Saturday, November 29, 2008

Microsoft Distributes Home Server to Partners

This month, Microsoft made its Home Server product available to its partners. After a very rough start with a nasty data corruption bug, Microsoft released a major update (referred to as a "power pack") during the summer.

This month, Microsoft released another batch of updates addressing more bugs and anomalies.

Although the product is aimed squarely at families, Microsoft is now gently suggesting that its partners offer it to home and very small offices.

We going to err on the side of caution with this product. While it has great possibilities and tools to make computing easier and simpler for micro-offices, this is the second batch of fixes that address file system and data related problems. Will this round fix all of the important issues?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Looking Out For You Instead Of Your Client

Good grief. I can’t tell you how many sites we see where the prior IT tech has taken the path of least resistance. That’s where they’ve avoided confrontation or more work.

It’s self-centered and safe.

Instead of explaining that going cheap is not smart and dealing with a little push back, they’d rather get the job and pocket the cash without considering how it affects the business.

What’s also safe is pushing corporate solutions on SMBs. Why do a little homework and learn about more appropriate solutions? Because it’s easier to just go with the ones they worked with in their large corporation days.

The result is the client is unhappy, gets a lousy solution and now has a bad opinion of IT service providers. And that’s just a minor example of what we see. I won’t get into pirated software that’s sold as genuine, highly over spec’ed solutions, intentionally crippled installations that can only be worked on by the same tech, etc, etc.

There ought to be a law. And a real certification or licensing process like most professionals have. I’ll step off my soapbox now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

AVG Antivirus Update Paralyzes PCs

For those using AVG antivirus software localized for certain European languages, you probably had some extra work this week.

A signature update on Saturday, November 8th mistakenly identified the Windows system file "user32.dll" as a trojan horse program. The AVG software quarantined the file and then deleted it. If you restarted your PC, it would display a blue screen error message indicating that Winsvr could not be found.

AVG quickly corrected the signature file and distributed it to all users.

This is not the first time AVG has had this type of problem. Let's hope they review their updates more carefully going forward. Or you could always choose not to use AVG.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Should You Care About EBS?

Microsoft MVP Jeff Kane discussed the new Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) product line on Thursday, November 6 in San Marcos. Targeted at 50 to 250 users, the product is typically beyond the needs of most customers in the small business arena, however Jeff made the case of why it’s relevant to SMB consultants.

Although the product was thoroughly covered at the SMB Summit conference in April, it was fascinating to hear Jeff’s unbiased assessment of the product. Thanks, Jeff!

Have a look here for a “click-through” demo of EBS.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

SharePoint RSS Web Part

I heard this great idea from Jim Locke. He uses a RSS Feed web part in his SharePoint installs as a way to quickly distribute announcements and other information to his clients.

While I haven't tried this one out yet, there are a few RSS web parts suggested by Microsoft to try.

Off to the sandbox to test this one out!