James O'Neill's Blog

April 29, 2007

Voice command

Filed under: Mobility — jamesone111 @ 12:32 pm

I’m tapping this in from the qwerty keypad on the E650 – which may turn out to be a masochistic thing to do…. My notes go into OneNote Mobile and are all bback to OneNote on my laptop. I can then hit “blog this” in OneNote: like Darren I love OneNote – it’s a change-the-way-you-work thing. Obviously tapping things out here doesn’t do everything – links go in later and only a few symbols (/+!@?*#-_:;’,.) are accessible without diving into the ‘insert symbol’ menu.

I’ve put Voice Command onto the phone: this isn’t a new application but it didn’t work on the C500 – so it’s been a revelation to me. It’s supplied with the kit we give OEMs to build the phone software but it is not on the E650 as supplied, which is a shame. Out of the box the phone supports voice tagging contacts like the C500, but it’s a pain. The tags aren’t sync’d back into Outlook/Exchange, so I was never going to record tags for everyone in my address book: and Voice Command means I don’t need to. I say ‘call Jackie at work’ or ‘call Eileen on mobile’. And when I add a new contact on my PC they’re voice dialable right away.

Of course other mobile phones can do voice recognition even the awful Ericsson I had back in 2002 had voice tagging. It reinforces my posts about how stupid desk phones are for the money and how keypad-driven voice-mail is an anachronism.

I expect to use voice command’s media controls in the car – for now they are the phone’s party trick – the child in me sees great fun to be had issuing play commands by Bluetooth from another room.

Here’s a quick map of what you can say to voice command:

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


April 28, 2007

Psst! Want to be on the Windows Server virtualization Technology Adoption Program ?

Filed under: Beta Products,Virtualization,Windows Server 2008 — jamesone111 @ 2:27 pm

On Friday the Windows Server virtualization (WSv) team opened nominations for the Technology Adoption Programme (TAP) for Windows Server virtualization  aka Viridian. The nomination process closes on May 16th

I should explain that a TAP is designed to be an opportunity for collaboration between customers and Microsoft to validate a new product.  This is achieved through product feedback as a result of deployment of pre-release builds in non-production and production environments.  Customers have an opportunity to validate the design and direction of the technology, through discovery of bugs and by submitting Design Change Requests (DCR’s) for the product development team to consider.

The WSv TAP is distinct from any other Microsoft TAP – although it has links with the longhorn server TAP. The WSv TAP is not a marketing or relationship programme: it is strictly an engineering validation programme focused on scenario testing and bug discovery/submission.  There are a limited number of places and it is expected to be over-subscribed – nomination does not guarantee acceptance. Participants will be selected to get the mix of characteristics (planned deployments, LHS experience, location, technology, scenario coverage, etc.) needed by the product team. 

Participating in any TAP requires a significant level of commitment.  The nomination questionnaire, will ask for likely deployment scenarios.  If accepted, it is expected that the customer commit to these deployment scenarios.  In addition, Microsoft asks that participants test, deploy, and provide timely product feedback for each of the major milestone releases; TAP Participants get 24×7 production support for these releases. Other builds may be  be provided for non-production use only and support will not be provided. 

If you would like to be involved please contact me (or your Microsoft Account Manager, if you have one) for the next step.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Unified communications team goes Hollywood

Filed under: Real Time Collaboration — jamesone111 @ 11:40 am

I’ve already blogged about the Devil Wear Prada videos that the Unified communications team put out. Kevin who looks after the Unified communications team blog sent me this link Usually these movie posters don’t get seen outside product group offices, but for a little fun, allow the pop-up and you get that voice which seems to be used on so many trailers to create a personalized for a friend.

Some people have altogether too much time on their hands 🙂

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 27, 2007

Rights managed mail. Windows Mobile 6 pulls a new trick.

Filed under: Exchange,Mobility,Security and Malware — jamesone111 @ 2:38 pm

Digital rights management get a bad press. To most of us, as consumers of music or video it’s something which limits what we do. We can tell right from wrong, we don’t need stuff to limit us … right ?

Of course People who create “intellectual property” have a different view. And that’s not just record companies, it’s us with mail and documents. People do daft things with content. They send company confidential information to the outside world (in Microsoft lore there is the tale* of a message from Brian Valentine entitled “When I find out who you are I will come to your location and fire you myself” after one of his mails appeared on the Register.)  They forward stuff to people who shouldn’t be included. I still recall telling my (then) manager about a customer situation and saying “part of the problem the way [their account manager] is handling the situation”. Various other people got added as the discussion of what to do rambled on, until finally someone added the account manager … ouch.   Then Rights Management becomes your friend – it’s protecting what you say, your content – it has to be used with care: sending something with a flag of “This is serious, really not to be shared” which DRM implies is helpful, but “I don’t trust you.” isn’t. We already provide Windows Rights Management – though I’m surprised how few people use it. In Longhorn server it will be integrated with Active Directory

Whether we’re talking DRM for music, or Information rights Management for documents, the content is encrypted, and decoded by client software which allows the reader only to exercise only the rights they are given. (Which is why you don’t see Open source DRM software – people would quickly turn on all rights, regardless). Everything depends on the client – and that’s been the trouble with protected mail there hasn’t been the client support so it doesn’t work on a mobile devices. Until now that is but something magic has happened with Windows Mobile 6. Look at the left picture below.

So… Mobile 6 not only understands IRM, but it gives you instructions on how to use it on the device. Being on Vista I have the Windows Mobile Device Center, not running active sync, and you might go running to your version only to try to find this function is missing. You’ll have to guess whether the Right picture above is a mock-up or if I have been able to set my phone up with something internal. But either way the ability to do something like what you see on the right isn’t far away.


By the way the screen shots are made with Soti Pocket controller pro


* I was going to say – In the Lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale… they tell of a Man called Valentine who sent a great letter to all the people of the Northlands … I wonder how many people would get the reference without resorting to a search engine.  

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

TV Indirect to your phone…

Filed under: Mobility,Music and Media,Windows Vista — jamesone111 @ 12:53 am

Well, well here’s serendipity again. While Eileen was posting about “TV-Direct to your phone” I was noticing something in the options for Windows Media Player 11 on Vista, when I had my phone plugged in. There was a setting “Convert Music, Videos and TV shows as required by this device.” Could this mean … I had to wait for the postman to bring my new 1GB memory card, and with it installed , this evening was time to try it.

I’ve not recorded that much using Media Center on my laptop, but I did record Dr Who on Saturday (and it looks fantastic at 1200×720 resolution on my TV.) What happens if I drag it into the sync column on my phone ? It converts and syncs. Normally I’d view it full screen, but just to show you it works… look left

I wouldn’t watch all my TV on something that small, but to while away time at the airport, or catch up on TV on the bus/train to work.. sure. And 52 minutes of TV took 60.3MB of space, which means I’ve got room for quite a lot in 1GB. Now to figure out how to automate the sync process.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 26, 2007

3 days with the E650 phone and Windows Mobile 6.

Filed under: Exchange,How to,Mobility — jamesone111 @ 6:54 pm

Teething troubles with the new phone have proved to be pretty minor. I’m finding more things to love about this phone.

I’ve got one major annoyance: on the C500 with Mobile 2003 I could go to Settings/Phone/Call options and program the Microsoft voice mail number with my account code and Pin as +44118909xxxxPyyyy#Pzzzz# (where xxxx is the voicemail number, yyyy is my extension and zzzz is my pin, so dials , P inserts a pause and then it enters my number followed by the hash sign, pauses for the password prompt, enters the pin and another #).
On the E650 with Mobile 6 only + and digits are allowed.

I’ll forgive the device this for a four of it’s mail features. Here are the first three, I’ll save the other one for another post.
Click for a larger image

 On the left we can see a Rich Text mail … I like the way Exchange 2007 does these mail notifications – and I let deleted items build up it had got to 5660 items by this afternoon.
In the middle – I’ve gone back to the tools menu at my inbox: notice I can set my Out of Office from my phone. The number of times I’ve set off for a trip and realized I’ve forgotten to do it doesn’t bear thinking about.
I selected Empty deleted items from the tools menu and on the right you can see the warning I got. It was interesting to watch the deleted items folder in Outlook as the messages drain away. About this time of year 2 years ago, I was on holiday, without my laptop checking (and deleting) mail from my phone and my mailbox hit its limit. I had to pay to clear my deleted items from a cybercafe.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Longhorn Beta 3 released to the public

Filed under: Beta Products,Windows Server 2008 — jamesone111 @ 10:33 am

Expect the Internet to be a bit (more) sluggish … Beta central has Longhorn Beta 3 available for public download. 

UPDATE: Bonus Video link somehow the product folks found time for one It’s raining beta 3

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 25, 2007

A new day, a new phone.

Filed under: Exchange,Mobility,Real Time Collaboration — jamesone111 @ 4:52 pm

Bias declaration: I’ve been a fan of Windows Mobile since before we started using the name. But having picked up my new Orange E650 aka HTC S710 codename “Vox” I’m left thinking “Boy oh boy Mobile 6 devices are a jump forward“. You could dismiss some of the changes as cosmetic, but I find they really help readability especially with the new screens – as with my new camera, small screens seem big step in the last couple of years. Jason’s got a run down of the changes in mobile 6 and a demo on youtube. Instead of repeating his work,here’s a run down of my first few hours with the E650

Orange activated my existing number on the new phone less than an hour after I collected it – about 12 noon. Vista’s Mobile Device Centre set itself up automatically when I plugged the phone in. That walked me through setting up Server and let me get the certificate needed for corporate WiFi access (a bit of a fiddle), and I installed OneNote mobile and Communicator mobile: both worked first time (although communicator was wrongly configured).
I had to do a telephone interview at 4PM – when I was sorting out a problem with my car. I needed the other interviewer to set up a 3 way call. I tried to IM him (and discovered the configuration gremlin). So I used the (new) GAL look-up to find his phone number and call him. The candidates CV was in a word document in my inbox, so I downloaded that and was able to view it on the phone while we were talking to him. I wanted to make some notes, so I switched to speaker phone, slid out the keyboard and tapped them into onenote. Fantastic. When I got home I setup the Bluetooth pairing with the laptop, syncing my interview notes into OneNote on my PC, and put together my own home screen layout, finally I tried to charge the phone with a standard cable and my Swiss Word Adapter – success! no more special cables. I picked up mail over the home WiFi network – including one from expansys saying they’ve shipped my memory card, Y adapter – which will live in the car with a double USB car power adapter (which will also power my GPS puck with the lead pictured here), and. All I have to do now is sort out a satisfactory Bluetooth hands-free solution – the result of an unsatisfactory one is pictured here

I compared the amount of stuff I used to carry and what I have now. So I’ve taken 4 points.

  • What I had the day after I got my original iPaq in 2000
  • What I had the day before the first Smartphone arrived in 2001 
  • What I’ve had for longest (the C500 – functionally not much different from the original SPV, but worked better)
  • What I have now.







Phone Model and size
(my reaction)

Nokia 7110
141g, 125cc
(125 x 53 x 24 mm)
(Reputedly Nokia’s worst phone to date)

Ericsson T39.
94g, 108cc
(105 x 49 x 21 mm)
(Great battery life, but dreadful UI)

SPV C500
103g, 86cc
107 x 46 x 18mm
(A proper smartphone not a prototype)

SPV E650
140g, 90cc
101 x 50 x 18mm
(WOW !)

PDA Model and size

iPAQ 3650
170g, 173cc
130 x 83 x 16 mm

iPAQ 3650 + CF/Bluetooth jacket
235g, 320cc (139 x 92 x 25)
or PCMCIA jacket 270g, 383cc (139 x 92 x 30mm)




Phone: “multi tap”
PDA: Stylus only

Phone: T9,
PDA: Stylus or Targus keyboard 335 g 367cc
140 x 105 x 25mm

T9 or Bluetooth Freedom keyboard
204g 278cc
(145 x 99 x 19mm)

T9 / Integrated Mini Qwerty

Memory + Expansion


32mb + CF via Jacket*

32mb + Mini-SD

64mb + Micro-SD



CF/PCMCIA available for Jacket*








Works in US







Jacket* Available

Via Bluetooth

Via Bluetooth


Word & Excel





Power Point & PDF





Onenote and Communicator



Yes (Orange require developer unlock)



PDA: plain-text sync with PC,

PDA: plain-text sync with MIS Server PC
Phone: WAP (MIS)

Plain-text sync with E2K3 Server

Rich text sync + mailbox search with E2k7 server

Personal contacts


Sync PC-PDA (MIS sync broke addresses)

Sync E2K3Server-Phone

Sync E2K7 Server- phone

Corporate Address book


Via WAP on phone

Add on Application

Yes, integrated

Web Access

Offline sync

Offline sync or On-line WiFi

On-line, GPRS

Online, WiFi or GPRS

Corporate Management








802.11b via PCMCIA Jacket*


802.11g integrated



Not authorized


Yes + Edge



Yes (phone)
Via Jacket*(PDA )


Yes, with stereo support

Connection to PC & charger



Bluetooth or Mini USB (non standard charger)

Bluetooth or Mini USB (Standard charger)


3.5mm Jack

3.5mm Jack

2.5mm jack

Proprietary or Bluetooth


So is anything wrong with the new phone ? I don’t like having to buy an adapter to connect headphones or changing my memory card again – what was the point of mini-SD? At 140g it is a shade heavy (conventional wisdom says the optimal weight and size for a phone is about 100g and 100cc) . Installing communicator doesn’t enable IM functions from Contacts or Mail. And Mail doesn’t support voting buttons … not much really.


This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Windows Server longhorn beta3 – web casts

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 12:00 pm

Beta 3 is just on the point of emerging blinking into the sunlight. We have a bunch of Webcasts being run by the US – they’re all scheduled for late afternoon/early evening UK time, but you’ll be able to watch them after the event. If you keep an eye on www.Microsoft.com/longhorn you’ll see when beta 3 is available, and the there is a link to the page with full details of the Webcasts and chats.

Here’s a list of what’s coming up in May

TechNet Webcast: What Is New in Windows Server “Longhorn” (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Overview of Server Manager  and PowerShell in Windows Server “Longhorn” (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Cluster Validation in Windows Server “Longhorn” (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Internet Information Services 7.0 in Windows Server “Longhorn” (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Windows Server “Longhorn”: Advancing Network Security (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Windows Server “Longhorn”: Server Virtualization Solution Scenario (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Windows Server “Longhorn”: Branch Office Solution Scenario (Level 300)

TechNet Webcast: Windows Server “Longhorn”: Centralizing Application Access with Terminal Services (Level 300)

Update: it seems we’re not updating that for the beta 3 release after all. Click the “Register to be notified” link and the page has the download … sigh.

Update 2: Patience in all things. The Longhorn page was updated a couple of hours after the previous update.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 23, 2007

Optimization – or how long will some jobs last.

Filed under: General musings,Windows 2003 Server,Windows Server 2008 — jamesone111 @ 12:36 pm


Hugh’s Cartoons seem get straight to the heart of the matter. Service functions like Accounting, IT, Personnel, PR and Purchasing don’t deliver product and they don’t influence customers to buy it. They are there to help the others to do get on with their jobs.  How do you assess whether they’re delivering or not ?

When I first heard about “Corps I/O” I had no idea what it meant or why I should be interested. I learnt that it wasn’t I/O in the sense of input/output but “Core-infrastructure optimization“. Still: who cares it’s just a Buzz-phrase… isn’t it ? I’ve talked before about confusing language making people switch off. Late last year Eileen got someone to explain it in plain language for the whole our team. If you’re work in IT, this model is about how well an IT department does its job, whether your job is worth doing and will it be there in a couple of years. It came up again last week in Athens. So here’s my take on it….

The ideas in our model aren’t new, we’ve used other work in the field – notably by Gartner. However some of documents are still written in “Gartner-speak.”

  1. It’s not about the brand or version of technology you use. Buying the latest from Microsoft isn’t optimization. Old technology, can be done well and new technology can be done badly.
  2. Looking at an organization’s skills and the ways it uses product features (its processes) we can assess how well IT is optimized.
  3. We have 4 levels of classification “Basic”, “Standardized” ,”Rationalized” and “Dynamic” – personally I find these names unhelpful. Our infrastructure datasheet puts more helpful labels on them.
    Basic=”We fight fires”,
    Standardized=”We’re gaining control”,
    Rationalized=”We enable business”,
    Dynamic=”We’re a strategic asset”
  4. A worrying number of companies are stuck at the “Basic” level.

We have an on-line self assessment, but here’s a “pop quiz” way to see where you sit. Complete the ten sentences below; the more your answers come from the right the more “basic” your level, the more they come from the left the more Dynamic.

The rest of my company …. involves the IT department in their projects accepts IT guys have a job to do tries to avoid anyone from IT
My team… all hold some kind of product certification read books on the subject struggle to stay informed
What worries me most in the job is… fire, flood or other natural disaster what an audit might uncover being found out
My department reminds me of… ‘Q branch’ from a James Bond movie. Dilbert’s office trench warfare
Frequent tasks here rely on… an Automated process a checklist Me
What I like about this job is… delivering the on the promise of technology it’s indoors and the hours are OK I can retire in 30 years.
If asked about Windows Vista I… can give a run down of how its features would play here repeat what the guy in PC world told me change the subject
New software generally is… an opportunity a challenge something we ban
My organization sees “software as a service” as a way to… do more things do the same things, more cheaply do the same things without me.
Next year this job will be… different the same Outsourced.

When the subject came up in Athens, one of the other evangelists said “Our IT professionals don’t like to talk about it – they see it as a stick to beat them”. To me that sounds like saying “Sure we could deliver a better service, we just hope if no-one talks about it we’ll keep getting away with the status-quo”.

More information here.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

More information on Office Communications Server

Filed under: Beta Products,Real Time Collaboration — jamesone111 @ 10:38 am

I had a list of interesting bits on the web in my mail this morning, and I thought the following two OCS ones were worth passing on.


This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 22, 2007

NTBackup – restore for Vista

Filed under: How to,Windows Vista,Windows XP — jamesone111 @ 9:13 pm

I’m not quite sure when it appeared, but this evening I noticed a link on the restore dialog box in Vista “Learn how to restore from backups created on Older versions of Windows“, there are 32 and 64Bit versions. I considered using a Virtual Machine on Vista to read .BKF files made under Windows XP … no need any more.


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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 21, 2007

Oops… Vista SP1 date ‘slips out’: Film at 11.

Filed under: Beta Products,Windows Server 2008,Windows Vista — jamesone111 @ 1:50 pm

As I’ve said in the last couple of posts I’ve been in Athens with other evangelists looking at Longhorn. On Friday morning one of the guys came in saying Intel’s CEO has given a date for Vista SP1. So I’ve been trying to find out what was said. Here’s a summary.

We’ve been saying

  1. Windows Server Longhorn and Windows Vista share a lot of code.

  2. Windows Server Longhorn is about to go into beta 3, and we expect it to ship by the end of the year

Paul Otellini said he expected Vista deployment will begin to take place in earnest in the fourth quarter, “When the service pack for Vista comes out around October/November.”

So what has he confirmed ? That there will be a service pack (I don’t think we ever said Vista would go thought it’s life without one) ? Given the overlap between Vista and Longhorn server the best guess for Vista SP1 is ‘roughly the same time as Longhorn’ – was that a surprise ? Not to anyone who’s looked at Longhorn. Has Paul O leaked a ship date for Longhorn ? Not really: take your guess for the release of Beta 3, add your guess for the duration of Beta 3 and a couple of release candidates and “around October/November” would be in the middle of the range. But remember the more complex the work, the easier it is to under-estimate how long it will take.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Presentation skills

Filed under: Events,General musings,Office — jamesone111 @ 12:38 pm

I’m back from in Athens, we had a 2 day evangelism summit (a synod ??) followed by after 3 days of Longhorn training, and those of us who will be out talking about Windows Server “Longhorn” got to spend time with a top presentation skills coach who works a lot with our US staff. It meant listening to a lot of different presenters and seeing a lot of Powerpoint. The Longhorn stuff used the Microsoft learning templates which were familiar to me from my past life as a trainer in the 1990s; the summit slides were a bit more of a mixed bag, and one of my colleagues mailed us this the link to this page on “Presentation Zen”  – which in turn has some interesting links (“How Yoda and Darth Vader would present” is well worth a look) . This video by Don McMillan is the pick of them.



I also picked up a link to Seth Godin’s “Really bad Powerpoint and how to avoid it”, to summarize one a key passage, Instead of communicating, Powerpoint is used 

  • As a teleprompter  – “Did your audience really have to come all this way to a meeting to listen to you read the slides? Why not just send them over ?“. In such a session I think about how getting there ate into my personal time.  
  • As a record of what was presented – “The presenter is avoiding the job of writing a formal report”.
  • As memory aid for the audience.  “if you read your slides, and then give the audience a verbatim transcript of what you read, what could be wrong with that?” – actually we’re constantly under pressure to do this.

Another page on “Presentation Zen” – not the only one there critical of how Microsoft people present –  says “Leaders use speaking opportunities to communicate their vision in a crystal clear fashion (otherwise, what’s the point of getting on stage?).  You read it and you think, “well surely anyone uses speaking opportunities to communicate (whatever it is) in a crystal clear fashion ..?” and then to the sound of smacking your own forehead you realize that they don’t – and you’re left asking “why did they get on stage ?”  And that leaves a couple of interesting questions. “Does leadership depend on the ability to make things crystal clear ?”  and “Does technology hinder communication rather than help it”

Bonus link Interestingly Presentation Zen is critical of Bill Gates’ presentations, but I find his e-mails are a model of clarity. I find Steve Ballmer isn’t quite as good in e-mail, but is the better of the two on stage. Jason Langridge has some comments on the whole “Death by Powerpoint” thing and the advice he got from Steve B. He also has the obligatory link to Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 session. If you’ve never seen it, you should.

Update / Bonus link 2. Darren’s thinking about this (not for the first time) – he must have been writing today’s post at the same time as I posted mine.


This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 18, 2007

Virtualization – 2005-R2-SP1-RC now available.

Filed under: Beta Products,Virtualization — jamesone111 @ 8:55 pm

Gee what a name. The Release Candidate build of Virtual Server R2 SP1 is now available Before anyone posts a comment, yes I’m aware that we said we planned to have SP1 out in the first quarter and it is April now, so we’ve missed that. You’re welcome to speculate on the final release date.

The download site also has a ReadMe file which details how to make Virtual Server work on Windows Vista (something which has caused a few headaches, although is now documented in other places) and gives a history of “What came in with R2” and “What is new with R2 SP1” – the list is as follows

  • Support for hardware-assisted virtualization
  • Support for greater than 64 virtual machines on x64-based hosts
  • VHD Mount command-line tool and APIs
  • Tested for interoperability with SCVMM Beta 2 RC
  • Interoperability with Volume Shadow Copy Service.
  • Support for additional Guest and Host Operating Systems
  • Service Publication using Active Directory Service Connection Points
  • Host clustering whitepaper
  • Virtual SCSI fix for Linux guests
  • Larger default size for dynamically expanding virtual hard disks
  • VMRC ActiveX control and Internet Explorer Security Zones
  • IVMGuestOS::Get_OSName property returns more operating system information

Each of these is explained in the Readme.

I suspect there will be quite a lot of interest around VHDMount as we move to release. When beta 2 was out Dave Northey blogged how to install VHD Mount without virtual server (the instructions seem to have gone from the current release notes and I haven’t tested them) and Ben Armstrong posted a guide to making VHDs mount when you double click them. Ben’s “Professional Microsoft Virtual Server 2005” was published recently. I haven’t had a chance to look through it yet, so don’t consider this a plug for it, but it should be worth looking at.

I’m in Athens with other evangelists looking at Longhorn server and we got our hands on “work in progress build” of Longhorn’s server virtualization today. I like the new MMC interface better than I like the browser interface to virtual server. The time we had with it was brief, and I learnt more from Jeff Woolsey’s Public video . And since I started by talking about ship dates – you can read what I’ve already said here; and here I quoted Robert Townsend’s rules for people talking on behalf of the company “Don’t forecast earnings. If asked why not, tell them we don’t do in public anything we can’t do consistently well (and believe me, nobody can forecast earnings consistently well). ” Replace “earnings” with “ship dates”

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 15, 2007

USB and travel

Filed under: Mobility,Photography — jamesone111 @ 9:50 am

Who says Bluetooth is safer. I walked away unhurt, the car was written off

My "universal" USB power adapter

In a couple of hours I fly off for week working in Athens. I’ve been talking to prospective evangelists this week and I’ve been saying we have a better work/home-life balance than some other parts of Microsoft. .I’ve already spent 20 nights away from my family for work already this year but I’ll spend 20 away scuba diving too. This trip should be worth while (I had the option to say “No” so if it turns out otherwise, I only have myself to blame), but ‘planes and hotel rooms and the packing and unpacking of bags hold no attraction for me.

I’ve mentioned before, that packing up all the gadgets can be a chore. Hopefully my new Orange SPV E650 will arrive soon after I get back. With it’s slide out Keyboard, my Freedom keyboard becomes redundant – I never got in the habit of carrying it which is shame.
Steve picked up on a post of Jason’s about internet connection sharing, I’ve been doing this the hard way since I first had GPRS in 2002 (configure phone as an Bluetooth modem, and tell the PC to dial *99#) and it did make wonder if I should wait for a 3G version but I haven’t felt the need for 3G so far. Orange’s page for the E650 says it IS 3G – I have the details on that page to be right, but Jason has confirmed that it doesn’t have UMTS and I’ll need to buy a new memory card for it. I’ll probably treat the memory card a permanent fixture as I do with my diving camera. It still annoys me that the 4 windows Mobile devices I’ve owned all use different memory.
I’ve mentioned previously that my current C500 phone doesn’t charge from a standard USB charger – it needs the normally unused pin 5 on the mini USB connector shorted to the neighbouring Pin 4, and I soldered my own adapter together. It also needs a 2.5mm-3.5mm adapter to plug my headphones in. The C500 is an HTC design and game of “guess what connectors they’ll slap on this one.” has been going on since they did the first iPaq for Compaq. The E650 (a.k.a HTC S710) delivers audio from a proprietary USB connector needs a Y cable to output to headphones and charge from a standard cable.

I’ve more-or-less ruled out Bluetooth headphones as a solution to the connector problem. I don’t know if can listen to music on my laptop and then take a call from the mobile. They don’t seem that great for travel, The C500 turns Bluetooth off in flight mode; even if the E650 turns WiFi, GSM and Bluetooth on or off separately, using Bluetooth in flight is a bit of a no-no. Using one in car doesn’t seem very smart either. I dumped my Bluetooth earpiece after a road accident, a call didn’t come through when I pressed the button, I looked down at the phone to figure out what had happened, and looked up to see the back of another car closing at about 50 Miles per hour. I’ve recently gone back but my current Bluetooth setup is more dangerous than holding the phone. The earpiece won’t turn off any more, and it beeps it’s incoming call beep when the phone finds “NO SERVICE”. So old, wired, headphones and a new earpiece looks like the way to go. Hopefully any new earpiece will charge from USB – or failing that at 5 Volts- I put a USB connector onto the “tail” from an old universal transformer to power various 5 Volt devices (primarily my GPS Puck).

I’ve been carrying a USB A-Male to A-Female extension cable -I can plug a memory stick or my Hauppauge TV-Stick in for flexibility or use A-Male to B-Male, Mini-B Male or Camera adapters to avoid carrying 3 different leads. (Incidentally for any Pentax users, K10D connector that the I-USB17 cable plugs into is known as a Sanyo connector at Direct USB). Then I have my home made power adapters for the C500, and universal 5V supply. Unfortunately the USB B and Mini-B adapters both came apart. The Dell D820 had a tighter grip on the A end of the mini B adapter than the body did, and the two parted company. My WD external drive pulled the outer sleeve off the B adapter. I decided I’d get a travel kit with a retracting cable and direct replacements for the broken connectors. I found one from Lindy which had the bonus of connectors to turn a USB cable into a phone or Network (RJ11 or RJ45) lead. I can pop my headphones and extra connectors in a pack which takes the same space as the LAN cable I had in my bag. It comes with 10 year warranty, which is just as well because the first time I plugged in the phone connector it pulled apart. Lindy were very good about replacing it, but there do seem to be a lot of badly made connectors out there.

Broken USB connectors.


I’m taking the SLR camera on this trip. It’s battery charger can share a mains cable with the Laptop’s power brick, but I’ll just take the spare battery – I’m getting about 750 shots to a battery and I won’t shoot that many this week. Camera, lenses, laptop, cables all fit into one carry on bag with 5 days clothes and toiletries . Who says I can’t travel light ?

Update: I had to leave the SLR behind – for the stupidest reason – no body cap. It only fits in my carry on luggage if I take the lens off the body and the body cap is off leading a life of its own. So I took the “diving” camera ad its charger. The Lindy USB kit has proved its worth – there have been huge problems with the wireless network here, but plenty of wired ports – providing you have a cable. I do – for once.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 11, 2007

Will the management sign off this new IM device ?

Filed under: Real Time Collaboration,Xbox — jamesone111 @ 9:26 pm

OK,I’m a bit slow off the mark here but last week we announced we’re linking Xbox live into Windows Live messenger.I’ve got to get one of these… I not sure if Live Communications Server users with Public IM Connectivity to MSN / Windows Live will be see the Xbox live users – they better had !

Of course thirst for such a device has nothing to do with this or this. Or it’s possible use for this. Good lord no, perish the thought !

Update: And this Item on Amazon, has no influence what so ever.


This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Longhorn Server 101 – what’s all the fuss about ? Your chance to see.

Filed under: Beta Products,Events,Windows Server 2008 — jamesone111 @ 12:49 am

As we get closer to the public beta of Longhorn, it might be a good time for me to start talking about it.

I’ve got a ton of good Longhorn information in a Groove workspace on my laptop. They chap behind that is visiting Europe – I’m spending a most of next week with him, but if you are a Technet subscriber he is presenting THIS THURSDAY EVENING at the Institute of Directors Hub, London EC2M 1NH If you want to go don’t hang about, Register for the event now . Yes I know it’s short notice.

Over the next few weeks I’ll drill into some of the areas below but here is a very high level (and non-exhaustive) view.

There are 3 “Pillars” to the work we’re trying to do – most of the improvements fit into one of these:

  • Improving control over your server and network infrastructure. Which means less firefighting and more focus on business needs.

  • Protection for your environment; Continuing the process of Hardening the operating system, to provide a solid foundation on which you can run and build your business

  • Providing the flexibility to create an agile and dynamic datacentre to meet your changing business needs.

The changes are concentrated in 7 technical areas.

Anywhere application access; we have a Gateway to provide access to Terminal Services from outside the corporate network without the need for a VPN. Terminal services can now make individual applications available rather than a whole desktop.

Sometimes it’s useful to fit Terminal Services into a broader virtualization picture; it virtualizes the presentation of applications. Softgrid virtualizes the whole environment applications run in. And then we can virtualize either the Desktop PC (with Virtual PC) or the Server – which brings us to

Windows Server Virtualization : I’m already meeting people who think less about “Servers” – as physical boxes, more “workloads” – the services they provide. In a “lights out” data centre it doesn’t matter much if the server is physical or virtual, you manage it in the same way, but consolidating to fewer boxes saves cost. It’s easy to put virtual servers (workloads) on different machines, either to bring new services on line or for resilience

High availability is another theme – we’ll see greater use of clustering with Longhorn

Branch office Scenarios – this builds on the work we’ve done with Windows server 2003 R2, and includes things like the Read-only domain controller and the Bit-Locker technology from Vista to help with sites where the server may not be physically as secure. Changes to the TCP/IP stack allow servers to get much better throughput on WAN links.

Security and Policy enforcement – The Windows Vista client already has the support for Network Access Protection (NAP) Longhorn provides the server side. We have Auditing for Active directory and some improvements to the PKI and Rights Management Services

Web and applications Platform – we’ve made it easier to develop and especially deploy web applications

Server Management Power shell is now part of the OS, but a lot of the GUI tools have been rewritten. We have a new installation choice “server core” which pares the OS down to the absolute minimum – No GUI shell, minimal services etc.

Technorati tags: Microsoft, Windows, Longhorn, Beta

Update. Thanks to Stephen spence for pointing out I had the wrong registration link.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 10, 2007

Who tells our story – we do, providing we aten’t dead.

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 11:51 pm

I sometimes tell the following Joke

“When people ask me what I do for a living, I say ‘I work-to-bring-about-the-Kingdom-of-the-anti-christ-on-earth’ and they say ‘Pardon !’ and I say ‘I work for Microsoft’ and they say ‘I thought for a moment you said you worked to bring about the kingdom of the anti-christ’, and I say ‘Yes that people often think that when I say I work for Microsoft”

OK. with material like that I’m not going to get many bookings on the Comedy circuit. But there is a truth about it. King Charles I said “Never make a defence or an apology until you are accused.” Hmmm..

Today in “Why am I working for Microsoft” Hugh MacLeod highlighted a comment from a reader. “One thing you should try and get Microsoft people to do is “STOP BEING SO APOLOGETIC”. Whenever you put a Microsoft person on a platform – they always feel the need to apologise, or make awkward jokes. Do Yahoo people apologise for being from Yahoo? Likewise Google? Is this what the Blue Monster thing is about (could it become part of it)?”

I responded to the  “Microsoft is dead” meme on Sunday, Mary Jo Foley linked to it, saying ‘Make no mistake: Microsoft is still The Evil Empire. And if my arguments don’t convince you, check out Softie James O’Neill’s list of the “Top 10 things people thought would kill Microsoft and haven’t.” ‘ She called me the Blog Police before. A chap could get a complex about this…  

Hugh also furnished me with a link to this story. Here’s a quote.

Who has the right to tell the Microsoft story? Is it the Steve Claytons and the Robert Scobles? Is it Gates and Ballmer? Is it we, the users? Is it all of the above? And what happens when the story diverges? It seems to me that Gates and Ballmer tell one story — that of Microsoft domination at all costs. Clayton and Scoble tell another story — that of an emerging openness and a thirst for innovation. And the users tell a range of other stories, from “Microsoft is still #1″ to “Microsoft is dead.”

To me, the answer is that everyone tells the story, but at the end of the day it’s the story told by the top leadership that will matter

The last point is obvious. What Messers Gates, Ballmer et al say has more weight than an O’Neill, Clayton or Scoble. (A Scoble could be a unit of influence. Not to be confused with the Scoville, unless the poster is very fiery. I probably rate in the 10s of milliScobles. The impact of a Gates or Ballmer would put them in the KiloScoble range.) 

“Who has the right to speak for Microsoft ?” is a tougher question (so are “Where does it stem from ?” and “What duties come with it ?”). Employees have been given the right to tell the story, by management from Bill Gates downwards, with only one duty: Blog Smart. And as Steve points out there 4500+ other bloggers exercising that right. My father believes PR shouldn’t allow ordinary employees to speak for the company. Hugh’s reader , Richard Stacy has a follow-up post to the “Microsoft is dead” one called PR is dead. It is as my father’s generation knew it. We are all in PR now.
I don’t see that “divergence” I’ve never heard Gates and Ballmer calling for anything “at all costs”, though I was stunned by what I called “the streets will run with the blood of our enemies” rhetoric at my first big Microsoft conference in 2000 . One senior Microsoft exec taunted us “Do you want to be the ones who put the fuel in Larry [Ellison]’s Jet ?”. Ballmer used the story of Muhammad Ali and the Rumble in the jungle and the “rope-a-dope” – Ali spent most of the fight on the ropes soaking up punches before coming back with a decisive punch. A great story, until we got the bit about the fight audience chanting “Ali bomaye!”, which means “Ali, kill him!” I can stile remember Ballmer yelling “Microsoft boom-aye-ay ” and Microsoft people yelling it back. (Shouting Kill him ? KILL ?? )  But I haven’t heard it in 5 years and that pleases me. Gates never spoke like that: Ballmer’s fire has not gone out, but he was the one who started this change in tone, these days his metaphors are of building not killing.

Rights and duties aside, other people do tell the story.  Some are neutral, others biased (not always against us), some call us the evil empire. Who’s comfortable being called Evil ? We’re engineers and marketeers, not mass murderers. Our business isn’t based around polluting industrial processes, we don’t make landmines or use child labor. People expect us to take it (cushioned no doubt by what they imagine we’re paid).  to laugh it off . We “always feel the need to apologise, or make awkward jokes” ?  To get an idea of how we feel, think of Steve Martin in Roxanne doing 20 Jokes about his nose (sorry I don’t know if that scene was in Cyrano De Bergerac). “Hi… yeah… SO … I a work for a Microsoft, you know , the evil empire, We will add your technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. Ha ha etc” – <hand wring><awkward laugh>. “Do Yahoo people apologise for being from Yahoo? Likewise Google?”  Try calling them Evil for 10 or 15 years and see.

Microsoft isn’t staffed by saints and there are things we should apologise for; the fact that we aten’t dead isn’t one Here’s an additional 
6 things for which we shouldn’t make a defence or an apology

  • Our products
  • The talent outside the company developing on our platforms
  • Our market share
  • The Money we have to invest developing new products.
  • The talent inside the company to develop new products and bring them to market
  • The passion we have to keep doing it

And yes those form a cycle. And yes if squander the advantages that the Talent, the market share, and the Money give us or lose the passion to Change the world, we may as well go home. Which is where the blue monster came in.

Technorati tags, , ,  

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

April 9, 2007

Windows 2003 SP2 slipstreaming – a gotcha with R2.

Filed under: How to,Windows 2003 Server — jamesone111 @ 11:11 pm

You know that manager saying about “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions ?” It took me a long time to see it as “Think a bit longer and tell me what you think we should do.”  But in either form it’s something I couldn’t say to a customer. And some of the questions I get are really difficult to answer. So it’s great when I get a mail that goes like this.

—–Original Message—–
From: Scotty
To: James
Subject: Windows 2003 SP2

Online instructions for deploying this for R2 are wrong. Working on a blog entry detailing it the fix.

Fantastic. Found it, fixed it, written it up. The way you would naturally slipstream the Service Pack will install Server 2003 SP2. Since the R2 components remain SP1 they won’t install.

Scotty’s described it all on his blog, a more detailed run down of the problem and the steps to work round it. Great work.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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