Follow Through Matters… particularly now

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I met Amber Naslund at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed event in Columbus, Ohio in September this year. We shared many a good chat about business and how social media impacts our ability to do things in a modern day world.  Today she has a post which I think matters a lot, particularly in today’s economic climate.  Her post talks about how we need to follow through with initial contact with people to allow that contact to develop into a relationship.  In both personal and business life, this is so true.  I’d encourage you to take a look at her post and then think about how you interact with others.  Is how you work with others really something of value for BOTH parties, or is it a one sided transaction?  In today’s tougher economic climate, people are going to do more and more business with “friends” because they have built up a trust relationship with them.  How are you treating your “friends” ?


Category: Business Focus

Published: 29/10/2008 6:28 AM

ANZ Bank withdraws services over the weekend

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I’ve been a client of the ANZ Bank for many years now, and went to check my bank balance today and got the message below after I logged in.  Now this does not affect me as I don’t have any International Services, but I’ve got to wonder just how badly the bank is worried about the current economic climate to suspend services to clients without notice…

 

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Published: 26/10/2008 10:39 PM


Trend Micro Detection of MS08-067

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Just got this from Trend – they are already detecting known worms that exploit systems not patched with MS08-067 that was released less than 12 hours ago by Microsoft.

http://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/grayware/ve_graywareDetails.asp?GNAME=TSPY_GIMMIV.A is the first one out of the blocks. I’ve got more background technical info on this and I’ve found that Trends WFBS blocks IE access to the sites where the encrypted files are stored – now that’s good, but YOU STILL NEED TO PATCH YOUR SYSTEMS. You will need Trend Pattern file 615 to detect this worm.

Trend also have a security advisory here

I’ll post more info as it comes to hand. – Thanks Dal for the heads up on this.


Published: 24/10/2008 1:50 PM

Patch NOW – before it’s too late!

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image Sounds scary right – well – yes – it is and it can be.

Microsoft have overnight released an out of band patch which they do only in severe circumstances (like KNOWN exploits circulating in the wild).  Technical details are here

Long story short – if you run Windows, then you ARE affected by this.  Make sure your systems are patched with this to ensure you can minimise the chance of getting something bad on your PCs.  It’s been a while since we’ve had an issue like this, so you can bet that the bad guys are just rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of being able to take control of all those unpatched systems!


Published: 24/10/2008 7:37 AM


My Skype Account has been hacked!

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Just on 12 hours ago, Skype on my PC told me that I needed to re-enter my password as it had been changed and the skype client needed to reauthenticate.  Interesting I thought as I had not changed my password. I rekeyed my password and it said it was incorrect. I then went to Skype website to attempt a password recovery, I entered my userid and my email address to begin the recovery process.  The website told me that the email address did not match the userid.  Now I was concerned.  I attempted the same procedure from another computer and had the exact same results. At this point I considered that it looks like my account has been hacked in some fashion.  I immediately lodged a support request with Skype via their website and recieved an email saying they would look at this within 48 hours.  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. 

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I’ve searched the website for contact details so I could phone them but can not find anything.  Long story short, someone else has control of my skype account (with which I have multiple inbound phone lines) and I don’t!  I am not happy and can do little to resolve it.


Published: 23/10/2008 1:24 PM


SBS 2008 Premium – Downgrade rights for 2nd Server

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Just last night I posted an email to the MSSMALLBIZ yahoogroup. At that point I knew that many of us in the community had pushed hard on Microsoft to provide downgrade rights for the 2nd Server to allow it to become Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition.

Susan – it’s not about software that won’t support W2008/SQL2008 in a years time. It’s about the software that does not support W2008 NOW that is the issue. THAT will hamper our efforts to sell SBS 2008 NOW to the clients as they will be FORCED to purchase an additional W2003 license to run their LOB application. In the EBS market space, I don’t think this is as big an issue as an extra $1500 AUD for a server license will go unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. However in the SBS world, it will be an issue for sure.


In my opinion, Microsoft have applied flawed thinking in their decision to not offer downgrade rights for the 2nd W2008 Server license in SBS 2008 Premium. When they planned this out, they allowed that many SQL applications will not be supported on SQL 2008 for some time after release and therefore they decided to ship SQL2005 with the product for 12 months. They should have KNOWN that the same conditions would apply to Windows Server 2008 given the huge changes to it under the covers from Windows Server 2003. In my opinion, it is this flawed logic that I have a concern with more so than anything else. Bear in mind that Windows Server 2008 was released in Feb 2008 and many application vendors will not have even considered testing their software on it until they had access to the final W2008 code.


Will Microsoft do anything about it now? I suspect not. I suspect that they will not get the feedback from the community that this is indeed a serious issue. I suspect that the majority of resellers will in fact "find a way" to allow the customer to run Windows Server 2003 on the 2nd server and not correctly license them. I suspect that the majority of resellers will be tired of beating their head on the wall and just work around the issue. When they do this, we all loose. Microsoft will go on blissfully unaware of the fact that people are doing this (or choosing to ignore it) and therefore will not make the changes to the product that we all believe they need to make. I’m a great believer in that if we tell Microsoft enough that they will make a change for the better. On this one issue, given what I’ve seen thus far posted by Eric Ligman here and on his blog, and the private discussions I’ve had with other people in MS who made the decision, I do not believe a change will happen. This is certainly disappointing.


As for the list of applications that won’t be supported on Windows Server 2008 – try adding the #1 accounting application used here in Australia – MYOB. Currently they have no released plan for when they will officially support it on Windows Server 2008 either as a file server or as a terminal server. Now Australia is only #4 in the world in terms of units shipped (according to MS AU – Robbie Upcroft), so I guess we don’t matter so much in the grand scheme of things :-(

Anyway – enough of my rant – I’m sure to raise someone’s ire with this.

 

Well – less than 24 hours later, I can report that I now know that Microsoft will shortly make an announcement that I am told will reverse my comments above and allow the 2nd Server to be downgraded to Windows Server 2003.  Thank you.  Thank you Microsoft for listening to our needs. It means we can more likely sell MORE SBS 2008 Premium, and I predict that we will see a change of the normal 80/20 Standard vs Premium mix that has been the traditional model for SBS 2003 sales in the past.  Watch out for an official announcement once they get their ducks all in a row.


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 22/10/2008 8:01 AM

Just remember – they do listen…

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It’s often said that the various people at Microsoft do not listen to the bleatings of us out here in the real world. Never let it be said though that Robbie Upcroft was one of them.  Robbie, not only push hard to get the SMB PreDay here at TechEd 2008 in Sydney, he also pushed hard to get a free copy of SBS 2008 Standard Edition FOR RESALE for all those who paid to attend the event.

Well – it looks like those lucky people will now get EVEN MORE… No not a free set of steak knives, but SBS 2008 PREMIUM.  Now that’s GOT TO BE WORTH a thank you email to rupcroft@microsoft.com for sure!

Here’s Robbies announcement


Published: 20/10/2008 10:52 AM

Can my server support SBS 2008?

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One of the biggest questions many people have is can my existing server support SBS 2008? Given SBS 2008 is indeed a full 64 bit operating system, this is one of the major requirements for any system that needs to run SBS 2008. You will also need to have a minimum of 4GB of RAM and a single network card to install as well.  How do you find out if your CPU is capable of this? You can go check the manufacturers site to verify it, but it’s easier to run one of these two utilities.

CPUID This shows my laptop’s spec’s  The EM64T parameter on the instructions line below shows it is capable.

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Gibson Research also has a tool which makes things much more clear. You can download it here

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Both tools will show you if your system is capable of running a 64 bit operating system, but I prefer the 2nd tool as it makes it so very clear :-) Now that you know your system is capable of running SBS 2008, you need to bear in mind that you CAN NOT INPLACE upgrade it to SBS 2008.  You will need to plan how you will migrate over to SBS 2008.


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 12/10/2008 4:29 AM


Future Uncertain…

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image I finish up today my 3 weeks here in the USA. I’ve been attending 10 days of extremely intense training, and two conferences in two different states. I’ve been here while the US economy takes a major nose dive. The Australian economy whilst currently not affected as much as the US economy is non the less affected.  I fly home tonight to an uncertain future. In my personal life, there is turmoil. In the business world it looks like a global financial crash is happening. The Aussie dollar has dropped from a high of .98 USD a month or so back to a current of .64 USD which makes the trip more expensive still.  I feel a little sad though as given the combination of all of the above, for the first time in many years, I am unsure of when I will be back over here in the USA and get to see all my friends and learn all the things that I learn from them.

Part of this is a thought process that I’m going through is to think about how will my business survive in tighter economic circumstances. What can I do to improve the services and offerings to my clients? What can I do to maximise my potential sales? My clients will I’m sure go through tighter credit control. I expect customers to be slower in paying and that will affect my ability to pay suppliers.  Likewise I expect suppliers to become tighter on their credit control.  These things will all affect how I do business moving forwards.

On the flip side, we need to consider the other side of the profit equation. What can I do to reduce expenses? How can I reorganise things to work more efficiently? How can I ensure that I retain good staff during these rough times so that we can continue to build on the vision for the business?

Ok – I’ve asked the questions, now the challenge is out there for you too. What will you be doing to ensure that your business can weather this storm? What tips or tricks do you have that you are willing to share so that others can benefit? Feel free to comment on this post so that others can benefit from the joint knowledge of the community.  I truly feel that now more than ever the world wide SMB community needs to pull together and support each other so that we can all be in business tomorrow.


Category: Business Focus

Published: 12/10/2008 2:33 AM


Silence!

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“Silence! I keell you…”. that was the catch phrase this week as it’s an extract from Achmed the Dead Terrorist – a comedy video on youtube.  Dean Calvert (fellow SBS MVP and Aussie) was ensuring that we all remained “silent”. Olli (SBS MVP from Germany) got a little tired of it and took matters into his own hands.

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PA100105 PA100106

Now the question is – will Deans wife pay the ransom or will she be happy for us to leave him here in the USA :-)


Published: 10/10/2008 2:53 AM