Red Bull Gives You zzzzz…..

Whilst sitting in Houston’s airport terminal waiting to catch the flight to Los Angeles then home, with “Mr SBS Australia” Robbie Upcroft sitting by me, I looked over and saw this lady…


I guess the Red Bull isn’t working – perhaps a little too much vodka in it?!?


Official Launch Dates for SBS2008 & EBS2008

I’m at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Texas.

In this morning’s keynote with Michael Risse the announcement was made regarding the release dates for SBS2008 and EBS2008.

Get ready for November 12 (November 13 in Australia) – that’s when the 2 hottest products for 2008 are officially hitting the streets.

As more information comes available, particularly regarding readiness training etc I’ll post it. In the meantime, get onto the beta – there’s still time.

A new Microsoft Server?

Just signing up for some of the “community groups” at the MS Australian Partner conference in early August.

In the signup process we need to give a little information about ourselves – fairly normal stuff. Once of the questions made me stop short though:

A server in your pocket?

The PAL is dead…long live the PAL

Today, June 30, marks the official end of my tenure as the SBSC PAL for Australia, and it’s been quite a year.

I’m not going to go into huge detail because, well, quite frankly I’m sure you’ve got more important things to read but for those in the know this has been the first year the SBSC PAL position has existed. It’s been a bit like a very young child learning to walk – we’ve been a bit wobbly, there have been a few times we’ve fallen over (but no tears!) but we’ve certainly learned plenty and won’t be looking back & returning to crawling!

In a nutshell, the SBSC PAL is a community liaison position – it’s an opportunity for someone passionate about helping to grow the SBSC community to be the conduit between the SBSCs and Microsoft at both a regional and corporate level. I accepted the position last year not really knowing what was expected of me, nor what I could expect of Microsoft. I think most of the other PALs from around the world felt the same way too. For the record, it’s a non-paying position. We got a ticket to the MS Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver last year but that’s really it.

We have invested our own time, time away from our busy businesses and lives, to get together on conference calls with Microsoft to not only get information from them on what the SBSC program is doing moving forward but also to give them feedback – what can Microsoft do better for the SBSCs, what are the SBSCs looking for, how can we work better together etc etc. My last call was from the very noisy Qantas Club at Sydney airport where I must have looked quite odd with my hands covering my ears so I could hear the call and occasionally unmuting my mobile phone to nearly yell my comments into the phone!

Microsoft Australia has seen a few different bodies in the local SBSC liaison position – Lorna Farrar (went to Seattle), Wendy Smith (maternity leave) and now Robbie Upcroft – who realises he’s entered “Hotel California” as far as the community goes. He might try to check out every once in a while (actually he doesn’t really try) but he can never really leave. Robbie has returned to Australia following a 2 year stint in the UK working with Microsoft and has certainly hit the road running as far as SBS and the SBSC program goes. He is a tremendous champion of the SME reseller community and welcomes honest, no bull feedback and gives us honest, no bull answers to our questions. Great to have you back Robbie.

And so it is now that I hand the SBSC PAL reigns over to our new PAL – Hilton Travis. Hilton is just as passionate about the community as Robbie or I (perhaps more?) but has his own unique delivery style – kind of like a Mack truck hitting a chicken 🙂 Hilton is going to be a great SBSC PAL and I wish him all the very best for the year ahead. I’m sure he’ll make many waves and will certainly get into Microsoft’s ear about what can be done to improve the SBSC program overall -he’ll also deliver back to the community, and I dare say much better than I can too.

With 2 “no bull” characters driving the pointy end of the SBSC program here in Australia, we can all expect to see some amazing things moving forward, provided Microsoft Corp listen to what’s being said, pay attention and take action.

But it takes more than just me, or Robbie, or even Hilton to make things happen. As a community we need to raise our collective voices so that we’ll be properly heard. Get in touch with Robbie or Hilton either directly or via your local SBS group to make sure you can get your message out. But don’t let this be a one way communication – listen to what Microsoft come back with, try to understand its position and appreciate the fact that it takes a lot to move such a large business. In my personal experience with many Microsofties, they do care, they do listen, they do deliver our feedback into the machine, it can just take a long time for things to come out and during this time it might look like nothing’s happening. Don’t give up on them though. (BTW I do NOT own Microsoft shares!!).

So all the best Hilton – I’ll see you in a few days at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston and I’m sure you’ll make a very memorable contribution to the SBSC program.

Small Business Server 2008 World Wide Community Survey

Passing on an email from Kevin Beares … Microsoft community leader extraordinaire

The Windows Small Business Server 2008 WW Community Survey is live

This is the third year we have published an SBS WW Community Survey to the SBS Community. 

We have learned an amazing amount of information from the people who have taken the time to tell us what they thought. Some things we kind of knew already, but other things were not as clear before we had received the feedback.

Because of the previous surveys, we have made some adjustments in our community engagement. To name a few; we really worked on putting more focus on the Official SBS Blog. Our Sustaining Engineering team runs mini betas with our MVPs before KB’s and Bug Fixes are released via Windows Update. We try to get more involvement in our techbetas from our User Groups. The list does go on.

To the survey, the SBS Product Team would like to hear from the Windows SBS Community again. This survey is completely anonymous. In fact, some of you may have to sign out from Live in order to take the survey. So, if you get a PAGE NOT FOUND error message, please log out of Live and click on the link to the survey again.

We want to know how valuable your experience is with the community resources and information that is available to you today as a member of the Windows SBS Community. We also want to know what you think could be done to improve your Windows SBS Community Experience. Please take a couple of minutes to provide us your candid feedback via this survey and let us know what you think.


SBS WW Community Survey 2008


Thanks in advance for your feedback.


Kevin Beares

Community Lead – WSSG


Going to meet with Trend Micro next week

This is a copy of an email I sent to the Adelaide SBS User Group a few minutes ago and consider this worthwhile posting to the wider world.


“I’ve got a meeting with Trend Micro next week with one of the top people in the company who’s travelling out from the USA to meet with me and a few others to discuss Trend and the IT community moving forward. This will not be a technical discussion – it’s going to be more strategic.


So, I’d like some feedback to take with me to the meeting. Those of you currently using Trend products, can you please provide me with some feedback (offlist if you think it’s sensitive) about your working relationship with Trend. Some things to consider are:


·         Are Trend an important partner for your business and your customers?

·         How easy do you find it to get answers to questions you have for them?

·         Comments on the Trend web site – the good, bad and ugly

·         Do you use the partner portal and do you have comments on its usability, information etc

·         Anything else of relevance – remember this is not a technical discussion so it can’t be along the lines of “I’ve got this issue with CSM at a site where…..”


For those of you not using Trend products I guess it would be interesting to know why not and who you do work with – why you use other products and what are the great points about these products/companies that have got you using them.


I’m not a Trend evangelist by any means – I’m simply looking for feedback. We use Trend products (I make no secret of that) and we have our reasons for this as a company. Personally I’ve no issue with anyone not using Trend product but am seeking great feedback to take to Trend which will make working with them, and protecting the networks we maintain, better for the future.


My meeting is next Friday (May 16) so if you can please get me any feedback by midday Thursday next week that’d be great. I’m happy to keep your comments confidential too if you want that.”


So please let me know what you’d like Trend to hear. I can be reached at dean[cut this bit out] at calvert DOT net DOT au


SBS2008 is coming…

It’s my last day in Seattle having been here for over a week to attend MVP Summit 2008. Whilst here we’ve learned a LOT more about SBS2008, Essential Business Server and of course how little sleep we can survive on!

Just stumbled across this this morning…

Now I’m not going to comment on its origin…but I’m happy for the link to be forwarded around in order to build momentum around the coming release of these great products.

Pass it on. And perhaps if you’ve got a bit of time up your sleeve you can through your own SBS2008 related video together to build up the excitement before release later this year 🙂

There’s a whole world outside the USA…

<Rant mode on>

Microsoft – why can you not realise there is a whole world outside of the United States when it comes to setting up and MAINTAINING operating systems?

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve setup a system, telling it to use English (Australia) only to find that it’s switched back to English (United States). Even during the operating system setup process when I specify I want English (Australia) and go so far as to remove the USA references I manage to find it’s “infected” my system once again.

Not only that but upon installing IE7 the first page I get hit with asks me about changing my search provider (not getting into that one right now) and also asks if I want to set myself up for English (United States) once again. Plus that option is the one that’s automatically selected for me so if I’m not paying close attention I might just end up on the opposite side of the world!

Please please please – realise that when I choose my own country I really want to stay there. I’m Australian and darn proud of it, plus I’m sure this affects other country selections as well so I figure I’m not alone in this. I want to speak Australian English, not American (which if you ask a Brit is not real English at all!!)

Also I’d like to be able to specify regional settings in group policy so I can roll out my country of choice to the rest of the computers on the network, so they too don’t get “infected” with English (United States).

<Rant mode off>

Hey – don’t get me wrong. I quite like visiting the USA – I’ve been there some 9 times in the last 2 years, but I live and work in Australia, as do the servers I setup and maintain. I don’t want to have to keep reminding these systems of that fact.

Am I the only one frustrated with this??

SBS Technical Training now in Canberra

Nick’s just blogged this:

This follows on from my last post about the training for SBSers. If you’re in Canberra please take advantage of this offer.

It’s a simple matter of economics that if Microsoft can see the numbers in Canberra for these events then they’ll continue to offer them there. If attendance is routinely low (and this is really for any place an event is run) then they won’t be offered there in the future.

So – support yourself and your local community by attending these events and reap the rewards.

Microsoft SBS technical training for Australia

I’ve received an email from Microsoft with the following information in it regarding the next round of technical training sessions coming up. If you’re working with Small Business Server then make sure you register for these events being held through September.

This technical training focuses on the Small Business Server 2003 Release 2 and will be delivered in two sessions, with each session focusing on a different aspect of SBS Server 2003 R2. The sessions will run for approximately three (3) hours with a lunch break in between the sessions. The session’s outlines are:

 Session 1 – Microsoft SBS 2003 R2 – Exchange 2003 and Outlook 2003 SP2 Features

 This session introduces the new features on SBS 2003 R2 in regards to Exchange 2003 SP2 and Outlook 2003 SP2. After completing this course, you will be able to:

·         Describe the new flexible client licensing in SBS 2003 R2. ·         Identify ways to increase mobile security and efficiency through new Windows Mobile 5.0 policies and Direct Push technology. ·         Provide increased message hygiene by using the Open SPF standard as well as an improved Intelligent Message Filter. ·         Show how to allow for more storage with an increased mailbox size limit of 75GB.Session 2 – Microsoft SBS 2003 R2 – Windows SharePoint Services V2.0\V3.0 Features 

This session will introduce WSS v2.0, however it will be mainly focused on WSS V3.0. Students will learn the advantages of using Windows SharePoint services in their SBS 2003 R2 environment. After completing this course, you will be able to:

 ·           Describe the benefits of using SharePoint as an information sharing tool.·           Show the advantages of using WSS V3.0 in their environment.·           Preparing for and upgrading to WSS V3.0.·           Integrate WSS V3.0 into Microsoft SBS 2003 R2 environment. ·           Utilizing advanced WSS V3.0 features to enhance the current environment.

Register now at

Spread the word with your workmates, associates and anyone else you come across. I expect all Small Business Specialists to be there too [:D]