Archive for August, 2007

SBSC PALs Q&A Session at SMB Nation

The ever intrepid Mark Crall is trying to arrange a SBSC PALs Q&A Session at SMB Nation on Monday 1st October around 2.00pm. I think the actual time is still being finalised but I just wanted to give people a heads up and to look out for the session. Hopefully, there will be a few SBSC PALs there with Microsoft’s Andrea Russell who is the Worldwide Lead for the SBSC Programme. If you’re attending SMB Nation then I urge you to get along, get your views and opinions out there and to build this Programme into something that is delivering even more value to all the stakeholders. You don’t get these opportunities often, so I’d grab at it. Unfortunately I won’t be there and of course I’m gonna wanna know about the parties !!

The woes of OfficeLive

I am a bit of a fan of OfficeLive seeing as it’s built on WSS 3.0, so I was extremely disappointed at my experience of it today. I had told a colleague of mine to set up a new website using OfficeLive Premium for some work we’ll be doing together. He came back to me today and said that he couldn’t create an additional email user. Okay, that’s strange I thought as there’s not much room for user error. I logged in and true enough we were getting the “The mailbox could not be created at this time. Please try again later”. That didn’t seem right to me and then I realised I couldn’t see the default admin user in the Email User’s list although I could access the Inbox. However, when I signed out of Live Mail it threw a Server Application Error. Ooops, not good at all!! Now I knew this was messed up on the server side. So I rang the Support number and a very nice man reset the default password and tried it himself and verified it wasn’t anything to do with my set up, network, firewall, etc – the usual things that support people assume or have on their script to ask. So, he escalated this up to the Server Support Team and told me it might take a couple of days to fix. He asked me what Operating System I was using so I told him Vista Ultimate with IE 7.0. To my surprise he told me that there were issues with OfficeLive and Vista and that I should in future use an alternative OS. Huh? …what like Linux? I thought that but didn’t say it! I asked him if the issues were documented anywhere that he could point me to. Nope, I should go and Live Search it – for heaven’s sake I thought! What issue could there be with using Vista and OfficeLive when it came to making System Changes from the Member Center, it’s just being accessed via a browser???

The reply I got from my colleague was that he hoped this didn’t turn into a nightmare like he’d recently had with 1and1. Doh!! Thanks Microsoft, there I was saying what a great system this was and how Microsoft knew how to run Enterprise systems and the first thing I get is a “Server Application Error”!!!

MSDN Event – Birmingham

MSDN Event – Overview of Visual Sudio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5

The event is on 26th September 2007 at 14.15 at the Lakeside Centre, Suite 1, Aston University, University Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET

Presented by Daniel Moth and Mike Taulty

Register Here



Team Newblood – Susanne Dansey

susanne_dansey.jpg Those Yanks have tried to claim Susanne for many years as their own but we all know she is actually officially part of the National Treasure of the United Kingdom and when not out in public is locked away safely with the Crown Jewels. We know there is only one Ms Dansey contrary to Mr Rue’s assertion. I’d refer readers to my wonderful piece of journalism and the Susanne Dansey Interview. What can I say that hasn’t already been written about her. She’s recently become a SBS MVP and moved to working for Westcoast as the Microsoft Channel Development Manager. If there’s only one blog you’re going to subscribe to then it’s got to be hers. The most helpful person in the known Universe!!

Team Newblood – Jen Brinton

jen_brinton.jpg Jen is the new Microsoft UK SBSC Programme Manager, so she’s going to be a pretty important part of our lives going forward. I met Jen at the Small Business Symposium in Denver and spent some time trying to talk to her sensibly about the SBSC Programme but failing miserably as I was normally trying to recover from the night before. She put up with me, so she’s alright in my book. She’s an extremely bright and switched-on person who’s carrying on the great tradition of our forefathers Overton, Upcroft and Hannah. Her claim to fame is to have had her picture taken with Vlad (eventhough she didn’t know or care who he was) and to have shared a plane ride to Orlando with him. Never mind, it can only get better for her from here on in :-)

Team Newblood – Tim Long

tim_long.jpg Tim was recently appointed as a SBS MVP (Microsoft Valuable Professional) which means he already acts as a technical resource for people and has been recognised by his peers and Microsoft for doing so. He’s one of the most passionate people around when it comes to being an SBSC Partner and has campaigned tirelessly for Microsoft to recognise the value of the Programme. His blog is a must read for anyone who is an SBSC Partner and if you’ve not already subscribed to the RSS feed, then go do it now and contribute via comments on his blog posts. If Tim didn’t exist we’d have to invent him but luckily we don’t have to resort to such measures! So, go ask him your questions on SBS – I’m sure he won’t mind, obviously within reason :-)


Hosting Silverlight on Linux

This seems fairly obvious when you think about it and I’m pretty sure Dave Overton has mentioned this previously in a blog post, but you don’t need a Windows Server to host Silverlight. As long as the webserver will serve the assets up to the client browser, the Silverlight plugin will render the content. Tim Heuer has the low down on this.

Team Newblood – Michael Bryett

michael_bryett.jpg I really got to know Mike at Denver where he was my drinking partner and fellow party companion. He’s the Group Leader of the TVP SBS Group and has done a superb job in leading the Group and getting Symantec to host the Group for free as well. He’s just an ace bloke and a firm friend of mine now. He’s an award winning demo video winner for Vista and Office, what a great creation! He’s a supreme “Poker” in Facebook and with a “Wall” application that takes about two days to scroll down to – it may just qualify for the Guinness World Record Book! He’s also the undisputed collector of SWAG at Conferences and has more free t-shirts from WPC than is feasibly possible for any single human being. If you’re anywhere near Reading then I urge you to get in touch with Mike at Computer Geekz and get along to the meetings. A definite rising star!!

Team Newblood – Gareth Brown

gareth_brown.jpg Not one for ever letting a challenge go by without being answered, here is some of my essential Community Resources. Now, I can’t write with the same quality as Chris but my first essential resource is Gareth Brown of Sytec, my fellow SBSC PAL for the UK. Gareth is a masterclass of business knowledge and when he talks, I listen. He may not have a blog or be posting around in forums because he’s busy being focused on two things. The first and foremost thing is business success and excellence. The second thing is delivering ever more resources to SBSC Partners from Microsoft UK. I think there is a special cupboard at TVP that probably has a stackful of Gareth’s suggestions and proposals. Expect Microsoft to have fully analysed this information by the year 2050. He is the ultimate networker, with the ability to talk to anyone about anything at the drop of a hat. He’s willing to share his business ideas quite openly and has been doing Hardware as a Service using SPLA before even Microsoft thought this was possible with SPLA! He’s one of the people in the UK that really gets the value of collaborative working and has taken his business to become a Gold Certified Partner through the SBSC Programme. He really gets it!!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I chose this title from Milan Kundera’s book and the subsequent film that was made.

It’s been a tough old time for a couple of friends of mine recently. Vlad’s crisis is pretty well chronicled on his blog and it’s not been easy reading and so it couldn’t have been easy to write. But as we’ve come to learn, Vlad’s going to tell us all, the good and the bad. Whilst I don’t know him that well personally, having only met him in Denver at WPC 07, one thing I’ve come to learn is that he’s a “people person” and willing to connect with people across the Ocean. Maybe, it’s because having been born outside of the US he has a wider perspective but the “shout outs” he gives to colleagues over here are really welcome and a motivation to ordinary SBSC Partners. One thing I do know about Vlad is that you have to earn his respect.

Another friend of mine has had a tough time having taken part in a 100km trek for Charity in a team of people but had to pull out before the finish. She was dejected and sent an email out to her supporters and was open about her feelings. She’d trained hard for many months with her colleagues and endured a punishing mental and physical schedule. During this time she’d injured her knee and on the actual walk she was taking pain killers which I believe ultimately caused the stomach cramps which forced her to quit early. It had been a journey for her and she’d learnt a lot about herself in this adversity and was determined to come back stronger for having failed. I questioned whether this was failure, whether pushing yourself to these limits and having to say enough is enough was not unreasonable.

But what can you say to people in these situations? Are they going to feel any less disappointed for your platitudes? The greatest critic these people have are themselves and you know they’ll come through it in their own time.

So, this past week I learnt a lot myself and as both of these people phrased it “shit happens”!

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