WHAT I USE

On the assumption that my choices are endlessly fascinating to an ever-growing number of people – really, really bored people – I’ve added a page with details about the hardware and software that I use here at the high-tech headquarters of bruceb consulting. I’ll try to keep it up to date. […] continued

Read more

WINDOWS HOME SERVER & HP ADDINS

This is getting to be an old, old story.

The story is: a manufacturer forces unwanted software on consumers, and the software slows down or breaks perfectly nice devices.

This time, the villain is HP. The device is HP’s version of a Windows Home Server, called the HP MediaSmart Home Server. […] continued

Read more

THE MOJAVE EXPERIMENT

Microsoft has put up a web site for “The Mojave Experiment,” with film footage of people responding favorably to what they believed was a brand-new secret operating system, then catching their reactions when told they were looking at Vista. It’s pretty effective advertising! And the video wall on the web site is pretty cool. […] continued

Read more

WINDOWS SEARCH 4 & NETWORK SHARES

Windows Search 4 was released last month as an upgrade to Windows Search 3.01 (Windows XP) and the built-in search capability in Windows Vista. It is an important upgrade for every Windows user; it will be pushed through the Windows Update system soon. Here’s more information about Windows Search 4. […] continued

Read more

MICROSOFT FIGHTS BACK WITH “MOJAVE”

Microsoft will be using new advertisements and other marketing tricks to turn around the public perception that there is something wrong with Vista. A CNet writer just ran across one idea that worked well. Microsoft gathered a group of Windows XP users who had negative opinions of Vista, and gave them a preview of a new operating system under development at Microsoft code-named “Mojave.”

The users were enthusiastic. […] continued

Read more

UPS SPAM

The latest outbreak of virus-laden spam purports to be a message from UPS about an undeliverable package. The attachment is a ZIP file with an executable program inside that does something evil – blows up a cruise boat or something.

danger These messages appear and morph and tomorrow this might be a message from FedEx or the IRS or anything else. […] continued

Read more

MICROSOFT ONLINE SERVICES

Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced new services that might drastically change the email technology used by small businesses. Let me give you some background, then give you some information about Microsoft Online Services – a way for a small business to have its Outlook folders stored online by Microsoft.

Companies running Exchange Server for Outlook reap tremendous benefits. […] continued

Read more

WINDOWS HOME SERVER POWER PACK 1

Microsoft has released Power Pack 1 for Windows Home Server, fixing a rare but embarrassing data corruption bug, adding new features, and improving stability.

Reports of occasional data corruption were enough to seriously tarnish the reputation of a new product that deserved better. Many people would appreciate having a WHS device – centralized storage of files, remote access to home computers, and especially a tremendous system for backing up all the networked computers. […] continued

Read more

SONY DELIVERS CRAPWARE-FREE PC

From a column today by Ed Bott:

“Sony is finally taking on its crapware problem. For the past two months, I’ve been using an astonishingly light and agile Sony VAIO notebook and loving every minute of it. The best part of all was that this machine was absolutely, completely, unequivocally crapware-free, which meant I was able to be productive within a few minutes of unboxing.

[…] continued Read more

OUTLOOK vs. GMAIL

Microsoft Exchange and Outlook dominate the market for corporate email. Small businesses running Exchange Server use Outlook almost exclusively. Until recently, even individuals and businesses without a server would use Outlook with their POP3 mail accounts.

But in the last couple of years, almost everyone has started to chafe at a singular disadvantage of an individual copy of Outlook: it can’t be used easily anywhere except by sitting at the computer where it’s installed. […] continued

Read more

SKYDRIVE/FOLDERSHARE/LIVE MESH

For those of you following along at home, here’s a comparison of Microsoft’s overlapping services for sharing and syncing files and storing files online, taken from this forum post. This is rapidly evolving – in an ideal world, these will be consolidated in the next year or two.

SkyDrive:

  • Private and contacts & public sharable online file storage (5GB)
  • Integrated within Live Spaces
  • Permissions:
    • Anyone on the internet (public)
    • Contacts, by entering email manually, or selecting from messenger contacts
    • Private

Pros:

  1. Ability to share with public
  2. Thumbnail views

FolderShare:

  • Private & contacts shareable folder/file syncing
  • Remote file access
  • Permissions:
    • Contacts, by entering email manually

Cons:

  1. Cant view files in folders online
  2. Permissions limited, folders/files not able to be made available to public, only individual contacts

Live Mesh

  • Private & contacts shareable online file storage (5GB)
  • Folder/file syncing (automatically compulsory sync to online storage as well as intended device/s)
  • Remote Desktop
  • Platform
  • Permissions:
    • Contacts, by entering email manually

Cons:

  1. Permissions limited, folders/files not able to be made available to public, only individual contacts
  2. Syncing between devices requires syncing to Live Desktop, which may not be desired, or have enough space (5GB)
  3. Cannot browse drives/folders/files of connected devices without going into Remote Desktop
  4. Adding contacts is tedious via manually entering emails 1 by 1, should have ability to add via messenger contact list, and public in general
[…] continued
Read more

SBS & DIY

Small Business Server is aimed at businesses with 5-25 computers. (Its license allows it to be used for up to 75 computers but it’s time to look at moving to the next step when you get above 25 or so.) It can be tempting to save a buck by having a well-meaning friend set it up instead of hiring a consultant. […] continued

Read more

SMALL BUSINESS SERVER 2008 IS COMING

Small Business Server 2008, the successor to SBS 2003, will ship on November 12. The first few months will reveal any lingering issues and clarify the procedure for migrating to the new platform from SBS 2003. In early 2009, I’ll be talking about it to my clients with SBS 2003 running on servers that are more than three years old – it will be time to refresh the hardware that runs the business, part of my long-time belief that it is always preferable to replace a computer on your schedule rather than the computer’s breakdown schedule. […] continued

Read more

LIVE MESH OPEN FOR TESTING

Microsoft is developing a platform capable of lots of interesting tricks. I wrote about Live Mesh a few months ago; now an updated version is ready for testing and it’s quietly been made available to anyone with a Windows Live ID. You can get started at www.mesh.com.

FILES ARE SYNCED ON MULTIPLE COMPUTERS AND ONLINE AUTOMATICALLY

Live Mesh starts with online storage space where you can create folders and store up to 5Gb of files. […] continued

Read more

WINDOWS MOBILE & LIVE SEARCH

livemobile Few people browse Internet pages on a mobile device with a three inch screen. A few sites have pages that are optimized for a mobile device but they’re pretty hard to come by. (The iPhone does better with its ability to zoom in and out on a page but it’s still difficult to make sense of most web sites.)

If you’ve got a Windows Mobile-based phone, try going to Microsoft’s “Windows Live Search for Windows Mobile” at http://wls.live.com. […] continued

Read more