Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category


Get Ready for the Zune HD!!

June 1, 2009


Zune HD

Microsoft has started promoting the upcoming Zune HD! I love the Zune. It’s like the “little player that could”. iPod obviously has more market awareness and market share up the wazoo – but in so many respects the Zune is a much better device.

  • The upcoming Zune HD will output HD content to your HDTV
  • Have a very nice batte4r efficient OLED multi touch display
  • Built in HD Radio tuner
  • Wireless built in
  • Can be managed from ANY computer – not just ones you “activate”
  • Zune has a subscription service – one low price per month for all the music you can handle, plus five FREE songs per month you can keep forever

One thing did really disappoint me. At the Zune HD site there is a link to “get the latest information on Zune HD”. I clicked the link and it told me it only works for US users.

WHAT??? Is this information so secretive that Canadian’s just can’t know? Another Microsoft idiotic decision around borders. But I’ll STILL be buying the device!


BING has bung. Ummm… sprung

June 1, 2009

Bing Search Portal

Can any search engine take away GOOGLE’s reign as hte number one search engine on the web? BING just might be the one!

Microsoft made the preview of BING public today, and you can tell it’s not your fathers search engine. Taking a bit of a new approach to internet searching, BING provides not only very relevant results, but also provides great tools such as related searches, on page live video previews, and even live pricing of airline fares, etc.

I know many who have made BING their default search engine and/or home page already.

What an interesting time for the web. BING, Google Wave… as if we already didn’t have enough reasons to sit at the computer 🙂


Essential Business Server – Here we Grow!

April 22, 2008
Yesterday was an interesting (and exciting) day at the SMB Summit 2008 conference. The focus of the day was the new Windows Essential Business Server (formally code named Centro).

SBS focused consultants have a great opportunity here – but be forewarned this is NOT simply SBS with more licenses.

Essential Business Server will require some changes in your marketing/sales, relationship style and technical processes. The great news is you can do this.

Some of the changes you need to look at and make decisions around include:

  • Ramping up your technicians on a new product. Yes, we are well ahead of the curve with our SBS experience however this is a new product with new connection points and new interfaces. The sooner you start working with EBS, the faster you’ll build the skills to start talking to the on-site IT staff
  • Learning to deal with onsite IT staff – this one is big|
    We’ve all dealt with this guy in the smaller space. Many times we know that they’ve created a position for themselves, and hold the client at ransom. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked a buseinss owner “what is your reasoning behind having a full time IT person. Typically the answers are:1) He’s the only person who knows our system
    2) We have so many technical support issues we need someone here all day every day.
  • Wow. I don’t think I need to point out whats wrong here, but I will.

    1) He’s the only person who knows our system.
    Mr. Customer – you are being held for ransom. This person is holding the keys to your company, and you need to change that NOW. Yes, I KNOW you don’t understand the technology, but you have the power and responsibility to yourself, your business and your clients to get the documentation in place so that ANY qualified IT Service provider can come in and handle the IT for you if/when something happens to that tech.

    You also don’t necessarily understand the ACCOUNTING guts – but would you run your company without having that information available,  and reports which speak your language.

    2) We have so many technical support issues we need someone here all day every day.
    When I hear this I look the client right in the eye, and say absolutely nothing. This isn’t a “sales trick”. I’m honestly BAFFLED that someone would hire a person to keep their company up and running, and then pay them becasue it ISN’T. Without fail, I see the lights go on as they think about what they just said. IF IT ISN’T WORKING – WHAT AM I HIM PAYING FOR?

    Now my point here isn’t to SLAM the onsite IT person or team. In many cased they are IMPORTANT. They may have genuine IT roles that are critical to the company. Application development, etc. And given a large enough company (based not just on bums in the chair, but many other factors as well), this person or team may very well add value to the business.

    In either case, it’s OUR responsibility to learn how to work WITH this resource. Especially in the ESB space. You need to become an asset to them – a freind – or they will fight you all the way. Thats human nature folks, and you can’t change that.

    I’ll be expanding on this topic in a post in the near future.

  • The sales process
    In my opinion, this is where the rubber meets the road. The sales process we’re used to in the smaller space WILL NOT CUT IT in the EBS space. The sales cycle is longer. The decision maker is more difficult to get to. Prepare to work through many more gatekeepers. Receptionists, IT staff, boards… this is where real sales training comes into play.Be prepared to provide PROOF of VALUE. It’s harder for larger companies to make a change. Change affects more departments and processes than you may be used to. Be prepared to move slow, and provide hard evidence. Yes, you still need to earn that trusted advisorrelationship, but less deals will be closed on a handshake or a one page letter or proposal.THis doeesn’t have to be HARD, and for some people its what makes their day ecxiting. Yes, you may depending on your plan for growth, want to think about bringing on a sales person at some point. This is my plan. Its scary, but guess what folks… growth is scary. Just like the first day we opened our doors for business. And we’re still here, so give yourself a pat on the back – PLAN, and… EXECUTE.
  • So these are just some of the things you need to think about, plan for and put in place in order to leverage and grow your business with EBS. Some will take small steps to get where they want to be. Some will take larger steps and make this their year to scale.

    In any case, its a good time for us SBS’ers. We’ve earned the right to claim this prize if we want to. We’ve proven that we “get it”, and can provide value and results to our customers. Welcome to the next step! If you are ready to grow… if you think  you might be ready to grow, or if you’ve already stared down the path, the time is now. The products are there, the community is ramped and pumped, and the customers in the larger small/lower mid spaceare hungry for IT done right!

    The time is now!

    (Note: I’ve reposted this entry as it was deleted by mistake. Sorry for the confusion)


    XP SP3 Released to Manufacturing

    April 22, 2008

    XP BeanExciting news today!

    Chris Keroack, Release Manager for Windows XP Service Pack 3 announced the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 to manufacturing!

    “Today we are happy to announce that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has released to manufacturing (RTM). Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be avail”able to OEM and Enterprise customers.

    The on-line version of the Service Pack is being made ready for on-line distribution over the web. It goes without saying that its time to do our research and decide on an implementation plan with and for our customers.

    So There aren’t many bells an whistles the end users will see. In fact, almost none. NEW features are based heavily on security improvements. A couple include:

    Black Hole” Router Detection
    Windows XP SP3 includes improvements to black hole router detection (detecting routers that are silently discarding packets), turning it on by default.

    Network Access Protection (NAP)

    NAP is a policy enforcement platform built into Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows XP SP3 with which you can better protect network assets by enforcing compliance with system health requirements. Using NAP, you can create customized health policies to validate computer health before allowing access or communication; automatically update compliant computers to ensure ongoing compliance; and optionally confine non-compliant computers to a restricted network until they become compliant.

    Product Key-less install option
    Just like Windows vista, and Office 2007 you can now install XP without a KEY. You will have a grace period in order to install for customers at time of order, for example while waiting for their Open Business keys to arrive! This is gold.

    You can view more changes in the document “Overview of Windows XP Service Pack 3“.

    So no more spending hours running windows update on fresh SP2 installs. Don’t forget to create your SLIPSTREAM media. Save yourself a lot of work!

    And DON’T FORGET! research the changes and installation of this service pack, and be ready for the upgrade opportunity for your customers. Especially at the beginning, this may not be one to install through automatic updates.


    SBS in the REAL world

    January 20, 2008

    I had some visitors up here in Barrie, Ontario from the SBS team this weekend. We spent time eating, laughing, talking and when we found the time, doing some testing on the latest beta of Cougar (or as some are calling it, albeit unofficially “SBS 2008”.

    For many of them this was their first experience actually talking to the CUSTOMERS who use SBS. We visited a client site, and you could see the surprise in their faces as they walked into the office. One commented “This is a really nice place”. Yes. Our customers are real businesses and organizations who serve real clients. I don’t say that sarcastically. He commented after meeting some of the staff here how different it is for him to really see technology at work in the “real world”. He was excited and thankful for the opportunity.

    We talked about  more of the SBS team getting out and visiting real clients. Finding out what their real business pains and challenges are, instead of just reading about them from marketing white-papers, or hearing about if from those of us lucky enough to engage with the team in Redmond.

    He’s taking back with him the feedback that they need to get out and experience SBS in action. BUSINESS in action.

    I encourage this, and encourage you to invite your local Microsoft rep’s into your office, and your clients offices. Let them meet the real people they are designing this fantastic tool for, and watch their faces light up. If their experience is similar to the one the SBS team member I’ve written about, they’ll go back to Redmond with a renewed excitement and determination to make SBS all it can be.