available and press go that is it. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Home Server , Tips , homeserver.com
  • Windows Live Writer 2008 - including Vista x64 support, more languages, better compatibility with more blogging services

    I use Windows Live writer for blogging - it does everything I need, well, except write my blogs for me, The latest version has finally released and not as a beta. For a UK version, go to http://g.live.com/1rewlive/en/WLInstaller.exe or follow the link below for all other versions. Finally Final! Published November 6th, 2007 Atom , Windows Live Writer We’re thrilled to bring you the final version of Windows Live Writer 2008 –our first non-beta release! We haven’t added many major new features since Beta 3. We’ve been focused on polishing off our more egregious remaining bugs, while trying hard not to introduce any regressions . Highlights Vista x64 support is back. And not a moment too soon. Generic AtomPub support. Server implementers should see this post and the links therein for excruciating detail. Support for more spell checking languages. Still not nearly as many as we would like, but it’s a start. We also made English spell checking available in all builds. Localized versions for lots of new languages/markets. Dozens of languages supported now–hard to believe Beta 1 was hard coded for English! Simpler Windows Live Spaces configuration. We were running into a lot of problems with the new "cid"-based Space names. This has been fixed. Support for higher-resolution images on Spaces. No more automatic resizing down to 600×600. Blogger image uploading fixed for externally hosted blogs. Due to a… quirk… in Picasaweb, images would appear broken in Blogger blogs that weren’t on blogspot.com. This has been fixed, although I still recommend using FTP-based image hosting if you can. <pre> handling in XHTML mode is fixed. Beta 3 would collapse whitespace in all tags, including <pre>, in XHTML mode. It took some ugly hacks, but it should work correctly now. Lowlights No support for XP x64 or Windows Server 2003. However, the hacks that worked for Beta 3 will probably continue to work for Final. Thanks to all of you out there that use Windows Live Writer and have given us so much valuable feedback over...
  • New Windows Live Messenger V8.5 - its all about the look and quality, oh and the web messengering and the buttons ...

    I just saw this (as I have just updated my live suite). Anyway, if you look at the recommended " Nicole’s post " then you quickly discover that for Messenger it is all about the look, experience and quality. However, while this is true, we then have some amazingly cool new features that sit around it, such as Web based IM for people to contact you via a site and adding a "IM me" button to your site. Below are 3 blog entries that tell the whole story. Announcing Windows Live Messenger 8.5! After months of work, and two beta releases the Windows Live Messenger team is proud to release Windows Live Messenger 8.5! We’ve listened to the feedback from our beta users and made this one of the best versions of Messenger ever! If you were a beta user not much has changed for you. We worked hard to improve the overall quality of Messenger though, and we owe a big ‘Thanks!!’ to all of the beta testers that sent us feedback. If you haven’t been a beta tester you can read Nicole’s post about the new features in 8.5. Windows Live Messenger isn’t the only program getting released today. In fact a lot of Windows Live products are celebrating a new launch today. Be sure and check out the blogs of Mail , Photo Gallery , and Writer for all of the new features, then go Get Windows Live ! Let your friends IM you from anywhere!! I am very excited! Now you can create your OWN IM button to put on your blog or in your email signature. Just go to www.messengerbuttons.com and create your own button, it has a lot of cool ways to personalize your button. This makes it even easier for your friends to find you on IM. Once you have created your button, it is also easy to add it to your Windows Live Space, Outlook, Hotmail or Windows Live Mail! Here is a button I created. Who wants IMs from the web? I do! I do! <snipped> The Windows Live™ Messenger IM Control lets people on the Web reach you in Messenger by showing your Messenger status on your web site, blog, or social networking profile. The Windows Live™ Messenger IM Control...
  • Linked Live IDs - how to join multiple Hotmail / MSN / Live accounts and change between them

    I have lots of e-mail accounts I use - @msn.com, @hotmail.co.uk, and @live.co.uk and Windows Live Mail enables me to read them all, however now when I am in e-mail I can access my linked e-mail accounts. I simply go to https://account.live.com/ and then add accounts to my linked accounts and then I can change accounts by a simple drop down in the windows live mail site ( http://mail.live.com ). More information can be found at Link Your Live IDs Together! or at http://www.liveside.net/blogs/main/archive/2007/10/18/update-to-windows-live-account-enables-linked-ids.aspx Ok, linking is done - but what would you link the IDs for? When you have linked IDs together you will only need to sign in to Windows Live once and can then switch easily between the accounts. If you are on Windows Live Hotmail for example you can check your email on one account and then simply click the dropdown arrow next to your login in the upper right corner and choose one of your linked IDs that are listed their. Without the need to enter a password again you will get to access that accounts emails. Pretty convenient. Unfortunately this only works on the new Wave 2 products, so you are out of luck on WL Favorites, Gallery or the personalized homepage for now - we guess that at least some these properties will be updated to Wave 2 soon though. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Live IDs , Linked Live IDs , Software plus Service
  • Steve Clayton: Geek In Disguise - his new gig - no longer being my boss and now a servant!!

    Steve describes himself as my loyal blogging servant... how the tides have changed from when he was my boss. Ahhh!! Not my servant, but yours... post blogging edits are a wonderful thing. Well Steve was my boss, not bad really :-) Anyway, he is now a good part of the Software+Services drive in Microsoft and that is a warning bell for anyone ignoring Microsoft in this sector - Steve normally drives success!. My new gig 05 November 2007, 19:11:43 | stevecla01 "This transformation from software to software-plus-services is a very, very big deal for our company," - Ray Ozzie Today I started a new gig at Microsoft that has a lot to do with the image above. Hugh kindly drew this a few months back and I was quick to snag it as I knew it would become my new card. Basically I'm working in a part of the organisation known as Microsoft International and helping to shape how we talk about Software + Services internally and externally. It's a big new adventure and I'm really looking forward to it. It means I'm no longer managing the PTS team which I'll miss as they're just a great bunch of guys doing outstanding work, but the opportunity to be involved this deeply with S+S was something I couldn't pass up. I'll have involvement in a few other projects I can't talk about but S+S will be my main schtick. Steve Clayton: Geek In Disguise ttfn David Technorati Tags: Software plus Service , Steve Clayton , Microsoft
  • Windows Home Server - 120 evaluation CDs, Why get it and what is it about

    I am sure you have seen me blog about home server before ( Windows Home Server is coming ... What can it do- , Microsoft announces Home Server - ever want something like SBS, but targeted at home users with ) and others: ActiveWin - http://www.activewin.com/awin/comments.asp?HeadlineIndex=41455 Firing Squad - http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=18172 Gizmodo - http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/windows-home-server/the-windows-home-server-nitty-gritty-319130.php Sean Alexander - http://blog.seanalexander.com/2007/11/05/HPMediaSmartServerAvailableForPreorderShippingWin30Days.aspx PC Retail - http://www.pcretailmag.com/news/28935/Windows-Home-Server-to-launch-today Well, you can now obtain a 120 day eval if you want to see what it is all about without spending huge amounts of money (approx £5 for shipping in the UK): Why wait? Order the Windows Home Server 120-Day Evaluation Kit now to protect, connect, and organize your photos, videos, music and more. For those who want to know more, there is the Home Server website ( Windows Home Server ) which states the following: Your Family. Your Stuff. Together. For Home Users It's time to brush the digital dust off your captured moments and media—for good. Introducing a simpler, smarter way for families to organize, share and protect photos, videos, music and much more. Windows Home Server brings it all together in a central hub, connecting your home PCs and making it easy to keep and enjoy your family's most important memories. Grandma will love it too. Windows Home Server Now Available - Microsoft announces HP MediaSmart Server, powered by Windows Home Server software, is now on sale on leading retailer web sites. Order yours today! See what the excitement is about - Get a snapshot of how Windows Home Server makes digital life easier for your family. The rave reviews are in - See what people are saying about Windows Home Server. (Hint: It's good news for families.) Any questions? - The answers are a click away. Check out our handy FAQs. For Enthusiasts...
  • Exchange and Unified communication - Blogs and News

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too Unified Communications Partners Rally Around Microsoft Unified Communications Software Q&A: Microsoft partners discuss how and why they are taking advantage of the company’s unified communications platform to meet the needs of customers and tap into a US$45 billion market opportunity. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/oct07/10-16uclaunch.mspx Exchange Team Blog http://msexchangeteam.com/default.aspx Outlook Team Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/outlook/default.aspx Unified Communications Team Blog http://blogs.technet.com/uc/default.aspx This content is for informational purposes only. Microsoft makes no warranties express or implied, as to the information in this document. If you are a customer of Microsoft, please refer to the terms and conditions which cover the provision of support and consulting services to you/your organization. If you are not corresponding in the course of, or in connection with a Microsoft contract or program with its own terms and conditions, please note that no liability is accepted by Microsoft for the contents of this document. TRM contributors this month were Mark Hawkins, Justin Zarb ttfn David Technorati Tags: Exchange 2007 , Unified Communications
  • Microsoft lands itself as India's best company to work for!!

    I'm against anyone who gets too xenophobic or protective of "jobs in my country". Jobs should be filled according to the needs of a company and all aspects that lead to the definition of "needs" should be taken into account. While I am staunchly loyal to the UK, if a job is better filled outside of it then I see that as a problem with the UK if it can not justify that job being offered here rather than any other country. if another country can offer a company a better package, then that is good for that country. It could be Wales, Ireland, France, India, USA or Australia (surely that is why Robbie has gone back home). This means, in my opinion, those who work outside these shores and deliver some service back to the UK were picked because they are the person for the job, especially when they have to deliver to multiple countries!! Working for Microsoft has made me realise just how multi-cultural the world is and how diverse the talent pool can be. In my job I have worked with people from all continents (except the very cold icy one) and I have been greatly impressed with their ability to work across boundaries. I've received plenty of complements for these people and a few thanking me for the "local" person who turned out to be in another country after all. Providing quality is good, I think the "needs" bit has been answered. Now, not every job outside the UK or the US is "taken" from those countries, although I hear plenty of flack about it in the two countries. So, how nice was it to see this headline "The best companies to work for in India - #1 - Microsoft" at Business Today - Beta - India's leading business magazine . The best companies to work for in India Microsoft India - A vista unlike any other The software giant from Redmond makes a stunning entry into BT’s Best Companies to Work for in India list at #1. Quite a feat for a corporation that runs six different units in India. Microsoft’s secret sauce Leadership development : The company...
  • There I was talking about Office Business Applications (OBA) and there is training around the UK available

    From the Empower Blog I saw: Office Business Applications (OBA) Technical Briefing This two day technical briefing explores an emerging category of applications, known as Office Business Applications (OBA). It explores the technologies that underpin them, in particular Microsoft Office 2007, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft Office SharePoint Services and Open XML. This two-day course is run as a seminar and the labs are provided as a take-away for attendees to go through in their own time. For more information and to enrol, follow the link to the Partner Learning Centre and sign in using your Partner Program login and password. OBA Briefing ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office Business Applications , OBA , Training
  • How amazing in Windows Home Server? We Got Served blog shows that Paul Thurrott thinks it is amazing and a sign that innovation is alive and kicking at Microsoft. And no, small businesses should still go for SBS

    I just love the extract that Terry has pulled out at Paul Thurrott Reviews Windows Home Server | We Got Served . It shows that the SBS team who produced Windows Home Server (WHS) are a very good bunch at delivering solution oriented servers. Paul Thurrott Reviews Windows Home Server Posted by: Terry Walsh If you remain to be convinced by Windows Home Server, Paul Thurrott’s review offers an enthusiastic, yet balanced view of its strengths and weaknesses… thanks for the shout-out, Paul. Overall, WHS is a wonderful solution for problems you never knew you had. But make no mistake, these are very real problems that need to be addressed, and WHS does so in spectacular fashion. I’m looking forward to what the Home Server team does next, but even now in this initial release, they’ve spun some magic. Anyone who doubts whether innovation is alive and well at Microsoft simply needs to take a look at this product. Highly recommended Some people have asked me if WHS should go into small businesses and most of the time the answer should be no. If they honestly don't need the e-mail, firewall, domain, server backup, WSS, WSUS etc features of SBS and are less than 10 people then there is a sliver that WHS is right for them, however to be safe for the future, I would go SBS for now. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Home Server
  • SQL Server 2008 info (Data Warehousing, magic quadrant positioning and SQL 2005 benchmarks)

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too News SQL Server 2008 Solutions – Your Data, Any Place, Any Time Microsoft SQL Server 2008 provides a trusted, productive, and intelligent data platform that enables you to run your most demanding mission critical applications, reduce time and cost of development and management of applications, and deliver actionable insight to your entire organization. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/2008/default.mspx http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/F/2/BF24C54E-5635-4C79-AFB4-0C3F840E79F4/SQLServer2008_Datasheet_Final.pdf SQL Server 2008 Solutions – Redefining Pervasive Insight SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence platform provides a scalable BI platform optimized for data integration, reporting, and analysis enabling organizations to deliver intelligence where users want it. Delivering on the data platform vision, Microsoft continues to invest in and evolve pervasive insight which allows customers to deliver real-time insight broadly and deeply within their organizations, with rich and personalized data experiences. Spend 10 minutes with Tom Casey, General Manager, Microsoft SQL Server to learn about how SQL Server 2008 delivers pervasive insight across the organization. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/2008/solutions/bi.mspx http://www.microsoft.com/sql/2008/bi/index.html SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services – Delivering Relevant Information across the Enterprise Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Reporting Services provides a complete server-based platform designed to support and the entire enterprise reporting lifecycle enabling organizations to deliver relevant information where needed across the entire enterprise. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/2008/technologies/reporting.mspx Microsoft Is Positioned in Leaders Quadrant of Latest Magic Quadrant for Data Warehousing ...
  • Vista sales are more than off and why Apple always smells of roses, even when it has BSOD problems of its own while Microsoft is so heavily criticised

    As many people know, I love Windows Vista. I think it is often sold short and people look at other OSs with rose tinted glasses. Part of this is due to past faults of Microsoft who once upon a time did have too many BSODs and where security was not taken seriously, but now days security is often placed above usability (although there is very careful attention to both) and BSODs are now more likely to be caused by dodgy unsigned drivers rather than MS code or some rogue application. Even these occurrences seems to be few and very far between. I believe that while many people criticise Vista, this is often a sheep like repetition rather than 1st hand experience. Susan has a little post comparing when people say "Vista Sucks", but when pressed with "Have you tried it?" retort with "I've heard" ( http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/09/19/quot-i-ve-heard-quot.aspx ). I still feel that much of Vistas bad press comes from the "I've heard" camp. Just to stress this further Microsoft Watch commented on the double standards of operating systems at the moment and I felt a very strong kinship with the comments raised in the article, of which I have a snippet below. It is also interesting to see that while Microsoft has to deal with a gazillion different hardware and software combinations that Apple have managed to blue screen their new OS which has a much smaller base of hardware and software ( Leopard install issues ). It really upset an "Apple fanboy" who was shoving his Leopard disk in my face to discover the blue screen issue!! This week, a number of tech journalists gave glowing reviews of Leopard. They received the software on Mac Book Pro laptops provided by Apple. Nowhere have I seen anyone gripe about conflicts of interest. But when Microsoft's PR agency sent bloggers preloaded Vista notebooks ahead of the operating system's launch, there were ridiculous accusations of attempted bribery . The accusations made it difficult for those receiving the...
  • SQL Server November Events and Webcasts (Data mining, spatial applications, performance tuning, reporting, overview and troubleshooting)

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too Events / WebCasts SQL 2005 Webcasts and Virtual Labs SQL Server 2005 is data management and analysis software that delivers enhanced security, availability, and scalability to mission-critical data applications—while making them easier to develop, deploy, and manage. Choose from a wide range of live and on-demand webcasts. Or take part in a virtual lab, which allows you to cut your teeth on the new platform by experimenting with its different capabilities. SQL Server 2005 Webcasts TechNet Webcast: Deliver Actionable Insight Throughout Your Organization with Data Mining (Part 1 of 3): Your First Project with SQL Server Data Mining (Level 200) – Thursday, November 01, 2007 8:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Many users are intrigued and excited to see data mining available in the Microsoft SQL Server product, but many don't know how to start using these features. In this webcast, we lead you through the first steps to success for your data mining projects. We look at the overall architecture of data mining and the kinds of problems that can be solved. We also look at important points for your first project, such as choosing the right algorithms and testing your mining models. TechNet Webcast: Deliver Actionable Insight Throughout Your Organization with Data Mining (Part 1 of 3): Your First Project with SQL Server Data Mining (Level 200) MSDN Webcast: Building Spatial Applications with SQL Server 2008 (Level 300) – Thursday, November 01, 2007 9:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Microsoft SQL Server 2008 delivers new spatial data types that enable you to consume, use, and extend location-based data through spatial-enabled applications. Attend this webcast to learn how to use spatial functionality in next version of SQL Server to build and optimize...
  • SQL Server 2008 new documentation (Overviews, development, OLTP, tuning for 2000/2005, SOA, Oracle and Sybase migration) and downloads (JDBC, PHP)

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too Documents SQL Server 2008 Product Overview For organizations to be successful and thrive in today’s world of data, they need a vision that addresses key data trends. The data platform vision of Microsoft helps organizations meet these data explosion needs and the next generation of data-driven applications. Microsoft will continue to invest in and evolve the following key areas to support their data platform vision: mission-critical enterprise data platform, dynamic development, relational data, and business intelligence. Read this paper to learn about the Microsoft Data Platform Vision and how SQL Server 2008 meets the needs of the next generation of data-driven applications. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/techinfo/whitepapers/sql2008Overview.mspx Business Intelligence in SQL Server 2008 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 makes business intelligence (BI) available to everyone through deep integration with Microsoft Office, providing the right tool, to the right user, at the right price. The result is that employees at all levels of an organization can see and help to influence the performance of the business by working with tools that are both easy to use and powerful. Integration with the 2007 Microsoft Office System enables users to view business performance in a way that they understand and which feels comfortable; and the introduction of PerformancePoint Server 2007, helps customers to gain actionable insight into the entire organization so they can monitor, analyze, and plan their businesses, as well as drive alignment, accountability, and actionable insight across the entire organization. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/techinfo/whitepapers/sql_2008_bi.mspx Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Data Platform Development Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and the...
  • Microsoft Management software (System Center) - product information updates, trial software, web casts

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too News System Center Operations Manager – Microsoft/Gartner Video Watch this presentation describing some of the benefits of Operations Manager to help IT deliver to your business. Features, David Williams (Research VP, Gartner) & Eric Berg (Director, Systems Centre Product Management – Microsoft) http://www.accelacast.com/programs/gartner_microsoft_411/ Downloads System Center Trial Software With the new release of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 adding to the System Center family, why not evaluate the capabilities of some of the other Microsoft System Center family of products with these downloadable trial and Beta software versions. http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/evaluation/trial/default.mspx Events/WebCasts TechNet Webcast: System Center Operations Manager 2007 Installation and Management Pack Migration (Level 200) Friday, November 02, 2007 - 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Pacific Time Blain Barton, IT Pro Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032352708&Culture=en-US TechNet Webcast: Microsoft Deploys System Center Data Protection Manager 2.0 (Level 300) Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Pacific Time Ajay Malhotra, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032355960&Culture=en-US TechNet Webcast: System Center Configuration Manager: The Datacenter (Level 300) Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Pacific Time Jeff Wettlaufer, Senior Technical Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032356603&Culture=en-US TechNet Webcast: Introducing SoftGrid to the World (Level 200) Wednesday, November 07, 2007 - 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM Pacific Time Kevin...
  • An update from Vijay on the SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call and further evidence that Microsoft might sometimes be slow to react to feedback, but it does react and the results are often good

    I saw this post of Vijays ( » SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call ) and thought it was worth highlighting some of it: Michael Risse, VP of the Small and Midmarket Business Group has issued an open letter to SBSC Partners about the issues with Solution Finder. Demo Showcase 2007 will be available to all SBSC Partners, shipping this December. I clarified that it will be the Virtual Server Images and not just the canned simulations and Andrea said it will be the full versions. The Managed Newsgroups are now 24 hour in the UK and other selected countries from last week. Special Edition Toolkit will ship in December provided you are a SBSC Partner before 30 November. You will get Vista anytime upgrade to Ultimate from Business, eval of Forefront for Sharepoint/Exchange, Demo Showcase 2007, Brand Tools, Viral Videos, Licensing Guidance, printable Small Business Guide. Customer Campaigns around the following areas (hopefully call to action will be go to a SBSC Partner but depends upon how Microsoft UK implements them) Security and Reliability Business Productivity Customer Acquisition & Retention Business Solutions Also, Microsoft are asking where we would like support from Microsoft to build business in new areas such as CRM, Sharepoint, SCE, Security and/or vertical market segments. For all the requests, Vista Ultimate will be part of the offering to SBSC partners and the special recognition that SBSC partners continues to grow. It is also nice to see that the managed newsgroups are now manned 24hrs, so PLEASE use them to help diagnose problems. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , SBSC PALs , Vista Ultimate , Managed Newsgroups
  • Where to start to build products that integrate with Microsoft Office

    I came across the OBA (Office Business Applications) web site www.OBACentral.com which has lots of information about nearly 200 OBA solutions. While there is a getting started and "on ramp" information on the site, I found the MSDN site ( Office Integration ) which I like almost as much. Given the prevalence of the Office Platform, assuming it is there and building on it can make life much easier!! Office Integration Need to integrate two or more Office products? Need to integrate Office products with other Microsoft products and technologies? Want to learn about designing and building applications using the Microsoft Office System? This section of the portal provides pointers to resources that will help you build real-world business solutions. Office Business Applications The 2007 Microsoft Office system provides a comprehensive set of servers, clients, and tools to make it easier for enterprises, software vendors and developers to build and deploy a new class of business applications called Office Business Applications (OBAs). OBAs connect Line of Business (LOB) systems with the people that use them through the familiar user interface of Microsoft Office. OBAs enable businesses to extend the Microsoft Office clients and servers into business processes running in LOB applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). This enables enterprises to create new value from existing IT investments by combining them in innovative ways. Microsoft Office System for Architects With the 2007 Office System, Microsoft Office has evolved beyond a productivity suite into a unified solutions platform that makes enterprise data and processes more accessible and relevant to users. Composed of clients, servers, services, and tools, it provides a single infrastructure for communication and collaboration, business intelligence, and content management solutions. This MSDN Solution Architecture Center brings together relevant ideas, concepts, and best...
  • Microsoft Windows security tools, Server 2008 readiness, step-by-step guides, virtualisation updates, synctoy beta, VHDs and LOTS on the new Terminal Services

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too. News Microsoft Security Assessment Tool 3.0 The Microsoft Security Assessment Tool (MSAT) is a risk-assessment application designed to provide information and recommendations about best practices for security within an information technology (IT) infrastructure. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623431 Start your Microsoft Windows 2008 Readiness Right Here Focus on readiness for Windows Server 2008 now, and you can be the one who stands out when initiatives happen - and when promotion decisions are made. Let Microsoft Learning resources give you the head start you need to transition your skills and credentials to the latest Windows Server technologies - from free elearning clinics and free ebook downloads. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623432 Get an Extra Shot at Microsoft Certification For a limited time, you can get an extra chance to pass any Microsoft IT Professional, Developer or Microsoft Dynamics Certification exam - free. Register for this offer before your first exam and you'll get two shots at success. Register now! http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623434 The Windows Server 2008 Upgrade Exam Is Coming Update your skills and get ready for the Windows Server 2008 certification exam with special offers on e-learning collections and classroom training. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623435 Documents Windows Server 2008 Technical Overviews These technical overviews provide IT Professionals with information about how a Windows Server 2008 technology works. They may also cover design and planning considerations and basic setup and operating instructions. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=46dc26d6-af47-43f0-b3de-521831fe09d6&DisplayLang=en Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides These step-by-step guides help IT...
  • Get an extra go at a MS exam and free e-learning course for Windows Server 2008 and sample chapters on Exchange 2007

    Get an Extra Shot at Microsoft Certification For a limited time, you can get an extra chance to pass any Microsoft IT Professional, Developer or Microsoft Dynamics Certification exam - free. Register for this offer before your first exam and you'll get two shots at success. Sign up now After you register, you can take advantage of special training and certification deals from Microsoft. Windows Server 2008 Take advantage of free official Microsoft E-Learning courses and a free e-book that will help you develop expertise in this new generation of Windows Server technologies. View this offer and more Exchange Server 2007 Download sample chapters from new Microsoft Press books. Get the information that you need to transition your skills and prepare for the new certifications—from the experts. View this offer and more ttfn David Technorati Tags: MS exam re-take voucher , Windows Server 2008 , Exchange 2007
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(c)David Overton 2006-13