sorry – wrong number…

I’m based in Sydney Australia, and since about 8:30am this morning (Monday morning), I’ve been getting calls redirected through to my mobile phone from some guy called Ian who runs what would appear to be quite a successful pool and pool fencing business in Queensland.  So far I’ve received over 32 phone inquires for pools and pool fences.  Unfortunately he does not seem contactable, so I can’t even ask for a commission for handling his phone calls.  I’ve sent him a fax quite nicely suggesting that I hope he redirects his phone soon or else I may be tempted to move interstate and setup what appears to be a very lucrative business.


I hate it when someone makes a simple mistake and it causes other grief – I can’t exactly turn of my phone now as it will mean MY customers can’t get to me.  I’m thinking of all the creative things I can do with his customers….

SMB Nation 2004 – The pictures got out….

Ok – so Harry’s latest newsletter has the pictures of the various speakers at SMB Nation in …. Now here’s the challenge – come up with the funniest caption for each of the speakers.


Here’s a few to get you all started…


Susan Bradleys – “YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN PATCHING – wheres my 2×4”


Thomas Shinder – “well these 2 nuts walk into a bar….“ (you had to be there)


Jeff Middleton – “gee it really is high up here“


Anne Stanton – “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.“


 

How to create big documents real fast.

I don’t know where I found this tip, but today one of my guys was troubleshooting a printing issue and needed to create a 30 page document easily.  He did this with a simple copy and past of a one line and quickly had the document.  Later he was telling me about it and I recalled this cool “Easter Egg” in Word that has been there for some time.  Basically if you type in “=rand(99,9)” into word (without the quotes) it will generate about 11 pages of text.  Do this a few times and you have one heck of a big document that you can use to test your printer out.


Why can I remember tidbits like this when I can’t remember to pickup Milk on the way home for my wife?  Anyway – hope this helps someone out there.

MS knows best for my customers?

Ok – I’ve got to vent here – one of my largest customers got a phone call today from a lady at Microsoft.  This customers Software Assurance was due at the end of August and we have already taken their order and placed it with Microsoft.  So we’ve done well all round – both for the customer, ourselves and Microsoft.  The problem is though that according to the records, Microsoft have not recieved the order, furthermore this lady on the end of the phone proceeded to tell the customer that an MS Select Licensing agreement would be best for them and that yes – my company can’t sell them Select because we’re not big enough, but that she can put my customer in contact with another reseller who can help them.  WHAT!!!!  They take my customer and give them to someone else!!!  Seriously folks, what have I done to deserve this?  I’ve been a staunch MS supporter for many years, and have many clients under licensing with Software Assurance.  Are Microsoft going to do this to all my clients?  It’s actually the second time in the last month that it’s happened.  Yes – I’m taking it up with Microsoft locally and am looking forward to a response from them.  In the meantime I felt I had to vent and say – watch out – the MS Marketing machine seems to have a few wheels loose.

What makes a community leader?

So today we received the news that one of our SBS MVP brethren has been retired from the MVP program.  This person was in fact the first ever SBS MVP and his retirement leaves us all with a hole in our hearts.  Being the first, this man set the tone for the community, both in the public newsgroups, and mailing lists that he started.  He set the standards unofficially about the way we worked with each other.  To me he will always be the grandfather of SBS. 


This has gotten me thinking though.  How do you measure the contributions of an individual to the community.  Microsoft measure it by a number of metrics – the number of posts, the number of website hits on a persons site, the number of user groups they present at.  To me though whilst this is one way of measurement, I am not 100% sure it’s the most accurate.  The number of posts a person makes may include the “me too posts” – heck that can easily increase their level of contribution under the current system.


I think that MS need to think outside the box when it comes to measurement of an individual in the community.  I don’t like to make a statement like that without some form of constructiveness about it – but I really don’t have any idea how to do it.  Should they ask “Who’s heard of Susan Bradley” – in which case many people would respond “sure she’s the google queen”.  Is that a way to measure the effect on the community?  I really don’t know – but I do know that I think we the community need to try to figure out a new way to measure impact so we can help Microsoft with this task.  Give me your feedback and comments please.


Grey Lancaster will always be an SBS MVP in my heart – thanks Grey for all you’ve done for the world of SBS.  Susan Bradley also has some background on the grandfather of SBS in her blog here http://www.msmvps.com/bradley/

Home now – thanks Qantas

After a 14hour flight from LAX to Sydney I am home.  Whilst it’s lots of fun to travel and visit new places, see old friends and so on, there is nothing like jumping into your car and getting back into the swing of things.  I’ve got to say that I love using my flyer points to get upgrades – and on this trip I was fortunate enough to get upgrades to Business class on both to and from the USA which is real value.  Qantas has installed these new seats into their business class sections called the Skybed – these seats can lay down so they are virtually flat.  On the return leg home, I got nearly 9 hours sleep which is a personal record for me.  I’ve arrived here in Sydney at 6:05am, and with only a brief diversion via home for a quick shower, am able to get back into work as if it were a normal day.  Now that’s what I call a valuable use of points.  More on SMB Nation shortly once I collect my thoughts.

Dinner with geeks

Last night (my last in Seattle) I was fortunate enough to have dinner with a few of the SBS Dev team Alan Bilharz and Sean Daniel – both product managers for various sections of SBS and a few other people.  We went to the Icon Grill which was an excellent restaurant.  What amazed me the most was the deserts – I had this enormous slice of Texas Funeral Fudge Cake and I swear I was going to die just trying to get through it.  The cake was about 7-8inches high and rich chocolate.  I would seriously recommend a visit to the Icon Grill if you are in Seattle.

So this is my blog…

OK – I never really got blogs until the last few days. I’ve been in Seattle, WA since before the Labor day weekend.  I had decided earlier this year that I was tired of going to conferences and just seeing the inside of the conference venue and the hotel, so this time I took some time to go relax and look around Seattle.  I had originally planned to only come in a few days before the conference (SMB Nation 2004) and then leave a few days after it.  Luckily I was told that the Monday was the labor day holiday and I would be best to come in on the Friday.


So I’ve spent the week before the conference, touring around Seattle – I stayed out at Bellevue for the first week as I had a friend out there that had offered to show me around.  Unfortunately the best laid plans go astray and they had heaps of worked dumped on her so I was left to my own devices.  It was here that I learned about how good the bus system is in Seattle.  They have a website which you can go to and it will help you plan out the route including which busses to catch and when.  Very cool.  What was even cooler was that they have this great applet that uses the GPS locater in the bus to show where it is at any given point in time – real time.  And whats’ more is that you can configure it to send you an alert when the bus reaches a certain point so you can rush out the door in time to catch it.  Now that’s what I call a great use of technology. 


I visited Bumbershoot 2004 which was a real blast – it was a very enjoyable day even though I spent it by myself.  Saw lots of great acts there and it was during this week that I thought “you know – I should blog this just for fun”.  I made plan to get my own blog.


SMB Nation started on the Thursday evening with a visit to the baseball.  Now this Aussie has never been to a baseball game before in his life so it was a real treat – what made it even more so was the invitation to a private corporate box so the view was incredible.  I picked up the game quite quickly and was excited to see the Seattle Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox.  On the Friday I I asked “The Susan Bradley” to set me up with a blog on the msmvps.com site.  This was a little tricker than it should have been mainly due to the overloaded wireless network at the conference.  Why do these conference venues NEVER have their Internet connections working properly?  I mean it should be simple.


SMB Nation was a lot of fun.  On Saturday included a presentation from Jeff Middleton which was on migration to SBS2003 using some very different techniques from the normal.  I’ve been doing migrations similar to this for the past 2-3 years and have worked with Jeff recently on his documenting of the process as it offers even greater benefits (although for some it’s technically more challenging) than the Microsoft recommended processes.  Jeff is also writing a chapter for the Advanced SBS2003 book on migration and another on disaster recovery.  During this presentation I don’t think I heard anyone at all speak which was really strange – they were all transfixed as the master showed his methods and at the end got one of the best rounds of applause I heard all conference.  Jeff is going to be working more in this area and has created a website specifically for migration.  I would highly suggest keeping an eye on that site for all SBS’ers.


Sunday started with a minutes silence for the victims of Sept 11 which was intense.  You could feel the power in the room as people remembered those who lost their lives on that day and also those whose lives had been affected thereafter by it.  We then went into the various presentations – Susan Bradley gave on on SBS2003 Hacks – now this was really fantastic as Susan also got the support of two other SBS MVPs – Chad Gross and Jeff Middleton to present on some really cool stuff.  Chad presented what he calls his “poor mans CRM“ which is basically some nifty work done with Windows Sharepoint Services to create a very basic but usable CRM system.  Jeff then presented on how to get applications working in User Mode on XP systems rather than having to have the users run in Administrator permissions mode as seems to be the default by most people.


Later that day, I presented a session on Mobility with SBS which was well received and was pleased to see Dr Tom Shinder in the audience – Dr Tom has a penchant for mobile devices and I think he was excited to see just what you could do with our little SBS product.  My presentation was a brief overview of the work I’ve been doing with Mobile devices in Australia for our customers and also work I’ve done with SBS2003’s Remote Web Workplace (RWW).  I’m also in the middle of writing a chapter on this same subject for the new SBS2003 Advanced Best Practices book which should be out soon.  There were many great presentations at SMB Nation – One of the final presentations I saw and the entire reason this blog exists was done by Anne Stanton from the Norwich Group.  I had spoken to Anne many times via email over the last 6 months and also then in person over the course of the conference and had found her to be quite a knowledgeable person.  I was however unsure about how she would present her session.  I didn’t quite think of her in that way.  I could not have been more wrong.  Anne delivered a fantastic presentation on the S space in the SMB market.  One of the key ideas she promoted was the use of a blog as a resource tool for not only technical knowledge, but also for marketing to our customers – something that I had never considered.  Not only was Anne a fantastic presenter, I also found out that she is a real comedian with a style similar to Ellen Degeneres (hope I spelled that right).  She had the audience totally transfixed as she explained how you could really use the blog as a good communications tool for your customers.


So there – that’s my first ever blog.  I’ll probably move this to my new SBSFAQ.com site shortly when I get it all sorted.  I’m rebuilding it using Windows Sharepoint Services just to see how far you can go with it.  You can check it out (although it’s by no means complete) at http://new.sbsfaq.com  Note – I don’t promise it’s working and that link will die once I move it to the new server when it’s good to go live.  I also plan to start another more business focused blog on my business site www.correct.com.au so that my customers can see what I am thinking about. 


Live long and prosper.