Tuesday 29 May 2012

Windows 7 Application Compatibility Webinar


Hey, join us for a free webinar on Application Compatibility and win an iPad3!

Some apps just don’t work atop Windows 7. Others need a little extra care to get them functioning. In this webinar we will compare different approaches to application compatibility with Microsoft’s free Application Compatibility Tool kit, Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit and Quest Software. Microsoft’s tools are powerful, but also powerfully complicated to use successfully, and you’re going to need some help.
Get it in this jump start with Microsoft MVP and deployment expert Greg Shields of Concentrated Technology. Alternatively, Greg Lambert, Senior Technical Evangelist at Quest Software will show you fast and easy tips to speed your application migration project to completion.

In this webinar, we will cover:
  • Discovering & Identifying Software
  • Rationalizing which software to migrate
  • Assessing application compatibility
  • Fixing compatibility issues & packaging for deployment
You’ll leave with everything you need to inventory your apps, determine the fixes they need, and remove every hurdle to your Windows 7 migration.

*ScriptLogic will be giving away an Apple iPad 3
($499 USD Value) to a webinar attendee. *
 Contest Rules

Friday 25 May 2012

Microsoft Map: Getting Ready for Windows 8

I was notified a little while ago that the latest version of the Microsoft MAP tool-kit is now available for download.

The Microsoft MAP toolkit is very much like the Microsoft Application Compatibility Tool-kit (ACT) that is free and is designed to assist with the migration from one platform to another.

Referencing from the Microsoft website;
"The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is a FREE, agentless tool designed to simplify and streamline the IT infrastructure planning process across multiple scenarios through network-wide automated discovery and assessments."

With the following key features:
  • Inventories your infrastructure to assess and verify what is present in your existing environment to best determine hardware and software readiness for migration—for example, locating and reporting on instances of legacy operating systems such as the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server operating system.
  • Tracks software usage for software asset management purposes for products such Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync 2010 Standard Edition and Windows Server.
  • Assesses readiness and determines what needs to be done to successfully update all the hardware and software inventoried in your environment to the latest standards.
  • Helps identify under-utilized resources and the hardware specifications needed to successfully consolidate servers using Microsoft Hyper-V® technology.
  • Uses data gathered from your desktop environment to help size the server hardware needed for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Session Virtualization deployments.
  • Helps identify resources for migration to Windows Azure™, Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, and the Microsoft Database Consolidation Appliance.
One of the key features about the Microsoft MAP toolkit, is that it is agent-less. MAP uses collectors to "go out and retrieve information from remote machines and environments". Some of the Collectors include;
  • WMI
  • SSH
  • PowerShell (requires 2.0+)
  • SQL (using SQL Server queries)
  • VMware (using VMware web service)
  • Active Directory (using Active Directory Service Interfaces)
  • Oracle (using Oracle SQL queries, requires Oracle client installed on MAP machine)
  • Remote Registry Service (only used for performance data collection)
Here is a quick snap-shot from Microsoft documentation on the available Collector technologies for this latest version of MAP;


There are a number of issues that you may encounter with MAP and the use of some of these Collector approaches including;
  • Firewall issues
  • Network Impact and Security
  • Remote Registry Access and Configuration 
  • Remote Sites and machines may not be available
  • Administrative Issues on the Remote Computer
  • SQL Server Security Configuration may prevent remote access
Once you have collected data from your environment, Microsoft MAP provides some reports relating migrating your environment to either Windows 7/8 or a virtualized environment. Some of these reports include;
  • Windows 7 and 8 Readiness Assessment
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Assessment
  • Windows Server 2012 Readiness
  • Office 365 Readiness
  • Software Usage Tracking
I will have a little play with MAP over the coming few weeks and will report back on our thoughts. In the mean-time you may want to have a look at the comprehensive asset management offering from Quest - the ScriptLogic Asset Manager


You can download the latest (BETA) version of the MAP tool-kit here:

Read more about Microsoft MAP here:

More about Quest/ScriptLogic Asset Manager here 

Monday 21 May 2012

Application Confidence: Windows 8 Metro Apps

Quite often I talk about application compatibility, which I generally refer to the successful process of;
  • Installing an application
  • Configuring an application 
  • Running the application
  • Updating the application
  • Un-installation
Microsoft is changing this game somewhat with the introduction of Metro Apps (not applications) for Windows 8. Microsoft has recently introduced the concept of "App Confidence" which takes in the following areas;
  • Development : Windows 8 SDK
  • Certification: Windows Certification Kit
  • Digital Certificates: App Signatures:  
  • Priviledges: App Container
  • Community: Ratings and Reviews
  • Deployment: Store Onboarding
  • Installation: Frictionless Install
  • Feedback: Microsoft Telemetry
Microsoft has nicely illustrated this concept (and larger problem space) in the following diagram
Taking this picture and problem space into account John Hazen (the author of this Building Windows 8 blog posting)  further explains what Microsoft means by application confidence with the following quote;
"Picture a customer browsing the Windows Store looking at a Metro style app; we want them to be thinking only about the app and whether or not it is right for them. We want them to assume—in fact be confident—that the app will behave the way they expect and thus will perform well on their system, will use only the data and information they authorize, and will harmoniously co-exist with their other applications."
Microsoft's App Confidence for Metro Apps in Windows 8 appears to be built on the following foundations;
  1. App Capability Declarations: Does the data Metro App need access to local data/device/network/user functionality
  2. Data Libraries: This means private/separate  data in application specific locations 
  3. Network Access: allows for the lock-down or access to the network/Internet
  4. User Identity: allows for authentication and identification

This looks like a great platform for Metro App development, as I love the idea of a "frictionless install" and separate/private areas for application settings and data.

If you are interested in how developing for Windows 8 Metro Apps compares with Apple iOS applications, please read here:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh868262.aspx


Delivering reliable and trustworthy Metro style Apps

Monday 14 May 2012

Mobilism: Web and Browser Conference Update

I was very fortunate to attend the Mobilism conference in Amsterdam last week. 

It was held in Central Amsterdam at the Pathe Tuschinksi Cinema which was just beautiful.  You can see a photo of the main cinema foyer here: 
Throughout the building, every opportunity was taken to hand paint frescoes and detailed artwork on what seemed like any surface (ceilings, cornices' and every ceiling rose).  Though what really captured my attention was the speaker's and some of their enlightening ideas.

The first day of the 2-day conference went into some deep detail on browser compatibility and getting things working on multiple platforms. I hadn't really taken into account some of the presentation level difficulties that designers were facing when dealing with application compatibility such as;
  •      screen orientation
  •      screen dimensions (width, height)
  •      color depth
  •      device specific hardware issues
In fact, my initial take on browser compatibility started from the desktop, and therefore focused on security and application compatibility. However, as we move more from desktop compatibility to the mobile web, it appears that it's not just the browser that is causing compatibility issues, but the end-point devices as well.

I will be commenting further on this topic, but I wanted to extend a warm thank you to PPK for the invite and the "mates rates" for the Mobilism conference. I have included an image of my invite as it was the first time that I have had my "own promo" code. 

Have a look here:

What fun, eh?

You can read more here:

The Mobilism Conference:

PPK and Browser compatibility:

Tuschinksi Cinema

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Browsing in Windows 8 with IE10

Moving on from my last post on the Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview (have a read here: http://aokcompat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/windows-8-consumer-preview-beta-is-here.html) I thought that I should comment on some of the changes included in the latest update to Internet Explorer 10.

There is a great new posting on the Building Windows 8 blog that details the recent changes in IE10. You can find out more here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/03/13/web-browsing-in-windows-8-consumer-preview-with-ie10.aspx

There are a large number of changes included in this preview update including;
  • Full, independent composition enables responsive, fast and fluid behavior on real websites (including pages with fixed elements, nested scrolling regions, animations, and video)
  • Back and forward swipe navigation with preview
  • Double-tap to zoom in on content
  • Fast back and forward navigation controls for mouse
  • Mouse (CTRL+scroll wheel) and keyboard methods for quickly zooming in and out to mirror touch interactions
  • Automatic domain suggestions for faster navigation and less typing
  • Share charm support for URLs, snippets, images and selection with Mail and other apps
  • Search charm with visual search suggestions
  • Devices charm for printing, projecting, and playing video to external devices like TVs
  • Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX
  • Background notifications for pinned sites and other tile improvements
  • Jumplists for pinned sites
  • InPrivate tabs that are easier to open
  • Clean up tabs command, which quickly closes all but current tab
And, if you have not downloaded the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 and had a play with IE10, here is a small sample of the new "clean" UI and the embedded email feature;

If you are in a "developer" mindset you can read more about developing applications for IE10's Metro UI here:  go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=243079

And, for more general enquires about how to write applications (apps) for the new environment, the MSDN library has a great new collection of documents to reference, which can be found here: 

Wednesday 2 May 2012

The VDI Delusion: Brian Madden

Still in California and while the weather is not amazing, by the sound of things it's far, far better than the deluge that the UK is currently experiencing.

I had the pleasure of spending some time (early) in the morning this week to discuss the state of the VDI nation with Brian Madden and then was able to attend his keynote address at the Quest TEC conference. I have to tell you Brian works for his money!

He pounded out a great 2-hour performance that was both entertaining and enlightening. There were quite a few moments, where I was thinking "Right on! I'ts about time someone got real about this virtualization stuff". Brian offers a solid 3rd party view without having to align himself to a vendor or products and so, his sessions are particularly "courageous" in that he finally "Call Hogwash" on some of the justifications and models used to encourage desktop virtualization projects.

I was able to take a quick snap of his presentation and I think this photo tells it all..

After talking through some of the key bits learned from 10 years of talking on different flavours of virtualization, Brian focussed on how apps are the real issue for future platforms and how they will fall along the these axis;

     - Native VS HTML
     - Touch vs Keyboard/Mouse
     - Full featured vs "focussed"
     - Create versus Consume

It was a great session, which you can get the extended version from Brian's new book, The VDI Delusion.

Or you can pay 10 dollars and get the Amazon Kindle version here: http://www.amazon.com/The-VDI-Delusion-Virtualization-ebook/dp/B007MWG378/