Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hurricane Relief and Jeff Middleton

SBS'er Jeff Middleton (www.sbsmigration.com ) from New Orleans gave a pretty emotional talk here at SMB Nation at Lunch with everyone listening intently. Pretty tough to hear it from someone born and raised in La and lived in New Orleans before the hurricane.

Jeff has had to get his business and others that he supports up in various locations on different hardware in different locations and hotels. Talk about Disaster Recovery, pretty amazing.

Jeff has a plan to get a MASH unit for small businesses into the area to help them get IT going again staffed by volunteers of the Small Business Community. In addition he'd like to get newsgroups with a 5 minute response for disaster help again staffed by worldwide community volunteers.

Microsoft reps at lunch also offered to help. To date it was mentioned they have given $1Million in donations and $5 Million in service help. Items will be matched by Microsoft corporate. They will try and help get the newsgroups up and going for Jeff and try and see if they can help with funding to get volunteers to LA area to help.

Pretty amazing when the community gets together. I'm sure Jeff would like the help of all if possible.

Extra Mile Marketing

Lori from Extra Mile Marketing is giving a talk right now about marketing. They help quite a few industries besides IT and their message might help you in your business.

You can go to their site and sign up for Lori's newsletter. Check it out.

Sunday Morning at SMB Nation

It's Sunday Morning at SMB Nation and I'm a little groggy, sipping my coffee.

A partner just poked me and laughed as he pointed out to me that someone sitting in front of us was reading this blog....cool!

Just a big thanks to all that keep reading.

BTW, SMB Nation has been great as usual. The real world experiences of other partners has been tremendous as we continue to learn from one another. It'd be nice to keep the synergy going but alas it's time to go home. Now if I can just find a way to get home and get on the redeye tonight I'll be happy!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

VPN Connection Problems with SBS 2003 and SP1/ISA 2004

Sitting here at SMB Nation and listening to Wayne Small from Australia talk about Mobility and SBS.

One great point to remember that I think is probably overlooked by default. (I know I do.)

If you are having connection problems with your VPN Clients and it seems that you have more than 5 users at one time and ISA 2004 installed from the SP1 for SBS 2003, you may be right! By default ISA 2004 installed only allows 5 users on the VPN at any one time.

Here's what to do:

Go to ISA 2004 Management.
Click on your SBS Server Name.
Click on Virtual Private Networks.
Go to #3 on the VPN Clients tab and click on the VPN Properties link.
Go to the General tab.
You'll see 5 for the number of VPN clients.
Bump that up and you'll see your 6th VPN client connect!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Guggenheimer Presentation

Steve Guggenheimer VP of Small Business at Microsoft is giving the keynote at SMB Nation in the Kodiak room at the very cool Microsoft Executive Center. Wireless Internet Access and comfy chairs and desks for Laptops.

Interesting note is the demo of the www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness site by the man in charge, Frederic... (sorry missed the last name). Most requested item on the site? Small Business Server. Interesting that the 2nd biggest link to the site is the volume licensing site. A lot of consultants don't think that Open Value licensing is relevant. However, sure seems that by this measured standard they are interested. Something to look into.

Oh and BTW....it's raining in Seattle...go figure.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Off to SMB Nation

I'm off to Seattle/Redmond for the annual SMB Nation Conference starting tomorrow. Why do I travel half way across the country to attend this conference?

First off, the conference has been started by Harry Brelsford and really without his books and even one of his earliest that was named "MCSE Consulting Bible" I never would have had the gumption or foresight to start TAZ Networks. I've enjoyed reading his books since and know that if others have done it then I surely could do it. And you know what? He was right. We're doing great as a company and moving forward.

Second, the ideas that we get from other consultants around the country is immeasurable. We pick and choose the best ideas for our area and that has contributed to our success.

Third, the interaction with Microsoft personnel is what I really pride ourselves on. Here in the Heartland District we can call on many Microsoft employees to help us out in a jam with a question or concern. Now if we go to Redmond to the home of Microsoft and give our views directly to Microsoft, how good is that for our clients? Great. We know the future trends and can really tell which way we want to go as a company.

If anyone else if headed there and reading this blog, I'm looking forward to meeting you and be sure to look me up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Better start getting DVD's with those servers!

Over on the Exchange Team Blog it was announced that Exchange 12 will ship on DVD and only DVD. OK so there it is. The CD is going the way of the VCR. (Although I still seem to have 3 VCR's in my house.)

For just a little more pocket change, common sense tells us to make sure and order DVD's with all new Small Business Servers as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see future releases of SBS as well on just DVD. If you're thinking about buying a server from here on out, do yourself a favor and get it with a DVD drive. It'll just make your life easier as you begin to upgrade that server in the next year or two.

And for those of us doing consulting, better update the consulting kit to include an external DVD rather than the CD-Rom. It was nice knowing you CD! You served us well.

Service Pack 1 for Business Contact Manager Update and Small Business Accounting

Well it officially gets release tomorrow! But hey that doesn't stop Microsoft from releasing Service Pack 1 for Business Contact Manager Update and Small Business Accounting before it even get's officially released!

I hope that the slipstreamed CD's make it to the shelves pretty quickly because to me it's a pretty bad sign to have a service pack before the product is even released.

BTW, I'm a Quickbooks user that is currently running my books both with QB and Small Business Accounting. My take: QB sure seems to take a shorter amount of time to do things. Perhaps because the backend isn't near as beefy as SBA running on the MSDE engine. As far as user time it is a bit of a learning curve but really not much. However, the biggest problem right now is that SBA doesn't bring over the history of my company. It won't fly in small businesses that use QB right now. However, the key market to me is those that use Excel spreadsheets or something else to do their accounting. New business startups as well can take a hard look at SBA. It's integration with Office is tremendous. And for those small service shops being able to mark calendar events as billable in Outlook and then importing or linking them to SBA is a big big plus.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Outlook Errors on x64 XP Stations?

A new client to us in the middle of our network migration decided to order new x64 XP stations for their AutoCad people. Not having worked with x64 at all before it was a little different and you might encounter some strange problems in your SBS network.

One for us involved an Outlook 2003 issue. On just the x64 stations we could not connect to the Exchange Server without using "cached mode". We always received an error that the Exchange Server was unavailable. Also, when we did get in through "cached mode" the user would have to hit Send/Receive to get any mail and most of the time it just errored out with an "0x80040115 Connection to the Microsoft Exchange Server is unavailable". None of the other folders would synchronize and as you can imagine was most frustrating for the users.

Here's what we found after doing some good old troubleshooting:
In the Mail properties, Security Tab for Exchange Server we turned on the option to "Encrypt data between Microsoft Office Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server".

Once we did this connection was made both offline and online and synchronizing of folders happened immediately. There must be a little problem with the x64 stations that require this. If anyone else has something to point to, please share but as for us we're happy now just to get the client going!

Exchange SP2 Enhancements

A very nice article on Exchange SP2 at msexchange.org.

Big things for SP2: remote wipe of your wireless devices and a raise in the store limit from 16 GB to 75 GB.

Note though in the article that it says that SBS 2003 users will have to wait a couple of months after the release to get an "SBS" sized service pack to use this feature. Good to know now. Hopefully it will only be a short time to get this eagerly awaited update.

CRM Downloads

Just catching up on some RSS feeds and noticed some CRM items I hadn't seen before:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=e4a7ef88-d6b4-4eea-836c-eed8e174b769&displaylang=en
The Microsoft CRM 3.0 Upgrade Advisor is a diagnostic tool that you can use to determine if your Microsoft CRM 1.2 installation can be upgraded to Microsoft CRM 3.0.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=8f247c3d-4850-41c3-acca-d8c3fcb51702&displaylang=en
Invest in Microsoft CRM Today Whitepaper

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=dcc9a13e-a77e-483c-a3f0-f606a4e0b8d9&displaylang=en
Upgrading Supported Microsoft CRM 1.2 Environments to Microsoft CRM 3.0