Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Microsoft wants to fire your receptionist, are you and I next?

, posted: 25-Jul-2008 09:52

Every year robots get a little more capable. In Japan where there has been a short supply of security guards they've built security robots to patrols malls at night.

Now Microsoft are showing off there latest foray in robotics with a new receptionist for their campus in Redmond.

I'm just wondering when someone will offer robotic replacements for you and I? And am I the only one who found it weird that a movie about Robots trying to take over the world was called i Robot (st (read the entire post)...

SBS 2008 RC1 and EBS 2008 RC1 finalised (updated with all download links)

, posted: 22-Jul-2008 21:46

Last Friday, Microsoft finalised the code for the RC 1 (Release Candidate 1) prerelease versions of both Windows Small Business Server 2008, and Windows Essential Business Server 2008. See below for download links.

Rumour has it Microsoft has confirmed that organisations who have current licenses and Software Assurance for Small Business Server will be eligible for a free additional Windows Server license, and standalone ISA Server license (since ISA Server has been removed from this (read the entire post)...

Blackberry patching: Don't leave it a minute longer

, posted: 22-Jul-2008 09:47

If you have or support any Blackberry Enterprise Servers it is critically important that you make sure the latest service pack is installed - or the patch issued at the end of last week. Without it you leave your network very vulnerable - RIM rated the security issue that arose last week as a 9 (out of 10). If left unpatched, you're potentially leaving your network wide open to major abuse.

Refer to article KB15766 on the support site for more info, and to download the (read the entire post)...

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)...