Entries Tagged as 'Microsoft'

Pro Microsoft

Many people who don’t know me very well always assume I’m a fan of Microsoft because I used to work there… interestingly enough they don’t think of me as a fan of Oracle, Novell, or AT&T (even though the same logic would apply).  [It’s true that I would never work for a company that I didn’t “like” but that doesn’t mean working for a company makes me blind.]

People who know me know I’m not a fan of much of anything for superficial reasons… in general I like what I like based on concrete reasons — and just because I felt something was good yesterday, doesn’t mean I’ll feel it good tomorrow.

As I’ve said many times; choose the right tool for the job, and don’t get wrapped up in some emotional attachment to a company (that goes doubly for you Apple bigots out there).

There used to be a joke that “no one ever got fired for choosing IBM” — I think to some extent people consider Microsoft a safe choice in a small to medium size company; maybe, but you only have your job as long as your company is in business.

Originally posted 2010-03-25 02:00:30.

Windows Phone 7

Today Microsoft hosts and “open house” in New York and London.

Rumor has it that it’s to showcase “toys” for the holiday season, and it’s likely to feature the Windows Phone 7.

There’s no confirmations from Microsoft on much of anything relating to Windows Phone 7 (except that it’s coming); but indications are the launch in Europe will be on 21 October, and in the US it will be on 8 November.

Also, it appears that only GSM handsets will be shipping this year; CDMA handsets will not be available until next year.

HTC, Samsung, and LG have all received FCC approvals for their upcoming Windows Phone 7 handsets and ads featuring the HTC Mondiran (for AT&T) have been leaked onto the web.

Microsoft has tried for nearly two decades to capture the hand held device / smart phone market; and to this point in time they’ve allowed two relative new comers to corner that market (Apple first, then Google).

Now Microsoft ships 7, not long after 6.5 — and what they’re telling us is that no current Windows Phone handset will be updated; and no current software running on a Windows Phone will work… or more clearly, forget the investment you’ve made in hardware or software.

If you’re going to buy something that’s totally new and different, and only leverages the Windows name… why go with what most of the world has chosen — Android.


Originally posted 2010-10-11 02:00:36.

A farewell to blibbets…

It was a sad day last week when my last Microsoft “blibbet” T-Shirt became a collection of rags.

I’d had the shirt since 1985 — and with it’s passing so goes an era.

For those of you who don’t know what the “blibbet” was, it was the “O” in the old (I believe technically second) Microsoft logo — and that was the logo they used up until 1987.

Fortunately I still have much of the stock that came with the “blibbet” T-Shirt. LOL

Originally posted 2009-08-25 01:00:25.

A signature Mac Book

But not from Steve Jobs, but rather Steve Balmer.

Last week Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft Corporation, participated in a meet and greet after speaking at Nashville Technology Council (held at Trevecca Nazarene University) and was ask to sign an individual’s aluminum Mac Book — and he did, right across the Apple logo!

Originally posted 2010-01-28 01:00:23.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Word for MS-DOS shipped in September 1893.

In January 1985 Microsoft shipped Word 1.0 for Macintosh and Word 2.0 for DOS.  In September they followed with Excel 1.0 for Macintosh.

In September 1886 Microsoft shipped Microsoft Works for Macintosh.  Followed in October by Word 3.0 for Macintosh (skipping version 2.0) and Word 2.0 for DOS.

In July 1987 Microsoft acquires Forethought and with that the basis for PowerPoint.  In September PowerPoint 1.0 for the Macintosh is shipped.

In July 1988 Microsoft ships PowerPoint 2.0 for the Macintosh.

In June 1989 Microsoft ships Office 1.0 for the Macintosh.

In May 1990 Microsoft ships PowerPoint 2.0 for Windows and in October Office 1.0 (which includes Excel 2.0, Word 2.1, and PowerPoint 2.0).

In January 1991 Microsoft ships Excel 3.0 for Windows.  In October Word 2.0 for Windows.

In August 1992 Microsoft ships Office 3.0 for Windows (includes PowerPoint 3.0, Word for Windows 2.0, and Excel 4.0).  In November Microsoft ships Access 1.o.

In September 1993 Microsoft ships the one millionth copy of Access, and Access 1.1 is the number one selling PC database.  In November Office 4.0 for Windows ships and by the end of the more than ten millions copies of Word are in use.

In May 1994 Microsoft ships Access 2.0 for Windows and Office 4.3 Professional for Windows (adding Access 2.0 to the Office 4 package).

In August 1995 Microsoft ships Office 95 supporting it’s new flag ship operating environment Windows 95.  By the end of the more than 30 million people now use Excel.

In April 1996 Exchange Server 4.0 is released as an upgrade to Microsoft Mail 3.5.

In January 1997 Microsoft Outlook 97 ships.  In March Exchange Server 5.0.  In November Office 97 is introduced and sells more than 60 million copies.

In January 1998 Office 98 for the Macintosh ships (Word 98, Excel 98, PowerPoint 98, and Outlook Express).  In March Outlook 98 is introduced on Windows, and over 1 million copies are sold by May.

In March 1999 Access 200 is released which enabled integration with Microsoft SQL Server.  In June Office 200 ships and attempts to bring web integration to the office platform.

In October 2000 Exchange Server 2000 is shipped and integrated e-mail, voice mail, and fax.

In March 2001 Office SharePoint Portal Server 2001 is shipped.  In May Office XP ships to support Microsoft new flag ship operating system.

In October 2003 Office 2003 ships along with Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003.  OneNote and InfoPath are introduced as parts of the Office system.  SharePoint is offered as a free addition to Windows Server 2003.  The Office logo is updated from the old puzzle image to it’s current form. Exchange Server 2003 is shipped.

In April 2005 Microsoft acquires Groove and adds it to the Office suite.

In December 2006 Exchange Server 2007 is shipped.

In January 2007 Microsoft ships Office 2007 and SharePoint Server 2007.

In March 2008 Office Live debuts, by September 1 million users are signed up.  In October Office Web applications are announced.

In April 2010 Exchange 2010 is shipped.  In July Office 2010, Project 2010, and SharePoint 2010 are previewed.  In September Office Web Apps are previewed.  In October Microsoft introduces Office Start 2010,  In November Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010 are available as a public beta.  Office Mobile 2010 is announced and available as a public beta.

__________

Microsoft certainly deserves a great deal of credit for pushing the envelope for office productivity applications.  Gone are the days of archane key sequences in Word Perfect and hardware incompatibilities in Visi-Calc…

Many companies choose to use Microsoft products because that is what they know, and that is what Microsoft’s huge sales force promotes… is Office 2010 in your future or will you choose a different coarse?

Microsoft Office Timeline

Originally posted 2010-01-19 02:00:07.

Microsoft Office 2010

The ides of June (that was Monday the 15th) Microsoft announced the newest version of their Office suite — Microsoft Office 2010… yawn.

As part of the announcement, Microsoft also unveiled Microsoft Office Live — that’s a “scaled down” version of the office products offered absolutely free as part of the Microsoft Live website.

The online version, like the desktop version, has been in beta for quite some time, so none of the features of capabilities (or limitations) should be a big surprise to anyone who’s shown enough interest to try the online version or download and install the desktop version.

While I totally understand Microsoft’s need to sustain (and expand) their cash flow through upgrades (after all, Apple has now overtaken Microsoft as the largest technology company based on stock market valuation) — but why most people would even consider an upgrade to something they only use a fraction of the capabilities of is totally beyond me.

Microsoft is meeting competition on the office front from both Open Office (a free desktop office suite) and Google Office (an online office suite) — and competition in the office arena isn’t something Microsoft has had to deal with since killing off Word Perfect a quarter century ago!

I want Microsoft stock to appreciate (trust me, my portfolio still depends on it); but perhaps Steve Balmer should consider making Microsoft a leader through innovation rather than just putting lipstick on a pig (after all, it didn’t work in the last presidential election — and I serious doubt it’ll work in the technology race).

In my view, the features most people really need and use in an office suite are perfectly generic in this day and age — and most people fumble around to do the things they need to do anyway (read that as they aren’t an expert with the software), so why not pick out something that works, works well, and is affordable (free)?

Personally I don’t trust Google, and I don’t want my documents (or any other information) on their servers… so I’ll stick with Open Office, and I’ve been using the Go OO version (it’s a re-packing of the open source Open Office with some refinements to make it look-and-feel a little more like other programs on the host environment).  Try it out — and see if it won’t do everything you need — it’s priced right, it’s free (as in “free beer”)!

Go OO Open Office

Originally posted 2010-06-17 02:00:43.

Microsoft Virtual Server and Virtual PC Windows Guest Optimization

Keeping a Windows virtual machine running well using a Microsoft virtualization system is fairly simple, and here are the best practices that I’ve come up with (through trial and error and reading).

First, if you use Virtual Server rather than Virtual PC make sure you’re using SCSI disks, and regardless, always try to use the most current virtual tools in your guest.

Second, if you use dynamically expanding disks you need to compact them occasionally to decrease the size; you might as well defrag them in the guest before doing the compact and clean off unnecessary files as well; and if you have the time, defragment the host as well.  The reason for keeping the dynamically expanding disks as small as possible is caching and head travel — small is good.

Third, if you’re running something like SQL server inside a virtual machine, or software that tends to grow and shrink the store, consider using a pre-allocated disk rather than a dynamic one, it will probably be much better in the long run.

 

Now, here are a few of the “tools” I use to make my life easy.  first, I create a batch file that contains:

  1. if EXIST “C:\Program Files\OO Software\Defrag Professional\oodcmd.exe” set oodcmd=”C:\Program Files\OO Software\Defrag Professional\oodcmd.exe”
  2. if EXIST “C:\Program Files\OO Software\Defrag Server\oodcmd.exe” set oodcmd=”C:\Program Files\OO Software\Defrag Server\oodcmd.exe”
  3. REM Disk Clean
  4. regedit /S cleanmgr-0666.reg
  5. start /WAIT cleanmgr /sagerun:666
  6. REM Defrag
  7. %oodcmd% /COMPMOD:ALL
  8. REM pre-compactor
  9. precompact -silent
  10. REM shutdown
  11. shutdown /f /s /t

I use O&O Software’s OODefrag to defragment my disks; some of my machines have the professional version installed, and some have the server version installed; so lines 1 & 2 just figures out which of the versions is installed.

Line 4 setups up for calling the disk cleaner manager, because Microsoft really didn’t create a very good command line interface to it, you have to write a job detail into the registry.  You actually only need do it once, but rather than see if it’s there, I just write the “current” version to it.  666 is an arbitrary choice of labels.  I put a copy of what’s in the reg file at the end of the post, use MSDN to decipher it.

Line 5 invokes the disk cleaner manager with the job that was setup in line 4.

Line 7 defragments all the drives.

Line 9 invokes the precompactor (comes with virtual server, but works for virtual pc as well).

Line 11 shutsdown the system.

After the system is shut down, you need to run the compactor from the host, you can invoke that with Virtual Server with a script, or through the web interface (inspect disk); with Virtual PC you’ll need to do that with the virtual disk wizard.

After the compactor is finished, consider defragmenting your host disk (at least occassionally).

I actually have permutations of this procedure for use with Parallels and VMware.  Both Parallels and VMware have an interface for this, but it really doesn’t do that great of a job in the guest, so you can definitely improve on it by doing the same procedures I do for the Microsoft products before calling their “built in” functions.

 

If you use UNDO disks and always throw away your changes, you only need to do this procedure once (with UNDO turned off), degragment the host files, then enable UNDO.  Since the base disks never change (until you need to apply service packs, patches, etc), you never need to worry about cleanup.  But don’t let UNDO disk change sets grow extremely large or your performance will suffer.

One more word of advice, if you copy your virtual machines (and this is true of any of the virtualization systems), make sure you allow the virtualization software to create a new descriptor file (to avoid MAC address duplication, though Virtual Server can handle this), and make sure you run NewSid.exe (or a similar program) in a Windows host to change it’s name and security identifier.

________________________________________

cleanmgr-0666-reg

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches] [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Active Setup Temp Folders] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000000

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Content Indexer Cleaner] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000000

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Downloaded Program Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Internet Cache Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Memory Dump Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Microsoft_Event_Reporting_2.0_Temp_Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Old ChkDsk Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Recycle Bin] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Remote Desktop Cache Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Setup Log Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Temporary Files] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\WebClient and WebPublisher Cache] “StateFlags0666″=dword:00000002

 

Originally posted 2008-05-18 20:46:42.

Microsoft Office Accounting 2008

Microsoft has been in the small business accounting for quite some time; originally they expanded Money to have capabilities they hoped would attract small business into the empire, but that didn’t really go very far.  Then they acquired two separate companies… the later of which (Great Plains) was successful before Microsoft acquired them and has continues as “Microsoft Dynamics” into the new millennium.

The Great Plains derived software was a little too serious for small businesses, so Microsoft was still left without much of an entry in that market.

So leveraging off the “Office” branding they created a line of small business software that built on existing technology.

Microsoft Office Accounting 2008 (the current version) is available in both a Professional, and an Express version.  If you’re looking to manage a really small business, don’t need multi users, don’t need your database on a separate machine… then the Express (FREE) version may well be all you need.  However at a street price of less than $80 (full version) and competitive upgrade programs available, the Professional version is attractively priced, so even if you just want to be able to store your data in a massive SQL Server running on the other side of the world, and run the client software in a virtual machine — it’s not going to break the bank.

I haven’t looked at the Professional version, but the Express version comes with some pretty low-rent templates for all your forms; the good news is you use Word to customize them, and it’s fairly straight forward if you’ve ever done mail-merge (or anything involving macros and/or fields) to reproduce the invoice from your previous accounting software (or improve on it).

Microsoft Office Accounting