Monday, July 9, 2007

Time for a change..

This blog has moved. Please be sure to visit my new blog at See you there?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

FCC, get out of my benevolence fund!

A quick rant before I head off to the WWPC in Denver. Today I got the following email:

> Dear Valued BroadVoice Customer,
> BroadVoice would like to extend our appreciation to all of our customers as we continue to improve and upgrade our service and features. We are dedicated to making your experience with BroadVoice as exceptional and enjoyable as possible.
> Based on recent rulings from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers such as BroadVoice must contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF).

> Many may ask what the USF is and how does it affect my account? This Universal Service Fund supports the telecommunications needs of low-income households, schools, libraries, rural hospitals, and consumers living in high-cost service areas.
> Effective immediately a fee of $ 1.97 will be applied to an individual Customer's account at the same rate applicable to BroadVoice's USF contributions and may be subject to periodic adjustment. If a customer has one account with BroadVoice with three alternate numbers one USF fee will be applied to the account. If a customer has three accounts with BroadVoice with three separate primary numbers each account will be charged one USF fee. Additional information about the Universal Service Fund can be found on the FCCs website .
> BroadVoice regrets any inconvenience that this may cause but we have been mandated by the FCC, like all VoIP providers, to charge, collect and remit these fees to the USF.

Normally I despise government involvement in free enterprise but in the case of communications it's hard to argue with the need for the FCC to regulate the reliability of providers.    As the message above shows, now that they are in control they can add all sorts of cool taxes that enable me to involuntarily provide phone service for welfare junkies, drug addicts and illegal aliens.  Oh goodie. Sure they throw in "schools, libraries and rural hospital" to make it look more legit but I thought those entities were already funded by my ever increasing property and state sales taxes.

Here, just take my whole freaking wallet please!  Damn socialist!  Why would I volunteer time and money to homeless shelters and the like when the government is already picking my back pocket on their behalf?  I really enjoy giving to the less fortunate and believe it to be VERY important (for both the giver and recipient) but I hate having my charity coerced! One more tax and I'm moving to France. ;-)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Change Default File Save Location for Office 2007 Apps via GPO

This handy tip is from one of my start techs, David Thorpe. You can use Group Policy to change the default file save options for Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007. We like GPOs don't we David? ;-)

DC Promo of R2 in non-R2 Forest Fails

This is probably old news for most of you but if I can save one person the 10 minutes I lost this morning then I guess this blog is worth it. I've got a SBS 2003 SP1 on my network and I attempted to promote a Server 2003 R2 to a DC for redundancy sake (my backups are on an AD integrated NAS and I realized I would have no way to get my backups if my SBS crashed – Duh!). It seems that the SBS has to be R2 if I want to promo another R2 server. Now I know.

And the award goes to…

Big congratulations to my fellow SBSC PAL from the Great White North Elisabeth Vanderveldt for being awarded MVP. After only knowing her online for about a month I have no doubt why she received the award. When you combing her wit, technical savvy, common sense, energy and community passion all into one, what would you expect? Drinks are on me in Denver Elisabeth!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Congrats to Chris Rue – MVP!

Way to go Chris Rue! Chris has been recognized for this selfless contributions to the SBS community by Microsoft and been appointed an SBS MVP. If you don't know Chris, be sure to subscribe to his blog as it is one of my top 3 SMB Blogs. Chris, I'm honored to know you and look forward to buying you a drink in Denver. See you in the bird cage.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Raise Your Voice!

Wow, can that guy blog! Now I have to be careful with linking you to Vlad's blog because if I accidently sent you to his personal blog some of you may find it a little… shall we say… shocking. Nevertheless, be sure to check out Vlad's blog on how you (yes you!) can contribute to the community.

Windows Small Business Server Technical Library

Thanks Sean! I guess it was a few years in the making but I'm nonetheless grateful to have a single handy reference point for my do-it-yourself SBS customers. If you are looking for solutions to issues with your current deployment this may not be the documents for you. The technical level varies from ISA configuration to, well… this:

ActiveSync cannot be installed when a mobile device is connected to the client computer.

Cause:  If a mobile device is connected to the client computer, ActiveSync cannot be completely installed.

Solution:  Disconnect the mobile device from the client computer, log off, log on again, and then reinstall ActiveSync.


So can we get a single library on managing patches, updates and service packs on SBS. I herby nominate Susan Bradley to kick it off. Do I hear a second?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Trouble Adding Hosts in SCVMM

So I'm learning more and more each day about virtualization techniques and technologies. Recently Microsoft announced that they have added a P2V conversion is in their System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) Beta 2. So I run out and install it (Ya right! I actually bring our Internet to its knees for a few hours as I download the VHD files). I didn't get far with my experiment.

In case you try playing with SCVMM, here is where I got stuck yesterday. I attempted to add a host to SCVMM (the first thing you need to do) and it kept failing. That is, I told it I had another box called CTCT3.domain.local running Virtual Server and I want to manage it from SCVMM. The PowerShell script it ran Failed 4 times.

The failure said:

Error (447)

Agent installation failed on ctct3.techcareteam.local because the supported version of Windows Remote Management (WinRM) is not installed.

Please download WinRM from

So I attempt to do what it says but the download is actually a reporting engine or something. Not exactly what I was expecting. After a few Google searches I discover the following:

WinRM is part of the operating system. However, to obtain data from remote computers, you must configure a WinRM listener. For more information, see Installation and Configuration for Windows Remote Management. If a BMC is detected at system startup, then the IPMI provider loads; otherwise, the WinRM scripting objects and the WinRM command-line tool are still available.

Windows Server 2003 R2:  WinRM is not installed by default, but is available as the Hardware Management feature through the Add/Remove System Components feature in Control Panel under Management and Monitoring Tools.

Windows Server 2003, Windows XP/2000, and Windows NT:  WinRM is not available. You can use WMI to obtain data from remote computers, but remote access requires DCOM configuration. For more information, see Connecting to WMI on a Remote Computer.

So I go to CTCT3 to insure WinRM is installed but then discover it is running Server 2003 SP1. Well I guess that is not going to work. Time to upgrade. Oh joy. Once I get this fixed I'm going to convert my production SBS Server (Susan would call it Baby) to a Virtual Server using MS's SCVMM. I be sure to share my success and failures. And if I ever figure out how to add pictures to this blog I'll post some screen shots.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let’s put the C back in SBSC

I would like to echo Chris's sentiments on yesterday's SBSC Quarterly call. I get complaints everyday from folks about the program and what is wrong and what they didn't get or couldn't easily find on the partner portal. SBSC is supposed to stand for Small Business Specialist Community. Notice the word Community. Come on folks. Make a difference, speak up, attend, get involved. You really do matter!

Motorola Phone Tools and Vista

I know this is old news to some of you early adopters but just in case you are now moving to Vista and still running a "dumb" phone like me then this may be a handy link. So now if I can only get my fingerprint reader to work…

CITPG July Meeting - PowerShell

John Baker, our favorite TechNet presenter will be showing the Carolina IT Professional Group how to make the most of PowerShell. If you are in the Southeast US then don't miss this one!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Duck and Cover!

Growing up in earthquake prone Southern Cal, I remember all too well the duck and cover drills from grade school. I'm afraid I get the same desire to dive under my desk now as I did then when I hear about somebody as large as Microsoft planning to merge two databases that contains authentication information for about ½ the web sites I visit.

Email from MS:

This is a reminder that as of June 18th you will need a Windows Live ID in order to register for and attend web seminars.  Also, to serve you better, this account will be linked to profile data stored in the system so you only have to enter your information into the system once.  We are excited to offer this new service, which will greatly streamline the registration process for web seminars. 

Once this feature goes live, you will need to sign in to register for any new web seminars, and attend any live web seminar for which you may have already registered.  In order to make the transition as easy as possible, we ask that you please go to in the next two weeks to create a Windows Live ID if you don't already have one.  At the time of your live web seminar, simply follow the link from your notification email.  The system will ask you to sign in and may then ask you to complete your profile on record if it is missing any required fields.  

OK, so maybe I'm paranoid and they are just "linking" data but just to make sure, I'm going to Expedia right now to print out my upcoming travel itineraries.

IT Pro Community Leaders Townhall Audio Replays

So about 30 of us were invited to Redmond to meet with the top brass in April. Exactly why each of us was invited was the biggest mystery but when you are invited to meet with Steve Ballmer and the senior staff of MS, why ask why? Once we arrived, the question of the morning was "Why me?". Nobody knew exactly why they were selected to attend and we only first saw the agenda that morning while clearing security at MS. The mix of community leaders was broad enough that the only thing we could determine we all had in common was that each person there was an IT Pro Community voice (in some form or fashion). Attendees included the likes of Mark Minasi, Jesper Johansson and our beloved Susan Bradley. They must have invited me by mistake but what the heck, since my name was on the list I prepared a couple of questions and at just the right time, let them fly. I never thought I would be so nervous. Below are links to the audio files from this event and the summary MS gleamed.


You can hear Bob Muglia and Ron Markezich forget my question, answer an unasked question then receive a verbal beating from Susan Bradley when they ask another question in Panel Discussion #3 at 23:38 (OK, it wasn'texactly a beating but he was left dumbfounded)

Steve's commitment to never under-invest in user groups in response to my question Keynote Speech and Q&A with Steve Ballmer at 40:45.

What MS heard us (the IT Pro community) say:

  1. You want a medium to continue these discussions and networking opportunities, not only with Microsoft but with the other community leaders at the event.
  2. You want focused breakout discussions for deeper discussions on topics like Next Generation of the Web, Community and Virtualization.
  3. You want additional future in-person opportunities to engage directly with Microsoft and other community leaders.

Key Topics we discussed:

  1. The importance of effective, consistent and relationship-based connection to Microsoft and other software vendors.
  2. The need for data center guidance and tools around interoperability, security, monitoring and manageability.
  3. The desire for more transparency and open communication with Microsoft around security, patching and licensing.
  4. The issues around emerging web technologies for the IT Professionals including information and data management and the security implications in the enterprise.
  5. The need for a centralized course curriculum for academia and the broader technology community around the evolving role of the IT Professional.

Links To The Recorded Audio Files

  1. Welcome and Opening Remarks (WMA, MP3)
  2. Panel Discussion #1: Next generation of the Web and its implications on IT Professionals; both as consumers and in the enterprise (WMA, MP3)
  3. Panel Discussion #2: The Evolution of the IT Professional Community (WMA, MP3)
  4. Panel Discussion #3: Data Center trends including Virtualization and Managed Services (WMA, MP3)
  5. Keynote Speech and Q&A with Steve Ballmer (WMA, MP3)
  6. Closing Remarks (WMA, MP3)

SMB Down Under

I sure wish I could swing Wayne Small's
SMBFocus event in Australia this year but it's just not possible. If you think you can make it and are a member of a local SBS group please let me know and I'll get you an early bird discount code (assuming you act promptly). You don't need to pay now, just pre-register.

Now if I were a vendor in the SMB / MSP space interested in growing your international business, this would be the one event to not miss this year (hint hint Bob)


Monday, June 18, 2007

SBSC Quarterly Webcast: Next Generation Version - Small Business Specialist Finder Overview

Get a pre-launch review of the new "Specialist Finder" tool that will soon be launching on the Microsoft Small Business Center. See how the new competency info is now combined with a Virtual Earth user interface to create a more compelling end user to partner search experience.

Event Title: SBSC Quarterly Webcast: Next Generation Version - Small Business Specialist Finder Overview

Date - Time: 6/19/2007 9:00:00 AM PST

Register Here

Why do you do what you do?

It is 6 AM and I've just sat down at the control center to organize my plan of a attack for what is going to be a very busy week. I've got lists for my lists     of to-do items. I know many of you can relate. As I'm thinking about overwhelming job of this week's goals, tasks and certain unplanned fires that will need to be addressed all while having my senior tech and partner on vacation I stumble across the following thank you email from of my fellow SBSers Ron Revieccio.

I knew I could count on YOU!

It was a very humbling experience to participate. I was on my own for about 3 hours at the lock up calling friends, family and business associates trying to raise $1,000.00. (Very friendly people and a great atmosphere. Lots of fun!)

Congratulations to all who participated, we raised $1,100.00 to date! Our donation will fully fund 2 children going to camp this summer.

Thanks for helping me reach my goal! Your generosity will make a difference for the children and adults MDA serves, providing help for today and hope for tomorrow.

With the help of friends like you, MDA continues to be able to provide comprehensive services through local clinics and advance its research efforts to find treatments and cures for some 43 neuromuscular diseases.

Thanks Again

Wow. All I did was chip in a few dollars for the cause, he took an afternoon off from work, goals, tasks and many other "pressing" issues to help two kids in a very discouraging situation get to camp. Can you imagine the gratitude of the two children as they find out they get to go? Can you imagine the feeling their parents must be experiencing?

So, why do you do what you do? I know for me, my driver is helping small businesses succeed. Not just the business but the people running the business and working for it. You see, to me those are people I can relate to. People with a hope, dream and passion to create something great, even if only for a few people.

As I went out and met with several of my key customers last week I was quickly reminded of why I do what I do. I met people who against odds are determined to make their businesses a success. After government regulations, taxation, workers comp and state sales use tax audits, employee theft, HR issues, accounting nightmares, inventory control and shipping issues, legal and personal challenges they stood determined. They too have a dream of a better life for themselves, their families and their employees and they want me to be a part of accomplishing their dream. You know, at the end of the day, the checks from my clients are nice, but the thank you emails and handshakes mean much more and getting to watch them achieve their dream, in small part from my efforts, is priceless.

Again, why do you do what you do? I dare you to write it down before you get lost in another week of technical chaos. I double dare you to post it publicly to my comments below.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Control Desktops from Server with SPS

As you may know, Handy Andy is a big fan of StorageCraft's technologies too. He has worked thru an issue that you may experience when attempting to control desktop backups from the server console. Check out this "handy" article here. Thanks Andy!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is June the end of SBSC enrolment?

Today the astute eyes of James Barrett
noticed the following in the fine print on
MS's partner pages
and once shared, it raised my eyebrows too.

Small Business Specialist Community Program Enhancements

Note: To ensure your enrollment in the Small Business Specialist Community program, you must meet program requirements by June 13, 2007.

Good news is that apparently it is the end of a grace period for those that have not gone the full mile (some might criticize 20' and I tend to agree but that is for another post). Here is the wonderful Paige Boesen's clarification on this date's meaning.


This website update has to do with the non-compliance initiative – SBSC partners were previously enrolled on an "honor system" and system checks indicated that a number of companies participating in the program still needed to complete their MCP exam or sales assessment.  Additionally, based on an upgrade of the Partner Membership Center and a change to multi-location reporting for SBSC, one office might be compliant, but another might be in a situation where they need to complete these requirements to keep the entire company active in the SBSC program.


Affected partners received e-mails (sample attached) for the past few months explaining their specific situation and providing resources available to assist them with these scenarios, and as of the deadline this week – if action wasn't taken, SBSC status will be lost.  However, my team is still "at the ready" to address partners that want to take action at this stage, and we can ensure maintenance of SBSC status based on our guidance.  The best team to work with is the SBSC Experts, via e-mail or telephone (live humans are available ).  Here's their contact info – and it is also included in the e-mail:


A few blogs were posted about this initiative:




Charlotte SBS Group June Meeting

Event Name:

Charlotte SBS Group Monthly Meeting - DR Night

Event Description:

Meet Peers, Share Experience, Get Advice.... Please join us for our monthly Charlotte SBS Group.   (learn more...)

Event Date:


Event Time:

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM




8050 Microsoft Way

Mt. Kilimanjaro Conference Room

Charlotte, NC 28273

Map to Location:

Click image for a map to the event  


RSS Feed:

Click image for an RSS feed of our calendar 

What is RSS?

Registration Deadline Date is 6/19/2007