Archive for March, 2006


Bad Employee Treatment at Microsoft
Posted: 8:33 pm
March 16th, 2006
IT Business, Microsoft

This one is for all my friends at Microsoft that haven't killed me (yet): The bitchslap of the week award goes to Bill Gates commenting on the $100 computer:

""If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type" Gates said."

Cranking the computer while you type? Talk about dissing your employee of the month!

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Oh sweet RSS Irony
Posted: 7:50 pm
March 16th, 2006
Open Source

So I'm going through my local Linux user group mailing list and a thread with the subject "[GoLugTech] Is this do-able in linux?" pops up. Alright, I'm intrigued if something can be done with Linux, what do you need? Are you curious too? Is that awesome or what?

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Microsoft Small Business Summit a Failure?
Posted: 9:02 am
March 16th, 2006
Events, Microsoft, SMB

There is a lot of public bashing about Microsoft Small Business Summit being a failure. From webcasts crashing to the poor application design all the way to the following line mentioned in the newsgroups:

"This has got to be the cheesiest setup ran by MS that I've seen and certainly would not make a small biz owner confident in going MS." – James Barrett

Ouch. Most of the fault here should go to the incompetent web developer Microsoft hired to put this thing together for them. I mean, when you're designing a nationwide campaign that will have broad appeal and require massive bandwidth do you trust your webmaster that can't figure out his way out of FrontPage/Dreamweaver or do you put it in the hands of people that run porn sites? No really, who do you think is more competent? Art school dropout or someone that needs to push thousands of simultaneous streams of Jenna Jameson without a nanosecond buffering pause? Nuff said. But lets stop bashing for a moment and consider what a success this has been for Microsoft and for small business everywhere. As someone that heavily promotes Microsoft SST presentations (TS2, Connections, Technet) I can tell you that the hardest thing to do is get a busy small business entrepreneur to take four hours away from their business in the middle of the day. It is down right impossible. Every single event I go to has roughly 400 invitations sent out to customers and potential customers — roughly 10-20 actually show up. Why? Time is money, and time from 8:00am – 5:00pm is even more money! I think that the idea of reaching these people over the web is absolutely brilliant. Really, I do. And despite engineering failures the site is pretty straight forward – watch the show, get the kit, find a local shop to help you with your small business technology. It looks good. Also keep in mind that this is the very first try by Microsoft to do something of this scale. Yes they have tons of LiveMeeting presentations every day but the attendance on those is dreadful – most of them have less than 30 people and the biggest one I've ever been on had just a touch over 100. They knew they could not pull this off in house, they just prospected their vendor poorly. We have all done that. Let's just try to be thankful that this event actually happened and that future ones are better. We are all trying to make small business aware of their need for stable managed networks and software and any effort on that part, no matter how poorly executed, is an A+ in my book.

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Why become a Microsoft partner?
Posted: 10:20 pm
March 15th, 2006
IT Business, Microsoft

I was playing an interesting game with a friend called "who is the real Microsoft partner" among registered Microsoft partners. But what, oh what, could these guys find in the Microsoft Partner Program if their primary (or secondary or tertiary) business is not software or hardware solutions? I'm sure they are all just looking for industry analyst reports… yeah, thats gotta be it! I did my little localized search for Orlando and found roughly 300+ partners, several dozen of them not even real companies. But those that are will just shock you. Please tell me what are these businesses doing in the Partner program?: bank, NBA team, health & environmental consulting services, title company, used car salesman, A/C repair shop, hotel chain, sport promoter and even a kid toy marketing firm. But don't take my word for it, take a look at these local businesses and guess why they are partners?

ORLANDO FEDERAL CREDIT UNION http://www.orlandofcu.org Orlando Magic NBA Basketball franchise. Orlando Magic, Ltd. OHC Environmental Engineering, Inc. http://www.ohcnet.com OHC is a leading Florida-based corporation dedicated to providing comprehensive Occupational Health and environmental Consulting services. Teri Isner Orlando Real Estate and Real Estate Investments in Central Florida ATTORNEYS TITLE INSURANCE Real Estate Title Insurance for Attorneys www.thefund.com best used auto parts we sale parts and buy cars Efficient Air Systems, Inc. http://www.easiac.com air conditioner installations Superior Group LLC Our company is a hotel/resort community with major growth between now and 2007. The Ewings Group Sports sponsorships and Event marketing Conculting World's Fair for Kids World's Fair for Kids in an entertainment/marketing company designed to generate interest in youth-oriented products

Judge for yourself what Microsoft is doing to its legitimate partners by allowing these organizations in the partner program. Is it fair to criticise Microsoft for apparent lack of filtering? Absolutely. They are the gatekeeper and doing a lousy job. But they are not the only guilty party here. Rest assured that businesses did not just wake up one day and try to find a cheaper way – they were guided into it by their computer guy. If you recommend action pack to your clients you are no better than a pirate.

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Commercial Office Space
Posted: 3:24 pm
March 15th, 2006
IT Business, Misc

Ok, so this is a little off-topic from what is usually on my mind but I think it would be helpful to a lot of you. Following piece was written by Dana Epp, fellow Security MVP, on the subject of commercial office space and leasing. Don't you just love it when experts are not just one-dimensional drones? Here we go: — But I would like to comment on your lease negotiations. I have had success with a few of my companies now where I used a 'step-lease' to grow my business. It works like this. You sign a short term contract (say 1 year) where you ask for a step-lease, in which you have periods of time in which the payments grow. Maybe you start out at $500/month in Q1, then $575/month for Q2, $650 for Q3 and $725 for Q4. This gives your business time to adjust for the expenses and allows the property manager to have an expected cashflow. Don't be fooled… Their job is to try to get long term tenants in the building. They will typically work with you if you have achievable goals. Give yourself an out clause. I would typically negotiate a 3 month window. This would mean at any one time, I would have to pay 3 months rent if I decided to close down operations. And if you can, get an option for a second year at the original accepted lease agreement (in your case $750). In this way, they can't hold you hostage when your 1 year term ends. I have heard horror stories of tenants coming up to their last month on a lease and being held hostage by the property manager. You don't want to be in that uncomfortable position… Worrying if you have to move your office, get new letterhead/phone numbers etc. I'd also ask the property manager if you can get the triple-net fees broken down and in writing. It isn't uncommon for "common property" rate hikes (like gas prices rising)… And you can eliminate this risk by ensuring its all in writing. You can't afford to have unknown expenses hit you when you make sure a large overhead investment. As a final note, I would suggest NOT taking on sublet tenants. You have your own business to worry about… Fretting about real estate shouldn't be one of them. You don't want to have to source tenants, collect rent and worry about extra insurance and security to deal with it. If you can't afford this space on your own… find other space. I don't see why you can't find 300sq/ft to meet your needs for a lot less than that. Of course, I don't live in your area to be able to make a judgment call on that one. Get space that works FOR you. Don't become a SLAVE to it. — How's that for some good advice??

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Google Desktop leaves Beta
Posted: 5:52 am
March 15th, 2006
Google, Web 2.0

Google Desktop is supposed to leave the beta stage and go live today. I initially got GDS for search purposes but what made me stay is the near infinite number of widgets that are developed by others – most even share the source code. Certainly something for Microsoft to take note of and excite developers for their search platform at launch. It's not all about "finding" it, its more about organizing and making it available. My GDS includes news, scratchpad, todo, quickview, weather, search and RSS from places I still browse to. So go get it. Make sure you do not enable search across workstations or Google will copy your files to their servers. Big no no!

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Best Buy now Gold Certified Partner
Posted: 9:37 am
March 14th, 2006
IT Business, Microsoft

Best Buy is now a Gold Certified Partner in addition to being trained by Harry Brelsfords books. There has been relatively little interest in this by IT consultants but having dealt with Microsoft Partners for over a decade I can tell you I'm not surprised by the lack of concern. There is always the "we're better" attitude in the low-end consulting world.. you used to know these as your local system builders, Y2K experts, webmasters, web hosting companies and support engineers. Todays flavor is "Managed Service Providers" but inevidably only the best will survive. Many shots have been taken at Best Buy and their incompetence, but if they all read all of Harry's books they will be at least as good if not better than half the partners I see out there. Make no mistake, job and wage losses due to open markets and globalization are nothing compared to what Best Buy & Microsoft can do to diminish the need for the small business consultant. But hey, its another day and probably not a big deal to you. As the famous story goes "nothing of significance happened today"…

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Ewic Wigman Hunting Piwates
Posted: 7:44 pm
March 13th, 2006
IT Business, Microsoft

Just a quick update on all the piracy talk we had on Vladville a little earlier last month. It seems that a number of meetings that Eric was in have taken some fruit and there is at least some stronger wording on their commitment to fight piracy. I think we'd all like to see some enforcement soon. So if you're unlicensed/underlicensed or just a plain pirate its wabbit season! But seriously, you know you are. I've got the stats here, 6% of you hit this blog searching for illegal stuff I talk about! Google tells me what you're looking for and Elmer Eric up there is your worst nightmare. Hope you enjoy jail.

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Gentlemen, start your leeching!
Posted: 7:21 pm
March 13th, 2006
Misc, Web 2.0

Ah, today feels like 1994 with a T3 and a leech account on a warez site. Today marks one of the most exciting days for download junkies in quite some time. Endless ways to destroy your computer with poorly tested software and get the glimpse of the future! So first there is the guide that tells you just what your SBS server can do. But thats old news, how about some technology that will absolutely cripple your laptop? Susanne did just that this weekend so try it too, Office 2007 B1 is available. To be fair, they did release some stable code too, take a look at MMC 3.0 especially if you've got a religious objection to R2 and won't be upgrading. Wuss. But before you blow yourself up to smitherines, check out the Google GDrive. For those few not paranoid about Google taking their files over there is now a more manual way to do! Sarah actually has a link to the business model and to be honest, Google sounds more and more like a used car salesman as each day passes by. How do we do we do it Crazy Sergei? Volume!

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SBS Show #18 – ISA & Firewalls with Amy Babinchak
Posted: 2:03 pm
March 10th, 2006
SBS Show

SBS Show 18 is an adult and with the age of maturity we look at a responsible topic of protecting your network with a firewall. Amy Babinchak (ISA MVP) joins us for an hour of basic questions about firewalls and general security in small business: what is a firewall, why do you need one, what does it do, which one to get and so on. This is the show you can send to your customers and give them a second opinion by an ISA expert, MVP and an author. 01:00 Who are you, what do you do? 04:00 What is a firewall? 06:00 What is ISA? 11:00 Small business threats: What does ISA stop, do I really need it? 14:00 Am I too small for a firewall? 15:00 What do firewalls do? 17:20 How does ISA compare with other solutions? 19:00 Why should I upgrade to ISA 2004? 22:50 Different ISA versions? 24:00 How do you sell ISA? 29:00 Case Study Time. 39:50 ISA Controversies: Safe on SBS? Appliances? 47:00 Will you help me configure ISA? You can find out more about Amy Babinchak at her web site (www.harborcomputerservices.net) and more about her ISA work on her blog (isainsbs.blogspot.com) Download the SBS Show #18 http://www.vladville.com/sbsshow/sbsshow-episode18.mp3

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