Friday, November 26, 2004

Windows Update Services - Comming Soon, Evaluate NOW!

After a period of darkness, Microsoft has now shipped Beta 2 of Windows Update Services. There is a closed beta, which is full, but there is also an open beta for everyone to participate in. If you are serious about patching, head over to Microsoft Windows Update Services page and sign up for the Open Evaluation Program (OEP).

Microsoft UK Tackles Software Piracy

Microsoft UK is taking an interesting route to tackle software piracy. If you navigate to MS's Genuine Product Verification - Software Piracy - Microsoft UK site, you can see how to turn your illegal copy of XP into a legal one. Basically, if you bought a PC with Windows Pre-installed, and it's a counterfit copy, MS UK will replace it with a fully licensed version.

Monday, November 22, 2004

ISO Recorder Resurfaces

Alex Feinman, another extraordinary MVP, produced a nice add on for Windows XP. It added fatures beyond the CD burning built into XP. In particular, it enables you to burn an iso image and to convert a CD into an ISO image, which you can use in your Virtual Machines, or to reburn later. Alex has just completed his ISO Recorder 2 Beta product which now supports Server 2003, as well as not requiring admin rights. Oh - and it's free!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Microsoft Windows Update Services Open Evaluation

The latest beta for Windows Update Services has now been posted to the web. This is an open programme - so go to Microsoft Windows Update Services Open Evaluation Page to register for the programme and to download the software. A cool feature of the OEP is the WUS Wiki page, initially created by Scott Korman, a SUS MBP.

I strongly reccomend ALL MS customers to get this and test it (and file bugs if you encounter problems).

MCT Renewals

The (now) annual cycle of trainers renewing their Microsoft Certified Trainer status is nearing an end. Existing MCTs have only a few more days to renew their status, or face de-certification. Speaking to the MCT Program Manager last week, it looks like a large number of MCTs have renewed. With MCT 2005, Microsoft is going to be changing some of the rules of the programme. Going forward, delegates will be asked to fill in online evaluations, through a programme called Metrics That Matter (MTM). From Jan 2005, MCTs are required to maintain a good satisfaction rating, based on MTM. From then, MCTs must have not more than 10% of scores in the range 1-4 in MTM's 1-9 scale. They call this DSAT - dissatisfifed - the idea is you don't want dissatisfied customer experiences. From Jan 2006, MCTs will be required to keep at least 70% of all evaluations in the 8-9 scale. This is the VSAT (very satisfied) range. The only issue I have is that my delegates grade hard. Which is good - it makes me work harder. The current MTM evaluation puts the word 'outstanding' at the 9 end of the scale. I know very few trainers that can consistently be truly outstanding (or nearly outstanding). Of course, if students are told that 9 is OK or better, 8 is just average, and 1-7 are different levels of suckiness, then maybe. We'll see.
At IT Forum last week, Bill Gates mentioned a smart card based on .NET, produced by Axalto. This technology is pretty neat - it is a smart card that has the CLI built in. This sounds pretty neat, although the details on Axalto's site are sketchy.