Microsoft Zune is better than the iPod

Microsoft Zune is better than the iPod. That might seem like a bold statement but this post from Jeff Blankenburg shows that it is true, at least in my opinion.

I’ve wanted a Zune for a long time and the reasons listed by Jeff just make me want one even more! I’ve got an iPod but I’ve not been 100% happy with it for some time and being something of a Microsoft “fanboy”-the Zune seems like the way to go if only they’d make them available here in the UK. I really don’t see why they’re restricted to the US and Canada…if anyone’s got any ideas or info-please let me know :-)

There are numerous reasons over at Jeff’s blog but here are the ones that really impress me:

1) It comes with FM Radio. Now in itself this is pretty cool as it’s sometimes good to have the radio on rather than just mp3’s, but the thing that puts it above and beyond is the “Add to Cart” option. With this, if you hear a track on the radio that you want, press the button and it downloads it from the Zune Marketplace! I think this feature should be pushed much harder as it’s unlike anything else I’ve seen…many a time I mean to get a song of iTunes later but forget-this solves it! Or you hear a song on the radio but didn’t catch the title or artist name to search for it later?-this solves it!

2) The Zune Pass. This gives you subscription based access to the entire Zune Marketplace for $15 a month, so you can listen to any of the tracks as many times as you want in that month AND you can keep 10 songs a month permanently, making it great value. Making it AWESOME value is that you can use 1 Zune Pass to fill 3 Zunes so most households will need just the one! You’ll just have to share the 10 “For keeps” songs between you… ;-)

I really wish that they were available over here. When I was in Texas earlier this year I was very tempted to pick one up then, but as far as I can see there are various parts that won’t work over here such as the Zune Marketplace and I guess the Download from Radio won’t be configured with UK data either. This means at the minute it isn’t really a viable choice for me…

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Comparison

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 still has the usual 2 versions of the server product, but it now also comes with two versions of CALs, Std and Enterprise. Here I hope to highlight the main differences between the 2 servers editions and also explain why there are more CALs, how they differ and when you’ll need them.

Exchange Server 2007 comes in both Standard and Enterprise versions, as did previous versions of the product. Standard is aimed at the small to medium business while Enterprise is for the larger companies that need the increased functionality.

Exchange Server 2007 Edition Offerings


Standard Edition

Enterprise Edition

Storage Group Support

5 storage groups

50 storage groups

Database Support

5 databases

50 databases

Database Storage Limit

16 TB per database

16 TB per database

Single Copy Clusters

Not supported


Local Continuous Replication



Cluster Continuous Replication

Not supported


Standby Continuous Replication ***



***Offered via Service Pack 1

As you can see, the Enterprise Edition is aimed at the higher end companies who have many thousands of users and/or require high levels of redundancy via the clustering options.

The CALs also come in Standard and Enteprise Editions, but they can be used with either server version so you can have Std Server with Enterprise CALs, an Enterprise Server with Standard CALs or a mixture of the two.

The Standard CAL(surprisingly!) offers the standard functionality you’d expect from Microsoft Exchange- access to email, shared calendars and Outlook Web Access (OWA).

The Enterprise CAL is an additive meaning it must sit on top of an already purchased Standard CAL. The Enterprise CAL offers extra features including Unified Communications and ForeFront Security. A full comparison can be found here.

Microsoft Project Edition Comparison

Microsoft Project is a very popular, industry wide Project Planning tool that comes in 2 basic forms, Standard Edt and Professional Edt. As with most Microsoft products, there are various differences between the 2 versions that can make all the difference when deciding which one to buy for you & your company.

One of the main differences is collaboration. Standard is a stand alone product for Project Managers that do not need to collaborate and work with others on projects; while Project Pro allows people to collaborate across enterprises via Project Server (which is a separate product).

The Microsoft Comparison Chart shows the features of the different versions (including Web Access) side by side to help make your decision a little easier.

Microsoft Live Mesh

Microsoft Live Mesh was a big part of the PDC announcements at the start of November, and although it’s still in beta, I think it’s going to become very useful to a lot of people; especially once you can add mobile devices to the mesh.

I’ve started using it since I got a new laptop, as I now tend to blog on that while sitting on the sofa rather than than slightly uncomfortable chair for the desktop. There were a number of files such as pictures, drafts of posts etc that were held locally on the PC, so I’d be halfway through a post on the laptop and suddenly need to boot up the other PC too…annoying and bad for the environment!

Now I simply add all the files to a folder in my Mesh and I can access them from either machine…nice :-)

Can Ray Ozzie Save the House that Bill Built?

Can Ray Ozzie Save the House that Bill Built? That’s the question that Wired are asking in their new issue, which can be found here.

I think he can and, perhaps more importantly, I think Microsoft was very close to actually needing to be saved. I’ve been a fan of the Redmond giant for a good few years, always defending them against (mostly) unfounded criticism but in the run up to, and the fall out from, Vista- I started to wonder if we were witnessing the beginning…not of the end but perhaps of the stunting of growth and the start of stagnation. I was less interested in what Microsoft was doing, less annoyed when people furthered the lies and mis-conceptions, less pro-active in promoting them and their products which wasn’t good, as I’m the MS Evangelist internally for my company!

Then I went to the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston (July 2008) and things were different. The keynotes were energetic, more web 2.0ish (without seeming contrived), more exciting. The speakers and the content made me believe in Microsoft again, made me believe that Microsoft could help my business, that Microsoft were still innovative, that Microsoft were looking ahead, that Microsoft could still excite me-personally & professionally, that good things were going to come.

Software+Services was a key theme of this year’s WPC and was the icing on the “get Rich excited” cake…the fact that Microsoft had embraced this “disruption” early on and clearly put a lot of time, money & effort into their plans and making sure they could execute them, really inspired me. I took the online assessment and signed us up straight after the keynote and couldn’t wait to get started!

I didn’t realise then that Ray Ozzie was behind S+S, but now-I really do credit him with re-igniting my belief in Microsoft as a company, as an industry leader, as an innovator.

He might not be as Iconic, but he’s going to be very nearly as important as Bill…if you look up you can see it in the clouds…

Thanks to Steve Clayton for pointing me to the article, you can see his thoughts on it here.

Is Tupac still alive?

This is a brilliant clip from the Dave Chapelle show, taking aim at the rumours that Tupac Shakur wasn’t shot in LA back in 96..

Again, can’t get it to embed so check the link here.

Wu Tang Financial

The Wu-Tang Clan give financial advice on the Dave Chapelle Show..truly brilliant!

RZA & GZA are quality in this clip-“Gotta diversify your bonds”…love it!

I can’t get it to embed here so follow the link below to check it out (Warning: Contains the “N” word)

Wu-Tang Financials

Under the Bridge Literal Video

The Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s “Under the Bridge” has been turned into a Literal Video by the originator of this awesome meme, Dustin McNeato, and it’s pretty gosh darn brilliant!

I used to love this track back in the day and this makes it even better..No Habla Ingles hehe :-)

Microsoft Office 2007 Edition Comparison

With the current 2007 release, there are a number of different versions of Microsoft Office. They all contain different products and they all come with different price tags so making sure you pick the right one is definitely important.

The full comparison chart for the different versions of Office can be found here but I’m going to cover the main differences below.

What are the different editions?

There are 5 separate version of Microsoft Office 2007 and these are:

The first thing to note is that ALL the versions include Word, Powerpoint & Excel. If those three applications are all you need, then Standard is the best edition for you as it is the cheapest*, and Standard also includes Outlook, as do all the version other than Home & Student. (*This is assuming you’re licensing this within a Corporate environment, as Home & Student isn’t valid for business use.)

  • Access is only available with Pro & Ultimate.
  • OneNote is included only with Home & Student and Ultimate.
  • Small Business includes Accounting Express.
  • Groove & InfoPath are included with Ultimate only.
  • Office Home & Student allows for installation on up to 3 devices in the same household via retail, but not OEM (pre-installed).

Applications such as Access, OneNote, InfoPath, Outlook and Groove can all be purchased separately to work alongside an existing office installation. So for example, you could buy Office Standard and then get OneNote separately.

Microsoft Live OneCare to be killed off

It seems that OneCare, Microsoft’s subscription based anti-malware/backup/management tool is on it’s way out, according to ArsTechnica.

It seems that as of 30/06/09 (June 30th 2009), retail sales of subscriptions will halt and OneCare will subsequently be replaced by codename “Morro”, a real-time solely anti-malware solution that will be provided Free of Charge.

I get the impression that a lot of people were unhappy with OneCare, so will this make things better?

Mary Jo Foley has a post about the above with more details and also reveals that Microsoft’s “Equipt” package (a version of Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live OneCare and some extras) has been killed off, to the point that MS are recalling existing stock from Circuit City in the US and PC World here in the UK. Microsoft are offering customers a pro-rated refund as well as allowing them to keep Office Home & Student Edition as a perpetual licence.

Ina Fried over at Cnet has got a quote from the Group Product Manager Bryson Gordon:

“It was a very difficult decision for us to shut down Equipt but the fact of the matter is there is this higher order need (to offer free antivirus software)……the decision to end-of-life Equipt was not in any way based with sales performance”.

He went on to say:

“What we really are going to turn our attention to is other places where we can build a software plus service offering of Office like we sold on a subscription basis”

which would tie into Microsoft’s newly re-vitalised S+S plans.