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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  • Tech days 2010 – UK, covering Virtualisation, Office 2010, Windows 7, SQL Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio, the Essential Mix, Rich Client and Windows Phone

    Registration for UK Tech Days events from 12 th to 16 th April is open!. UK Tech Days 2010 is a week-long series of free events run by Microsoft and technical communities to celebrate and inspire developers, IT professionals and IT Managers to get more from Microsoft technology.  Our day events in London will cover the latest technology releases including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft Office 2010, Virtualisation, Silverlight, Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 plus events focusing on deployment and an IT Manager day. Please visit our website for full details: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/techdays and follow what’s happening @uktechdays   The agenda looks like this: Monday 12th April Tuesday 13th Wednesday 14th Thursday 15th Friday 16th IT Pro Days Virtualization Summit Office 2010 - the next wave Windows 7 - Deployment SQL Server 2008 R2 - The Platform Raising the profile of IT Dev Days Visual Studio 2010 Launch Visual Studio 2010 and .NET The Essential MIX Rich Client Windows Phone   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Virtualisation , Office 2010 , Windows 7 , SQL Server 2008 R2 , Visual Studio , the Essential Mix , Rich Client , Windows Phone
  • It has been a while on the blog

    Well hello again, I've been away for quite some time - work has been very time consuming and two members of my family have required some dedicated attention while they have not been feeling well (and no, no swine flu). I'm hoping to start finding more time to "do" the blog and potentially a "tips and tricks" section for SBS 2008 based on my learning's to date. I do still have quite some work backlog, but I'll try to post some of the blog backlog too - I have hundreds of items to post!! See you soon - and keep the questions coming. David
  • Migrating SBS 2000 to Windows SBS 2008 - download document now available

    Should you have a SBS 2000 system that you wish to move to SBS 2008 there is now a documented process on how to do this. Migrating Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 to Windows Small Business Server 2008 Outlines the steps necessary to migrate settings and data from an existing server running Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 to a new computer running Windows SBS 2008. File Name: Migrating_SBS2000_to_SBS2008.doc Date Published: 5/1/2009 Download Size:96 KB Download details: Migrating SBS 2000 to Windows SBS 2008 Note that Exchange is not migrated in itself, so PST backups of all mail folders is required using the process documented in the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/196492 . Thanks David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , SBS 2000 , Migration , Microsoft
  • Preparing for Windows 7 with ask the expert sessions for technical and sales success for sales people

    I saw this internally and thought I had better share via the blog - a number of ask the expert technical and sales events! Are you ready for Windows 7? The industry is preparing itself for one of the most exciting launches - Windows 7. The press is already buzzing with the launch of Windows 7 – are you ready? “ …it starts up relatively quickly, drivers already exist to make to make peripherals such as scanners and printers work with it, and it does clever things that XP, the version of Windows most people still use, just doesn’t ” The Daily Telegraph – 8 th January 2009 To ensure our partners have the opportunity to understand more about Windows 7 advantages, benefits and features, we have launched a monthly series of Windows 7 Live Meeting events. There will be two strands to this Ask the Expert (technical) and Sales Success for Windows 7 (sales). The Live Meeting sessions will focus on different topics during each session and will last 30 minutes and will contain 15 minutes on “how to” information and a question and answer session for you to pose your questions to our two Windows 7 experts – Jamie Burgess & Laurence Painell. To register your attendance on the Live Meetings then please click on the relevant link below. Ask the Expert · Technical focused 15 min session designed to tackle key technical issues that partners and customers may be experiencing with Windows 7 and these will be based on questions appearing in Windows 7 technical blogs and TechNet. These sessions are designed to be interactive, consumable and focused · Aimed at technical staff and consultants within resellers, system builders and system integrators · Hosted by Jamie Burgess – Partner Technology Specialist Date Time Ask The Expert Wednesday 15 th April 2009 16.00- 16.45 Getting Applications Compatible with Windows 7 Wednesday 20 th May 2009 16.00-16.45 Technical help for OEM & System Builders Wednesday 17 th June 2009 16.00-16.45 Technical training and...
  • SBS 2008, Installing, migrating and configuring BOOK now available to pre-order

    [updated 2nd May 2009] Hi everyone. My SBS 2008 book is in now available to order. Details below. If you want to ask questions once you have the book, go to http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?13 . To order the book click http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?1M Small Business Server 2008 – Installation, Migration, and Configuration David Overton Set up and run your small business server making it deliver big business impact · Step-by-step guidance through the installation and configuration process with numerous pictures · Successfully install SBS 2008 into your business, either as a new installation or by migrating from SBS 2003 · Configure hosted web sites for public and secure information exchange using Office Live for Small Business and Office Live Workspaces · An illustrative book for people with basic technical skills and no SBS background In More Detail Available April 2009. Order now! Cover price £24.99 Packt Special Offer £22.49 save 10% Multi-buy Discount £20.49 save 18% Hurray David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , Small Business Server 2008 , Book , Personal , If you only read one blog today , SBSC , Microsoft
  • SBS 2008 Migrations from SBS 2003 – Keys to Success from the Official SBS Blog

    I started to write about this at SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 migration thoughts and issues and Active Directory Health Checks , but after some discussion with the SBS team at Microsoft we now have much more: The Official SBS Blog : SBS 2008 Migrations from SBS 2003 – Keys to Success The purpose of this post is to help you complete your SBS 2003 migrations to SBS 2008 successfully on the first attempt. ……………… much, much more Use this information if you have a non-standard implementation or are concerned about the success of a migration. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2003 , SBS 2008 , Migration , SBSC , Small Business Server 2008
  • Catalog of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Installation Error Messages

    So there I was talking about migration issues and Chris Pucket pointed to this GREAT store of error messages and resolutions for SBS installs.  I've copied the links for now, but expect them to be updated over time!! Still let me know Migration issues on the link above! Catalog of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Installation Error Messages This topic links to information about errors that you might encounter while installing Windows SBS 2008. If you encounter an error that does not appear on this page, see “Troubleshooting Windows Small Business Server 2008” in the Windows Small Business Server Technical Library (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=111318). Click a link to view information about that error message. An error occurred while installing or configuring a Windows SBS 2008 application An error occurred while promoting the server to a domain controller Anti-spam agents for Exchange Server 2007 cannot be installed Anti-spam automatic updates for Exchange Server 2007 cannot be configured Anti-spam settings for e-mail cannot be configured Cannot create the Active Directory structure required to create users, groups, and computer accounts for Windows Small Business Server 2008 Cannot enable network discovery Configure Windows SBS SharePoint Site E-mail antivirus template settings were not applied E-mail distribution groups cannot be created E-mail notifications about the folder quota are not configured Exchange ActiveSync mailbox policy settings cannot be configured Exchange Server 2007 backup and recovery cannot be configured Exchange Server 2007 cannot be installed Exchange Server 2007 tasks cannot be configured Folder Redirection is not configured Gadgets are not configured HTTP Proxy is not installed Incoming and outgoing e-mail for Windows SharePoint Services cannot be configured Internet Information Services (IIS) was not configured Organizational units in Active Directory Domain Services cannot be configured Organizational units in Active Directory Domain Services cannot be created Remote...
  • SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Released to fix Vista AV reporting issue and GoDaddy domain registration issue

    Hi everyone, the first roll-up of fixes for SBS 2008 shipped today. It addresses some minor issues, which is good, but always worth being aware of. From the Official SBS 2008 blog SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Releases Today Windows Small Business Server 2008 Update Rollup 1 releases today. This rollup package addresses the following issues in Windows Small Business Server 2008. Issue 1 The Security tab in the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Console incorrectly reports the spyware and malware status of Windows Vista Service Pack 1-based clients that are joined to a domain. Specifically, some security applications are reported as incompatible in the antivirus and malware status that is reported. Issue 2 The Internet Address Management Wizard exits unexpectedly when you register a domain name. This issue occurs when you select GoDaddy.com as the provider, and then you click Register Now How to obtain this update This update will be available from the Microsoft Update Web site: http://update.microsoft.com More Information http://support.microsoft.com/KB/958715 The Official SBS Blog : SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Releases Today ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , Vista , Windows Vista , Updates , GoDaddy , Anti-virus , Anti-Malware , System Updates , Microsoft , SBSC , Community
  • Active Directory Health Check - Make sure your AD is healthy before you migrate SBS 2003 to SBS 2008

    [updated 29/9/12 with new link] Given the recent comments about AD validation I thought I would share this excellent document on verifying your AD before you begin a migration (or at any other time) Active Directory Health Check - Active Directory This document outlines a basic procedure for validating the health of your domain and is a good practice for iterative maintenance and an excellent pre-check before doing any potentially dangerous domain operations I would add a couple of extra tests to the list in this document, which would be placed after the 1st DCDIAG test, also perform: DCDIAG /test:DNS /DNSALL /e /v DCDIAG /test:DcPromo /e /v DCDIAG /test:RegisterInDNS If you system passes these tests then it is a good indication of health. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , Windows Server 2008 , Active Directory , migration , Microsoft , SBSC , Partners
  • SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 migration thoughts and issues

    I've been part of a lively debate on the Yahoo UK SBS Group about how to migrate from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 and what the issues are.  The information I have so far is good, but I need much more to take it to the product teams. For sure, the issues so far are: Concerns around the "state" of AD before a migration is started - how do you check it - look at this blog post Concerns around the Exchange migration in terms of time taken and failure scenarios - how to remove the chances of this? Concerns around "on-site" versus "off-site" strategies Concerns around recovery options in the event of failures (restore from backup not being ideal if you want it diagnosed) My problem is that I have no data to take to the Microsoft product teams, which means I can't ask them to fix things so this is a two fold open invitation. If you have had an issue, share it via comments below, but also PLEASE e-mail ( doverton@microsoft.com ) as well so I can get in touch with you and potentially the product teams too.  If you put your mail in the blog then others can see it.  You are also welcome to just e-mail me, but then there will not be discussion in public, which might be a shame. Share other concerns so I can get them documented and addressed, but also use the Microsoft support - you can always send me the SR numbers if you want me to tie them together. That is it - may the knowledge sharing continue!   David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2008 , migration , Microsoft , Small Business Server , SBSC , Community , Partners
  • How to upgrade (migrate) from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 on the same system without using a swing migration

    Someone posted this question on a discussion group at work and it got me thinking. If you bought a nice new system over the last 2 or so years in preparation for SBS 2008 (Cougar as was or even SBS v.Next) and had it installed with SBS 2003 you've probably heard that SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 is a 2 box migration and needs the Swing technique to do an on box migration. I've come up with a much simpler solution, but your hardware might need some additions to make it work. So here is what you need: Box with 6GB of RAM minimum (4GB for SBS 2008, 1GB for SBS 2003 and 1GB for Hyper-V server). 1 new disk for SBS 2008 system disk and 1 disk to hold Hyper-V (which could be small if desired or temporary) System that meets the minimum system requirements of Hyper-V ( http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/system-requirements.mspx ) You need to ensure your hardware is really up to spec and is fit enough that you want your new SBS 2008 system to run on it for the next 2+ years, otherwise this may well be a false economy. The process in outline is below. If you need more detailed information, let me know and I'll knock something up (as well as this may possibly end up in the book) Take a full system backup before starting Take existing system and add RAM and 2 disks Install Hyper-V Server onto 1 disk Install Hyper-V manager onto a client PC ( see here for details ) Configure the network to all nodes can connect to a real physical network that has your internet router and firewall on it Configure a virtual machine with pass-through disks that point to each of your SBS 2003 disks. To make a disk visible in Hyper-V console as a pass-through see here . Only configure approx 1GB of memory as you only need it to run well enough to perform a migration. Start and boot the SBS 2003 VM. Check that all services start (or can be started if there is a timing issue) and that all data is available. Install the integration Services Setup disk, run the setup and reboot when asked Create another virtual machine with 4GB of RAM that...
  • Hyper-V Management console stops working after a month or so with error “Cannot connect to the RPC service on Computer ‘xxx’. Make sure your RPC service is running.

    [updated with net accounts command 20/2/2009] This can help diagnose and resolve the issue if like me, it was running fine and then it suddenly stops about 4-5 weeks after it all got started. My initial thought was that some update had changed things as the blog post here documented the initial setup where the same error was seen. The error once again looked like this: However checking all the same firewall and other settings revealed nothing. Finally I discovered that the user I had created had a password setting that meant the password had expired. Simple, yet checking from the command line is a right royal pain. To fix, these were the commands I used: net user <username> “<new or existing passsword>” /active:yes /expires:never /passwordchg:no net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited Simple, yet the cause of so much time trying to fix. Hopefully this will solve it for you too. Thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Hyper-V , Error , User , Password
  • SBS 2008 Forefront Virus protection for e-mail Errors or Warnings - “At least one of the engines enabled for update has not been updated in the last week” – how to solve

    My SBS 2008 installation is pretty good, but one area I’ve noticed some problems was with ForeFront. I either had errors or at best warnings all the time about the scan engines. I would go and hit a manual update, but the bar would be 30-90% across and suddenly stop. When I looked in the event log I could see errors like these below. Searching the internet delivered me the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/939411/en-us which talks about timeout issues, however even with the recommended change things did not resolve themselves. Source: GetEngineFiles Event ID: 6014 Level: Error Description: Microsoft Forefront Server Security encountered an error while performing a scan engine update. Scan Engine: AhnLab Update Path: http://forefrontdl.microsoft.com/server/scanengineupdate/x86/AhnLab Proxy Settings: Disabled Error Code: 0xC0001F58 Description: The operation timed out. Source: Microsoft Forefront Security Event ID: 7003 Level: Warning Description: Not all of the selected engines enabled for updates successfully updated at the last attempt Source: GetEngineFiles Event ID: 6012 Level: Error Description: Microsoft Forefront Server Security encountered an error while performing a scan engine update. Scan Engine: Kaspersky5 Error Code: 0x80070102 Description: Unable to acquire the scan engine update mutex within the designated timeout period. The fix was to realise that the timeout value in the KB was still too slow. The KB recommended creating a DWORD called EngineDownloadTimeout in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Forefront Server Security\Exchange Server and setting the value to 600 decimal for 10 minutes. I’ve now set mine to 900 (384 hex) for 15 minutes and finally all the updates have succeeded. While the console has not shown the change just yet, looking at the events in the event log show that indeed everything is now up to date. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , ForeFront , Security , Updates , Tips , Support
  • Invalid certificate issued to localhost.localdomain when remotely access SBS 2008 from a Windows PC

    This is another question I was recently asked. One particular user noticed that the certificate they saw when accessing their server from the internet did not match that when accessing from the LAN. The certificate looked something like this: This was a little strange as when the system was accessed from the intranet, all things appeared fine. The culprit for them was the SBS 2003 self signed certificate on the same machine. By removing the certificate and then installing the correct new one things got better. To remove the old certificate, start MMC.exe and accept the UAC prompt. Now press Ctrl+M to add a new snap-in and select Certificates and when asked, add for the user account . The do the same again, but select Certificates and Computer Account and hit OK to accept the current computer. Now expand out Personal Certificates and remove any SBS 2003 self signed certificates. To load the new certificates open a browser inside your SBS 2008 network and point to http://companyweb/Lists/Announcements/DispForm.aspx?ID=3 which should give you instructions and the URL. I hope that makes sense. ttfn David Technorati Tags: localhost.localdomain , SBS 2008 , Certificates , Tips
  • Connect Manager for VPNs into SBS 2008 …er, not really, with CMAK information too

    [updated with “roll your own” information and how to make a 32-bit version of the exe file] I love it when people challenge me to solve a question and today’s prize goes to Simon (thank-you for the questions Simon) who asked me where Connection Manager was on SBS 2008? You remember Connection Manager right, to auto configure the VPNs… Well, the instructions in SBS 2008 are a little less simple. Rather than downloading a pre-configured tool you now need to roll your own. The reasoning, which is quite sound, is that you can access almost everything via the Remote Web Workplace, but for some things, you want a VPN and the way to get it can be found here - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc513974.aspx If you want to create a Connection Manager Install for SBS 2008 you need to add the CMAK to the SBS 2008 install. Go to Server Manager and click to add a feature. Install the CMAK by pressing Next. To start the kit, go to the Start Menu, Administrator Tools and then select Connection Manager Administration Kit. Click next until you need to select the target OS. Select to create a new profile and provide the name and filename (8 characters max) Provide the domain or realm name and include the “separator” character – eg “mydomain\” without the quotes. Select no profiles to merge and press Next Embed the VPN Connection name (eg remote.myserver.com as that is what the SSL certificate will say) into the file and then accept the VPN entry Remove the automatically update phonebook options and leave blank Accept the default entries for VPN, Routing tables, IE Proxy, Custom Actions Now accept the default graphics or add your own logo Accept the default information on help files, support information, User EULA screen, additional files Finally accept the answer and build the file: . You can now chose to put the EXE file somewhere your users can access and then they can download it. One problem solved, more to come. IF YOU ARE DEPLOYING TO A 32-BIT WINDOWS SYSTEM, YOU...
  • I’m a PC and I’m a school governor

    Microsoft’s campaign now has David (UKSBSGUY) in it!! I love PC’s, I love freedom to choose between a PC, a MAC or anything else, but I CHOSE PC’s. I love SBS 2008 and I love small businesses that make the world go round. I also love my family and I’m amazed by the people at my local infants school, so I give back by being a school governor. If you want to know more about the school, go to http://www.yateley-inf.hants.sch.uk/index.html . David Technorati Tags: imapc , Personal , Microsoft , uksbsguy , Windows
  • London 2008 - SMB Nation – 5th December 2008

    It has been a while since I’ve spoken about Harry Brelsford, but he was one of the founding lights in SBS and partners.  I’ve attended and presented at several of his events and he is back in the UK on the 5th December.  If you have the time, given the cost is $200, so not a huge amount, come along. London 2008 SMB Nation Europe 2008 - Conference Information Featuring an ''independent'' Small Business Server 2008 event! Speakers: • Harry Brelsford (Bio at www.smbnation.com) • Jeff Middleton (Bio at www.sbsmigration.com) Location: Microsoft London (Cardinal Place) 100 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL Delegate Registration HERE for SMB Nation Europe Agenda: December 5, 2008 – Microsoft Central London 8:30am-9:30am Delegate Registration 9:30am – 10:00am Microsoft Introduction 10am – Noon How SBS 2008 Saved The Economy (Brelsford) Noon – 1:30pm Lunch and HP (Essential Business Server, HP Partner Program) 1:30pm – 3:00pm Migration Techniques for 2008 (Middleton) 3:00-3:30 Come see how Autotask can help your IT Business Run Better. 3:30-5:00 Migration Techniques for 2008 Platforms (Middleton) 5:00pm End of Day Delegate Pass = $200 USD thanks David Technorati Tags: SBSC , Harry Brelsford , Event , Community
  • Virtualisation Adoption Survey - if you are using virtualisation (from anyone), tell Virtualisation.info

    A Quick note - there has been lots of comments recently on who's virtualisation has what share of the market. I've just installed Microsoft Hyper-V server up and running with 3 VMs inside it (HomeServer, SBS 2008 and Windows Server 2003) and I expect a couple of small desktops too before long. Anyway, rather than just guessing, why not fill in Virtualization.info's survey? It took me about 45 seconds to complete at virtualization.info's Virtualization Adoption Surveys . I'll post on how I got everything working after I've got the next chapter of the book done. Should be 4 chapters done by the end of this weekend, although I'm behind a few pictures :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Hyper-V , Virtualisation , Virtualization , SBS 2008 , Survey , virtualization.info
  • Want MIX08 in the UK? Then come to ReMix08 in Brighton on 18th and 19th September and save if you book an early bird place now

    I love what goes on at these events. It would be good to see you there. Here is the little advert: Final chance to save £110 . Very limited Early Bird places left - don't say we didn't warn you! 1,000 web developers, designers, development managers and technology evangelists are going to take the media they love to the next level. Why? Because ReMix UK 08 is getting bigger and better. Scott Guthrie Developer Track Bill Buxton Design and UX Track For Designers, Developers, the Community and Beyond Work Julie Howell, Fortune Cookie • Brendan Dawes, Magnetic North • Paul Foster, Microsoft Evangelist • Guy Smith-Ferrier, Capella • Tim Regan, Microsoft Research • Mike Taulty, Microsoft Developer Evangelist See the website for the growing list of speakers... What's in the mix • Panel discussions to Interactive Mash Ups • Designers and developers hand-in-hand to • All day VJs to conceptual walls • Open Source project, CodePlex • Backnetwork to Moo cards • Photosynth master classes to Microsoft Surface • Our international act to geek bars • Swag giveaways to inflatable lounges • Designing for compatibility and for the wild • Visualising books to sneak previews • The latest developments in IM, VE and IE8 • Latest developments in RIAs and SSDs • WPF and Silverlight applications at work • • The technology Silverlight | Deep Zoom | Mobile | Expression | ASP.NET/AJAX Windows Live services | XNA | Partnering with Microsoft | Photosynth Robotics Studio | Data | Microsoft Research | Popfly | Advertising It's a full-on interactive event. Be a part of something special. Don't forget the Early Bird offer and register today at www.microsoft.com/uk/remix08/ . Early Bird price £239 (inc.VAT), full price £349 from the 301st ticket. See you there! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Silverlight , Deep Zoom , Mobile , Windows Mobile , Expression , ASP.Net , Ajax , Windows Live Services , XNA , Microsoft , Partner , Photosynth , Robotics Studio , Data , Microsoft Research , Popfly , Advertising
  • Why Microsoft Partners should embrace S+S and still deliver on premise solutions

    I was at the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference when Microsoft announced their S+S (Software plus Services) and some partners decided to throw their toys out the pram and start a whole bunch of scare mongering around the partner opportunity. I’ve decided I will cover both off here, so here are some thoughts – please note, this is not an official communication, but simply my view and response having spoken to partners and Microsoft people alike. What are the customer options? A customer can choose from two non-exclusive models for their IT Services – On Premise on Hosted. The reasons why someone might want to have a solution hosted are many, but can includes: Remove IT from premises Remove soft off of the books Outsource the IT management Deliver IT from the best place for their customers (eg where they have low bandwidth) Outsource IT upgrade & delivery Enable simple price per seat solutions Should a customer choose to have a solution hosted then their is a choice as to who hosts the solution – Microsoft or a partner. It should be noted that just because a customer chooses to have some technology hosted does not mean that all their IT will be or can be, nor does it mean that they suddenly become able to do everything that is needed, thus removing the need for an IT partner. Hosted solutions using Microsoft technology is not new, what is new is the Microsoft hosting and much better licensing opportunities for partners to offer profitable solutions without tying customers into complex licensing schemes. So why should a partner keep with Microsoft and S+S? If you are a SBS 2003 aware and was there for the launch you may well remember throwing tomatoes at people like me because we said you needed to move away from relying on making money purely from the install of SBS 2003. It was the configuring, connecting, customising and enabling that was where the money was going – and the setup process was part of the reason as it got much easier in SBS 2003. This trend has continued and many partners now make very little...
  • How to migrate from SBS 2003 to Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008)

    I’ve spoken about migration several times now for SBS 2008 . The short answer is that migration from one box to another is vital. If a customer wants to do migration on the same box, then this is either expensive (and a very long process) or something that requires moving the server temporarily to another system, or as I prefer, virtualising it. Of course, SBS 2003 is not necessarily supported in a virtual environment, but since all we want to do is migrate from it, not “run it”, this should help you get over this. The details of the process can be found in the Windows Small Business Server 2008 technical library . One of the MOST IMPORTANT things to understand is to create the answer file. This is covered in the migration help below: Windows Small Business Server 2008 Migration Help ( Download ) Provides step-by-step instructions for migrating from Windows SBS 2003 or 2008 to Windows SBS 2008. Last Updated on June 30, 2008 Windows Small Business Server 2008 Product Help ( Download ) Provides step-by-step instructions for using the Windows SBS 2008 server software. Last Updated on June 30, 2008 Downloadable documentation for Windows Small Business Server 2008 Before you start – what you need to remember SBS 2008 is a 64-bit solution requiring x64 capable hardware There is NO 32-bit to 64-bit “in-place” upgrade solution SBS 2008 Standard is a single server solution, while SBS 2008 Premium includes the license and software for a 2nd Windows Server system (as part of the domain) SBS 2008 Premium edition does NOT have ISA as part of the solution. SBS 2003 Premium customers with Software Assurance will be able to “make good” their ISA licenses for a limited amount of time after SBS 2008 is released. SBS 2008 Premium edition has the option to use SQL 2008 Standard edition on either server. SQL 2008 can be downgraded Migration options at high level Add a new server to existing SBS 2003 domain and either Remove old SBS 2003 server Purchase SBS 2008 Premium edition and make old server 2nd server using the license as part of...
  • Microsoft wants to know what you want for the UK SBS 2008 Launch? Time to stop saying you want it better and time to start saying what you actually want and would use!!

    One thing I have never been accused of is holding back my opinion and on the Yahoo Groups recently there has been some discussions around what Microsoft has done for partners. As part of the discussion this blog post from Sonal, the UK Product Manager for SBS 2008 and EBS 2008, came up with a question around what do partners want to see in a UK launch. I thought people who read this blog might like to pop over to Sonal's blog and give a voice to their wants. I've seen suggestions from free beer, which was a Joke I was later told, to license pricing, features and benefits, how to up-sell/cross-sell. The problem with the later items is that they are simply personal to the business doing the selling - why have an upsell to mobile devices if your business can't facilitate it? What do you want to see at the UK SBS 2008 Launch? In May 2006 we had a server event for guys (and gals) who sell server - specifically Small Business Server. We split the event into two - the morning event was for those who were new to selling SBS and the afternoon track was for those who already have a great deal of experience in selling SBS. Both sessions went down a storm where we covered off all sorts from market analytics to Windows Mobile with SBS. With the learnings from that event and feedback from YOU, we're hoping to do it again - but better. So, while James tries to uncover how you want your content delivered, I'm keen to understand what exactly it is that you need from us. And it may seem obvious to you. But tell me anyway. As we plan the UK launch event for around the September/October timeframe, it would be really helpful to hear from you on what you need from us - either at the potential launch event, or before that via webcasts. <snipped - contact details on Sonal's blog> SBS stuff and then some... : What do you want to see at the UK SBS 2008 Launch? ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Marketing , Community , SBSC , Partners
  • Moving SBS 2003 to new hardware or performing a migration – Update (QFE) to give you longer to do it (21 days up from the 7 days)

    From The Official SBS Blog : Small Business Server 2003 Migration Update 943494 Released , a slightly old post, but something work highlighting – how to have 2 SBS boxes on the same network for 21 days. Small Business Server 2003 Migration Update 943494 Released [Today's post comes to us courtesy of Justin Crosby] The software license terms for Windows SBS enforce a limitation that permits the presence of only one Windows SBS server in the domain. However, there is a grace period where you can have a second SBS server in “join domain” type migration scenarios. This grace period is 7 days. In some situations, this grace period may not be long enough to properly complete the migration. This software update extends the allowable grace period for the supported scenarios from 7 days to 21 days. Please plan accordingly, aim to complete your migration within 7 days and only use this update for situations where it is needed. Remember, i f you hit the 21 day limit there is nothing that can be done to extend the limit any further. Important: We strongly recommend that you complete all migration tasks before you demote the Windows SBS domain controller to a member server. Once you demote the Windows SBS domain controller to a member server, the grace period is reset back to 7 days or whatever is left from the 21 days (whichever is less) . The update is available at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=64903D3C-3264-418D-9199-2963A599E268 The KB is available at: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;943494 For more information on migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to new hardware please see: http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServerSolutions/SBS/en/library/62e2094e-ad4e-4227-b20e-97a716ed7c861033.mspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2008 , Small Business , Microsoft , SBSC , Updates , Tips
  • SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 video recordings of presentations from the SMB Summit 2008

    If you have looked at the information on setup and install at SBS 2008 Install process (in pictures) and wanted more information then these presentations will be of extreme use to you. They cover both SBS 2008 and EBS 2008. I particularly liked the setup and migration and messaging sessions. SBS 2008 product related sessions SBS 2008 Overview SBS 2008 Setup and Migration Networking Setup and Getting Started Tasks Administration and Management Networking Messaging Storage Management - Backup, Restore, and Server Storage Health and Monitoring Client Experience EBS 2008 product sessions Essential Business Server Overview Installation and Migration Administration and Management Security and Messaging Implementation Differences (between EBS 2008 and SBS 2008) If you want to see more of the information on SBS 2008 , click the link on the left ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , EBS 2008 , Small Busines Server , SBS , Essential Business Servers , Event , SMB Summit , Partner , Community , Small Business , SBSC
  • If you are a Microsoft partner who sells SBS, then please fill in the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Community Survey

    Kevin asked a couple of weeks ago if I could share this – so I’m sharing :-) The Windows Small Business Server 2008 WW Community Survey is live This is the third year we have published an SBS WW Community Survey to the SBS Community. Because of the previous surveys, we have made some adjustments in our community engagement. To name a few; we really worked on putting more focus on the Official SBS Blog. Our Sustaining Engineering team runs mini betas with our MVPs before KB's and Bug Fixes are released via Windows Update. We try to get more involvement in our techbetas from our User Groups. The list does go on. To the survey, the SBS Product Team would like to hear from the Windows SBS Community again. This survey is completely anonymous. In fact, some of you may have to sign out from Live in order to take the survey. So, if you get a PAGE NOT FOUND error message, please log out of Live and click on the link to the survey again. We want to know how valuable your experience is with the community resources and information that is available to you today as a member of the Windows SBS Community. We also want to know what you think could be done to improve your Windows SBS Community Experience. Please take a couple of minutes to provide us your candid feedback via this survey and let us know what you think. SBS WW Community Survey 2008 Thanks in advance for your feedback. Kevin Beares Community Lead - WSSG The WSSG Community Lead Blog : The Windows Small Business Server 2008 WW Community Survey is live Please fill it in David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , SBS 2003 , Small Business , SBSC , Partner , Microsoft , Community
  • SBS 2008 Install process (in pictures)

    Having announced the SBS preview at SBS 2008 RC0 Public Preview I’ve tried to capture the SBS install process in pictures – I don’t think it needs much explanation. If you have an OEM then much of this will be resolved by the Answer kit. To find out about the OEM install process, have a look at TechNet Edge Video- SBS 2008 setup . Other blogger's have covered the release: http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2008/05/windows-small-business-server-2008_28.html http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2008/05/28/announcing-small-business-server-2008-rc0-public-preview.aspx http://blogs.technet.com/sbsaustralia/archive/2008/05/29/sbs-2008-public-beta-now-available-come-get-it.aspx SBS 2008 starts with something akin to Windows Server 2008 and / or Vista Setup Once this is completed, there are extra steps that are specific to SBS 2008: It is possible that your system does not meet quite the right specification – mine has less than 4GB of RAM, while not a blocker, is a warning! You need to set the clock correctly (time and time zone) to ensure all the certificates work correctly Install updates is a good idea!! Some more installs Enter the information about your organisation Now it tries to name your domain, user etc. The marketing messages while install happens: That is the setup part of the process done. The next entry will be the SBS console process to finish the install (and a few mistakes I made). See all the other SBS 2008 items at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Partners , SBS 2008 , SBS , Small Business , SBSC
  • SBS 2008 RC0 Public Preview

    From the official blog – the preview is now available for download After extensive development and private evaluation, I’m pleased to announce that a public preview of Windows Small Business Server 2008 RC0 is now available. Windows SBS 2008 is the next major release in the Windows Small Business Server product family, and it offers a wave of new features for technology consultants and small business owners. There are too many updates and changes to list in one post, but here are some highlights: A new setup and administrative experience that has been re-designed to make initial deployment and day-to-day management significantly easier Many new management features such as extensible monitoring reports, and tools to manage internet domain names, data folders, certificates and more A revamp of the Premium Edition to include both SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition technologies and a 2nd copy of Windows Server 2008 A new server backup wizard built on the Windows Server 2008 block-based backup technologies, which allows you to back up your server in minutes rather than hours A redesigned Remote Web Workplace with new features such as custom links, logos and user to computer mapping Built-in anti-virus and anti-spam support with 120-day trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Windows Live OneCare for Server Integration with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and extranets And of course, updates to Microsoft’s newest server technologies: Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, SQL Server 2008, Windows Server Update Services v3, and Windows SharePoint Services v3 To learn more about the product and to enroll in the public preview program, please visit http://technet.microsoft.com/evalcenter/cc184870.aspx . The Official SBS Blog : Announcing Small Business Server 2008 RC0 Public Preview See all the other SBS 2008 items at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft...
  • How to sell Hosted CRM (CRM Online) in the UK and still retain your customers and a good profit – by working with Increase CRM

    [updated with contact details at 16:38] I have a partners or two that are looking to implement CRM internally and through the conversations about how they could do this came to know of the guys at Increase CRM. The good folks at Increase CRM seem to understand how SBSC partners think because the offerings they have for referral and resellers seem to be quite good to me. if you want the brochure on the subject, let me know, but here is the important piece for partners: What is the Referral Program? Partners in the Referral Program refer their customers to Increase CRM and we offer hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM and support services directly to the customer. Typically, the partner will provide implementation consulting services and may choose to provide first and second line support. Referral Partner Commissions The Referral Program guarantees partners commissions from any customers referred to Increase CRM: Subscribers Commission 5-10 100% of the first month’s subscription fees 11-50 200% of the first month’s subscription fees 51+ 300% of the first month’s subscription fees What is the Reseller Program? Partners in the Reseller Program resell Increase CRM’s hosted services under their own brand and Increase CRM does not contract with their partner’s customer. Typically, the partner will provide all the implementation consulting, user support, system administration and billing services to the customer Reseller Wholesale Fees The Reseller Program guarantees partners a low wholesale fee for hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM that partners can mark-up and offer to their customers, as described in the table below: No. of Users Reseller Partner User Subscription Fee 1 to 250 £30 per user per month 250+ Available on request Comparison of the Partner Programs The table below compares the two partner programs: Responsibility Referral Partner Program Reseller Partner Program Marketing Partner Partner Sales Partner Partner Setup Increase CRM Increase CRM Implementation Partner Partner First line support Increase CRM or partner Partner...
  • UK SBS group meeting in Manchester on Wednesday 23rd April 2008

    I just saw this from Chris Parks and thought I would share with a wider audience: Folks, Just a quick reminder of the meeting this Wednesday at One Central Park, Manchester M40 5WW, 18:30 ... Attending from Microsoft are David Overton, Danny Ovens and myself. Hope to see you there :) Also, a huge thanks to those who’ve either joined the online network or sent me back their profiles so far...some of them have been enlightening and some of them downright intentionally hilarious!!! (Please feel free to send through today if you get chance and haven’t done so yet :) Regards, Chris Parkes Technology Adoption & Solutions Specialist thanks David Technorati Tags: Small Business , SBSC , SBS 2003 , SBS , Manchester , Community
  • Where will your customers be looking for solutions – will they stick to on premise, or will they move towards a S+S or SaaS solution not from you?

    I know the table above is really, really simple, but I wanted to start the ball rolling – I have been thinking about this for ages!! Let me explain the diagram. The horizontal axis signifies how much of a solution is hosted. An example of this might be Office Live or Hotmail, where almost all of the solution is hosted. We then have the “on premise” or on-site IT going vertically. For most people, this is solutions like SBS 2003. A typical S+S solution might be MS CRM Online which has online components, but also enables you to go off-web and use Outlook or one of the mobile clients when on the road. While many thought on-line would be the next best thing even the king of on-line, Google, have recently admitted that it would not always be the answer in the posting they made on April 1st. Steve Clayton did the leg work and checked this was not form of April fool too!! Even the NY Times is talking about it, which to me says it really is going mainstream - http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_002570DE00740E180025742400363509.html . Ok, so that is the picture out the way, now lets talk about the question. Which question you ask… well, this one: Will any of your customers be running in the “S+S or hosted” marketplace in 5+ years time? Now while that is a good question, I expect most of you will say … some, definitely not all, but some. How many customers can you afford to lose to a S+S provider? Now this leads to an even bigger question …. What will you have done to ensure they are still your customers, as opposed to someone who is skilled in S+S? Personally I find this question much more concerning as many people can’t articulate any plans they have to capture these customers!! So what do I suggest … If you are a services partner I recommend you start to look at SaaS services like Office Live that are slowly moving towards S+S or S+S services like CRM online and start to plan how you could add value to them and make money in the future. If you are an ISV, then now is the time to start to look at services like the Sync Framework...
  • Extended Promotional offers for SBS 2003 – now available until June 30, 2008

    I saw these on the SBS Offers site and noticed that they have been extended, so here are the things you need to know below. It is worth remembering that it is up to you how you pass these benefits through to your customers!! What? – Promotion Offering: When? – The promotion extension means system builders and resellers can now submit claims for services they deliver between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008. Participants will have until July 31, 2008 to complete their claims. *If a partner submitted claims between January 1, 2008 and February 29, 2008 they will be applied to this extension period and cannot exceed 50 claims in total per partner. Who is eligible – All system builders and resellers in the participating countries in Western Europe, Germany, France, UK, APAC, India, MEA, CEE (EU only), and Latam (CCA only). How? – The system builder/reseller goes to www.sbsoffer.com to learn about the offer and the steps needed to redeem: ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , SBSC , Partners , Microsoft , Offers , Promotions , Community
  • ISVs can learn about Microsoft’s strategy and products and how they fit into selling solutions – come to the events in TVP and Manchester on the 10th and 24th April

    One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft by our ISV partners is that they don’t know where we are going… well this even should help solve that – see you there perhaps: Introduction 09.30 - 10.00 Registration & coffee 10.00 – 10.15 Welcome & Introduction Deliver Innovative Solutions 10.15 – 10.45 Microsoft strategy direction 10.45 – 11.30 Microsoft technology roadmap 11.30 – 11.50 Coffee break Increase your opportunities 11.50 – 12.15 Marketing & sales initiatives Close more sales 12.15 – 12.30 Services & licensing for sales acceleration Support your Customers 12.30 – 12.45 Technical support resources 12.45 – 13.00 Wrap up with Q&A 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch & networking 10 th Apr, Chicago 1, TVP Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373283&Culture=en-GB 24 th Apr, The Lowry, Manchester Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373286&Culture=en-GB Enjoy the event! ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISV , Microsoft , Strategy , Roadmap , event
  • Are you about to renew your Action Pack? If so the Assessment requirement deadline has been extended for existing Subscribers

    Dell Quinn asked me to pass this on: As you may know, on November 30, 2007 Microsoft implemented an assessment requirement for new action pack subscribers. The same requirement was scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2008 for renewing partners that have a subscription expiration date of March 1, 2008 or later. Due to unforeseen system issues, we are extending the assessment deadline for renewing Action Pack subscribers until June 19, 2008 . This means that all renewing partners whose subscription expires on or after June 19, 2008 will need to pass a qualifying assessment with a score of 70% or higher in order to renew their Action Pack subscription. Qualifying assessments last for two years. For more information and a list of eligible courses and assessments, please visit https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40044196 . thanks David Technorati Tags: SBSC , Action Pack , Microsoft , Partners
  • Dear Susan … It is 75 CALs, but recommended for 50 users … reply to "Tom"? We'll need you to dispel another myth. - The Official Blog of the SBS "Diva"

    Susan has raised a really good point and something that is often misunderstood about SBS – and this ties in to SBS 2003 AND SBS 2008. What is the problem … Here is what Susan put… is SBS designed for 50 or 75 CALs? "Tom"? We'll need you to dispell another myth. March 11, 2008 Windows Small Business Server 2008 – HOT! Prepare for New Server-Solutions Business < http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8493173 > Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2008 is coming in the second half of 2008. The enhanced platform, part of the new Windows Essential Server Solutions family, is built on the Windows Server 2008 operating system and includes Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. With SBS 2008, you can deliver cost-effective, manageable, enterprise-class technologies to your small-business customers with up to 50 75 workstations or devices,and grow your server-solutions business. " Tom "? We're going to need you to dispell another myth that has already been started. It's not 50, it's 75. There's no change in cal count from SBS 2003. "Tom"? We'll need you to dispell another myth. - The Official Blog of the SBS "Diva" The answer is that SBS can run with up to 75 CALs, but the risk of hitting that limit is not good, so we recommend if someone is buying a new system for them to go with 50 CALs as a limit to give headroom. If they expect the server to last 3-6 years, the potential of hitting the top is there and the experience when they do is not great. Now I know that we have the transition pack for those that hit the limit, but this is about a simple positioning statement that people can understand. So, 75 CALs limit is still true, but the recommended (as it is for SBS 2003 today) is still 5-50. You will also notice that EBS has a recommended coverage of 25-250. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , SBS 2008 , Licensing , Microsoft , SBSC , Community
  • Want to know more about Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0? Make time from 6pm in London on the 29th April 2008. Remember that you can load WSS v3 onto SBS 2003 and it is a part of SBS 2008 (Cougar) and Essential Business Server 2008 (Centro)

    I have said many a time that SharePoint will be a key asset for small business partners now and in the future and all the press suggests the exact same thing. Vijay has arranged, and will be presenting, at an Event in London with Steve Smith, Craig Carpenter and Bill English . Given the quality of the speakers, I would suggest that you sign up early to say that you will be there: Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 Event for SBSC Partners on 29th April 2008 Venue & Time Microsoft London , Cardinal Place, 100 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JL meeting at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start and 9.00pm finish. Presentations from some of the worldwide experts on Sharepoint on Windows Sharepoint Sservices 3.0 which will be a key component of SBS 2008 and which can be installed as a side-by-side installation on SBS 2003. Presenters Steve Smith MVP and Craig Carpenter (co-owners of Combined Knowledge one of the leading Sharepoint Training Consultancies). Steve is also one of the organisers of the Sharepoint User Group in the UK. Check out the bios here . Bill English MVP of US based Mindsharp and author of a number of MS Press Books on Sharepoint will be presenting on WSS User Management on the new DeliverPoint Platform. To register either leave a comment with your name and company or drop me an email at vijay@iqubed.biz . We are expecting a lot of interest and it will be opened up to the Sharepoint User Group as well ttfn David Technorati Tags: SharePoint , WSS , Windows SharePoint Services , SBS , SBS 2003 , SBS 2008 , Cougar , Office System , Office 2007
  • Added DavidOverton.com to the domains that get to UK SBS GUY. What do you think I should be?

    I’ve taken back control of this domain and will at some point be changing the site look and feel to reflect this. This does NOT mean that my focus on subjects around technology, small business, Microsoft and partners will be changing one single drop. It is just that my role at Microsoft is no longer as the UKSBSGUY and I thought about how to better reflect what this should be. This site is my outlet, along with a few others and already has several domains that point to it, such as http://ukvistaguy.com . What do you think – can you think of a better domain I should go for – feel free to comment or e-mail me!! Over time expect http://davidoverton.com to become the primary domain even though the old one will still work. ttfn David Technorati Tags: David Overton , davidoverton.com , Personal Technorati Profile - link for Technorati blog claim
  • If you liked the Deep Zoom (aka Sea Dragon) tool, then you will be blown away by the preview of the Deep Zoom Composer

    I created my Star Wars Deep Zoom preview and really liked it, but then contacted the author of the site to see how I could add more pictures and control the layout &/or host it myself. Normally when I ask these sorts of questions I get a response about "later" and "out of beta", but instead I got pointed to these 3 articles and I have to say Wow!! You can see what someone can do with this technology at The Hard Rock Cafe - http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/ Download the Preview of the Deep Zoom Composer What is the Deep Zoom Composer? Deep Zoom Composer allows you to quickly import your own images, arrange and position them to your liking, and export the final output as either a Deep Zoom Image or Collection that can be fed into Silverlight's MutliScaleImage control. This means that you too can use your own images and display them using our Deep Zoom technology. Download the Deep Zoom Composer However, having done this I needed a simple user guide. At this point the blog Expression Blend and Design : Deep Zoom Composer User Guide came to my aid where there is indeed the user guide to download. The tool is simple, but the guide helps you understand what you are doing. Finally, I had arranged my pictures, however the output did not have zoom and pan capability. Then I found the article Expression Blend and Design : Deep Zoom Sample with MouseWheel / Pan / Click-Zoom which basically enabled me to finish the job off. All quite simple and the output looks fantastic. In your Web Site project, inside your ClientBin folder, you will see a folder called vistaWallpapers. The vistaWallpapers folder contains the images, xml, and bin files Deep Zoom Composer (DZC) output. To reuse this sample for your own projects, delete the vistaWallpapers folder and import your own folder containing the DZC output. Once you have done that, open Page.xaml in your Silverlight project and change the source of your MultiScaleImage control to point to your new folder and its info.bin file in your Web Site project: Once...
  • Manchester SBS Group (Kick Off Meeting) - 27th March 2008 - be there to see how it all starts again - with Chris Parkes, Ceri Thomas and me

    Ceri Thomas is planning a new group in Manchester and Chris Parkes will be there to host things with him for the 1st meeting. I will also be there slightly later in the evening. Below is the mail sent out by Danny Ovens to SBSC members in the area, but all are welcome. Dear Partner New: Manchester SBS Groups (Kick Off Meeting) What is the purpose of the SBS User Group....? SBS User Groups are partner meetings, run by partner, for partners. They are an independent forum that enable partners to meet one another, share best practice, learn how to better engage with IT Vendors and also hear directly from Microsoft about our products and strategies. · Partner to partner networking – how can collaborating, learning what successes others have had, sharing problems and concerns or working as a group help your business · Connect with Vendors – The group can invite Microsoft and others to attend and present to your agenda...be heard! · Plugged in to Manchester Northwest activities – We’re increasing our engagement with partners in the Northwest through events and communities and we’ll keep the forum updated with relevant news · Ability to shape the agenda of the User group in future – What works for you...? Influence the agenda to reflect your needs. The first meeting is being held in Manchester on the 27 th March and if you’d like to register your attendance please do so through the voting buttons above. [to vote from this blog entry, click here: Yes, I'd like to attend I would like to attend but can't make this date I would not like to attend thanks ] Date & Time: Thursday 27 th March, 18:30-21:00 Agenda: 18:30 Welcome, introductions. 19:00 Microsoft Update 19:45 Partner Roundtable – Issues, concerns & successes 20:45 AOB – Agree Next meeting agenda 21:00 Close Venue: One Central Park, Manchester M40 5WW Host Partner Your host partner for the evening will be Ceri Thomas (168tech.co.uk) from 168tech and he will be supported by Chris Parkes, Microsoft Technology Adoption & Solutions Specialist and Dave Overton...
  • Action Pack Subscribers get Full Windows Vista DVDs - not upgrades and they also get a copy of Ultimate too, plus a stack of materials to sell the product

    Full, not Upgrade Vista product Well anyone who says we don't listen is just talking rubbish!! What am I talking about - I'm talking about the Action Pack and Windows. We moved to non OEM media and boy did it cause a stink, but that has changed again. According to Important changes for Action Pack Subscribers regarding Windows Vista while you are still required to have a legal license for a machine (FPP or OEM) you can now apply full copies (i.e. do a bare metal install) without having to do a double install. There are also a stack of sales materials coming too (I've copied some of the points from the link below): Partner feedback has enabled Microsoft to make the Windows Vista operating system even better. Now you can reap the benefits. Sell more with hardware, software and services built around Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1). And learn how we're making it easier than ever for you to learn, use and sell Windows Vista. Based on partner feedback, we've taken action to improve the partner experience in support of Windows Vista: Mid-March 2008 delivery of Microsoft Windows Vista Business with SP1 in a special Action Pack shipment to partners worldwide. To make it easier for you to deploy the final release of Windows Vista SP1 for internal use, all subscribers will receive full code*. Not currently an Action Pack subscriber? Find out how to subscribe . New subscribers will receive Windows Vista with SP1 as part of the April 2008 Welcome Kit. One licence for Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 (full code*) for internal use, so you can discuss this product's benefits and features with customers who need a single PC to fulfil their work, travel and entertainment needs. This software will be delivered in the regular Action Pack quarterly update (April 2008) for current subscribers and for new Action Pack subscribers starting in April 2008. A comprehensive set of readiness resources to arm you to sell and support Windows Vista SP1 solutions for your small- or medium-size-business customers as momentum...
  • How to Report a Problem Page in IE8 with the Report a Problem Webpage for Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On

    I've spent the day using IE8 and while it is faster, some pages have problems. If your seeing this, download this add-on to submit to Microsoft. Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On The Microsoft Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer Add-on allows the user to submit a report to Microsoft for webpages they believe are having rendering problems, scripting errors, or various other types of problems Download details: Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On To use, go to the tools menu and select Report a Webpage Problem Then you get to submit a page like this: thanks David Technorati Tags: Beta , Microsoft , IE8 , Internet Explorer , Application Compatibility , Support
  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Services - more online services announced this week

    This is one big week for developers (as Mix was always going to be). We now also have data services in the cloud ( http://www.microsoft.com/sql/dataservices/default.mspx ) On-demand Scalability SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) are highly scalable, on-demand data storage and query processing web services. Businesses use storage resources as needed transforming large upfront capital and operations expenditures into much smaller on-demand costs. On-demand storage and access Store and query your data virtually any time, anywhere on the web. Use and pay for storage resources as you go. Scales easily as your data grows Take advantage of virtually no restriction on the amount of data stored. Use the same service interfaces for your storage needs at any scale. Easy to manage Easy to use web-based service for provisioning, deployment, and monitoring. Lights-out manageability and commodity hardware for lowest service cost. Business-ready SLA SQL Server Data Services are built using robust Microsoft SQL Server database technologies and will provide strong service level agreement (SLA) covering high availability, performance, and protection against data loss. Built using enterprise-class SQL Server Database technology as a storage node Industry Standard SQL Server and Windows server technologies. Years of experience running these technologies in-house. Novel distributed data fabric for massive scale out operation. Richer functionality exposed over time based on feedback from business customers. High availability, security, and performance Store and manage multiple copies of the data for reliability. Back up data stored in each data cluster. Geo-redundant data copies to ensure business continuity. Secure data access to help provide business confidentiality and privacy. Input/output (I/O) are optimized for high throughput. Application Agility SQL Server Data Services supports simple web-programming interfaces like SOAP and REST for quick provisioning of web applications. Developers can focus on innovating with data while reducing...
  • Latest news, events and downloads in the Security world from Microsoft - Windows Server 2008, Mobile, employee habits, Antigen, IPSEC, ForeFront, NAP, XP Firewall, System Center

    Each month the TRM blog product this great summary of the Microsoft world in various product areas. The blog can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ News Help your customers securely deploy Windows Server 2008 with the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide! http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=92550 Every day, adversaries attempt to invade your customers’ networks and access their servers—to bring them down, infect them with viruses, or steal information about customers or employees. Your customers are looking to Microsoft and Windows Server® 2008 to help them address these threats. To assist customers in taking full advantage of the rich security features in Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has developed the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide. The Windows Server 2008 Security Guide provides IT professionals with best practices, predefined security templates, and an automated deployment tool to help strengthen the security of servers running Windows Server 2008. Supporting Your Family, Friends, and Neighbours http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287993 By Steve Riley, Senior Security Strategist, Trustworthy Computing Have you become a support professional outside of the workplace? Read this article and learn how to discuss security with your family, friends, and neighbours to better help them stay safe and secure online. More Security and Control for Mobile Devices http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287995 Learn how to add, manage, secure, and update Windows Mobile devices like you do Windows-based laptops and PCs. Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 provides robust security features and a comprehensive device management solution that helps safeguard your corporate data, reduce the cost and complexity of mobile deployments, and centralize and simplify Windows Mobile device management. Island Hopping: The Infectious Allure of Vendor Swag http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287996 The technique of island hopping -- penetrating a network through a weak link and then hopping around systems within that network...
  • Training announcement for ISV who are developing or planning to develop on the Windows Live Platform (Silverlight, Live Controls, Live ID, Messenger, Spaces)

    Another entry from the ISV blog - this time for developing on the Windows Live platform Training announcement for ISV who are developing or planning to develop on the Windows Live Platform. The Partner Readiness have just announced the release of the Windows Live Platform Services course. This 1.5 day deep dive covers the core technical aspects of Windows Live Platform Services including: Overview of Windows Live Silverlight Streaming Windows Live Controls Windows Live Tools for Visual Studio Windows Live Data (Authentication/Delegation model) Live ID Quick Apps Deep Dive (dev.live.com/quickapps) Messenger Presence Spaces APIs Dates currently scheduled are: 28–29 April (London) https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=242857&site=UK&lang=en-uk 14 -15 May (Altrincham) https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=242858&site=UK&lang=en-uk 9-10 June (London) https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=242859&site=UK&lang=en-uk Place will be limited so hurry to sign-up! UK ISV Blog : Training announcement for ISV who are developing or planning to develop on the Windows Live Platform. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Live , Developer , Messenger , Spaces , Silverlight , QuickApps , Visual Studio , Live ID , Live
  • More ways to engage with customers using the Microsoft advertising campaigns

    [updated 4th March] Many people congratulated Microsoft after the Mr Busy campaigns allowed partners to drive their customers back to them using a MS campaign. Well, this is now being repeated for a number of campaigns. Today I found the click and go site to get them all ( http://www.campaigns.arvato-services.com/ ). You can get 200 post cards or 1,000 e-mails for free and then a low price for additional cards/ e-mails if required. The campaigns covered include: Business Productivity Customer Acquisition and Retention Security and Reliability Small Business PC Mr Busy This method of engaging is not new to the Small Business team and others have covered this before (eg Susanne here ), but it is worth re-highlighting this now as some of the campaigns have been renewed, so go back and visit the site!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Marketing , Campaigns , Business Productivity , Customer Acquisition and Retention , Security and Reliability , Small Business PC , Mr Busy , Partner , SME , Small Business Server 2008 , Mid-Market
  • Technet Roadshows in April and May - book now - Windows Server 2008 - Cardiff, London, Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle

    TechNet Roadshow Following the 2008 Launch event in Birmingham on 19th March, TechNet will be going out on the road. The roadshow will be heavy on demos and light on PowerPoint. We'll look at various scenarios, such as managing Windows Server 2008 and how Windows Server 2008 works alongside Windows Vista. There will be the opportunity to meet the Microsoft Community, user groups and Most Valued Professionals, as well as experts with top technical information and real-world scenarios. Places really are limited so register now: 22 April 2008, Cardiff 24 April 2008, London 30 April 2008, Manchester 12 May 2008, Glasgow 15 May 2008, Newcastle ttfn David Technorati Tags: Events , Technet , Microsoft , Windows Server 2008 , Longhorn
  • Microsoft Online Services - beta in US, international .. not for a while yet, but you get to see where Microsoft is going!

    What is it? I know Vlad is not going to like this, but even he will admit that this has been on the cards for a while. Software plus services is coming to town in a bigger and bigger way. At the moment there is a limited beta in the US and (just like Google), it has the beta tag on it . So what have we seen today, well we have seen Microsoft stand up and be counted in it's commitment to the software-plus-services strategy. We have seen existing "on premise" solutions of Exchange and SharePoint be offered as a S+S (software-plus-services) alternative for those customers who don't wish to run these themselves. There is no "must switch" or "dropping" of the existing, very successful products, just more options for people. As a customer you would consider whether you get better value running these in-house yourself, or with a partner delivering them for you in-house, or completely outsources to another partner or Microsoft. As a partner you have to consider how you deliver in all worlds. While today you probably add value to "on premise" solutions you need to understand how and if you add value should your customer opt for the new services. If you want to deliver theses types of services yourself, look at SPLA agreements and the information at The Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) . If you want to build solutions on top of those announced today then look at http://www.microsoft.com/online/partner/learn-more.mspx . Either way you can learn more at http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx . Other's reactions As you can imagine, there have been a few prople covering this, from bloggers to journalists. Below are just some of the items I've seen so far: Press Microsoft to Expand Microsoft Online Services for Businesses of All Sizes (press release) http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Apps/Microsoft-Expands-its-Online-Services/ Microsoft moves further into the cloud.. cautiously http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/saasweek/2008/03/microsoft_expands_ondemand_ser...
  • Microsoft Office Live Small Business v2 - have you got it already?

    This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it is always worth sharing the improvements in Office Live. Not only do we have this going on, but we also have the beta of Workspaces progressing. Remember, your customers could benefit from Office Live and if you don't offer it, someone else might just offer them Office Live or something else, blocking you out from that customer as they grow in size. Microsoft Office Live Small Business is the award-winning, easy-to-use suite of Web-based software and services designed to help small businesses affordably take, promote and manage their businesses online. Used by nearly 600,000 customers worldwide, Office Live Small Business is available in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan. The service also provides an excellent environment within which partners can build industry-specific solutions. Office Live Small Business is now available with : Full Firefox 2.0 support for PC & Mac Easy-to-use Website Designer tool or use html/3rd party design tools Outlook Connector for offline synching of email, calendar, contacts & tasks Mobile access to email, calendar and contacts from Windows-Powered SmartPhones or PocketPCs Solutions Packager for Web designers FREE when you sign up : Domain name * 500MB fully hosted Website Up to 100 email accounts Contact Manager Document Manager Project Manager Workspace * (.co.uk free for the first 2 years or .com, org, net, .eu free for the first year) Additional affordable features : E-mail marketing beta Search marketing More storage, users and tools Simple Windows Live ID signup process. No need to validate with a credit card any more ! What are you waiting for ? Read more details and signup now at : smallbusiness.officelive.com See what you can do with it. David Technorati Tags: Small Business , Office Live , Office Live Small Business , Web site , domain , e-mail , workspaces , document manager
  • Answers to some of the questions about SBS 2008 (32-bit 2nd server, SCE, beta upgrades, migrating users

    [updated 23rd Feb 2008] After posting on SBS 2008 the other day I've had a few questions, so here are some answers Can the 2nd server be x64 or x86 (32-bit) and can it be used for Terminal Services / Hyper-V / a.n.other purpose The 2nd server can be 32 or 64-bit. It is essentially Windows Server 2008 Standard edition, however it does check it is part of a SBS domain. Therefore it can be used for almost anything a Windows Server can be used for (and SQL can be loaded on it too) Why was System Center Essentials removed from SBS 2008 The short answer is that this was not the right product for SBS owners, however SBS can be used / works with SCE. For this reason SCE can, for example, be loaded on the the 2nd server Can I install SBS 2008 beta (cougar) in my production environment and upgrade to RTM when it releases The answer here is one about the fact that betas are betas and have bugs, so there are risks. Officially the answer is “don’t consider using Cougar beta in your production environment unless you are on the TAP as any problems / migration / upgrades will be unsupported. Should you do so, your only access to any support and guidance will be via the newsgroups” If someone has recently purchased hardware for SBS 2003, can they move to SBS 2008 SBS 2008 has migration wizards that will enable the move from one machine to another. For those where they wish to use existing hardware there is NO in-place upgrade, however you should be able to do the following (assuming the hardware is x64 capable): 1) Copy their existing setup to a virtual machine 2) Install SBS 2008 onto the original hardware and use the migration tools to move SBS to the same box or 1) Backup their SBS 2003 system 2) Install SBS 2008 on the existing hardware 3) Add data back from backup (this is a manual process) Can SBS 2008 be used with Hyper-V Yes, we’re in the process of testing which virtualization scenarios SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 will support, and will provide more information in the future. Can SBS 2003 CALs be used with SBS 2008 No, SBS...
  • Action Pack subscription changes - you should know about them, but they start on 1st March

    I know that this has been well sign-posted and people have discussed the merits etc in the past, however this is a reminder!! As I’m sure you’re aware, from March 1 st all subscribers wishing to renew must pass an assessment. This is what you need to know: 1. We’ve made available on the Partner Portal an enrolment and re-enrolment guide, which will help people with renewals (see: www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/actionpack and https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40049696 ). 2. The portal also contains all the info that those interested in MAPS need, however if anyone is experiencing issues renewing, we do want to encourage them to call the Regional Support Centre (RSC) for assistance. In the UK that number is: 0800 917 3128. Also if you have any questions regarding your current Action Pack subscription, please call 0870 60 70 700 (press option 1) thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Microsoft Partner Program , SBSC , Action Pack
  • More information on SBS 2008

    I was reading over at Sean Daniel's blog about more info on SBS 2008 and realised there are a couple of pages you need to look at ( Learn more with a product overview ). I've also posted some answers to questions here . Affordable, Integrated Solution Windows Small Business Server 2008 is designed for small businesses. It is designed to work with existing technology, build on Microsoft best practices, and delivers a comprehensive network at an affordable price. Have virtually anytime, anywhere access to your business desktop; including e-mail, files, business applications, and more. Share resources and equipment, such as Internet access, printers, and fax machines, to get the most value from your technology investments. Enjoy compatibility and scalability. As your business needs to change, Windows Small Business Server 2008 can change with you--easily add users, servers and applications, or expand into other Microsoft technologies. Work more efficiently and add more value to your business with an integrated administrative console. Work confidently with a top performing network based on Windows Server 2008 technologies. Protect Your Business Data Windows Small Business Server 2008 helps protect your vital business information from loss, by automatically backing up the computers and servers in your network and helping enable you to recover accidentally deleted files. Use anti-virus and anti-spam protection to help protect your information from malicious attacks, viruses, and spam. Keep your computers and servers current and your network healthy and up to date with the latest updates. Get better control over your business and business information with daily and weekly reports alerting you on the health and security of your technology. A single administrative console gives you or your IT consultant a daily view of PCs and servers and makes it easier to manage common IT tasks. Get an at-a-glance snapshot of the security and health of your PCs and servers from a 'green check' report. Grow Your Business Capacity...
  • Microsoft Windows Essential Server Solutions - Which one is right for you?

    There is lots of information on how to choose the right Essential solution for you (SBS Std, Premium, EBS Std or Premium. A quick sample can be seen below (there is much more on the web site): Which Solution Is Right for You? Learn how the Windows Essential Server Solutions are designed to fit specific needs for small and midsize business. Find which solution will be the right choice for you and your company’s needs. Remember, each business is unique – consult your Microsoft Certified Partner to help determine the best solution for you. Your Need Windows Small Business Server 2008 Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition Premium Edition Standard Edition Premium Edition Company Size and Growth Our company needs a secure network for 250 or fewer users today Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 supports up to 50 users or devices. Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008 supports up to 250 users or devices. Our business is growing at a fast pace and our IT needs are expanding. As your business needs change, these products provide a “technology building block” for additional servers and a seamless transition to the full line of Microsoft Server products, using Transition Packs. We recommend you decide based on your 1-yr and 2-yr growth plans, as well as on your current and future application and performance needs. We are acquiring other companies and need to connect with their data and email immediately until we can incorporate everything into our server network. The Windows Essential Server Solutions products are meant to be the primary network and email system and not a down-level branch office or subsidiary solution. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , SBS 2008 , Windows Small Business Server 2008 , SBSC , Microsoft , Partner , Community
  • Something for Vijay - Microsoft Introduces New Interoperability Principles

    I've not had time to digest all of this, but it looks important enough to get a quick note out. I know Vijay is keen on interop. Virtual Pressroom: Microsoft Makes Strategic Changes in Technology and Business Practices to Expand Interoperability February 21, 2008 Microsoft today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice. These changes are codified into four new interoperability principles and corresponding actions: ensuring open connections; promoting data portability; enhancing support for industry standards; and fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities. Highlights: Press Conference Call with Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia and Brad Smith: 8:30 am PST, Feb. 21 Video Clip: Tom Robertson, General Manager, Interoperability and Standards (.wmv file, 44 sec) News & Announcements Press Release: Microsoft Makes Strategic Changes in Technology and Business Practices to Expand Interoperability (Feb. 21, 2008) Q&A: New Microsoft Interoperability Principles Ensure Open Connections and Promote Data Portability (Feb. 21, 2008) Media Alert: Microsoft Executives to Make Significant Company Announcement (Feb. 21, 2008) Background Information Microsoft Interoperability Principles Announcement Overview: Microsoft Interoperability Principles (.docx file, 102kb) Quote Sheet: Industry Support for New Microsoft Interoperability Principles Microsoft Interoperability News Archive Audio/Video Video Clip: Tom Robertson, General Manager, Interoperability and Standards, Microsoft, on what the announcement means to developers and customers (.wmv file, 44 sec) Broadcast-quality Video and Broll: The PressPass Broadcast Room (registration required) Microsoft Introduces New Interoperability Principles It will be interesting to see how other "open" vendors react .. are they really welcoming, or do they feel threatened by MS joining...
  • Small Business Server 2008 (formally known as Cougar) announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the SBS 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business Growth Windows Small Business Server 2008,previously known by the code name “Cougar,” is ideal for organizations with up to 50 PCs, helping them protect business data, expand business productivity and present a professional image to customers. The new version adds a range of features and capabilities to the current, award-winning Small Business Server 2003 R2 product, and is also an example of Microsoft’s “software plus services” vision. For small-business owners and employees, Small Business Server 2008 provides increased security and protection with one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and the new Windows Live OneCare for Server, and with dramatically simplified server and PC backup technologies. Small Business Server 2008 also integrates with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and private online work spaces. Enhancements to Remote Web Workplace, integration of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and support for the latest Windows Mobile devices will help employees work remotely and collaborate effectively. For IT managers and technology consultants, Small Business Server 2008 deployment, setup and administration is greatly simplified and improved. A powerful administration console, new monitoring across servers...
  • Windows Essential Business Server announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the Essential Business Server 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . <snipped> Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for Midsize Companies Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is designed for the needs of midsize organizations with up to 250 desktops, helping IT professionals take control of their systems, reduce time spent “fighting fires” and focus more on strategic efforts to drive business growth. The solution includes built-in IT best practices and provides a unified console for management of key workloads and product licensing, which makes IT budgeting and purchase simpler and more predictable. Windows Essential Business Server combines the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, System Center Essentials 2007, the next version of Internet Security and Acceleration Server and, in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008 technology. The product will be demonstrated on IBM BladeCenter S and HP BladeSystem c-Class c3000 hardware at the “Heroes Happen Here” launch on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles, and is slated for availability in the second half of 2008. <snipped> More information about Windows Essential Server Solutions is available at http://www.microsoft.com/essential and http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/serversolutions . Now much of this is a repeat of what we already know, but I felt I should share it: Based on x64 technology Capable from 25-250 users, so does...
  • "Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products" announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the "family" section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . To help small and midsize organizations improve business efficiency, increase productivity and drive growth, Microsoft Corp. introduced the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, built on Windows Server 2008 and the newest Microsoft server technologies and services. The company also unveiled details about the newly named Windows Small Business Server 2008. The Windows Essential Server Solutions family includes Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for midsize companies. Microsoft conducted extensive research and gathered in-depth feedback worldwide to design the solutions, in order to meet the unique needs of small and midsize customers and partners. The products integrate the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and other Microsoft products and services into all-in-one solutions that are reliable, easy to manage and able to grow with customers. “There are 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide in need of powerful IT solutions, * and they typically have very small IT staffs, or none at all,” said Bob Kelly, corporate vice president at Microsoft. “Windows Essential Server Solutions make the benefits of enterprise-class IT accessible, affordable and simpler for smaller organizations and their technology advisors.” Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business...
  • Office from the past, ODF and OOXML (Office of today and tomorrow) and why is organic growth nearly always bad for software and why re-writing is not good either

    As I have said many times in the past I used to write document conversation tools. I believe this gives me a valid reason to be able to pass comment on the ODF/OOMXL debate that is raging at the moment. If these types of questions interest you, have a look at the book I talk about later ( In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters (UK) or here for US link ) Lets start with some history about the Office 97-2003 file formats. Joel was writing about this today ( Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) - Joel on Software ). Note that part of what he has commented on is the fact that the documentation for the binary file format is now available from Microsoft: Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) This item ran on the Joel on Software homepage on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Last week, Microsoft published the binary file formats for Office . These formats appear to be almost completely insane. The Excel 97-2003 file format is a 349 page PDF file. <snipped> If you started reading these documents with the hope of spending a weekend writing some spiffy code that imports Word documents into your blog system, or creates Excel-formatted spreadsheets with your personal finance data, the complexity and length of the spec probably cured you of that desire pretty darn quickly. A normal programmer would conclude that Office’s binary file formats: are deliberately obfuscated are the product of a demented Borg mind were created by insanely bad programmers and are impossible to read or create correctly. You’d be wrong on all four counts. With a little bit of digging, I’ll show you how those file formats got so unbelievably complicated, why it doesn’t reflect bad programming on Microsoft’s part, and what you can do to work around it. The first thing to understand is that the binary file formats were designed with very different design goals than, say, HTML. They were designed to be fast on very old computers. For the early...
  • Microsoft DreamSpark - Free developer tools for students around the world. Think of the opportunities!!

    I heard about this a day or two ago and I have to say this is a MASSIVE move for Microsoft and something that can only do good. As a student you can now download, at no cost, the professional Microsoft development tools. That is all there is to the programme, however this is a dream come true for many educational institutions. Just think of the opportunity - help them implement all this software, when the software is free to the students!! Channel8 described it as : How would you like a free copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 ? How about the entire Microsoft Expression Studio ? Not enough...... how about Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and more? For once, something that sounds too good to be true really is this good and really is true. Starting today (or soon in some areas), students worldwide will be able to download our professional development and design tools for free ! It's called DreamSpark and it is upon us. For information on the project from PressPass: PressPass: What is the thinking behind Microsoft DreamSpark? And how did you come up with the name? Wilson: Microsoft DreamSpark is a community-based program to provide students with free access to Microsoft’s industry-leading software development, gaming and design tools. Working with schools, governments, partners and student organizations worldwide, we will be making this available starting today in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other countries will come online over the next year, as well as expanding the program to include high school students. The program is open to all students at education institutions worldwide, though those studying science, technology, engineering and math disciplines (STEM-D) are expected to be the first to jump on it. All eligible students need is access to a computer with an internet connection to download the products, as well as free access keys at http://channel8.msdn.com . We call it DreamSpark because every great technology breakthrough starts...
  • Bye Bye Jen Brinton, Hello Lisa and Chris for the UK SBSC and small business partners

    I saw this mail (I have been out the country) while I was away and thought I would share it with those of you. For those of you who don't know who Jen is, she was the person behind the SBSC programme in the UK and was part of the fighting force to get you things like Demo Showcase. Now strangely enough, Chris, some of you will have met - he is a great mate of mine, technical and also the hero of the Demo Showcase. He is known for getting passionate about technology and it being used correctly, so he is an ideal person to get to know! Anyway, here was the e-mail to SBSC members: New Faces as Microsoft Hi All I wanted update you all on some new faces at Microsoft who will be focused on the Small Business Specialist community as part of our continued focus to increase investment in this area. I would also like to take this chance to let you know that I am sad to have to say good-bye to you all! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as SBSC programme manager and will miss working with you all, however I will be transitioning now to a new role. Firstly I would like to introduce Lisa White to you. Lisa brings a wealth of experience working in IT and the software industry both at Microsoft and beyond. She will be responsible for the small business specialist community going forward as well as having a broader remit around focusing on fostering a strong sense of community within the Microsoft channel. Her first day in her new role will be March 10th. Secondly I would also like to introduce Chris Parkes to you. He is a partner technical specialist who you will soon have the chance to meet. He will be focused on evangelizing Microsoft’s core technologies within the Small Business Specialist Community and brings a huge amount of expertise in the area – many of you know him already! Microsoft’s commitment to the SBSC programme remains strong with a specific focus on continually improving the value that partners receive from the programme. There is a great deal of internal support for the SBSC community and we’re looking forward...
  • Business Contact Manager Team Blog - good information, including SQL and VBA tools, Smartphone and product information

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

    Last week Microsoft announced SP1 for Vista to the world , but then said some device drivers were causing problems so there would be a delay to enabled those to be resolved. That is the device drivers, not SP1. Well, as you can imagine, there was a fair amount of noise around this, so the rollout has been changed to enable technical people who were on the beta and MSDN & Technet Plus people to get it much earlier. Someone once asked me why we could not get things on the web quicker - well, if you have a few million people downloading something at the same time it has a hit, so all releases, even system updates, have an element of staggering. From the blog posting Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers some salient points are: On Monday (February 4th), we announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Overall, people are excited to hear that we have reached this milestone, but some are disappointed they are not able to immediately download it. <snipped> We've heard the feedback and I want to update you on our plans and progress for making SP1 available to our beta participants, our Volume Licensing customers, and our MSDN/TechNet Plus subscribers: Late Friday we made SP1 RTM available to individuals and companies who participated in the SP1 beta program At the end of this week we will be making the English version of Windows Vista SP1 available to Volume Licensing customers. Other languages will follow soon after Later this month, SP1 will be available to MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers For broad availability, we are still planning to release in mid-March, since we want to be sure that everyone has the smoothest experience possible. I want to be super-clear on one point: Windows Vista SP1 is final. It has been fully released to manufacturing and we do not plan to make any changes to the SP1 code prior to public availability. We are confident in the quality of Windows Vista SP1 and know that it will help improve our customers'...
  • Security Vulnerability Research & Defence blog - worth a read for sure - eg MS08-001 - The case of the Moderate, Important, and Critical network vulnerabilities

    My background covers security and I've started reading this blog ( Security Vulnerability Research & Defense ) - it is excellent and definitely worth a read to understand how vulnerabilities work and how to mitigate them!! MS08-001 - The case of the Moderate, Important, and Critical network vulnerabilities Security bulletin MS08-001 addresses vulnerabilities described by two separate CVE numbers, as you can see in the bulletin. This post provides an overview of the two issues, the affected platforms and notes on the severity. We’ll be following this post up with two further entries that look at each issue in more detail. CVE-2007-0066 describes a vulnerability in parsing ICMP router advertisement packets. These packets are not processed by default on any supported version of Windows. If a computer is configured to process router discovery protocol packets and encounters this type of malformed packet, the Windows kernel will bugcheck (blue screen of death) and reboot. A separate blog post goes into more detail about the registry keys governing this behavior on each supported platform. CVE-2007-0069, the more serious of the two vulnerabilities, involves the way the TCP/IP stack handles IGMP protocol packets. Mark researched the exploitability of this issue and you'll find his research and more detail about the vulnerability in the next blog post. For those of you readers who are more visual, here's a picture describing the exposure of the vulnerabilities addressed in the security bulletin, by CVE: Security Vulnerability Research & Defense : MS08-001 - The case of the Moderate, Important, and Critical network vulnerabilities ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Security , MS08-001
  • Where to go to study for SBSC exam 70-282 - help from the community by the community

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

    Chris Parkes sent a mail round internally telling us about MORE resources & demos etc available to partners. Chris has written about it on his blog (discovered this after I wrote this - here , there may be some comments on his worth reading, so double check!!) The Demo Showcase has been extended to include Deep Dive/Product virtual environments *which are available to all partners * Only Demo Showcase remains as the Gold/Cert benefit moving forwards... The following are now available for immediate download: 2007 Microsoft Office System 47 Hands-on Labs 25 demonstrations Microsoft Forefront and System Center Demonstration Toolkit Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Intelligent Application Gateway Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Forefront Client Security Microsoft Business Intelligence Demo (Data warehousing, reporting and analysis, performance management) Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Office 2007 Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Download location is here: https://partner.microsoft.com/global/salesmarketingsection/smsalesdemos/sdproductdemos As for the difference between the two, the web site says: "This collection of Microsoft software product demonstrations is designed to complement the business-scenario-based Demo Showcase sales tool. These demos illustrate product-specific features and functionality in detail, while the Demo Showcase tool helps illustrate how a full range of integrated Microsoft software platform solutions work together in business scenarios. Use the links in the table to download or order the product demos you need." However I was able to access the demo content online at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/salesmarketingsection/smsalesdemos/sddemoshowcase - perhaps as I am a SBSC partner!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Demo Showcase , Technical Demonstration Toolkit , TDT , Demos , Partner , Microsoft
  • Time to Nominate your solutions for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference!

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

    I saw this and thought I would share for those who had not seen it - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Get familiar with the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release: Preview Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in a Virtual PC (VPC) image. Overview This Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 preview leverages Release Candidate (RC0) code in a Virtual PC image. The demo is designed as a one-computer setup with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 client for Microsoft Outlook. Note: Although the image can be utilised on a single PC or laptop computer, it is strongly suggested that the image be run using an external USB 2.0 hard drive for best performance. If you do not have an external drive, you can run the image locally on the host computer; however, you will experience a decrease in performance. Contents This VPC contains the following: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (RC0) Microsoft Dynamics CRM Laptop and Desktop Client Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK (C:\CRM Tools\SDK) Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (SP2) Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Internet Explorer 7 Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 POP3 E-Mail Services (No Exchange) Microsoft LCA Approved Sample Data System Requirements Supported Operating Systems Windows Vista operating system; Microsoft Windows XP Other Requirements Personal computer with1.5 GHz or higher processor and at least 2.0 gigabytes (GB) of RAM 12 GB of available hard drive space Super VGA (1024x768) video adapter/monitor Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 software (Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 also compatible) ttfn David Technorati Tags: MS CRM , CRM , Dynamics , Virtual PC , VPC
  • Register Now for the Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 UK Launch Event

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

    I had the pleasure of attending this event today. The last item was Q&A with Bill Gates and there were a number of questions that you will be able to watch and listen too in the future. However, the one that I thought was most interesting was this one: "What will Bill be doing in his part time capacity with Microsoft and what will the Bill and Melinda Foundation focus on?" His reply was roughly (I made a few scribbled notes, so I hopefully have the gist, if not the words): Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie will take care of the "one Microsoft and R&D function" Bill will focus on 3 areas: Search - still have lots to deliver from the various teams - we have just started to see the beginning of this - in both internet and enterprise areas Office - Bill has always had a keen interest in this area and it will continue. Things to be included are Modelling and declarative rules Natural User Interfaces - more voice, touch, gesture and general non-keyboard interaction with technology For the foundation: Healthcare systems - including disease management in poorer countries Malaria vaccine Use of mobile phones in disconnected regions to share skills, diagnosis and information Micro finance transactions to facilitate these operations Metrics to enable measure of success and targeting Would like to think that within 10 years had a big impact - reduce big diseases in poorer countries by having a vaccine / treatment for around 1/2 of the illnesses (could not say which ones as investing in many areas, but hoped for it to include Malaria) That was it - much more to follow (about the rest of the event) David Technorati Tags: Bill Gates , 2008 Launch , Partners , Gates Foundation
  • Heroes Happen Here - Where are you?

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

    Susanne Dansey pointed this out to me - Dave is doing some excellent blogging! I like both these entries from January. One discussed the rights and wrongs of what to do with a customer who will not license legally. My personal opinion here is that if they won't pay a software company, how long until they will avoid paying the services company for a quality job. Dave's second post is dealing with someone who has been told that Vista is poor and blames anything that does not work under Vista on Microsoft. I'm not saying that Microsoft is never to blame, but it is nice to see posts like this coming out of the woodwork. Microsoft Police There has been a lot of chatter in the newsgroups recently about Microsoft licensing and what to do if you think the legality of clients software is suspect. Here is my opinion. Funny that, it being my blog Simple, get them to become legitimate (or legal) or walk away. Let’s clarify this. Why I said legitimate or legal is because these can be two separate things. Why? well frankly, just because Microsoft and it’s lawyers say something should be the case, it doesn’t mean that it is the law. <snipped - click link above to read more> Vista, bloody Vista! I was having a friendly discussion in the pub at the weekend and was introduced to a college lecturer. He spoke quite fluently about IT in his college even though he admitted he is not very technically minded. Then it came…Why Vista he asked, it knackers things, so his techie people tell him? Windows 98 which he has at home is fine GRRRR! Except, it isn’t fine. His PC was falling apart at the seams, things just weren’t working. The more I questioned the more it became like a broken record. Why had Microsoft not left things alone. The fact that his quite clearly 18million year old dial-up modem wasn’t working was obviously Microsofts fault. They only update things in order to screw money out of poor victims like him. (This did stay friendly I hasten to add and many more pints were...
  • Samba developers can now see the Windows Protocols, make their products more interoperable with Microsoft Windows and see where Patents are to then choose to avoid or license

    I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world. Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give them access to previously secret data on how the Windows operating system works. <snipped> The deal was signed with a nonprofit group called the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, (PFIF) which negotiated on behalf of the Samba team because Samba is not represented by a corporate entity. PFIF will pay a one-time fee of €10,000 and, in return, will be able to allow open-source developers, including the Samba team, to access the documents. Developers will have to sign nondisclosure agreements and will not be allowed to redistribute Microsoft's documentation, but they will be able to write open-source software that implements the Windows protocols. The deal will also clarify which patents Microsoft believes are related to this technology, making it easier for open-source developers to avoid patent violations. The article is quite negative in tone, ignoring that the licensing process was available before the EU stepped in and giving the glory to the EU, when I believe it is the free-market that made...
  • SBS 2003, Virtual Server and / or Terminal Services and why use virtualisation and the risks to consider

    I need to take my hat off to the PSS guys in India. I "met" Girish on the Microsoft internal aliases and then delivering a Technet chat. I've since seen him post some great blog posts, but also answer key questions in various SBS forums. Alex recently asked the question: They (well I) think it is time to virtualise the three SBS servers that support their three micro businesses (plus a terminal server each). Lower energy costs (down to 1 server from 3), quieter in their office. Girish has recently blogged something that would help implement this: Content Released: Deploying Terminal Services in a Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Environment Deploying Terminal Services in a Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Environment This document updates and replaces both "Deploying Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server to Host User Desktops in a Windows Small Business Server Environment" and "Installing Virtual Server 2005 R2 on Windows Small Business Server 2003 with SP1." Kudos to SBS UA team and the SBS Support Staff. Now, he also commented in the SBS forum with some great advice: There are a huge number of caveats that make this a very complex and usually disappointing option. Make sure your understand these KBs: 909840 Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 do not support Virtual PC and Virtual Server for production environments http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;909840 840319 A list of supported host operating systems that you can use to run Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;840319 897613 Microsoft Virtual Server support policy http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;897613 320220 Support policy for Exchange Server 2003 running on hardware virtualization software http://vkbexternal/VKBWebService/ViewContent.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;320220 897614 Windows Server System software not supported within a Microsoft Virtual Server environment http://vkbexternal/VKBWebService/ViewContent...
  • How to buy Microsoft products - for businesses up to 250 PCs

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

    I saw this and thought I would share. Write apps with another simple set of tools. Between Popfly, this and more it seems that building on Microsoft is getting easier and easier. Have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/dec07/12-05Volta.mspx for some more info. Announcing Volta: Web Development Using Only the Materials in the Room Today, we are announcing the Volta technology preview , a developer toolset for building multi-tier web applications using existing and familiar tools, techniques and patterns. Volta’s declarative tier-splitting enables developers to postpone architectural decisions about distribution until the last possible responsible moment. Also, thanks to a shared programming model across multiple-tiers, Volta enables new end-to-end profiling and testing for higher levels of application performance, robustness, and reliability. Using the declarative tier-splitting, developers can refine architectural decisions based on this profiling data. This saves time and costs associated with manual refactoring. In effect, Volta extends the .NET platform to further enable the development of software+services applications, using existing and familiar tools and techniques. You architect and build your application as a .NET client application, assigning the portions of the application that run on the server tier and client tier late in the development process. You can target either web browsers or the CLR as clients and Volta handles the complexities of tier-splitting. The compiler creates cross-browser JavaScript for the client tier, web services for the server tier, and all communication, serialization, synchronization, security, and other boilerplate code to tie the tiers together. In effect, Volta offers a best-effort experience in multiple environments without requiring tailoring of the application. Learn more about Volta and download it to try building applications yourself > Microsoft Live Labs Volta Team Blog ttfn David Technorati Tags: Developer , Volta
  • Great event a kudos to Susanne Dansey and Westcoast following the UK Small Business Forum

    If there was more proof needed that a partner could change how people felt about them by working with the right person then Susanne and Westcoast have done it. I had several people say that without Susanne's guidance Westcoast would not have come onto their radar, which is a resounding vote of confidence. However, the event showed that there is still more work to do in terms of building trust and having the right people in the right places. Some of the questions asked at the forum and answered on Partner Questions from the Small Business Forum show that some people don't understand how this segment of the market works. Oh, and some people is in all companies - Westcoast, Microsoft and some of the partners. I'm not going to "name names", but it is good for everyone to grow together and give a little. I thought I would add some more information to that already given by Susanne. Small Business Accounting; why only direct sales? Volume licensing? Will there be a programme to connect accountants to SBSCs? We are at the beginning of the licensing around this product and other options will become available over time. Bear in mind that while the product is available, the retail launch and "noise" is still some time away. There is already a UK programme for accounts and more information on this can be found on the blog at What is in Office Accounting for accountants... well, multiple account views, sharing, customisation and more, but it is not an practice management solution How do you get license sales recognition even though you’re not one who resells (as in deals with the disti)? I'm going to give you a personal opinion here (like I don't normally), but this is simple. Buying through disti ensures legal software distribution, distribution of marketing materials and funds. Can you imagine someone rewarding people who buy through a set of channels known to have a very significant piracy rate (UK piracy is something like 33%) and for which there is no way to track the sales. Now, there...
  • Looking for where to focus as a developer - latest job ads data suggests Microsoft based technology is the place to be!

    I saw this data on developer jobs at http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default.aspx?sortby=0&orderby=0&q=&id=1300&lid=2618 and thought it would make some interesting reading. It shows: lots of demand around MS technologies and reasonable pay (average salary over £40K and about 3rd of the market is focused on MS specific skills) J2EE and Websphere pay/cost the most in terms of staff, but represent just 7.8% of the market demand, so if you are here, you are feeling good!! Old style HTML web jobs are dying in terms of pay (html, CSS, XHTML, JSP) and falling demand in terms of the number of jobs AJAX, the next great web dev scenario is not in high demand, which is a surprise to me For those of you who like graphs, you can see the highest salaries for J2EE & Websphere people, but this is probably caused by the fact that there are so many fewer jobs, so rushing to get skilled in this area could severely weaken any salary advantage. The chart above was created from the data below. Development Skill Average Salary Average salary change Number of Job Ads Percentage of all IT Job Ads .NET £40,685 1.57% 34623 15.72% XML £40,624 -3.55% 19978 9.07% ASP.NET £37,046 0.98% 16975 7.71% HTML £34,228 -1.96% 14740 6.69% J2EE £49,061 1.28% 13049 5.92% CSS £32,981 0.71% 9559 4.34% WebServices £43,242 -0.60% 6686 3.03% JSP £42,265 -4.93% 4761 2.16% AJAX £37,246 -4.56% 4739 2.15% WebSphere £50,239 3.81% 4311 1.96% XHTML £32,747 -0.03% 3848 1.75% ttfn David Technorati Tags: Jobs , Developer , .Net
  • Things that have fixed peoples problem running Office on Vista

    From the blog entry I published on How to get rid of the installer / configuration dialog when running Office 2007 and Office 2003 on the same system - for Vista and other versions of Windows I still get people e-mailing me with problems. While I have not been able to solve them all, but here are some solutions that I have seen success with: Problem: POP3 e-mail starts sending then gets stuck/hangs/stops: I have seen your blog at uksbsguy.com and it seems you are my only hope. Brand new laptop, small sized PST file, Vista Home Premium, Outlook 2007 Ultimate. I set up an account in Outlook 2007 to my bog standard POP3 account that has always worked. It starts to download my first email and slowly reaches 3 or 4KB then just hangs . Surprisingly I can sent (SMTP) absolutely fine. If I use another internet connection (dial up modem) instead of LAN then I can receive POP3 as well. But the same LAN connection works for my old laptop (XP/Outlook 2003) all settings same. I also tried the netsh command and the result is as follows: C:\Users\sparekh>netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled Set global command failed on IPv4 The requested operation requires elevation. Sachin The solution: elevated netsh command You need to run an “elevated” command prompt. Find "command prompt" on your start menu, right click it and select “run as administrator” – then try the command "netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled" (without the double quotes) Response: David, Magic! It worked! I elevated command prompt and netsh worked. My IT team spent so many hours and days for this. Thank you very much. Problem: Error code Ox800CCC0E when receiving email Vista running Outlook 2007 I get a Ox800CCC0E error everytime I try to receive email on my vista business machine running Outlook 2007. This problem just started this week. I have had no such problems with outlook since I purchase the machine 5 months ago. I have tried all the troubleshooting steps on your blog : http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive...
  • Partner Perspectives : There's a new breed of Web Solution partners

    If you work in the ISV / developer end of the market then there is a chance you will have met Katy already, however here is a person who is passionate about people who design and deliver solutions. When I first sat down and "worked" with Katy (rather than chatting several times previously) it was when I was new to the ISV team and Katy was a beacon of information. Once we had the ISV "bit" done we then spent a considerable amount of time looking at what designers and web developers needed in life. Now, as if by magic she now has a new area of focus... read more at Partner Perspectives : There's a new breed of Web Solution partners . Oh, and yes, it is about Silverlight, Expression Web and more!! There's a new breed of Web Solution partners Katy Hamilton's got something up her sleeve. It's a new brand of partners - the Web Solution partners. The move towards next-gen web applications such as Silverlight and web tools such as Expressions has opened up a whole load of new opportunities for our partners. We in the MSPP tower recognise this and have updated the MSPP programme by introducing a new partner type. Here's Katy to tell us all: So Katy, you’re no longer looking after ISVs. What are you doing now? Hi Emma, yes that’s right – I have ‘changed direction’! My new role is looking at building the web communities – design and developer. However, my focus on ISV hasn’t completely gone because I am also looking at the ‘Partner’ focus for ‘Next Web’ which ISVs have a major part in! It’s a really exciting time for anyone working in the web space and Microsoft is creating some fantastic support initiatives and benefits – it’s a real ‘watch this space’! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Web solution partners , Web Developers , Web Designers , Microsoft , Partners , Developer
  • Susan B's article that just made me smile or I like to think of it as "how much money is being spent to help competition for no user benefit"

    I've been ranting a bit recently about wanting everything for nothing and then I saw Susan's article - http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/11/29/so-how-much-money-has-been-wasted.aspx - and it just goes further to say how much time is spent not moving forward, but going backwards. I thought I would add to the list with the Microsoft-EU debate about Windows Media player. As a Microsoft employee, to comment directly would be very, very bad - apparently the press might think I was expressing a Microsoft opinion and then either me or my employer could be in hot water. So I won't really comment except to state some already published facts and that a huge effort went in to build a version of Windows without Media Player. That is definitely spending money for the user to get less, but if that is what the user wants, then it should be built..... however it was announced that this version has sold well ... 1 in every 15,000 copies of Windows. That version that has cost millions and was the centre of a multi-million case has been used by nearly 0.0066666666666666666666666666666667% of the purchasers of Windows... wow!! Oh, and this is either my very personal opinion, or facts that are already published, so hopefully no law suit to follow. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows , Microsoft
  • Download the "How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2" now

    I have been asked about this loads of times, but for those of you who want to know more about using WSS v3 and SBS 2003, the guide is finally here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=59acc518-023e-43c3-b8f3-378c5e387461 . How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2 Partner tool to create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. File Name: Selling_WSS_and_SBS_Kit.zip Date Published: 11/15/2007 Overview A new partner enablement tool helps you create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. Access the toolkit’s resources—including a process cookbook, technical documentation and marketing materials—to learn how to build your business by selling and deploying customized solutions. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , SBSC , WSS v3 , WSS , SharePoint , Windows SharePoint Services
  • Is Vista really that bad or do we have rose tinted glasses - How well was Windows XP accepted in the early years

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

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

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

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

    A while back I had the pleasure of working with some guys in one of the UK's largest and probably most capable data recovery companies. They did everything from simple recoveries to physically broken media recovery and proved that the excuse "the dog ate my homework Mrs Teacher" could be proven and recovered from. Well, that was then. Now a group from this company, including Justin who I worked with have broken away to create their own small business and they continue to offer a huge amount of experience and are keen to work with SBSC partners to build their network and solutions. They offer 8 people each with years of experience from one of the leading recovery vendors Clean blench facilities for handling all levels of hardware related data recovery from all storage media. No fix no fee and trade pricing from less than £200 [ed: they did name a price, but I decided you could go talk to them to learn more] . Flexible service options. Standard services turnaround in an average of 2-3 days. Computer forensics and electronic discovery capabilities also. Justin said to me "I am sure you are aware of lots of companies offering data recovery services at the logical or software fix level, but we are really into the physically damaged drives with issues such as burn out chips on the PCB, head crashes or even seized bearings that most smaller DR companies have issues dealing with." I've used them for both simple and complex recoveries and it was always worth it. To contact them go and have a look at Palmer Data Recovery or can also e-mail Justin directly at jreynolds@palmerdata.com . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Data recovery , Small Business , SBSC
  • How to start a VPN automatically on boot with Windows

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

    From the http://blogs.technet.com/kevin_beares/archive/2007/11/07/windows-server-centro-is-officially-unveiled-and-has-a-new-name.aspx a small amount about Centro and the tech beta. This is produced by the same team who build SBS 2003 R2 and SBS Cougar. More on those next year. Windows® Essential Business Server is the new Microsoft server solution for small to medium businesses, with 50 to 250 client computers in their organizations. Windows®Essential Business Server offers a standardized server configuration that is designed to meet the needs of most midsize businesses. The configuration is optimized to meet the currently recommended practices for networking, security, collaboration, and remote access. The tightly integrated Windows Essential Business Server simplifies setup, migration, and licensing for Microsoft infrastructure server products that a midsize business uses most frequently. Most network services and resources are managed through a single Windows®Essential Business Server Administration Console, which is accessible from anywhere on the network or remotely over a virtual private network. Windows®Essential Business Server is installed on three physical servers. These are referred to by their primary roles in the network: Windows®Essential Business Server Management Server – Centralizes management of your Windows Server "Centro" network. Enables and manages worker collaboration and network services. Windows®Essential Business Server Security Server – Manages security, Internet access, and remote-worker connectivity. Windows®Essential Business Server Messaging Server – Provides messaging capabilities and manages network services. If you are interested in joining the Windows®Essential Business Server upcoming Beta 2 effort; Please go to http://connect.microsoft.com , Click on Invitations and sign in with your Windows Live ID (Passport ID). Enter the following invite ID: EBSE-VKDP-276Y . You will be asked to take a short survey. Once you complete the survey we will evaluate your application for...
  • Office Accounting Professional 2008 ships in the UK ... download the free Express version, buy or try the Professional version for extra features (Multi user, SQL support, sales order, purchase order etc) and also sign up for online services (Paypal, BACS

    Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 It is finally here!! There are 2 major versions - the free version and the paid for version, plus a number of add-on services you might want to buy too. You can get lots of information at http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk/default.aspx and if you are an accountant then the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network is for you ( http://accounting.microsoft.com/mpanuk.aspx ). You can download the Express Version here: You can Download Free Trial here It says about itself: Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional is an easy to use, comprehensive accounting package that works with other Office applications you already know. Easy to learn and use Works just like Word, Excel and Outlook Get started in minutes with wizards that import your data Save time managing everyday tasks Share and reuse data across Word, Excel and Outlook Manage customers, suppliers, employees and stock Pay bills, track expenses, send invoices and bank online Get a complete view of your business Run customisable reports so you always know how you’re doing See all your important data in one glance with the Digital Dashboard Get reminders of important deadlines, pending bills and overdue invoices Product Overview information is available here: Product Overview Product Overview Below are the product features and the comparison between the 2 versions Top Features Click for details Get up and running in minutes Import data from Sage © or Excel * Choose from dozens of business templates to set up your company Work in the familiar Microsoft Office interface Visit the Resource Centre to get help with common questions Save time on everyday tasks Track your income and expenses Manage customers, suppliers and employees Print cheques, create quotes and invoices Bank online and download transactions Get paid faster with PayPal invoices Get reminders for recurring documents and activities Save time with Office integration Track billable time, create quotes and send invoices in Outlook Export reports to Excel with one...
  • An update from Vijay on the SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call and further evidence that Microsoft might sometimes be slow to react to feedback, but it does react and the results are often good

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

    I thought I would repost this as it is a very often asked question. Eric who posted this has said as much as can be said today. I hope to be able to break silence soon on more :) The statement for me that has the most interest as many partners don't think about it is " Embracing Live Services". I can honestly say I don't know the details here, but for all those nay sayers about online / live / Software plus Service etc, this is another loud gong that the world is changing! Also, just one of those side notes, Exchange 2007 does not include Outlook anymore (Exchange 2003 did), so your customers must buy Outlook / Office to use Exchange outside the web based views. What is going to be in "Cougar?" There have been a few questions floating around about "Cougar," the next version of Windows Small Business Server, and what it will include and be based on. I thought I would post some of the information that is publicly available to help address some of these questions: Based on the Windows Server 2008 platform and technology wave Cougar will include these technologies: Windows Server 2008 Exchange Server 2007 Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 SQL Server 2005 System Center Essentials Dramatically improved management, protection, and business productivity Emphasis on simplicity and integration Providing value for new and existing partners Embracing Live Services 64-bit only Microsoft Small Business Community Blog : What is going to be in "Cougar?" ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS Cougar , Cougar , Software plus Service , Windows Server 2008 , Exchange 2007 , System Center Essentials
  • Windows Server Division Blog (and Windows Server 2008 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Update and TS vs Citrix)

    Another blog to add to your list of blogs worth reading - the Windows Server division blog - http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver . As an example, here is a snippet about how WSS and Windows Server 2008 will be allowed to follow different timelines and paths by NOT being shipped on the same DVD, or how to choose between Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 and Citrix Windows Server 2008 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Update As we’re getting closer to release, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is returning to how it was previously available to Windows Server 2008 customers. Specifically, we are going back to making it available as a separate download that is available to customers at no additional charge. This is how Windows SharePoint Services was available to Windows Server 2003 customers (pre-R2). With the beta and RC0 versions of Windows Server 2008, we offered it in the Windows Server 2008 software. Starting with RC1 and going forward, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 will have to be downloaded separately. Basically, we made this decision to allow customers to most conveniently obtain the technology while allowing Microsoft to have flexibility in the Windows SharePoint Services development process. If you have not looked at WSS 3.0, be sure to download it and peek around. It offers great collaboration, social computing and document management features and provides a rich composite application development platform based on our .NET technologies. The SharePoint team is working hard on great new features and releases that customers will continue to see delivered via download. For more guidance re: installation/evaluation updates, see: http://download.microsoft.com/download/b/9/e/b9e27997-7a8e-493c-b23b-58eeaa3214c8/WSSGuide.doc . Windows Server Division WebLog : Windows Server 2008 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Update and Citrix iForum wrap: TS, Xen and Linux losing I thought that I'd follow-up my post the other day - questions about when to use Terminal Services vs. Citrix -- by pointing out ERICOM...
  • Office Rocker! : Ecma Open XML real world stories

    I don't know how many of you read the Office Rocker blog from Darren Strange ( http://blogs.msdn.com/officerocker ), but I did like this entry given all the recent discussions about Open XML. At the end of the day the discussion is not who's standard it is (ISO, ECMA etc) although there does appear to be a pecking order, but more about what people can do once it is in use. Darren has highlighted some people who are actually using Open XML to extend their business. Ecma Open XML real world stories This afternoon I was presenting at the Office Business Applications architects council with the good looking chaps on the right here. I was talking about some of the stories I've come across from our customers and partners who are using Ecma Open XML in their solutions. I have 4 stories published recently about Ecma Open XML that illustrate what I think are 3 significant categories: 1. Integrated add-in Fractal:Edge have a great visual concept for representing the drill down on data using what they call a 'Fractal Map'. The map is an add-in for Excel 2007 effectively but to store the settings for the map - like the data connection details, involves writing this to the file. This is very easy to do in Open XML and means you don't need to lug around a separate config file to travel around with the spreadsheet. They have a really good demo on their website. Being able to use Excel to store the fractalmap made their add-in highly portable which increased its adoption. <snipped> 2. Document interrogation Working out the history of a document, merging changes and looking for compliance violations is an area Workshare have an impressive depth of experience. Previously working with the binary format to do this was very hard not to mention fraught with danger of corrupting the file. Since Open XML, they've been able to create new versions of their products far faster, with greater precision and because poking about in the file is now supported, a much more secure and stable product. <snipped>...
  • Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups

    I feel very close to this team... they sit just down a bit from me :-) All good stuff, plus go to the website if you have something you think could be a candidate. Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups Microsoft's Startup Accelerator Program will help startups use software technology such as Silverlight and Live Services</WEBTEASER _extended="true"> By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service Microsoft will assist U.K. startups in using its software technology under a program launched on Monday by CEO Steve Ballmer. The Startup Accelerator Program will include technologies such as Silverlight , Microsoft's multimedia browser plug-in, and Live Services , a group of Web-based applications. Microsoft will also offer assistance in business development, marketing, and sales. Microsoft stands to gain momentum if startup companies are successful in building applications based on its technology. The program could also put Microsoft closer to key startups with technology that Microsoft would rather buy than develop itself. At least five companies have joined the program so far: Ether Digital, which has a platform for video content over IP; Zebtab, which has a desktop video application; Corebridge, involved in customer relationship management and communication software; ViaPost, which focuses on electronic document delivery; and Miomi, with a Web site that lets people mesh their own content with interactive timelines. Microsoft already has the U.K. Emerging Business Team , which works with startup companies and venture capital organizations. Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups | InfoWorld | News | 2007-10-01 | By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service ttfn David Technorati Tags: Startups , Microsoft , Silverlight , Live Services , UK
  • Microsoft gets official open-source blessing from OSI for two of its licenses

    Many times Microsoft has been barracked for its "anti-open source" stance, which quite frankly has never existed. However, since we have always made software available under various licenses, it was decided that it was time to get these officially recognise by the people behind the dreaded GPL (that is my humour btw). Not everyone is happy about it as can be read at http://robertogaloppini.net/2007/10/18/open-source-at-microsoft-microsofts-licenses-get-approved-by-osi/ . Microsoft's desire to protect what it considers to be its intellectual property is seen as a threat by some in the open source world. However if you look at MSDN, it has, I suspect, millions of lines of code for people to borrow, use and then sell. I would call that open source of one type as well as codezone for another. In fact, as I have always understood it, Microsoft does not care how you develop or release you code, providing you do it legally! I think Microsoft gets official open-source blessing from OSI for two of its licenses covers most points Microsoft gets official open-source blessing from OSI for two of its licenses By Ryan Paul | Published: October 16, 2007 - 01:41PM CT The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the organization responsible for maintaining the definition of open source and evaluating open source licenses, has officially approved the Microsoft Community (Ms-CL) and Permissive (Ms-PL) licenses. Microsoft submitted its Shared Source licenses shortly after announcing plans to do so at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention earlier this year. OSI president Michael Tiemann responded by pointing out that three of Microsoft's five Shared Source licenses impose restrictions that are clearly inconsistent with the Open Source definition, but acknowledged that the two licenses submitted by Microsoft had merit and would be evaluated. "The decision to approve was informed by the overwhelming (though not unanimous) consensus from the open-source community that these licenses satisfied the 10 criteria of the Open Source...
  • Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests

    More evidence that Microsoft is playing very nicely with its "open" buddies. The Open Ajax Alliance has confirmed that Microsoft has passed its interop tests. Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests By Darryl K. Taft Microsoft joins several other companies and open-source projects in meeting OpenAjax guidelines. Microsoft has passed the OpenAjax Alliance's suite of interoperability tests to prove that its software can interoperate with other parts of the OpenAjax ecosystem. On the eve of the AJAX World Conference and Expo 2007 West taking place Sept. 23-26 in Santa Clara, Calif., Microsoft officials said the Redmond, Wash., company's software passed the OpenAjax InteropFest 1.0 tests and is interoperable with other AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) components in the OpenAjax ecosystem through the OpenAjax Hub. The OpenAjax Hub is a set of standard JavaScript functionalities defined by the OpenAjax Alliance, with strong focus on being small and fast. Brad Abrams, a project manager for Microsoft's ASP.Net Atlas, wrote in his blog Sept. 23 that Microsoft passed the OpenAjax InteropFest test. Bertand Le Roy, a Microsoft engineer who prepared the Microsoft entry for the OpenAjax test, also blogged about the entry and the testing process itself. <snipped> The organization's key objective is to accelerate customer success with AJAX by promoting a customer's ability to mix and match solutions from AJAX technology providers and by helping to drive the future of the AJAX ecosystem, OpenAjax officials said. Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests If this is right up your street then you might want to look at ASP.NET AJAX plays well with other AJAX frameworks or Too Much Choice with AJAX . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Developer , OpenAjax
  • A SBS Blog to watch - Girish's Graffiti : How to use Performance Monitor Wizard (PerfWiz) on SBS

    This is just one example of the many blog entries on this blog that is again worth watching. Is it also worth mentioning that Girish supports SBS? Go to Girish's Graffiti to see lots of good stuff. How to use Performance Monitor Wizard (PerfWiz) on SBS You can download PerfWiz from here; http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=31fccd98-c3a1-4644-9622-faa046d69214&displaylang=en Many times when you have performance issues on your server you can use this tool to simplify creating performance counters. This will benefit you in the following way; you don't need to do this one by one manually and this would be a head start before you call for support. Because for most performance issues you may find that we would want to collect this from your system. So here is a step by step on how can do this More information at Girish's Graffiti : How to use Performance Monitor Wizard (PerfWiz) on SBS ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS , Blog , If you only read one post today
  • Be there or be square - Westcoast Small Business Forum - 29th November, Reading

    What can I say - an amazing line up of presenters, plus a chance to throw pies at me as I do a song and dance for 1 hour. Seriously though, look at the agenda and wonder how you survived without it!! Westcoast Small Business Forum Get yourself booked onto our Small Business Forum which takes place on November 29th at Microsoft’s Thames Valley Campus. Spaces are limited (unless you’re happy to sit on laps?!) so get yourself booked on now. First come, first served. Full details are available by clicking here . We’ll be updating it with a few more events that are coming up this year in the UK that we think you’ll be interested in. Look forward to seeing you there! Oh, and guess who’s also found another site to blog on… UK SMB Girl » Westcoast Small Business Forum ttfn David Technorati Tags: If you only read one post today , Small Business , SBSC , Community , Westcoast , Event
  • A SBS Blog to watch - Moloy Tandon's Blog - Ask Me

    This is just one example of the many blog entries on this blog that is worth watching. Is it also worth mentioning that Moloy supports SBS? Go to Moloy Tandon's Blog - Ask Me to see lots of good stuff. Upcoming Events: Small Business Server 2003 Webinar We've arranged three Small Business Server webinars to cover topics that we think you may be interested in. You can watch these webinars from the comfort of your own PC and there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions at the end. But hurry! Spaces are limited so ensure you register as soon as possible. The Small Business Server OEM pre-installation kit Join us for the first of our three-part webinar series, focusing on Microsoft Small Business Server. We'll be looking at how to: Automate the build process - using features such as auto-unattend Centrally manage your installations - by using network-based deployment Incorporate third party drivers - and pre-install additional applications Add unique customisations - to promote your company and support offerings We'll also touch on creating images to help you save time on future installations and finish with a question and answer session. Tuesday 30th October, 9am-10am - Register Tuesday 6th November, 9am-10am - Register Common configurations with Small Business Server In part two of our series on Small Business Server we'll be investigating common configurations. This session will include: Hardware and network infrastructure considerations, including how to set up, email or transfer from an ISP Security Troubleshooting techniques and common pitfalls Tuesday 30th October, 4pm-5pm - Register Tuesday 6th November, 4pm-5pm - Register Windows SharePoint Services In the third and final part of our series on Windows Small Business Server we'll look in detail at Windows SharePoint Services. Key capabilities of Windows SharePoint Services version 2.0 around web-based team working Options for ongoing management Introducing Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0 Wednesday 31st October, 9am-10am...
  • From the Official SBS Blog - SBS now has a Best Practices Analyzer!

    You have seen the Exchange, SQL, Security and Windows best practice scanners, well now we have all that SBS expertise wrapped up into an SBS scanner - enjoy!! SBS now has a Best Practices Analyzer! The Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices Analyzer examines a server that is running Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Windows SBS) and presents a list of information and errors that administrators should review. The Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer examines the server and collects configuration information from many sources including: Active Directory Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Registry Metabase After collecting information about server configuration, the Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer verifies that the information is correct and then presents administrators with a list of issues sorted by severity. The list describes each issue and provides a recommendation or possible solution. System Requirements Supported Operating Systems: Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Any version of Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003) Links KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940439 Download http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3874527A-DE19-49BB-800F-352F3B6F2922&displaylang=en So take a look and let us know what you think about it! (Feedback email address is in the KB article). The Official SBS Blog : SBS now has a Best Practices Analyzer! ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , Best practices , If you only read one post today
  • Training for users on SharePoint 2007

    From the SharePoint product team: Greetings, Looking for end user training for WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 ? The product team has released the SharePoint End User Training Kit - http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2007/10/11/sharepoint-end-user-training-kit-now-available.aspx . The SharePoint Server 2007 Training includes interactive demos, videos, and articles. You can customize the training to match your site look and feel or use it as is. The SharePoint End User Training Kit will also have a standalone deployment option, which can be installed on a PC and used by an individual. This version of the kit will be available within the next few weeks. For more information about the kit and instructions on how to obtain it, please go to the end user focused " Get the 'Point " blog. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SharePoint , Training
  • How to save money when offering licensing to small businesses in the UK at the moment

    [updated to remove some inaccuracies about Susanne's microspeak - sorry Susanne] There are always special offers of some form or another from most companies and Microsoft is no exception (well, except in August when we are still in post financial year clean up :-)). Anyway, the UK SMB Girl aka Susanne Dansey at Westcoast has listed a couple of these.: N-3 Open Value Subscription Offer Promotion ends: 31 December 2007 Programme: OV Subscription Up-to-Date Discount (UTD) is a 50 per cent discount in OV Subscription for the first year invoice for any licence for the current (N) or previous (N-1) version of the selected Small Business or Professional Desktop platform products. For the OVS N-3 promo eligibility for receiving the 50 per cent discount is granted to N-3 versions of Office licences (back to Office 2000). Promtional SKUs are identified on the price list by the word ‘Promo’. Future proofing Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Here’s a heads up to all Microsoft Partners thinking about licensing SBS 2003 so that you can save 15% on Windows SBS 2003 R2 (standard edition) for you and your clients (should you wish!). Offer: Save 15% on Windows SBS 2003 R2 Standard Edition License types: L only, L+SA Offer descriptions: Partners get an additional 15% off the regular Partner price for the Standard Edition of Windows SBS 2003 R2 (license only and license + Software Assurance). Partners are eligible to pass savings onto their customers. Offer good only when bought in a VL License (L or L+SA). SA will allow customer to upgrade to the next version of Windows SBS for free. Offer fulfillment: Partner discounts are available directly from official Microsoft distributors (such as me) Duration and timing: September 2007 through December 31, 2007 Considerations: The Windows Small Business Server CALs are not included in this discount How to hold a conversation with your customer regarding this offer AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, how to talk about SBS 2003: “Can I ask you, if you got hit by a virus, are you 100% confident...

(c)David Overton 2006-13