A century of subscribers

Well, no sooner did I say that my YouTube video subscribers were approaching 100 than it has blasted past the mark! (well by at least 1, but hey it’s still triple figures). It must have been that last video I did on restoring Exchange emails that did the trick.

The next target is to reach 100,000 views which is still a ways off (given that it is only approaching 60,000) now. However, it is pleasing to see that the number of views is increasing by about 2,500 a week. Obviously, if I put more videos up then there will be more views and the quicker I’ll get to my 100,000 target.

As I have said previously, it is getting tough to squeeze stuff into the ten minute YouTube enforced limit. The only other option is to start splitting them into Part 1, Part 2, etc which I would prefer to avoid if I could. I know there are other video hosting sites out there ( video.google.com ) for one that doesn’t have these limits but of course YouTube is by far the most popular. anyway, I’ll be giving that some consideration as I plan my next video presentation.

Roll on 100,000 views.

Video 40 now available

Yes, I have uploaded a new video to YouTube. This one covers the basics of restoring emails into Exchange Server using the Exchange Recovery Group. It is fast becoming a case that the maximum 10 minutes that YouTube allows for videos is proving very restrictive. Many subjects I am now covering can’t really been given justice in 10 minutes and perhaps the only option is to start breaking them into multiple parts. You’ll notice a few editing cuts I had to make to get the production under the 10 minute limit. I know that other “more commercial” YouTube users have videos of > 10 minutes does anyone out there know how I can get access to this as well with significant additional cost? If so please let me know.

You’ll find the latest video directly on YouTube by clicking here, otherwise visit the Support Web Video library for the complete list of all the videos I have created.

I am also heartened by the fact that the numbers of subscribers to my videos is approaching 100 (98 and counting). I would have never thought that anyone would continue to be interested by the content I create but then the Internet is an amazing place isn’t it? To all those subscribers I just wish to again say thank you and to let you know that you are the main reason that I do keep dong these videos. As always if you want to see me cover a specific topic or technology please let me know so I can schedule it into the upcoming production (just a a good movie/tv producer would say eh?).


Offline Microsoft Updates

Now many years ago I used to like WSUS. That is was when I ran it on a server separate from my Small Business server. When Microsoft incorporated WSUS into SBS2003R2 that’s when my relationship with WSUS turned sour. Personally I found WSUS on SBS caused all sorts of problems from failing to update correctly to downloading content that was not requested and finally being impossible to uninstall once it is on the system. So, bottom line, I no longer install WSUS on SBS2003R2. Typically, we use Shavlik to apply updates to all our networks for so many reasons which I am not going to go into here (maybe a later post if enough people out there ask me).
Problem was, when we get a new machine in that needs to be run up, typically, it is missing heaps (last count 94 for XP Pro) of updates. So we’d get the PC working, connect to the Internet and then do all the updates, reboot do ’em again and so on and so on until the system is fully patched. Also, when you go out to new client and check their machines, typically updates haven’t been done for a long, long while and the only solution is to fire up Windows Update and download from the Internet. This can be a really painful experience, especially if they have lots of out of date machines and a slow Internet connection. Sigh.
That is now a thing of the past since I have discovered Heise Security DIY service pack. simply download the latest version of the software (which is a whole swag of clever scripts), expand into a directory on a machine and then run the update program. when run you’ll be asked what downloads you desire :
Select your desired Windows Updates

also select you Office updates

ensure you have the option selected to create an ISO image and hit the Start button. The program will then go off and download all the selected updates (even service packs if you selected that). It will obviously take a while the first time it runs as it has to download a lot of updates for all packages selected.
Once the download process is complete it will create a separate ISO image for all the products you selected like so :

Here you can see I have Office 2003, office 2007, Office 2000, Office XP, Windows 2003 Server, Windows XP and more! Burn the ISO’s to media and now you have your own offline update library.
Now simply pop the CD/DVD into a machine which you want to update and run the installer program (which auto launches as well). Simply select the desired options :

and press the Start button. The installer will firstly determine what updates need to be apply and then start applying and rebooting automatically if you selected that option. So now you can walk away from the machine while it continues to do all its updates – MAGIC.
I tried this out on a new original XP Home system OEM installation without Service Pack 1. I popped the Windows XP DVD into the drive, selected the reboot option (it gives you a warning that this may not work all the time) and pressed Start. The installer dutifully installed Windows XP Service Pack 2, rebooted, installed more updates, rebooted and so on till completion. At the end of the process I have a full patches XP System that I only had to attend once and didn’t have to expose to the Internet before it was updated.
Best of all with this offline updater is the fact that when you run it again it downloads any new updates that Microsoft has brought out and adds it to a new ISO image it creates. So, I’ll be running this after every patch Tuesday to create a new set of offline update CD’s that are going to save me HOURS and HOURS both in house and on client sites.

More reasons to compute in the cloud

Firstly, Microsoft’s FREE online storage offering Skydrive has been increased from 1GB to 5GB of space! Now you can store even more of your useless junk on somebody else’s machine. Seriously though, this is the way it is all moving. I have no doubts that within a short space of time we are going to be seeing online storage space that rivals current hard disk capacities (ie 80GB or more). I just need to work out a way to back up my data directory to Skydrive rather than uploading. Give me some time and I’m sure I’ll find a way.

Next, have a look at Picnik (it take a little while to load initially) which is an online photo editing tool. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a light imitation of Photoshop or Paint shop, this a full on threat to these people. The site is beautifully designed, easy to use, and gives you the results you need for anywhere you have an Internet connection. It is even linked to Picasa from Google (which is another great example of cloud computing).

Boys and girls, its time to get online and start thinking about how you can offer services around these types of applications to your clients because if you don’t someone else will.

No longer called Cougar

Ok, so Microsoft has finally gotten around to making SBS 2008 a real product. It even now has its own web site :


Still digesting exactly what all the information means but I thought this was interesting :

It has the following components as standard

  • Windows Server 2008 x64
  • Exchange 2007
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • Windows Live OneCare for Server <<– **
  • Subscription to Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition <<– **
  • Integration with Office Live Small Business <<– **
  • Enhancements to mobile and remote working tools and management

So Microsoft is trying to make SBS 2008 an all encompassing product eh? I wonder how the people at Trend feel now they are getting cut out?

The whole press release is here :


I’ll write some more when I’ve had time to digest all this new info.

Advanced Sharepoint Videos and Whitepapers

Stolen from : http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2008/02/18/advanced-sharepoint-videos-and-whitepapers.aspx



Streaming Video

White Paper

Overview: Office SharePoint Server server farm architecture



Overview: Configuring server farms



Securing server farms



Configuring performance options



Backup, Restore, High Availability and Disaster Recovery



Operations and management



Capacity planning



Search architecture and configuration



It’s all going to the cloud

Think about, why the hell would you spend all this money on high powered workstations, servers, backup, disaster recovery and so and so if you could simply access everything remotely? Isn’t it easier if someone else manages all that? That’s the idea about the current managed services craze for SMB resellers but I believe that it is quickly moving even beyond this.

Big players like Google are designing the future as being totally online. Need an application? Simply rent it for the time that you need it. Would you pay a few cents a day for an application that is always up to date, available anywhere there is an Internet connection and never needs to be backed up? If you don’t then I bet a whole swag of people you know do. Unlike techies, these people are by far the majority of computer users and all they want is an easier way to do their work.

If you don’t know about products like Skydrive, Office Live Workspace, Jungle Disk, Google Apps and so on then boy are you behind the times. Even something like hosted Sharepoint can function pretty well as a complete replacement for a file server allowing quick and easy collaboration for any location where there is the Internet (cafes, work, home, PC’s Mac’s, mobile devices and so on and so on). From where I sit it is only a (short) matter of time before these Internet based applications become main stream. They’ll be supported 24 hours a day 7 days a week from help desks all around the work that can remotely access your session and resolve any issues.

It’s a brave new world that we face as technology consultants to businesses both big and small. Those that see the light early will flourish and prosper but those that don’t will wither and die. Typically change takes longer to happen that you expect but when things change they change in a far greater manner that you ever expected.

As the old song goes, “the times they are a changing” but can YOU hear it?