Category Archives: 861

A new Microsoft Server?

Just signing up for some of the “community groups” at the MS Australian Partner conference in early August.

In the signup process we need to give a little information about ourselves – fairly normal stuff. Once of the questions made me stop short though:

A server in your pocket?

There’s a whole world outside the USA…

<Rant mode on>


Microsoft – why can you not realise there is a whole world outside of the United States when it comes to setting up and MAINTAINING operating systems?


I have lost count of the number of times I’ve setup a system, telling it to use English (Australia) only to find that it’s switched back to English (United States). Even during the operating system setup process when I specify I want English (Australia) and go so far as to remove the USA references I manage to find it’s “infected” my system once again.


Not only that but upon installing IE7 the first page I get hit with asks me about changing my search provider (not getting into that one right now) and also asks if I want to set myself up for English (United States) once again. Plus that option is the one that’s automatically selected for me so if I’m not paying close attention I might just end up on the opposite side of the world!


Please please please – realise that when I choose my own country I really want to stay there. I’m Australian and darn proud of it, plus I’m sure this affects other country selections as well so I figure I’m not alone in this. I want to speak Australian English, not American (which if you ask a Brit is not real English at all!!)


Also I’d like to be able to specify regional settings in group policy so I can roll out my country of choice to the rest of the computers on the network, so they too don’t get “infected” with English (United States).


<Rant mode off>


Hey – don’t get me wrong. I quite like visiting the USA – I’ve been there some 9 times in the last 2 years, but I live and work in Australia, as do the servers I setup and maintain. I don’t want to have to keep reminding these systems of that fact.


Am I the only one frustrated with this??

Life can be too short

I got a call yesterday from a client. The business owner & his wife were at the gym on Friday night – joined a few months ago to lose some left over Christmas cheer & get healthy.

Anyway, they were just walking along on the treadmill when she collapsed. Was on life support for a short while but didn't make it. She was not much older than me – around 37 I think.

Husband & 2 daughters left. It was all so sudden, no prior conditions or indications.

Makes you stop & think.

Go hug those you love, make the most of the time you have with each other. Put away the computer for a bit and spend some quality time together – there will always be email, there will always be blog posts, there will always be "things" to work on.

You may not always have those you love around you and you never know when they'll be done forever so make the most of the time you do have.

 

Resuming transmission

guess it's time I got back to blogging. I've been getting hassled by numerous bodies about my silence here and it has been suggested that I pull my socks up and hit the keyboard.

I've been spending the last few months focussing on my business and so haven't really had the time…even for a quick blog.

Add to that the fact that I've had several good ideas for posts but these have been when I'm away from any way of noting things down – in the shower, driving, camping in the middle of the outback. I then get busy or simply forget and…well…there goes another idea…

Anyway, I promise to get back here more often now. Having just returned from SMB Nation in Seattle my head is still buzzing and we've got lots of changes going on here at the office which might be of interest too.

Stay tuned – more to come…

Don’t be #801

SMB Nation 2006 is open for registration. This is THE premier event for SME consultants/VARs/VAPs/resellers and you need to do all you can to be there. The conference will once again be held at Microsoft’s Conference Centre in Redmond, Washington.


There are only 800 places available so don’t delay getting your registration in – you don’t want to miss out by being number 801 to register. There’s an early-bird special until the end of March where the registration cost is only US$695, following which it’ll go up to US$795. That US$100 saving can be applied to your drinking money in the bar at the Marriot in Redmond [:D]


There’s an impressive list of speakers for this year’s conference (http://www.smbnation.com/Default.aspx?TabId=5) so you’re sure to learn plenty regardless of which track you follow (technical, business, product/sales). I’ll be speaking in the business track again and plan to get into more advanced business growth information – taking your business to the next level. If you’re coming along and would like some specific information included then please let me know and I’ll see if I can work it into the time available for the presentation.


Of course I think the best part of attending an event like SMB Nation is the ability to network with fellow SBSers from around the world. People with whom I communicate with by email or IM and it’s great to put a face to a name or catch up with a face I’ve met before.


So what are you waiting for? Get your registration in and join in the learning, fun & friendship. Hope to see you there 🙂

Taking care of busy-ness

2006 has already shown itself to be a very full year. In fact I’ve been struggling to keep up with my email traffic let alone all the other things happening around the place.


How’s this for the current major projects on the go:


* office relocation mid-year to bigger and better premises (yet to find this place though)


* new staff – currently looking for a new consultant and sales person to help handle our continued growth


* baby blues – well not really “blues” but my amazing assistant Rebecca is going on maternity leave mid-year for her first baby so we’ve got to prepare for handling some time off for her plus someone to fill in


* home renovations – we’re going to make the house bigger as our kids (http://www.sbsusers.net/atw/photo.htm for some older photos) just keep growing


* there’s a few other things that I can’t list here but rest assured it’s not minor surgery


All this means I need to continually look for ways to improve the way I work, and my team, keeping my eyes & ears open for great ways to use time efficiently and effectively plus handle the information flowing through the place.


We’re going to start using MS CRM 3.0 shortly which I anticipate helping with this significantly but that can’t be the “be all & end all” of the solution. I’d love to hear about any great time saving/efficiency tools & practices you’ve come across and have found to be effective. By sharing these ideas around we can all learn to deal with the information superhighway that just keeps pushing its way through our lives – and enjoy some of the quieter sideroads at the same time.

What’s your DRP?

Our office was broken into a week before Christmas 🙁 As it turned out we didn’t have anything stolen ourselves although other tenants did. There was damage to one of the doors though, but the most important thing is it got me seriously thinking about our disaster recovery plan (DRP).


The phone call I got from one of the other tenants was along the lines of “lots of stuff has been taken – laptops and more. They’ve been right through the office. You’d better get here quickly.” This was around 8am on a Saturday morning too.


The drive down to the office was, to say the least, one of major contemplation. I had no idea of what had really been taken or how extensive the damage was. Was my server gone? My Internet router? The main admin machine or sales machine? What about the printers and other peripherals? What was my strategy to recover if the worse had eventuated?


Well the good news is as I mentioned at the top – nothing had been removed from my office. But it certainly got me thinking more about what we really would do if things were removed from the office.


Fast forward a little – I spent quite some time from Christmas day (!!) to last Monday (Jan 2) digging up old clay pipes in the back yard and replacing them with PVC piping. Whilst working I was listening to the SBS Show (www.sbsshow.com) and lo-and-behold episodes 3 & 4 are about disaster recovery!! How very timely 😀 (In fact, I was also thinking our our home DRP in the event I couldn’t get the pipes replaced properly or in time for the next flush!! I was successful in getting everything sorted out though)


So, this is where you’ve got to look for the silver lining – the break in got me thinking seriously about improving our DRP which will be MUCH MUCH better from here on. Save yourself from the anquish I went through and get started on improving your DRP now before it’s too late. As I get things sorted out I’ll have to make sure I let you know. I’d be keen to hear about your own experiences too.


Oh yes, the police called me the next morning to let me know they’d caught the guy that broke in – 30yo heroin addict!

Packing the podcast

I’m just packing my bag for the brief trip to Perth tomorrow for the first leg of the Microsoft for Partners Roadshow.


Toothbrush – check


Shirts – check


Socks – check


Podcasts – check


Shaver – check


“What???” I hear you ask? “Podcasts?” Why yes, of course. Time in the air, or waiting for a flight, or sitting in a taxi is a great time to catch up on the SBS podcasts. With my little trusty Creative Labs MP3 player and Sennheiser PCX-250 noise cancelling headphones I’m all set.


Check out the podcasts. The latest installment from Vlad Mazek, Chris Rue & Susanne Dansey is available at http://www.vladville.com/sbsshow/ and you can get the podcasts from the Official SBS Support group at http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/default.aspx


I figure I’ve got the flight covered at least, plus some taxi time. Much more workable than trying to open my notebook in the confined spaces of the 737 I’ll be on tomorrow.


And for when the gizmos need to be turned off, I’ve got my latest book to read – more on that later.

Do you go fishing?

It’s been a very full week here in Seattle at the Microsoft global MVP summit. I’ve met most of the rest of the SBS MVPs (and they are as nutty as I thought they were!) and we’ve had a great time together.


Last night those of us that were still here went down to Pikes Place Pub for dinner together. It was a great time to wind down after the conference – but we still managed to talk about SBS & IT in general. One of the things that ties us all together is the passion (I don’t think there’s any other word for it) we have for the “space” that SBS fits into. It’s not about a product, it’s not about money or power or fame or anything like that – it’s the community spirit that brings us together from whereever we are in the world and enables us to make things just that little bit better for those around us.


This applies to us not because we’re MVPs (we’d still do what we do regardless of whether we have the award or not) but because at the end of the day we care about more than just ourselves. I think it’s as simple as that. And this can apply to anyone anywhere – not just people interested in computers or technology.


If you care enough about the world around you to reach out and help others, to make a difference in their lives first before it does anything for you, then you are an MVP – a Most Valued Person. That’s because your contribution will be of value to the person you’ve helped.


I recall a short story about a little boy on a beach, throwing fish into the water after they’d been washed up on the sand.  A man came by and saw what he was doing, and saw the thousands of fish on the sand flapping about, struggling to survive out of the water. The man said to the boy “there’s too many fish, you’re wasting your time, how do you think your small efforts are going to matter?”. The boy picked up another fish and threw it into the water, then turned to the man and replied “it mattered to that fish”.


Go make a difference to a “fish”. And to all those fishermen & women who attended the MVP conference – thanks for helping to make this world a better place for us all.