My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related

Exchange 2010

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I just did an Exchange 2010 presentation for the folks in Indiana’s Windows User Group. ( We had 120 people there in the middle of summer to talk about Exchange 2010! I had several requests for the slides and that is the reason for this entry. I have uploaded the slides to and you can get them there. Enjoy!
Link to my slides:

Usually Microsoft gives N-1 downgrade rights in their OEM purchased software. So that would mean that when you buy Windows 7 you could run Windows Vista. To have downgrade rights further you would usually need to purchase “Software Assurance” Which not only gives you rights to the next version of the software but the rights to run earlier versions. Due to customer demand Microsoft has changed their policy for Windows 7 to allow customers to downgraded N-2 and run Windows XP.

This now ends when sales of Windows 7 ends. So, customers will not be able to buy a Windows 7 with end user downgrade rights after Windows 7 reaches the end of sales date in the OEM channel – which according to the current Windows Lifecycle policy is 2 years after the next version of Windows ships.The sales life cycle is much different than the support lifecycle.  A sales lifecycle ends 2 years after the next release of a product vs support life cycle is 10 years after a product is RTM’d.  So this means that customers who buy Windows 7 Pro OEM licenses will have downgrade rights to Win XP Pro, on all new OEM purchases, up until 2 years after the next OS release.   This can be a little confusing but it is a good thing for customers!

For more information on OEM downgrade refer to the Microsoft website at:

The new Xbox 360 sports a sleek new design, a wisper quit 250GB hard drive and built-in Wi-Fi, the new Xbox 360 gives you the ultimate gaming and entertainment experience! For more information check out:

Kinect – formerly known as “Project Natal” was official announced also. This is a technology that watches your body movements and removes the need for a controler in Xbox games. There is a lot of potential here to expand past gameing and use the body for computer interaction. What kinds of things can you think of? For more information check out:

On June 7th Microsoft launched Expression Studio 4. A great set of tools for designing rich media applications and websites.

SketchFlow – a rapid prototype tool
SketchFlow, a feature of Expression Studio Ultimate, enables you to rapidly present ideas, user interface flows, screen layouts and application functionality to your clients through effective prototyping. The lo-fidelity, or ‘sketchy’ look to the prototype helps clients focus on the functionality, rather than the detail of the experience, while the SketchFlow Player gives the client an easy way to test and provide feedback. This new release of SketchFlow features a more robust client feedback solution which integrates with both local and online versions of SharePoint, allowing clients to more effectively share and review feedback.
Behaviors – accelerate your UI designs
Expression Blend 4 includes new Behaviors designed to enhance your application design process; multi-touch, the ability to preserve screen state from screen to screen, easily drag-able items between listboxes plus many more designed to keep you focused on the art of creating compelling UI designs.
Visual State Manager – bring you application to life one transition at a time
Bring your application to life with effective transitions. Add subtlety and texture to your UIs by taking advantage of the new pixel shader effects. Whether you want to manipulate color, add a drop shadow or animate a ripple transition or swirls, the extensible range of pixel effects gives you total control so you can create the transition you want through the Visual State Manager.
Team Foundation Server Integration Share your Expression Studio project files with those of your colleagues by using check in and check out functionality with Microsoft Team Foundation Server integration. The feedback you receive via SketchFlow can now be converted into Team Foundation Server work items.
SEO Diagnostics
Expression Web uses the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit to improve your Web site’s relevance in search results by recommending how to make the site content more search engine-friendly.
Create Expression Web add-ins
Now you can extend Expression Web’s functionality with HTML and JavaScript. Add panels, menu commands, and tools to the toolbox. Share your add-ins with the Expression Community.

We have streamlined to three main SKUs, including Expression Studio 4 Ultimate, Expression Studio 4 Premium and Expression Studio 4 Web Professional—all featuring Expression Encoder and Expression Design. This diagram helps explain what is in each of the three SKUs.

More information and trial downloads available here:

Just released a great new tool for midsized organizations! System Center Essentials 2010 has released to manufacturing. It is a new management solution in the System Center family of management products that is designed for businesses with up to 500 client computers and 50 servers. System Center Essentials 2010 provides a single solution with a single console for managing your servers, clients, hardware, software, and IT services for a unified experience.

Once configured, you can manually or automatically deploy updates for Microsoft operating systems, hardware updates, third-party updates, drivers and Microsoft and non-Microsoft software applications to ensure the security of your IT environment. Further Essentials 2010 can automatically checks for new updates available and applicable to your IT environment and provides notification and access reports on update deployment progress to help you quickly troubleshoot any update deployment issues.

 Here are some of the key features of SCE 2010:

  • Simple Installation and setup
  • Comprehensive Monitoring
  • Automated Software Deployment and Patch Management
  • Software and Hardware Inventory
  • Virtualization management, including server provisioning and live migration

I am taking it for a test drive in my test network the week of May 17th. I encourage you to do the same and set it up in your lab. If you do drop me an email or post on my blog and let me know how it went for you! You can get the trial code at:

You can learn more about System Center Essential here:

US_Prd_Bx_Chart_Office_Ultimate_2007 GET IT NOW!!! Why wait? Download your copy of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 for testing and development today!!! If you don’t have a TechNet or MSDN subscription you can  Click here for 25% Off TechNet Plus!!! That is TechNet Plus for $262!!!

US_Prd_Bx_Chart_Office_Ultimate_2007 GET IT NOW!!! Why wait? Download your copy of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 for testing and development today!!! If you don’t have a TechNet or MSDN subscription you can  Click here for 25% Off TechNet Plus!!! That is TechNet Plus for $262!!!


The best smart phone on the market as of April 2010 is the HTC HD2 on T-Mobile! This amazing piece of hardware has a huge 4.3 inch screen that uses capacitive touch! It supports 480 x 800 resolution! The phone is blazing fast with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It runs Windows Mobile 6.5 flawlessly and has the HTC touchflow home screen. It comes with a 5-megapixel camera, a 16Gig microSD flash card, 3.5mm headset jack. This phone blurs the lines between CellPhone and Netbook. I picked up 2 of these beauties for $200. That is $100 a phone with a 2 year agreement.

 The reviews on Amazon say it all:  5.0 out of 5 stars 

 There is a very well done unboxing video here:

My friends at X-Centric Solutions, a Microsoft Partner, are delivering a presentation on Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and “expecting more from your email”. They are a great group of knowledgeable people so come on in and learn about Exchange 2010!

When you ask? Tuesday, March 30, 2010
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

You may be a Tech Whiz on Windows 7…but ‘Are You Certifiable?’ 

Test your technical prowess against other IT Professionals and Developers from around the world.  Show them who’s in command and fight for your right to stay in the coveted top spot on the leaderboard! 

Don’t delay…hundreds of questions await you along with the new Windows 7 track