Archive for July, 2006
The PlusNet accidental deletion of customer emails is getting nasty as reported by The Register. The Marketing Director of PlusNet has gone on the attack, which is bizarre! They delete 700 GB of customer data and are not able to recover it and expect people not to complain! I think they have just lost the plot. I am a customer of PlusNet and have one of my customers using their business service, luckily not using their email services! Here is their explaination of the data recovery process :-
We are currently awaiting the file directory of data which can be recovered from the data recovery company. A problem has been accounted when compiling this list.
The original data was seperated into 3 volumes. Volume 1 is the most heavily damaged, and is also where the master file table was located. Volumes 2 and 3 are where we expect to retrieve the majority of the data from. However this means that the data recovery company have to work backwards in a sense, building the file directory from the data. Once this is complete we can begin the restoration as described yesterday. We are in continous communication regarding this issue and will post regular updates on the progress achieved.
The answer is simple, if you can’t run an enterprise class service then go and do something else but don’t blame your customers. It follows on from a recent study that BT was the best consumer ISP service. Now there’s something!
We had the West Midlands SBS Meeting and I have some photos to share on Flickr from the meeting. My friend Katy Smart of Cheeky Monkey Marketing did a talk on “Marketing to Small Businesses” and she did a good job. I always learn something new from her and I don’t think she realises how good she is! All the best people have a good deal of humility about them. She’s in to neuro-linguistic programming, so I keep thinking she’s manipulating my mind in to liking her? Tom was back from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference and the pre-event, Small Business Symposium, so was able to show us some interesting photos!
The group seems to be distilling itself in to a core group of people which is inevitable with any group of this kind. Could it be something to do with the fact that the Microsoft funding has now finished so we are having to pay our own way! Cynical, me! Never!
I meant to blog about the NxtGenUG meeting on 10th July at Coventry Flying Club next to Coventry Airport that I went to. You didn’t realise Coventry had an airport? Well the joke is that it’s the only Airport with a cattle grid!
NxtGenUG is a Microsoft developer focused group which meets in the Midlands, alternating venues from Birmingham to Coventry. The main talk was by Benjamin Mitchell, a Microsoft MVP currently working for Lloyds on Insurance Applications, on Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). The purpose of this framework is to abstract the development of business logic and processes to a higher level, so that you’re not having to worry about reinventing all the plumbing code. If you’re not from a programming background then that’s not going to make any sense at all! The interesting thing for me is that you’ll be able to plug it into Microsoft CRM.
The good news is that I won a copy of the book “MOM” by O’Reilly which was cool!
Microsoft has been fined 280m Euros for failing to comply with an anti-competition ruling as reported by BBC News Online. Here is an interview with Neelie Kroes, Competition Commissioner for the European Union. I just hope that Microsoft learns from these lessons as these cases are not good for end customer views of Microsoft. The world demands interoperable solutions and we should all do our best to futher this cause, this should be a goal even above our allegiance to a particular vendor!
Groklaw is on the case, which is probably bad news for Microsoft!
Also, let’s remember that the US took Antitrust proceedings against Microsoft as well.
When I initially heard that Microsoft was going to be supporting an Open Source tool called the ODF Converter as a Sourceforge project, I thought this was good. However, having thought about this and then seen a post on Dave Overton’s blog, I’m not convinced anymore. As part of the discussion on Dave Overton’s blog I posted a comparison of a simple document in ODT and Office 2003 XML format. What I was surprised to see was that the ODT format looked like it was far easier to extract data from than the 2003 XML format, and Dave’s example seemed to reinforce the argument towards ODF! You can read a technical comparison here and have a look at an IBM developerWorks blog which gives a contrary view to Microsoft. Now IBM and Microsoft are not necessarily the best of pals and as a partner of both, it’s interesting sometimes to see each other’s views.
Sometimes, Microsoft chooses to fight the wrong battles and this feels like that. They spend a lot of time rubbishing things like the ODF and on the surface you accept these things (or at least many people do), but I’m not sure Microsoft’s arguments are actually based in reality here. Now, I am no expert in XML or the various document formats but I have spent over 15 years developing software.
If we want the best end results for our customers then we all have to work together on common standards when it comes to data storage formats and networking protocols, there is no other way!
If you want to follow the ODF then look at the ODF Alliance.
You might want to read this Gartner article, which states that,
The future of Microsoft’s proposed Open XML format is unclear. Microsoft only submitted this format for the European Computer Manufacturers Association’s (Ecma’s) approval in late 2005, after Massachusetts mandated that agencies use ODF for office productivity documents. Until Massachusetts’ decision, Microsoft seemed to ignore growing support for ODF. Microsoft plans to submit its XML format to ISO after Ecma approval. But ISO will not approve multiple XML
VMware server is now generally available and is a free download. I’ve not really got in to Microsoft’s Virtual PC and Virtual Server (which is a free download as well). VMware server is a virtualisation technology which allows you to run multiple operating systems on a platform. So, you can run Linux on top of Windows or run Windows on top of Linux. It supports quite an impressive list of OSes. It’s a really cool technology for testing, demoing and learning.
Dave Overton (Microsoft Head of Small Business Technology, UK) has a post on his blog about the ODF Plugin, which I welcomed in an earlier post on my blog. However, for an alternative view have a read of this post on the Groklaw website. Pamela Jones does have a point in some respects as Microsoft have spent a fair amount of effort in the past rubbishing the ODF and are now supporting it! Now, it is easy to see conspiracy in these things, but it is quite a turn around just as various governments seem to be growing closer to the OpenDocument Format. I’ll let you decide!
Here is Steve Ballmer’s (Microsoft’s CEO) keynote speech from the current Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Good start with the African Child’s Choir and then you get the rather strange presenting style of Steve Balmer, which is a combination of shouting and screeching!
The interesting phrase is “coopetition” around things like security products and services, which must be rather worrying to some partners! Microsoft has a rapidly expanding portfolio of products and services on there way. I think it’ll have to be careful it doesn’t try to do too much and alienate a lot of people on the way and bring the wrath of anti-competitive legislation down upon themselves (again)!
This is a pre-event to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference which is going on right now in Boston, USA. Just to say Vlad has some coverage of this and one of our colleagues, Tom Crosbie, has been presenting along with Susanne Dansey and Mark Taylor as to the successes of the SBS Community in the UK. Before, Tom went he was at pains to say what hard work the trip was going to be. Sorry Tom, but your story’s been blown by Vlad!
As I write this Susanne has updated her blog on the Small Business Symposium.