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Friday, December 01, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Good times, for a techie

These are the days a techie loves - lots of new software coming out from everyone's favorite (?) company, Microsoft. In no particular order:

Exchange 2007 - This is going to rock. I've been doing a little bit of playing with it, and so far it looks fantastic. The 64-bit requirement is a welcome change, although I was hesitant about it initially. However, I still believe this change is going to make many companies wait to upgrade, which is a shame. I like how using the GUI to perform tasks will help you script those same things in the future - each task performed in the GUI will have it's equivalent PowerShell (or EMS, more on that in a minute) code shown so that you can copy, paste, and edit for future use. In fact, the GUI simply is a front-end for the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) - everything it does is done in the EMS behind the scenes. I'm currently doing some reading on LCR (Local Continuous Replication) and CCR (Cluster Continuous Replication), and like what I see in terms of having a more bullet-proof Exchange implementation that can handle single failures or outages and still keep running.

Windows Vista - My jury is still out on this. While it looks nice, and has a lot of new and enhanced features (security and IE7, for starters), the steep hardware requirements and continued legacy compatibility force my thumb to be in the middle, leaning towards thumbs down on this. I like some of the features like the file-based imaging with ImageX and the Parental Controls, but needing a beefy graphics card just to play Solitaire is just crossing the line, in my mind.

Office 2007 - I'm currently using the Beta 2 Technical Refresh, and after learning the basics of the interface, I like it. After attending a recent Microsoft event, I understand the reasons behind the change in UI - the UI that we've all known and loved was designed in the 1980's. Time for something new, and we have it. I feel it's somewhat intuitive, and I agree that it's more focused on the things that users do most often, and brings things "to the front" instead of having them buried in some obscure menu item. Among the multitude of products now branded under the Office umbrella is the new "Most Ridiculous Acronym" winner - MOSS 2007 (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007). Does it only work on the north side of buildings? Is it fuzzy to work with?

All of these things are more than enough to keep one busy learning the next wave of software, especially when you consider things like PowerShell and Longhorn Server are coming, too. There's learnin' to be done, folks. It never ends, does it? :)

Monday, August 14, 2006


Ok, time for an update, since it's been about two months.

I attended a technical training class last month in New York City. Manhattan, to be precise. A few pictures will follow. Training wasn't too bad - the first two days were really good, but the third day, man, I just got lost once the security terms and acronyms started flying around. I was able to visit the World Trace Center site, which was rather somber. I saw the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden (every day, the training facility was just a few blocks from there, and that's where I got off/on the subway), Trump Tower and Carnegie Hall (just the exteriors, not too memorable, actually), visited the World of Disney store (yee-haw!), saw the Waldorf-Astoria, and the Chrysler Building was just blocks away from my hotel.

I'd like to go back there someday with Stacy, because there are just so many things to do and see. I don't think the boys would get much out of it right now, maybe when the youngest is 10 years old or so.

Empire State Building

World Trade Center Memorial Time-line

These are pictures (not very good, I admit) of the timeline of September 11, 2001.

World Trade Center - Staircase

The picture above is of the last piece of the WTC that's left standing - a staircase. This picture is of the side/back of the staircase, as I couldn't get a decent picture of the actual stairs. The story I've heard is that this staircase was used by dozens, if not hundreds, of people to escape the tower on 9/11. It has been rumored to be included in any WTC memorial, either where it is, or moved to a different location. Personally, I'd like it to stay where it is.

World Trade Center - construction

Just a picture (taken by holding the camera outside the security fence.... shhhh!) of the construction going on at the WTC site.

About a week after that, I flew down to Houston, TX to join Stacy and the boys at her family's reunion (they drove down with her parents). It was a great time! Virginia and Jim's house is just fantastic. Lots of food, got a chance to play pool (Jim has a 9-foot table... sweeeeeet.... :) ), and see many relatives that we don't get a chance to see very often, due to a myriad of reasons. Bentwater has some amazing houses, and apparently Roger Clemens has a house somewhere in there, too.

The highlights: Golf on Saturday, Incredible Pizza, Johnson Space Center, and the boat ride on Lake Conroe. And yes, there are a LOT of things I'm leaving out. :) No pictures yet, they are all still on the digital camera.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wish I was there...

Tech-Ed 2006, in Boston. What I would consider the ultimate Microsoft gathering. I was hoping to go this year, but those plans were nixed. I wanted to get some good information on Vista, Longhorn Server, and Exchange 2007. But, I'll just watch some blogs and see what I can glean from them. :), if you want to get a taste of what's there.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Excitement for Exchange 2007

I'm still having a hard time saying "Exchange 2007", because "Exchange 12" just seems to roll off the tongue much easier. Oh well, I'll eventually get used to it.

Anyway, after seeing a demo of Exchange 2007 at the local Exchange User Group meeting (, I'm really looking forward to the Beta 2 release of this product, and obviously the release date sometime in 2007. To summarize some of what I'm excited about:

CCR and LCR (clustering technologies) - CCR (Cluster Continuous Replication) is going to be great for distributed environments or DR scenarios. LCR (Local Continuous Relication) looks good, too. :) More on these when I dig up some good information.

OWA - Near-Outlook level functionality. Every release seems to blur the line further between client and web-based e-mail interactivity. Granted, OWA in Exchange 5.5 was, shall we say, primitive, it still allowed remote access to e-mail without getting into the network (ideally).

Unified Messaging - It was awesome to see the Unified Messaging in action. With Speech Server integrated on the back-end, you can now interact with your mailbox on the phone. And, if you check your mail on a kiosk, or a workstation somewhere you don't want everyone within earshot to hear your voicemail, you can send the voicemail message off to any phone number - your cell, a nearby desk phone, whatever. More accessibility = more ways to stay connected! Wait, is that a good thing? ;)

And, if I may do a little advertisement - - The Exchange team blog. A great resource, to say the least.

No media bias = BS

How the media, in the Bush presidency, portrays 75,000 new jobs in a month:

"Job growth faltered in May, with employers boosting payrolls by just 75,000. Yet the nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.6 percent, the lowest since the summer of 2001."

How the media, in the Clinton presidency, would have portrayed the same numbers:

"75,000 new jobs were created last month! And unemployment dropped to a 5 year low! These are fantastic numbers that showcase that the policies put into motion are working!"

Remember how the media (and Democrats trolling for votes) were absolutely ripping Bush and a perceived "lack of job growth" 3 years ago? That Bush's job creation numbers were the worst since the Great Depression? How much did you hear about the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been created over the past 6 month? I'll bet very little, unless you had a reason to listen for those numbers. But now that job growth has been sustained over the past 2+ years, 75,000 jobs created in a month is now spun to be a negative. There have been 2.4 million jobs created in the past 12 months, and unemployment has dropped by .5% to 4.6% from 5.1%.

All this serves as proof that the media reports what IT wants to report, not what it should report.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A new job

Well, I'm at my new job, which started on Monday. I'm excited to be here! My title is Consultant, and I'll be working with clients to provide Microsoft solutions and also trying to get our other offerings in the mix as well (NetApp, EMC, VMWare, et al.). I'm really looking forward to working here - the salespeople seem to know how to sell Microsoft solutions, unlike my previous employer. I've already been asked to help with a few clients, to either help out on the project or to help with configurations.

I'm also looking forward to bringing MOM 2005 (Microsoft Operations Manager) into the mix here. It appears to be the missing piece of their monitoring puzzle - they do high-end monitoring products, and also low-end (like HP Insight Manager). But that middle space isn't covered, and that's where I think MOM 2005 will be a great fit. I'm also looking forward to becoming a VMWare Certified Professional, and learning more about the NetApp product line, EMC, and the rest of our offerings. So I think I am really going to enjoy it here!

Now, I need to get a wireless mouse and a laptop bag, and I'll be set. Well, maybe some additional memory for my laptop and a DVD burner, but I digress.... ;)

I have succumbed...

to the blog. Help me, please....

Ok, there must be a point to a blog, right? Here's mine - a place to vent, rant, or simply enlighten. Or maybe point out the obvious, or give an opinion. And there's always the occasional stream-of-consciousness typing.

So, I'll have to get used to this blogging thing. You know, formatting, content, etc.

Please feel free to comment. I may reply. I may not. At least I'll know someone's reading. :)