Getting back to Blogging

This my first post from my mobile app. It’s been a long time since I have updated this site but I am hoping that with this new way of posting content i will be apt to write more often, mostly for my own benefit but also to share my thoughts with the handful of people that might read this. Stay tuned.

January 9, 2013 at 11:11 am Leave a comment

Nokia/Microsoft Deal – Not Fast Enough

Well the rumors were true and Stephen Elop, a former MS exec and CEO of Nokia, has chosen Microsoft to be its smartphone savior.  Truth be told Microsoft needs Nokia just as much as Nokia needs Windows Phone 7. The big question remaining is how is it all going to flesh out.  Microsoft, of late, has had a terrible record of getting product to market in a timely and relevant manner.  I would argue that the tepid response to WP7 is more about feelings towards Micrsoft than is about the platform as a contender.  By all accounts, Windows Phone 7 is a great platform that succeeds in dfferentiating itself from Android and iOS (as a network guy, it still drives me crazy to call it that) but fails to crack through the collective consciousness.  So how does this deal change that?  Here is my take:

  • Nokia has tons of penetration in emerging markets.  If Microsoft plays their cards right, they could focus on capturing the mobile space from the bottom up.  Skipping or deemphasizing the developed world with its shrinking population and instead capturing new mobile users.  
  • Microsoft, despite having great hardware design, has not shown an ability to be able to work supply chains very well.  After all, they are software company.  With this deal with Nokia, they can do what they do best, platforms, and let Nokia focus on phones.
  • Having a tight relationship with a phone manufacturer may also help accelerate development, bypassing the nonsense that has fragmented Andriod. That could also encourage other OEMs to move OS updates faster.  Let’s face it, can’t get much slower than it is now.

All this goodness hinges on one factor; speed.  Can Microsoft and Nokia move fast enough to hold everyone’s limited attention?  Right  now Elop is talking about a 2 year plan.  That’s not going to cut it.  If Nokia is serious about this partnership they need a stand out offering running WP7 by Q3 2011.  In my opinion, anything less would be seen as a disaster for both companies.

Hey Steve and Steve, crack those whips!!!

 

February 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

Copying Local Policies from Machine to Machine

This post was inspired by a recent email from one of my students.  This student recently inquired about how to take non-Domain joined systems and replicate a policy between them.  The good new is that, barring the use of a Microsoft imaging based solution like ImageX, the process is rather straight forward.  It can be simplified even more through the use of a simple batch script.  Here’s the original blog post where I discovered the solution and below is a video I put together demonstrating the process.

Demonstration of Copying Local Policy

January 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm Leave a comment

Has Microsoft lost it’s Mojo?

The Microsoft sign at the entrance of the Germ...
Lately there has been much made about whether the Redmond software behemoth has “jumped the shark” or to put it another way, lost it’s mojo.  There are plenty of articles and tech journalists who are writing the company’s epitaph, claiming the company is no longer innovating.  That instead, Microsoft is milking the same products until the cow is completely dry, namely Windows and enterprise server solutions.  Some of what is being bandied about has merit.  There is no doubt that Microsoft would like to reap billions off their main stay products for the foreseeable future but I think that the lack of innovation claims have been way overstated.  Over the last 18 months the aging giant has seen some really compelling technology hit the streets.  Here are a few for your consideration.
 

Example 1: Fan or not, it is hard to honestly say that Bing has not brought fresh ideas and features to the Internet search space.  So much so that Google has “borrowed” a few ideas.  With that said, Microsoft does not yet have Google shaking in it’s boots.  It will be a long tough climb for Bing.

Example 2: The Microsoft Kinect is an undisputed, runaway smash hit for Microsoft.  I have played all the new consoles that feature motion control and Kinect is not only better but it’s simpler and offers the possibility for future innovation.  The tech enthusiasts get that, big time!  They have hacked this thing 9 ways to Sunday in order to  unlock it’s non-gaming potentials.  Microsoft gets that too.  They have already hinted that Kinect will be making it’s way to the board room as a video conferencing tool for Microsoft Lync Server.

Example 3: Despite reviews that have been overwhelming positive and spending approximately $1 billion in advertising,  there is no doubt that Windows Phone 7 has loped out of the gates.  The smart phone market is a battleground right now – actually more like a turf war.  Despite poor initial sales, the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI) of WP7 is something completely different.   Microsoft has given users exactly what they want and need out of their device, quick updates about their world on a multipurpose platform that allows them to think less about how and where their information is stored. 

So why all the negative attention and why all the predictions of an impending implosion?  My take on this is that Microsoft has lost the credibility war.  Like the classic tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, Microsoft has made grand declarations in the past to only disappoint and under deliver.  They have put out so many dull products in the past that now that they are back on their toes and producing products worth our attention, no one cares.  The tech press, to put it  mildly, has fallen out of love (or like) with Microsoft.  Microsoft doesn’t help it’s situation either.  Being late to deliver on products like tablets and phones only furthers the emotional divide.  There is also a pattern of making announcements for new products way too early.  This serves to build hype that just cannot be sustained for as long as it takes to get said products to market.  The human attention span has been shrunken by the information age. 

So how does Microsoft get it’s Mojo back?  Well here are my top 5 ideas.

  1. Stay ahead of the curve not behind it.  Windows Phone 7 may turn out to be a classic example of too little to late.  I hope not but only time will tell.  It would be nice to see Microsoft deliver something new and innovative before the rest of the industry.  It would go a long way in closing the credibility gap mentioned earlier.
  2. Under promise and over deliver.  We all have heard of this sales philosophy before but it makes sense.  Don’t tell us that what you have is going to floor us and then deliver a sub par product. 
  3. Separate from your past.  Apple is a great example of a company that has been able to move beyond it’s image of a 25+ year old company and win the affections of new generations.  Microsoft could do this too and to some extent they have.  Choosing names like Bing, Zune, and Xbox were great marketing coups.  Settling on Windows Phone 7 was just plain dumb (and apparently hard to remember).  The Windows brand and iconography is “old school” and brings with it all the baggage of products like Windows ME and Vista.  Bear in mind that a cool name doesn’t always equate to sales.  Anyone remember the Kin?  Caution to Apple: The “iEverything” well is finite too.
  4. Listen to your fans and your detractors.  When they tell you that they want a Windows Phone tablet, give it to them!!  Stop making excuses.  Do what it takes to make it work and get it done.  A shining example of what user feedback gets you is Windows 7.  To the horror of many, Windows 7 is nothing more than Windows Vista with some serious spit polish.  But that spit was served up thanks to community feedback.  Sorry for the visual.
  5. Work the channel.  By channel I mean Microsoft partners.  I am specifically pointing my finger at the retailers.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have walked into a retail outlet to be completely underwhelmed by the representation of Microsoft products — broken units, non-functioning units, poor product positioning, even worse employee product knowledge.  Spend those billions on marketing more wisely.  Get some store reps out there to evangelize the consumer,  not just the developers.  Developers make horrible sales reps.  The last thing that some wannabe hipster wants to be compared to is a middle-aged, anti-social programmer.  Clearly, I am generalizing but you get the picture. 

Like IBM, Microsoft is going to be around for a long time to come.  So let’s just stop all the predictions and the hyperbole.  They have enormous cash reserves and plenty of products.  Whether they can remain relevant and important is the bigger question.  Like IBM, will Microsoft turn into an enterprise only company?  Pushing aside for a moment that there are real challengers on the Enterprise front too.  Or will they reclaim their mojo and lead the way into the technology future?

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December 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

x86 Printing in x64 World – Déjà vu All over Again?

If you have read my posts in the past, you might be wondering, “Why is he doing the same article again?” or “Is this the Part 2 that was promised?”.  The answer to both questions is “no”.  This is an article about the opposite issue from the original, which is the problem of loading 32-bit drivers on 64-bit servers.  The struggle that my office’s SysAdmin ran into today was that he was attempting to load drivers for our branch office employees onto our Server 2008 R2 print server.  Unfortunately those clients are still running on 32-bit hardware.  Every time he attempted to load the drivers through the print server properties it would prompt him for files from the media of a 32-bit Windows OS, namely Windows 7 or Windows Vista.  After a little Binging™ (thought you would like that one), he found a solution on Microsoft TechNet.  So here it is for everyone’s benefit and enjoyment.

To install an x86 additional driver on a Windows Vista x64 host, you first need a running Vista x86 system. On this x86 system, locate the directory

WindowsSystem32DriverStoreFileRepositoryntprint.inf_xxxxx

then copy all files and sub-directories from ntprint.inf_xxxxx into the same location as you saved this driver.

If the x64 host asks for the NTPRINT.INF on the Windows Media during the installation of the additional driver, simply browse to this location and complete installation."

Pretty simple, right?  And in case your wondering, that follow-up on Group Policy printer publishing, is still coming…really it is!

September 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

Social Media Blackout

This one is going to hurt a lot.  And honestly I am not looking forward to it.  Starting Sunday August 1st the lights will go out on my online social presence.  It is amazing how quickly something can become so normal and routine.  I really only began tweeting, posting and blogging a little over a year ago but already I find that too much of my time is consumed by it.  So….sticking with the “Year Without” principles, I have chosen to shutter the following things for a summer hiatus:

  • twitter®
  • facebook®
  • blogging
  • DailyMile®
  • LinkedIn®

  Running Training Log   

Removing these from my life definitely adds an exclamation point to the end of the “Year Without” sentence.  These tools are how I have come to stay connected to the people I care about, not just friends and family but industry experts and sources of information.  It is also how I communicate information to others about what I am doing as it pertains to my work and my leisure.  So it looks like I will go back to traditional technologies, at least for the next 30 days.  That includes the telephone and email (yes email can now be considered traditional).  For many out there this doesn’t seem like a huge sacrifice but I know just as many who would suffer serious withdrawals if asked to forgo these tools.  I’ll let you know which category I fit into. 

PS All of my social sites will be displaying a black square as my profile photo until 9/1 when the lights come back up.  See you on the other side.

Windows Live Tags: Social,Media,Blackout,Beta,August,presence,hiatus,DailyMile,LinkedIn,life,exclamation,tools,industry,experts,

information,leisure,technologies,category

September 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Greening Up IT –Baby Steps

Unless you’ve living under a server rack, you’ve invariably heard of the Green IT push.  Green IT efforts can take many forms, some of them extensive changes to infrastructure, like virtualization projects, and others that are a bit more subtle.  Depending on the data you look at, a desktop PC can consume ~$80-$150 in power costs over the course of a year.  If you multiply that figure by the number of systems that you support, we’re talking mucho greenbacks.  I am going to discuss one small change that most companies can implement with very little effort but with some high impact. 

Many newer system BIOS’es have features that will allow you to turn computers on at a specified time of day.  That’s great for companies that have their users turn off their systems at night and want them powered up before the hoards arrive back at their desks.  The image to the left shows an example of a BIOS that supports the scheduled power on capability.  Check your hardware for this feature. 

But what about automating the shutdown of systems during off hours?  The solution I leverage is Scheduled Tasks in Windows.  I create a scheduled task to run the Shutdown command, allowing enough time for anyone who may be logged on after hours to save their work before being unceremoniously logged off.  Check my SkyDrive Public Folder in the right navbar for an exported task that can be imported into Windows or click here to access it directly. 

This isn’t going to save the planet but it is one more baby step in the right direction and it could save lots of green for the company.  Who can’t get behind that?


My Recent Tweets

 

  • @leolaporte No Source? Where r u getting this story Leo?
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  • RT @NH_Syr_Roc: Free Tip Friday 2morrow! Will it B a software apps tip or an OS tip? mayB a productivity shortcut 4 both? Hmmm…
  • RT @NH_Syr_Roc: Successful cert exam testers at New Horizons Syracuse/Rochester. We’ll B celebrating them all 2morrow! Stay tuned!

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Windows Live Tags: Baby,Steps,Beta,server,efforts,infrastructure,data,systems,effort,impact,Many,system,BIOS,computers,users,desks,example,Check,shutdown,hours,solution,leverage,Tasks,Windows,task,Skydrive,Public,Folder,planet,direction

July 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

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