Monthly Archives: August 2007

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SMB Nation …getting closer

Jennifer Hall wrote:

Hello

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the 5th annual SMB Nation Fall Conference taking place September 29th to October 1st with pre-day events on September 28th.I just wanted to touch base with you before the conference to make sure that you are all set for the conference as well as update you on new items for taking place during the conference.   For transportation to and from the airport I would contact www.shuttleexpress.com There is a complimentary shuttle in the morning and evenings for transportation to and from the hotel to the conference center 


I hope you have made your hotel reservations.  (I have) At this point the Redmond Marriott Town Center and the Residence Inn are completely sold out.  If you have not yet made reservations I would try priceline for Bellevue and or Redmond Washington. (You can also check out Expedia.com or directly on the web sites of the hotels as I saw both had some openings last week and you might want to ask on various listserves if folks want to bunk up and share a room… start your partnership opportunities even earlier.  We’re having a Girls room like in last years).

Watch for an email from me in early September regarding instruction on how to sign up for testing. 

A special additional learning opportunity for SMB Nation this year will occur on Sunday night.  This will be an open space format meeting, where the attendees will set the agenda and discuss issues related to the IT industry.  We will use several formats during that session to allow a free exchange of ideas, capture of the content, and then a summary of the discussion so everyone can walk out with the group perspectives on these topics.  This format is rather free form but is the latest tool being used to create a valuable interaction for a community to tackle real issues of the day.  Plan to join us on your free evening for this fun and very interactive event.  This is just another way to maximize your time at SMB Nation and build relationships with your peers while looking at issues collectively.  Come for as long as you want.  To save a spot, please email sbs@smbnation.com to register.  Please just put attend in the subject line.  We need to limit attendance to the first 50 that sign up to make sure we can deliver value to the audience that attends.  The event will be facilitated by the HTS management team led by Arlin Sorensen.

Please stay tuned for additional information.
 

Have a wonderful Day!

Jenny Hall

 

Windows Home Server – Bringing it all together!

Missed the Live meeting about Windows Home Server?  It was recorded!


https://www119.livemeeting.com/cc/partners1/view?id=13847&role=attend&pw=536bee


Microsoft is pleased to confirm your registration for the following Web Seminars.

Recorded Web Seminar
Event Title: SB: Windows Home Server – Bringing it all together!


Attendance URL: http://www.msreadiness.com/attendevent.aspx?eventid=14319


**********************************************************************************


TO ATTEND THE EVENT
You will need:
- A computer with access to the Internet to view the visual portion of the event.
- A functioning sound card and speakers or headphones for your PC.
- Windows Media Player 9 (WMP 9).
- A compatible computer configuration. To test your computer:
1. Click on the following link: http://www.encounter.net/systemtest
2. Install and run Live Meeting software if prompted to do so.
3. You should see a Live Meeting console with 3 revolving slides. If you are able to see all three slides your test is successful.
4. If you are not able to see the slides or if your system is stalled, please contact Event Support.


ON EVENT DAY
1. To attend your meeting, click on the Attendance URL above or cut-and-paste it into your browser fifteen minutes prior to its start time. Your browser configuration will automatically be tested.
2. You will either automatically enter the meeting or see an “Enter Meeting” button. If prompted, enter your name and email address and select the “Enter” button.
3. Dial the teleconference number (detailed above) to attend the audio portion of your meeting.


To listen to the audio portion of the event once you log in to the Live Meeting console, you should hear the event’s streaming audio. If you do not have WMP 9 installed you will be prompted to install it before the audio is available to you. If you have WMP 9 installed but you still do not hear the audio, please confirm that your PC speakers are on and that the volume is turned up. Alternatively, you may dial into the conference via the toll-free teleconference number. If you continue to experience difficulties, please contact Event Support.


EVENT SUPPORT:
Within the U.S./Canada: 1-800-315-0175
Outside U.S./Canada: 1-503-321-5600
Or you can email USPR Event Support at CustomerCare@encounter.net


Thank you and enjoy the conference!


If you have provided your phone number during registration, Microsoft may provide you a phone call reminder 1-2 hours prior to the start of any live Web seminars that you have registered for.

Dear Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Ozzie:

I’ve written open letters to Mr. Ballmer before, I’ve never done one to Mr. Ozzie.  Here’s one to both:


It’s about Vista.  I like it.  I really do.  But you really need to do something about Windows Genuine Advantage.  Because I see comments from SBS consultants who are being personally impacted by WGA’s false positive flagging of genuine machines as degenuine and they don’t want that near their business clients.  And quite frankly I don’t blame them.


From a VAP/VAR who is dealing with a machine that has a WGA that won’t flag as genuine.  While he hasn’t lost functionality, the fact that he cannot get it fixed using reasonable measures is unreasonable

“It’s been most of this week – I followed the official route from the WGA site, submitting a support request with the tests/documentation. I was contacted in 24hours by email (as promised), to be told a support engineer will contact me within the next 24 hours ;-/. And that happened  – so the first 48 hours were ‘as designed’. Now that I’ve tried the suggestions without resolution and submitted the results, I guess it’s a wait of another 24 hours? The newsgroups are full of folks with ‘invalid license’. Shame on MS. I’m off for the weekend now, but I’ll be danged if I’ll willingly recommend my business customers risk this (or my ‘home’ friends, for that matter).  Long live XP, and have a great weekend everyone.”

The risk of Vista is too great.  You are impacting future sales with the inability to see that the risk of WGA to your valid business customers is too great.  And all that stuff that Mr. Ozzie is working on, the Software as a Service is going to nail the coffin into Vista that much more in the business world.  We won’t care what operating system we run. It’s just a shell.  It doesn’t matter.  The applications matter.  And Office 2007 is priced in a retail manner to outprice it from most folks if they don’t buy it via OEM channels.  So the more you tighten the grip on WGA on Vista, the more we will realize that the operating system doesn’t matter as much anymore, and that we’ll push our vendors to provide Software as a Service. 


As someone said… you willing to roll the dice again on WGA?  Run mission critical machines with the possibility that WGA servers will be working like they should?  Can you guarantee… GUARANTEE that this will never ever happen again? 


The more I read about Vista in the various books and blogs I read, the more I’m getting excited about when I can match up the Server and the Workstations security level.  I don’t get the UAC prompt and to me the folks that complain about it, it just showcases that we don’t understand user rights and permissions. 


I can deFUD User Account Control. I can explain people about turning off UAC turns off IE in protected mode. I can tell people to tweak the setting if they insist that it’s so annoying to them.  And, quite frankly, I’m beginning to think that humans that compute have lost all ability to deal with change.


But here’s the deal.  What I can’t deFUD is WGA.


Sure you can say that you will put in place policies and procedures to ensure that you are monitoring it better but you cannot reassure this consultant when he says:


I won’t tolerate a business interruption because of WGA, not for one second.  I don’t intend to give it an opportunity to do so, anytime soon”


You can’t guarantee that not for one second.


And neither can Nick with the current system in place.


So here’s your action plan:


Ensure that there will never again be a possibility of business interruption due to Vista’s WGA servers.  Ever.  And not just monitoring to ensure that you can roll back.  Flat out never a possibility.  Never a risk.  Never.


That’s your goal and your mantra.  And until you ensure that Vista will not and cannot be impacted by failed WGA servers, the risk to business is too great for many to accept.


It’s that simple.


Fix it.


—–


P.S. For those of you looking to write your own certified mailed letter to Mr. Steve Ballmer and Mr. Ray Ozzie, you can send those to One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399 USA.  More information on contacting the Board of Directors can be found on the “Contact the Board” site.

Qantas or United?

Okay so folks know that I’m going upside down in November to Wayne’s www.smbfocus.com conference….and it’s a choice of flying via Qantas (where I have no frequent flyer mileage, no extra room upgrades) or United (where I can go with more leg room and hang in the Red Carpet Lounge before the flight).  Both are 747s.  Both can be booked to leave from either LAX or SFO (I’m about equal distance between each airport so it really doesn’t matter).  Both leave at about 10:00 p.m one day and arrive 2 days later and both leave from Sydney on one day and arrive in the States about a 1/2 hour before they’ve left Sydney (which I always think is hilarious).


Now Dana makes the point that he’s going to be uncomfortable extra leg room or not… but I’m tempted to stick with United because then I’ll earn even more miles that can be used later.


So are they better?  Enough to lose the mileage, the extra leg room, the Red carpet lounge in LAX, or are they slipping a bit and it doesn’t matter as much?


And yes I’m already planning to stage blog posts (but prob not a scripted or as well done as the Old New Thing does) so both you and I don’t go into blog withdrawals. Okay I’ll admit it… it’s more me, there’s a “observation factor” that one gets stuck on and I’m a bit wacko about having a RSS feed that has at least one post every business day… yeah… I know..weird.

Having issues getting MU to work after doing a repair install of SP2

http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.windowsupdate&tid=fdeab813-6957-452f-8985-a4f3d88ca17e&p=1


1. First install the newly released ‘standalone’ version of Windows Update
Agent 3.0, v7.0.6000.374
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932494

2. Now (re)install this (updated) fix:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927891

NB: Windows Update/Automatic Updates started offering 927891 on 22 May-07.
If “Update for [Windows XP] (KB927891)” is listed in Add/Remove Programs
(make sure Show Updates box is checked), it’s already installed. cf.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/927891.mspx


Try these hints from PA Bear


..now mind you we’re still looking for the new and improved version 7.0.6000.381 download and not sure how to get that.. so hang loose for info on that one. 

Quiet year?

Robert Hensing’s Blog : Google blogger attacks?:
http://blogs.technet.com/robert_hensing/archive/2007/08/31/google-blogger-attacks.aspx

This has been a quiet year…but has it?  My “feel” is that a lot more is going underground….


The recent Social engineering emails


Mass of spam… http://www.vladville.com/2007/08/huge-spam-ddos-like-explosion.html


Bank of India site hacked up to serve up 22 exploits… http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9033999


It sure doesn’t feel quiet on the workstation side…..

And the RSS feed is back

http://www.thundermain.com/rss


And the download RSS feed is fixed!  (and for those of you who thought http://feeds.feedburner.com/MicrosoftDownloadCenter that link was a Microsoft link…guess again…that’s Richard’s RSS feed, once again proving that little guys can be more agile than big firms…


Thank you Richard for that service you do… I know that I find it invaluable!

How insecure are you?

http://www.forbes.com/technology/2007/08/30/behavior-employees-vulnerable-tech-cx_ag_0830secure.html
http://www.forbes.com/2007/08/30/behavior-employees-vulnerable-tech-cx_ag_0830secure_slide_2.html?thisSpeed=25000
Raise of hands…or mouse clicks…

Have you ….


  • borrowed wifi
  • Used USB drives
  • Forwarded email to a web mail account
  • Opened email attachments
  • Clicked hyperlinks in emails
  • surfed on shady sites
  • Not secured wireless devices

What would you do?

Susan,   What would you do?   I get a new client last week with a 4 week old install of SBS premium on a new ML310.  As I dig into this system here is what I find:   Office, including Outlook is installed on the server.  Firefox is installed.  IE reports “Need to run CEICW”.  Companyweb is a single page custom website published to the outside world.  Sharepoint admin page loads but all the links on it go 404.  User my docs are redirected to a user share but all users have access to all files.  System monitoring reports “need to run SBS setup”.  Trying to add a user in System Monitor reports “need to run SBS setup”.  Users can be added directly into AD.  All users/ computers there are in the wrong containers.  OS is at SP2.  ISA not installed.  Single NIC configuration.  There are 13 users on 5 CALS but somehow the system doesn’t die because … there is a scheduled job set to run every 10 minutes to kill the licenseServer service.   …  There is more but my fingers are getting tired.    This installation was by a local support vendor with a Microsoft Partner logo on their website.    Sorry to go on so long, here are my questions.  Would you try to clean this up or would you flatten it and start over?  Does MS do any policing of what goes on under their logo?      My gut feel is to flatten this box and reload it, but I am really uncomfortable telling any client that the first thing I need to do is start over and build their box my way especially after they just paid someone else to do that for them.

It’s hard to come in behind someone isn’t it?  But there are so many things wrong with this setup it’s not funny.  About the only two things I’m not freaking out over is the fact that it has Windows 2003 sp2 and only one nic.  But that “job to kill the license server service”…that’s just so wrong in so many ways it’s not funny.


This firm that set this up should be ashamed of themselves.  There’s no excuse in this day and age not to set up a SBS box right.  There’s a community out here willing to help.  There’s documentation up the wazoo.  There are books. 


And if a consultant STILL cannot set up a SBS box as it is intended to be set up, then they don’t deserve to be in the IT business.


Yes that’s a harsh comment.  But this customer deserves better than this. 


Microsoft is in a tough spot.  Come down hard on partners that are screwing up like this and someone somewhere will complain about anti-competitive practices and “favoring Gold partners” or something…. but customers deserve better than this.  That’s for sure.


Oh yeah..what would I do?


Flatten it and reinstall.  There’s just too many unknowns and possible more screw ups.

Autopatcher told to close up

In a day of ironies… Windows XP sp3 is announced….


Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3 Announcement – SBSfaq.com Blog Site:
http://blog.sbsfaq.com/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=6

on the very same day Autopatcher’s site is told to close up shop. http://www.autopatcher.com/134


Patching isn’t easy.  And while I will take Rory to task a little bit more not setting his AU settings to “download but not install” to solve his reboot issue but it points out that Microsoft hasn’t made patching easy.  From WGA that screws up, to XP sp3 now being next year… to Aussies who have to pay by the bit…. can Rory just promise me that after putting some clothes back on that he goes and marches that post he did up to the upper brass to get them to understand that patching …on dial up.. on standalone… in Australia …. when you just want your computer to work…..isn’t easy?  There are times I think that people from Apple or Redhat have inflitrated the management levels at Microsoft and are behind the scenes making decisions that …..well just seem stupid.


Once upon a time there was a beta that I was on for a roll up cdrom to help build systems with the latest security patches for smaller shops.  WSUS isn’t for everyone.  My guess is all that Department of Justice stuff means that they want to keep offline patches on their servers in case they need to take patent-breaking bits off of them.  But as a result, it means that it’s horrendous to be building slip media these days if you aren’t a big shop.  I’m a genuine customer.  Help me to build secure workstations without hours of downloads and reboots will ya?


Microsoft … we need an offline patching solution.  And if you aren’t going to do one… and if XP sp3 is now out next year… how about you knock it off the legal threats on autopatcher until XP sp3 comes out will ya?  Autopatcher is just doing your job for you.  Build a new machine and we’re up to what is it….about 80 or 90 patches to install post SP2 build?


You may be unable to apply more updates at a certain point on a Windows Server 2003-based computer:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;925931

Isn’t that a concern as well on a XP sp2 machine?


We’re building secure systems for you.


Help us.