National Baconator Day

The "Baconator" My personal laptops I use for training and presentations are really top-notch. But I’ve been riding a worn-out hand-me-down whitebox rig for my day-to-day desktop PC, and it’s pretty much been circling the drain. Fan gave out on the video card, hard drive is tripping S.M.A.R.T. alarms for temperature, slow CPU, skimpy RAM, Outlook is horked, it’s basically a digital dog with parvo. 

I heard through the grapevine that they’re going to upgrade me, but I’ve heard that before. New hires keep coming on and snagging the new PCS, so I just deal with it like everyone else. It’s like paint all over a painter’s truck – no big deal. It’s just a PC, not a status symbol.

So Thursday I get a call from a good pal at corporate (Shawn “The Baconator” Bacon) who’s ordering a new machine for me, and I’m all, “Yeah sure, when does another new guy start?” 😉 Little did I know that dude was giving me the total hookup. He said it would be nice, but man, I had no idea!   And today UPS shows up and drops a stunning new HP rig at my door.  It’s been a long time since I had kid-in-the-candy-store-itis over a desktop PC, but today was one of those days.

True, I could blog about system specs and benchmarks, but that’s not really the point (and that stuff fades with the next new model anyway). The point is people, and the intent behind the hardware pales the PC by comparison. Shawn is a super nice guy who works hard and doesn’t get nearly enough recognition for his efforts. And he knows that we techs bend over backwards for our customers. Today he went above and beyond to provide the horsepower and tools for me to help keep customers happy, plus the extra ‘oomph’ for my particular presentation and virtualization needs. Nice.

It’s very gratifying to know that in a industry dominated by billable time, tech utilization reports, and constant banging of the managed services drum, there are still cool folks who care. Therefore, as sole editor of this blog and stuff,
I declare Tue July 8, 2008 “National Baconator Day”.

Shawn, you totally rock dude. Even more than the real Baconator. Thanks!!

P.S. As an extra bonus, the packing material had some wicked-awesome printing that was a riot.  I just wish I could get the ‘baby’ one as a T-shirt!

Protective cover

Don't put this bag over your head, idiot!

So awesome! Should be a t-shirt!

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SBS 2008 Launch Date Announced

Today, July 7, 2008, at Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) Microsoft announced the official launch date of SBS 2008 (Cougar):

Per Steven VanRoekel:

“I am excited to announce that Nov. 12, 2008, is the official launch date for Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008. Activities that day will signal availability of both solutions and kick off launch efforts worldwide. In many ways, though, we consider WPC our launch for partners and we want to help them plan and prepare for the solutions.

We are also announcing that both solutions are reaching the Release Candidate 1 milestone, another step toward final release. Pre-release versions of Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008 are available for download and evaluation now through www.multiplyyourpower.com.”

Note – That is not RTM date, just the launch date.  There is a lot of discussion in the forums about Software Assurance, what’s in, what’s out, why did they do this or that, etc.. The bottom line is, you have a hard date. So now you can better help customers decide if they should limp along on existing hardware and for another 5 months, or pull the trigger on new hardware purchases using SBS 2003 now and look at SBS 2008 when SP1 is born.

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2008/jul08/07-07QAvanroekel.mspx

BTW – Is it just me, or does the new 2008 marketing material look like a cross between the Zune logo and Line Rider?

Here’s the link to the Line Rider video I’m talking about, which is ‘ok’, but the best Line Rider is here (and imbedded below):

The Super Mario Bros one is cool too. But I digress…

Anyway, I guess it’s fresher than the old ‘Breakout’ / Q*bert marketing stuff from the Server 2003 era:

I won a free game!

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Free Windows Mobile Training

We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating as the topic came up in one of the mailing lists today.  I wanted to pass along the info in case you haven’t come across it before:

www.windowsmobiletraining.com

image

If you sell Windows Mobile devices to your clients, this site is fantastic! This is, hands-down, my favorite Microsoft site.

HFB said it best:

“No doubt, the most useful (and usable) site Microsoft has ever put together.

I use it every day.”

-Chris Rue [SBS-MVP]

Sign up today and check it out.  They even reward you for taking the training. What more could you ask for?

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Changes to SBS Phone Support

Demotivator - ChangeWe’ve all been there. It’s 4:50 PM on a Friday afternoon (or a holiday weekend) and you get the call from a client, “Our server just went down.”  In times like that it’s nice to know that you’re not working without a net – you can always call Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS).

Well, before you pick up your keys and phone and start dialing, be aware that starting August 1, 2008, PSS is moving to a call-back support model for SBS. So, when you dial for help, be prepared to leave your critical information and then wait for someone to call you back.

This wrinkle will definitely introduce some logistical and billing issues – especially if the client is paying for your technician to be on-site waiting for a call, or if you’ve got a server room where you can’t get a cell signal. This isn’t a huge issue in the Managed Service / Remote Support scenario because the tech isn’t on-site burning double-time. But for cases where you absolutely have to be on-site, customers need to know that when the IT fire department rolls up, there may be no PSS water in the hoses just yet.  Check your SLAs folks!

At any rate, there are two ways to submit a ticket to request a PSS call-back:

  • Online ticket submission: https://support.microsoft.com/oas
    (only available during business hours – details below)
  • Phone ticket submission: (800) 936-4900
    (available 24×7)

Support hours & fees:

  • Business hours (9AM – 9PM Eastern Monday – Friday) $259 USD
    Tickets can be submitted via phone or business hours URL:
    https://support.microsoft.com/oas
  • After hours (outside hours listed above, including weekends) $515 USD
    Tickets can be submitted via phone ONLY

The Business-Critical After-Hours Support Site also states that “hours of operation are not impacted by holidays” – good to know on days like today.

There’s also email support available for $99 USD (with a 24-hour response time). But the email support doesn’t cover ‘advanced support’ so you’re better off hitting the newsgroups or just searching Susan’s blog.

Note: The above information is accurate as of July 4, 2008. Be sure to check the SBS Team Blog for any updates to these phone numbers or policies: http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2008/07/02/announcement-call-back-support-for-small-business-server-products.aspx

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