Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fun, Games and a Brrreeeport

Over on the Scobleizer blog, Robert suggests a game, where in bloggers post with the word brrreeeport in the post, to see the result. As of this post, Technorati reports 1051 hits, MSN Search shows 45,379 hits, Google shows 65,100, while Yahoo shows a whopping 83,600!

That these numbers vary so much is interesting - why does Yahoo report almost double the number of hits on a made up word than MSN Search? And why does Technorationly show so few? Which one is right?

Blogger Weirdness

I am not quite sure what is happening here, but Blogger seemingly is eating some posts. I've lost a couple since last night. If you look at my blog from the home page ( you see reference to an article I wrote yesterday on code signing at Yet you can navigate directly to it. Weird.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More on Vista

It was a pleasure to read Mark Wilson's summary of my Vista talk last week at the IT Forum redlivered event at Microsoft. As usual, he's done a first class job at summarising the talk.

This talk was challenging on a couple of levels. First, I was not able to run the latest (Dec) CTP on my laptop - which was a bit of a bummer to say the least. But I managed to get it running on a desktop I had a home. The box only had 512MB of memory, so to get the demo to run at anything like reasonable speed, I had to buy some more ram (out of my own pocket).

The second challenge was the slide deck itself was pretty marketing oriented - an approach that I know from many years presenting at TVP really does not go down well with the UK audience. So I used the deck as the basis for both explaining some of the background, and as the focus for the demos. I'm glad Mark recognised this approach for what it was!

The third challenge was the product itself. I am running the December CTP relase - and it's slow, buggy and incomplete. But big deal - it's beta - and the bugs really aren't the message. And of course, if it were fast, bug free and complete, it'd not be beta, if you see what I mean. The demos showed a bunch of the cool new features, such as the great new event log intereface. But in looking at it, you also see how many hundred critical and major error events were logged which diverts a bit from the core feature message. As Mark pointed out, my demos were around what you are going to be able to do with Vista (and less about the current state of the engineering effort). I'm told that the next CTP, due out very, very soon, should both load on my laptop and be much quicker on the desktop. I'm looking forward to having more evidence around both of these shortly!

Getting IE7 To Recognise an RSS Feed

After loading the latest IE7 beta, I was stumped by it's inability to find the RSS feed on my blog page. I could see the nice big XML button - so what's up with that? It turns out, thanks to a great post on the Microsoft Team RSS Blog : Windows RSS Publisher's Guide (work-in-progress) I just needed to update the template for this blog and add a LINK tag to the header and all is well. For IE7 to "see" an RSS feed, the page has to have a LINK tag in the page header containing the details IE uses to present the RSS feed information. And thanks to QA's web guru Steve Mansell for pointing the solution to me as well! For more information on the LINK tag see this blog post.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

IT Forum Redelivered - MSH Talk

Last Thursday, I was at Microsoft UK, and delivered two talks as part of their IT Forum Redelivered event. The idea was to take the best talks from last year's IT Forum and redeliver them to a UK audience who might not have made it to Barcelona. My first talk was about Monad, with the second was about Vista (with a tiny bit on O12). Mark Wilson was kind enough to pretty nearly transcribe my entire talk in a (long) blog artice on his blog site. Thanks for saving me a bunch of work! A few small points on Mark's excellent post

Mark notes the registry setting to change the default security model. What he omits is the poor first time user experience if you don't set this registry value entry. The default for this value entry (Restricted) means that the first time you run MSH, you are confronted by a bunch of somewhat obscure and unhelpful error messages the first time you run MSH. I understand fully the need for this registry value entry - but to my mind Monad's setup should take provide some way to fix this in a less user hostile way. I'm hoping the product team will resolve this issue before RTM, or perhaps there's a simple way to create a MSI Transform to 'fix' this.

Mark's blog post metions the get-wmiobject cmdlet. He agrees with me that the full name is a pain to type out in the shell. Ahh grasshopper - you just use the ailas gwo - and if you want to ailas it further, you of course can do that easily.

Mark talks about pipes and the pipeline. Just one small issue, in case I wasn't clear on the day. In Unix/Linux, what tends to pass along the pipeline is text as Mark notes. But that's not a design decision or a restriction - I'd hate any Unix/Linux fan to throw rocks at either of us. So while binary data can of course flow across the pipeline, what tends to happen with administrative scripting it that it's just text passed.

Finally Mark talks about security measures around Monad. A futher securty measure is that Monad is not installed by default, nor is it on the product CD. MS is deliberately putting up as many security barriers to stop you running scripts. And while this is a right royal pain in the posterior for experiened IT Pros - I think it's probably the right answer these days.

I really enjoyed giving the talk, and the Vista talk that he's not written about (yet)! To be there cost me a day of my time plus the couple of hundred pounds needed to be get there and deliver talks with credible working demos - but it was still a lot of fun.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

DDPS - BDD 2.5 Training - book now!

Microsoft UK has now opened the booking for Desktop Deployment Planning Services Technical Training (based on BDD 2.5). Go to the MS UK Partnher Website and book today. There are 8 courses, each lasting 4 days. The majority of the time is spent carrying out Hands On Labs using BDD.

The idea of the course is to prepare MS Partners for deliveing the DDPS to SA customers. It's also a great demonstration of the MS stack!!