by Shijaz Abdulla on 15.12.2006 at 21:33

Attain Nirvana with the TechNet Guru contest.

For those of you in the Middle East – it’s the Microsoft TechNet Guru contest. You answer 10 question on the recently released Microsoft products. Psst.. no sweat — its the same set of questions for everybody and it’s easy as long as you know how to use this cool new website called Google – you’ll have all the answers!

But I guess that’s what they made it for, so that people dig for answers to win prizes — and in the process, learn a thing or two about Microsoft’s newly released software.

Here’s the link to participate:

ISA Firewall Client for Vista

by Shijaz Abdulla on 15.12.2006 at 14:39

Microsoft has unveiled the new ISA Firewall Client that runs on Windows Vista, Microsoft’s latest addition to flagship Windows operating system series.

The new version of the ISA Firewall Client is available for download on the Microsoft Downloads page and it supports the following:

Client operating systems: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and (of course) Windows Vista.

ISA Server versions: ISA 2000, ISA 2004 (Standard & Enterprise), ISA 2006 (Standard & Enterprise).

New IT Pro user group launched in Bahrain

by Shijaz Abdulla on 08.10.2006 at 21:07
September 11, 2006 was the day of Microsoft’s TechNet roadshow in Bahrain. To Bahrain’s IT pros, this meant an exciting opportunity to interface with Microsoft’s experts and take a peek at upcoming technology.

To me and my pal Arun, this was an opportunity to showcase our new IT Pro user group — “TechLinks” – the first of its kind in Bahrain. Mohammed Arif of Microsoft Dubai helped us get a stand in the foyer. With a feeling of excitement, we rubbed our hands together and got to work. We reached early and put up our little banner and distributed membership forms to visitors and explained them what the group was all about.

Me & Arun at the roadshow

Most the visitors who signed up were just curious, wanting to know what’s going on. Some of them were passionate and expressed their joy in seeing a community taking shape — some even gave us some insight on what kind activities they’d like see in the group!

Overall, I’d say it was successful — We did get a good number of members. After we got back home, we tabulated the member data and sent e-mailers to each member so that they can register on the online community as well.

Visit TechLinks online:

The ‘Most Valuable Professional’ Award

by Shijaz Abdulla on 08.10.2006 at 00:08

I was thrilled when my MVP Lead Amr Al Garhy informed me that I was selected for the MVP Award in the October 2006 cycle. That would make me the first MVP in Bahrain. Today, Oct 7, I received my MVP Award Kit via DHL.

Here’s what’s in the package:

  • Certificate alongwith leather holder
  • Leather business card holder
  • 1 GB USB flash memory with MVP logo (the type with the leather body)
  • MVP branded ballpoint pen with a laser pointer
  • MVP Badge
  • MVP Lapel pin
  • MVP memo pad
  • A leather box containing the above
  • 2 copies of the Microsoft Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • A booklet explaining the MVP benefits
  • And above all… an invisible yet immense feeling of achievement!

I’m proud of my achievement and look forward to make further contributions to the technology community.

Surrounded by Microsoft

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.07.2006 at 19:55
I wake up to the strident, yet tranquil ring that I’ve grown accustomed to over the past year. The very same sound that has brought me, many a mornings, from the dark depths of sleep to the hazy frontier between darkness and consciousness – and from there on, to consciousness itself.

I open my sleep embittered eyes to strenuously take a peek at the blinding light of the LCD screen of my PDA. I push a button to make it stop the noise that has brought me back into the real world. For a moment I forget the fact that a pocket device running Windows was lying there at my bedside the whole night just to wake me up. Yes, a Microsoft device was the first thing I hear and see in the beginning of each day.

I praise my God for giving me the chance to see yet another sunrise. Wearily I get up and get ready for another day at work. I come back to my PDA and it sorted out everything that I’m supposed to do for the day – my appointments, my tasks, anniversaries, birthdays, what I should be doing, and even what I should be thinking about today. It’s all listed out neatly in a page called the “Today page”.

I quickly boot up my laptop running Windows XP and check my personal mail using Outlook; not even thinking once that the server too is running Windows.

I drive to work, I get a call on my trusted Microsoft-powered device regarding a task I will be doing that day. I reach the office and very soon I’m within the range of my corporate wireless network – that invisible space that defines my network – my data is in the air, but I can’t feel it anywhere.

My device picks up the wireless ambience surrounding it quickly recognizes that it’s on “home ground”. The Microsoft Exchange e-mail server immediately synchronizes all my latest appointments, tasks, phone numbers, email addresses and email with my Windows-powered handheld device. I watch the LCD screen as it all happens in a matter of seconds.

I sit down at my Windows workstation and unlock it. I read my corporate mail on Microsoft Outlook. One of my clients has reported an error with his Microsoft ISA firewall. A sales guy has asked for a proposal for deploying new infrastructure using Microsoft Server technologies. I prioritize and enter the new tasks in my Outlook and immediately, the server syncs the info with my Windows mobile device. I hurriedly leave the office to the client who reported the problem.

While I’m driving to the client’s office, he calls me up twice – once to make sure that I’m coming and again to find out what he can do while I’m on my way. Upon reaching, I am welcomed with a sense of relief and anxiety and quickly ushered to their data center.

I work on the Microsoft-powered server and check the logs and diagnostics. I spend several minutes trying to make the Microsoft product work the way I want it to, the way my client wants it to, the way my clients business would benefit from it, the way my employers business would in turn be benefited, and the way that would keep my daily bread coming on my table.

I find a resolution on Microsoft website and this involved contacting Microsoft Product Support for a hotfix. I immediately call the Microsoft Support Center, and ask for the hotfix. They send it to me on my corporate email.

Once again I log into my corporate email using Microsoft Outlook Web Access. Now I can access my office mail over the web, sitting at my client’s office. I quickly download the fix and apply it on the server and restart it. All is well and the server returns to normal operation. I take a sign-off from the client and take leave.

On the way back, I plug in my Windows Media synchronized portable music device into my car stereo and listen to the tunes.

I reach the office, my Windows Mobile device, which was unreasonably silent for a few hours suddenly recites the call for the Duhr prayer. Its time for my second prayer for the day. I take time out and complete my duties with the Lord.

It’s soon time for lunch, I lock my workstation, and leave for lunch. After lunch, I spend more hours in the office, sifting through the logs that I have collected from the Microsoft servers at an airport to check if the servers are running in good shape. I need to give monthly reports to the client based on my analysis of his server logs.

The Windows Mobile device would alert me whenever someone tried to call me, whenever sent me an SMS, to remind me of my tasks, and meetings, or if it was time for my prayer.

Finally its quitting time, I synchronize my device again “over the air” to make sure it has got the latest of what would be my schedule for the next day. I hibernate Windows on my laptop and pack up to go home.

I reach home, and have dinner and relax for a while. Then I go online and chat with my friends on Windows Live Messenger.

And then I go to sleep, taking care not to be too far from the Windows Mobile device which would wake me to yet another day of excitement!