Tags: free conference calls, hootsuite, InterminglingOutlooks, linkedin, marketing, small business it professionals, t-shirts, tips
A cool thing for a Friday.
1) Create a new folder in Outlook.
2) Right click on the folder name
3) Select Properties
4) Change the properties on the folder by adding a web address.
5) Close the properties
6) Access the new folder - Walla - Internet in Outlook.
Posted at 01:41 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
If you are a technology professional in Tampa, Florida then you might want to know about the Tampa Bay SBS User Group.
The Tampa Bay SBS User Group is a professional association of IT workers, IT business owners, Microsoft Partners and everyone else involved with IT business in Tampa Bay.
Posted at 12:26 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Some of the tips and such that I have been absorbing from SMB Nation
Yesterday was registration and oh what fun, as someone who enjoys connecting and talking ot my peers, the registration desk was a great place to network. Microsoft has added a tag to the name tags that helps categorize attendees, and as such any attendee with a Small Business Symposium tag or Dynamics tag was a good person to talk with. We of course had to find out if they knew about the "online communities", and if they were reading the SBS Development teams blog! Incredibly great information that all SBS Professionals can benefit from.
Are you working with Microsoft Small Business Server? Do you have one at home (yes, I do)? Do you have clients that use this great bundle? If you answer yes to any of the above then go to https://blogs.technet.com/sbs and sign up for the RSS feed
The DIVA of SBS herself (Susan Bradley at www.sbsdiva.com) has also gone above and beyond (again) and has created new business cards for the day, SBS sessions and WWPC in general. The cards are SBS Community Cards (check out the new logo!). She has two.. One is the Information Stacked Link list card with over 20 key SBS blogs and resource links on the back. The other card has only two links on it.. The MICROSOFT SBS blogs listed below..
If you se me and are interested, I have some of these great cards in my name badge. Just ask :)
Posted at 09:10 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
One way that Microsoft works is through survey data. Sometimes participating in surveys makes a huge difference and in the world of Microsoft Small Business and the community around the Small Business Server product the more input the BETTER! Believe me the SBS community is still a very small world in relation to the corporate monster that is all of MS Corporate.
So if you all could take 2 minutes and answer the questions in the following SURVEY, I would much appreciate it!!!!!!!!!
This survey is only 23 questions long
Posted at 06:27 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
A MAJOR Thanks to George Wilson and his team at OneSource Professional Services Group in Maryland. George and his team specialize in the technical depth and details for not only Microsoft technologies but also Linux and OpenSource options.
Here is our fix for the “Svchost” errors being caused by installation issues that point to a problem wth the msi dll.
1. Boot in Safe Mode w/ Networking
2. Rename "C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution" to "SB.old"
3. Open "command prompt" and register dlls:
4. shutdown the PC and boot as normal
5. run windows update
Posted at 10:02 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
In addition to the next week’s WSUS 3.0 release, we are making the new client portion available via the following plan to our customers who continue to experience performance issues like UI hang and long scan times.
The new WUA client addresses these issues with deep architectural performance optimizations. Combining the installation of the new client, with the latest MSI fix available in KB927891 available on Microsoft Download Center, will completely address the what we have fondly called the svchost/msi issue. It’s important to keep in mind that the new client is only a partial solution and clients must have both KB927891 and the new 3.0 client installed for a full solution.
On May 1st, a standalone version of the client will also be made available to those of you who need to address this performance issue now. Although this will be immediately available, it will have to be independently distribute. Instructions on how to get this standalone new 3.0 client version are available at - https://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa387285.aspx
On May 22nd. The following WSUS 3.0 full and client only updates will be available to WSUS:
Keep in mind that the new client is only a partial solution for the svchost/msi issue and clients must have both KB927891 and the new 3.0 client installed for a full solution.
· A critical update for WSUS 2.0 SP1 which contains the WSUS 3.0 client self update tree. This critical update, applicable to WSUS 2.0 SP1 Server, if approved will install a new client self update versioned tree on the server. When mapped clients check in with this updated WSUS 2.0 SP1 server, their clients will check their version against that installed on the server, see that they no longer have the latest version, and immediately self update to 3.0 versions. The server will remain a 2.0 version with the capability to support the 3.0 clients.
We appreciate your patience while we pushed to make these architectural improvements to the client, and find a way to make them available in a variety of ways to suit your upgrade plans as well as your immediate needs.
Thank you the WSUS v3 team
Posted at 09:55 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Jeff and those ultimate braincells of his has done it again. He has combined what we all love about SBS oriented events with even more skills, product deep diving and fun!
2 Conferences in 1 Week, New Orleans Weekend plus a 5-Day Caribbean Cruise
Yes, that’s right. Not one conference….two conferences in on week, wrapped around the week of Memorial Day. On the Sunday night between the two events, there’s going to be one big party! I’m offer the choice of two different experiences and environments, and maximum time for interacting and having a great time. Check the website for the range of details on the entire experience you will get in a week. https://conference2007.sbsmigration.com/experience
10% Discount Promotion for Pre-Registration
There is a very brief pre-registration offer to save 10% on the 2-Day Attendee fee (saves $30). All you need to do is request the discount by using the feedback page. Details are explained there as well as on the registration page. Registration opens in the next couple of weeks. The discount will apply only to the 2-day attendee fee, not to guest fees or to cruise related fees. The discount would bring the attendee fee to $265 for the weekend, with hotel in the French Quarter for just $119/night!
2-Day French Quarter Conference
I’m holding a 2-Day French Quarter Weekend conference to be held in a luxury business class hotel, but at a steep discount for the rooms…and a very low attendee fee…and oriented to make it interesting to bring a spouse or friend along. The majority of session for this conference will be panel discussion and group interaction format. Expect many people you know as panelists.
5-Day Caribbean Cruise Conference
The Monday following that weekend, get onboard for five days cruise and a relaxed IT Pro daily event on the Carnival Cruiseship Fantasy sailing from the foot of Canal Street in New Orleans round trip to Costa May and Cozumel, Mexico! This is an ideal networking arrangement, a lot of time to chat, and at least one daily event as a roundtable or case study session. The events will be tailored by direct feedback from those who sign up. You can sign up for the group discount rate on the cruise starting at $633, and a conference fee of $95.
7-Day Getaway Conference Experience
You can do both conferences combined for a remarkable week, ideal for both business and relaxation and to catch up with all the friends you know in this industry of small business IT Pro work, and to meet other I have met in my travels and invited to join us. I’ve doing everything possible to make the cost of this trip very accessible and very valuable at the same time. The combined event attendee price for all 7-days is just $350, and your guest joins you for $95.
Community Oriented Conferences
One of the key distinctions of these two events is the orientation as IT Pro Community based experiences. I’m taking every suggestion and opportunity to make these conferences include the essence of both a local IT Pro Group meeting and the freeform discussion aspects of online newsgroups combined. This will not be death by Powerpoint, it will be primarily panel discussions, roundtable and group environments with a lot of familiar faces. I’m doing this conference in New Orleans at a time that the city truly needs visitors and business to return for the entertainment and for the economy to rebound.
Small Business IT Disaster Planning for Risks and Crisis Recovery
This is the theme, and the event will track through both conferences as the sessions unfold. Just as important to me is that the conversations in the hall move to the stage and vice-versa. The sessions will not be generic.
I welcome your help and participation
I’ve taken the lead role by sponsoring these conferences to ensure that anyone interested knows I am committed to ensure the quality and experience. This is not a for profit conference series, you will see that in the pricing. Other than charging what is necessary to present these events, all proceeds will go toward the entertainment and education of the attendees. I need your help as potential participants, leaders, sessions presenters and panelist…I really need anyone who values community participation and feedback to contribute to the content and style of the event. I will be seeking additional sponsors who will value this pair of community development events and yet ensure that the summary description will remain “the voice of experience”
Getaway, Relax and Learn
Please take a look at the conference website, including the welcome message I have prepared, and then pass this along to your colleagues and group members to consider. This is going to be a fun pair of conferences, and yet a valuable use of a week or a weekend.
Posted at 10:47 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
To address this Intuit has released a one stop shopping type knowledge area. If you are supporting, upgrading or installing QuickBooks 2007 you might want to check it out!
Posted at 04:35 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
So your ready! or you have dived in or you are thinking about adding Vista machines or updating some of your existing machines to Vista in your Small Business Server environment.
You have seen it and like the higher levels of security, the more detailed and grandular level of control of each user on their workstation, the intense graphics and the multi-tasking reinvention. You know that in Unix USER mode saves a lot of headache and now you have really sophisticated USER mode depth and control in Windows.
In fact the buzz is those who have adopted Vista can not imagine going back. Reminds me of the days when we moved from DOS (totally Single tasking) to Windows where you could actually have multiple windows open at once. Yes, in DOS I used the multi-tasking tools (different post, different story)
OK Back to here and now..
When it comes to VISTA and SMALL BUSINESS SERVER the incredibly respected man to follow is Sean Daniels (as stated numerous times by numerous SBS MVPs and IT Professionals) and unlike in the old days when only a selected few could benefit from his deep dive insight over a beer or two.. Sean has a BLOG and is sharing his mental content (quickly, easily, painlessly and directly) every day! Thanks Sean for making your insights and knowledge available to all!
So READ this on VISTA and SMALL BUSINESS SERVER and turn on that RSS feed for Sean's blog.
OH and get this - You no longer need a purchased an RSS READER unless you want to. Simply turn on RSS feeds on your Google home page, your Windows LIVE home page, your IE 7 settings and more. Reading Blogs is now built into hundreds of commonly used applications.
Posted at 07:12 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
A dating approach to growing your small business sales, revenue and
profits: How to use sales-winning, relationship marketing to nurture
your prospective customers until they are ready to buy
Turn your Website into a small business sales lead generation machine:
Simple changes that can make your Website far more effective at turning
visitors into leads, and leads into customers
Posted at 01:28 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
"My rule of thumb is that the length of the quote or proposal is inversely proportional to the chance of getting the job." - Joel Eisenhandler, Computer Consultant
Posted at 06:32 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Are you running one of the Windows Vista Beta versions and enjoying the heck out of the process?
Tap into the Microsoft Vista Tips and Tricks website.
They don't yet have RSS feeds (hello Microsoft, what were you thinking?), but definitely worth a bookmark.
Posted at 07:54 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Have you ever wondered how anyone keeps up with anything these days? One of the techniques that you might want to tap into is subscribing to KBAlertz.
KB Alertz lets you choose the Microsoft Products you are interested in and KBAlertz sends you a summary e-mail with a summary and link to all the most recent updates.
Posted at 04:02 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
So I was sharing with Larry Lentz some of the stories from SMB Nation. He and his wife had the opportunity to go to Europe so he missed the event. ..
One of the highlights of SMB Nation is a trip to Bainbridge Island and it always seems to be an interesting experience..
Anne [CRM-MVP] says (8:44 PM): So how many Geeks does it take to find the ferry terminal in Seattle?
Larry Lentz [CRM MVP] says (8:44 PM): Took about 200 as I recall in 2004
Anne [CRM-MVP] says (8:44 PM): Answer: 7 Geeks, 2 GPS devices and a lot of discussion..
Posted at 08:52 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
In the small business technology space many of us are consultants to our clients or we are moving more and more toward that goal as managed services and pro-active work becomes the norm. One of the tasks of moving toward being a professional consultant is to read/study and invest some time in the "Art of Consulting". Certainly we all focus hard on the technical skills we need, but the other skills are just as handy!
BusinessWeek Online compiled an article from interviews with Enterprenuers on which books were most influencial to them as they built their companies.
I was thrilled that I had read many of the books, but also surprised at how many were new titles to me. Guess the bookstore is on my list for today!
AND here are a few of the consulting books that were not on the list that I have found helpful and worth the read.
The Independent Consultants Q&A Book by Lawerance Tuller
Getting to Yes and Getting Past No by Roger Fisher and William Ury
The Tipping Point and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
The E-Myth Revisted by Michael Gerber
and all the well loved books from SMB Nation Press including the new ones from Pat Colebeck and Erick Simpson.
Posted at 08:57 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Zak asked in the forums "Just wondering what you think of the 'BANANA' hack, to get Windows MCE onto a SBS domain. Can I get some feedback on this?"
The numerous responses to this post validated that YES, the Banana hack is working well in the field and not causing problems.
There were also other suggestions.
So if you are SBS'ing it in the home, or getting into integrating Microsoft Media Edition with your SBS network, know that solutions exist to easily add this to your domain.
As consumer electronics become more and more automated, you have to understand/want to centralize the control! Time is too precious to "sneaker net it" even in our small cozy kingdom we retreat to at the end of the day.
Posted at 08:02 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Here is the link for SBA on SBS…
or go to the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SBS Tech Page and choose
Posted at 06:03 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The Annual Meeting of Leaders of SMB IT Professional groups with a keystone product of Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) will be held on September 7th from 5-till whenever PM.
Location: Desert Fire Southwestern Grill - Redmond, Washington
Attendees: RSVP is required and leaders and co-leaders are the primary focus and the people who are invited. This is a business meeting to discuss and share information about running local IT Professional groups.
So The meeting is on!
In fact there has been a call for people interested in being on the 2006/2007 leadership team and there have been four people who have expressed deep interest in being involved and moving the entire group to the next space or perhaps simply adding their style to the overall dynamics. Interested in Leadership? There is still time to get involved!
International SBSgroupLEADS is a group of leaders for leaders and the framework exists for any and all to work with that. We (the current leadership team) have worked hard to have a LEADERS only meeting run by the leaders and organized this before SMB Nation. It is true that it is unfortunate that time is tight and that there will be other tempting activities in the same location, but it is still wonderful that we have so many RSVPs and so many people interested in sharing information, presentations, templates and knowledge with other leaders.
Running an IT Pro group is tough work, but there are benefits and it helps to work with each other to tap into and maximize those. Other issues we will be discussing at the meeting include transition, burnout, generating more attendees, getting speakers, working with vendors, balancing win/win with competition, balancing business topics and technical training, working with co-leaders, learning to be a better leader, working with other leaders and so much more!! So if you need more information drop me a note or any of the leaders listed on www.sbsgroups.com or any of the leaders on https://www.sbsgroups.com
Posted at 10:53 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
In my infinite habit of learning a new application every couple of weeks I have been in transition around how I use outlook. OK I am always pushing my limits with my own applications (much to the shock of some of my associates), but that is for another post. So I have been trying out a number of new Outlook Add-Ins including LinkedIn's new portal, ConstantContact's new synchronization, LookOut, Microsoft BCM, Microsoft CRM, a few of the MapiLABs products and other various code sets. I find that if I use the application I have a much better appreciation for what the application can do and where it might be helpful for many of the small business clients and cutting edge entreprenuer's that I end up talking with..
From my efforts I can sum up one point of consideration. Mixing and matching Outlook Add-ins is not the same as mixing and matching those carefully chosen seperates in any ones particular closet. If we also consider ASP.Net 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 we get into some interesting machine frustrations.
So my Outlook add-in efforts are over for the moment and I will drop the Newsgator RSS Add-in back in where it belongs. As much as I have enjoyed reading the RSS feeds on Newsgator Online, I was reminded today that I need that reminder of "unread mail" to stay current.
Posted at 08:15 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
I have been using Microsoft SBA for a few months now and there are things about it that I REALLY like.
Anyway I just ran into one of my first "usage" errors and I thought that this was a great chance to test the Microsoft Small Business Accounting Support lines. If you sign up for Microsoft SBA Support before September 30th you get a free year of support on this new application. One of the key things I learned about SBA right out of the gate is that training and understanding the application is really important. In fact if you try to use it like QuickBooks you will get frustrated. (Even though it looks and feels like QuickBooks, it is different)
So I called support.
The first person who answered gets a big red X. They tried, but after about 3 minutes and a bunch of difficult to understand communication they hung up on me. Chaulk one up for outsourcing. I immediately called back and immediately received someone different. To the first technician's credit he had captured some of my initial information so I didn't have to spell a lot of that again. The second person had me answer a bunch of questions and supply the product serial number.
I am now on hold while the "paperwork" is completed. As it turns out on your first call you have to have the "contract" created before you can get support. Makes sense, as much as that is a bit of a pain.
So it turns out I am using a retail version as opposed to the Action Pack version. I received a number of retail versions at varies times over the last year and as such I am using one for one of my live businesses, BUT that didn't slow me down. I was put into the support queue, a wonderful technician picked up the call and then he walked me through exactly what I needed to do. Much to my relief the system actually easily handled what I wanted it to do (even though I couldn't find it immediately) AND the technician also helped me with a quick question on formating/customizing the statement template for my company.
Kudos Microsoft on SBA support tonight!
Posted at 06:12 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
There is something special coming to Waltham, MA... The SBS Product Development team is going out into the small business space to meet and talk with many of the IT Professionals. If you don't go to any other meeting.. this short session is unique and is not often available!!
Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 Partner Group Tour - Microsoft takes to the road.
Microsoft Updates SBS Partners on SBS 2003 R2, Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office system
Overview: Expect standing room only for these partner networking events. Microsoft is excited to share product and solution information with SMB partners to help them grow their revenue. The Microsoft SBS Development team along with the Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office system have announced plans to visit 13 U.S. cities this September as part of the 3rd U.S. SBS partner group tour.
Goal: The goal of this tour is to take the Small Business partners and Microsoft team members to the next level of partnership and create even greater success with these Microsoft products.
In an effort to better connect with the SBS partners, Microsoft team members will be speakers at each of 13 partner group meetings. As an attendee at this free event, a few of the things you will learn first-hand:
Make a connection with the partners in your area and the Microsoft team, see the potential of SBS 2003 R2, Windows Vista and 2007 Office system, and grow your business with more profitability.
About the Training: After two successful tours in 2005 reaching over 2,000 partners face to face, the Microsoft team was so impressed with the turnout, questions, and enthusiasm of the audience they requested another tour to visit more SBS user groups. In some circles, they are called "User Groups," but we know the majority of members are actually Microsoft partners looking to join up with other SBS partners to create greater opportunities and results for their companies.
"I enjoy getting out of Redmond and talking directly to the partners. As I am planning the next version of SBS, I need their feedback to validate the assumptions we are making. At the end of the day, the partners are the ones who sell, install and support the product, without their input we won’t be successful, it’s truly a team effort."
Paul Fitzgerald, Microsoft SBS Development Manager
"Small Business Server is the heart and soul of many small business IT consulting practices, including mine. I know that having a close relationship with Microsoft has been the main reason my company and our user group has been able to consistently grow year after year. And with an exciting year of change for Microsoft partners with the addition of Windows Vista and Office 2007, there is no better opportunity to receive direction and have your questions answered than to speak directly with members of the Microsoft team from Redmond. The User Group tour provides just such an opportunity, one that shouldn't be overlooked by any Microsoft Small Business partner or Microsoft Small Business Specialist."
Tavis Patterson, TAZ Networks, President, Michigan Small Business Server User Group, President
"How many developers have contacted you and asked for your opinion? This is an incredible and unique opportunity to represent your own business and all of your customer’s businesses. Members from Microsoft’s development team will be coming to share insights and hear your input and feedback regarding their SMB technologies development. It’s time to be proactive instead of reactive, be there!"
Ken Shafer, Small Business Specialist, President, Agape Computing, Salem, OR, President, Technology Wizards.
Target Audience: Small Business Consultants, System Builders
Prerequisites: All though there are no formal prerequisites for this seminar, attendees should have an understanding of and some experience with SBS 2003.
The following are covered in the two-hour evening event:
· Business and Technical overview of Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2
· Technology Assessment Toolkit and how partners are making money with it
· Partner Marketing Center – New tools for partners!
· Windows Mobile 5.0 integration with SBS 2003 R2
· Small Business Specialist Community
· Windows Vista
· 2007 Office system
· Q&A: tell us what you want
This is a FREE event sponsored by your local SBS User Group and Microsoft partner Community Manager. Attendees will receive:
Posted at 10:45 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Posted at 07:51 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The Denver Microsoft SBS IT Professionals group had their monthly meeting last night and I took the opportunity to attend and present a short segment on Microsoft CRM. I was very impressed with not only the group, but with the wide variety of information that was shared in just a four hour session. T-Mobile presented on their latest offerings, the Monthly Microsoft Patches were picked apart and Fred Pullen from the Microsoft TS2 team offered some great new thoughts and insights to Small Business Server Release 2 and the value of this product to the existing SBS customers. This is in addition to the Q&A I presented on Microsoft CRM.
A BIG thanks has to be extended to Alan Shrater for not only organizing such a great group, but for all the hard work he is doing in making it a very, very valuable experience to a number of the members! Impressive.
Posted at 07:24 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
It's public Small Business Server R2 has now gone to manufacturing and is OUT OF BETA! Are you ready?
All New Live SBS R2 Partner Webcasts
There are three new Partner facing webcasts about SBS R2, the Technical Assessment Toolkit and Licensing that will be offered as a live series twice in June. Mike Iem will be presenting the first and third webcasts with partner participation for the Tech Assessment Kit and Eric Ligman will be covering Licensing. These webcasts are open to all partners.
* Tuesday, June 6 8am PST - What's New with SBS 2003 R2
* Wednesday, June 7 8am PST - SBS 2003 R2 Licensing, Sales and Options
* Thursday, June 8 8am PST - Tech Assessment Toolkit: How Partners are Using it Generate Revenue
* Tuesday, June 20 8am PST - What's New with SBS 2003 R2
* Wednesday, June 21 8am PST - SBS 2003 R2 Licensing, Sales and Options
* Thursday, June 22 8am PST - Tech Assessment Toolkit: How Partners are Using it Generate Revenue
Posted at 06:29 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
To follow up on my previous post..
There was a time that I used Frontrange's Goldmine Software. In fact I used it for numerous years and as such had a number of chances to resolve problems.
What would you do if you ran into a Goldmine Software client crisis?
1) The Community - If you posted to the newsgroup you usually had a handful of answers fairly quickly.
2) The resellers... (Back in the day - 1995-2000) The FrontRange Resellers were the absolute number one place to go for support. Knowing which resellers were the best resource was key.
3) Call FrontRange? Oh never, if at all possible. Their reputation for support was well known and for those who ignored the buzz well validated from one or two calls.
Now a lot has changed with FrontRange. In fact that is one thing you can count on in the world of technology. The products change daily, the systems often changes just as fast. One year support might be terrible and the next it might be so totally worth it!
If we roll forward to 2004 ..
1) FrontRange makes changes and the buzz in the field is that small business resellers are dropping like flies. They are not supported, the pricing structure sky rockets and they can not service their small customers..
2) For the 5-20 person firms data "mess" is not uncommon. The integration, the lack of training, the product, the people.. the list can go on. Blame is not the point.
2) As a customer (I decided ot use Goldmine when I started my business) I also found that the software didn't integrate, it had lost it's wonderful data migration wizards and it did not support the current versions of common products like MS Outlook and it just wasn't as wonderful as it use to be.. :(
3) As a customer and technology specialist... I ended up with a connection to a specialists in Goldmine (writes books, it is his passion) who offered IM paid support. If I was really stuck I knew I could ping DJ and for a price get my answer almost immediately. There were times it was worth it.
If we roll forward to 2006
FrontRange Corporate is acquired.. change again.. Francisco Partners Completes Acquisition of FrontRange Solutions, Dublin, CA Wednesday, January 11, 2006
What happens now? Certainly some of the numerous resellers are still very vested and love the solution. They also know how to get around any "issues". Perhaps they don't even understand why anyone has a problem. It works for them and there clients..
Will we see change? Most definitely..
My point in posting this is to point out a different perspective in the role of support to the "soliders" in the field. Large vendors want customers and technology partners to call support if there is a problem.
This does 2 things.
1) It alerts the product teams of problems that need to be fixed and
2) when running well it offers a quick resolution to a customer, keeping this customer a happy and loyal client for life.
The issue is that if support is not a well oiled and profitable machine then every one looses. It is NOT an easy problem to solve.
Have you worked with a vendor who "gets" support?
Posted at 07:45 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
What do you do when you have a crisis at a client site with a piece of software?
In the world of small business Technology consulting...
If it is a Microsoft Software Problem..
1) Tap into Instant Messaging : Our long list of trusted peers
2) Tap into the forums : A even bigger list of peers who 99% of the time have already seen and solved the problem.
3) We tap into our network and direct connections via e-mail with people who specialize in that product.
4) If all else fails... we call support.
Why is Support #4? Well we were tiny specks on the Microsoft Radar.
If we called support we would often times get caught into the corporate clog.. unfortunately. Additionally as IT Professionals in the Small Business space the problems that we faced were often immediately more complicated than Tier One. We had already run the problem past the community. Even more importantly calling support required an investment of time... the time to wait in the Que (lost billable time), the time to play phone tag (lost billable time), the time to "try" things (lost billable time) and through it all with each minute the drop in confidence from the client.
Their thoughts could include:
The Technology Professional must be a diplomat, a technology expert, a multi-tasking master. They must filter out the good information from the bad, write up and share the key information but not too much information and much much more..
OK What if the crisis is with a different software vendor's software?
What do you do?
Posted at 07:24 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Given that a number of my contacts are really small companies, I thought I better give Business Contact Manager and Small Business Accounting a really good hammering. The best way to do that in my environment is to use it live. I mean there are only so many hours in a day and if I am already burning up most of them working I can't exactly test without incorporating.
There are definitely people who won't test on their live environment and this makes a lot of sense, but for me the flexibility and the real world impact really does allow me to share the joy and the scar tissue experience with my clients.
Anyway. After a day or two of working with BCM I must admit there are a number of things I really do like about it.
I don't Like
If anyone knows of any cool utilities for BCM let me know! I have been into add-on's lately.
Posted at 09:15 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
These were some questions I asked the marketing experts on the WBON Spring Conference Panel with regards to Internet Marketing. The goal was to draw out not only the panel, but also the audience. Realize we are in a huge world of transition and for small businesses the low cost choices for getting the word out there are now extraordinary! and yet.. there is still a huge place for the marketing experts and graphic designers.
These were some questions I asked the marketing experts on the WBON Spring Conference Panel with regards to Internet Marketing. The goal was to draw out not only the panel, but also the audience.
Realize we are in a huge world of transition and for small businesses the low cost choices for getting the word out there are now extraordinary! and yet.. there is still a huge place for the marketing experts and graphic designers.
Spring 2006 – WBON Internet Marketing Conference
Posted at 02:46 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Just a quick note on Skype, given it was mentioned at the conference I was at yesterday. I have done testing on and off on this product for the last 12 months or so. AND As much as I love being able to call other countries for free, I have found that I can noticably see the impact on my systems and network from letting the world "pass through".
So understand that the although the SKYPE model is solving small business problems, it is also creating some big issues.
Remember Kazaa? The peer to peer music sharing product? This product was very powerful, but basically gained that power by allowing Kazaa users to share each other's hard drives and files. Millions of music files shared? Yes.... Millions of Viruses, Spyware, etc. shared.... well figure that one out..
OK Now that I have managed to get your interest here is a PC World Article on the concept.
Posted at 08:31 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I downloaded SyncToy a while back thinking it might be useful. I just realized that it would be a perfect little "backup to another place on the network " utility for critical files. I have activated it and put this into practice.
Yes, you can do document redirect with Small Business Server, but I like the grandularity and control that SyncToy gives me. Also I have not found document redirect to be the most forgiving with a fast paced in the office, out of the office laptop.
So now I can "Sync" a folder up to a special non-system centric place on my server and/or on another workstation and have easy access to a backup copy of all files within that folder.
Posted at 10:57 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thanks Microsoft.. For having the Partner Readiness team call me and alert me to your new podcasts. Additionally I see you are offering three downloader links... cool, I had that on my list to research.
Interesting that the choices are so outside the "Microsoft Corporate" world. iTunes from Apple, SourceForge, etc.
Posted at 03:34 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
As to be expected in the Small Business Community we did get some excellent input from Microsoft with regards to the complaint posted earlier this month.
To make life easier for people reading, I have copied the follow-up post below or you can read the original post here. I will add one comment .... in talking about the below situation with other field consultants - those older and more experienced with the Microsoft Partner programs.. I did get a few "of course" comments. Turns out that through scar tissues, the older field consultants in the SMB space were pre-warned by their own experiences to be careful of promotions such as the MS Tech Makeover. Why? Well in years past, when Microsoft was not as microbusiness centric, they would often shoot themselves or their partners in the foot by stepping into a relationship to try to help! Now I have to give Microsoft HUGE credit for diving into the Small and Microbusiness space and for really, really, really starting to get it. In fact I was THRILLED to listen to the Small Business Summit Keynote talks over the weekend. Definitely worth the time to listen particularly Kevin Turner's talk.
Follow-up Post from the Happy Fun Boy who I am partially responsible for (yes, I admit some of it).. You see I met him at the last AICPA Technology conference and then I introduced him to Susan Bradley who was also at the conference and then we introduced him to the Small Business IT Consultant's Community.. He immediately dove in, started utilizing ALL the great stuff available on the Microsoft websites and grew the consulting practice significantly. He also jumped up to a gold level partner (thanks to SBSC), started podcasting with Vlad and is now highly sought after... all in less than 12 months. Dang, that boy rocks!
"ok...it's holstered...but my hand's still at my hip...
regular visitors to the funcave know that a couple of weeks ago, the official soldering iron of justice got set to flambe for a while.
one of my clients was contacted by someone claiming to be from microsoft, who then proceeded to: ask them probing questions about their networkpress them for details about quoted project cost amounts from usoffer to have another consultant quote that same work for themyours truly was able to validate fairly quickly...from the partner resource desk...that the contact did, in fact, originate from microsoft.
based on the questions that were asked, the contact seemed to be using information that had been included in an entry submission for this client to the recent tech makeover promotion targeting small business, which is still active.
needless to say, the initial report submitted here at the funcave...which was subsequently picked up here and here...got the attention of the mothership pretty quickly.
your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy would like to point out that the reaction was both swift and professional from some very high-placed folks in both the us partner program and the us small biz group (thanks to margo and eric, respectively) and particularly from shelley, the program manager for the tech makeover promotion.
from the moment we first spoke on the phone to the time at which shelley had the info on the exact campaign and had initiated contact with that campaign's team was less than 4 hours.
the upshot to all this which is...
your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy has been about 95% satisfied that the client contact did not originate from anyone associated with the tech makeover promotion.
for someone as paranoid as yours truly...that's as close to 100% as it'll get.
what hasn't changed, however...no matter what group it originated from...
contact with one of my clients was initiated by microsoft, unbeknownst to me.
that has been 100% verified as fact...by multiple sources.
you can bet money that any initiative/promo/whatever in the future which would involve your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy submitting any information about any of his clients/prospects/whatever to the mothership...
anything like that will get a big pass here at the funcave."
Posted at 11:08 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
"About a month ago, my firm nominated one of our clients for the Small Business Tech Makeover promotion that is currently running. In the last two days, that client was contacted by someone claiming to be from Microsoft. When the client was contacted, they were immediately put off by the fact that the person was asking probing questions about their environment.
I was able to validate that it was, in fact, an MS employee or subcontractor, and not a social engineering attack. This client recognized that the person was using information that had been included in the submission for the makeover promo, as I had of course reviewed the information with them before submitting the entry.
The client wondered why I, as their trusted advisor, was not involved in the call, nor in the loop. I did contact the person using the phone number and extension they left with my client. When asked, the only reason for the call my client received was “lead generation.”
As a Microsoft Partner, this whole incident raises a number of issues:
Worst of all, the discussions we had with this client while preparing the entry for this promo had prompted them to set a schedule with my firm for implementing the primary portions of the entry, win or lose, after the promo ended.
These are migrations and upgrades we have been working to get them to make for over a year. However, thanks to the ham-handedness of the contact by MS, the client has decided to re-evaluate that project. All the way around….a lose-lose situation so far. Which is not where we want to be with this, and I’m hoping not where MS wants to be, either!
Posted at 07:19 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Posted at 10:37 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
It is with great sorrow, that today, I have to post about risk and a new security issue. There are some VERY nasty viruses, malware and spyware hitting the internet right now and everyone is at risk. Please take some time today to do a few things.
1) Update all your anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-Yuck software definition files. This update should be set to automatically occur, but force it today just to be safe.
2) If your Anti-virus software (the PROGRAM files) is older than a year, upGRADE to the latest version. The newer versions all have more protection against newer vurnerabilities.
3) PATCH - Insure your machine is totally patched with the latest operation system AND application patches. Microsoft has fairly new program suites to help do this. One for Windows and one for the Servers..
4) DO NOT visit websites through a link in an e-mail address. This new vurnerability requires that YOU visit a bad [email protected]#* website. You might not know it is bad.... it might LOOK like a known site.
5) Change e-mail to block attachments PARTICULAR *.WMF files.
6) Clean those machines at work AND AT HOME.. run at least 3 different anti-spyware programs (from different vendors). You can start with www.trendmicro.com's free housecall...
7) Add Best Practices to reduce risk to your To-Do list for 2006.
and lastly here is a summary from Microsoft on what is going on... You can also check on the SANS website which is loud today with this one. "SANS develops, maintains, and makes available at no cost, the largest collection of research documents about various aspects of information security, and it operates the Internet's early warning system - Internet Storm Center."
Microsoft Security Advisory (912840) Official Public Announcement
Vulnerability in Graphics Rendering Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution.
Microsoft is investigating new public reports of a vulnerability in Windows. Microsoft will continue to investigate the public reports to help provide additional guidance for customers.
Microsoft is aware of detailed exploit code that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the security context of the logged on user when visiting a Web site, which contains a specially crafted Windows Metafile (WMF) image. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a malicious Web site. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker's Web site.
Customers are encouraged to keep their antivirus software up to date. The Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) can also help protect your system from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. We will continue to investigate these public reports.
Upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to help protect our customers. This will include providing a security update through our monthly release process or providing an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs.
Microsoft encourages users to exercise caution when they open e-mail and links in e-mail from untrusted sources. For more information about Safe Browsing, visit the Trustworthy Computing Web site.
We continue to encourage customers to follow our Protect Your PC guidance of enabling a firewall, applying software updates and installing antivirus software. Customers can learn more about these steps at the Protect Your PC Web site .
Customers who believe they may have been affected by this issue can contact Product Support Services. You can contact Product Support Services in the United States and Canada at no charge using the PC Safety line (1 866-PCSAFETY). Customers outside of the United States and Canada can locate the number for no-charge virus support by visiting the Microsoft Help and Support Web site
* In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would have to host a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to exploit this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a malicious Web site. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker's Web site.
* An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
* By default, Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003, on Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 for Itanium-based Systems, and on Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition runs in a restricted mode that is known as Enhanced Security Configuration. This mode mitigates this vulnerability where the e-mail vector is concerned although clicking on a link would still put users at risk. In Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Outlook Express uses plain text for reading and sending messages by default.
When replying to an e-mail message that is sent in another format, the response is formatted in plain text. See the FAQ section of this vulnerability for more information about Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.
Purpose of Advisory: To provide customers with initial notification of the publicly disclosed and exploited vulnerability. For more information see the "Suggested Actions" section of the security advisory for more information.
Advisory Status: Under Investigation
Recommendation: Review the suggested actions and configure as appropriate.
This advisory discusses the following software.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2
Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (ME) Note Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition also refer to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2.
* Frequently Asked Questions
What is the scope of the advisory?
Microsoft is aware of a new vulnerability report affecting the Graphics Rendering Engine in Microsoft Windows. This vulnerability affects the software that is listed in the "Overview" section.
Is this a security vulnerability that requires Microsoft to issue a security update?
We are currently investigating the issue to determine the appropriate course of action for customers. We will include the fix for this issue in an upcoming security bulletin.
What causes the vulnerability?
A vulnerability in the way that specially crafted WMF images are handled could allow arbitrary code to be executed.
What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of the affected system. In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would host a Web site that exploits this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a malicious Web site.
Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker's site. It could also be possible to display specially formed Web content by using banner advertisements or by using other methods to deliver Web content to affected systems.
How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
An attacker could host a malicious Web site that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then persuade a user to view the Web site.
I am reading e-mail in plain text, does this help mitigate the vulnerability?
Yes. Reading e-mail in plain text does mitigate this vulnerability where the e-mail vector is concerned although clicking on a link would still put users at risk.
Note In Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Outlook Express uses plain text for reading and sending messages by default. When replying to an e-mail message that is sent in another format, the response is formatted in plain text.
I have software DEP enabled on my system, does this help mitigate the vulnerability?
Yes. Windows XP SP2 also includes software-enforced DEP that is designed to reduce exploits of exception handling mechanisms in Windows. By default software-enforced DEP applies to core operating system components and services. This vulnerability can be mitigated by enabling DEP for all programs on your computer.
For additional information about how to "Enable DEP for all programs on your computer", see the product documentation
* Suggested Actions
Microsoft has tested the following workaround. While this workaround will not correct the underlying vulnerability, it will help block known attack vectors. When a workaround reduces functionality, it is identified in the following section.
* Un-register the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (Shimgvw.dll) on Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2; Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 To un-register Shimgvw.dll, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type "regsvr32 -u
%windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK.
2. A dialog box appears to confirm that the un-registration process has succeeded. Click OK to close the dialog box.
Impact of Workaround: The Windows Picture and Fax Viewer will no longer be started when users click on a link to an image type that is associated with the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
To undo this change, re-register Shimgvw.dll by following the above steps. Replace the text in Step 1 with "regsvr32 %windir%\system32\shimgvw.dll" (without the quotation marks).
* Microsoft encourages users to exercise caution when they open e-mail and links in e-mail from untrusted sources. For more information about Safe Browsing, visit the Trustworthy Computing Web site
* Customers in the U.S. and Canada who believe they may have been affected by this possible vulnerability can receive technical support from Microsoft Product Support Services at 1-866-PCSAFETY. There is no charge for support that is associated with security update issues or viruses." International customers can receive support by using any of the methods that are listed at Security Help and Support for Home Users Web site .
* All customers should apply the most recent security updates
released by Microsoft to help ensure that their systems are protected from attempted exploitation. Customers who have enabled Automatic Updates will automatically receive all Windows updates. For more information about security updates, visit the Microsoft Security Web site
* Protect Your PC
We continue to encourage customers follow our Protect Your PC guidance of enabling a firewall, getting software updates and installing ant-virus software. Customers can learn more about these steps by visiting Protect Your PC Web site
* For more information about staying safe on the Internet, customers can visit the Microsoft Security Home Page .
* Keep Windows Updated
All Windows users should apply the latest Microsoft security updates to help make sure that their computers are as protected as possible. If you are not sure whether your software is up to date, visit the Microsoft Update Web site , scan your computer for available updates, and install any high-priority updates that are offered to you. If you have Automatic Updates enabled, the updates are delivered to you when they are released, but you have to make sure you install them.
* International customers can receive support from their local Microsoft subsidiaries. For more information about how to contact Microsoft for international support issues, visit the International Support Web site .
* The Microsoft TechNet Security Web site provides additional information about security in Microsoft products.
The information provided in this advisory is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.
* December 28, 2005: Advisory published
Posted at 11:54 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
The Microsoft Office team has been busy in 2005. Just look at this great site which has exactly what it says it has.. Great Tips for utilizing MS Office.
Thanks go to Allister Frost for pointing this out and to the MS Office team for putting this all together!
Posted at 11:19 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I have to admit that this totally fascinates me.
Posted at 10:53 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
"Microsoft® Office Small Business Accounting 2006 is primarily designed for use in a peer-to-peer environment or on a standalone computer. As a result, if you centralize the database to run on the Microsoft Windows® Small Business Server 2003 server software (Windows SBS) so that multiple users can access the Small Business Accounting database, Small Business Accounting encounters an error and closes. However, by following the steps in this document, you can configure the Small Business Accounting database to run on a Windows SBS 2003 network."
Posted at 08:34 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Many of the people I know use SKYPE, because it solves a problem of expensive phone calls, particularly overseas calls! I have even installed it a number of times, only to uninstall it because of a bit of a "bell ringing" in the back of my head. You see I simply noticed that when Skype is install my machine does not quite work the way I am expecting it to. Over the years I have learned to question and trust this type of instinct. So no I am not using SKYPE currently.
Recently a CISSP associate of mine who I had alerted to this "tingling" sent me this article from Computer World. As much as I knew the peer to peer model could not be quite as secure as other solutions, I had yet to see real proof. Well here is more information on security and SKYPE.
"Skype could pose security problems for companies, analysts say
Two flaws in the telephony software were disclosed this week -------The warning comes after the disclosure this week of two critical flaws in Skype's software, one of which could allow malicious hackers to take complete control of compromised systems."
Posted at 10:10 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I happen to be down in Manchester, NH today and they happen to have a large Verizon store in the Mall. I stopped by to have them check to see if my phone was on the latest software version. Why, per say did I care? As it turns out if you are not using the current software you can experience a higher rate of dropped calls. In my area where dropped calls are common I like to reduce as many as possible..
Now you would think updating a phone would not be a big deal. Yet, it is. I had to leave my phone for 45 minutes. The software upgrade process is free, but it can only be done in certain stores and the data store on the phone has to be offloaded and reloaded during the process.
So have you had your phone checked lately?
What you use *228 - Yes, *228 helps with smaller updates. Such as scanning for new towers in the area, BUT it does not upgrade the software (despite what it says).
Another tip the handy dandy geek at the tech desk told me was that you really don't want to plug your phone in when it is on. Right... power surge. Not too cool on the software or the hardware. So turn off that phone before you plug it in and drop by your local cell phone dealer and ask about Patches.
Oh and I hope this isn't a problem for the other 47.4 millin wireless customers.... but it does put some perspective on why you might not know to patch your cell phone.
|Wireless Phone Customers||47.4 Million|
|Annual Revenue 2004||$27.7 Billion|
|U.S. Market Coverage||49 of Top 50; 97 of Top 100|
|Company Operated Stores & Kiosks||1,900|
|Digital Network Technology||Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)|
|Data Services||First national high-speed data network. First downloadable applications over the air onto phones. Nation's first consumer wireless broadband multimedia service.|
|Area Headquarters||Northeast - Morristown, NJ|
South - Alpharetta, GA
Midwest - Schaumburg, IL
West - Irvine, CA
Posted at 08:42 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The Microsoft SBS team, Waltham, MA, October 18th, Presentation is almost full! There are over 95 people registered so if you are planning on attending and you have not registered you might want to signup ASAP.
Posted at 09:02 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Susan Bradley talks a bit about the fact that she is no longer a newbie in the MVP Summit community and it made me realize that I probably had some perspective to offer. You see I am a newbie in the MVP community and just experienced my first MVP Summit.
On first impression you would think that with 1500 people all within Bellevue and Seattle, in numerous different hotels, at numerous different sessions, in widely spread different buildings during the day and scattered even for the evening dinners that one could easily get lost nor would be easy to build any type of connection. Certainly from my early days of campus life at University of Maryland I can tell you that knowing a handful of people in a large crowd does not mean you know anyone, but that was NOT my experience at MVP Summit! Every time I jumped in the elevator I ran into someone I knew, every time I got on the bus (numerous running all morning) I recognized at least one face and sometimes found myself facing an audience saying "hey Anne" and even at the 1000 person dinner for the "Americas" I found at least 3 or four tables of friendly faces to choose from.
I knew many of the MVP-SBS'ers and a couple of the MVP Microsoft Business Solutions group from my SMB Nation and online community involvement (although there are only about 40 SBS and 25 MBS MVPs) and found that every where I went I ran into friendly faces or someone I knew.
The cool thing about MVPs is that they are totally invested in community (needless to say this is why they are recognized - above and beyond involvement in community with regards to specific products) and are passionate about both their product category and helping or being involved or connected with other people who have that same interest.
I re-read a post I did at the beginning of the week and realized that it could be TOTALLY mis-read. Yes, business is always on the mind of those of us who run our own businesses, but it is not always on the top of our minds when we are vested in community. In fact of those I know who wanted/want to be MVPs I have rarely found that there is a path to achieving this. You see those who are recognized as MVPs, become MVPs because they are out participating from a deep passion within themselves to be involved and to help others. I would dare say that it is even, almost close to.. a bit of an addiction to helping (it has been mentioned that some have numbers over 30,000 posts in a year). They rarely have another primary agenda because those with another agenda quickly get bored with keeping up with the posts within the forums. A person who "doesn't get it" just couldn't tolerate some of the redundancy and/or the crazy stuff that gets posted online or at least what is seen is they quickly fade away.
I also started my day with a forward from a Geek friend of an article about MVP Summit. It was negative and indicated a certain level of one sided involvement on Microsoft's side with regards to input from the world.
I can tell you that I actually SPECIFICALLY asked many of the Microsoft contacts I met how they absorbed and received experienced industry feedback. How did they get the knowledge of those in the field working with the technologies? How did this information make it to the product and program managers who were enclosed within the ivory towers of Redmond? I was pleased with the answers, but also would encourage others to keep asking these questions.
Technology is so about enabling business, about empowering consumers, about improving the task of getting jobs done. We need to continue to explain the jobs that we are doing, the processes that need enabling and the best fits for technology. This area of miscommunication hurts technology the most. Slows down progress and requires billions to "fix" mistakes.
Why am I vested in the MVP community? Certainly SWAG does not pay for a week away from my office or the time I spend online. I am vested in the MVP Community because my industry experience DOES make a difference when it comes to feedback both to those using the products and to those developing the products. As a passionate technologist since 1980 I love to see others just get "technology". I love to see the frustrations become trivial and I love to see the proper "click" between the tools and the world problems which results in very slick resolutions. We are so past the cool factor being the primary aim of technology. We are now into the really fun stuff! Where technology makes the difference.
Are we still in transition? Definitely, but we are also in an age of incredible brain opening possibilities.
Posted at 08:19 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
There are only 25 places available for the SBS Product Team's presentation in Waltham, MA on October 18th. If you have not registered you want to register or you won't be able to attend.
If you are in another city spaces are quickly disappearing at those locations as well! My understanding is that we don't want to miss this opportunity to offer our feedback from the field and to ask the hard questions.
Posted at 08:11 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Here it is 3:45am my time (12:45am Redmond Time) and there is this big, really strange Aussie in the bar with these purple fuzzy dice hanging from his belt buckle. Despite this extra ordinary eye candy, The Marriott in Redmond is quite the classy place. There are real flames in the fireplace and as I type this I am sitting on a big plush couch surrounded by seven devoted SBS'ers from all over the world including Australia, Ireland, Washington State, Florida and California. Of course this small core group of people is wondering what happened to all the parties. SMB Nation had 600 people this year (breaking last years record of 200 attendees) We all just can't figure out where 600 disappeared to.
Given I have not blogged for a good three days I might as well be the cutting edge place to learn about some of the more strange things that have happened in day one of SMB Nation. After apologizing profusely for being a major contributor for Marie ending up in the pool with her shoes and full clothes, lungs full of water and a bit of a head ringing.. I went on a quest to see what other stories I could collect. The first I found was that on returning to the bar they had literally just taken a "women" out via four fully equipted police officers. Turns out the police station (fully decorated with blue neon) is right across the street. I guess there will be some buzz on that tomorrow..
(Updated Note: Turns out the women who was escorted from the bar was a local dentist who had a problem with Microsoft - so all the fears that it was actually an attendee of the event were put to rest over the breakfast gossip)
My first post from SMB Nation also has to include a full break down of the actual technology that resides in our room. This year we had the 2005 SMB Nation Slumber Party complete with printed sweatshirts! This includes 2 power strips, a web cam, four laptops, a card scan, two lava lamps that connect via USB, the wireless access point (portable of course), a few thumb drives, some tiny cute little mice! Then there are the accessories including the mascots (the Microsoft butterfly and the Moose with the Microsoft Shirt), Susan's 2 x 4, a bunch of great stuff to glue to the SMB Mobile (well maybe), The SMB Slumber Party Sweatshirts, The Mountain Dew Cube (complete with yoda's picture on the side), the defacto cooler (liquor box, lined with bag and filled with hotel ice) and about enough new T-Shirts to clothe a small school.
Seems to me it is well past the midnight hour and that perhaps the fact that our little group of seven is now down to 4 with one asleep on the couch in front of the fire. Plus we are starting to talk about licensing around Scansoft and ... I just can't get that third spike of energy... but, but, but now we are off into the paperless office arena...
Posted at 04:17 AM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
Microsoft has announced, released, promoted the new Microsoft Professional Accountants Network (MPAN) and within this program is ....... <drum roll please> ........ the ability for every Accountant and Accounting firm in the country to purchase the action pack for the low, low subscription price of $299 dollars a year.
How does this impact the Technology profession? Let's see..... hundreds of Windows 95, 98 and 2000 level machines can be updated cheaply. Thousands of peer to peer networks can be replaced with a real small business server or Windows 2003 Server and even more people have access to tens of thousands of dollars worth of software for one low price. What else does this mean? Hundreds of people assuming that they can install a networked environment with not enough training to tackle such a task. So might I suggest that you all drop a letter or a note to your local CPA firm clients and offer to help now (or potentially face clean up later).
I am thrilled to know that the Microsoft Operating Systems and Office Systems can easily be secured within professional service firms. Let's help make it a WIN for Technology!!
Posted at 08:58 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The very first time I installed SBS 2003 into my office environment I discovered that Monitoring was not activated nor working. I didn't really understand why but eventually managed to get it fixed. Given that I just migrated to a new server and that I didn't learn the first time around what happened (as in it was fixed for me), I had the chance to experience the problem again!!! Argh...
Well thanks to Susan Bradley I now know where to turn off or turn on the TOOLS features of SBS. It is not part of the normal installation disk menus nor part of disk 5. They are buried deep within the recesses of the Control Panel....
So turned on tools by following a modified version of the instructions to uninstall and reinstall listed in the above Susan Link..
Of note if you did not install the SBS TOOLS when installing SBS 2003 and then you put on SP1 and then installed the Tools. You end up overwriting a key SP1 file or two. So go back and reinstall the SP1 CDs.
Posted at 12:20 PM in Community Tips/Microsoft SBS IT Professional Groups | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)