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Feb
14
Surface and Surface Pro – FreedomCase
Posted by Philip Elder on 14 February 2014 02:55 PM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Surface and Surface Pro – FreedomCase

This product looks nothing short of awesome!

FreedomCase for Surface and Surface Pro

We will be tossing our 2bits into this project. :)

Their KickStarter site is here: FreedomCase

For those of us that are using a Surface or Surface Pro this product is definitely one not to miss.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


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Jan
6
Some Thoughts On ARM and Intel Windows 8 Devices and the Windows 8 OS
Posted by Philip Elder on 06 January 2014 02:16 PM

Original Blog Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog Some Thoughts On ARM and Intel Windows 8 Devices and the Windows 8 OS

This is a post to the SBS2K Yahoo List.

OP: Windows and ARM are essentially dead.

My thoughts . . .

I don’t think ARM is dead. Cost wise Intel can’t meet them especially with the new FABs they have built and their ongoing yield issues. There needs to be a cost tier in tech.

The ARM/RT/Surface 2 experience is aimed at the iDevice user. Folks that are used to a locked in experience where they need to purchase apps outside of the device to get what they need to be productive. The advantage goes to Surface 2 as it has everything one needs to be fully productive short of Enterprise features like DirectAccess _out of the box_. InTune takes care of the management side of things to some degree to give corporate IT some control over the devices.

I like my Surface 2. It’s flaky for sure. It reminds me of the day when we started to see motherboards with the “new” 32-bit PCI slots on them and the industry extolling “Plug and Play” as the new end to IRQs and Jumpers. We called it “Plug and Pray” for _years_ before the tech settled down and started doing what it was supposed to.

I believe that the Windows ARM line will, and already is, put a lot of pressure on iDevices and Android devices since users see a device that has their Windows experience out of the box.

Kill Microsoft with words over the new Metro/Modern UI and its app environment but Microsoft knows what they are doing. They _know_ user pain moving between different platforms and the cost in lost productivity due to the “where’s my cheese” between them.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been approached with a “my Android device updated and now my stuff is gone or changed how do I get it back” question. That’s one area that Google has totally wrong. It’s not about the devs and their toys it’s about the end-user and their need to stay productive. Windows Phone solves this pain point big time as does iOS as they don’t butcher the user experience between versions.

And that is the clincher: As the general public becomes more aware that their PC, tablet, and phone can host the exact same environment in a stable and ongoing fashion, especially through device changes, the Windows platform will grow. The Windows 8/RT platform is relatively stable, provides a methodology to move to new devices and inherit everything, and provides a seamless and similar user experience across ALL devices. That’s Microsoft’s long-term vision IMNSHO.

An example: I killed the screen on my Nokia 920. It pancaked on the floor. Box tape is holding the glass together and it still works just fine but seeing through the cracks is painful. So, I bought a new Nokia 1020. It took about an hour after signing in with my Microsoft ID to have EVERYTHING as it was on my 920. The device backup and restore process pulls everything back even my text message threads! I don’t have to plug my phone into a computer or WiFi sync it like the iPhone does (not sure if messaging threads come back with a restore to a new iPhone?).

I set up a new Windows 8.1 machine for home based on the Intel NUC. I signed in with my Microsoft ID, set up my app passwords, and pulled down my regular apps from the Store’s “What you purchased” list and I was fully productive. All I needed from there was Office, RD Manager, and Camtasia. Everything else I use is in Metro/Modern UI.

If you have not experienced the seamless setup between Windows 8+ systems then you are truly missing out again IMNSHO. I NEED to have every second available to me to stay on top of things. Windows 8 has saved gobs of time over the previous days when I was working on setting up new machines for myself. In fact, after signing into my Microsoft ID (it is 2FA protected so I always need my phone for this step) and setting my passwords into the Mail app (the new PC has all of my Exchange mailboxes ready for a password and to start syncing immediately) I can be productive immediately communication wise.

Maybe I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Maybe not. But I can tell you the benefits of Windows 8+ far outweigh the cons. Oh, and the Start Button in Windows 8.1 rocks. I did not realize just how much I missed it for managing servers via a windowed RDP/iDRAC/iLO/RMM session. :P

One more neat bit: Hit the Start button after setting key mail folders on the Start Menu and the Live Tiles give me an at-a-glance view of all communications. I like that.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Nov
29
A Server 2008 R2 Core Uptime Mark
Posted by Philip Elder on 29 November 2013 05:41 PM

Original Post here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Server 2008 R2 Core Uptime Mark

Here is a little glimpse into one of our mid-range running Server Core setups:

image

The command: systeminfo | find “System Boot Time”

We are almost exactly three months short of two years for this particular Hyper-V server. It has been a workhorse with nary a problem.

  • Intel Server System SR1695GPRX2AC
  • Intel Xeon X3470
  • 32GB Kingston ECC
  • Intel RAID with 4x 300GB 15K SAS in RAID 10

To date we have _a lot_ of these particular Intel Server Systems in production both as standalone Hyper-V servers as well as Hyper-V Cluster nodes and we have been very happy with them.

They are rock solid and their performance is excellent.

Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers. :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Sep
2
StarTech or Vantec for SuperSpeed USB 3 Enclosures and Hubs?
Posted by Reprinted Article on 02 September 2013 09:59 PM

Hands down our choice is for StarTech.

image

The above is a 2.5" drive enclosure with a Seagate Momentus 7200 RPM SATA drive installed. Mean throughput seems to be around 60MB/Second to 80MB/Second.

image

The 3.5" enclosure has a 2TB Seagate 7200 RPM SATA drive installed. Throughput seems to be about the same as the 2.5" drive.

The following link lists all of StarTech's single drive SuperSpeed enclosures:

We also have a 2.5" SuperSpeed enclosure coming that can mount ISOs and present them to the connected device as an optical drive.

image

Both drives are connected to the above SuperSpeed USB 3 hub.

We are using the 3.5" drive to host VHDX files. We have Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 with Exchange 2013 RTM, Windows Server 2012 with SharePoint Foundation 2013, Windows Server 2012 with the Remote Desktop Services Role, Windows 8 Enterprise, and finally a Windows Server 2008 R2 OS set up with RRAS to NAT between the Internal and our own networks.

We've passed _a lot_ of data across these SuperSpeed devices without a hiccup.

The same could not be said for the Vantec SuperSpeed USB 3 hub and enclosures. They would cut out causing everything to come to a standstill. We went so far as to try a D-Link SuperSpeed USB 3 hub to see if it would work better but we ended up with connectivity issues.

In the end, we are quite happy with the StarTech products especially their stability with so much data flying around on the USB 3 bus.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Sep
2
StarTech or Vantec for SuperSpeed USB 3 Enclosures and Hubs?
Posted by Reprinted Article on 02 September 2013 09:59 PM

Hands down our choice is for StarTech.

image

The above is a 2.5" drive enclosure with a Seagate Momentus 7200 RPM SATA drive installed. Mean throughput seems to be around 60MB/Second to 80MB/Second.

image

The 3.5" enclosure has a 2TB Seagate 7200 RPM SATA drive installed. Throughput seems to be about the same as the 2.5" drive.

The following link lists all of StarTech's single drive SuperSpeed enclosures:

We also have a 2.5" SuperSpeed enclosure coming that can mount ISOs and present them to the connected device as an optical drive.

image

Both drives are connected to the above SuperSpeed USB 3 hub.

We are using the 3.5" drive to host VHDX files. We have Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 with Exchange 2013 RTM, Windows Server 2012 with SharePoint Foundation 2013, Windows Server 2012 with the Remote Desktop Services Role, Windows 8 Enterprise, and finally a Windows Server 2008 R2 OS set up with RRAS to NAT between the Internal and our own networks.

We've passed _a lot_ of data across these SuperSpeed devices without a hiccup.

The same could not be said for the Vantec SuperSpeed USB 3 hub and enclosures. They would cut out causing everything to come to a standstill. We went so far as to try a D-Link SuperSpeed USB 3 hub to see if it would work better but we ended up with connectivity issues.

In the end, we are quite happy with the StarTech products especially their stability with so much data flying around on the USB 3 bus.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
26
Xbox Music Error: Can’t Play 0xc00d11cd (0×80004002)
Posted by Reprinted Article on 26 August 2013 04:29 PM

This is pretty strange.

One of our workbench systems is tied into our Xbox Music Pass and happily sends tunes into the shop while working.

Wanting to start some tunes while remotely connected from the front office via RDP produced the following error:

image

Can’t play.

Please try again. If the problem continues, visit www.xbox.com/support to check for guidance.

0xc00d11cd (0x80004002)

Okay, tunes were working just fine yesterday evening while working in the shop so what gives?

We logged into the physical machine and attempted to play the tunes again. Sure enough, after logging in and hitting play on one of our playlists we heard tunes.

image

We now have 500 watts of THX certified sound happening! :D

Have finicky ears? Then check out the Logitech Speaker System Z906 THX certified speakers. They sound absolutely phenomenal.

The moral of the story? Xbox Music will _not_ work when connected via RDP session.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »




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