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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  • Just as predicted - Vista is driving new PC Sales - are you driving these into your customers?

    I was reading this http://news.com.com/Sales+of+boxed+Vista+copies+down+over+XP/2100-1016_3-6159700.html?tag=nefd.top and it said that Vista boxed product was down by 59% compared to XP and 32% by revenue (means people are buying Ultimate), but then noticed that it said PC sales were up 67%.. hmm, so I wonder what was on those. What we are seeing is people buying new PCs rather than upgrading. While people are doing that, perhaps we should ask our customers if they would like to take advantage of the great things that Vista, Office SBS and Windows Mobile can do for them and put together a package, potentially using Open Value Subscription to spread the cost (or finance) and help them get that new PC and everything else they need in 1 easy go :) ttfn David
  • Demo Showcase and Action Pack shipments

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] Ok, so we failed to hit the January shipment, which is not something I am proud of, but everyone knows that we missed the shipment and my feelings already :-) If you are wanting to Demo Vista and Office then there are a few things you can do: Load it yourself and tell people how you use it Read the case study information on the bCentral web site and tell people about UK small businesses that are benefiting from the products already Portfolio Communications goes green Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 system help PR company A portrait of a small business Photography company snaps up Windows Vista and Office 2007 Accountancy firm profits from Microsoft investment Windows Vista and Office 2007 lift Aggarwal and Co. Load one of your Action Pack instances onto a PC. If you want to upgrade to Ultimate then do so, or run...
  • Microsoft software for Charities in the UK

    OK, so once upon a time I used to give out software for charities, but those days are gone. However, there is a fantastic deal available for charities via the Charity Exchange. The software is donated by Microsoft (and others) and then an administration charge is added. There are various criteria to be met to use the Charity Technology Exchange, but the overall pricing is VERY good for charities - and of course, if the software is discounted as this is the right thing to do, perhaps so should the services too ;-) Anyway, the site can he found at http://www.ctxchange.org/ctx/browse_products/microsoft/default.asp and the prices include software assurance, so the Office 2003 and Windows XP prices entitle the charity to Office 2007 and Windows Vista Enterprise (as it is a Volume License). An example would be a 50 seat SBS Premium solution with Windows XP and Office 2003 (both upgradable - also note that a previous Windows OS is required on the PC to load the Windows OS - it is an upgrade, not a version that can be...
  • Use and learn about Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 in Virtual Labs

    Windows Vista: Virtual Lab Express In this 30-minute Virtual Lab Express, you will configure new security features in Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista. You can also watch our live and on-demand Windows Vista TechNet webcasts . 2007 Microsoft Office System: Virtual Lab Express Get a quick, hands-on overview of the 2007 Office system. In just 30 minutes, familiarise yourself with the new Ribbon bar, use the mini-toolbar and see how you can take advantage of Live Preview and the Gallery in the Office 2007 user interface. Also, watch our live and on-demand Office 2007 system webcasts for IT professionals and download Office system podcasts . Exchange Server 2007: Virtual Lab Express Get a quick, hands-on overview of Exchange Server 2007. In just 30 minutes, familiarise yourself with the Exchange Management Console and Outlook Web Access, and work with compliance and records management rules. Also, watch our live and on-demand Exchange Server webcasts and download Exchange Server podcasts . Technorati...
  • Download details: Business Desktop Deployment 2007 (BDD) - Deployments for Vista and Office made simpler - not for very simple / very small customers

    In theory, BDD is not for what MS calls small business customers - i.e. less than 25 PCs, but for some the tools are amazing. The BDD is described as: "A tool that provides the depth of guidance and tooling to make the Windows Vista and 2007 Office system deployment process predictable and scalable. Many of the tools and guides within BDD 2007 can even be used throughout the desktop management life cycle to provision new users, maintain images, and centrally manage drivers and applications. BDD 2007 also introduces the new Deployment Workbench, which enables users to build and manage multiple OS configurations, define network deployment points and network shares, inject drivers, attach language packs, and chain applications. It even helps generate ISO and WIM images using Windows PE that can be deployed in a networked environment or using DVDs offline. BDD 2007 also alleviates much of the scripting requirements of previous BDD versions by incorporating a stand-alone task sequencer derived from System Center Configuration...
  • Birmingham SB Partner Group - January 22nd event - Vista and Office from the Inside

    I got a mail from Vijay and never quite made the "putting it on the blog", so before time runs out too much, two great colleagues of mine are presenting Office and Vista and obviously, having the group meeting. From the web site http://www.nxtgenug.net/ViewEvent.aspx?EventID=39 this is the information. Matt and James are truly well versed in both products and will be able to answer any and all questions. The Association of Midlands IT Professionals (MITPRO) and NxtGenUG team up to bring you an evening of Vista! Matt McSpirit and James Senior, otherwise known as "The Vista Boyz" from the Vista Partner Technical Specialists will talk about the various new features of Vista and Office 2007 and how they affect the SMB. Vista as a development platform will be looked at in the second part of the session and how Vista is the platform on which to create better applications. Members are invited to bring a guest to this event, although we ask that the guest uses the registration page to sign up to NxtGenUG and then registers...
  • So you like shortcuts - commands to quickly do things without resorting to the UI - have a look at how to do them here

    Ewan is a tall chap who used to work in the SE team (which was the team I joined in Microsoft) many years ago. He then went off and did some Exchange EMEA type roles and his skills were sorly missed. Well, he is back "in the UK" (he never left, but his heart was elsewhere). And this posting is beginning to cause a bit of a stir. http://blogs.technet.com/ewan/archive/2007/01/02/some-more-useful-windows-shortcuts.aspx My favourites are for quick keyboard things in Outlook: In Outlook, CTRL-2 switches to the Calendar, CTRL-3 to Contacts, and CTRL-1 back to Inbox. Handy if you're often flicking around to arrange a meeting with lots of people... Still in Outlook, when viewing the Calendar ALT-= switches to Month view, ALT- "-" (next to equals sign) switches to the week view, and ALT- number displays the number of days forward from the current date (eg ALT-9 will show 9 day view). Have a look to see what else he can teach you :-) ttfn David
  • Windows Vista, Office 2007 and the Action Pack - coming very soon

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] I am trying to re-confirm all the details, but this is the latest information I have asked for it to be double checked so as not to upset everyone. Here is the low-down: When will the Action Pack arrive - Before the end of Jan I heard the latest shipment was delayed - It was due to the Office OPK, but should still be there by end of Jan How much is the upgrade to Ultimate Edition - Action Pack subscribers can upgrade to Vista Ultimate for $139 (USD) – per license. Visit www.WindowsAnytimeUpgrade.com/maps to learn more (not active yet) Is the version of Vista an Upgrade or bare metal install (ala recent changes to stop piracy, so not an OEM version) - This is an upgrade, just like the XP discs that ship Can I use this as home - The Action Pack...
  • How Microsoft UK deployed Windows Vista and Office 2007

    Partner TV has been busy recently, with this discussion about Microsoft UK's own deployment of Vista and Office 2007 . An except from the site says: James Senior talks to Asif Jinnah, the Senior IT manager for Microsoft UK, about the internal deployment of Vista and Office 2007. Asif also talks about best practices using Microsoft tools and services to help with deploying images (for example Windows Deployment Services Windows Desktop Search and System Management Server [SMS]). Asif was previously part of the team responsible for launching the “Microsoft Deployment Centre of Excellence” (CoE) in the UK to educate partners and customers on how best to deploy operating systems. To learn more, click the link above - the video is only 11 minutes long. ttfn David
  • Being a search "Power User" in Vista and Office 2007

    Vista has lots of new features and while the new user interface (UI) is very cute, cuddly and even makes life easier, one of the most useful features that I find is the new search facility. I recently heard the term “stop searching and start finding” and realised that this was probably a great description to goal of searching – it still takes effort, so time to spill the beans on how to find things easier in Vista. One quick thing to point out is that Vista will index not just the file names and dates, but also the contents of your files too. This process will busy itself on your machine when Vista is 1 st loaded, so give it some time, but once it is done, it is done. I let this onetime slowdown happen while I was asleep as I left running overnight to index my 40-50GB of documents and photos. There are four places where the search tools show their hand in Vista before you start putting other applications on that use this technology, such as Office 2007: Start Menu (find programs and a quick file search tool) Search...
  • Download Vista RTM and Office 2007 RTM for evaluation from Technet Online Subscripition, plus two technical support calls, plus access to our betas - just £230 in UK

    I was talking with members of the South West of England small biz group last night and the topic of Vista and Office access and Technet came up. Being a dutiful person, I came and spoke to the Technet team here and this is what I found out. Action Pack gives you licenses you can use to run your business and evaluate solutions for your customers. Technet Plus gives you two support calls, access to managed news groups (ask and get your technical questions answered), and the ability to download and evaluate MS products and beta products. To me, this means that every serious partner that wants to play with betas or products long before a customer can get hold of them should get an Action Pack subecription to give them intenral use licenses and Technet for the beta access. More information on the Technet from the web site http://www.microsoft.com/uk/technet/abouttn/buynow.mspx : Buy TechNet Plus Direct (Online) £230 - 1st time £170 - renewal Buy TechNet Plus (DVD) £330 - 1st time £270 - renewal Telephone Support Every...
  • Is Microsoft Driving Innovation Or Playing Catch-Up With Rivals?

    I saw this over at the Wall Street Jounral ( http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116490323676636989-HnHPKLzkyy9xKy2wnokbd2bc_bE_20071130.html ) and it made me think. Can I point to Innovation from Microsoft in the small business arena? I'd be happy on your thoughts, but her are some areas I think MS is innovating: SBS - an amazing package of great technologies, not just the "enterprise" version at a lower price, but some thought put in to make the wizards workable for small businesses, with defaults that won't scale to 5,000 users, but will work just fine for 100 Publisher to enable small businesses to participate in marketing and image management without having to learn a package as complex as Pagemager or Quark Express - something I used to earn great money training people to use Office 2007 - making great presentation of documents accessable without a marketing degree Vista - Getting the balance right between onus on the user vs the system for security I have some more in mind, but what do you think?
  • Office 2007 and Vista coming in January Action Pack

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] One of the most asked questions I get is "When will it ship in the action pack". Well, the January Action pack starts shiping in the 2nd week on January, so before General Availability Launch (GA). This is what it will contain: Software Included software in January 2007 MAPS: • Windows Vista Business • Microsoft® Office Enterprise 2007 • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 • Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 with Business Contact Manager • Microsoft Office Visio® 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 • Microsoft Expression® Web Because Action pack is for business use, you are not getting Vista Ultimate, but we are working on a special partner rate to upgrade to Ultimate - more news in...
  • Vista and Office 2007 for Small Business (responding to more comments) - and the EVO Tour and more learnings (updated with links)

    Well, the EVO Tour is underway, with some initial bad feedback, we have taken that on board and now the feedback is MUCH better from all partners, including SBSC members, so the inital concerns appear have been answered - which is well done to the team for such a quick turnaround. When I answered the previous complaints " here ", I wanted to respond more fully to Martin's comments, so I will do that here. This is what Martin said that I will respond to now: "because this customer has temps that may or may not work on these platforms[David: Vista machines], the changes in UI between XP and Vista are significant that this solution[David: Using Vista on some machine] will not work. They believe (and so do I knowing the workforce) they are going to have to upgrade all of their Computers all 35 Desktops. On top of this, they are then going to have to ensure that all of the other LOB Apps run, and then train all users on the diverencies. That will cost the IT budget for the next 12 months so just isn't going to happen...
  • Vista and Office for Small Businesses - replying to Susanne's and Vijay's blogs

    Wow, I go on holiday, spend some time catching up on e-mail, and what do I find " There’s a whiff of coffee in the air… " asking if Microsoft can help position Vista and Office for small businesses and then Vijay also asking " What’s the Value Proposition…?? ". Now these two blogs acknowledge that there is value in both products, just that the communication of that value is not getting through. It is also worth me saying that I thoroughly appreicate and desire this sort of discourse. Without getting the occational slap around the face Microsoft can not improve what it does, especially if the slap is deserved. Lets start with some ground rules: Vista & Office are not something that every business has to buy either on the 30th November or the 30th January, some people can or will wait a month or two before they feel the need :-) Microsoft does not have all the answers - that is why we rely on a fantastic partner network to fill the gap between MSs view and the customers The products value is additive - one feature...
  • What can Vista and Office do for Small Businesses

    This post is in reply to some recent questions raised by partners on Vista and Office. While the documents referenced here will be posted on the UK Vista and Office Microsite, I have hosted them quicker for your convenience. Files: Top 10 reasons why Vista and Office are right for small businesses Top 4 reasons why Vista and Office are right for small business Document explaining to partners why the top ten features are great for small businesses Why should your customer Vista and Office? Because they need it to solve many IT and business problems. Let's start with run rate. Not everyone has Windows XP, so many people are dealing with the computers they bought over the last 7 years. These people will need to buy new PCs, when they do, what will you tell them? The answer is a business PC that is designed for the 21st century. For those who have newer PCs and are not sure then the answer is that they might not want to upgrade just yet - this is not a "once only" offer - it will take years to move the whole world...
  • Microsoft Packaging for Vista and Office 2007 Revealed - Gizmodo

    I just like the pictures - cool looking packaging :-) Microsoft Packaging for Vista and Office 2007 Revealed Microsoft, planning to lure you into using Windows Vista and Office 2007 for the rest of your life, today reveals the packaging for the upcoming products, going with a rounded design reminiscent of a 1950s toaster. Let's let the Microsoftians damn us with their faint prose: Designed to be user-friendly, the new packaging is a small, hard, plastic container that's designed to protect the software inside for life-long use. It provides a convenient and attractive place for you to permanently store both discs and documentation. The new design will provide the strength, dimensional stability and impact resistance required when packaging software today. Our plan is to extend this packaging style to other Microsoft products after the launch of Windows Vista and 2007 Office system. Take a look at close-ups of a couple of the new boxes, after the jump. – Charlie White Announcing New Packaging [Windows Vista Blog...
  • Important Sneak Peak – UK Small Business Symposium coming

    I can't reveal all the details, although I am sure others will, however we are working on special event for SBSC members. This event design incorporates your feedback and suggestions as to what you want to hear about, share as a community as well as information Microsoft needs to share with you. Expect useful information, the opportunity to network with your peers, Microsoft and partners and the ability to socialise too J The timeframe for this event is February 2007, in Reading, Manchester (or Leeds) and Edinburgh, although more sessions will happen in the afternoon in Reading due to availability of speakers and rooms. The ROUGH agenda looks like this Morning: UK Exec who actually cares about Small Business (such as Natalie Ayres - Director of SMS&P*) talking about: What's the view from the top? Why does everything you've heard matter? What's the opportunity for partners? Aileen Hannah – responsible for SBSC programme in the UK, talking about: Highlights & lowlights of the program so far Latest resources...
  • iQubed on Vista vs Linux - and not from Microsoft, but a partner who has sold both Microsoft and Linux Solutions

    I like Vijay - he never lets me get away with cutting corners and has an honest perspective on many things. His personal review of what Exchange, Vista and Office will bring to the world is refreshing because he can say he has been there!! Vista vs Linux October 13, 2006 on 6:51 pm | In Linux , Vista | As Vista nears the business launch date of November 2006 the articles doing a comparison are appearing thick and fast. Firstly, let me say I’m an advocate of Open Source and what it has brought to the world. It’s given us some great solutions and powers the heart of the internet as we know it and companies like Google have built their business on it. That’s not a bad achievement! However, Microsoft has a formidable offering to both consumers and businesses alike. This offering is only getting stronger through EVO (Exchange Server 2007, Vista and Office 2007) and issues such as the WGA debacle and delays in Vista aren’t going to make the impact of these new technologies any less dramatic. Source: iQubed Blog » Vista...
  • Launch 2007 e-Learning Courses - free for a limited time

    I was browsing Robert McLaws blog entry on Launch 2007 e-Learning Courses and notices a HUGE stack of training courses - well worth checking out. The ones I think you might want to focus on are below - more on the blog. The WSS ones are key for anyone looking at Live people!! ttfn David New 2007 Microsoft Office System - Home & Office Users Free for 90 Days! Course 4622: What's New in Microsoft® Office Access 2007 Summary: This online course introduces the new features and functionality in the latest version of Microsoft Office Access. There have been substantial changes to the user interface in this database application, and this course can help you get up-to-speed quickly. Course 4623: What's New in Microsoft® Office Excel® 2007 Summary: This online course introduces the new features and functionality in the latest version of Microsoft Office Excel. There have been substantial changes to the user interface in this spreadsheet application, and this course can help you get up-to-speed quickly. Course 4624...
  • Partner Perspectives - UK magazine for partners - and I'm in it :-)

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006 9:18 AM by UK Partner Online Landing this week The new partner magazine is out this week and it's fab. It's the second edition of the new look magazine that editor Nicola Meek is on point for delivering. It landed on my desk yesterday and I had a read last night over dinner. It really is an interesting read and I got through it in 20-30 mins. There's interesting insights into Microsoft as well as views from partners and industry trends. It blends sales. marketing and technical issues into a compelling read. This issue is all about technology change - very apt given the imminent launch of EVO (Exchange, Vista and Office). I love the front cover - not something you'd expect from an IT company! A problem we have with distribution of the magazine is getting it into your hands. Make sure you've profiled yourself at the Subscription Centre so that you receive it - tell your colleagues so they can get it to. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/partnering/subscription/ and profile yourself...
  • UK Exchange, Vista and Office (EVO) Events from 25th October through to January

    As you may have noticed, EVO is the buzz word at Microsoft - we needed another acronym after all - and the training is underway. Find out more are the UK Events : Event details The Dates 25th October - ICC, Birmingham 6th November - Microsoft Campus Reading 8th November - UBC Manchester 9th November - Watershed Theatre Bristol 10th November - Cavendish Centre London 16th November - Microsoft Campus Reading 21st November - Showcase Cinema Leeds 16th January - UBC, Manchester The content This year Microsoft will launch Microsoft Exchange Server 2007; Windows Vista; and the 2007 Microsoft Office system (EVO). Microsoft has invested almost $20b in R&D and analysts IDC predict partner services opportunity to be around €47billion euros. Don't miss the launch for Microsoft’s EVO partner ready business at venues throughout the UK. Attend the EVO Partner Roadshow to learn about: How to get ready for the launch and exploit Microsoft’s largest ever technology release Solution selling scenarios and demos for EVO and the...
  • New Microsoft UK site for partners around Vista, Office and Exchange 2007

    Lots of information here, so go grab a seat, watch the videos and get the info. Expect this to be updated over time too. Click picture for details Ttfn David
  • Microsoft Partner Virtual conference coming

    We are publishing a long list of mini-presentations, aka the virtual conference on 26th September. You will be able to hear loads about Microsoft, our plans and products from the managers and people in the know. Below are just some of the items I think might be of interest to you. For a full list, go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/partnerconfere... on or after 26th September. Some of the topics include: Karl Noakes introduces the Virtual Partner Conference. David James from Henley Management College talks about what successful businesses are doing today outside of our industry and within it. Hear a discussion between Nigel Montgomery of AMR Research and David James of Henley Management about the UK market trends, opportunity areas and how you can align your business to take full advantage. Steve Marsh talks you through the 2007 Microsoft Office System, addressing key areas including personal productivity, communication and collaboration, enterprise content management and business intelligence. Exploring...
  • James Akrigg on the The Blog Frog - aka why you should blog and why this year is so important - $20B of R&D finally being released on the world - and that means, Office, Vista and Exchange

    If you have read my previous posts on James you will know that I respect him as a friend and colleague, but his arrival at blogging was still a good 12 months late. He describes why you should blog and what made him decide to finally take up the simplest way to communicate with people. Perhaps more interestingly was his number 1 reason: Compelling Event Number 1. I realised that this year is perhaps the year of greatest potential I have ever seen in my 20+ years in the IT industry. Microsoft is about to release over 20 billion dollars of research and development through product and technology releases. There is so much new opportunity that this will enable for customers and partners of Microsoft that I needed a way of communicating more of the details for both technical and business audiences. I wanted to compliment some of the great blogs my team and other colleagues had created by bringing my own insights and useful information to as many people as possible. The answer 'Blog'. Source: James Akrigg ....

(c)David Overton 2006-18