Professional Geek
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  • SBSC? Why Bother?

    I wasn’t going to post this originally but i’ve changed my mind! 

    I was talking to someone earlier in the week about the upcoming Midlands User Group meetings

    *-*-*-*-*-* PLUG *-*-*-*-*-*-*
     If your in the Midlands area the next AMITPRO meeting is Tuesday 11th September
    For more details contact Vijay
    *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    I’m going to paraphrase a little but this is the long and short of it

    “call me an old sceptic, will see if any real opportunities come from it, i.e. pounds on the table”

    So my initial reply to that was “your an old sceptic”

    So bearing in mind i’ve only been involved in one, in-person, meet-up (and that mainly involved curry and beer) how do i explain to someone this is the old fashioned way of doing business? 

    My view of it is this. If your expecting to turn up, speak to a few people and expect to see an increase in your client base the following week thats not really going to happen

    The “cash” value is in how you can improve your business by seeing how other people are doing it. The contacts you make, the knowledge you gain.

    Lets say your a one-person “SBS shop”. You decide that you want to change your product offering (anti-virus for example)

    How do you know what will and wont work? You can sit through all the presentations the major vendors will give you, read a forest worth of brochures, attend lots of sales events, install it on your network and discover all the features. While this is hunky dory and shows how it works when all is well, how are you going to find out what it’s like in the field? What the support is like when you have a problem? How easy is it to work with in practise?

    This is where your money on the table comes in. By talking to people who have been there, done that and got the battle scars.

    This is just one scenario. I can create a hundred posts explaining this but if you use your imagination and you’ll realise it could stretch to any part of your business

    It can also help you see where your going wrong. If your just a small company with one maybe two people….(for example) how do you know that your supplier is providing the best deal? You could be wasting thousands of pounds per year when the answer could be in a throwaway comment at a meeting such as

    “Oh yeah we use widgets international, they give us good deals”

    What’s even better is you’ll even get a contact into the place!

    As long as everyone keeps on sharing it works out great for everybody. You might think that you don’t have much to contribute but just turning up and talking is a good start

    This is what the community is about. It’s the smart way of doing business

    You’ll also get to meet some great people and it’s fun!

    Anything to add before i go back and kick some ass?

  • Tafiti – Microsoft Search Interface

    Spotted a post on Tim’s IT Writing talking about a BETA UI for live search

    TAFITI – meaning “to research” in Swahili

    The interface is done using Silverlight and i’m impresed with how nice it looks

    It allows you to filter your search on the web, feeds, photos,books. There is an interesting “tree view”, a “shelf” you can drop items onto to check out later and it easily allows you to search on the returned results

    Tim thing=ks one of it’s shortcomings is that when click a search result it tries to open in a new window and if your pop-up blocker is in the way you get a big message telling you so. I agree with Tim in that it would nice if you could open in a new tab thus keeping the search results visible

    At the moment i can’t see it becoming my default search but it’s nice to see some experimentation. Also MS have come up with a cool project name again (ala, Popfly, Surface, Zune) instead of “Microsoft Search Interface”

    Take a look!

  • Vlad does it again

    So Vlad finally took the covers of his top secret project Theiving Weasel and what a great idea it is…and i sure didn’t see it coming!

    It’s a social network built specifically for IT Solution Providers (SBSC in the main though) to help them connect with each other and bring together lots of those distributed resources (I’m sure i’m not explaining it well enough though so go check the official description in the post)

    I’m looking forward to seeing it in action…

    Lots of people talk a good game but Vlad is someone who gets off his arse and backs it up with action

    I’m sure it will be a massive success

  • Preview Your WordPress Theme

    Just opened my WordPress dashboard to see a new feature annoucement

    Theme Preview – “You can now preview any WordPress.com theme from your blog’s Presentation admin screen just by clicking on the theme’s thumbnail. Your blog will load on the fly using the new theme without actually activating that theme for realies. Even better, you can click around most anywhere in your blog to see how your posts, pages, categories and everything else look.”

    Super!

    I’m not great when it comes to presentation so i’m happy using built-in themes. I’ve never changes from the first theme i picked for fear of screwing things up..now i can experient to my hearts content without hurting my poor little blog   🙂

  • Resetting Vista Offline Files

    A little while back i posted about resetting the offline file cache in XP.

    I had a comment left by Rick asking how to do this in Vista

    After a little digging the initial answer is…..you can’t

    Well not quite (just not as easily)…things like csccmd.exe don’t apply anymore as the offline files functionality has been overhauled in Vista.

    Maniuplation of offline files can be done via WMI so expect to see lots of vbscripts pop up

    A good place to start is the “Filing Cabinet” blog where there are a couple of WMI example scripts (here and here)

    So anyway…reseting the cache….one of those Filing Cabinet posts talks about moving the cache location and mentions a FormatDatabase registry key

    So after a bit of searching i found a kb article that suggests the following (do this at your own risk!)

    “add the FormatDatabase registry entry to the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc\Parameters
    Then, set the FormatDatabase registry entry to 1.
    The restart your computer”

    It doesn’t mention if you need to reset the key back to 0 when your done

    Will it reset the database after every reboot? or does the reset process change the entry for you? Need to check that out

    The article wasn’t easy to find as it’s not specifically about resetting offline files but does talk about a corrupt offline cache

    P.S Some other good Vista offline cache resources include:

    Jonathan Hardwick and The Windows Vista blog

  • Building Your Small Business

    If you haven’t seen this already check it out

    Susan posted about a message she had from Wayne Small

    It’s a link to a free e-book written by Dean Calvert, Andy Trish and Arlin Sorenson that gives lots of useful help and advice on building your business by selling SBS

    I’m just on my second read through and it’s well worth a look

    Get it here

  • Upcoming Technet Events

    I’ d been eagerly awaiting the annoucement of the latest Technet events (i heard about it first from Georgina Mitcham’s blog) and as Vijay was i was a little disappointed there were no events planned in the Midlands.

    I appreciate that there are only limited resources but i thought surely the Midlands would be a good area to target the maximum amount of people.

    But then i read Vijay’s comments and he’s quite right

    and i quote, 

    “Luckily the technical content is worth travelling some distance for”

    and that is the key for me.

    It’s a free event that will only cost me time and petrol money but will give me an awful lot of value and it will also present the opportunity to meet other techies and Microsoft staff

    So currently i’m going to Manchester on September 20th for “TechNet on the Road” and i’ll be hanging around after for “Vista After Hours”

    It’ll be a long day but worth it

    Anyone else going to this event or any of the others?

  • Drink Safe Kids

    I’ve got a bit of a confession to make after Friday night

    I lost my shoes

    My hangover was giving me a bit of grief on Saturday morning and the room at the hotel was really stuffy so i just threw everything into my bag so i could leave and get some fresh air/food/tea!

    I left my work shoes there. I didn’t realise until Monday morning

  • Just Like Buses…

    You wait for one and two turn up at once….

    I’ve been using google reader for about week now and i’m generally happy with it. Then David Overton goes and posts about his current reader, RikReader

    It looks pretty nice and it does have one thing that Google Reader doesn’t have, integration with the IE RSS list. This isn’t really a massive problem though

    However, it doesn’t have mobile viewing capabilities (as far as i can tell) so i’ll be sticking to Google Reader for now. I will keep an eye on it though as it looks interesting

    The other interesting thing about David’s post is that he shares his OPML file (he may have done this before but it’s the first time i’ve spotted it)

    This is the sort of thing i love though!

    If i can see the stuff people whose blogs i read and opinions i value are reading, that can only help me find better content and i get to see what interests them (not me though by the look of it….lol)

    I saw a similar thing with Robert Scoble’s shared feed. I subscribed to that and while there were a lot of interesting articles in it….i was only interested in a small portion of the content however so i haven’t moved it over to my google reader (yet….)

  • PDF Preview Handler

    I got sent an email today with a PDF attached to it.

    Since i’m using Outlook 2007 i did what i normally do and click on the message to preview it. Then i forget i never got around to installing a PDF preview handler so open it up in Acrobat

    But today something was different. When i clicked on the message there was a “preview file” button. I clicked it and lo and behold PDF preview in the email! I tried it using Explorer and it works as well

    I did a bit of digging and it turns out the Acrobat 8.1 update included a PDF handler

    I’m suprised i hadn’t spotted it sooner but there you go!