Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Update on a Crowd Sourcing experiment

, posted: 1-Oct-2008 21:43

During the early hours of Saturday morning I initiated an experiment in Crowd Sourcing at Read my previous blog entry for the details.

I am pleased to report that in less than five days I have received 96 entries. I'm staggered. If each designer was super quick and spent just 30 minutes on their design then about 50 hours of creativity has flowed so far in contributing to this experimental project.

And what do I think of the quality of the entries. Overall (read the entire post)...

Crowd Sourcing a new logo for Cloud Labs

, posted: 27-Sep-2008 10:29

I've been fascinated by the concept known as crowd sourcing for some time, so last night I decided to start an experiment. I'm engaging the techniques of crowd sourcing to obtain a logo for Cloud Labs (one of my business interests). Right now the process interests me more than the end result - but that said I haven't any particular expectations about the outcome so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

So far, crowd sourcing creates as many questions as it does answers. In the case of (read the entire post)...

Silverlight 2 reaches release candidate stage

, posted: 27-Sep-2008 02:15

Running a little behind schedule, Microsoft have in the last few hours made Silverlight 2 RC0 available for developers to download. Originally the final release of Silverlight 2 was slated by end of the U.S. Summer which has now been and gone. Indications are however that it will not be long until Silverlight 2 is finalised and released to the public.

A substantial amount of performance, quality and feature improvements are included. Detailed information, and links to developer downlo (read the entire post)...

Microsoft SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) takes SQL to the web

, posted: 24-Sep-2008 21:17

Microsoft are progressing with their cloud based database service - SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) - designed to provide a scalable, on-demand data storage and query processing utility service. Certainly the service could be a boon for organisations who need the flexibility offered by such a managed service, though there will be questions about what the limitations and risks of the service will be.

The beta site promotes the service this way: "SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) are high (read the entire post)...

Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2008 RTMs in initial form

, posted: 24-Sep-2008 12:32

Microsoft have finished of the first version of the new Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) which replaces the current ISA Server 2006 product.

This initial version is titled 'Forefront Threat Management Gateway Small Business Edition' and has been released as part of the Microsoft Essential Business Server 2008 suite.

The stand alone versions of TMG are not expected to debut until 2009.

More info is on the TMG blog.
(read the entire post)...

Microsoft Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS 2008) finalised - incl Forefront TMG 2008

, posted: 17-Sep-2008 07:50

Microsoft have today finalised their new server software bundle - Microsoft Essential Business Server 2008. This comes less than 4 weeks after Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 was released to manufacturing.

Of special interest is that this release includes the new Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2008 (previously known as ISA Server). We wonder if an official announcement about the release of Forefront TMG 2008 is imminent.

The official release date for EBS (read the entire post)...

Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) Released to Manufacturing

, posted: 22-Aug-2008 13:03

Microsoft have made the announcement today that Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) has been released to manufacturing (in both Standard and Premium versions). This is a few weeks ahead of the date that many were expecting with the official launch date having recently been announced as 12 November 2008.

This version of SBS requires a 64-bit AMD or Intel CPU for the main server (SBS Standard runs on a single, SBS Premium can run across two servers). As SBS is operat (read the entire post)...

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and .Net 3.5 SP1 released

, posted: 12-Aug-2008 10:01

Today Microsoft have finished and made available for released Visual Studio 2008 SP1, .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 and a number of other associated products.

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 delivers: Improved WPF designers SQL Server 2008 support ADO.NET Entity Designer Visual Basic and Visual C++ components and tools (including an MFC-based Office 2007 style 'Ribbon') Visual Studio Team System Team Foundation Server (TFS) addresses customer feedback on version control usability and performance, ema (read the entire post)...

IBM finally releases ServerGuide CD supporting Windows Server 2008

, posted: 9-Aug-2008 04:25

This week IBM have finally released an updated version of their ServerGuide CD which is used to automate system setup including the installation of operating systems on IBM System X servers. HP released their SmartStart software supporting Windows Server 2008 some months ago.

Download ServerGuide 8.1 here for 32-bit and 64-bit installations:

Supported Servers include (read the entire post)...

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 released - available for download now

, posted: 7-Aug-2008 15:00

As predicted, Microsoft have finished off SQL Server 2008 and have made it available immediately for download from Technet, MSDN and also in the form of a 180-day trial for anyone.

Click here to download the trial

The free version of SQL Server 2008 (SQL Express 2008) download is now available:

Info on what's new in this release of SQL Server is here: (read the entire post)...