Aimless Ramblings from a Blithering Lunatic . . .

Just another Microsoft MVPs site

Month: April 2004

I’m such an idiot . . .

Isn’t it funny what we become dependent on without even realizing it?  Especially when you get spoiled by being constantly connected – high speed internet access and nationwide cell phone coverage.  Well, I’ve been going through withdrawal as I’m not approaching 48 hours without a cell phone . . .  Yes, you read that right – two full days with no cell phone – I’ve been out of contact with the office, with friends & family. 


So the natural question you must be asking is what happened that 1) my cell phone was somehow cut and 2) why do I still not have one after two days? 


Ok, let’s visualize this . . . I leave the office Monday afternoon and had a few stops that I had to make.  Well, those stops ended up taking a little more time than I anticipated, so I didn’t get home until almost 9.  I walk in the door and am attacked by Percy – my poor dog who was home alone all day.  So I take Percy for a quick walk.  When I get back I haven’t had supper yet, I had some paperwork to do and needed to do laundry.  I throw something in for supper, call my brother and go downstairs to start my laundry.  I decide that I need jeans the most, so I take off the jeans I’m wearing, empty my pockets and start the load.


So about a half hour later I get off the phone with my brother and go downstairs to switch loads.  As I’m pulling the last pair of jeans out of the washer, there in the bottom of the tub lies my cell phone . . . . Needless to say, I can’t repeat the choice phrases I uttered at that moment . . . Dead – gone – never to return. 


So, after my appointment first thing Tuesday morning, I stopped by the Sprint PCS store to see what my options were.  First, I don’t have handset insurance – don’t believe in it. Why?  Because the basic concept is that they send you something similar and I’m too damn picky to let them have control over what phone I get . . . So anyway, I find out that I have to have a minimum of 18 months with a phone before I qualify for the rebates that actually make the phones resonable.  I had only had my phone 9 months, so no go on the rebates.  Nevermind that I’ve had this service for almost 8 years, and this is just my 4th phone.  (Ok, 5th phone if you count that Motorola TalkAbout I had for a whole 7 weeks before I threw that worthless piece of junk out).  Nope – sorry.  Well, the least expensive Sanyo phone was $300.  Call me cheap, but I’m not paying $300 for a freakin phone!  What about a different phone besides a Sanyo?  Are you nuts?  My phones take a beating (if you hadn’t picked up on that already ;^) – and the Sanyo’s are the only ones that can endure.  My last Sanyo slipped out of my pocket while I was roofing my house, fell three stories to the driveway.  I picked it up, put the battery back on, turned it on and used it for another two years. 


So, I’m still without a phone – they don’t make my phone any more, and the least expensive Sanyo is going to cost me $300 . . .   so I did what any self-respecting cheap techie would do . ..  I hit Ebay.  Sure enough, I found my phone and bought it.  So now I’m just waiting for it to arrive. 


So what’s the moral of the story?  Wear dirty jeans . . .   ;^)


 

What would a small business do?

Ok, I admit it – I’m excited.  Scratch that – I’m not just excited, I’m bouncing off the walls with anticipation :^)  Granted, some of that may come from being a country boy from the sticks – but I’m still excited . . .   Ok, ok – why am I so excited?  Remember when I mentioned that one passionate, driven group of people can change the world?  Well, the world hasn’t changed yet – but we definitely have the attention of those that can make change happen. 


SBS ROCKS!  Really – for those of you who haven’t experienced SBS – not just the product, but the community – you can’t truly appreciate that comment.  I never cease to be amazed at what this community can accomplish, and the groups it can unite.  This is a community with vision, passion and dedication.  A community that strives to bring out the best in everyone & everything they encounter.  They don’t waste time complaining about why things are like they are, but spend time inspiring the community that things can be how we want them.  Simply put, this community not only identifies what needs fixed, it takes the initiative to fix it.


I’m a better tech, better businessman and better partner to my customers because of this family.  Even if you’re just playing with SBS or running an Action Pack version at home, I urge you to check out the SBS family hang outs.  These include Microsoft newsgroups: microsoft.public.backoffice.smallbiz (SBS 4.5), microsoft.public.backoffice.smallbiz2000 (SBS2k) and microsoft.public.windows.server.sbs (SBS2k3) as well as a Yahoo! Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sbs2k/ and many, many user groups . . .

Yeah, Ok I’m weird . . .

BaalObsidian/1080185833_uresmaster.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Master!”>
You are a MASTER of the English language!


While your English is not exactly perfect,
you are still more grammatically correct than
just about every American.  Still, there is
always room for improvement…


http://quizilla.com/users/BaalObsidian/quizzes/How%20grammatically%20sound%20are%20you%3F/“> How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizillahttp://quizilla.com”>Quizillagt;


(Thanks to KC’s blog for sending me to the quiz . . . )

Bigger is definitley not better . . .

. . . at least when it comes to business, anyway.  It seems too many people are stuck in an Enterprise-sized rut, especially in the tech industry.  That is changing, especially since big players like MS are making a push into the SMB space.  My question is when they are going to make a strong push into the truly SMALL business space?  Correct that – I don’t really care when they decide to make a push into that space, I’m interested in when they are going to finally UNDERSTAND that space.


How do we spell this out & connect the dots so that the technology vendors understand it?  This is a business space that couldn’t be more different than the Enterprise, and yes, even medium buisness spaces.  Let’s start off with the small business’ IT budget . . .   Budget?  What’s a budget?  Small businesses don’t have budgets; they don’t put in a new network because they have room in their budget, but because they either need new functionality that they can’t implement on their current system, or their infrastructure is so old that it just can’t keep up any more.  And when it comes time to put in a new network or server, while the owner knows this needs to be done, and is going to positiviely impact his business, they’re often quitely thinking about what is going to have be sacrificed . . . this year’s family vacation? . . .


So, selling to small businesses can be tough, not only because of the cost issues, but because of what the client wants.  Simply put – it’s the tech version of champagne taste on a beer budget.  Small business customers are very demanding – if they are going to shell out the kind of cash it takes for a new network / server, the solution had damn well better improve their life – and gratuitous bells & whistles don’t qualify.  They want functionality that saves them time on a daily basis, integration and interoperabilty out-of-the-box, and tools that let them better protect their business.  And here’s a news flash for ya – when I talk about protection, I’m not talking about firewalls or patch management.  Sure, those are important, but that’s something the small business trusts their provider to implement & maintain. 


Here’s an example:  How many times have we seen people request the ability to approve email?  E.g. – a user’s outbound email is sent to a manager for approval before it is sent.  Whenever I mention this to someone who isn’t familiar with the small business space, I always get the same reaction:  “Why would anyone want that?“  The answer is simple:  The small business survives on the service it provides to its customers – even when they’re not a service business – ESPECIALLY when they’re not a service business.  Losing a single account won’t necessarily be the difference between surviving & closing their doors, but losing a single account often means extremely tight cash flows, and possibly needing to eliminate a position, or cut back hours.  The small business owner is acutely aware that not only does his/her family rely on this business, but the families of each of their employees depend on it as well.  Small business is different – why?  Because most small business owners are motivated by the prospect of providing exceptional service to other businesses – to filling a need.  Another common theme is to provide their employees with the best living they can.  The nature of small business means that losing a single account will impact the business’ ability to maintain the standard of living that is being provided to their employees. 


The ability to approve outbound email provides the owner with the ability to ensure that communications from temps or new employees maintain the level of service / integrity that the business demands.  It provides the small business owner with a tool to help them grow while protecting not only their client base, but also their ability to provide for their employees.  For those that would like to see this functionality, I was able to share this request with the Exchange team.  Now whether or not anything comes of it . . .

It takes a village . . .

Ok, so maybe it doesn’t take a village – just a group of amazing, self-less people. 


I better put this in context . . . so I’ll start from the beginning.  I didn’t discover newsgroups until the spring of 2001, shortly after I installed SBS 2000.  Little did I realize at the time that I had stumbled into a realm that was more than just a community – it was a group of people who freely gave of their time and knowledge.  People who went out of their way to help those in need.  People who were intelligent, innovative, funny and humble.  I learned very quickly that this community was unlike any other – it showcased not only the best of usenet, but the best of the people who were there. 


I started off lurking in the group, like people new to usenet do.  I eventually began posting, and encountered some memorable people who started off as acquantances, evolved into friends and now might as well be family.  I have been blessed with such wonderful people in my life – a world-wide family that laughs together, cries together, and doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice their own time and energy to help each other, whether the one in need asks or not.  These people constantly challenge me, amaze me and bring out the best in everyone they encounter.  I could not imagine a more passionate, intelligent, driven and caring group of people.  You guys (and gals) ROCK!  (you know who you are . . . )


Ok, but how does this tie in to the start of this post?  I was lucky enough to spend several days with most of these people recently.  Unfortunately, one of our own had a medical emergency in the family as we were all going our separate ways.  In the days that have followed, the concern and self-less offering of assistance from these amazing people have made me that much more proud to be able to call them my friends . . .   So no, it doesn’t take a village – one single person can make a huge difference in someone’s life, and one passionate, driven group of people can change the world!  Just watch . . .  ;^)