The Dell Hovercraft is officially retired.

It is a bitter-sweet day.

In 2004 I bought a used Dell PowerEdge 4300 server… but I couldn’t use it until 2005 when my wife left, because as powerful as it is, it is also big and loud.

Since then it has been my main server, and as reliable as Old Faithful.  There has not been a single hardware failure.  It has run,, and most importantly  Yes, for the past eighteen months this loud but faithful server has been the home of the website you are currently surfing.

In April when I made the decision to move Dan and I started planning to migrate the sites off of the workhorse, and to virtualize it with a group sponsor.  We took our time to plan it and do it right, and I’ll admit that Dan did most of the work. 

Anyhow Monday evening the site was down for an hour in order to move it, and for the past two days it has resided on its new home… one where hard disk capacity is not an issue.  my Exchange Server followed, and all that was left was to shut her down… which I did this evening.

At 6:15pm this evening the server went silent for the first time in thirty months.  She will remain so forever, and though I will try to sell her or donate her, I am sad to say that her tenure as my server is up.

Thanks girl… we called you the Hovercraft for the noise and the Ottoman for the size, but you really did the job, and I am grateful.

Can you really come home again?

Who says you can’t come home again?

Over the past six months I have addressed more than a dozen user groups and ten classes across Canada and the United States.  I have spoken on Windows Vista, Office 2007, Small Business Server, Forefront Client Security, and most prominently certifications.  I have spoken to more than two thousand IT Pros ranging from independent consultants and hobbyists to the engineers and architects to design and manage the networks for some of the largest corporations and government agencies in both countries, and
I have (I hope) always done so confidently.

…But tonight I was nervous.  I was invited to speak to the Montreal IT Professionals Community, the group that I helped create and led for over two years.  It was the first time I would address the group of people I came to think of as not only my peers but as my friends since I told them I was leaving.  Though I had hopes and suspicions, I honestly did not know how I would be received.  Would people come?

My fears were unfounded because I was welcomed by a packed MPR room at the Microsoft Montreal office.  Well maybe it was not packed, but there were not too many empty seats.  Crowds don’t bother me but I truly hate speaking to an empty room.  Of course I was fidgeting with my slide deck until the last minute, but when MITPro’s vice-president, Majida Rhazi, I felt like I was back where I belonged.

The MITPro crowd is still my favorite group to speak to.  I love Montreal and I love the people here, and it hurts to know that I am leaving… but not for good.  I will be back to visit as often as I can, and any time I am invited I will happily come back to speak to the Montreal IT Pro Community.  Thanks to the new leadership team – Daniel, Majida, and the rest of the gang – I know that the legacy will continue.

Energize IT: Rocking the House with Forefront Client Security!

When Rick and Rodney first approached me to participate at Energize IT I wasn’t sure what I would present, but when they asked me to lead one of the Hands On Labs I thought it was a great chance for me to interact with a group of my peers.

There are three HOL tracks at Energize IT today – Garth Jones is leading System Center Configuration Manager, Kim Franks is leading System Center Operations Manager, which left Forefront Client Security to me.  I am excited about this product because it really is a comprehensive solution to fight virii and malware.  I have been working with these labs for the past couple of weeks and have seen the power of FCS firsthand.

Malware has become a real threat to our systems over the past few years, and it is a relief to have a product that addresses both malware and virii in a single package… and having the flexibility with a single package to administer either locally or centrally really makes a big difference.

If you are not at Energize IT I suggest you check it out at and see why I am so excited about this new product.  You’ll be excited too!


Energize IT: The Passion and the Geek

For someone like myself who has spent so much time focusing on building the IT Pro community it is such a pleasure to walk into a room in downtown Toronto to see more than twenty-five hundred geeks… people who are passionate about IT who have taken time away from their family to come and learn about different topics, meet their peers, and as it has been billed to ‘Get their Geek On.’

Microsoft Canada puts on all sorts of events throughout the year and they really offer value to the IT Pro but most of those events are held during the week, and it is easy to justify taking time away from the office to learn about new and existing technologies.  To show up on a Saturday morning – and not just for a couple of hours but for an entire day – shows real dedication, commitment, and most importantly passion.

I am glad to be part of something that is better than just me, and bigger than a few people.  The IT pro community is more than user groups and more than evangelists, it is a movement.  It is a group of people and groups of people with a shared passion that really makes what we do worthwhile.

If you are at Energize IT today I welcome you to come up and say hi.  If you aren’t then come see me at a user group meeting or event over the course of the year and say ‘hi, I share your passion!’  I can’t wait to meet you because you and I share something… we share a passion.


I am always amused by the federal laws that people come up with.  Here are a couple of amusing ones I hear on a lot of airplanes:

‘The captain has now turned off the Fasten Seatbelts sign and you are free to move about the cabin.  Federal Law requires people in First Class to use the lavatories at the front of the airplane and Economy Class passengers to use the lavatories at the rear.  If the lavatory is occupied it is Federal Law that you must wait for the lavatory to become free while in your seat.’

So I have two questions about this.  Firstly when did the federal government become concerned with how much people pay for their tickets?  Have they actually passed legislation that states that First Class passengers may not cross that velvet rope to use the head at the rear of the plane?

Also it seems – according to United Express in any event – that while the seatbelt sign is off you can walk about freely… unless you have to pee, at which point you must either be in lavatory or in your seat.

Wouldn’t it be so much more honest to just say ‘Folks, use common sense and if there are five people waiting for one lavatory go enjoy the movie and come back in 10 minutes?’

(You can probably tell how well my last flight went by how I blog about airlines… Welcome to Dulles and have a nice day.)