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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July 2006 - David Overton's Blog

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  • Exchange 2007, Office 2007, Collaboration, Business Intelligence and Unified Communications - More PTS-TV Videos

    So, having written about the Vista messages on the PTS TV Channel, I realised that there were a number of Information Worker related TV sessions, so here they are. These cover the areas in the titles, so here they are - this is about meeting the team too: PTS: Collaboration using Exchange and SharePoint Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video View John Westworth's Blog PTS: Exchange Server 2007 Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video PTS: Business Intelligence - Business Score Card Manager / Excel / SQL (BSCM Demo) with Chris Parkes Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video View Chris Parkes' Blog PTS: Information Worker - how to get skilled up in IW and Office 2007 Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video PTS: Information Worker - How important Search can be to your business Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video PTS: Unified Communication Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video View Mark Deakin's Blog
  • How to get content filtering (anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware), archival services, DR / Continuity and Encryption services for your SBS box at a great price

    As many of you know, I have always argued that MS online services only serve to complement our other solutions. One classic example of this is the Hosted Exchange Services - now before you run around with your fingers in your ears shouting "LALALA", have a look to see what they are. These services work with an existing Exchange server - ala SBS, so there is no threat to the SBS system at all. We then offer 4 services which includes those listed below, but the nice thing is the price. On the How to buy page is lists the prices - these are per user and you can start at 5 users - oh, and this is real per user, so if you have 20 aliases for 5 users (eg sales, support etc) - that is 5 users: Estimated Pricing All prices below are based on estimated retail pricing (per user, per month licensing). This pricing would apply to a small business with as few as 5 users. Services Prices Comments Microsoft Exchange Hosted Filtering $1.75 US Exchange Hosted Filtering is a fully managed service that employs multiple technologies to help prevent spam, viruses, and phishing scams from reaching corporate networks and to help enforce corporate email-use policies. Microsoft Exchange Hosted Encryption $1.90 US Exchange Hosted Encryption is a policy-based email encryption service that uses customizable policies based on users, keywords, character patterns, attachment types, and more to identify messages that require encryption. Microsoft Exchange Hosted Continuity $2.50 US Exchange Hosted Continuity is an email continuity service that is always on, providing your user community with access to the last 30 days of email and the ability to send and receive email in real time, even when the primary email system is unavailable. Microsoft Exchange Hosted Archive $17.25 US Exchange Hosted Archive is a managed service that captures and archives external and internal mail, IM and Bloomberg mail according to your contracted retention period. When the retention period is met, messages are automatically destroyed. Hosted Archive includes...
  • Microsoft's Anti-virus and Anti-spam technologies for an Exchange Server - ForeFront

    This is not something for every Exchange / SBS user, but it might be interesting to some. We have released our "ForeFront" security technologies that includes mail clensing as an option. CNet gave it a small amoutn of coverage, but you can get more information from the Microsoft web site . It is worth noting that to buy ForeFront you need a volume license agreement, hence why I said it *might* not be ideal for smaller businesses. For most SBS customers, the Hosted Exchange Services may well be the right answer at the right price. ttfn David
  • Microsoft is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't sort out security in windows Vista

    One again I was scanning the news when this article caught my eye. It discusses the complexity of trying to make a more secure OS for Vista while also trying to enable application compatibility. I once discovered that we had over 10,000 "fixes" in previous OSs to cover for bad applications to ensure they ran, rather than breaking them by putting in place more robust APIs. Microsoft around the time of Windows XP SP2 started to change this, we now favour security over compatibility. Having said that, we have put in place a HUGE amount of technology to make applications run, but rather than breaking security we put in new ways to allow them to work without opening up a security hole. In my opinion, one of the biggest holes in Windows today is the number of users who run as administrator and then ignore any warnings we put up. If we had a dialog box that said "By clicking OK you agree for us to scramble all the files on your hard disk" I wonder how many people would click OK if it let them view the website, or download the "You must watch this" file. To combat this we have obviously done loads of stuff, which I have blogged on before, however there are some blogs worth looking at. From an application compatibility point of view I would start here . The testing of security is obviously a key process and the organisations involved are discussed on the Windows Vista Security Blog . Obviously one of the most commented and seen sections is the User Access Controls that limit the damage an administrator can do and also gives priviledge when required. To understand more you migth want to read this . I am still planning on doing lots of write-ups, just need the time. ttfn David
  • Two PTS-TV videos about Vista

    Windows Vista. An exciting operating system, but is there more to it than "eye candy". Can finding information, making systems easier to manage, support great applications and making another step change in Security really do enough to persuade people to buy? I don't have the answers to this yet, but there are now a total of 4 PTS-TV videos on Vista (2 newer ones with Mike Dixon and Tim Tiscornia and two I recorded a little while ago now). You might want to go see what it is all about :-) Obviously the downloads of Vista Beta 2 have closed, but this will be shipping in Action Packs , so you can still evaluate it yourself. Hopefully RC1 is not too far off and you can see the progress we are making in closing bugs. The videos for PTS -TV are always found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/pts-tv/ and the Vista ones are: PTS-TV: Tim Tiscornia Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video PTS: Vista Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video Vista: Take 2 Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video Vista: Take 1 Stream this video Download video (right-click/save as) Comment on this video
  • SBS 2003 R2 delay and what people are saying baout it - especially Vlad

    Sometimes you have to shout about when you think things are right while others are putting it down. SBS 2003 R2 - I have had sooooooo many conversations over the last 9 months about why this feature is in or out. I ended up being very blunt, saying, this is the 2nd release of SBS 2003, it has a bunch of new features ala Windows Server 2003 R2, yes, it might not have everything in we wanted, but the "Green Check" and SQL 2005 are significant enough that NEW customers and existing customers should look at it. Now, here we are, having just releases SBS 2003 R2 and we are pulling it back in due to bugs, before it has reached the shelves for most people. I was expecting flak, but instead I see comments like this at Vlad's site saying thanks for us actually being bold enough to fix the problem. It is also worth going to his site to see the video!!! This is why I love the Small Biz community - we can be honest with each other. At the Small Biz Blog we were able to say that there is a quality issue and we wanted to fix it before it got out the door. We get credit from Larry for making this move. I have spent 5 years in MS working with partners and also journalists, and this is easily the nicest response I have had for this type of issue, so THANK-YOU small business community for making this an enjoyable place to work ttfn David
  • R2 delayed by a few bad files

    I knew a day or so that this was coming - R2 was delayed because a few of the core files were "old" versions and should have been updated. As expected this will delay R2 being in the shops and at distributors. As expected Susan B has blogged on this and I saw it at ZDNet . The usual SBS Team are saying very little about it, as you would expect, but worth looking at http://seanda.blogspot.com/2006/07/r2-recalled.html . So, still coming, just a wee bit delayed. ho hum - better it is stopped now than when in the hands of customers!! ttfn David
  • Microsoft's online strategy discussed at analyst meeting

    I saw this article from the NY Times and thought I would share it. It is a report on MS plans for Internet enabling even more things that we do. Some key statements from it included: "any big payoff from those investments would not come for a few years" - so this is a long term play "Internet search, according to Microsoft, will increasingly become seamlessly integrated into the Windows desktop operating system, Office productivity software, cellphones powered by Windows and Xbox video games" - I like the idea of hybrid utilities and the fact that search is a tool for me to do something, rather than something I explicitly have to go to a web site to do "In a demonstration, Mr. Mehdi showed some of the work being done by a group exploring the future of advertising in Microsoft’s research labs. In a digital television prototype, a viewer who liked a dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in an episode of “Sex and the City” could click on it, automatically pausing the video, and on the screen an Internet search result would appear, identifying the dress, its maker and a link to buy it" - contextual use of the search utilities - buying a dress rather than searching for a place to buy a dress. "Microsoft executives acknowledge that as computing increasingly gravitates to the Web and often toward ad-supported services, it creates both a technical and business challenge for a company whose great strength is in personal computer desktop software. But the Microsoft vision is that Internet services can complement rather than cannibalize the company’s traditional business if they are built into products like Windows." - This is key for me - people often ask me why Microsoft supports hosted services, Windows and Office Live and products like SBS. The answer is choice, and the fact that one day people will need it all. Imagine a server that has services that make it a better product - that is where we are headed. Some people say SBS and hosted Exchage compete, but they...
  • Microsoft releases campaign builder tool for partners - Non-marketing folks can use it (as well as the marketing ones) as a step by step process for delivering Microsoft aligned marketing campaigns to your customers

    Imagine the scene - Microsoft is running a marketing set of events and awareness to encourage customers to buy their technology. We tell customers that they need to work with SBSC specialists and point them to the bCentral web site. However, at the same time, you also get the materials you need from Microsoft to run your own campaign - be it post cards, handouts, telephone scripts, letters. And using a simple tool it will take you a few minutes to create the materials. Below is a walkthrough of how I built a campaign for SBS using 5 types of material (Telemarketing script, Postcard, Business Letter, e-Mail and Flyer) 1st off, you need to visit the Campaign Builder Web site and log in. This enabled you to choose the campaign that is right for you. You may notice it looked at the fact that I am a registered partner with the SBSC badge, so suggested the SBS Campaign (there are also campaigns for solutions that major in Office, Windows, CRM and so on). One I had selected the campaigns, it is simply a case of walking through the process. I ticked the boxes for all 5 templates offered and hit the next button. I then proceeded to fill in the details for each template, modifying them from the standard MS text where desired and inserting my logo etc. At any time I could stop - so after I had competed the two above, this is what the summary of the process showed: I then continued on in the same vane and completed the e-mail, flyer and call script. This then took me to the fulfilment screen - here I can choose to have these printed and potentially managed by Arvato, or I can take the materials and run. I opted to download the materials for myself. I then had the ability to download these materials - very simply really. While I would strongly recommend you do not use the materials I produced - you can see them here: Campaign Builder - Business Letter.pdf Business_Letter-Letter.mht Business_Letter-Envelope.mht Email.mht Flyer.pdf Flyer-Front.mht (zipped) Flyer-Back.mht Postcard.pdf Postcard-Front.mht Postcard-Back.mht Telemarketing_Script...
  • UK Research shows that small business owner managers are doing everything to avoid working at the weekend - is this good or bad news for IT suppliers?

    I came across this article which suggests that small business owner / managers are avoiding working at the weekend. The article is backed by research from Barclays Bank . There are a few facts that really sound out to me: The development and uptake of new technologies is having a positive impact on hours worked: - 46 per cent of businesses with internet access work a standard 5 day week, compared to just 35 per cent of those without. Owners of small and medium businesses in the UK work 24 hours longer each week than the rest of the UK workforce 43 per cent said they now will not work weekends compared to 36 per cent in 2003 and Sundays have become even more precious with only 29 per cent admitting to working on that day compared to 36 per cent in 2003. On average entrepreneurs are spending over 15 hours a week – equivalent to almost two full days for most workers – on administration. Six out of ten entrepreneurs feel that regulation is a barrier to doing business, particularly in larger SMEs, where owners highlighted the impact of employment regulation (PAYE and payroll, health and safety, pensions) and accounting regulation (tax and VAT). #1 is a real win for putting in IT and internet connectivity, could you ask your customer "would you like to reduce the hours you have to work? Research from Barclays suggests that you are 11% less likely to have to work longer than a standard 5 day week with Technology helping you" #2 and #3 show that these business owners do not want to work at the weekend - depending on your relationship with your customer and their requirements, this either means you no longer have to (so they want to see you work which means it will be a week day - hurray) or their "free down time" is the weekend. These points also provide the capability to talk about how going mobile with SBS and either Windows XP or Windows mobile could if not unleash them from the business, enable them to work from better locations. #4 is also a real winner - if administrivia really is such...
  • Why Microsoft Betas are often broadly available and the changes coming to the Office Ribbon Bar to resolve some of the biggest complaints about it

    Earlier Tim said he thought Microsoft betas were too common and that they were more like unsupported released products. Some would say that at one time, Microsoft used to release its products with all the bugs and charge customers full price to beta testing them. The truth is that we need more people to tell us what they think about our products. We need IT people, business people, customers and more, however the 1st group we need are our partners -if they don't think they can sell, use and build solutions with our product, then we have lost our sales force. That is not to say that we should not offer assistance here, but the critism and feedback is very welcome. I commented on the same blog back to Tim, so will not re-cover that ground again. So, Office and the Ribbon bar - the loss of menus in Word, Excel and PowerPoint has been quite a talking point and the replacement with the Ribbon bar has been refreshing. Finally, findign the function you want is easier - sometimes you even find things that have been there a little while, but you just never knew how to find them. However, people want more control and additional features. I am glad to say that this is coming. More information on this can be seen at http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/07/20/672345.aspx , which includes some nice videos: http://officeblogs.net/UI/MenuTabs.wmv - shows how the ribbon can be set to autohide with just the tabs showing unless clicked on - so acting more like menus http://officeblogs.net/UI/MenuTabsHigh.wmv - higher quality video of the same functionality http://officeblogs.net/UI/MinimizedKeyboard.wmv - shows how keyboard access is delivered with the ribbon bar that is it for now on this ttfn David
  • Sorry Tim, but the Exchange beta has been updated

    I should not poke fun at Tim - sorry mate. The Exchange 2007 beta 2 has released. It can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/beta2 and a nice news article about it can be found at http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3622081 . To find out more about the product, you need to go look at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/E2k7Help/e2715491-5b98-4d85-acc7-e038cf3f46ca.mspx?mfr=true The list of new features includes, however the unified messaging piece is key for me.: • Exchange Management Console The Exchange Management Console, one of two new administrative interfaces for Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007, is based on MMC 3.0, and is required to install and manage Exchange 2007. The Exchange Management Console combines all of your management tasks into one user interface. By using the Exchange Management Console, you can manage all Exchange servers, recipients and organizational components within your Exchange Server 2007 organization. • Exchange Management Shell The Exchange Management Shell is a new task-based command line shell and scripting language for system administration. The Exchange Management Shell performs every task that the Exchange Management Console can perform and additional tasks that cannot be performed in the Exchange Management Console. • Unified Messaging Exchange 2007 includes support for Unified Messaging (UM). Unified Messaging combines multiple messaging infrastructures into a single messaging infrastructure. Therefore, Exchange 2007 UM-enabled users can receive all voice mail, e-mail, and fax messages in their Exchange 2007 mailboxes and can access their mailboxes from a variety of devices. These devices include mobile devices and cellular, analog, or digital telephones. • Performance improvements Exchange 2007 supports deployment on a 64-bit architecture for improved performance and capacity. Because of the move from a 32-bit architecture to a 64-bit architecture, the Enterprise Edition of Exchange Server 2007 now supports a larger...
  • looking for bugs in Vista at the moment is the right thing to do, but to say that by finding a bug constitutes a security risk just makes me laugh

    Symantec Continues Windows Vista Bug Hunt I saw this article and it just made me want to cringe. Symantec have released a report that has rightly pointed out issues and concerns with the new technology in Vista. Every time code is changed there is a risk of inserting new security vulnerabilities, however, new code is the way of new products and the evidence from Windows Server 2003 and SP1 vs Windows 2000 shows that the processes Microsoft goes through has a real and tangible impact on the security quality of the applications. Now, security is indeed a key feature of Vista and while we all know there will be a security patch for the product at some point, jumping up and down and pointing the finger at bad code before we have finished the security sweep or even got out of beta is not likely to reflect life once the product releases. I have to say, this looks like someone getting a little upset with the features in Vista and therefore saying - look, you need us because they are not good at this security stuff. Obviously I have absolutely no official connection here, just laughing at the implied statements that are being blown up in the press. For information on the Vista security features, go have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/businesses/security.mspx ttfn David
  • IE7 to become your befault browser - by default

    I read about this internally yesterday and then on the blog posts today - IE7 will become part of the core OS when it is released. What does this mean - simple, unless you load a " blocking tool " similar to the XP SP2 blocking tool, then IE7 will ship down to your PC as a security update. Why - well IE7 does make the browsing experience much more secure using the including ActiveX Opt-in , the Phishing Filter and Fix My Settings features. ttfn David
  • Have you used Office 2007 yet and wondered why the UI has changed (the Ribbon Bar) in some applications and not in others (eg Outlook)?

    I love Office 2007. If you have not yet downloaded or played with it, pop along to http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/overview.mspx to either download the bits or even better - played with it online without download the software!. There is also a nice set of videos, including a one on the UI to be found at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/ui/video.mspx?showIntro=n and a fuller set of info at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/ui/highlights.mspx?showIntro=n However, this is a little polished , so you might also want to go browse these two blog entries for more specific information: Outlook and the Ribbon - http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/01/18/514300.aspx What programs get the new Office UI? - http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2005/09/30/475687.aspx that was it - simple, but hopefully effective. ttfn David
  • Find all the Microsoft MVP and employee blogs around SBS 2003

    I just found this tool that lists all the MS & MVP blogs that relate to SBS - they can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/communities/blogs/PortalResults.mspx?ResultPage=1&Charset=iso-8859-1&BlogPart=Blog&BlogCategory=f9e5172a-da57-4efb-ac8d-3eebbfeecf1f or via the OPML File . ttfn David
  • Too technical to successfully sell or market you and your business and your capabilities - think again!

    I often find it interesting when talking to many small business partners about their business. These people are often very credible and capable technically, but struggle when it comes to "running a business" especially on some aspects of "marketing". I have been wondering how to offer credible assistance to partners that see themselves in this space, as often described by the book E-Myth Revisited - Why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it - people go in to business for a multitude of reasons, often to make money out of their skills (technical in the case of small businesses) - not to run a business. While on my hunt for information around this area I came across another of Susanne's wonderful blog entries on marketing . She once again articulated that everything you do leaves your customer with an impression of you - so best ensure that every employee (from you down) knows what impression you want to leave. The next thing is to understand some basic tools of being a technical person and how to sell. I have three rules here - which may well be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but always worth checking out: What is the business need? The key here for me is to always ask why someone wants something, not what they want. By understanding what it will enable them to do, or what problem will it solve enables you to make sure this is correct and fits the purpose, rather than it being something they have mis-understood from the sunday papers. Find the business reason and costs are often justifiable at this point in terms of savings to the business Tell stories of yours or others success & benefits through the use of technology. If you are not using it yourself - it is hard to relate to the benefits. If you can tell how another customer "spent more time at home" or "made more cash available" or "became more profitable" or "found customer quotes in 5 mins instead or 2 hours" etc - this is very powerful stuff. Shut up. As technical...
  • Microsoft finally confirm that they are entering the media entertainment device arena - with the Zune

    http://www.billboard.biz/bb/biz/magazine/upfront/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002877378 This web site features an interview aroudn the Zune. Not much is really present in the article, except for the fact that it should ship this year, it will support wireless syncronisation, which could be used for wireless playlist and music swapping. Other places for info on the Zune include - https://www.comingzune.com/default.aspx and http://news.com.com/Microsofts+Zune+to+rival+Apples+iPod/2100-1041_3-6097196.html as soon as I hear more, I promise to tell all :-) ttfn David
  • New UK Vista Magazine, online portal and blogs

    I have been known to blow my own trumpet in the past and today is no exception :-). I currently have a utilities section in Windows XP Magazine and I have been asked to move this to a features column and blog on the Windows Vista magazine. Now they have not seen any of my material, so it is very possible that nothing will come of it, yet it is also possible that this might end up another important source of information regarding the world of Windows Vista and if I have anything to do with it - what small businesses can do with the technology. To visit the magazine, go to http://www.windowsvistamagazine.co.uk and if you want to see the blog, currently written by Jon Hicks, go to http://www.windowsvistamagazine.co.uk/page/windowsvista ttfn David
  • Review of SBS vs 3 Linux Solutions - do these people really know what a business needs

    http://www.crn.com/sections/breakingnews/breakingnews.jhtml;jsessionid=DL55IXWI4XNX4QSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleId=190900821 As always, it is interesting to have to see your own product being compared to others. Having read this article, it is balanced in many ways, but a few things annoyed me. They compared the Premium version of SBS to the Linux versions, even though no Premium functionality was used - and then said it did not compare price favourably. Well, call me a bit cynical, but if the SBS product were to have been compared at the Standard pricing, I think any price difference would have disappeared Having an AJAX enabled web based browser is no-where near as useful to most businesses as the ability to use mobile enabled e-mail on a phone or pda, web based browsing AND full blown Outlook in Cached mode which offer better mobile usage and functionality when remote from the office Application compatibility is often a key reason for choosing a server - the SBS server provides a platform for core LOB applications, be they based on Windows, .Net or web (ASP) The SBS Backup is critisized, which can be a length process if you are doing a "tin" replacment backup, however this should be a last resort- when the server has physically "blown up". In the majority of cases, users simply want to recover a file or e-mail. The tools within SBS enable this through the previous versions feature for files and recover deleted items for e-mail, thus removing the need of an administrator to perform any recovery work. OK, rant over - always worth seeing what is being said, but it is all about trying to catch SBS rather than do something better. I am sure Vijay will have something to say on this :-)
  • Windows Vista Upgrade information

    Vista, Your operating system of choice. So how are you going to get there? Hard Disk format, in-place upgrade, new system? Microsoft have released more information on the upgrade matrix - obviously you can not upgrade from anything to anything, so what can you do? Well the matrix at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradeinfo.mspx shows WINDOWS VISTA EDITIONS Home Basic Home Premium Business Ultimate Windows XP Professional Windows XP Home Windows XP Media Center Windows XP Tablet PC Windows XP Professional x64 Windows 2000 Requires clean install. In-place installation option available. There is also a little side note that needs a little more testing that I have not had a chance to check into yet. "If you are currently using Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional x64, you are eligible for an upgrade copy to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista, but a clean install is required." This might mean that all of you with x64 copies of Windows might get the new OS without paying the full price. Before you "go off and celebrate" - I have asked for clarification. ttfn David
  • Channel Business Says "Partners’ Vista marketing must drive solutions message"

    Having attended the [wpc] conference it was interesting to view this press coverage of the Vista message. It is true that Vista (and Office for that matter) will be marketted by Microsoft to both consumers and businesses alike. At the moment we are still building the messages for UK small businesses (We are running a technology adoption programme to get evidence specific for small business customers for the 1st time in the UK), but the article states that partners will need to think about customer solutions in their PR rather than just "safer, easier, faster" type messages. The campaigns will be based on our People Ready Business messaging and we will have materials for partners to use via campaign builder and other tools freely available to partners . ttfn David Related Links: http://212.21.97.148/magsites/cb/content/news/newsarticle.asp?CatID=12&ArticleID=1080
  • Great Training on Small Business+

    Small Business+ has been seen as something that might be scary for a few partners - is Microsoft trying to take away the very business that most partners are searching for? This is interesting as I was talking to one partner last week who said that the types of questions that SB+ sought to answer were the ones that when they charged the customer for the support, customer got upset. The reason for this was that when a customer phones up and asks a question that takes just 5 minutes to resolve, how do you bill them - per the 5 minutes, by the quarter of an hour. If you try to track all of these, you end up in a admin mess and often a costly one at that. Since the original concern, not much in the way of bad press has aired, so I can only assume this was not the killer many had assumed. Also add to the fact that we are working on how to give a pre-selected partner contact details to the customer means that this can become a support service for both the partner and customer rather than a burden to the partner. Now, looking on SB+ this weekend I saw a HUGE array of training available, which can be used to brush up on your skills as a partner, or for your customer directly. For example, I noticed that the following business training is available (as an example of some of the training). Completing the training will enhance your skills, and also enable your customer to further appreciate the benefits of the IT you are providing, so use it, value it and perhaps need more sooner rather than later. All this and more can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/businesscentral/small-business-plus/default.aspx?xid=sbp_bc_lnk Business Training Financial Management: Managing Cash Flow and Profitability Financial Management: Managing Cash Flow and Profitability (UK) Financial Management: Setting Up Your Accounting and Tracking Business Finances Financial Management: Setting Up Your Accounting and Tracking Business Finances (UK) Marketing: Getting Publicity in the Media Marketing: Getting Publicity in the Media (UK) Marketing: Keeping...
  • Updated Technology Assessment Toolkit – Understand your customers and deliver the right solution

    Hopefully you have all heard of the Technology Assessment Toolkit – if not, it is a great set of tools, whitepapers, presentations and other "stuff" to enable you to quickly take your customer through the thought process as to what technology can do for them and how you can deliver the value their business needs. One award submission to the Worldwide Partner Conference awards stated – "We make great use of the Small Business Technology Assessment Toolkit we received from Microsoft. This has proved to be an invaluable tool for us and our clients in outlining their business / IT requirements & defining the solutions. We provide an excellent service to our clients & they recognise this from the hard work we put in for every installation—from sales, design, installation & post-installation support—they know they are in good hands and we would never let them down." As to the actual contents of the toolkit: Ready-to-use "Business Assessment" guide Comprehensive "Technology Assessment" guide Microsoft Small Business Solution Selling guide Three-year planning template Sample proposal Customizable sales and marketing tools Datasheets, presentations, white papers and more Information on Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 and Microsoft products designed for small business, such as Office 2003 Small Business Edition, Windows XP Professional, Microsoft CRM 3.0, Windows Mobile, and more To learn more about this, go visit https://www.mssboffers.com/default.aspx . There is also the readiness centre to learn about best practices on using the toolkit to be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40029617 Ttfn David
  • How to open Office 2007 Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in Office 2003 and Office XP

    This is a straight lift from a recent TechNet newsletter, but if you don't get it... Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 Microsoft has added new file formats to the 2007 Microsoft Office system to reduce file sizes, improve the recovery of corrupted or damaged files, and improve integration with external sources. The Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 file formats (Beta 2) ensures that users of Microsoft Office XP and Office 2003 can exchange documents between Office releases. Get more information on the Open XML file format page. ttfn David
  • Would you like addresses and contacts in Outlook to have access to great Live Local Maps?

    Just spotted this one on the download list. If you want to get map information directly in outlook, visit the Microsoft mapping service (local.live.com) to download the outlook tool . According to the site this tool enables you to map your appointment and meeting locations directly from within Microsoft® Office Outlook®. Get driving directions, print detailed maps, find optimized trip routes, and estimate travel times. Receive reminders based on the estimated travel time. Even save details to view when you’re offline. It also allows you to send Outlook appointment location details to others—even those without the add-in. Finally you can quickly locate restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, gas stations and other points of interest near your meeting location and map the best route. ttfn David
  • Finding device drivers for Windows systems

    Every so often someone asks me how to get device "xxx" working. Obviously the 1st stage to this is to finding the right device driver. Sometimes this can be hard to track down - one thing to look for is the hardare ID from device manager. The ID is made up of the bus type, vendor, major and minor ids. You can do a search for the vendor ID on the internet and once you have that, try their site for a device driver. This is sometimes a long winded process, but normally yields results. One alternative that I spotted today to this was the Microsoft Technet site for drivers . This site has both Microsoft controlled and non-affiliated sites that can help with the device driver searching. When Vista comes along, searching for device drivers will be an even bigger goal of the Update function that ships in the box. ttfn David
  • Power cuts due to the weather

    Folks, while the server is on a UPS now, the internet conenction seems to be more sensative to the lighting and thunder outside :-) Hopefully the server will not be down too often. ttfn David
  • David Overton moving to a solution / revenue based role (it means I need to help partners sell)

    Many people ask me what I do and sometimes they are amazed with the answer "I help Microsoft Partners build solutions that deliver value to their small business partners – for free". This is a great job and part of it is to engage with as many partners as possible to improve the quality and knowledge around the solutions that can be built upon Microsoft technology. This year my role has a slightly different focus, but the way I achieve it will have many similarities. It has becoming important for me to ensure that partners are not just technically capable, but also selling solutions, sometimes even offering their customers alternative licensing options to suit their business needs. Some may see this as me selling out in some way, but while I love technology, if it is not applied correctly and you and I can't make money out of it, then there is a limit to the business value of the technology. I will still be blogging, posting on both business and technical ideas, but also be discussing how to sell solutions, what the licensing options truly mean, what extras you can add to a sale to add value for you and the customer. I'll even be discussing how online services are an opportunity for you, but more on this later. On this note, is there more I should do to help you sell more, have more customers and make more money? If so, let me know what is needed, whether it is something from Microsoft or David. Comments are open on this one, so fire a comment onto the blog. Expect to see a post on the work we are doing with the Technet team to get you even more technical resources and the process for access to all those nice betas, hosted services and where they fit as part of a solution and the options on licensing to make it easier for your customer to understand the value of technology and even buy earlier. Ttfn David
  • After Vlad’s suicide note, and Susanne said people were changing their lives, what is happening in mine

    1 st off, go and read Vlad and Susanne's blog entries. Is this a so long and thanks for all the fish post? Have I been lying to you all this time and I don't really care about the community or the partners that toil in this part of the business? No, or at least not to it all, but my life has new perspectives now and this will have an impact. Lets' look at what happened - I went to the Worldwide Partner Conference and helped present at a couple of mobility sessions and attended the 1 st ever Small Business Symposium - 600 people attending to work out about partnering with Microsoft in the small biz marketplace. It was a storm. I also went to a few parties and very, very much enjoyed myself. Those of you who know me well know I don't drink much as I am nearly always driving - well not in Boston, so the drink was certainly flowing too. It got me thinking - what was my end goal in life? "To Live to Work, or Work to Live?" I have a new baby ( http://uksbsguy.com/lizzy ), a family and need my own life and they were not getting the attention they need. Thinking about all this just completed the world spinning effect I felt last week. I spoke to several important and close friends and after wallowing for a week, I am now in fix mode. I did considered leaping off the world right there, finding a new job in the US as it was hot, sunny and without many worries (we called it staying in "LA LA" land), but that would have left the rest of my life in tatters and actually did not help me with what I wanted - it was just a nice place with nice people. So I have worked hard to put things back together, but I have decided that I can't spend the time I currently do with technology - so some would say "no more mister nice guy" as there will be less "let me just fix that for you" things I will do." I've also decided to scratch a couple of the other itches I have had, which means that I am off to get qualified as crew and then skipper for my small sailing bug, maybe do...
  • Understand what the community can do for you–See Susanne, Mark and Tom from the WW Partner Conf

    They were great – they came from the UK and they told the world how to get the benefits of the community – still don't understand it, try reading these: Vladfire Episode 2: SBS Show — True Hollywood Story Vladfire Episode 3: Jump into the community & SBSC with Susanne Dansey Ttfn David
  • Microsoft provides a guide as to what benefits are available to partners

    This is a great little tool . It enables partners of all levels (Registered, SBSC, Certified and Gold) to see clearly the benefits they can get.
  • Queenie (Susanne Dansey) meets Allison Watson, as did Chris, but who is Allison Watson?

    If you know anything about the Microsoft Partner organization then you should know that Allison Watson heads it up. Susanne Dansey comments on her blog that she recently met Allison at the UK Party in the evening at the Worldwide Partner Conference. A bit of background has just hit the press on Allison Watson and it shows how determined she is to improve the life of a Microsoft Partner. Further proof that some of us are human – really. Ttfn David
  • Web site layout changes – temporary while site is upgraded

    I have just updated the site to a beta of the next version of Community Server which means the nice theme I normally use has stopped working. I will look at why next week, so again we are back to the "old" style of interface. Ttfn David
  • Microsoft and Xensource work together to ensure cross-platform simplicity in new virtual world

    Howdy folks, Just saw this over at the Xensource web site . It basically says that Microsoft and Xensource – organization leading the Xen Linux based virtualization tools – have extended their working agreements. A few months ago Xensource licensed Microsoft's VHD (virtual hard disk) format and now this has been further enhanced so that Xen will work with the Hypervisor that will ship for Longhorn Server. This means that if you need to run Windows and Linux, the virtualization technology underneath will actually work for you as opposed to against you. Another step towards MS and Linux interop. We already now support Linux guests on Virtual Server!! A bit more about Virtualization and Xen can be found at http://h0bbel.p0ggel.org/2006/07/18/microsoft-and-xen-sitting-in-a-tree/ Ttfn David
  • How to patch your SBS 2003 system using hotpatching and not have to reboot this month (July)

    One of the bad things about the monthly patch cycle is that a reboot is often required. Now while 10-15 minutes of downtime is not a great price to pay for good security, this does work out at a system performance of 99.97% availability for 24x7 systems, so not exactly shabby. With Server 2003 SP1 came a technology that not many people have noticed, called HOT PATCHING - where an OS patch is applied without having to reboot the system, even though a normal patch would require a reboot. Not every patch can work in this scenario, but if you can reduce the issues, so be it. Looking at this month, many of the patches are for office etc, but there are 3 for Windows Server, of which 2 can be applied as hot patches. Teh one which can not is the DHCP one, so if your server is not using DHCP client, i.e. is using static IP addresses, then you do not have to rush to patch this. In this case, you can use hotpatching. Simple download the two downloads and run as below: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=48f03ad7-38f9-48f4-bbfc-14c52e9c942a&displaylang=en http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=c5e274a8-f962-4944-8878-6b88b1592bbf&displaylang=en WindowsServer2003-KB917159-x86-ENU.exe /hotpatch:enable Windowsserver2003-kb917537-x86-enu /norestart /hotpatch:enable that is it - your system will update and not need a reboot. Amazing ttfn David
  • Summary of Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) just before I leave

    so, I have about 5 mins to write this, so it will be short & sweet. From the Small Business pre-day: event was sold out people told us licensing was still not up to scratch, but Eric Ligman's lessthancoffee.com site was very useful Much of the information for people was how to run a small business as it 1) enables us all to understand what is going on in the minds of our customers and 2) since many SBSC members are small businesses, hopefully gives them some ideas on how to be more successful as a business The Sloan Brothers were the highlight for me in advice ( http://startupnation.com ) - they said Got for 10% of the Watermelon, not 90% of the grape - this basically meant get funding and help to grow your business - keeping ownership of your business is more than just the number of shares - it is being there, so even if other people own 90% of the equity, you are still in charge. Outsource non-core skills Hitch your wagon to a star - eg Microsoft, but also someone local who will recommend you - so you get business by the power of recommendation from someone your customers will trust Harness the eye of PR - basically, PR is whatever you do for it, but use it, write it yourself or outsource, but make it have impact Manage your burn rate - know at all times how much cash you have and balance needs vs this my favourite - Know thy end game - to help you make decisions about all of the above you need to know what you want to achieve - is it to sell the business, to chair, to work until you are 90.... what is it - know this and many decisions canbe done on does it help me achieve this or not. There were many other announcements at WPC, which can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/wwpc/materials.mspx One other key thing that James Akrigg said to me: "Why are we always talking to people about their pain points? We also need to find out about their aspirations. " This was a key thing for me. ttfn David
  • tell me and others what is a good post in the blogs

    Hi folks, have you noticed that some blog entries have a star rating - did you know that you can let me know what is good/useful and bad/undesireable by simply clicking on the stars - lets see some ratings going on!! ttfn David
  • Virtualising SBS 2003 - the low down

    This question was asked internally and I thought the information was worth sharing, so thanks to Mark Stanfill for providing the answer: SBS 2003 is supported in virtual environments. The only unsupported component is ISA 2004, which (for rather obvious reasons) is not supported on Virtual Server (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/897614/ ). Exchange also has a number of hardware and software requirements that need to be very carefully weighed against a hardware solution. For the complete rundown, see these articles: Support policy for Exchange Server 2003 running on hardware virtualization software http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;[LN];320220 Microsoft Virtual Server support policy http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;[LN];897613 Running Domain Controllers in Virtual Server 2005 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=64DB845D-F7A3-4209-8ED2-E261A117FC6B&displaylang=en Virtual Server Technical Overview White Paper http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/overview/vs2005tech.mspx ttfn David
  • Virtual PC is now free - so you can use it to build better demos and carry them with you, or run legacy OSs on a PC for compatibility reasons

    Hi guys, here at Partner Conference and one of the snippets I picked up is that Virtual PC is now a free download, following the lead Virtual Server. There are restrictions I believe, in the number of hosts, but how great is this. The product can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/downloads/sp1.mspx ttfn David
  • Skype vs Windows Messenger

    As a rule I use my mobile to make calls - I know this makes me very 20th Century, but since I still listen to some 80's music, I guess we'll all just have to live with this. When I have used various VoIP solutions I often find the mike on my PC has let me down (I often forget the headset) or the comms is just not up to it in the hotel I am staying in. Having said that, many people use skpye. When looking at this option again, I came across these blog entries which I thought game interesting food for thought. Do you read the EULAs?? Why Skype is Bad Why Skype is Bad (part 2) Unified Communications and more about Microsoft ttfn David
  • Do you wish you could see what you were looking for in documents, mails etc - now you can as search and find are improved

    You may have noticed that enabling people to find the right piece of information has become a bit of a religious event within Microsoft. Search tools to date include LookOut Windows Desktop Search aka WDS MSN Search Live Search Vista However things have continued to improve with these engined and Office 2007. For example, you can be inside Outlook, type a word in the search bar and within a fraction of a second have returned to you all the mails, calendar items or contacts that have that word in. You can even type something like "from:David received:last week" and get the mails from me that I sent last week. One nice featrue is that a nice yellow highlighter pen will show you where in the mail etc the magical words are, so finding them becomes easier. Obviously the new search engine in Vista / WDS will find documents searching the content itself. I then saw this post, saying that the same process can be delivered from inside a document , so highlighting all the nice words you were looking for - makes it easier to find the right thing now! ttfn David
  • We came, saw, listened to the feedback and now Office 2007 will work with Open Document Format documents to enable interchange

    So, what we are not doing is throwing away the excellent Office Document XML standards as these make accessing information inside a document a dream compared to other standards, however we are ensuring interchange can happen. Darren has more info on his blog . One thing, if you don't believe me about the two XML formats, create a document in both and see which is easier to extract the info from :-) ttfn David
  • The Information Worker Center aka office podcast place - lots of info on all office 2007 products and technologies

    While browsing the web today I came across this place (The IW Center) which describes itself as "TheIWCenter.Com is a site created and managed by me, Shawn Murray. I happen to work for Microsoft as a Solution Specialist focused on information worker products like Microsoft Office, Sharepoint Portal Server, Live Communications Server, etc. I maintain this site in my spare time and it is not officially associated with my job or Microsoft Corporation. As such, the content and opinions on this site are mine, not necessarily those of Microsoft Corporation. Here you will find webcasts, news and other content on Microsoft's information worker products. These include Office, Sharepoint, Live Meeting, Groove and many others." Sounds pretty interesting I thought, so digging a bit deeper, this site has some great content. I recommend browsing around the site, but some items I thought you might find useful: Office Professional 2007 Prodcast - Mark Alexieff, Product Manager Excel 2007 Prodcast - Michael Worosz, Product Manager Create a Heat Map in Excel 2007 Tips - Rights Management Services Access 2007 Prodcast - Mor Hezi, Senior Product Manager Groove 2007 Prodcast - Ryan Hoppe, Product Manager Infopath 2003 Prodcast - Gray Knowlton, Senior Product Manager Infopath 2007 Prodcast - Gray Knowlton, Senior Product Manager Part 1-New Office User Interface Prodcast - Jensen Harris, Lead Program Manager Part 2-New Office User Interface Prodcast - Jensen Harris, Lead Program Manager OpenXML File Formats Prodcast - Gray Knowlton, Senior Product Manager Outlook 2007 Prodcast - Jessica Arnold, Product Manager Windows Workflow Foundation Prodcast - Paul Andrew, Technical Product Manager Office SharePoint Server 2007 Prodcast - Tom Rizzo, Director of Office SharePoint Server have a look and let me know what you think ttfn David
  • Making vista more secure using PatchGuard and Address Space Location Randomisation

    For those really, really into making a system secure you will know that if a system is compromised, if done well, then the machine is owned by someone else. However, that does not mean that you can't make it hard for someone to "do it well". Today I was reading about PatchGuard that will make all this much easier. Amongst other things, it includes the ability to remove the ability to predict where a key piece of information will be in kernel memory. This is how things like Blaster worked - they could predict where key information was. This technology would skupper the route used by Blaster. ttfn David
  • Off to Partner Conference in Boston - see you blogging from there

    Hello, just a quick note to say that I am due to fly today @ 11am to Boston for the Partner Conference - if you are going then I will see you there, if not, you can read about it here. ttfn David
  • Want training for Windows SharePoint Services V3 - well it has started

    I saw this and thought people might be interested to see that we have various items of training available. The item on the webpage that caught my eye was: Introduction to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Virtual Lab Implementing and Administering Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Virtual Lab If you are considering running extra WSS sites for your customers, then this is something to consider for the future. While SBS wizards may not support Office 2007, you might choose to upgrade the Companyweb site anyway, so this is important information. ttfn David
  • What will Vista look like if you don't have an ace graphics card (ala many machines bought over the last 3 years with less than 64MB graphics RAM)

    I saw this over at the Windows Vista blogs and realised that the original graphics for people withotu higher end graphics were really not up to scratch. Looking at the site, you can even see a nice example of "glass" and the new standard theme side by side. hurray! ttfn David
  • So you intend on loading WSS V3 somewhere - read this first

    Just pop along to http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2006/05/30/607260.aspx and read the WSS information. Simple David
  • Vista Complete PC Backup and Virtual Server / PC disks

    I spoke to Matt in our team recently about the backup and disk image technology in Vista and lo and behold, off he went and wrote a whole blog article on it with some fantastic links. The backup in Vista has been critised by quite a few as it does not allow the user to perform granual backups, however I do think that most users who want to backup their documents are more than capable fo simply draging their documents to a CD or DVD and having it burn. For those who want a more robust backup, the Complete PC backup of Vista does a full system image backup. While some find the lack of control fustrating, every end user I have spoken to simply wants a reliable regular backup - nothing more - and this is delivered excellently. ttfn David
  • UK Managing Director Leaves the UK bound for Microsoft Corp - welcome to Gordon Frazer from South Africa

    Today we had a bit of a kick of for FY07 (Financial Year 07 in Microsoft) and a review of FY 06. We had a healthy year with excellent growth (this is no way a prediction of the MS Company results) and we also did a bit of sweeping a few things out. It has been speculated for a little while that Alistair Baker would be moving on and today we had it confirmed. As of 31st July, the new MD of MS UK will be Gordon Frazer from the South African Sub. He did seem like a very positive and fired up person, so I think this will be nothing but goodness, as will having another Brit in the power halls at MS in the States. For the press release, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/press/content/presscentre/releases/2006/07/PR03662.mspx ttfn David
  • July SQL 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. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/eval/webcast.mspx?wt.mc_id=sql.ad.01037 Free SQL Server 2005 Training Whether you are interested in database administration, database development, or business intelligence, you can access the E-Learning topic you want, when you want it, and learn at your own pace. Each lesson includes hands-on virtual labs and offline functionality. In addition, you may consider taking a free Microsoft Skills Assessment to help you meet your Microsoft SQL Server 2005 training goals. You'll receive a learning roadmap with additional skills resources including instructor-led classroom training and books. https://www.microsoftelearning.com/sqlserver2005/default.aspx TechNet Webcast: Introduction to SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (Level 200) Wednesday, July 05, 2006 11:30 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) This webcast introduces Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. We discuss its place in the Microsoft business intelligence solutions strategy, and explore the components and features that comprise the Reporting Services platform. Find out about the many new and exciting features that have been added to Reporting Services since Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Gain an understanding of the report lifecycle, and see how to create, publish, manage, and deliver reports using the new tools and features in SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. At the end of the session, you should be ready to create and publish reports that can enhance your organization's business knowledge. http://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301587&EventCategory=4&culture...
  • How can you improve the performance of Windows Vista with a USB drive or key - have you heard of ReadyBoost yet?

    Windows Vista is no small operating system. The additional graphics functionality, search databases and security measures all increase the amount of RAM needed to run a task. Now of course, buying RAM is quite an easy thing to do on a personal basis, but it you have a small business with 20 people to upgrade, perhaps a simpler solution is required. The Hard Disk - this is the normal solution used by most operating systems when you run out of RAM, but the problem is that hard disks are ssssslllllloooooooooooowwwwww when compared to RAM. This is why "paging" as it is known is such a poor idea except when absolutely necessary. This of course brings us to ReadyBoost - Vista needs more RAM, you and your customers can not necessarily just go and throw some RAM into each system, especially if it is a Laptop, so how does the USB key help? Well, we can page through the USB key, meaning that it also acts just like a hard disk for those out of RAM moments. Most sticks and some hard disks can easily do a 40MB/s sustained read thus giving you some speed benefits. USB hard disk sticks are quite performant, which means you might get a performance improvement just from the "reads" from the USB stick versus the hard disks perhaps a 30MB/s vs a 40MB/s type speed, but this is not the killer reason to use the ReadyBoost functionality. Think about what RAM stands for - Random Access Memory. When does a hard disk fly - when it is streaming a large file, i.e. when it is Sequential access. Paging from a disk often involved moving the head to a location on the disk and then reading an amount of data from the disk into memory. If your hard disk has an 8ms seek time then you are doing well. If we assume that reading takes 0 time, you are still limited to 125 of these operations per second. If each read is accessing just 64KB of memory, the maths works out to be 8MB per second. If the pages being pulled back in are just 4KB in size, the data transfer rate drops to 500KB/s. Now think about the Random Access capabilites of a USB stick - for many...
  • top sixteen lies of a ceo

    I was reading Guy Kawasakiblog entry on the top lies of CEOs and I realised how many of them applied to those "high flying" small business owner managers in a scaled down way, What I partcularly liked what the "what we wished they actually said" section: “I don’t know.” “Thank you.” “Do what’s right.” “It’s my fault.” How many times would a small business specialists life been saved if this was what they actually said to us instead of (perhaps the 17th lie) "I did nothing to it, it just started going wrong... I was not even here when it happened." And of course, that is probably what was said when this all started! ttfn David
  • Livemeeting today @4:30pm for SBSC members on Vista and Office - by Jo Carpenter and David Overton - ask us the hard questions

    Howdy folks, I thought I would remind all those SBSC members about the Office and Vista webcast happening today - as it is a livemeeting it will be mainly demos, plus some nuggets on positioning the technology. This is one of my monthly technology webcasts that you are welcom to join. To register (you need to do this a little in advance to get the final link via e-mail), go to http://msevents-eu.microsoft.com/cui/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=118771191&Culture=en-GB and sign up. This is one of the perks of being an SBSC member. ttfn David
  • how to make accessing SBS web areas easier, so making the remote web workplace (RWW) access easier, or sharepoint etc

    I was having a look at the site on OMPL shaing (mine is up there) and I noticed that my blog had been shared by a few people, so I looked around and came across this from Javier an MVP. This post from Javier is entitled "Create easier-to-remember URLs for OWA, RWW and even Sharepoint" and it made me realise how great an this idea is. Just to add to this, I have a 3rd tool to add, which is ISAPI Rewrite, which I use for this site. From Javier's site: If you are running SBS you must know by now that you need to type http://something.yourdomain.com/exchange or /remote to access OWA or RWW from the internet. One issue that I often encounter is that users forget those URLs are (specially if the are technologically-impaired J ). So, what about giving your users simpler URLs? Like http://webmail.yourdomain.com for OWA and/or http://remote.yourdomain.com for RWW It is all so simple, go read his blog entry for more. As I said, he gives two ways to do this, my 3rd is to use ISAPI_rewrite to have lots more control. For this site, to see how I manage domain re-directs and other changes, this is my simple control document in httpd.ini - and did I mention this is a free tool? [ISAPI_Rewrite] # Defend your computer from some worm attacks RewriteRule .*(?:global.asa|default\.ida|root\.exe|\.\.).* . [F,I,O] #move people from old blog to new one RewriteRule (.*)david_overtons_blog_more_technical(.*) $1doverton$2 #provide shortcuts RewriteRule /wss /blogs/doverton/archive/category/1016\.aspx RewriteRule /vista /blogs/doverton/archive/category/1003\.aspx RewriteRule /sbs /blogs/doverton/archive/category/1002\.aspx RewriteRule /office /blogs/doverton/archive/category/1004\.aspx RewriteRule /lizzy /photos/doverton/category1018\.aspx #redirect people from http://ukvistaguy.com to the vista category at uksbsguy.com RewriteCond Host: ukvistaguy\.com RewriteRule / http\://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/category/1003\.aspx [I,RP] ttfn David
  • 70-282 Exam - what has changed, what has not and how it stands now after all the feedback

    Howdy. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the huge changes to the 70-282 exam, especially following people helping us with the 71-282 beta exam work. Having worked many hours as an investagtive reporter (at least 2) and searched many a rubbish bin, I now have a pretty good answer to what happened. I managed to get this statement from the "right people" inside Microsoft. In short - 71-282 was a beta which had some things in it that did not make it into the final revised 70-282 exam. "70-282 Clarification around the introduction of a new version of the exam In Early 2006 Microsoft felt that exam "70-282 Designing, Deploying and Managing Network Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses" had not been performing at the Microsoft standard. Microsoft constantly reviews customer feedback and exam statistics, and determines if exam item changes or additions are required. To keep this exam current and valued by our customers and partners, Microsoft revised the questions and carried out testing of the new exam with a cross-section of Microsoft Partners and internal staff. This group was made up of people who had sat the previous 70-282 exam and of people who had not yet sat the exam all coming from the Small Business Specialist Community or SBS MVPs. The beta exam was coded 71-282. Candidates who sat and passed 71-282 will be given credit for the 70-282 exam. In March 2006, once testing was complete, the revised 70-282 exam was launched. The exam format has changed slightly, but the content continues to reflect the required knowledge for designing, deploying and managing network solutions for the small and mid-sized business. To be successful, you will need adequate knowledge of Microsoft Small Business Server, Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory. All existing training and prep materials contain information to prepare candidates for the current exam questions. There are several preparation options available depending on your experience and current knowledge levels. Details of training courses...
  • Bad links now fixed

    Sooo many of you clicked the links in the posts from the last two days, but got an OWA screen that I had to go back and edit about 16 posts. All fixed now - thanks to Rob for pointing it out. ttfn David
  • Draft release of my web log analyser tool (using IIS Log files)

    People have asked for my tools I use to produce my site statistics, so I have released a draft cut. It should all work. To get the best out of it you need a $20 subscription to http://www.maxmind.com/app/web_services_guide#city and MapPoint , but otherwise it works - without both these it is fully functional, but no maps. The source can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/11/files/entry735.aspx and the exes at http://uksbsguy.com/files/11/files/entry736.aspx . ttfn David
  • So what is new and exciting (such as easier admin) in IIS7 (IIS in Vista and Longhorn), find out here

    The .NET Show: IIS 7.0 Scott Guthrie and Bill Staples provide some details on what IIS 7.0 is, describe new features, and demo how much easier IIS 7.0 is to use and administer. 100k - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2f497db8-06fb-4d30-a00b-abfed571fe9c&DisplayLang=en 300k - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=09f5aefa-b5d2-4568-8edd-50b39912f0da&DisplayLang=en Mobile - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1c6878d1-bebb-4e63-ad89-6768c9881fb8&DisplayLang=en ttfn David
  • ISA 2006 Release Candidate available

    This has been discussed in a few places - ISA 2006 is perhaps not going to offer enough to SBS customers , but if you want to have a look, then this is what you need: Download ISA Server 2006 Release Candidate Trial Software Test drive the new features and functionality by downloading the free trial of ISA Server 2006 Release Candidate Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006 Enterprise Edition Release Candidate http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a7fd89a0-2f8f-4b71-8a37-efc05724c136&DisplayLang=en Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006 Standard Edition Release Candidate http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7b040fed-64b0-4de9-9d99-bbcfa5779fa2&DisplayLang=en ttfn David
  • Reading and storing everyone's e-mail and why I am glad I work for a small business

    I just saw this article at Wired and realised one of the benefits of working for a smaller organisation - this is not me I'm talking about, but you. One of the worrying quotes was: The survey gathered responses concerning e-mail security from 406 companies in the United States and the United Kingdom with more than 1,000 employees. In both regions, 38 percent of respondents said they employed staff to read or otherwise analyze outbound e-mail . In the United States, 44 percent of companies with more than 20,000 employees said they hire workers to snoop on workers' e-mail. Wow, not just the US, but the UK too. Now, should your customer be in the business where they do need to analyze mail, then of course SBS can help - for details on how to set it up, go have a look at the forum entry - http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/334.aspx for the answer - simple and effective. ttfn David
  • SQL 2005 updates - SP1 - worth having for the new management console

    SQL 2005 only seems like it poped out the door a week ago and already we have SP1. Having said that, it arrived in November 2005 and there were a couple of things that people wanted, but we could not ship in time. One was a management console for the repalcement to the free MSDE - this is now part of SP1. Details on how to impletment SP1 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/sp1.mspx . The press release with all the details is located at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/apr06/04-19SQLExpands06PR.mspx , but the key points are: SP1 delivers on this vision in the following ways: SP1 delivers production-ready Database Mirroring functionality for continuous availability. This complements the existing Always On Technologies in SQL Server 2005 such as failover clustering, database snapshots, snapshot isolation and log shipping. Since launch, Database Mirroring has been extensively tested by Microsoft and its thriving customer community to help ensure that it provides the high availability necessary for the largest customer deployments. Today more than 20 SQL Server customers have deployed Database Mirroring into production. “Due to the nature of our shipping business, we needed a system that could support us around the clock, and that means high availability,” said Fabio Catassi, chief technology officer of Mediterranean Shipping Co. “Since SQL Server 2005’s launch, we’ve been involved with the Database Mirroring testing, and we are so confident in the feature that we’ve already deployed it into our production. We have a large global company and need a reliable, scalable solution, and SQL Server 2005 delivers that for us.” SP1 extends business insight to smaller-scale customers and ISVs using the free SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, which includes SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) functionality, Full Text Search and the newly released SQL Server Management Studio Express. This optional set of capabilities is already receiving positive feedback from Microsoft’s ISV partners. “By leveraging SQL Server...
  • Upgrading SQL 2000 and MSDE 2000 to SQL 2005 - in SBS R2 - this could be the sharepoint or WSUS database

    Upgrading MSDE 2000 to SQL Server 2005 Express This white paper discusses the new SQL Server 2005 Express Edition features that are important to MSDE users. It covers how to upgrade your existing MSDE installation to SQL Server 2005 Express and presents criteria to help you decide when to upgrade your MSDE installation to other editions of SQL Server 2005. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sql/2005/msde2sqlexpress.mspx SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Handbook Preparing for a SQL Server 2005 upgrade involves understanding some basic principles that will help you make appropriate decisions and ensure your success. Each SQL Server 2005 component has a unique architecture and life cycle—the two primary areas that will affect your upgrade path. Some SQL Server 2005 components build on a solid foundation to augment, optimize, and stabilize existing functionality. Microsoft has performed extensive, under-the-hood rework of other features to give SQL Server the horsepower and programmability features that your applications need. The new release also provides complete component overhauls and additions to meet a new generation of data-management needs. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sql/2005/sqlupgrd.mspx ttfn David
  • Sharepoint Utility Suite - v2.5 released

    If youuse sharepoint, then this set of tools might be right up your street. You can download them from http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint/downloads/components/detail.asp?a1=724 and the tools are as follows: Folder Tool Version Description SPS\SPSAddCS SharePoint Portal Server Content Source Add tool 1.1 Updated in Release 2.5 An example of how to add Content Sources programmatically in SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Added READ option to read current content sources SPS\SPSPropCheck SharePoint Portal Server Indexer Property Sequence Number Checker 1.0 This tool will check the PropSeqNum values for indexes on the index server, and compare the values on all related Search Servers SPS\SPSPropConfig 1.0 NEW to Release 2!! SPS\SPSProtocolHanlder SharePoint Portal Server Protocol Handler 1.0 NEW to Release 2.5!! Writing a Protocol Handler for SPS was a tedious task, possible done by seasoned developers who were fluent in C++. This project example demonstrates creating SharePoint Portal Server 2003 protocol handlers fast and easy and entirely in .NET managed code. WSS\DeleteSite WSS\RefreshList List Refresh Tool Rebuilds a list for you in case you need to apply the latest template changes on the list. WSS\SPExportWebFiles Document Library file extractor 1.0 Extract files recursively from a document library out to the local file system WSS\SPPruneWeb SharePoint Web Pruning tool 1.0 Removes all necessary subwebs recursively for a web at any level in the site collection, without the need to do this manually. WSS\SPSiteBuilder SiteBuilder test tool 2.0 Updated in Release 2.5!! Create a series of Site Collections and nested webs for testing purposes WSS\SPSiteManager SharePoint Site Manager 2.1 NEW to Release 2!! Allows the administrator to batch backup, delete, restore and repartition sites across content databases. WSS\SPUserUtil SharePoint User Util 2.5 Updated in Release 2.5!! User Maintenance tool for Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server ttfn David
  • Did you know that you can get all the security releases each month on a downloadable ISO?

    I didn't, but a quick search on http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/results.aspx?pocId=&freetext=security%20iso&DisplayLang=en shows that since January you can download each months security patches as an ISO, carry it around with you and patch to your hearts content. ttfn David
  • TechNet Security Postings for June

    New security features in Internet Explorer 7 (Beta 2) http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4979991 Learn about the new security features in the browser's latest version that help better protect your PC and personal information Microsoft Threat Analysis and Modelling Tool, Version 2.0, RC1 http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049706 The free Microsoft Threat Analysis and Modelling tool allows nonsecurity subject matter experts to enter already-known information, including business requirements and application architecture, to produce a feature-rich threat model. Along with automatically identifying threats, the tool can produce valuable security artefacts such as data control, component access control, and subject-object matrices as well as data flows and focused reports. Reduce Your Risk: 10 Security Rules to Live By http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049703 When you manage security you must strive to reduce unacceptable risk while keeping the impact on workflow of the organization and total cost of ownership of the infrastructure to a minimum. Here are 10 key points an administrator should keep in mind while working on a security management plan. Ten Principles of Microsoft Patch Management http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4985813 In the latest TechNet Security Management column, Christopher Budd explores best practices for enterprise update management, designed to help you better protect your systems. Group Policy: Ins and Outs of Delegation and Control http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049704 Delegating power within any organization is not a trivial matter. When it concerns group policy, you need to decide just who creates group policy objects (GPOs) and who can link them to areas in Active Directory. This article discusses how, even though the Domain Administrators are the only people who can create GPOs by default, these permissions can be delegated to deputy administrators so they can create GPOs, alleviating some of the burden. Windows Mobile 5.0 Application Security http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049705 Every Windows...
  • Microsoft AntiGen Products - could these be for SBS customers - only if they have one of the Volume License types, but that is becoming easier too

    AntiGen is a great set of products for providing security technologies. Some of these come in very price competative and feature rich. For example, for spam, smtp and a/v filtering the US price is $1.25 per user per month. For more info see below Microsoft Releases Antigen E-Mail Security Products http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049691 On June 6, Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft Antigen e-mail security products -- including Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager, and Antigen Enterprise Manager -- available to customers July 1, 2006. Microsoft Antigen products help business protect their Exchange, Windows-based SMTP gateway, Live Communications Server, and SharePoint servers from viruses, worms, spam, and inappropriate content. Read about new product features http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049723 or download the new 90-day trials http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049724 to see how Antigen can help protect your messaging and collaboration servers. ttfn David
  • Vista Webcasts for July

    Using Built-in diagnostics in Windows Vista Monday, July 17, 2006 9:30AM - 10:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301591&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Windows Vista Deployment Overview (Level 200) Monday, July 17, 2006 1:00PM - 2:00PM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301597&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Moving to 64-bit Computing with Windows Vista (Level 200) Tuesday, July 18, 2006 11:30AM - 12:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032299835&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Security Features in Windows Vista (Level 200) Wednesday, July 19, 2006 11:00AM - 12:00PM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301585&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Reliability Enhancements in Windows Vista (Level 200) Friday July 21, 2006 9:30AM - 10:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301599&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Imaging Windows Vista (Level 200) Monday, July 31, 2006 11:30AM - 12:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301593&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US MSDN Architecture Webcast: "InfoCard:" Introduction http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5001722 Windows Vista Security Enhancements http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5001723 Interactive Webcast Calendar The interactive calendar will help you quickly find live webcasts that fit your schedule as well as on-demand webcasts to view at your convenience. You can choose your time zone and filter this list by audience, webcastseries, product or topic, and presenter. http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/calendar/monthview.aspx Monthly Archived Webcasts: http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/library/default.mspx ttfn David
  • Fixes and Updates for Vista and Longhorn Beta 2 - Symantec Antivirus, IPSec / firewall race condition leading to memory corruption and activation problem

    Update for Windows Vista Beta 2 and Windows Codename Longhorn Server Beta 2 Install this update to fix application compatibility issues with Symantec Antivirus version 10.0.1.622 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0ce37fb9-b654-45e7-b006-e1728fe076ca&DisplayLang=en Update for Windows Vista Beta 2 and Windows Codename Longhorn Server Beta 2 Install this update to fix an issue where in the presence of Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) or Windows Firewall, a race condition can be hot on multi-processor (or hyper-threaded) systems causing memory corruption, leading to a system crash http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=8cf0c2ec-6a31-46a6-8238-dff1b2eb2025&DisplayLang=en Update for Windows Vista Beta 2 and Windows Codename Longhorn Server Beta 2 Install this update to address an issue where you may be unable to activate the product and become blocked from logging in http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5d21d780-a0e6-42e5-b905-d3a6e702ac56&DisplayLang=en
  • June Technet Articles on Vista

    Ask the Experts: How Windows Vista Delivers IPv6 Prepare for the next generation in networking with this look at how Windows Vista will allow for more advanced applications and networks with Internet Protocol version 6. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/network/ipv6wv.mspx Enterprise Networking with Windows Vista This article provides a high-level overview of Windows Vista enterprise networking technologies. This article does not discuss consumer networking scenarios http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/network/entnet.mspx Joining a Windows Vista Wireless Client to a Domain http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/network/wifi/vista_bootstrap_wireless.mspx Active Directory Schema Extensions for Windows Vista Wireless and Wired Group Policy Enhancements http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/network/wifi/vista_ad_ext.mspx Windows Vista Step-by-Step Guides for IT Professionals http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=311f4be8-9983-4ab0-9685-f1bfec1e7d62&DisplayLang=en ttfn David
  • The best event at Microsofts World Wide Partner Conference - about you and the community, presented by the community - Mark Taylor, Susanne Dansey and Tom Crosby

    This years World Wide Partner Conference should be a storming success - yes, I will be attending for the 1st time and presenting, but that is not why. Why, you ask, well probably one of the most important sessions for those who work in the Small Business market is going to be the sessons on the community. And one of the best will be presented by 3 fine community members in the UK. These people do not work for Microsoft and the community they represent is not owned by Microsoft, but we walk the same path helping eachother out because it has benefit to our business to do so, The short answer is to be there, at the Small Business Symposium on Monday 10th July. Look for the Community presentation by these three. You will learn what has powered the UK & Irish communities both in terms of their success and the individual partner success. They have broadened their relationships beyond just Microsoft and are having real impact with other vendors such as HP, CA etc. Finally, they will deliver a one-two on resources for you, but not necessarily the MS Partner program, but things like SMB Nation, blogs, community forums, events etc. If at the end of it you do not understand how the community can benefit you, your business and how to find the answers easier, then you have been sat in the wrong room!! I will post the room details closer to the time. ttfn David
  • Site Usage stats in – what a month – thank-you

    Hello folks, I have just been looking at my nice log based tool for analyzing site usage and I have to say that the site has grown a trooper. We have more than doubled traffic in terms of web hits and are up at least 50% on unique IP addresses, which is the closest I can get to unique users from my simple logs. To see the stats, go to http://uksbsguy.com/usage_report/jun06 for the June ones and http://uksbsguy.com/usage_report/ytd I have had a couple of people ask me about getting the software I use – I am very happy to provide it, but it still needs some tidying up. My software produces the numbers, but I still have to tweak the spreadsheet (delete a column or two) to import them into MapPoint to get the mapped data. The summary of the site usage is now: Summary Stats Total Hits 174438 Total Unique IPs 5195 Total Web Page Hits 140650 Total Feed downloads 33788 Top consolidated referrers Page URL Hits Google 1962 Bloglines 1010 Newsgator 641 community+server 639 msmvps.com 289 ukvistaguy.com 216 blo.gs 145 search.msn 106 Uksbsguy 71 blogs.msdn 66 Strategicboard 61 blogs.technet 58 Feelor 48 Babyworld 40 Whois 39 uksbsgirl.com 21 Microsoft 19 Live 17 Total Referrers Views (excludes no referers) 53461

(c)David Overton 2006-13