Tag Archive: Microsoft


In the Information Technology world, you often hear people say that IPv6 is “the worst” or it causes problems and breaks things with the high recommendation of disabling it.  However, the source of this recommendation is never clearly specified nor validated and there is significant reason to leave it enabled.

When you talk to Microsoft or attend seminars, you always hear them recommend to not to disable IPv6.  The explanation is located at the link below.  I love how Microsoft begins the explanation in this Q&A.

IPv6 for Microsoft Windows

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/network/cc987595.aspx

Q. What are Microsoft’s recommendations about disabling IPv6?

A.

It is unfortunate that some organizations disable IPv6 on their computers running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2008, where it is installed and enabled by default. Many disable IPv6-based on the assumption that they are not running any applications or services that use it. Others might disable it because of a misperception that having both IPv4 and IPv6 enabled effectively doubles their DNS and Web traffic. This is not true.

From Microsoft’s perspective, IPv6 is a mandatory part of the Windows operating system and it is enabled and included in standard Windows service and application testing during the operating system development process. Because Windows was designed specifically with IPv6 present, Microsoft does not perform any testing to determine the effects of disabling IPv6. If IPv6 is disabled on Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2008, or later versions, some components will not function. Moreover, applications that you might not think are using IPv6—such as Remote Assistance, HomeGroup, DirectAccess, and Windows Mail—could be.

Therefore, Microsoft recommends that you leave IPv6 enabled, even if you do not have an IPv6-enabled network, either native or tunneled. By leaving IPv6 enabled, you do not disable IPv6-only applications and services (for example, HomeGroup in Windows 7 and DirectAccess in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are IPv6-only) and your hosts can take advantage of IPv6-enhanced connectivity.

 

 

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Hyper-V is a native hypervisor that enables platform virtualization on x86-64 systems first introduced in Windows Server 2008.  Subsequent releases existed in Windows Server 2008 R2 and the latest in Windows Server 2012.  It is Microsoft’s competitive offering against VMWare ESX.

Hyper-V has taken a debut in the non-server operating systems, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise.

There are a few methods of creating virtual machine templates.  I will go over the traditional method that does not involve any additional cost programs like SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager.)  However, I highly suggest using it to manage a virtual machine environment and the System Center suite, in general, is fantastic for managing an entire infrastructure deployment.

Base Virtual Machine

  1. Create Base Virtual Machine
  2. Shut down VM and make a backup copy of the VHD.  This is used in the future if you want to recreate the base template.
  3. Boot the original VM and not the copy you just made.
  4. Run System Preparation Tool (Sysprep).  It is found under: C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe.
  5. Configure Sysprep to do an Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE), check the Generalize button so it creates a new SSID and choose Shutdown as the Shutdown Option.
  6. Copy the VHD again, making copies for all the new machines you want to create.

Creating Virtual Machine from Base Template

  1. Select New Virtual Machine Wizard and assign memory, CPU and configure networking.
  2. Connect Existing Virtual Hard Disk.
  3. Finalize wizard to build the new virtual machine.
  4. Start the newly created virtual machine.

Microsoft Lync 2013

Instant messaging has the potential to be a huge productivity tool if implemented and used properly.

When I started my tenure at my current job, I quickly became aware that AOL Instant Messenger was the de facto standard for office communication.  This was very disconcerting as there are severe management and security issues with this “solution.”  I was accustomed to using Jabber also known as Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) at UCSD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Messaging_and_Presence_Protocol

I am finally in a position to propose and deploy an appropriate solution. This is found in Microsoft Lync 2013.  As a Microsoft shop, we primarily deploy Windows systems along with a few Mac OS X machines.  Compatibility wise, there are clients for both platforms so that is one essential check marked off.  The realm of a communication platform has greatly evolved over the past few years.  With the likes of Skype, Mobile and Web Apps, we are looking to be connected everywhere and anywhere with not only instant messaging (IM), but also high definition (HD) video conferencing and voice.

Lync brings to the table:

  1. Corporate managed and secured instant messaging platform.
  2. Presence allowing employees at a glance information whether someone is available, busy, or offline.
  3. HD video conferencing in 1080p HD resolution using the widely used H.264 Scalable Video Codec for fantastic compatibility across all devices and platforms.
  4. Mobile apps for Windows Phone, iOS and Android.  This functionality allows a user to IM or join a Lync Meeting from anywhere with connectivity.
  5. Web app that allows joining a meeting from within a web browser including all features available in the normal client.
  6. Possibility to replace our Citrix GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar usage saving thousands of dollars per month and increasing our return on investment.

As many people know, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 Billion back in May 2011 and people were wondering why.  It seems like the technology acquired has been integrated into their Lync offering to offer a more complete product with the added benefit of Skype Federation extending communications to Skype users.

A highly available deployment of Lync takes planning and infrastructure to handle the work and since I do not necessarily want an increased amount of hardware and software to maintain, I have looked at Office 365.  It looks like the way to go with fantastic pricing for Microsoft Office licensing with the added benefit of Lync, SharePoint and Exchange Online.

http://lync.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/unified-communications.aspx

Lync 2013 desktop_Lync Meeting_video gallery, roster, IM, PPT view and sharing options

Lync 2013 Desktop Meeting

Microsoft Windows 8 is a great product blending desktop and tablet interfaces together.  They have done a great job simplifying the licensing with fewer versions compared to what used to be available previously for Windows Vista and 7.  The editions that have been killed are Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. 6 versions down to 3 (4 if you include the ARM-based version, RT):

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows RT

Thank the IT Heavens for the simplicity of a better licensing system.  However, for some reason they decided to make Windows Media Center an add-on that requires an additional $9.99 purchase instead of being included. For those of you on Windows 8 Pro or are thinking about it, go to this link and get the free product key and get Windows 8 Media Center Pack. Act fast since it is only for a limited time!  Expires January 31, 2013.

http://windows.microsoft.com/is-IS/windows-8/feature-packs

 

I came across this excellent goodbye note sent by the Father of Xbox, J Allard, upon his departure from Microsoft.  The full email is a great history lesson of the juggernaut Microsoft and has an inspirational passion behind it.  I find that it has similarities to my drive for what I want in my life and career.

Original posting: http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2010/05/26/if-you-want-to-change-the-world-with-technology.aspx

————————————————

From: J Allard
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 8:56 AM
Subject: Decide. Change. Reinvent.

 

Decide.

 

 

My first job out of college 19 years ago was really something.

The receptionist typed out my visitor badge on an IBM Selectric typewriter at my interview – a reassuringly “high-tech” welcome in 1991. On my first day, I was ushered to an office that I would share with a co-worker and a spare-no-expense, beige Compaq 386sx computer. I fired it up, and my first dialog with this quasi-32-bit powerhouse went something like this:

c:\> ls
Bad command or filename
c:\> ps
Bad command or filename
c:\> man
Bad command or filename
c:\> whoami
Bad command or filename

I was obviously flustered; my new officemate taught me the magical incantation – “wzmail” – which launched an amazing program. Some would describe it as an email client with text editing disabled, but it was actually a time machine that was hardwired to “1982 BBS messaging systems.” It connected me via the tangle of wires at my feet to the rest of our world via a protocol called “XNS.” XNS, like Latin, I had learned a little about in college but hadn’t ever actually experienced it in the real world.

 

 

 

In my first week, I would be asked to do a presentation covering the architecture, milestones and to state my “confidence interval” of the first commercial software project that I would oversee. My command performance was powered by a 3M overhead projector and transparencies I had prepared on the Xerox copier. I was subjected to intense “technical” questioning from the head of my division (a former marketing chief from 80’s Apple) in a room filled with dormitory-grade oak furnishings. After surviving this rite of passage, I stopped by my I/O mailbox and was thrilled to receive 200 black and white business cards, which included our corporate Telex number and my very own Compuserve e-mail address. It was apparent after my first week that I was well equipped to set the world on fire.

My first post-college employer? Microsoft.

It was a complete fluke that I even interviewed. The idea of joining a company with more than 100 people seemed terrifyingly stifling to me. My networking, graphics, Unix and Internet passions and background suggested we didn’t have a lot in common. The mission of “A computer on every desk and in every home” was ambitious, but ambitious circa 1985. By 1991, it was an assumed inevitability for those versed in technology and its adoption rate.

The ~30 million PCs in the world were dominantly powered by DOS, Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect and applications compiled by Borland tools. If you were on a network at the office, it was Novell Netware; if you were connected to the “net,” your choice would have been Compuserve over your roaring 1200-baud modem. You’d buy your floppy discs and printer ribbons at a store called Egghead, and a program called TurboTax would have consumers lined up every April. MS-DOS 5.0 had just launched and we were deep in collaboration with the #1 PC maker  – IBM — on a powerful new operating system called OS/2 intended to succeed it. I had joined a small team building a Netware alternative on DOS and OS/2 called “LAN Manager.”

 

 

In spite of all of these warning signs and patterns, I still took the interview. At minimum the experience would serve as good practice for future interviews by more compatible employers. However, my interview experience turned all of my assumptions upside-down and drew me toward this place I’ve called home ever since.

 

 

During every interview, I’d challenge, “‘A computer on every desk and in every home’ is quaint, but why stop there?” and the typical response would be along the lines of, “That’s just our ante.” I liked that… +1 Microsoft.

I’d push a little further and say something like “Don’t you see the force multiplier in connecting all of those desks and homes and people together across the Internet?” and they’d say something like “Internet? Is that like Compuserve?” However it was said, these responses activated my flight instinct.

My speedball would be, “Well, why in the hell should I join this company that doesn’t have a clue about the Internet when that’s the next big thing? It’s going to completely change the world! It’s what I was put on earth to do! You guys don’t get it!” and the calm response would be, “You’re right. We don’t get it, but it seems that maybe you do. That’s exactly why you should come here. Come here and make it happen. Write the job description!”

 

 

I couldn’t believe it, but it was impossible to dismiss the similarity and authenticity I felt in every conversation. On the flight home, I contemplated these discussions, the passion and IQ of the people I had encountered and their invitation to create my own space to drive a bigger agenda alongside them. It clicked. The “computer on every desk…” rhetoric was a ruse, the real purpose and ambition of these people was much, much broader:

 

“Make the world a better place through technology.”

Like every idealistic college hire, this was the unicorn I was looking for. I wanted to do something bigger than me – “change the world!” – with a bunch of people who respected and could augment my superpowers. I had visited the Justice League of Geeks and they had invited me in and had shown me the secret handshake.

The next day, I joined “The Tribe” – a group diverse in perspective, similar in skills and completely, totally galvanized around one central purpose.

 

 

Change.

 

 

It felt uncomfortably perfect (apart from the awful office décor), so I protected my youthful optimism by mentally deciding I would give it two years and revisit everything then. The almanac reassured me of the NW’s snow quality, the traffic was nothing compared to Boston or New York and the promise of free soda, lame-but-subsidized cafeteria pizza, $32k/year and an MS-DOS t-shirt were hard to beat.

At my two year checkpoint, things were going along “better than expected.” It was simple to extend my commitment — I was charged up by the progress we were making, the friends I had made, the plans we had made together and the culture and purpose that bound us. I even was allowed to expense copies of Snow Crashas a pre-read for team offsites… The unicorn was real!

Then one day it happened.

Someone ruined it all and shattered the fantasy. When no one was looking, some clown had somehow slipped into The Tribe and brought all of the walls crashing down. They shredded our slice of the vision, they scoffed at my offer to collaborate, they committed to a lifetime of obstructionist behavior and to do everything in their power to stop everything our team had worked so hard to do. The gauntlet was laid, “Read my lips, we will never ship TCP/IP in Windows 95.” I was shocked. I was shattered.

I stormed out.

I walked out the front door in disgust and went to an 11am movie at Crossroads (the aptly titled, Point of No Return). About 30 minutes in I realized what a whiner and victim I was being and that in a company of 8,000 there were bound to be some misses.

 

 

I thought about how I stormed out the front door to my car and how the thought of leaving my cardkey at reception had actually crossed my mind. I walked out of the movie and I sat in my car. I took my cardkey out of my wallet and after concluding that I should lose the ponytail, I told myself, “You idiot. This is your invitation to change the world.” I went back to the office and got right back to it.

 

[In truth, I cranked the Descendents really loud (“You can only be a victim if you… admit defeat”) and flamed Herr Clownshoes to a crisp in wzmail, and then I promptly got back to it.]

 

Since that crappy day 17 years ago, every.single.time I’ve swiped that damned cardkey I’ve reminded myself of that invitation from The Tribe and our shared purpose.

 

 

I repeat the phrase silently in my head and I take it seriously. It’s not about me, it’s not about my career, it’s not about the project or the product or the profit – it’s about the central purpose and obligation we share to change the world and to build stuff that allows our customers and partners to do the same.

With that initial 2 year landscape it would have been very hard to predict what we would accomplish and how we would evolve over the next 2 decades. The 2nd place productivity and DOS company talking about “GUI” I had joined became the unquestioned driver of the PC industry, a networking company, an enterprise company, a communications company, an Internet company, a hardware company, a server company, an entertainment company and true to its heritage, it fuels each of these businesses with amazing software tools.

 

More important than any of the products, businesses, scale or profit that we’ve built together, we’ve helped redefine how people work, how they communicate, how they manage their lives and how they play. That’s why I joined The Tribe.

Nineteen years later some things remain the same – the pizza still sucks, the wayfinding/signage in the buildings is hopeless and our business cards continue to lack any sense of expression. But most importantly, that common purpose to use technology to make the world better is still alive and well. That simple little “beep” we experience every day when we swipe our cards remains a reminder for all of us.

 

Reinvent.

If you’ve been following along, you probably understand just how difficult it was for me to decide to leave the tribe and explore new territory, but the time has come.

My passion for our cause combined with my obsessive nature has put many of my other interests on hold for a long time. I don’t know exactly what tomorrow looks like – but if my focus has been 95% MSFT, 5% life until now, I know that the first step is to flip that ratio around. After wrapping some projects up, I will shift to 95% life and 5% MSFT. With that 5% I’ll be working for SteveB on a couple of projects beginning this fall.

In response to the curiosity, no chairs were thrown, no ultimatums served, I am not moving to Cupertino or Mountain View, I did not take a courier job and I require no assistance finding the door. I do know that I’m going to help a couple of friends get their startups going (e.g. The Clymb), I’m planning some races (by foot, bike and off-road trucks), and I’m going to put some energy into my passion for design, the arts and philanthropy. For those of you reporting into one of my organizations, I am committed to working through all of the transition issues and assure you that The Tribe remains committed to the work you are doing and our purpose going forward.

If, at the next juncture, I decide to join a corporate tribe again, this place will definitely top my list. There are a lot of great companies out there doing terrific and meaningful work with better pizza, nicer décor and great implementations of “ls” on the desktops, but The Tribe? No one can touch our talent, our impact or our ambition. We’re the only high-tech company with the track record and self-confidence to reinvent ourselves as we have. If you want to change the world with technology, this is still the best tribe out there.

Please, put my headcount and that cardkey “invitation” to good use. Find a college student that claims we don’t get it and blogs tirelessly about our lack of agility. Track down an EE that has been focusing on fuel cells and has radical thoughts about power management. Or a social networking whiz who is tired of building little islands that go hot and cold and can’t break the mainstream. Hire a designer who’s given shape to 2 decades of beautiful automobiles and thinks we can sculpt technology to better connect to users. Infuse them with our purpose. Give them the tools. Give them lots of rope. Learn from them. Support where they take you. Invite them to redefine The Tribe.

 

Decide. Change. Reinvent.

 

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