Friday, August 31, 2007

Office Communication Server 2007 Videos

 Microsoft has published two downloadable videos promoting OCS 2007. Known as the Evil Presence videos, the first shows how an organisation can use OCS, while the second looks at the roundtable.

To get the downloads, see:  Unified Communications - Office Communication Server 2007 Videos

Thursday, August 30, 2007

OCS 2007 TechNet Forums Are Back!

The TechNet web forums are back up. Microsoft changed the URL to address the forums to reflect that the product had achieved RTM (i.e. dropping the "beta" from the URL). It looks like this happened without changing other links to the forum. Anyway, they're back up!

The content on the OCS forums still says "beta", but the RTM is definitely on-topic. I hope that the eye-candy will be updated soon to reflect RTM. It would be nice if this content was also shared with an NNTP feed.

For OCS users wanting NNTP support, there is one newsgroup ( on MS's NNTP Server Hopefully a richer set of newsgroups will be forthcoming. I'm sure trying!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

OCS TechNet Forum Down

The TechNet OCS 2007 Beta on-line forum at: is down. It's been down since Friday morning. The outage has been reported, but not yet fixed.

These forums were about the OCS 2007 beta product (and are, or at least were, still missing any links to NNTP). Now that OCS has hit RTM, there is a need for both forums and newsgroups that support the final RTM, product. These are coming, I'm told by folks at Microsoft, hopefully with full gating between on-line forum(s) and NNTP newsgroups.

When I get more information, or if the site suddenly comes back, I'll post more more information.

[Later - 17:45 Saturday Aug 25 - Evening]

I've seen Tata Moraes comment - sadly I have no idea when this forum will be back up. Plus it's a bank holiday weekend at least here, so everyone's away. You could try posting in the newsgroup, although strictly speaking OCS posts are probably off topic there.

[Still Later - 19:00 Monday Aug 7 - 1900]

The outage continues. This appears to be an error in the change over to RTM support and the forums should be back soon. There will be RTM forums, but don't know yet about newsgroup support.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Going To Have To Pay For Vista SP1?

A rumour, to be sure, but are Vista users going To Have To Pay For Vista SP1?. Now this may just be a "pay P&P to get the DVD" deal in which case that's perfectly reasonable. But if MS plans to chare more than simple costs involved in shipping then I'd expect a pretty huge backlash. I'm about to buy a new Dell box for my wife, and this would make a difference to my choice of OS (fortunately Dell still provides XP which is perfectly fine for the intended use).

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Interview with Mike Neil on Microsoft Virtulisation has an interesting interview with Mike Neil, Microsoft's general manager for virtulisation. In the interview Neil assesses the competition, licensing and security of virtulisation. There are some interesting questions, but some of Neil's answers sadly descend in to PR-speak. He disagrees with the suggestion that Microsoft is way behind VMware claiming that virtulisation is still a developing market. He also says that the dropping of Live Migration from the Viridian platform not a big deal since it was 'just a sexy feature [that] sounds really exciting" and goes on to suggest that it's not being used much in the VMware product.  

One nice part of the interview, Neil claims that Microsoft are still developing Virtual PC and Virtual Server and that the respective teams have even grown. No indication of when better products will be available is given however. I use VPC in the classroom heavily and would love a better product - there's just too much flakieness involved with VPC. Plus VPC can't make use of multi-core systems the way VMware does. 64-bit support would also be very useful.

The final bit of bad or good news (depending on your point of view), Neil re-confirms that the hypervisor is still a year away. He cites February 2008 as the Longhorn Ship date, with the hypervisor is due to ship 6 months after that. He gives no dates on beta programs. I suspect that by the Longhorn "ship date" he means the launch date (I hope he's not implying a further slip of RTM!!). I'm hoping to see early versions coming in the next few months.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Office Communications Server 2007 Resource Kit Tools

 Microsoft has posted the updated  Office Communications Server 2007 Resource Kit Tools for free download. One cool tool is Snooper.exe which can help you parse SIP and C3P protocol logs, including those generated by OCSLogger.exe.

These tools are a must have if you are using OCS!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

404 Error Pages

Smashing  Magazine asked their readers to design 404 pages, the page a web server returns when for whatever reason the page you asked for does not exist.  The results, 404 Error Pages: Reloaded show some fantastic out of the box thinking - and are a lot more interesting than some that I can mention! My favorite is the Blue Screen of Death on the Web.

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Quest's AD cmdlets 1.0.4 are Released

Those very nice people at Quest have released an updated version of the free AD PowerShell Cmdlets. You can read about the updates contained in the  AD cmdlets 1.0.4 release in Dmitry Sotnikov's Blog. If you use Active Directory and PowerShell, these free cmdlets are must-haves! There's also a pretty good bit of documentation (PDF).

To download the updates, go to the Quest web site (you have to register to get access at present). And did I mention that these are free?

These cmdlets really rock - thanks Quest!!

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Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 VM Free Download

Microsoft has released a pre-configured Server 2008 B3 Virtual Machine.  You can download it from the MS web site. It's BIG - 2.8GB, and comes as five separate RAR files that you combine to create the virtual machine.

The documentation claims you have to use Virtual Server (which is also a free download). I've not tested it to see whether this is correct and if you can actually use Virtual PC.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some Nice Vista (and XP) Wallpapers

 I just found this page - it contains some nice Vista Wallpaper. Of course you can use them for XP or Server too!

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PowerShell-users Mailing List

Marco Shaw has setup up a PowerShell-users mailing list. If you are a hard core PowerShell junkie, you might take a look.

This is a great idea, but it may duplicate (at least to some degree) the contents of the existing NNTP newsgroup You can access this newsgroup via NNTP at (or via Google and HTTP).

PowerShell on Windows 2000 - Forget it

 Nearly 2 years ago, I wrote a blog article entitled  Monad on Windows 2000. The article suggested that while you might be able to get Monad (as it was then known) to run on Windows 2000, it was probably a pointless exercise.

I notice from my logs that this earlier article is getting hits, so I thought I'd update the advice a bit. When I say "a bit" about the only bit is that it's PowerShell I'm talking about and not the beta (known back then as Monad).  As I reported back in 2005, while you might be able to sort of install PowerShell under Windows 2000, the installation would rely on manual effort and probably wouldn't work anyway.

Of course, you can use PowerShell from your XP/Vista box to reach out and touch Windows 2000 servers across  your network (e.g. using WMI). But as for running PowerShell on a Windows 2000 system - forget it!!

Vista Patches - Mini SP1??

As has been widely reported, Microsoft has released two important patches for Vista that improve the compatibility, performance and reliability of Windows Vista. Given the scope of these updates, you could argue this is a Mini-SP1, although that's not how Microsoft is positioning the updates. I've downloaded these patches and my Vista system seems to be working OK.

The first update is described in KB938194 and is intended to improve compatibility and contains fixes for 13 identified issues. This patch can be downloaded for both i386 and x64  platforms. The download is  just over 2mb (or 3mb for X64).

The second update is described in KB 938979 and is intended to improve performance an reliability. This patch contains fixes for 10 identified issues. Like the first patch, you can get i386 and X64 patches from Microsoft.

 These updates look useful in improving Vista's performance, compatibility and reliability.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Nice Unified Communications Blog

I just found a useful new blog: Unified Communications blog. Based in Netherlands, with some links that are Dutch orientated, but it looks good (and it's in English!).

Looks a great reference! I'm linking to it on my corporate blog too!

Hey Silicon Valley - Please Fix Your Emails

I subscribe to a number of newsletters - I find  these very useful in both keeping up to date with events in our hi-tech world, and also to learn more about various news subjects. Once daily newsletter I particularly like is First Edition, published by The Mercury News. You can read this online from the Silicon Valley web site, or via email (see the signup page to subscribe).

I love these newsletters. However recently, someone's changed their format and I find them now much harder to read. Here's what today's edition looks like in my mail client:

If you are having difficulties viewing this newsletter, please click
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function refreshArticleList(theForm) { theForm.submit(); }
Updated: August 08, 2007
GoogleThese icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can
share and discover new web pages.What's this? 
First Edition: August 8, 2007
Article Launched: 08/08/2007 08:20:00 AM PDT

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In a stunning victory for government prosecutors, Gregory Reyes, the ...

I have tried mailing the publishers (can you find an easy way to reply?) but to no avail. I hope that, by posting this, SV might get the message and fix their mails.

Office Communicator Blog opens for business

Now that  Office Communications Server 2007 has been released to manufacturing, it's time to ramp up the excitement around the product.  Microsoft has opened a new blog whose focus is Microsoft Office Communicator, the key OCS 2007 client. The content on the Microsoft  Office Communicator blog.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

OneNote PowerShell Provider

 Not sure who Brian actually is, but his post on OneNote PowerShell Provider is pretty cool.  It documents another PowerShell Provider for One-Note. It allows you to see the contents of your OneNote Notebooks from PowerShell. Brian has created this cool provider which freely available under the Microsoft Community License.

The installation file is here: OneNotePowershell.msi, while the source files are here: When  you install the provider,several sample scripts are also installed. And for the documentation that comes with the provider and the scripts, which comes in OneNote format, see here: OneNote PowerShell Documentation.

One small note  - while the installation MSI installs this provider, you have to do some work in order to get it all installed into PowerShell. Read the documentation!

Monday, August 06, 2007

SAPIEN Technologies and Global Knowledge Bring Windows PowerShell Training to European Market

I've reported this on my corporate blog, but for those who don't read it,  I  can confirm the story here: SAPIEN Technologies and Global Knowledge Bring Windows PowerShell Training to European Market

W\e plan to deploy PowerShell training across our EMEA subsidiaries starting in September.  The first class will be held on September 4-5 in Holland and will be run by superstar Don Jones of Sapien. We'll then be rolling out the training to our other offices around EMEA as fast as we can! Assuming that I can, I'm planning on being at the September event - I hope to see you there!

PowerShell Rocks!! And I'm really excited!!

Office Communications Server 2007 Trial Download Now Available

Wow - that was fast. Microsoft has now posted the trial versions of OCS for download. The download, which you can get at Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Trial Download, is 374MB. You actually download an MSI then then "installs" both the Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition binaries on your system. You can run setup from there to actually install OCS.

Of course, if you are using OCS 2007, you probably also want the updated version of Communicator. The evaluation edition of Microsoft Office Communicator is also available for download here

Sunday, August 05, 2007

OCS 2007 Reaches RTM!

The long  wait for OCS 2007 is now (nearly) over. During last week, while teaching OCS to British Telecom, I saw that RTM had been achieved at last. Customers on the TAP program can now download the evaluation version of OCS (and Microsoft  Office Communicator), and the general customer base should be able to get their hands on the full version by the end of August. The formal launch is scheduled for October.

Microsoft is also working on three official training courses: 5177 (a one-day class covering IM and presence), 5178 (2 days on conferencing) and 5179 (2 days on OCS and Voice). These are meant to be available by launch (although I'm not betting on this!). As the MCT reviewer for these three courses, I'm excited about the content and scope - the courses have the potential to be very good.

You can visit the Microsoft Unified Communications web site (  For more details on the product and it's features, see the TechNet OCS  library Sub-Site (although the landing page does not display well using FireFox). If you are not up to speed with OCS, then a good starting point is the Technical Overview.

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The architecture VMware ESX, XEN and MS Viridian Compared

 I just read a nice blog article describing the architectures of VMware  ESX, XEN and the soon to come Windows Hypervisor. The article, entitled  A brief architecture overview of VMware ESX, XEN and MS Viridian provides a good look at the differences between these three products.

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