My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related


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The ‘You’ve Got Game’ sweepstakes launched today, targeting Developers and Tech Students to drive gaming apps throughout FY12.  Through February, the primary focus will be on gaming apps for Windows Phone with optional Azure attach which will later evolve to a client/web-focused campaign that will re-launch in alignment with the Windows 8 app repository.


Participants will receive sweepstakes entries for each gaming app submitted, with incentives including a weekly drawing for 25 XboxLIVE 3-month subscriptions and a chance to win one of three Alienware M18x laptops at the end of the promotion.  Participants will also receive a unique URL that gives them chances to win a Xbox bundle for each time their custom link is clicked.

Demand gen for You’ve Got Game is targeted to reach over 750K developer and student engagements through February.  Additionally, the campaign will drive towards the all-up 16k phone app goal, 100% community growth KPIs, and  create a pipeline for the upcoming ‘heroes’ campaign to launch in Q3.  Local and national community efforts including User Groups, social media, and influencers are expected to drive 30%+ of the activities.

Take a look at the campaign experience:

Microsoft User Community Link:{‘mtag’:'central’} 
Microsoft Tech Student Link:{‘mtag’:'central’}




TechReady 14

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imageI am out in Seattle this week at TechReady 14 and all I can say is “Wow, Wow, Wow”. The event started yesterday with a visit by Steve Ballmer. I find it reassuring to see that the leadership team understands the current market and isn’t stuck in the past. Ballmer gets it. In my meeting with Satya Nadella last week I saw, that in the server and tools space, he gets it.

Most importantly I have been enjoying the presentations and hands on labs. My conclusion from these experiences is that we have a great year shaping up with awesome infrastructure technologies for 2012. There are a ton of improvements in multiple products. The changes are Huge.

Here are the ones I have been amazed by so far.

  • Azure (improvements)
  • System Center 2012
  • Office
  • Office 365
  • Hyper-V (Wow)
  • Windows Client
  • Windows Server

I know you probably want more details but you will just have to wait for some of it. I will let you know when these things are available and will also give you my thoughts on it.  My team will start a new blog roll about some of the advances in System Center 2012 very soon. Just know that working in IT infrastructure will be a fun place to be for the next 5 years. If you are in consulting expect to be busy…

If you want more good information now on Windows  you will have to get it at the Windows blog: 



Would you get smoked by the Windows Phone or would you win $100?

At CES Ben, the PC Guy, bet people $100 that Windows Phone is faster than their phone. They got to choose their own challenge. Watch the video and see who gets smoked by Windows Phone and who walks away with $100.

Watch more challenges on the Windows Phone YouTube Channel:


thumbnailThe latest version the Microsoft Security Compliance Manager (SCM) tool—version 2.5—is now available for beta download. SCM 2.5 enables you to quickly check, configure, and manage your desktops, laptops, and servers to insure security compliance. You can automate the distribution of these settings using Group Policy and/or Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

NEW baselines include:

  • Exchange Server 2007 SP3 Security Baseline
  • Exchange Server 2010 SP2 Security Baseline

Updated client product baselines include:

  • Windows 7 SP1 Security Compliance Baseline
  • Windows Vista SP2 Security Compliance Baseline
  • Windows XP SP3 Security Compliance Baseline
  • Office 2010 SP1 Security Baseline
  • Internet Explorer 8 Security Compliance Baseline

Get the beta download from Microsoft Connect at: (requires a live id)

Get the latest RC of System Center Here: (requires a live id)

CES 2012 KeyNote

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This is for those of you who haven’t watched the CES Keynote from 2012 yet and want to see some of the information yourself. Here’s an outline with posted times, in case you want to skip forward and watch just the spots your interested in.


Introduction by CES CEO
Very cool video showing history of MSFT and CES, musically synthesized.
Ryan Seacrest arrives at 9:40
WP7, Derek Snyder demos 12:50
     Texting via voice
     Local Scout, OpenTable app, etc.
WP Hardware Partners, 23:00
     T-Mobile will offer Nokua Lumia 710 and 800 in Canada, and Lumia 710 in US
     Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T 4G LTE (4.3 in. display) in US
     HTC Titan II, on AT&T (4.7 in. screen, 16MP camera)
Windows 8, 26:30
     Competition – good for Microsoft
     1.3B Windows PC’s in-use on our planet, the #1 smart device by audience size
     Windows 7 hardware video 29:00
          Sony Vaio Z (15 hours of battery life),
          Asus Zenbook UX21 (go 1 week on standby),
          Acer Aspire S3 (1/2″ thin ),
          Toshiba Portege Z830 (world’s lightest 13″ laptop)
          Dell XPS 14z (14″ screen in 13″ Chassis)
          Lenovo IdeaPad 300 (book like silhouette)
          Sumsung Series 9 (small, light)
          HP Envy14 Spectre (the first multi-surface glass notebook)
Windows 8, Tami Reller (CMO Windows), 31:15
     Lock Screen, with info
     Picture Password
     Start screen
     Designed for touch, and mouse/keyboard
     Runs on x86 and ARM
     Sumsung Series 7 tablet
Windows Store, 36:49
     Cut The Rope, from ZeptoLab
     Free and Paid apps available in 200 markets
     Semantic Zoom
     Searching for app’s
     Create a group of app’s on the start screen, and semantic zoom
     Snapped Window
     IE10, HTML5, Plug-in free browsing, with touch
     New hardware

“Windows 7 is the best-selling operating system of all time. Five hundred million users on the planet for Windows 7. We’re licensing about seven new copies a second. And by my calculation, I think that means by the time we wrap up today, there are probably 25,000 new Windows 7 users on this planet.” SteveB

“Every Windows 7 PC will be ready for Windows 8 on day one. So, the 3 million people who have already come to our website and downloaded the Windows 8 preview, boom, they can do it from any Windows PC ever made.”

Tweet choir, 49:15
Xbox, 52:40
     Shipped 18M Kinects in the last year

“In a sense, Xbox kind of represents the best of a part of our DNA that we’re really proud about. We make these big, bold bets. We invest for the long-term. And we make exciting things happen. And we’re 10 years later, we’re the world’s sales leader in the last year for consoles, which is exciting as heck. We have over 66 million Xbox users. And perhaps the most amazing thing is, we have over 40 million Xbox Live subscribers tuning in on a regular basis for a variety of different entertainment experiences.”

Craig Davidson, 56:05
     Metro design
     Voice controller
     On-demand and Live TV
     Bing voice search
     Search by title, search by actor name
     Video blacked out for several minutes, but transcript has the details
     Announcing partnership with News Corporate, and the new Fox Xbox app
     U-Verse coming

Two-way TV, demo’d by Jaymi Bauer, 1:03:04
Kinect Sesame Street TV
     We’re in Elmo’s World, shows person in the TV show via Kinect
Kinect Video, and announcement bringing Kinect to Windows 8 on FEB 1st1: 08:37

Quick Mentions

  • Sync
    “Sync, which we’ve worked on with Ford. Sync is now installed, powering intelligent experiences in over 4 million Ford vehicles since 2007, and I think we’ll reach 9 million additional cars in the course of the next three years.”
  • Office 2010
    fastest selling version of Office in company history, per Frank S. post
  • Office 365
    used by 80M+ people
  • Skype
    200 million people who used over 300 billion minutes of voice and video
  • What’s next?
         Metro, metro, metro
         Windows 8…

Cut the rope is a great addictive game that has been a huge success on SmartPhones. But you don’t need one of those fancy phones to enjoy the game. Just hit this website

Get bonus levels now!
Om Nom is now Om-line and delicious in Internet Explorer 9. Play Cut the Rope now using Internet Explorer 9 and get bonus levels.

Enjoy – B

imageIn the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report India would come up with a low rate of infections. For example in the first half of 2011 (MSRT) reported that it cleaned malware on 2.9 computer for every 1,000 it ran on. This is well below the worldwide average of 10.37 for the first half of 2011.

As we look at this data it is surprising that there are such low infection rates in India where their society is very active on computers. So what gives? Well, in previous volumes of the report, Windows-based computers reporting information were classified by countries and regions according to the administrator-specified setting under the Location tab or menu in Region and Language in Control Panel. It turns out that on very many machines in India this client setting doesn’t match up to the geolocation of the IP address.

For volume 11, of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, the location is determined by both the geolocation of the IP address and by the user settings. This has changed the picture greatly.

When using this method the malware infection rate in India is 15.55 machines per 1000. Now that is a heck of a lot higher than the previously thought number of 2.9. It is even quite a bit higher than the worldwide average of 10.37.

For more information from the latest Security Intelligence Report – Find it here:

imageThis Facebook web page called “Coffee Coaching” is a cool page that has 25 videos that give good information on different Microsoft and HP solutions.

Here are 3 of the titles :

  • Introducing Windows MultiPoint Server and HP Hardware Solutions
  • Getting to know HPs KVM solution
  • Getting to know client virtualization with HP

Take a look at all 25 videos on the page at: (You have to Like their page to get the videos)



Products in the System Center Suite are now sold as a Suite and have a unified installer: Download the RC here:

System Center 2012 SMLs will be released in two editions differentiated by virtualization rights only:
Datacenter: Maximizes cloud capacity with unlimited virtualization for high density private clouds. Datacenter provides use rights for management of an unlimited number of VMs per license.
Standard: For lightly or non-virtualized private cloud workloads. Standard Edition provides use rights for managing up to two VMs per license.
All the features all the time. Each edition contains all 8 System Center 2012 components (i.e. OpsMgr, ConfigMgr, etc). No additional licenses are needed for management servers or SQL Server technology. There is no workload restriction on the licenses.

Consistent licensing model across editions. Each edition license is Processor-based. The license covers up to two physical processors.

I haven’t seen the price list with this yet but Paul Thurrott has it listed in this article: as $1,323 for System Center 2012 Standard and $3,615 for System Center 2012 Datacenter.

WindowsPowerShellWindows PowerShell is an awesome scripting language to automate just about whatever task you want to in Windows.

I had a need to run a report everyday at 7am so that when I came into work at 8am my report was ready for me. Back then I ran Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and had replaced the shell with PCtools shell. It allowed me to script the GUI and run a program that had no automation ability inherent in itself. With the PCtools Shell anyone could script their computer by having it record your steps and it would build a script around that that you could play back and even modify. I haven’t found a good replacement for that tool even thought it is almost 20 years later.

PowerShell does give me the ability to automate things much like I did with the PCtools Shell. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the record ability but it does enable me to control programs and make them do what I want.

Some of the controls that I want to do like grab a Windows and type text into there are not in base of PowerShell but luckily it is extensible and someone wrote just want I need for this.

The Windows Automation Snap-in for PowerShell, or WASP for short, is an open source project that enables you to easily position program windows and enter data into those programs.

You can find out more and download the code here:

If you are looking for a good book on PowerShell check out Matt Hester’s book: “Automating Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Windows PowerShell 2.0”