Sunday, October 31, 2004

ISA Server taking lots of your RAM?

Are you getting an error in your daily SBS 2003 report that says that a Critical error is occurring and too much memory is being taken for applications? If you're running SBS 2003 Premium and ISA is installed than no doubt the w3proxy is your problem. Check out Mariette's web site for the fix.

No go out and adjust your memory consumption from 50% of RAM to about 5 or 10%. It'll make a big difference!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Got a funky looking Outlook Web Access from the Internet?

Worked on a SBS 2003 install tonight that had a funky looking Outlook Web Access (OWA) whenever you accessed it from the Internet. However, when you used it from the internal LAN or Intranet it worked just fine. I had remembered there was some problems by others with this but here's what you can try.

Applied Microsoft KB 831464 . (This is the IIS 6.0 Compression KB. Make sure you install this on all IIS 6.0 boxes.)
Rebooted (after making sure noone was on the system)
Deleted %windows%\iis temporary compressed files
Went to a Command Prompt and issued "iisreset".

You also need to make sure and have users delete their temp Internet files in the cache for their browser as well.

This fixed my problem and hopefully if you ever need it it'll help you out as well.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The RV is coming to Michigan

OK sorry but time for some blatant marketing. We're honored to be one of the first SBS/SMB Microsoft partners to have exclusive time on the new Microsoft RV coming to the Central Region. Wanna see what it looks like? Just click here.

This is pretty cool stuff and we're happy to be a part of it. On board will be copies of Small Business Server running with other software such as Retail Management Software for all those out there needing POS items. Also a tablet PC and Microsoft smartphones will be on board to see how you can extend small business technology.

If you're in Michigan and for nothing else than to come by and give me some grief feel free to stop by the Forum 30 Theater in Sterling Heights on November 4th between 1:30pm and 2:45pm. I'd love to see you.

I'm also privileged to be presenting a case study at Microsoft's connections event in the morning as well if that suits your time frame better. Just go to the link above to register for either event.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

New SBS 2003 Book

Courtesy of my SBS User Group I recently received the new SBS 2003 book by Syngress How to Cheat at Managing Windows Small Business Server 2003. I haven't made it all the way through yet but the book is nicely laid out. It truly can be said that it is written for the person that is managing the small business network that is running SBS 2003. It provides clear, concise ways to do simple tasks within SBS.

Throughout the book are listed "some independant advice" sections that provide some key areas to look into or download more information from such places as microsoft.com/downloads. Overall a great book for newbies to SBS.

My only negative to the book would seem to be the overall size for the price. For $50 the 512 pgs seem a little light. For consultants the SBS 2003 Best Practices book (Harry Brelsford) or the Administrator's Companion are monsters compared to this book.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Upgrading SBS from Eval to Licensed?

Did you install an Evaluation Copy of SBS 2003 and now want to upgrade it to a full retail version? It's actually a pretty easy process as I just did it again because I was waiting on an Open Value order to come in with a license key for a customer. According to Ray Fong of SBS PSS Support (as quoted from the SBS newgroup) this is what you do:

> Put in CD1, when the autorun kicks in, run the SBS setup. It will perform
> an inplace upgrade to upgrade to full SBS. All the AD, Exchanges, and users
> settings will still be there after the upgrade. Make sure you have good
> backup before the upgrade, and OEM CD can't be used for upgrade. As far as
> the CAL, the installation already come with the 5 CAL and there is no need
> to add that 5 CAL.
>
> Ray Fong
> Microsoft SBS Product Support

Microsoft Trims Next Windows Server Release

Mary Jo has a nice article today about the Next Windows Server Release which is named Windows Server 2003 R2. A new version of SBS is expected right after this timeframe so hopefully we'll continue to see Microsoft take this course and deliver an SBS with WUS/SUS integrated and all of the other goodies.

One nice thing is that it appears that we won't have to wait for this version of SBS to get the Network Quarantine VPN feature that many have awaited. We've heard previously and Mary Jo confirms it that SP1 will include this much needed feature.

Soooooo, what does that mean for SBS? Well hopefully that SBS 2003 SP1 we've been promised shortly after Windows Server 2003 SP1 ships will include the network quarantine features in it's full functionality.

As a side note looks like Citrix will be rejoicing for a long time until 2007 since all the "Bearpaw" Terminal Server features will be pushed back. As someone who knows Citrix and has done a lot in the past, I'm sure they'll take advantage of this and continue to strengthen their stranglehold on the Terminal Server/Services market. It's a great product that will continue to strengthen as they will probably have several releases in the time it takes Microsoft to get "Longhorn" out the door.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Audiovox SMT5600 released in US

Smartphone Thoughts now has a user that has reviewed the new Audiovox SMT5600. If you haven't seen it you should check it out. It's available in the US for AT&T for only a measly $199.

This could be a great upsell for you as a SBS user/client/consultant/etc. For only $199 you get the Windows OS with Outlook and then with your SBS 2003 as we've preached about before just use ActiveSync to get all your Exchange Server mail. Great mobility solution for the price.

Keyboard Shortcuts courtesy of Sean

Sean Daniel, a Microsoft SBS development guy posts some Windows keyboard shortcuts. Some of them I forgot about.

Thanks Sean for reminding us and if you haven't subscribed yet to Sean's blog, go ahead as he's put some pretty cool SBS stuff out there recently.

The OQO is out.

Interesting enough about six months ago a client of mine turned me on to the OQO computer. He had read some information on it and thought that it would be great for mobile apps and his manufacturing business. At that time no price was announced just a prototype picture of what it would look like.

Now I've gotta admit that this is one cool product but come on for $1999 for it w/XP Pro? OUCH. That's a big hit. Granted it does have a 20GB HDD with a 800x480 screen but now with the Axim X50v out for $499 and other VGA pocketpc's or perhaps even a MPx220 Smartphone the cost for mobility and productivity has gone waaaayyy down. Sorry I just can't see the regular SMB person getting this thing.

Perhaps I'll be wrong and everyone and their mother will have one (OK mine won't that's for sure) but you catch my drift.

OQO give us something we can use for perhaps $1K or $800 and then we can talk.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Optimizing the Performance of Microsoft CRM 1.2 White Paper

On the download site today is a new pdf for Optimizing the Performance of Microsoft CRM 1.2.

It looks to be pretty in depth and definitely for the tech person in your organization but definitely a nice thing to have as any boost in performance for CRM is always appreciated.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Gotta give props to Susan...

She comes up with some great tweaks and hacks. This that she mentions is awesome.

I not only like getting the KB article from Microsoft but being able to enter search terms for the MS knowledge base and also the ID from EventID is great. Kudo's the the writer of this little hack.

I know I'll use it and if you're supporting workstations or SBS I'm sure you can do the same.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Microsoft Piracy Alerts

Do you know if your Microsoft Partner or consultant is on Microsoft's Piracy Alert List? Check out the Piracy Alert List and then you perhaps may have a better idea of who NOT to do business with.

Microsoft doesn't mess around when it comes to piracy and its partners. Be safe and just make sure your software isn't pirated.

Why do you say I bring this up? Interesting that one of the lawsuits is against a partner that isn't too far away from me in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

MS Across America Gets Started

VARBusiness today mentions that the MS Across America RV/Semi/Bus/UNameIt is getting started. Folks if you want to get hands on with Microsoft products including SBS this is your opportunity. The mini RV that made the rounds previously was very cool but a little cramped and this offers the opportunity for a whole new ball game with a bigger badder version of the RV.

Wanna see how that MS Smartphone we've been talking about can connect to your little ole SBS Server in the office and pick up your corp email? Come out to the bus!

Come out and see how CRM can extend your Customer Relationships and how Retail Management can get your retail shop inventory in order and under control.

I know that I'm personally excited about this project as it gets our clients and customers some face time with Microsoft and us a chance to truly demonstrate what everything is capable of doing. This is a serious expenditure for Microsoft and hopefully one that will draw bigger attention to SBS.

If you're in the Michigan area and would like to see it we'll be at the following locations with times to be determined:

11/4 Detroit Connections event (this is the official launch of the RV in the Central Region)
TAZ Networks will be on the RV from 12:15 to 2:45 so come and join us!

2/10/2005 Detroit Connections
2/22/2005 Lansing Connections
4/28/2005 Detroit Connections

More on Microsoft's Push into VoIP

Mary Jo Foley today has an article on Microsoft to Muscle Deeper Into VOIP? Now this is getting good. Will Microsoft get into VoIP...sure you bet. If they are using SIP in Live Communications Server 2005 then you know it will be just a matter of time before they get the total package in place.

This is the first time I've heard they're working on a phone that plugs into a USB port...that's totally cool and expected. What better way to roll out VoIP effectively in a small office than with SBS, LCS 05 and then some USB phones that run SIP. Finally a whole small business package solution. You gotta think that Microsoft is heading in this direction.

I'm definitely waiting on this as I see it as an effective way to extend Small Business Server and get into clients that I previously wouldn't have.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

KB on not connecting to RWW

Nice little KB from Microsoft on Users cannot connect to the Windows Small Business Server 2003 computer by using Remote Web Workplace.

This is a good reminder to all of you out there in SMB land that take care of SBS. SBS IS a different beast although we play in the Windows, Exchange, ISA, and Sharepoint worlds. It does have it's own pecularities and port 4125 for RWW is one of them. A lot of questions come up as to what is needed for RWW and Terminal Services. Remember that in SBS land 4125 can actually do all the dirty work for you through the RWW interface. No need to open up port 3389 for Terminal Services if you don't want to.

Thanks Microsoft for the SBS public service announcement. :)

Microsoft's Looming VON Announcement: Not VOIP?

Ellen Murashkin has a nice column on Microsoft's Looming VON Announcement: Not VOIP? in the online version of eWeek. The VoIP show VON is coming soon and this might be the time for Microsoft to truly position Live Communications Server 2005 as a VoIP pbx.

I tell you that this was on the horizon and Microsoft is catching on a little quicker than I thought they would with VoIP. Our firm has recently looked into doing VoIP and we've been looking at different products from TeleVantage to Vonexxus to even the (gasp!) Linux based freeware Asterisk as mentioned in the article. A buddy of mine has a ISP in St. Louis that is using Asterisk effectively and he'll be rolling out VoIP using Asterisk exclusively.

But as a Microsoft shop if they do release LCS '05 as a VoIP pbx I'll be jumping both feet into it as a solution provider. Ellen says it right when you have a 5 person site with all in one and LCS on the server (did anyone say SBS?). This is what clients are clamoring for and to have a all in one solution will be a perfect solution or the option for say a 20 person site to have another Win2K3 Server with LCS on it as their VoIP.

I follow Jeff Pulver's blog (one of founders of Vonage, FWD and a foremost authority on VoIP) and he continually mentions how this year has been the year of VoIP and even today he references again the Google stats that he monitors. VoIP is becoming in the know for SMB's and if Microsoft doesn't announce this at VON then I'll certainly be a little disappointed. At least with Microsoft I would be assured usually of a straightforward way to handle a solution rather than the jumbled mess of stuff out there now and deciding which player will stay around and for how long?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Heard a podcast lately?

What you don't know what a podcast is? Well you're not alone. Blogging has started to take off and now podcasting is just getting started. Today Scoble has a post about podcasting and specifically how some are getting into it and a link to a podcast on how to do it on the Mac.

One of the biggest, perhaps THE biggest podcaster is former MTV VJ Adam Curry and his weblog has now taken a new face with his daily show called the Daily Source Code. Listen to today's show and it's pretty hilarious to hear his dogs interrupt him or his handyman interupt him and him start talking in Belgian. (caution on a few choice words he uses)

Well this is really something again that has potential and even in Small Business has the possibility to help market your area, business, expertise, whatever. What better way to captivate clients than talk about what you know and they subscribe on their iPod or .mp3 player and sit and listen on their way to work, play, whatever.

Maybe I'll try one myself in the future on SBS and SMB technology although I would never have time to do a daily show, perhaps a weekly one would be great. This technology stuff is pretty cool isn't it? We're definitely at a time where the usual medium (newspaper, radio, tv) is being stretched to new limits.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Trying to find a good fax modem that works with SBS, good luck!

The old Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List has now been replaced by this thing called the Microsoft Windows Server Catalog. Why should I care you say?

One of the biggest problems that many face in SBS 2003 is the fax service and the fax/modems to use with SBS. Well if you try and go to the Windows Catalog and see if you can find a good fax modem to use with SBS you are in for a rough day. Just try and search for "fax" in the product search under external modems and guess what you get? Yep, nothing. Microsoft has got to do a better job when it comes to this part of Windows Server and SBS.

So here's what works and our story of implementation. At a non profit that we did an install for recently we ordered a new Dell server and had an extra USB external fax/modem that we thought would do the trick for the SBS fax service. Well we were sure wrong. The fax service didn't even recognize the modem and wouldn't do anything for us. Strike 1 (you know the baseball playoffs are on right now, right?). So we then got a nice internal fax/modem card that we thought would surely do the trick....nope, nada. It was recognized by the fax service but would drop calls and wouldn't complete a fax transmission. Strike 2 (I feel a Sammy Sosa whiff coming on.) So then we go to our trusted advisors in the SBS newsgroups and of course the problem has appeared countless times. The solution...go to eBay and order a Courier v.Everything external or Multitech and use it as it just plain works. Well we were a little skeptical but long story short, the stupid things works like a charm. (Also as a side note, the renown Brooktrout modems, although pricey, are champs as well.)

Guess I'll be getting familiar with eBay again as we get more new installs in the future. This shouldn't be the case and it shouldn't be this hard to get a stupid fax transmission out the door. Just another reason why if you don't have a Microsoft partner or knowledgable support at your beck and call you could just end up getting frustrated and striking out.

Palm Treo will add Exchange support

In something that is a long time in coming the Exchange Blog tells us that future Treo smartphones will now have the ability to sync with Exchange. This is one of those things that can help you appreciate the value of SBS 2003 now. With Exchange built in, the value of mobility becomes even greater.

There are a slew of Microsoft Smartphones as well on the horizon for the US especially and all of this means added value to SBS and better communication for small business owners.

Perhaps a wise decision to partner up with a mobility shop or specialist in the area to really focus on those small businesses that come in and see the Treo or new MS Smartphones and then would like to extend that to their email in house. SBS should naturally come into the conversation.

I do have to admit that one of my favorite designs as well in a phone recently is the Treo 600. What a nice piece of hardware that isn't bulky like some Pocket PC phones. Having PalmOne on the SBS side will definitely help seal some sales.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Updated Windows Small Business Server 2003 Getting Started Guide

It appears that version 3 of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Getting Started Guide has been released.

This is a great resource to go and check for questions before you begin down the SBS path. I know that we all hate to research and just want to go about the business of shoving the CD in and going for it but really this resource helps to answer some practical items that the newsgroups see a lot of. How do you install with 1 NIC or 2? How do I setup the ISP information? How do I upgrade from SBS 2000?

Take a look and hopefully it'll answer some valuable questions for you.