If you are not selling Software Assurance for SBS 2003…

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… then you need your head examined. With SBS 2008 on the horizon for release later this year, Microsoft have been promoting Software Assurance as they key way to get our customers some form of technology protection as they purchase SBS 2003 right now.  In addition to the various rebates Microsoft are offering the SBS resellers (www.sbsrebate.com) they have just announced the formal entitlements for Software Assurance on the official SBS Blog.

As for the technical details, yes – you will need to ensure that the customer has a 64bit server to run SBS 2008, and ISA WILL need to be installed on a separate server in order to use it, but look at it this way, you can get the best of breed software for SBS both now and into the future with selling SA on SBS right now.

At least quote SA on your SBS 2003 sales right now, so that if the customer does not want it, you can say "I tried to offer it to you, but you refused…".  You can lead them to water, but you can’t make them drink :-)


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 1/07/2008 7:11 AM

500 Not out!!!

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Yes – that’s right 500 partners around Australia that have seen a fairly intensive insight into SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 from Robbie Upcroft and myself.  Over the last 3 weeks, we’ve been to the 5 major capital cities around Australia to ensure that the partners who are invested in the community, i.e. those that attend via the SBS Groups / SMB IT Professional groups around Australia and those in the SBSC channel.

Robbie Upcroft has been a breath of fresh air in Microsoft Australia and I believe will be a key reason why SBS and EBS will be successful here.  Robbie "GETS" community and knows that even though there is no metric in Microsoft terms to measure the success of these recent events, he is willing to invest in it to make it happen and give back to those that continue to sell and support SBS at a grass roots level.  Look out for more efforts in this area such as the SMB PreDay @ Tech Ed Australia on September 2nd.


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 1/07/2008 7:04 AM

Trend WFBS 5.0 Errors after installation

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I’ve had a few people mention to me that after they’ve installed the latest Trend Worry Free Business Security 5.0 on their SBS servers that they have had some new errors in their event logs.  I’ve not seen this in the upgrades that I’ve done so I’ve been a little perplexed as to what it is that they are all talking about.  Thanks to Norm Hughes from Quadrant Computers and the Melbourne SBS Group, who has given me the errors he’s seeing and some explanation he got from Trend Micro on the issue.

Here are the error messages from the System Log:

Source: SideBySide

Category: None

Event ID: 34

Description:  Component identity found in manifest does not match the identity of the component requested

Source: SideBySide

Category: None

Event ID: 58

Description: Syntax error in manifest or policy file "C:\smex80temp\Microsoft.VC80.MFCLOC.MANIFEST" on line 5.

Source: SideBySide

Category: None

Event ID: 59

Description: Generate Activation Context failed for C:\smex80temp\MFC80U.DLL. Reference error message: The manifest file contains one or more syntax errors.

Norm says that he got the following response from Trend Micro when questioned.

"The SidebySide issues are not Trend Micro issues but MIcrosoft ones. This is actually an issue with Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (x86). For reference, you can also check this via the Web/Google which is http://forums.primopdf.com/showthread.php?t=1146 To fix the issue, kindly download and apply the Microsoft Fix posted at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=32BC1BEE-A3F9-4C13-9C99-220B62A191EE&displaylang=en "

Norm also goes on to say that so far he has only seen these errors on SBS 2003 SP1 systems and NOT on systems that have Windows 2003 SP2 applied – that may be why I’ve not seen them because all my servers have SP2 already.  Thanks Norm for the contribution.


Category: TrendMicro

Published: 1/07/2008 6:55 AM

Trend WFBS 5.0 Blocks Malware…

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This week at the Perth SMB IT Professionals Group, Sandi Hardmeirer, used my laptop to demonstrate ways that potential spyware attacks could take place on unsuspecting users without them even clicking on links in a web page.  She showed us a video which displayed how a well respected website was infected with malvertisements (bad advertisements) that redirected the user to other websites without any interaction at all.  Following the redirection the bad website would proceed to install malicious code on the users PC for their own nefarious purposes.

During the demonstration, Sandi attempted to visit a URL that was known to be bad, and I was impressed to see that my Trend WFBS 5.0 client software blocked her from getting there.  From the screenshot below, you can see that the Web Reputation Services built into the Trend software has blocked the web browser from accessing this malicious site.  It gave me the option to approve the website I was attempting to go to, but naturally we declined :-)

Well done Trend – one more step forward for the good guys.

image


Category: TrendMicro

Published: 19/06/2008 12:40 AM


Configuring Time Zones from a command line

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Last week I was working with a client and I needed to be able to configure the timezone on machines automatically by some form of automated process.  The workstations we needed to configure were spread across 5 separate time zones in Australia and New Zealand.  Digging into this some more, I found that I could easily set the time zone based on a command line script as below.

"control.exe timedate.cpl,,/Z (GMT+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney"

You can easily change the section after the /Z to be the exact same text as what you see when you go to change the time zone manually.

I elected to create 5 individual batch files and then call those batch files from the existing site specific logon scripts.  This way when we move a PC to a site, and the local user logs on, it will set the time zone correctly. 

I also explored the option of setting this as a computer startup script via Group Policy. Doing it this way would have meant that I could apply a GPO to the specific site via Active Directory Sites and Services that would automatically affect all computers in that sites IP subnet.  In the end though the reason I chose not to do this was that it would also affect travelling users who visit a remote office.  When the travelling user connects their PC to the LAN, they are immediately in that local site, and therefore if they rebooted their computer while on that site, their time zone settings would have been modified.  This would have had the side effect of ALSO changing their outlook calendar appointments which would have caused much confusion.


Published: 18/06/2008 8:36 AM

Funky Advertising – PCGuru

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Last night @ the Perth SMB IT Professionals Group meeting, I met the orange shirt brigade, also known locally as PCGuru :-)  These guys are a small SMB focused group that stand out from the crowd if for nothing more than their bright orange shirts.  Their Managing Director – Jason Jordan told me about their funky cars they use to drive around in – check out the pictures below.

 

Jason also gave me some thoughts on the local market too.  PCGURU focuses on the 5 to 50 seat market and has recently made the transition to decide NOT to service the domestic/residential market after reviewing their business from top to bottom.  They use best of breed products including SBS 2003 and Trends Antivirus product to protect their clients (welcome to the family guys).  The team at PCGURU is now 20 strong and growing well, with the only limitation being finding SBSC’s with personality – I can relate to that problem well!

Well done Jason on creating an image that is hard to miss and hopefully puts some fun into dealing with difficult IT Issues.

Have you got an interesting advertising approach for your SMB focused business?  If so let me know – I’m keen to get this information out to the rest of the world :-)


Category: People I meet

Published: 18/06/2008 8:33 AM


Perth SMB IT Professionals Group is launched

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Last night, I was fortunate to be able to help start the Perth SMB IT Professionals Group here in Perth.  Thanks to Ingram Micro for allowing us to use their boardroom as a home for the group over the next few months. We had a great start to the group with 26 people in attendance and we discussed what the group could offer to everyone involved, they got Perths first live demo of SBS 2008, and local spyware crusader Sandi Hardmeirer scared the pants of people with some very relevant malware demonstrations that will affect all of our customers at some point or other. Thanks Sandi.. my laptop will never be the same again :-)

The group has decided that they will meet next month on the last Tuesday of the month (July 29th) at 6:00pm at Ingram Micros offices at

We had 6 people stand up at volunteer to be part of the group that will help formulate what this group is all about and what direction it will take from there.  Fantastic!  I wish it had been this easy 7 years ago when I started the Sydney group :-)

Thanks to Robbie Upcroft (Microsoft Australias WHS/SBS/EBS/SBSC Product Manager) for supplying Pizza and drink for the night.

Want to know more about the Perth group – email me wayne@sbsfaq.com and I’ll make sure I link you up with the right people.

Great meeting guys – and congratulations on the birth of a new vibrant community!


Published: 18/06/2008 8:22 AM


Be afraid…very afraid… Sandi gets a real job :-)

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Sandi Hardmeier is a respected MVP and a good friend of mine.  She’s been fighting against all kinds of malware in her after hours for the past umpteen years now and has single handedly prevented some potentially major infections (say like 220 million users of MSN Instant Messenger that were at risk). Up until now though, Sandi’s day job has NOT been involved in IT as a primary role.  She’s been in the legal field for 20 or more years and has been taking on the bad guys online in her spare time.  The bad guys however should be scared.  Very scared.  Sandi has left the legal field and now works with TRUSTe.

TRUSTe is an organisation thats primary purpose is to ensure that online privacy and protection of confidential data is maintained.  Now that Sandi’s there, she will have not only her own considerable resources, but those of TRUSTe.

Bad guys – you’ve been warned.  I’d get out of flamethrower range if I were you, this gal has a reputation for toasting servers and in fact entire ISP’s. And I am NOT joking!

Check out the press release here

Oh – Congratulations Sandi :-)


Category: People I meet

Published: 14/06/2008 11:18 AM

Perth SBS / SMB IT Professional Group – Tuesday 17th June

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Next week, Robbie Upcroft and I will be in Perth to run some SBS / EBS training.  While we are there we are aiming to start an SBS or SMB IT Professional Group in Perth.  If you are involved in SBS or the SMB IT Pro Channel, please come along.

What is an SMB IT Professional Group?

The Sydney SBS Group started over 7 years ago now and is a great way to find and share information that will help improve your technical and business skills in servicing your clients in the SBS and SMB market.  Whilst independent from each other, there are now SBS or SMB IT Professional groups in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane and we wanted to kick start one now in Perth as many people have asked for it.

When is it?

Tuesday 17th June from 6:30pm for around 2 hours.

What will be shown on the night?

Robbie Upcroft – Microsoft’s Small Business Server Product Manager and myself will give a sneak peak at the new Small Business Server 2008 with live demonstrations.

Sandi Hardmeirer a highly regarded MVP who battles spyware on a daily basis will give a presentation on Malware and how you can protect your customers.

What will it cost to attend?

NOTHING.  The group meeting is free, with Ingram Micro providing us a location and Microsoft sponsoring the free Pizza for the night.

Where is it?

Ingram Micro have graciously allowed us use of their boardroom which can seat up to 30 people.  Their address is Unit 7 – Rear 443 Scarborough Beach Road, Osborne Park, WA.

RSVP

Please email wayne@sbsfaq.com ASAP to secure your spot for this event.


Published: 13/06/2008 4:23 PM