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.  

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  • Microsoft Windows Essential Server Solutions - Which one is right for you?

    There is lots of information on how to choose the right Essential solution for you (SBS Std, Premium, EBS Std or Premium. A quick sample can be seen below (there is much more on the web site): Which Solution Is Right for You? Learn how the Windows Essential Server Solutions are designed to fit specific needs for small and midsize business. Find which solution will be the right choice for you and your company’s needs. Remember, each business is unique – consult your Microsoft Certified Partner to help determine the best solution for you. Your Need Windows Small Business Server 2008 Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition Premium Edition Standard Edition Premium Edition Company Size and Growth Our company needs a secure network for 250 or fewer users today Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 supports up to 50 users or devices. Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008 supports up to 250 users or devices. Our business is growing at a fast pace and our IT needs are expanding. As your...
  • Something for Vijay - Microsoft Introduces New Interoperability Principles

    I've not had time to digest all of this, but it looks important enough to get a quick note out. I know Vijay is keen on interop. Virtual Pressroom: Microsoft Makes Strategic Changes in Technology and Business Practices to Expand Interoperability February 21, 2008 Microsoft today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice. These changes are codified into four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions: ensuring open connections; promoting data portability; enhancing support for industry standards; and fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities. Highlights: Press Conference Call with Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia and Brad Smith: 8:30 am PST, Feb. 21 Video Clip: Tom Robertson, General Manager, Interoperability and Standards (.wmv file, 44 sec) News & Announcements Press Release: Microsoft Makes...
  • Small Business Server 2008 (formally known as Cougar) announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the SBS 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business Growth Windows Small Business Server 2008,previously known by the code name “Cougar,” is ideal for organizations with up to 50 PCs, helping them protect business data, expand business productivity and present a professional image to customers. The new version adds a range of features and capabilities to the current, award-winning Small...
  • Windows Essential Business Server announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the Essential Business Server 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . <snipped> Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for Midsize Companies Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is designed for the needs of midsize organizations with up to 250 desktops, helping IT professionals take control of their systems, reduce time spent “fighting fires” and focus more on strategic efforts to drive business growth. The solution includes built...
  • "Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products" announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the "family" section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . To help small and midsize organizations improve business efficiency, increase productivity and drive growth, Microsoft Corp. introduced the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, built on Windows Server 2008 and the newest Microsoft server technologies and services. The company also unveiled details about the newly named Windows Small Business Server 2008. The Windows...
  • Office from the past, ODF and OOXML (Office of today and tomorrow) and why is organic growth nearly always bad for software and why re-writing is not good either

    As I have said many times in the past I used to write document conversation tools. I believe this gives me a valid reason to be able to pass comment on the ODF/OOMXL debate that is raging at the moment. If these types of questions interest you, have a look at the book I talk about later ( In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters (UK) or here for US link ) Lets start with some history about the Office 97-2003 file formats. Joel was writing about this today ( Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) - Joel on Software ). Note that part of what he has commented on is the fact that the documentation for the binary file format is now available from Microsoft: Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) This item ran on the Joel on Software homepage on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Last week, Microsoft published the binary file formats for Office . These formats appear to be almost completely insane. The Excel 97...
  • Microsoft DreamSpark - Free developer tools for students around the world. Think of the opportunities!!

    I heard about this a day or two ago and I have to say this is a MASSIVE move for Microsoft and something that can only do good. As a student you can now download, at no cost, the professional Microsoft development tools. That is all there is to the programme, however this is a dream come true for many educational institutions. Just think of the opportunity - help them implement all this software, when the software is free to the students!! Channel8 described it as : How would you like a free copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 ? How about the entire Microsoft Expression Studio ? Not enough...... how about Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and more? For once, something that sounds too good to be true really is this good and really is true. Starting today (or soon in some areas), students worldwide will be able to download our professional development and design tools for free ! It's called DreamSpark and it is upon us. For information on the project from PressPass: PressPass: What is the thinking behind Microsoft...
  • Bye Bye Jen Brinton, Hello Lisa and Chris for the UK SBSC and small business partners

    I saw this mail (I have been out the country) while I was away and thought I would share it with those of you. For those of you who don't know who Jen is, she was the person behind the SBSC programme in the UK and was part of the fighting force to get you things like Demo Showcase. Now strangely enough, Chris, some of you will have met - he is a great mate of mine, technical and also the hero of the Demo Showcase. He is known for getting passionate about technology and it being used correctly, so he is an ideal person to get to know! Anyway, here was the e-mail to SBSC members: New Faces as Microsoft Hi All I wanted update you all on some new faces at Microsoft who will be focused on the Small Business Specialist community as part of our continued focus to increase investment in this area. I would also like to take this chance to let you know that I am sad to have to say good-bye to you all! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as SBSC programme manager and will miss working with you all, however I will be transitioning...
  • Business Contact Manager Team Blog - good information, including SQL and VBA tools, Smartphone and product information

    I was hunting for an answer to a questions someone asked me and I came across this the BCM Team Blog. Below are some of the recent posts. It is worth adding to your RSS feed list. Troubleshooting BCM for Pocket PC/Smartphone Get Business Contact Manager with Outlook Standalone How to Change BCM Polling Interval? Happy Holidays Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2007 SP1 is Live Business Contact Manager Team Blog ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , BCM , Business Contact Manager , Office 2007 , Office System , CRM , Small Business
  • All change - Windows Vista SP1 here now for technical customers - it was delayed. It is still a little way away for non-technical people

    Last week Microsoft announced SP1 for Vista to the world , but then said some device drivers were causing problems so there would be a delay to enabled those to be resolved. That is the device drivers, not SP1. Well, as you can imagine, there was a fair amount of noise around this, so the rollout has been changed to enable technical people who were on the beta and MSDN & Technet Plus people to get it much earlier. Someone once asked me why we could not get things on the web quicker - well, if you have a few million people downloading something at the same time it has a hit, so all releases, even system updates, have an element of staggering. From the blog posting Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers some salient points are: On Monday (February 4th), we announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Overall, people are excited to hear that we have reached this milestone, but some are disappointed they are not able to immediately...
  • Security Vulnerability Research & Defence blog - worth a read for sure - eg MS08-001 - The case of the Moderate, Important, and Critical network vulnerabilities

    My background covers security and I've started reading this blog ( Security Vulnerability Research & Defense ) - it is excellent and definitely worth a read to understand how vulnerabilities work and how to mitigate them!! MS08-001 - The case of the Moderate, Important, and Critical network vulnerabilities Security bulletin MS08-001 addresses vulnerabilities described by two separate CVE numbers, as you can see in the bulletin. This post provides an overview of the two issues, the affected platforms and notes on the severity. We’ll be following this post up with two further entries that look at each issue in more detail. CVE-2007-0066 describes a vulnerability in parsing ICMP router advertisement packets. These packets are not processed by default on any supported version of Windows. If a computer is configured to process router discovery protocol packets and encounters this type of malformed packet, the Windows kernel will bugcheck (blue screen of death) and reboot. A separate blog post goes into more...
  • Where to go to study for SBSC exam 70-282 - help from the community by the community

    This comment was added to my blog the other day, but I think it deserves posting as a blog entry in it's own right: Hi Dave, We've worked up a 70-282 set of resources on a live.space. The effort is thorough and a good starting point for anyone looking at the 70-282 exam. Two particularly useful URL's are: http://wigital.spaces.live.com AND 70-282examteam.events.live.com You are welcome to contribute and/or comment if you have time. Warm Regards, Mark ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , 70-282 , Exam , SBS Server , Community
  • Announcing the Retirement of the Partner TDT and Release of New Product Demos Resource

    Chris Parkes sent a mail round internally telling us about MORE resources & demos etc available to partners. Chris has written about it on his blog (discovered this after I wrote this - here , there may be some comments on his worth reading, so double check!!) The Demo Showcase has been extended to include Deep Dive/Product virtual environments *which are available to all partners * Only Demo Showcase remains as the Gold/Cert benefit moving forwards... The following are now available for immediate download: 2007 Microsoft Office System 47 Hands-on Labs 25 demonstrations Microsoft Forefront and System Center Demonstration Toolkit Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Intelligent Application Gateway Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Forefront Client Security Microsoft Business Intelligence Demo (Data warehousing, reporting and analysis, performance management) Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007...
  • Time to Nominate your solutions for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference!

    You may remember people who have one awards at the Worldwide Partner Conference before - is it your time now? I saw Steve Morrow (my boss) has put some great information on the UK ISV blog and while he is thinkking about it from a purely ISV point of view, you could apply under any of the categories. Time to Nominate your Applications for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! Time to submit your entry for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards program! This is a great way to get some free PR. As a finalist or winner you’ll receive promotions that identify your company as part of an elite class of Microsoft partners. Logos will also be displayed in Microsoft Solution Finder. The nomination process is open NOW and closes on 4th April 2008 . Finalists for the 2008 awards will be announced on June 9, 2008. Winners will be announced and recognized at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, July 7-10, 2008. Go to Award Submission Tool For a full list of the award categories...
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image

    I saw this and thought I would share for those who had not seen it - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Get familiar with the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release: Preview Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in a Virtual PC (VPC) image. Overview This Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 preview leverages Release Candidate (RC0) code in a Virtual PC image. The demo is designed as a one-computer setup with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 client for Microsoft Outlook. Note: Although the image can be utilised on a single PC or laptop computer, it is strongly suggested that the image be run using an external USB 2.0 hard drive for best performance. If you do not have an external drive, you can run the image locally on the host computer; however, you will experience a decrease in performance. Contents This VPC contains the following: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (RC0) Microsoft Dynamics CRM Laptop and Desktop Client Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK (C:\CRM Tools\SDK...
  • Register Now for the Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 UK Launch Event

    I saw this in the Technet newsletter and thought I would pass it on: The launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 is drawing near and we are pleased to announce the three main launch activities to help you learn more: 1) The main launch event on 19 March at the ICC Birmingham - register now 2) The TechNet and MSDN Roadshows in April and May - pre-register now 3) The Virtual Launch Experience also on 19 March - pre register now ttfn David Technorati Tags: Events , Windows Server 2008 , SQL Server 2008 , Visual Studio 2008 , Launch
  • What Bill Gates said he will be working on once he stops his full time role - from 2008 Partner Pre-launch event

    I had the pleasure of attending this event today. The last item was Q&A with Bill Gates and there were a number of questions that you will be able to watch and listen too in the future. However, the one that I thought was most interesting was this one: "What will Bill be doing in his part time capacity with Microsoft and what will the Bill and Melinda Foundation focus on?" His reply was roughly (I made a few scribbled notes, so I hopefully have the gist, if not the words): Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie will take care of the "one Microsoft and R&D function" Bill will focus on 3 areas: Search - still have lots to deliver from the various teams - we have just started to see the beginning of this - in both internet and enterprise areas Office - Bill has always had a keen interest in this area and it will continue. Things to be included are Modelling and declarative rules Natural User Interfaces - more voice, touch, gesture and general non-keyboard interaction with technology For the foundation...
  • Heroes Happen Here - Where are you?

    If you don't know about the Heroes Happen Here :: Home campaign then you are very much behind the times. The Launch events for SQL Server 2008 (errrm), Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008 are fast approaching and so is your customers ability to buy and use them - do you understand what, why and when? If not, go to the website and see how your customers can benefit and why you should learn more about the product and what you can do to improve your business with these products. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Heroes happen here , Heroes happen {here} , Heroes , Windows Server 2008 , SQL Server 2008 , Visual Studio 2008
  • New Small Business Oriented blog - Microsoft Police (entry on licensing) and Vista bloody Vista (who's fault is it when things don't work on Vista)

    Susanne Dansey pointed this out to me - Dave is doing some excellent blogging! I like both these entries from January. One discussed the rights and wrongs of what to do with a customer who will not license legally. My personal opinion here is that if they won't pay a software company, how long until they will avoid paying the services company for a quality job. Dave's second post is dealing with someone who has been told that Vista is poor and blames anything that does not work under Vista on Microsoft. I'm not saying that Microsoft is never to blame, but it is nice to see posts like this coming out of the woodwork. Microsoft Police There has been a lot of chatter in the newsgroups recently about Microsoft licensing and what to do if you think the legality of clients software is suspect. Here is my opinion. Funny that, it being my blog Simple, get them to become legitimate (or legal) or walk away. Let’s clarify this. Why I said legitimate or legal is because these can be two separate things....
  • Samba developers can now see the Windows Protocols, make their products more interoperable with Microsoft Windows and see where Patents are to then choose to avoid or license

    I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world. Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give...
  • SBS 2003, Virtual Server and / or Terminal Services and why use virtualisation and the risks to consider

    I need to take my hat off to the PSS guys in India. I "met" Girish on the Microsoft internal aliases and then delivering a Technet chat. I've since seen him post some great blog posts, but also answer key questions in various SBS forums. Alex recently asked the question: They (well I) think it is time to virtualise the three SBS servers that support their three micro businesses (plus a terminal server each). Lower energy costs (down to 1 server from 3), quieter in their office. Girish has recently blogged something that would help implement this: Content Released: Deploying Terminal Services in a Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Environment Deploying Terminal Services in a Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Environment This document updates and replaces both "Deploying Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server to Host User Desktops in a Windows Small Business Server Environment" and "Installing Virtual Server 2005 R2 on Windows Small Business Server 2003 with SP1." Kudos to...
  • How to buy Microsoft products - for businesses up to 250 PCs

    I saw this ( How to buy Microsoft products ) and thought I should share. Not only does the site have some very simple information on what solution may well be right for each customer and how to choose, but if you are still confused there is a good questionnaire to help you and a link to find your local SBSC partner. Find the right purchasing option for you Volume Licensing Best option for companies that would like to save money on software by buying in bulk. If you are buying more than 5 licences for any mix of Microsoft products, you could save money in comparison to buying boxed software. Learn more Hosted software Best option for businesses that want to outsource IT. You can rent the right to use Microsoft products through an IT provider who offers Software as a Service (SaaS). Learn more Software in a box from a retailer Best option for companies that only need one or two copies of software, or that want the convenience of an instant purchase. You can buy software in a box that contains a licensed software...
  • Microsoft Live Labs Volta Team Blog

    I saw this and thought I would share. Write apps with another simple set of tools. Between Popfly, this and more it seems that building on Microsoft is getting easier and easier. Have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/dec07/12-05Volta.mspx for some more info. Announcing Volta: Web Development Using Only the Materials in the Room Today, we are announcing the Volta technology preview , a developer toolset for building multi-tier web applications using existing and familiar tools, techniques and patterns. Volta’s declarative tier-splitting enables developers to postpone architectural decisions about distribution until the last possible responsible moment. Also, thanks to a shared programming model across multiple-tiers, Volta enables new end-to-end profiling and testing for higher levels of application performance, robustness, and reliability. Using the declarative tier-splitting, developers can refine architectural decisions based on this profiling data. This saves time and costs associated...
  • Great event a kudos to Susanne Dansey and Westcoast following the UK Small Business Forum

    If there was more proof needed that a partner could change how people felt about them by working with the right person then Susanne and Westcoast have done it. I had several people say that without Susanne's guidance Westcoast would not have come onto their radar, which is a resounding vote of confidence. However, the event showed that there is still more work to do in terms of building trust and having the right people in the right places. Some of the questions asked at the forum and answered on Partner Questions from the Small Business Forum show that some people don't understand how this segment of the market works. Oh, and some people is in all companies - Westcoast, Microsoft and some of the partners. I'm not going to "name names", but it is good for everyone to grow together and give a little. I thought I would add some more information to that already given by Susanne. Small Business Accounting; why only direct sales? Volume licensing? Will there be a programme to connect accountants...
  • Looking for where to focus as a developer - latest job ads data suggests Microsoft based technology is the place to be!

    I saw this data on developer jobs at http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default.aspx?sortby=0&orderby=0&q=&id=1300&lid=2618 and thought it would make some interesting reading. It shows: lots of demand around MS technologies and reasonable pay (average salary over £40K and about 3rd of the market is focused on MS specific skills) J2EE and Websphere pay/cost the most in terms of staff, but represent just 7.8% of the market demand, so if you are here, you are feeling good!! Old style HTML web jobs are dying in terms of pay (html, CSS, XHTML, JSP) and falling demand in terms of the number of jobs AJAX, the next great web dev scenario is not in high demand, which is a surprise to me For those of you who like graphs, you can see the highest salaries for J2EE & Websphere people, but this is probably caused by the fact that there are so many fewer jobs, so rushing to get skilled in this area could severely weaken any salary advantage. The chart above was created from the data below. Development Skill Average...

(c)David Overton 2006-18