A Free Office is a Smart Move for Microsoft

I’ve read a few articles this morning concerning Microsoft’s move to release a web version of its upcoming Office 2010 product.  This is a direct fire toward Google’s application suite and I think Microsoft is going to this help their dominance in this market.  Microsoft really isn’t going to lose any major businesses to this free online version.  Corporations are going to continue on with using the thick client because of the full rich suite of integrated components that Office has always given them.  This is going to be take market share from places like Google because now the folks that wouldn’t pay for office will be able to benefit from it using this online version.

In the long run I hope to see Microsoft move away from the thick client.  I think Microsoft now needs to come up with an online version that can be hosted within companies.  Some companies won’t move this mode of operation because of the inherit security risks of hosting you data on Microsoft servers.  So I bet the next version of office will have some new internal online flavor for companies looking to move more toward thin clients and thin apps.

Microsoft Certified Master

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How many of you have heard of this?  This is the new “Premier Technical Credential” from Microsoft.  The program will be required to obtain the Microsoft Certified Architect program. Kind of weird having the “Premier Technical Credential” in there if it is a prerequisite for another cert…but all the same it looks pretty nice.  In fact the only thing it is missing from the MCA is the review board portion.  The Master program is a three week long hands-on training that only takes place in Redmond WA and then you must pass three written exams and a lab-based exam. 

There are currently three speciality areas, Exchange, SQL, and Directory with OCS and SharePoint to be added in the future.  The cost is pretty high.  A $125 non-refundable application fee and then $18,500 program fee (which includes the exams).  Retakes are $250 for the written and $1,500 for the lab.

If you take the first run (beta) of either of the specialities you can get a 50% discount.  Each speciality has it’s own prerequisites that can be found on the links below.

Here are the running times:

Exchange
October 6–October 25, 2008 (50% off)
January 5–January 24, 2009
March 16–April 4, 2009

SQL
October 20–November 8, 2008 (50% off)
January 12–January 31, 2009
March 16–April 4, 2009

Directory
November 3–November 22,2008 (50% off)
February 16–March 6,2009
May 4–May 23, 2009

More info can be found on this blog too.

Good luck to anyone that attends, I wish I could but that cost and time commitment is tough.

Desktop Icons No Longer Transparent

Sami had a strange issue with her computer today where all of her desktop icons were no longer transparent. She is running Windows XP and the only thing she says she did was change her desktop background. I”ve seen all kinds of crazy fixes from going into the System Properties to change settings, some people recommend going into the Registry and deleting keys from there, and others want you to install 3rd party software to fix a problem that has a TWO click solution.

Right click on your desktop and hover over “Arrange Icons By” and uncheck “Lock Web Items on Desktop”. That”s it.
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Microsoft’s Virtualization Direction

Mike Neil (GM, Virtualization Strategy) of Microsoft has a wonderful post on the Windows Server Division”s blog. It”s refreshing to see someone at his level blog about what his team”s goals are and how passionate they are about helping customers.

Virtualization is a big part of my job and trying to figure out how my group can utilize it to help reduce our datacenter footprint while still delighting our internal customers. I”m not as far along with our strategy but Mike”s post helps keep me motivated about where to go next.

Virtual PC 2007 Released

Another day another release from Microsoft. Yesterday Microsoft released SQL 2005 SP2 and today it appears they have released the much anticipated Virtual PC 2007. I found this out from my good friends from the north. The reason I say much anticipated is because this finally has support for running it on Windows Vista and both Intel and AMD”s hardware virtualization technology. Try it out as you should already it is 100% FREE.

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SQL 2005 SP2 Released

If you”re using SQL 2005 you may want to start investigating and testing out SQL 2005 Service Pack 2. Microsoft just released this SP today and it is intended to help take advantage of enhancements within Windows Vista and Office 2007. Take a look here to see what is new in SQL 2005 SP2. I”ll be testing it out on AdminPrep soon and I”ll be sure to let you know if I notice any issues.

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Bill Gates let Windows Home Server out of the bag

I just read over at the Windows Server Division blog that at last night”s CES keynote Bill Gates announced the Windows Home Server. This should be interesting as it will no doubt be a welcome addition to most of us geeks. It is going to allow you to back up other PCs you may have on your home network and also stream movies across the network. It supposed to be moving into Beta too soon so if you can in on it you may want to.


Now I just wonder if it will have a light version of Active Directory for home networks…guess I”ll have to find out at the MVP summit.

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Windows Vista Launch Event Coming to Phoenix in January

This January Microsoft will be having one of their launch events here in Phoenix on January 17th.  If you”re interested in finding out more details on Windows Vista, Exchange 2007 or Office 2007 then you”ll want to show up.  Heck even if you want to get some kewl swag you need to show up.  You can register for the event here.


The event will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center.


I”ll be there…hope to see you there!!!


 

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Microsoft Exposed

Just saw this video on an investigative report dealing with Microsoft hiring college grads.  I would love to see more of this from Microsoft.  It always seems like they are this ultra conservative company from the outside but there really are some fun things that go on within the company.

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20% Voucher for Microsoft Exams

I know a lot of you are either looking at new certifications or looking to renew existing ones.



This voucher is good for VUE testing centers only!!!

Voucher # – MSUU4C7E701E
Microsoft ONLY

This voucher can be used as often as needed so feel free to share the voucher # with any other co-workers or test takers you know.

Register for your exam online at www.pearsonvue.com/ms or call 1-800-837-8734.
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