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.  

June 2007 - David Overton's Blog

  • Sometimes I wish my brain was just 10% as capable as this

    I got this mail the other night that directed me to this video - it is of a Savant and the process he goes through to prove that he can "see" pi to 20,000+ decimal places and do amazing number feats (anyone do 37^4 in their head?). He was also able to perform other memory feats by turning what he saw into numbers. Bored, late at night having wound myself up with some programming issues, I decided to go stumbling through the web. The very first site was this Youtube video of a guy with an extra-ordinary brain. I think it’s ½ hour long, might be more – I just watched it from start to finish – but it is REALLY worth watching. Incredible. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4913196365903075662 I don't normally spend more than 5 mins on a site like this, but ended up walking through this video constantly amazed at his skill. Upon further investigation it turns out that this man, Daniel Tammet, has a book and blog site - http://www.optimnem.co.uk/ - possibly worth getting! ttfn David Technorati Tags...
  • Fantastic looking MiniPC's from Engadget - SA800 is stacked and ready to roll

    As is always the case, saw this and thought I would pass it on. Oh modular box of silicon affection, how we love thee. The latest -- the SA800 -- from MiniPC (Japan) is a DIY house of fun packing up to a Core 2 Duo T7600, 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory, 2.5-inch 40GB SATA disk, and an Intel 945GT chipset. Want more disk, no problem, stack a 3.5-incher in an extra slab above. Better video with HDMI-out or optical drives? Yup, they've got a stackable component for that and more. Have it your way starting early July in Japan. MiniPC's SA800 is stacked and ready to roll Posted Jun 29th 2007 8:57AM by Thomas Ricker Filed under: Desktops MiniPC's SA800 is stacked and ready to roll - Engadget ttfn David Technorati Tags: MiniPC , SA800 , Stacked
  • Spreadsheets and documents based on standards - OpenXML and ODF, ODF and Excel or all 3

    I have been using and referencing standards for a long time. They are great. C# is an ECMA standard for example as are parts of .Net which is how project Mono has managed to come great strides in delivering part of the .Net experience on non-Microsoft platforms. Also my 1st job out after University was writing document converters. So there are two things here - one, what is wrong with more than 1 standard - we have several for networks, several for character sets. Often one standard will work where another will not. Nearly always one standard is driven by an interested party. Open Office is very keen to see greater adoption of ODF. Microsoft is very keen to seen greater adoption of OpenXML. OpenXML is already a European standard (ECMA) and one of the nice things about that is the stability you are offered if you are developing against it. There is no requirement to have Office to use this file format. OK, so we could say "lets not use the European standard and create a similar one, but not quite the same"...
  • Site Server host update

    I will be updating the OS that UKSBSGUY.com runs on in the next 24 hours, so expect a couple of hours downtime later. ttfn David
  • Alistair likes Vista and found out that the Dell SATA drivers were making is go slow

    I was browsing the UKSBSG Yahoo Group (a group for UK Small Business Partners) when I noticed Alistair 's post in response to slow Vista systems and I thought I had to share: Hi, Just from experience, I had similar issues on Outlook 2007 and, to a lesser extent, Vista in general - especially on boot, which would take an age. I am using a Dell Dimension 9100, 2GB ram and SATA drives. One would think it would be pretty good, but behaved like a dog. The Microsoft fix made some little difference. What made a huge difference though was updating the SATA drivers on my Dell box. These were not listed under updates and I had to search for them, but it is chalk and cheese now. Persevere, once you have it right it's a dream: I have to say I love Vista, it is stable, runs all our legacy apps, line of business accounting apps, remote jobs and managed to blow away our desktop uptime record - still stable at 60 days uptime. XP struggled at 30. I do strongly suspect that naff drivers are a major factor in the bad press...
  • New CTP of Windows Server 2008 (longhorn) beta - released for Connect, MSDN and TechNet members

    Hello, remember that "longhorny" thing coming later this year? Well it just got another step closer, however the run is that you have to be a TechNet, MSDN or Connect member to get it. Some points to re-iterate - this is the LAST 32-server OS from Microsoft - Windows Server 2008 R2 will be 64-bit (like Cougar) only. You will have to go away and learn about this server to become familiar with Cougar, so at the very least plan to learn it, if not before release, soon after otherwise you will have to learn even more when Cougar releases - and that will be plenty! I picked up this item from Network World that might help a bit. This is the first CTP since Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 was released in April. Microsoft officials say 200,000 copies of Beta 3 have been downloaded . With the new CTP, Internet Information Server (IIS) 7.0 is now an installation option under the Server Core feature of the server. Server Core is made up of the Windows kernel and a set of infrastructure “roles,” which install only the...
  • Can Windows Server 2003 R2 be added to a SBS 2003 SP1 (i.e. non-R2) domain - Yes

    [updated 14:52 27th June 2007] I got this question yesterday and while I will not name names, I felt this should go public. It is from a customer who I believe has been mis-informed by a partner about SBS 2003, SBS 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 R2. Here is the mail I got: To: David Overton I have a question concerning compatibility. I have a SBS 2003 with SP1 as my domain controller.... I am about to migrate to a new ERP package and have purchased 2 additional Windows Server 2003 R2 servers from XXXXXXXXXX. I have been told the new servers will not be able to join the Domain and I must upgrade my SBS 2003 to SBS 2003 R2. Is that true?? Here is my reply You have been mis-informed. Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 r2 interoperate without any difficulty. If you are trying to use a specific R2 feature such as remote printer management or FSRM then you might have to upgrade, but joining the domain is not a problem. Also, SBS 2003 R2 enables you to get some extra benefits from your CALs with regard to licensing...
  • Best Practices for Exchange Server Public Folders

    I have been asked lots of questions about public folders recently and thought this little section here might come in handy. It is from the Best Practices for Exchange Server Public Folders site on Technet and is geared towards Exchange Server 2000/2003. I have snipped just the articles that I think are useful, so there are more on the page above including the ability to take the document offline. Which Solution Works for You? Before you deploy Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003 public folders, you should make sure that the functionality that is provided by public folders meets your business needs. It is a good idea to evaluate the features and functionality that are provided by public folders and to compare them to the data repository solution that is provided by Microsoft Windows® SharePoint® Products and Technologies. For detailed information about both options, see Selecting the Appropriate Public Folder Solution . How to Select the Appropriate Client After you have decided to use public folders,...
  • Vlad Mazek - "What is service management" and "how to avoid being hit by a truck when it is most inconvenient"

    I love Vlad's straight talking. If you get a chance read the whole of the blog entry Vlad Mazek - Vladville Blog » Blog Archive » Windows Server 2003 SP2 EEULA & CYA because as far as I am concerned he is preaching to the converted. I will stand by my view that Service Packs are tested as much as possible, but you need to do your own validation (see Who should test software and service packs - I think vendors,customers and partners - others thi ) to ensure that your application vendor is also happy to support their products on that service pack. If you only have MS products, check the release notes AND SUPPORT.MICROSOFT.COM as both may well have important information. I've extracted part of Vlads process to avoid a bloody head - read his post for more as people like Susan Bradley wishes she had :-) However, a part of me wonders just how heavy the rock was. You know, the one that he was under since Microsoft started releasing service packs. As painful as the above is to read, and as painful as this...
  • Would you mind joining a chat with the SBS EMEA support team they ask - I say yes, thinking it is internal, but no - on the Web "Join Microsoft SBS Experts for an Online Chat!" - Best come along then to see what advice we can offer

    OK, so this is more my fault than anyone else's, but I was asked to join a chat with the SBS EMEA team and I thought they wanted to chat about how to make things better internally, so I said yes. Then I discover that it is an external chat, with SBS people and partners. OMG!! So anyway, on July 13th around lunchtime there will be a 45 minute "ask the expert" session on all things SBS. Should be fun. Better than my 8 stints on talk sport - not knowing where the next question will come from, or what it will be about!! Join Microsoft SBS Experts for an Online Chat! [Today's tip comes to us courtesy of Karan Rustagi] Small Business Server 2003 Chat (EMEA Community) Join the Small Business Server team for questions and general discussion on SBS 2003. Bring your comments and concerns on the product and discuss them with the team. Friday, July 13, 2007 12:00 - 12:45 P.M. British Summer Time (UTC + 1 hour) 7:00 - 7:45 A.M. Eastern Time 11:00 - 11:45 GMT Join the chat room on the day of the chat: www...
  • Please, Please, Please fill in the SBS Community Survey for 2007 - if you don't tell us about it in the survey, how can we do more / less / fix it for you?

    It has been around for a little while now, but this is a MUST do for us - whether you think things are great or poor. Please fill in the survey and then we can stay up all night and look at the results using the latest holo-projection equipment to understand the multi-dimensional nature of what it takes to please our small business partners. If you don't fill it in, then my R2-D2 projection system will not be used and we will take the 3 replies (two posted by me as a test) and you only get one answer this year. OK, so this is a little humorous, but I hope you get the idea - we need the feedback to make things even better. Don't think you only need to answer it if you need to moan, or you think things are great. Confirming things either way (or even the fact that we have more than one type of partner out there) is all "goodness" as one of my managers used to say. Have I said enough yes? Fill it in, send it off, spank us if we don't respond! Announcing the SBS Community Survey for 2007! The...
  • Do you want to IM (messenger) someone in the UK Partner team with a question, but not have their address - now you can try the Partner Bot. It is your Instant Messenger 'data digger' retrieving partner-related information and the answers you need

    This is a long intro, but I got the mail this morning from Alex that this is alive and kicking!!! Go have a conversation - it is even clever enough to know that if you ask for me, this is my blog!! I am very pleased to announce that the PartnerBot is now live. Partner Bot is your Instant Messenger 'data digger', which quickly retrieves partner-related information and shows you where you can find the answers you need. Simply type in your question and Bot will bring back an instant response. Add Bot as a buddy in your Windows Live Messenger contacts and it will always be available whenever you're logged in. Use Partner Bot to Help You Get answers quickly, whether you’re in the office or mobile Find partner resources, like blogs and marketing help, more easily How Do I Add Partner Bot to My Contacts? · Log-in to Windows Live Messenger · Click on 'Add a Contact' icon · Add 'partnerbot@hotmail.com' into Instant Messaging Address > Click here to find out more Please be aware that PartnerBot...
  • SMBs more aggressive with Vista upgrade plans - 47% of small and mid-market customers plan to upgrade to Microsoft’s Vista operating system in the fourth quarter of 2007

    I saw this and thought it was another reason why you need to be prepared for Vista and Office 2007. Among small and mid-sized enterprises 47 percent of them plan to upgrade to Microsoft’s Vista operating system in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a Cowen & Co. survey. The survey, which is done in conjunction with CRN magazine , also found that 78 percent of small and mid-sized businesses will adopt Vista by the second quarter of 2008. Simply put, the small fry will lead the charge when it comes to the Vista upgrade cycle. Cowen analyst Walter Pritchard said in a research note that his firm’s most recent survey is above the adoption rates predicted in February. In February, 43 percent of small businesses indicated they would adopt Vista by the end of 2007. » Survey: SMBs more aggressive with Vista upgrade plans | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , Small Business
  • Useful MSPP Contacts and Resources - MSPP is Microsoft Partner Program

    I've said it before and I will no doubt say it again, but here are some really useful titbits from the Partner Perspectives Blog (UK Partner Team). Useful MSPP Contacts and Resources I'm running a series of internal training sessions on the Microsoft Partner Programme this week to make sure that everyone is clued up. I thought I'd share with you some useful MSPP contacts and resources which I'm telling your account managers about. I imagine it would be fairly useful for you too! MSPP Contacts: First Point of contact for Programme Questions and Escalations: Regional Service Centre - for MSPP questions (payment of fee, partner points, customer references, portal access, internal use licenses): Partner Tel: 0800 917 3128; email Ask Partner (to-customer licensing and product questions – not internal use MSPP software): 0870 60 70 700; email PR: (for Microsoft quotes and press release kits) ukppr@microsoft.com MS Club: website ; email MSDN: 0800 0517215; email MCP Hotline: Can be utilised by MCP’s only...
  • You can't use Outlook Web Access because you can't send or reply to mails. You've seen a server update will fix it, but you can't get the server updated - here is the simplest way to work

    I have to thanks Lauren for bringing this to my attention. She had found my posting on how to update Exchange so that this did not happen, but she could not get the SBS / Exchange Server updated. Her research said that using Firefox would fix the problem , but to me this was just a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut, so I guessed there must be a much easier solution and there is. Use "basic" or "light" mode. This may sound complex, but it is about as easy as it gets. Here is the Exchange 2003 login screen, simply select "basic" client and you are done. Here is the Exchange 2007 login screen, simply select "light" and you are done. Gosh, so easy. For the technically minded the issue comes from the Active-X control that Exchange is using. The answer is to either apply the update to the Exchange web components, or use a browser without the Active-X control. ttfn David Technorati tags: Outlook Web Access , IE7 , Internet Explorer
  • Darren Strange of Office 2007 / 12 fame talks about Max Office document converters and the the role of beta software

    I saw this and thought those of you with Mac customers might find this useful if Office 2007 is around or potentially around in their businesses. Also of note is the fact that beta, trial and RTM seems to be very blurred today. Do you ever deploy beta code? I do, often in small environments with big warning labels, but I do do it. Following on from some of your less than exuberant feedback about the new Mac converters, I looked into it. To summarise, the Mac BU have released the beta 1 of the file format converters of Office for Mac. You can download the converter for Word documents here . More info is at the ever useful macmojo blog First thing to point out is that this is a BETA and also that it is a BETA 1. There is a bug-ette in that apparently it doesn't handle some reserved characters from non-english languages or some special Unicode characters such as ™. Any docs that have these characters seem to screw up or don't convert at all. Apparently the issues with Unicode was documented in the help with...
  • Small Biz Thoughts by Karl Palachuk - advice on when to think about a 2nd server with SBS

    Some people still think that SBS only works in a 1 server environment, which is clearly not the case. Karl suggests that perhaps nothing more than SBS should run on an SBS box. Here is a little extract of his thoughts, but click on the link for more information. He might have a point!! "You can host your own internet site: web and email! In addition, you've got all the benefits of Server 2003 and Exchange! Firewall protection. Microsoft's most powerful database. Plus Remote Web Workplace and Sharepoint. And every one of these has been completely revamped and replaced in the last three years. It really is the best $600 product in history." "Golly Gee, Mr. Balmer, That's Swell!" Many people don't sell SBS Premium because . . . to be honest . . . we're already asking that little box with 4GB Max RAM to do an awful lot. Here are a few notes from a conversation with someone on the SBS development team. I don't have permission to attribute his comments, but I don't think...
  • What are the Top 5 Licensing Questions we get asked in the partner team

    Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are listed below. To be nice to the Partner team I have not included 4 & 5, so you will have to go to the link to get them. Having said that, don't forget that we have a team of people who can answer your licensing questions - not treating you as end users, but treating you as partners. Top 5 Licensing Questions I've had a chat Lisa Michigan from our licensing team, and I asked her what the top five licensing questions were asked to the Ask Partner hotline last month. Here are the questions with the answers! How useful... What downgrade rights does Windows Vista Business have? We have received this question countless times. We are able to answer this question quickly and accurately based on the OEM Vista Business Microsoft Software Licence Terms which state OEM Vista Business can be downgraded to Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Professional 64-Bit Edition and Windows XP Tablet-PC Edition. What media and key can I use when downgrading? Many partners and customers are aware that...
  • Netstreams is cool, but I am not.... - Nick Whittome - "The Naked MVP"

    I saw this and having discussed cool a bit I thought I would share a bit - there is more on Nick's blog. Of course, I don't own an iPod or a Audio Port Netstreams thingy, I just use media center, a Media Center Extender and a xBox 360 for my "piped" music and I don't tell my daughter about iPods :-) Me: “If I get you an iPod, do I become cool again?” Aoife: “Yes, of course”. Then it hit me…. Me: “Hang on… you don’t need an iPod, you can plug your mobile phone into the Audio Port in your room and play the tunes from that through the system”. Aoife: “That makes the NetStreams system cool, not you…” Netstreams is cool, but I am not.... - Nick Whittome - "The Naked MVP" ttfn David Technorati Tags: Fun , Cool
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  • Office Rocker!'s Office Live - Live interview with Tim Kimber (including the BT deal)

    If you have never heard of Office Live, go read the whole interview. If you have heard of it, but don't see the value, go read the interview to see what BT are doing with it. If you do not know about the BT and Microsoft Office Live deal.... I think you get the idea - it is not long, but will make you think for a bit about business models. Office Live - Live interview As Office Live comes out of beta, I thought it would be good to catch up on the latest news. Today I'm joined by Mr Office Live himself - Tim Kimber to tell us more: Hi Tim, perhaps you'd like to introduce yourself and what you do? I'm the Office Live Business & Marketing lead for Microsoft UK. Office Live is a set of web services for Small Businesses to help them get online and start promoting their companies how long has Office Live been available in the UK - is it still in beta? We launched the beta of Office Live in the UK on 21st November 2006, so we've been in market for around 6 months. We came out of beta on 23rd May...
  • If you want to help shape Office 14 (the next version of Microsoft Office) tell us about yourself and see if you can get on the International Planning Panel

    I saw this and while it is old, thought you might like it: Participate in the Evolution of the Future Microsoft Office Versions Microsoft is committed to continue building solutions that address your needs and requirements. As part of the process for building future solutions, the Microsoft Office International Planning team is recruiting an international user panel. The goal for this panel will be to contribute in helping the Product Planning team get an in-depth understanding on users' habits, needs and requirements. We are convinced that listening to users' feedback is key to the development of great solutions and products. If you would like to participate, please complete the questionnaire. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 14
  • Quick Tip - how to run an application, but not let the writes go back to disk - try Sandboxie

    I have to admit I have not done any extensive testing, but this little tool seems like a good thing to have around! For more information, have a look at Sandboxie . About Sandboxie When you run a program on your computer, data flows from the hard disk to the program via read operations. The data is then processed and displayed, and finally flows back from the progam to the hard disk via write operations. For example, if you run the Freecell program to play a game, it starts by reading the previously recorded statistics, displaying and altering them as you play the game, and finally writing them back to disk for future reference. Sandboxie changes the rules such that write operations do not make it back to your hard disk. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Sandboxie , Tips , application testing
  • SQL 2000/2005 June Downloads including Management Pack, JDBC Drivers, Virtual Hard Disks and Access Migration Assistant

    Microsoft SQL Server 2000 / 2005 Management Pack The SQL Server Management Pack monitors the availability and performance of SQL Server 2000 and 2005 and can issue alerts for configuration problems. Availability and performance monitoring is done using synthetic transactions. In addition, the Management Pack collects Event Log alerts and provides associated knowledge articles with additional user details, possible causes, and suggested resolutions. The Management Pack discovers Database Engines, Database Instances, and Databases and can optionally discover Database File and Database File Group objects. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=8c0f970e-c653-4c15-9e51-6a6cadfca363&DisplayLang=en Microsoft SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver 1.2 Community Technology Preview April 2007 In its continued commitment to interoperability, Microsoft has released a new Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) driver with SQL Server 2005. The SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver 1.2 CTP April 2007 download is available to all...
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Beta (how to connect Office Live Basics or Windows Live Hotmail to Outlook)

    Don't you love the way the title of a product described what it is? While this product does what it says on the tin, it misses out the most important thing - what can you connect Outlook to. The answer is e-mail and contacts based on our Hotmail service, so this includes OfficeLive. If you sign up to one of the subscription OfficeLive services (i.e. you pay us to use it) then you get a connector which can do all this AND synchronise your calendar items too. Once in Outlook you can do all the searching, filing and manipulation you want to do. Today you can now download the beta of the next version of the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector. Download: Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (Beta) The Microsoft Office Outlook Connector is designed to let you access your Windows Live Hotmail account through Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007. You will be able to download and install the Connector to sync up your email and contacts in Windows Live Hotmail for free. However, if you are a paid subscriber of MSN Premium, Office...
  • SQL 2005 Webcasts for June

    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 Momentum Webcast: Selecting the Right SQL Server 2005 Edition to Fit Your Business (Level 200) – Monday, June 25, 2007. 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is available in a variety of editions to best match the demands of your business applications. Attend this session to learn about the differences between editions of SQL Server, especially Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition and Standard Edition, so you can avoid the common mistake of choosing the wrong edition to run your mission-critical applications. In this...
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(c)David Overton 2006-17