Upcoming Tech Events

In case you are lacking in some tech related places to be, here are a few good options for the upcoming week.

November 2nd – You should vote, of course.  But when you are finished that, swing by the Pacific IT Professionals meeting in San Francisco.  There will be a presentation from NetApp on storage solutions, followed by two Microsoft specific topics –  BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) and MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack).  I’ll be doing the MDOP presentation, so if you aren’t sure what applications come inside that pack and what they do, this will be a great chance for you to get an overview.

November 3-4th – The gogoNet LIVE! IPv6 Conference in San Jose. I hear the pre-conference workshops are booked up, but it’s not to late to attend the 2 days of sessions on planning and transitioning to IPv6.  I’ll be helping out with some of the conference logistics on the 3rd and am hoping to slip into a few of the presentations as well.
Today and the next couple Thursdays – Callahan, a Microsoft MVP and book author on SharePoint, is offering up several free webinar presentations on SharePoint Foundation.  Today’s session is already started, but you might want to check out what she has to offer in the coming weeks. If I was migrating my current SharePoint WSS 3.0 installation to Foundations, I’d start my planning with anything Callahan has to offer.

Blog Highlights for October

October is just flying by, but I thought I’d take a moment to toss out a some other great blogs and recent posts that have caught my eye in the last few weeks.  (Many are by some of my fellow Microsoft MVPs, too!)
For those of you in the Exchange camp, check out BlankMan’s Blog, by Nicolas Blank, an Microsoft Exchange MVP. He’s recently posted a link to the Exchange 2010 Architecture Poster and a overview about Exchange 2010 SP1
Thinking about IPv6? Don’t miss out on some recent posts on www.howfunky.com, the blog by Microsoft MVP, Ed Horley.  Are you an ostrich or not when it comes to IPv6? You might want to find out.
Maybe you are on the certification path, if so, don’t miss out on some of the posts on the Born to Learn blog, geared to keep you up to date with the latest in Microsoft certification.  Born to Learn recently highlighted MVP Justin Rodino, who will be presenting a session on Windows 7 at the upcoming Certified Career Conference on November 18th.
Finally, since I’ve spent a lot of time in airports this month, I’m finding the TSA Blog to be particularly interesting. Learn about upcoming technologies, changes in protocols and tips on packing so you can breeze through security. Maybe I’ll cross paths with you at the airport.

Coming Soon! – Chat with MVPs, Learn about IPv6 and Hang with PacITPros

October is starting out with a bang.  Here are a few upcoming events that you might want on your calendar.  Please visiting their listed sites for more information or to register.

October 5th – PacITPros Monthly Meeting – This month they welcome Chad Scott, Solution Architect with Infoblox who will be going over their DNS/DCHP/IPAM solution plus their newest solution of NetMRI from the recent acquisition of Netcordia.  Also featured will be Kenny Spade, Academic Developer Evangelist with Microsoft presenting on Windows Phone 7. This will be a sneak peak prior to the official launch date, so you will get to see the handset and OS in action.

Meeting location is at the Microsoft Office, 835 Market Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94103. Please RSVP at the www.pacitpros.org website.

October 14th – Chat About Microsoft Office and Windows with the MVP Experts, 10-11am PST -Would you like to learn more about the cool new features in Office 2010 and Windows 7 and what has changed since previous versions? Do you use Microsoft Office but would like to learn tips and tricks to be more productive at home, school or at work? Perhaps you are a new user who has questions on how to get started with Windows 7 or using the Office ribbon? Or would like to learn how to protect your computer from malware and viruses. Or perhaps you are just stuck and need answers. 

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are here to help! The MVPs are the same people you see in the technical community as authors, trainers, user groups leaders and answerers in the Microsoft forums. For the first time ever we have brought these experts together as a collective group to answer your questions live.

MVPs will be on hand to take questions about Microsoft Office 2010 or Office 2007 products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Project, OneNote and more. As well as the Windows 7 and earlier versions such as Windows Vista. In addition to Microsoft Office, the chat will cover Windows related topics such as upgrading, setup and installation, securing your PC, Internet Explorer, personalizing your computer desktop or having fun with Windows Live Essentials to share photos, make movies and more. All levels of experience are welcome from beginners and students to intermediate power users.

Please join this informative Q&A style chat and bring on your basic and your tough questions!

November 2-4th – The gogoNET LIVE! and CAv6TF IPv6 ConferenceWith IPv4 addresses predicted to be depleted within 18 months we all need to start becoming familiar with IPv6. The California IPv6 Task Force is pleased to present the gogoNET LIVE! IPv6 conference at San Jose State University to:

– Get the knowledge you need from experienced IPv6 professionals
– Learn IPv6 theory in workshops
– Make useful technical contacts in the IPv6 world

 This is the only local West Coast IPv6 event for the remainder of 2010 and it is right here in the Bay Area so take advantage of this opportunity to increase your knowledge on all things related to IPv6.  gogoNET LIVE! is a live version of the gogoNET social network that has close to 30,000 IPv6 professionals as members.

Be prepared, don’t fall behind – this is your chance to get on the cutting edge of IPv6 deployment. Visit http://gogonetlive.com for details and to register.

Network Clean Up: Don’t Forget About Your LAN

“The network is slow.” 
Probably the worst complaint a Systems Administration team at any small to mid-sized office can get.  The end users often can’t pinpoint what “slow” is or when it happens, it’s seemingly random, or they report it after the fact when there is nothing to actively troubleshoot.
I am not a networking “guru” by stretch of the imagination. Like many small offices, our NetOps team consists of several people who may have some areas they enjoy or “specialize” in, but are mostly jack-of-all trades, ready to jump in and sort things out whenever things need attention.  I enjoy the variety, but sometimes the ongoing project list leaves you in a situation where certain areas of your “kingdom” are left until they cry out in pain.
The LAN in my office was one of those lost souls.  Sure, I’ve got my Network+ training, I used to have a valid CCNA certification, I know the difference between a hub and a switch and I can find enough of the settings in my HP and Cisco switches to assign IP addresses for management access and use some basic features.  And then my skill set drops off there – because small networks are often “set it and forget it”.   
We think about collecting SNMP logs and monitoring traffic and all that cool stuff and then reality sets in: I wish I had the time to spend installing and learning enough about those tools so they can be really useful when someone comes knocking with a “slowness” complaint.  But I don’t.  So finally I brought in someone who actually looks at networks every day. Someone who knows the settings on network gear and can look at how they work together.  Yes, I can pull out some crossover cables and make packets move from point A to point B, but I wanted some advice from someone who really understood how it all worked.
It was eye-opening.  My switches that linked the users workstations to our servers were all connected, but they were naturally oversubscribed without taking advantage of trunking any of the ports together to pass traffic to core switch over larger pipe. Spanning tree was configured incorrectly and not at turned on all on some switches.
The end result was that while my Layer 3 setup looked fine to me, the Layer 2 traffic was actually taking an extra hop through a switch that was accidentally acting as the spanning tree root, adding unnecessary delay.  After correcting that issue and ordering up some gig modules to add trunking up to our core switch, upload/download speeds of files to servers appears to be coming close the maximum available from the desktops.

Next up – increasing the speed of our internet connect by switching from frame relay to fiber from our ISP and subscribing to a bigger pipe on that end.

The Web is Dead? Maybe We Just Can’t Get There.

Wired magazine published an article in this month’s issue that argues that the “Web” is dead.  The “Web” being defined as the “dub dub dub” (www) part of the Internet, which is viewed and interacted with using a web browser. 

The Internet is transport method for a variety of protocols and components that make the system work and help people communicate and share information.  Email and FTP are still alive, even though they may not be the most popular mechanisms for younger users.  Over the years there have been many predictions of things being “dead” that are still very much alive.  Check out this great post – The Tragic Death of Practically Everything, by Harry McCracken, to see what I mean.

Its true that the Internet has evolved in many ways over the last 15 years or so.  It’s used as a transport mechanism for phone calls, music and an endless supply of information that people access using very specific apps – not always using a web browser. But for many, that traditional “web” presence is still very real. Just about anyone with basic access to a computer and the Internet can set up a free website or blog.  Apps might be the current big thing, but the skill set required for setting up a basic website is far less daunting than developing a phone app. 

A bigger issue facing the future of “www” is accessing it in the first place.  Any device that connects to the Internet needs an address and the current IP addressing system (IPv4) is quickly running short of these valuable addresses.  It’s estimated that these addresses will be completely depleted within the next year.  IPv6 is the next generation of addressing for Internet connectivity and it has not yet been widely adopted.  Its important that those involved with managing networks and providing connectivity to the Internet stay up to date and plan for the conversion to this new addressing scheme. 

Cool apps and new tools will always make the Internet a more exciting/useful place to be and there will be a place for the traditional web for a while to come, assuming you can get there.