Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

AstraSync: ActiveSync comes to Blackberry

, posted: 19-Jul-2008 10:14

Coming this month is a new application that means Blackberry devices no longer need to link with BIS (Blackberry Internet Service) or BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server). AstraSynch allows Blackberry handsets to use the ActiveSynch/DirectPush push synchronization capabilities built into Exchange Server 2007 in a similar basis to the way in which Windows Mobiles and iPhones do already.

It is envisaged that this, the first version of AstraSynch, will have limited flexibility. It is howev (read the entire post)...

SQL Server 2008 to ship next month? (updated)

, posted: 10-Jul-2008 18:31

It seems possible that SQL Server 2008 will be available from August. Comments made at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference indicate that SQL Server 2008 is on the verge of being released.

Bob Kelly, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Infrastructure Server Marketing, told attendees at the Conference that SQL Server 2008 will be on the August price list. It's not usual for Microsoft to have products on their price list that are not available, so there's a good chance the code c (read the entire post)...

HTC branded handsets officially shipping in NZ

, posted: 10-Jul-2008 17:15

After having their handsets sold in NZ for a number of years under various other names in most cases (imate, Okta Touch, etc) HTC branded handsets are now being distributed officially in NZ. HTC is the largest manufacturer of Windows Mobile phones globally, and last time I checked their sales accounted for at least 70% of that market. That may change soon with Sony Ericsson and other making a play for a slice of the Windows Mobile market.

The first handset to launch is the powerful HT (read the entire post)...

ISA Server 2006 Service Pack 1 (updated)

, posted: 4-Jul-2008 10:10

Yesterday Microsoft finished off ISA Server 2006 SP 1 and made it available for download.

This download is another example of Microsoft adding significant features to a product via a service pack (as with Exchange Server 2007 SP1). I think it would have been fair to have called this ISA Server 2006 R2 rather than just SP1 due to the improvements and new features. Those items include:

- Support for use of server certificates containing multiple Subject Alternative Name (SAN) (read the entire post)...

Dreamspark provides free copies of Visual Studio Pro and Expression Studio

, posted: 21-Jun-2008 12:58

Apparently this is old news, but something I just heard about is that Microsoft have launched the 'Dreamspark' programme to provide students with Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge.

The line-up of free software includes:
- Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
- Expression Studio
- Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
- SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
- XNA Game Studio 2.0 (with an XNA Creators Club membership)

Currently the off (read the entire post)...

Live Mesh update

, posted: 19-Jun-2008 09:19

The update below arrived in my inbox today about Microsoft's Live Mesh product. I've been using it now for a couple of weeks at home and am enjoying some of the features such as Remote Desktop style access to PCs behind a router or firewall. It's certainly a product with some potential, but it would be nice if there was an option for it handle synching larger amounts of data (even if a cost were associated).
Live Mesh Tech Preview: Version Update June 18, 2008The Live Mesh team has been wor (read the entire post)...

Silverlight 2 beta 2 available (updated with download links)

, posted: 4-Jun-2008 22:34

Silverlight 2 beta 2 is now available. So what? Well, I don't think many Flash developers will care, or even be aware of this event.

What I am expecting is that the mass of developers and organisations who have sidelined Flash will be happy to leverage Silverlight 2 since it builds on the skills they already and works with tools they know (i.e. Visual Studio).

I know for instance that the Cloud Labs team will be using Silverligh 2b2 to create improved and more responsive us (read the entire post)...

Microsoft Live 'Mesh' -

, posted: 3-Jun-2008 22:41

I visited over the weekend and signed up to be in queue to try the 'tech preview'. About 24 hours later I got my invite to try it.

So far I've only had a quick look, but it appears to take the file synchronisation technology previously available in 'FolderShare' (which Microsoft acquired a couple of years ago) with a bunch of new features such as 'Live Mesh Remote Desktop' to use remote applications on the computers you've got linked up. You also get a 'live desktop' of 5 (read the entire post)...

ISA Server 2008 / Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2008

, posted: 30-May-2008 16:22

A few people I've spoken with have been wondering what happened to the planned ISA Server 2008. There is little data about this so I thought I would provide a quick bit of info and links to point you in the right direction.

This new version of ISA Server is now called Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG for short since it's rather a mouthfull!). It will be part of a new suite of Forefront products from Microsoft currently covered by the codename 'Stirling'. Right now St (read the entire post)...

Windows Small Business Server 2008 reaches RC0 release candidate stage (updated)

, posted: 30-May-2008 05:07

Last week I heard a whisper about Windows Small Business Server 2008 having reached released candidate stage. At first I wondered if my source was mistaken as there hadn't even been a public beta yet, and some at Microsoft had been suggesting a release at the end of 2008. With RC0 being available now, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the final product released by late August - early October timeframe (it's somewhat dependant on when SQL Server 2008 is finished).

Today however Microsof (read the entire post)...