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  • SBS 2008 Migration Gotcha

    I was recently migrating a client from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008.

    I was using the Microsoft method (backed up by the techniques in Dave Overton’s book!) and having ran the source tool on the old server I kicked off the migration on the new server and got this error.

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    Weird….I’d ran the source tool without issue?  

    So I rebooted and ran it again yet I still repeatedly got the same message.

    I found an article on the official SBS blog outlining the error but it basically says the resolution is to run the source tool.

    Confused I decided that there must be a log somewhere so called up a command prompt (did you know you can do this during setup? press SHIFT+F10) and changed to the log directory.

    SBS 2008 keeps all the major logs in one place.

    C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server\Logs

    There is a post on the official SBS blog about this with full details.

    So I opened the setup log and saw lots of passes until I got to this.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Outlook 2010 – Auto Complete Files

    Just a quick one as a reminder as it caught me out!

    You’re probably aware that Outlook stores the names that appear when you type a mail recipient in an .NK2 file.

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    In the past when moving a user between PCs all we needed to do with grab the .NK2 file from the old PC and copy it to the new PC.

    Turns out Outlook 2010 doesn’t use an NK2 file anymore!

    If you’re using Outlook 2010 look at your contacts folders. You should see a folder called “Suggested Contacts”

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    This where the names are now stored.

    The idea is that you can easily manage them and more importantly because the names are stored in your mailbox they will follow you around on different PCs.

    So the main thing is how do you transfer them across from an old PC running an older version of Outlook?

    There is a Microsoft Knowledgebase article detailing the whole thing here.

    Simply put,

    Outlook has a command line flag “/importNK2”.

    Grab the NK2 file on the old PC from one of the following locations.

    • Windows XP
      Drive:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
    • Windows Vista and later versions
      Drive:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook

    Browse to the folder “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook”

    Make sure the NK2 file is in that folder and the filename matches your Outlook profile name.

    e.g Andy.NK2

    Run Outlook with the switc

    Outlook.exe /importNK2

    Done!

    The KB article says that the import process renames the file with a .file extension but this didn’t seem to happen when I did it. (though it might have just been me!)

    Note if you perform an upgrade from an old version of Outlook to Outlook 2010 this should have been done for you automatically

  • Vintage Computer Festival at Bletchley Park

    Last Saturday fellow geek Richard Tubb and I travelled down to Bletchley Park for the first ever Vintage Computer Festival here in the UK.

    I’ve been to the National Computer Museum before but this was a far more interactive experience.

    The mansion and various marquees around the site were filled with tons of retro systems that were all powered on and ready for use.

    It was geek heaven!

    Every possible system from my childhood from Acorn, Commodore, Amstrad and Sinclair was there and it’s amazing the things people are still doing with them!

    For example, this is a compact flash card plugging into the back of a Spectrum!

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    I even found my first love 🙂

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    While the Spectrum +3 wasn’t the first computer that came into the Parkes household (there were lots!) it was the first that was actually mine.

    This is the power supply from said computer.

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    It’s difficult to explain WHY I took this picture but if you’re a bit of a geek you’ll get it 🙂

    As well as the equipment on show there were various speakers and we sat in on Christine Finn’s presentation which talked about how “organised” computer collecting came about. She’s an archaeologist by trade which gives her a different insight into how and why we should keep old technology other than the reasons someone like me would have! She gave a really good presentation about her experiences in Silicon Valley during the dot-boom in the 90’s and it’s subsequent bust.

    She wrote a piece in the Guardian a few years ago which is worth checking out.

    She also has a book on the subject called Artifacts: An Archaeologist’s Year in Silicon Valley which Richard purchased and had signed!

    In addition to the computers on display a large chunk of the mansion was taken over by the Retro Computer Museum.

    This organisation keep old computer systems alive for the purposes of gaming! This was also one of the other lectures we took in. They were raising awareness of what they do and it was interesting to see the difference in body language when moving from the actual presentation to the Q&A session. Their enthusiasm really jumped out and they very much of the attitude that the old systems should continue to be used for their purpose and not locked away in a box.

    Due to funding they don’t have a permanent site so hold an open day twice a year. The next one is at that the end of October so I’ll be certainly be visiting! There is also a much larger event going on later in the year but there is a full post to follow on that 😉

    So the games itself.

    Every possible system you could think of was there to play with

    From the Atari 2600 to Commodore Plus 4 to Amiga 1200 to Neo Geo, to Playstation 3. If you can think of it, it was there.

    Richard and I played Battle Chess on an Amiga 1200 and Sensible Soccer on an Amiga CD32!

    Also, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen .

    Guitar Hero on the Commodore 64.

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    Picture courtesy of Richard Tubbs Flickr Account

    Someone created an adapter to plug a Playstation guitar into the machine and coded a game for it! The 8-bit beeps were amazing though we both sucked at the game itself.

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     Picture courtesy of Richard Tubbs Flickr Account

    As mentioned above there were a couple of marquee tents on site. One of them was entirely dedicated to the Amiga and were were there when they announced the launch of a new Amiga – the X100.

    I can’t really tell you anything about it though as they didn’t bother to give the speakers microphones so didn’t hear a word they said! I think this site may have some more information over the coming months.

    We ended our day at the Spectrum tent.

    While the coolest thing I saw was Guitar Hero the geekiest think I did has to be this,

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    Picture courtesy of Richard Tubbs Flickr Account

    Tweeting from a Spectrum!

    I came across a video of this on YouTube recently (and shared it via Facebook and Twitter of course) so it was great to actually see it in action.

    As I’ve already mentioned there is still an awful lot of things going on with some of these “old” systems. We even saw a recently developed game, complete with modern packaging. It looked amazing.

    Richard couldn’t resist much more and came away with a couple of purchases. Just as he was making his mind up he realised he didn’t have a tape deck to load programs from. A gentleman stood next to us said that an MP3 would work just find and proceeded to pull out his iPhone and played the sound Galaxians would make during loading.

    It’s common sense when you think of it but all the same ingenious!

    I picked up a book called Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age and even managed to get it signed by the author Mike Hally

    We had a really great time and the event was actually run on Saturday and Sunday. Next time I’ll definitely be there for both days!

  • SharePoint as a Help Desk @ AMITPRO

    Urgh….I meant to do this a lot earlier but I’ve had a crazy week since the AMITPRO meeting last week. I’ve got a back log of posts I want to put together but between holidays, hospitals and a couple of major client projects I’ve been at full tilt since then.

    Anyway, back to the point!

    Last time I spoke at an AMITPRO meeting I posted a brief “critique” of myself so I could figure out where I went right and wrong so I thought it was worth doing again.

    First of all though a big thank you to everyone that attended!

    We had a really great turn out and as well as our regular crowd there were a lot of new faces as well as appearances from some familiar faces we haven’t seen for a while. Thanks everyone for making the effort.

    So what did I think?

    Demo – Something I’d mentioned in my last critique was that I’d wanted to have a lot more structure in the demo itself. This was even more important subject matter and I’d used OneNote to great effect to give myself an outline to work against which meant everything went far more smoothly.

    Speed – I didn’t quite feel as rushed as last time. By that I mean myself. I really did go through the demos quite quickly because I had a lot to try and do in a short space of time but I felt a lot more relaxed when speaking which will be down to experience and the fact it’s not the first time I’ve presented to the group.

    SlidesEven though Guy very kindly made it look like I’d dropped the dreaded slides I had put together a very small deck that I didn’t get to use. I was still running the Office 2010 beta on my laptop and when I tried to open the file I got an error. Because I was literally minutes from speaking I just made the decision to drop them. When I checked it again afterwards it turned out I could have clicked through the error and used the slides. Which brings me onto my next point.

    Organisation (1)– There had been a mix up at the venue about the room we’d booked and we were in a room for 10-15 with almost 30 people. I’d already started to setup in the smaller room when we needed to move. Also since I’m involved with the organisation of the event I had to help sort the new room,  get everyone moved and setup again. I then ended up speaking first instead of second so I was in a massive rush to get started as we were now running late.

    Organisation (2) – While the previous point was a little out of my control this wasn’t. I’d setup my demo on my home setup with the intention of copying it to my laptop I’d use on the day. On the morning of the meeting I took my virtual machines to the offices with intention of tweaking my machines and going over my notes. We had such a busy day at the office that it just didn’t work out that way.

    At around half three I realised I needed to setup a scheduled task to make everything easier. However, my server machine was running like a dog and generally unresponsive. I’d run a couple of VM’s on my laptop before no problem but was now panicking. After a bit of investigation I found a couple of articles that indicated that laptop hardware can go into reign in the CPU when VMs are running as it thinks the system is actually idle (though I don’t know if this actually true!)

    So in my panic I uninstalled Virtual PC 2007 and installed Windows Virtual PC so I could make a setting change that would overcome this. At the same time I totally forgot that the VM’s aren’t directly compatible so it was almost four thirty (i.e time to leave!) and I had no way to run the demo! I quickly got rid of Windows Virtual PC, loaded Virtual PC 2007 back up and left for the meeting.

    On the way I realised in my rush I hadn’t copied my slide deck onto the laptop. Once at the meeting I had to fight a dodgy 3G signal to try and remote back to the office and grab the file. My intention was to get everything prepped while the other speaker was on but I ended up going on FIRST!

    I was quite lucky in that other than the slides everything from a demo perspective went to plan.

    The lesson to learn was that I should have included the actual laptop the demo would run from as part of demo build instead of just assuming it would all work as expected.

    Thankfully I’d prepared my demo and notes in such a way that I was able to get back on track quickly even though I was quite flustered at the beginning

    All in all I was pleased with how it went.

    I still don’t think I’m a natural presenter but hopefully anyone who was there learning something. If they did then it was mission accomplished.

    I got some very nice comments from people in attendance and via Twitter and e-mail the following day which were much appreciated.

    There was a TON of stuff I’d actually prepared that I just didn’t even cover because of time and the fact I didn’t want to go on for too long and have everyone lose interest. I joked during the presentation that I can talk for HOURS about SharePoint but in all honesty I was being serious!

  • Andy and SharePoint @ June AMITPRO Meeting

    Yeah i know….me again.

    We’ve had a speaker drop out at short notice so I’m going to speaking at AMITPRO this month. The topic is one you’ll probably know is something I quite like talking about – SharePoint!

    My presentation will be titled – SharePoint as a Helpdesk

    I’ve had the idea for the while so it’s something Guy and I have been sort of keeping in reserve just in case we had any issues with speakers so I finally get to roll it out this month.

    So what exactly do I mean by SharePoint as a Helpdesk?

    One thing I’ve found when talking to other partners is that because SharePoint is such a flexible (large?) product is that many of them find it difficult to get into quickly. I can understand this as it can be an awful lot to take in.

    However, I really do think many partners are missing out on revenue opportunities because of this! Now that don’t necessarily mean you need to instantly became a master in SharePoint but if you have a basic understanding of what it can do then you can always partner with a company that does if you have a client who might benefit from such a solution.

    Partnering with other companies is something SBSC partners are good at!

    So….what I’m going to try to do in the time I’ll have is to create a basic helpdesk. All IT companies know what a helpdesk is and what sort of functionality it needs so we can create a quick and dirty SharePoint application that showcases what SharePoint can do.

    I’ll be touching on,

    Lists and Libraries.

    Columns and Views.

    Content Types and E-mail Integration.

    Web Part Pages and Web Parts.

    SharePoint designer and Workflows.

    Office integration and Mobile access

    And if there is time another topic I like to shout about…InfoPath 🙂

    Time depending of course!

    Our other speaker is Dell Quinn from Microsoft.

    She’s going to talk about the changes to the Microsoft Partner Network and how it’ll impact Small Business Specialists.

    All this as well as the usual pre and post event banter that goes on at any AMITPRO event!

    As always guests are more than welcome. If you’ve never attended a user group event we’ve love for you to come along.

    If you’d like to know more than leave a comment here, visit the AMITPRO site or get in touch with me directly (or on Twitter)

    Look forward to seeing you there!

  • David Houston – Community Legend

    If you follow the SBS Community at all you’ll have no doubt heard the sad news of the passing of David Houston.

    I met David “virtually” online in 2007. Both he and I participated in the long departed monthly SBS Chat and were the only people from this part of the world. (mainly because it started at 1am GMT!)

    Once upon a time I also tried to help promote an event he was running by blogging about it.

    I only met him once when he attended an AMITPRO meeting and while I knew he had http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ambien/ health problems I was still shocked to hear the news over the weekend as he was very much a community person and you won’t hear a bad word said about him.

    Hearing about the death of anyone you’ve been connected to in one way or the other certainly makes you take stock of things.

    There are a lot of people in the SBS Community I don’t know as well as I’d like so I‘m going to try and change that over the coming months.

    Susanne Dansey (Purple Cow Ideas Management) talks about David in her vLog here which prompted me to post as I wasn’t entirely sure what to talk about but since she went to the effort of getting in front of a camera I thought I could at least put a paragraph together.

    My thoughts go out to David’s family and I’d like to thank David for all his efforts over the years