Monday, February 28, 2011

Page: Build Better IT Service Management Sweepstakes







PLEASE NOTE:  It is your sole responsibility to review and understand your employer’s policies regarding your eligibility to participate in trade promotions.  If you are participating in violation of your employer’s policies, you may be disqualified from entering or receiving prizes.  Microsoft disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between an employee and their employer related to this matter, and prizes will only be awarded in compliance with the employer’s policies.


GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Microsoft is committed to complying with government gift and ethics rules and therefore government employees are not eligible.



These are the official rules that govern how the Microsoft Build Better IT Service Management sweepstakes promotion will operate.  This promotion will be simply referred to as the “Sweepstakes” throughout the rest of these rules. 

In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Microsoft Corporation, the sponsor of the Sweepstakes. “You” refers to an eligible Sweepstakes entrant. 



This Sweepstakes starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on March 1, 2011, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on April 26, 2011 (“Entry Period”).  Entries must be received within the Entry Period to be eligible.




You are eligible to enter this Sweepstakes if you meet the following requirements at time of entry:


·         You are an authorized representative of a company actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) with a valid MPN ID and are a legal resident of the 50 United States and District of Columbia 18 years of age or older; and


·         You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and


·         You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Sweepstakes; and


·         You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Sweepstakes.


This Sweepstakes is void outside of the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.




To enter, complete any of the eligible online training courses listed below. You will receive one (1) entry for each course you complete.

Part 1: Service Manager 2010 Overview 

Part 2: Installation and Configuration of Service Manager 2010

Part 3: Customizing Service Manager 2010

Part 4: Troubleshooting Service Manager 2010


We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

We will automatically disqualify:

·         Any incomplete or illegible entry; and

·         Any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the entry limit described above.




On or around the close of the Entry Period, we will randomly select winners of the prizes designated below. 


Two (2) Grand Prizes.  A $750 American Airlines gift card.  Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $750.00.


Five (5) Grand Prizes.  A Nikon CoolPix S5100 Camera.  Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $179.99.


The total Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of all prizes: $2,399.95


We will only award one (1) prize per person during the Entry Period.


If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following the random drawing.  If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award the prize to an alternate, randomly selected winner. 

If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Sweepstakes . If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf.  If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select an alternate, randomly selected winner.

If you are confirmed as a  winner of this Sweepstakes:


  • You may not exchange your prize for cash or any other merchandise or services.  However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and


  • You may not designate someone else as the winner.  If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we will award it to an alternate potential winner; and


  • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize; and


  • If you are otherwise eligible for this Sweepstakes, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and


  • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions. 




Your odds of winning this Sweepstakes depend on the number of eligible entries we receive.




By entering this Sweepstakes you agree:


·         To abide by these Official Rules; and


·         To release and hold harmless Microsoft,and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Sweepstakes or any prize won; and


·         That Microsoft’s decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Sweepstakes; and


·         That by accepting a prize, Microsoft may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Sweepstakes, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.



This Sweepstakes will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Sweepstakes.  


If cheating, a virus, bug, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Sweepstakes, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Sweepstakes.  This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Sweepstakes, we reserve the right randomly to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Sweepstakes.


If you attempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future Sweepstakes, so please play fairly.


If you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address below within 30 days of April 26, 2011 we will provide you with a list of winners that received a prize worth $25.00 or more.

Build Better IT Service Management Sweepstakes

c/o Extra Mile Marketing

915 118th Ave SE, Suite 250

Bellevue, Washington 98005






Microsoft  Corporation

One Microsoft Way

Redmond, WA 98052

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Blog Post: Identity and Access coming to MMS 2011

Looking for Identity and Access content at MMS?  Our teammate Brjann posted this over on his blog?..

Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas , March 21-25, will host breakout sessions and a ask the experts booth on Identity and Access for the first time. I?m very excited to be able to deliver four different sessions during the week that should give attendees a good overall view into the important role IDA plays in datacenter and cloud management with BI05 where we will focus on System Center and private cloud and BI08 with a bit more focus on public cloud SaaS and PaaS offerings.

The center of our Identity and Access solutions is of course Active Directory so all session will look at extending on that platform with integration into cloud using technologies such as AD Federation Services in BI07 and Forefront Identity Manager in BI06.

BI05 Identity & Access and System Center: Better Together
System Center and IDA are integrated already and leveraging Active Directory but couldn?t you do more? This session talks about roles and identities in System Center products and how we can leverage IDA solutions. Demos of how can we use a tool such as Forefront Identity Manager in conjunction with the roles and access policies in System Center

BI06 Technical Overview of Forefront Identity Manager (FIM)
Join us for a lap around Forefront Identity Manager going through architecture, deployment and business scenarios in a presentation filled with demos. This session should give you a good understanding of what FIM is and what it can do to put you in control of identities across different directories and applications.

BI07 Technical Overview of Active Directory Federation Services 2.0
Join us for a lap around Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 covering architecture, deployment and business scenarios for using AD FS to extend single sign on from on-premises Active Directory to Office 365, Windows Azure and partners.

BI08 Identity & Access and Cloud: Better Together
Organizations have started using services such as Office 365 and Windows Azure but are worried about security and how to manage identities and provide access. This session goes through how Identity and Access from Microsoft with solutions such as Forefront Identity Manager, AD Federation Services, Windows Identity Foundation and Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Services play together to enable organizations to access cloud applications and also enable access for their customers and partners.


Jeff Wettlaufer
Sr Technical Product Manager
System Center, Management and Security Division
System Center generic brand Grid h r Email me directly here... Follow us on Twitter Connect with us on LinkedIn Shre this on Delicious Find more about System Center on TechNet Edge

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HOW TO: Implement a Social Good Campaign on Facebook

The Facebook Marketing Series is supported by Buddy Media, Power Tools for Facebook. Have something new to tell 500 million people? Learn the be

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DEMO 2011: It's All About Social


DEMO, the conference where companies get six minutes on stage to present their product, kicked off this morning with VentureBeat's Matt Marshall talking social. "It's all about social," said Marshall, explaining that social media companies like Facebook have grown at an unprecedented pace. It took half a century for IBM to hit $1 billion, whereas it only took Facebook a handful of years, he said.

With that in mind, let's take a look at three companies that presented this morning at DEMO and hope to latch on to the ever-expanding social web.



AboutOne describes itself as a "location to manage memories and household information." In short, it looks almost like a Facebook for the familial unit, but with much more utility in mind. It serves as a place to not only store family-related documents (like instructions for the babysitter) but also information like car insurance and other useful documents. The site connects with other services via API, so that you don't even need to enter all of this information manually. Key in your car's VIN number and AboutOne can automatically import the model, make, year and everything else into the system.

The service also serves as an online location to store all sorts of other family-related documents, such as pictures and scans of your children's artwork. From this data, users can create newsletters for friends and family and even create online baby books, which they can then order hard copies of.


PhotoRocket jumps in the try to handle a key space in the social web - photo sharing. Facebook's photo sharing feature is one of its most popular, but photo sharing doesn't end there, with a plethora of other popular services. Where does PhotoRocket come in? It attempts to help users "share photos instantly in one step" to multiple destinations from a variety of platforms. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen an app attempt this, but it's all in the execution. Just last week, we saw Chute display a similar product, but PhotoRocket tries to edge out competition with an important feature - integration.

PhotoRocket is available on Windows, Mac and iOS (What? No Android?) and shares content to Facebook, Twitter and a host of other sites. According to the company, it steps beyond competition by integrating directly into the operating system and letting users right-click on files, use a browser button or an app to share.

Social Eyes

Social Eyes, an ambitious app that lists among its competition some big hitters like Skype, is a "social video service that instantly connects you to your friends and groups of people who share your interests." So how does this differ from Skype? Social Eyes is a video and text chatting service that is centered on your existing social graph. You sign in using your Facebook login and it automatically populates your list of contacts according to your Facebook friends that have also signed up.

Social Eyes also does something Skype doesn't do - it organizes other users around interests, so you can join groups like "Current Events" or create your own group based on your interests. Beyond that, you can also record and send video messages to other users, so not everything has to be live. What keeps Social Eyes potentially a bit more above board than other live video chat services like Tiny Chat or Chat Roulette is its authenticated identity by way of Facebook Connect. Using Facebook Connect leads to greater accountability, and wearing of pants, than purely anonymous systems.


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Risk and Reward Are Not Obvious

I went to business school in the mid 80s. Investment banking was hot. The leveraged buyout craze was on. Junk bonds were hot. Everyone wanted to work on wall street. I was obsessed with venture capital and had worked in...

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Does Your Social Media Strategy Include Africa and China?

Earth from space Facebook use is growing faster in Africa than on any other continent, and the Chinese are some of the most active social media users in the world.

The first fact comes from Socialbakers, a Facebook analytics company, which found that Facebook gained more than 50% of its Facebook users in the last six months. The company also looks at other growing markets. The second comes from a Memeburn article by Thomas Crampton, which points out that although many Western social media services are blocked, the Chinese equivalent is extremely popular. And, according to Crampton, "A recent study by OgilvyOne in China found that 55 percent of China's netizens had initiated or participated in online discussions about companies."


Chart by Socialbakers

The upshot? You should be spending time looking at emerging markets. "Formerly, a lack of engagement with netizens could be considered a lost opportunity," writes Crampton. "Now, the penetration and impact of social media is such that failing to understand what consumers are saying about a company online has become a business risk."

According to Socialbakers, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are the countries with the fastest Facebook adoption. The fastest growing country for Facebook in Asia is India.

And although Facebook is becoming increasingly more popular around the world, there are many homegrown social media sites that are worth paying attention to. Crampton writes:

China's social media platforms and online behaviors vary in important ways from those that may be considered their international equivalents. This variation is not all due to censorship. In China, as elsewhere in Asia, local variations of internet usage are driven by language, culture, levels of economic development, and the underlying digital ecosystem.

Crampton explores many of the differences between Chinese social media users and users elsewhere. For example:

  • Chinese users generally spend more time on social media than users in the rest of the world. For example, Chinese users often spend up to an hour per day on video sharing sites. Americans only spend about 15 minutes per day on YouTube.
  • Young people in China report having more online friends than offline friends.
  • Nearly half of the messages sent on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service, are sent by mobile phone. Only about 20% of Twitter updates come from mobile phones.
  • Old school bulletin board systems (BBS) are still popular in China.

Each culture has its own unique profile of usage. Researching these cross-cultural differences and local social media platforms should be a part of every business's social media strategy.

Lead image by by Peter Kaminski.


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Choosing a Private Cloud Provider and Doing it All Wrong

snow patrol:make this go on foreverThere's a right way to choose a cloud provider and there's a wrong way. The right way is to do the research about your needs and requirements. The wrong way is to choose a provider by evaluating and comparing vendor offerings.

John Treadway writes on CloudBzz that IT leaders he speaks with are taking the latter approach. They're evaluating the vendors and not doing their own analysis.


Instead, IT leaders should be going through a long list of questions before starting to evaluate vendors. His initial list gives a taste about how IT leaders should approach the task:

  1. What are the strategic objectives for my cloud program?

  2. How will my cloud be used?

  3. Who are my users and what are their expectations and requirements?

  4. How should/will a cloud model change my data center workflows, policies, processes and skills requirements?

  5. How will cloud users be given visibility into their usage, costs and possible chargebacks?

  6. How will cloud users be given visibility into operational issues such as server/zone/regional availability and performance?

  7. What is my approach to the service catalog? Is it prix fixe, a la carte, or more like value meals? Can users make their own catalogs?

  8. How will I handle policy around identity, access control, user permissions, etc?

  9. What are the operational tools that I will use for event management & correlation, performance management, service desk, configuration and change management, monitoring, logging, auditability, and more?

  10. What will my vCenter administrators do when they are no longer creating VMs for every request?

  11. What will the approvers in my process flows today do when the handling of 95% of all future requests are policy driven and automated?

  12. What levels of dynamism are required regarding elasticity, workload placement, data placement and QoS management across all stack layers?

  13. Beyond a VM, what other services will I expose to my users?

  14. How will I address each of the key components such as compute, networking, structured & object storage, virtualization, security, automation, self-service, lifecycle management, databases and more?

  15. What are the workloads I expect to see in my cloud, and what are the requirements for these workloads to run?

Treadway says IT leaders are letting the tail wag the dog. We can see how that can be the case. It seems logical to do the research first. But this may not be about the right choice as much as it is about the economical one for the business. That's a problem. Vendors will offer all sorts of incentives to get your business. That can lead to trade offs that can really hurt down the road.


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Ethical placebos (stunning, but not actually surprising)

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Facebook?s Growing Role in Social Journalism

A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time. The Rockville Central, a community news site in the Washington, D.C., area, wi…

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Paintings Inspired by Films

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What's a slogan for (banal on purpose)

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Our Favorite YouTube Videos This Week: The TED Edition

Our weekly YouTube roundup is usually a reprieve from your mentally stimulating (yeah, right) work day. Not today, folks. Today, you must think,…

Lisa Snowdon Mariah Carey Taylor Swift Milla Jovovich Maggie Grace

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Win, RIM

Nicole Scherzinger Jill Arrington Tami Donaldson Padma Lakshmi Sarah Mutch

Blog Post: Virtualization: The Partner Business Opportunity


J.J. Antequino


As I was preparing for a webcast? I was reviewing some of the obvious end-customer benefits of implementing Virtualization:

  • Server Consolidation
  • Energy & Space Reduction Application Compatibility
  • Rapid Provisioning
  • High Availability
  • Business Continuity
  • Dynamic Datacenters & Desktops
  • Accelerated Responsiveness

However, as a Microsoft Partner, what?s in it for you?

Here are some thoughts to consider:

Expand your Role as Trusted Advisor

  • Recommend the right solution from comprehensive Microsoft solutions for desktop and server virtualization and physical and virtual management based on unique customer needs
  • Conduct business and technology assessments to become a strategic advisor

Deliver Increasing Business Value

  • Reduce your IT costs and risks by reducing server sprawl, minimizing downtime, preparing for disasters, and running legacy or non-compatible LOB application in current environments
  • Help customers save time and get organized with a single management platform for virtual and physical servers that leverages existing investments

Win More Business

  • Acquire new customers by providing affordable solutions to upgrade legacy infrastructure, reduce hardware, power and IT management costs, seamlessly run business critical LOB applications and ensure business continuity
  • Earn incremental revenue through up-sell and cross-sell opportunities such as remote access, LOB app deployment, physical and virtual management

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Apple Launches $0.99 Mac FaceTime App on Mac App Store

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A linchpin hierarchy

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Ticketfly: Facebook really does fuel ticket sales


San Francisco startup Ticketfly aims to take on concert ticketing giant Ticketmaster. Its main weapon? Social networking.

The company?s founders Andrew Dreskin and Dan Teree previously sold their company TicketWeb to Ticketmaster, and they told me last year that the larger company still doesn?t understand the importance of social media. This week, the company sent me some numbers to illustrate that social networking really is driving sales.

Specifically, in January of this year, Ticketfly events were shared 31,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. (Ticketfly?s Backstage Suite can create a concert website and a ticketing page, then it helps promote the concert through Facebook events and automatic tweets.) On average, every Facebook share or tweet resulted in the sale of 3.25 tickets.

To be clear, Ticketfly doesn?t look like it?s going to unseat Ticketmaster right away. If Ticketfly keeps up this pace, it will sell about 1.2 million tickets this year. While I can?t find any recent Ticketmaster sales numbers, the company said it sold 141 million tickets back in 2008.

(Update: Ticketfly says it actually expects to sell 2.5 million tickets this year.)

Still, the numbers suggest that Ticketfly is on to something. Here?s all the data the company sent me:

In Jan 2011, Ticketfly events were shared on Facebook and tweeted 31,000 times and those links were clicked 52,000 times In Jan 2011, Ticketfly sold 3.25 tickets for every Facebook share/tweet Facebook is Ticketfly’s top referrer at roughly 9% of total traffic In Jan of 2011, 33% of Ticketfly affiliates were active and selling tickets to Ticketfly events (Ticketmaster was at approximately 20% at the height of their affiliate program) Visitors to Ticketfly’s site in Jan of 2011 were 582,000 Year over year revenue growth Jan 2011 vs. Jan 2010 was 236%

Ticketfly has raised $3 million from High Peaks Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, The NYC Seed Fund, and various angel investors.

[image via Flickr/Rhys's Piece Is]

Tags: concert tickets, ticketing

Companies: Facebook, Ticketfly, Ticketmaster

People: Andrew Dreskin, Dan Teree

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"Skype in the Classroom" Launches to Connect Teachers & Students Worldwide

skype150150.jpgAs its major outage in December demonstrated, Skype bridges the personal and the professional, and many of us have come to rely on its VOIP calls to family, co-workers and colleagues.

Skype has also been embraced by many educators who are using it in the classroom in some innovative ways.

Teachers use Skype to open their students to a world beyond the classroom walls. They use it to bring experts, authors, and guest instructors into the classroom, those who would never otherwise be able to visit the school. Students can take virtual field trips, if you will, via Skype as they're connected to places through video chat. A Skype communication session can involve foreign language learning or a cultural exchange. It can connect classrooms across the city, state, country or around the world.


A Skype Directory for Educators

This usage by teachers has caught Skype's attention, says spokesperson Jacqueline Botterill, and the company has just launched the beta version of Skype in the Classroom, an effort to support their efforts.

The first step, Skype says, is building a directory of educators who use the VOIP service and want to connect their classrooms with others. Currently, many teachers turn to Facebook, Twitter, and their own personal and professional social networks in order to find other teachers to connect with, and it looks like Skype wants to make sure it's providing its own matching services and helping provide the resources and skill-building so that teachers feel comfortable with video conferencing.


Teachers can sign up for the Skype in the Classroom beta by connecting their existing Skype accounts. Then, they can build out their profile with their interests, specialties, grade level, and location. Teachers can look through the directory and find others who can help with questions, resources, tips, and classroom visits.

Skype says it plans to improve several aspects of the directory very soon, including building out its search functionality. (It's missing a time zone filter currently, for example - a crucial piece for hooking up with another classroom for a video chat.) Skype says it has other development plans too in order to support connecting classes with speakers and experts -- authors, astronauts, politicians, and the like --who are willing to Skype in to a class.

Botterill says Skype is eager to hear teachers' feedback in order to build out the initiative to best support their classroom needs. "We'll work on what teachers need to better use the technology in the classroom," says Botterill.


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