Sunday, October 28, 2007

OCS 2007 Inter-Operating with Nortel CS 1000

In researching the OCS Learning Plan I  found a neat web cast you can download from Microsoft web site.  The main starting page for this  webcast is on the MS TechNet site. This page requires you to log in with a MS Passport, which takes you to the live meting site from where you can pick up the webcast. A little long winded process wise, but a good webcast!  In addition to the 8mb WMV file, you can also download just the PowerPoint slides (14.2MB ), or just an mp3 podcast.

This is, for me most useful as it shows how to do this interop and explains many aspects of the Nortel products, including more details on the ICA solution. I am looking forward to working more with the Nortel and the ICA tools in some upcoming work.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

PowerShell Remoting through Group Policy

Special Operations software has just announced SpecOps Command: PowerShell Remoting through Group Policy. I was lucky enough to see a neat demo last week while in Stockholm - this is a neat tool. As I understand it, it'll be formally released at TechEd in Barcelona.

 Basically, SpecOps uses group policy to send out scripts, cmdlets and (I assume providers) to client systems. These scripts are then run on the target machine (one, daily, weekly, etc) and the results returned back to a central server. A very very neat solution to the lack of remoting in PowerShell V1. And even when we get V2 (a preview edition of V2 will be available in Barcelona), GP may be a better option due to permissions on the local systems.

I can't wait to get my hands on this code! Yet another aspect of the power of the PowerShell community - when there are gaps, someone or some organisation will just fill them. PowerShell rocks - and so does SpecOps Command.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Communicator 2007 Hotfix Package

 Microsoft has released a hot fix for Office Communicator 2007.

As noted in the KB article (Description of the Communicator 2007 hotfix package: October 5, 2007), this hot fix package includes at least 15 separate bug fixes.

This is probably a must-add hot fix for OCS 2007 users.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

PowerShell Training In Europe

As noted in over in my work blog, I'm starting to teach PowerShell in Europe. My first classes are this week in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. I'm delivering the two day PowerShell Fundamentals class in both cities. To say the least, I'm really excited to finally being able to run real PowerShell training for our customers.

In the background, Microsoft has engaged a vendor to create a formal MOC class on PowerShell, but we'll not see this till next June. In the mean time, if you want PowerShell training in Europe, feel free to contact me and I'll put you in touch with the local office. And wherever possible, I'm happy to come to teach these classes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Office Communications Server 2007 Document: Technical Reference

 Microsoft has at last published the detailed technical reference to OCS 2007. This is a must read for all OCS fans!

Download details: Office Communications Server 2007 Document: Technical Reference

Monday, October 15, 2007

Vista Adoption Numbers

 One of the big questions many commentators are posing is just how much deployment is happening with Vista. Forget the MS statements around adoption - what is really happening. From where I sit, adoption is not as rosy as MS would want us to belive - and like many I'm no longer using Vista on front line systems as I've gone back to XP.  Over on the Hackers blog, Alex reports Random: Some Vista adoption numbers. These show that Vista is in use by only 10% of their web site users, and less than1% of the users of CounterSpy. These numbers feel a little bit lower than the MS VIsta Hype Machine would lead us to believe.

What is your take on adoption - what are you seeing??

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Updated Live Writer

Microsoft's Windows Live Writer blogging tool has now reached Beta 3 stage. As a free blogging too, I find it excellent - and now even better. The latest release, which you can download from Microsoft's webs site.

There are many improvements in Beta 3. These include:

  • Publish XHTML-style markup

  • Use Writer in 28 additional languages

  • Print your posts

  • Justify-align a post's text

  • Better image handling (in particular fewer blurry images)

  • Resolved installation issues from the last release

  • Plus Many other bug fixes and enhancements


Get it now!


Unfortunately, as one reader has pointed out in a comment to this blog entry, it appears that the latest beta of Live Writer does not work on x64 systems which is a pretty significant omission. Thanks to Chris Randall for pointing this out - I missed it since I am still mainly using i386 systems.


Friday, October 12, 2007

First-Gen Zune Getting All The New Features: This is How You Treat Your Customers

Gizmodo is reporting that First-Gen Zunes Are To Get All The New Zune 2 features (for free!!). The post goes on to suggest that "This is How You Treat Your Customers". I agree completely!! Having ordered the Zune two days before the announcement, it was a shock to find that whilst in transit, my purchase was not outdated. It was a delight to find the extra features will be available for free download. In effect, I've got a somewhat smaller and marginally thicker box, but for what I use it for (short-ish commutes up to town and flights inside EMEA) my 30gb model is fine.

So thanks Microsoft - this is really the way to treat your customers. The folks over in the Vista group (and MSL) could learn a thing or two from this very nice move.

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PowerGUI - A updated version is available

Those nice folks at Quest have released a new version of PowerGui - this is a free download you get  here:

NB: if you have an earlier version of PowerGui, this must be removed before installing the new version.

This is a neat tool!!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007


As an Microsoft MVP, those nice folks in Redmond provide a small balance at the company store that I can spend on software, books, apparel, etc.  At least they so every year I am re-awarded. This is a very nice benefit.

Last Sunday, I realised that, as MVP renewal was on October 1 (I did get renewed !, my company store balance would be wiped out. So I logged on to see what I could spend my balance on. Frankly nothing jumped out - but on the home page, there was an advert for a Zune. As it happened, I had just enough to buy buy it, so I hit the appropriate keys and yesterday the nice FedEx man delivered it. My wife is furious - but I played with it till 3:00 in the morning. 

First impressions: I like it! Now I've not had an real iPod so maybe there are things I'm missing, but I've found the Zune pretty easy to use. The quality and volume are all well, although the build quality of the headphone jack leaves a bit to be desired (If you push too far, the headphones go mono).

The Zune host software is easy enough to use. I've managed to download several live concerts (Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and Keith Jarrett). I'm listening to a great GD 69 show as I write this posting.

One thing that freaked me out was reading about the new Zune - it was announced after I'd ordered, but before I'd even got it! But as it happens, most of the features of the new box are to be made available as a firmware upgrade for existing Zunes (although I have to suffer the 30gb hard disk). But the firmware upgrades are meant to be free - I have one upgrade already that adds wireless etc.

One thing I was surprised at - by default, plugging a Zune into your PC does not automagically show the Zune hard disk on the host. As a 30GB USB hard drive that I will carry around with me, this feature is pretty desirable. Turns out there's a simple fix - a few registry hacks as described on the ZuneMods.Net site

However, the instructions for this mod are marginally wrong (and will be wrong for some people). The instructions suggest you modify registry values below HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ControlSet001\Enum\USB\. Since NT boxes can have several controls ets editing a specific one is incorrect. To ensure it works, use the key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB\ instead. Otherwise this mod works great and I've got it working on my system now! More importantly - this does NOTHING to the Zune, so it's not likely to suddenly brick the device. 

All in all, I like my Zune!

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