Tuesday, June 29, 2004

TechEd Europe Keynote

The keynote for TechEd was interesting. The conference theme is 'feel the rhythm' - so to underline this, each delegate received a hand made African drum. On stage, and in the hall, were more drumers (with larger drums!). 6000 geeks banging on their drums was a definate wake-up call.

After the drummers, the room went dark, and the next speaker came onstage and started to give his talk. He said he did not care if there were lights on - because he was blind. He first threw away his mouse (what value is a mouse to someone who is blind?)then gave a short demo of a screen reader and braille bar. When you see both MS software and the web, through the 'eyes' of a blind person, it makes you realise just how much visual appeal there is. And how useless it is to the blind. It was a short, but effective reminder that the development community does need to remember all the user community, not just the sighted. The rest of the keynote was interesting and animated, but these two things did rather stand out.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Teched Europe: Open Source Chalk Talks

For those of you interested in open source, and the Microsoft view, check out this chalk talk at TechEd:

CHT038 Microsoft and Open Source

Tue, Jun 29 14:45 - 16:00 Room: S

Thomas Lee , Steven Adler , Bradley Tipp

Many customers have questions about Microsoft�s view of Open Source and its ability to coexist and interoperate in a Microsoft environment. The session aims to answer your questions about Open Source and provide information and guidance on Microsoft�s position on Open Source.

This session will be repeated a total of 4 times during TechEd.

The format of this will be to get the audience to post the questions - what do YOU want to know today - and for Brad and Steven to put forward the Microsoft view of things, with me keeping score, providing a more independant view, and trying to keep the conversation on topic and flowing. If you have any specific questions you'd like to ask, or have asked, then post to me - either by email, or via a comment on this blog.

We've done these sessions in the past (at TechEd Barcelona and at IT Forum) and they were a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!

Check out the TechEd Bloggers site for more info on TechEd Europe

For those of you who will not be heading to Amsterdam next week, stay tuned to the TechEd Bloggers site for details and reactions on the show!

The TechEd Bloggers site publishes Blog posts made by registered bloggers that somehow relate to TechEd. The bloggers first have to register their blog, which is pretty simple, at http://techedbloggers.net/SubmitBlog.aspx and there after any TechEd posts made will get published at the TechEd Blogger's site. Sadly, not all the TechEd related blog posts actually end up on the site. I've had a few of my that never made it, nor any clue why not! Oh well...

The TechEd Blogger team have provided a set of RSS feeds for posts, an OPML directory of all the bloggers, plus links to blog related stuff.

A nice site, with some useful information. For Euro-geeks, probably worth watching over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

TechEd Europe MSF/MOF BOF Session

I'm looking forward to the MSF/MOF sessions at TechEd Europe. This BOF session is titled BOF005 "MSF and MOF - What's In It For Me?". The format will be for someone (me) to set an agenda for the session, and kick off the discussion. I'd planned on discussing what MSF and MOF are - so we're all on the same page. Then, let's see were the discussion takes us.

This will be fun!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

TechEd Europe here I come!

Just one week left before TechEd Europe! I can't wait. This year will be a lot of fun!!

On mondy, 3 of my QA colleagues Olga Londer, Dave Wheler and Andy Thomson and I will give a pre-conference session entiitled .NET for IT Professionals .

During the week, I'll be working with Steven Adler and Bradley Tipp to discuss Microsoft and Open Source. We're giving this sessin 4 times during the conference, so please come along!

Finally, I'm going to be leading two Birds of a Feather sessions, one late on Wednesday and the other early Thursday morning. These sessions are titled "MSF and MOF - What's In It For Me?" and should be lively.

Friday, June 18, 2004

More about MSH (and Longhorn)

One of the features of Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn OS is a new command shell, known as Monad, or MSH. I've written about it a few times in the past on this blog. I find it utterly cool,and really hope MS consider releaseing it earlier! Anyway...

In the final edition of The .NET Show: Longhorn Fundamentals the archtect of MSH talks about it and what it can do. Jeffry Snover and Jim (bad hair) Truher are my heros!

If you want to see a cool product, and a mega-cool demo, watch this session! I want this product.

Deployment Assistance Workshops - Windows Desktop - CONTENT

This is sort of cool. It's some work I did for Microsoft earlier this year. Titled the Deployment Assistance Workshops - Windows Desktop, the full PPTs can be downloaded.

I was sort of surprised by Microsoft putting this material onto the web, but am very pleased that they have done so! The UK TechNet site is getting increasingly useful to UK IT pros (and of course to all IT Pros around the world with Internet access!).

Thursday, June 10, 2004

TechNet Security Talks

Over the past few months, I've been doing a number of security talks for Microsoft, which include a number of TechNet briefings: TechNet RoadShows,the 1-day, the 2-day, and evening events as well as the web casts. This week I did an evening event at Thames Valley Park, and am doing another one in London tonight.

I regularly get asked for the slides, so I've put them up on my website. A small note - these presentations are BIG, even though they are already zipped up. I'm working on compressing them a bit more but they will still be big!

Enjoy - the'll be up there until I get a bandwidth cap!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

What's in a Product Update Package

I came across another interesting article in the Microsoft KB. KB Article 824994 - describes the contents of a Windows Server 2003 Product Update Package. The article is a little hard to read (the first two sentences are 55 words long each, and the overall sentence length is 29.2!). But it has some interesting information as to the contents of update packages.

The article also explains why an update package may have more then one copy of a given file. Each update will have a copy of the relevant file for each "cardinal point" in the file's lifecycle. The cardinal point, a new term to me, are the main releases of the file (ie RTM and for each Service Pack). So copies of a file will exist for RTM, SP1, SP2 (when it exists) as well as for a given hotfix.

An interesting read!

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Too many passwords?

Like a lot of IT professionals, I have a lot of accounts and passwords for alarge number of web sites. These sites are around the world, and have varying password requirements. The fact is, I just can't remember all of them.

I found a neat tool at http://www.pluralsight.com/keith/security/sample_pwm.txt" which should help. This is clearly better than c:\passwords.txt!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Microsoft Online Seminars - in case you missed TechEd

While the content is not bang up to date or as deep technically as the Teched 400 level sessions, the Microsoft Online Seminar site has a large number of streaming media seminars.

There is an impressive amount of content for doiwhnload. For those of us who are not living right on the bleeding edge, this is really useful information, and I'll probalby end up spending time watching some of these .

The majority of these seminars appear to be at the 200 level (technical overview) bur there are some deeper talks at the 300 level.

Thanks to my MVP buddy Oli Restorick for pointing this out!.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit 3.0

Application Compatibility can be a big problem for companies upgrading to any later software platform. Microsoft have produces the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit which is available for free download. You can also order the toolkit on CD - it's free, but you have to pay "postage and handling."

A new version of this tool kit is meant to be coming out with Windows XP SP2, but I've seen no signs yet of a beta copy.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Setting up DNS

I get a lot of queries about DNS. One question I get often, especially from small to medium enterprises relates to the need for a secondary. Many of these smaller business want to offer services, web sites, etc to the Internet, and therefore require public DNS servers. For some, hosting a secondary would requrie an additional box. Hosting two DNS servers on a small site does not really provide much redunandcy.

There are several ways around this problem. Some firms 'peer' - firm A hosts the records for firm B, and firm B hosts the records for firm A. There are also third party (i.e. for fee, not for free!) companies which provide this service. I'm currently using DNS Made Easy. DNS Made Easy provides you with primary and secondary domains, and can provide mail services for your domains. The price per year is quite modest. Worth a look of you want to set up your company's web site and don't want to host DNS as well (or if you just want a reliable secondary).