Busted: Anti-piracy raids on Qatar resellers

by Shijaz Abdulla on 27.12.2010 at 16:44

Anti-piracy authorities in Doha, Qatar recently collaborated with the Qatar Ministry of Justice and Microsoft Gulf, a member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the world’s foremost advocate for the software industry, to conduct raids on three Doha-based IT resellers. The raids resulted in the confiscation of CDs and PCs loaded with suspected counterfeit Microsoft software, including Windows and Office.

“The Ministry of Justice is keen on ensuring that the steady economic growth being witnessed in Qatar at present is not compromised by acts of piracy that adversely affect the country’s IT sector. The anti-piracy raids being conducted in Qatar send a strong message that intellectual property rights violation of any kind will not be tolerated in the country. The Ministry of Justice will continue to extend all possible support to the concerned authorities to curb software piracy in Qatar,” said Abdullah Ahmad Qayed, Director of Intellectual Property Center, Qatar’s Ministry of Justice.

“Over the years, we have been receiving strong support from the Qatar Ministry of Justice and concerned anti-piracy authorities, which has been instrumental in the sustained success of our anti-piracy initiatives in Qatar. The latest raid on three resellers in Doha will go a long way in sending a clear message to counterfeiters and IT resellers that any form of piracy will be firmly dealt with,” said Jawad Al Redha, BSA Chair in the Gulf region.

How to add Internet Explorer Web Slices to your site

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.12.2010 at 04:08

Web Slice is a web feed technology available in Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9. IE allows users to preview the subscribed Web Slices in a fly-out preview window.

You basically add a web slice to your Favorites bar, and you are notified when there is an update to your web slice and you are able to view the content directly on the toolbar without having to leave the page you are on.

Web slices are a fantastic way to increase the return rate of the visitors to your web site. Due to its simplicity, it can also potentially reach out to a larger number of eyeballs than a conventional RSS feed.

Here are some examples of web slices:

image image

I’m no developer pro, but I’ve added a web slice of my own on this blog. This web slice basically shows the last 5 posts from my RSS feed. It’s pretty simple. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Write your web slice file

On my self-hosted wordpress blog, I created a file named webslice.php, which contains the following text:

<div class="hslice" id="1">
<h2 class="entry-title">MicrosoftNOW</h2>
<div class="entry-content"><ol>
<img src="
http://www.microsoftnow.com/MSNOW-white.png" height=50% width=50%>
<font face="tahoma" size=2>
<br><b>Latest posts on MicrosoftNOW</b>
  $results = $wpdb->get_results("SELECT post_title, guid FROM $wpdb->posts where post_status = ‘publish’ ORDER BY ID DESC LIMIT 5");
  foreach($results as $row) {
   echo "<li><a href=’".$row->guid . "’>"
     . $row->post_title ."</a></li> n";

This is the content that is displayed when someone opens my web slice. The important bits are in red and need to be present for the web slice to work. Notice the id=”1” in the hslice <div> tag.

Save this file on a location in your web server.

2. Place a button on your website to add a web slice automatically to the favorites bar.

For this, you will use the AddToFavoritesBar method. Here’s how the code will look like to add the button below:

<button onclick="window.external.AddToFavoritesBar(‘http://www.microsoftnow.com/webslice.php#1‘, ‘MicrosoftNOW.com’, ‘slice‘);"> Add to Internet Explorer </button> 

Note the text in red. The #1 is the ID that you set in your web slice code. The word ‘slice’ is an optional parameter that you need to pass to the AddToFavoritesBar method so that the browser understands that this is a web slice, and not just an ordinary favorite URL.

I’ve added the button on the sidebar of my blog. Make sure you add my web slice to get updates from my blog delivered on your browser! Smile

Further reading: IE8 Web Slices on MSDN

Don’t have Internet Explorer 8 or 9? Get it now!

Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 released!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.12.2010 at 02:27

Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) has been released to manufacturing (RTM) on December 16, 2010. The licensed version of the product will be available on the Volume Licensing website, starting January 1, 2011.

For more information on FEP, visit the FEP website.

Multi-server management console for Forefront Protection for Exchange & SharePoint

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.12.2010 at 02:14

The Forefront Protection Server Management Console 2010 (FPSMC) has been released to web on December 17, 2010.

Forefront Protection Server Management Console 2010 (FPSMC) is the multi-server management solution that is designed to manage Forefront Protection for Exchange (FPE) and Forefront Protection for SharePoint (FPSP) servers within the organization. FPSMC is a refresh of the Forefront Server Security Management Console that is currently available to manage Forefront Security for Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for SharePoint 2007 and Antigen 9 products.

FPSMC is a free download that does not require any additional licensing. For deployment and operations guidance, refer to the FPSMC articles on TechNet.

screenshot courtesy: svenska’s blog

How to add an Internet Explorer 9 Jump List to your website

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.12.2010 at 23:09

One of the most exciting new features in Internet Explorer 9 is the ability to “pin” your favorite websites to your Windows 7 taskbar. I just added a jumplist to my blog today!

Try it out – If you’re running IE9, drag and drop the browser tab showing this page on to your taskbar and see what happens.

Not only can your visitors pin your website, you can also add Tasks (or links) when your visitors right click on their pinned website.


Pinning is really cool because:

  • Your visitors can pin their favorite website to their taskbar
  • The pinned website icon is always displayed on the taskbar and the probability of the visitor returning back to your website is very high. This helps you retain your visitors.
  • Plus, they don’t have to remember the URL
  • You can add common areas of your website as a menu when they right click on the icon of your pinned website, giving them instant, one click access to all areas of your website.

Here are some interesting examples of IE9 jumplists in Action – Amazon, Facebook, Bing and ebay. There are plenty more websites out there already making use of this handy feature.

image image image image

So, just how easy is it to add a jumplist to your website? It’s as simple as adding a few <meta> tags.

As an example, to display the jumplist that I added to my blog, here’s the code:

<meta name="application-name" content="microsoftNOW blog"/>
<meta name="msapplication-tooltip" content="Launch MicrosoftNOW Blog"/>
<meta name="msapplication-starturl" content="
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=About;action-uri=/about;icon-uri=/find.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=For Partners;action-uri=/category/partners;icon-uri=/man2.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-navbutton-color" content="black"/>
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

For more information, check out the Pinned Sites Cookbook on MSDN.

WikiLeaks crisis: Why is BitLocker important?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.12.2010 at 20:25

I read with interest news articles on MSNBC and Yahoo about Bank of America’s shares falling on WikiLeaks fears.

[A spokesman for the Bank of America] said that the bank was aware that Wikileaks claimed to have the computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive more than a year ago. "Aside from the claims themselves we have no evidence that supports this assertion," he said.

In an October 9, 2009 interview, Assange told Computerworld that WikiLeaks had obtained five gigabytes of data from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive.

"Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it," Assange told Computerworld.

Why is Windows 7 BitLocker important? BitLocker Drive Encryption is a full disk encryption feature included with the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes.

If a hard disk protected by BitLocker is lost or stolen, there is NO way for the data to be retrieved by an unauthorized person.

For more information on how BitLocker can help you organization protect its information assets, please speak to your Microsoft representative or a Microsoft partner.

Aastra announces IP phones for Microsoft Lync

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.11.2010 at 11:09

Aastra, a leading company at the forefront of the enterprise communication market, announced that its Aastra IP Phones for Microsoft Lync are now available for sale in conjunction with the release of Microsoft Lync.


The Aastra 6721ip and 6725ip phones deliver exceptional quality and value while tightly integrating with Microsoft Lync, making them powerful unified communications (UC) devices. These phones can operate independently from a PC so can be easily and widely deployed. The Aastra 6725ip offers the additional benefits of PC connection via USB cable for a tight integration with Microsoft Lync Server 2010: click-to-dial is enriched with presence status ensuring a more efficient call management for business users and team collaboration.

The Aastra 6721ip and 6725ip phones were designed to provide a superior user experience and facilitate the adoption of unified communications including:

  • an intuitive interface clearly displayed on a full color 3.5″ LCD screen;
  • easy access to the most essential calling features through navigation keys; and
  • wideband audio which enhances the clarity of all calls, a particular benefit for companies doing business internationally.

The Bigger Picture: Virtualization + Management

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.11.2010 at 00:52

“Virtualization without management is more dangerous than not using virtualization in the first place.”
– Tom Bittman, Gartner VP & Analyst

So you realized that you need to virtualize. The idea of being able to run multiple workloads on a smaller number of boxes sounded interesting to you. You saw how virtualization can save you many a buck in hardware maintenance, energy, cooling, rack space, and were fascinated by it.

Server consolidation – now that’s a term you liked to hear. Sounds like its going to simplify things up, doesn’t it? The idea of putting more eggs in one basket. Yes, it reduces cost, but how are you going to ensure that these baskets are strong enough to hold your eggs and that they wont break under pressure?

So you let the ‘Hypervisor wars’ begin – Hyper-V, VMware, you decided and chose your weapon. “What next?” you say. Well, the battle has not yet begun. Today, the hypervisor is more like a commodity, whatever you choose, it will let you virtualize – the art and science of creating a thin layer that abstracts operating system environments from the underlying hardware.

Some hypervisors provide more features than the others. The choice is simple. What matters to you is (1) which of these hypervisor features do you really need for your business, and (2) is the feature that you get worth the cost and complexity that particular hypervisor brings with it?

I am of the view that any technology you implement should contribute to the business of your organization. If it does not support the business, then that technology is useless to your organization. If you, for example, chose VMware to virtualize your (otherwise primarily Microsoft) datacenter just because it offers ‘memory overcommit’, a feature which you will probably never use in the first place, (because is not recommended for production), then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You could go online and spend hours scouring pages and pages of information comparing hypervisors from Microsoft and VMware, but what you’re looking at is basically a piece of code between 1.7 and 3.6 GB in size.

So what does really matter?

What really matters is Management. The ability to manage and monitor every service you offer in your datacenter, end-to-end, physical or virtual. What your users see is not the hypervisor, it is way beyond that – the users see the service that you’re offering. And a robust management tool helps you ensure that services you offer are healthy so that you meet your SLA.

Imagine being able to have to look at one single monitoring dashboard that will proactively alert you of problems on hardware, operating system environments, virtualization layers, apps running on physical servers, and apps running on virtual servers. Imagine being able to look at one interface to discover that your hardware is overheating, or your server power supply is not redundant, and then look at the same interface to discover there is a shortage of disk space on your physical host server or if an application service is stopped. Imagine looking at the very same interface to know that the outbound mail queue on your Exchange Server machine that you virtualized on Hyper-V (or VMware) is building up faster than it should, or discovering that a service on one of your Linux servers virtualized on Hyper-V is failing.

That, my friends, is what I call robust end-to-end management. Microsoft System Center provides you just that. Don’t virtualize without it.

Let’s take one step forward. Let’s say you’re a local bank and you have virtualized your web servers on Hyper-V. You’ve deployed System Center components for managing your gear. Let’s say that you get most hits on your website during the day. During your “peak” operating hours you need 3 machines in a load balancing configuration to handle the load. During “off peak” hours you barely have any traffic, so all you need is one server. In the absence of virtualization or management, you would still leave 3 physical machines running 24/7 to handle the load.

But when you have virtualization with System Center, things are different. System Center Operations Manager is monitoring your servers (physical and virtual) 24/7. You can configure System Center to raise an alert when the number of transactions on your application running on IIS on the first server exceeds a threshold ‘x’, and trigger an event that results in automatically starting the 2nd virtualized web server, and the third, and so on as the number of transactions increase. Similarly, when the number of transactions drop, the additional servers can be powered off automatically, freeing up processor, memory and other resources on the host machine, which can potentially be used by other services that require additional servers to be powered up during ‘off peak’ hours. Hence, you are able to run more servers than the capacity of your Hyper-V host machine by dynamically provisioning and de-provisioning servers and efficiently utilizing your resources. Because your management tool can now see inside your virtual machines. What this means, basically, is that you get ‘more bang for the buck’.

And this is what I’d call a ‘Dynamic Datacenter’. And that’s where we’re taking you with System Center and virtualization. We’re not arguing over who’s got the smallest hypervisor; we’re giving you the much bigger picture and what really matters to you and your datacenter at large.

VMware’s vCenter, on the other hand, does not see “inside” the guest. It cannot monitor the number of connections/sec on your web service, or the length of your Exchange mail queue or the number of transactions on your database. It just sees your VM from a hypervisor perspective and does not know how the application on that VM is performing (or even if it is running). And that’s not sufficient from a service level perspective.

Even if you run VMware, System Center can still work together with it and manage your VMware environment – but of course this is an integration with vCenter. You still have an island of a management tool that you’re joining together with System Center. When it’s an all-Microsoft platform, you definitely have the Microsoft advantage. Everything’s integrated by default and everything works.

Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to this blog for more to come.

HP Slate 500: this tablet means business

by Shijaz Abdulla on 29.10.2010 at 06:39
HP Slate 500: The tablet for businesses


The possibilities: Check out this awesome video from HP that demonstrates some of the many business scenarios that can be enabled with it.

Qatar Partner Academy 2010-2011

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.10.2010 at 22:08

I’m glad to announce the Qatar Partner Academy for FY11. Partner Academy is a set of classroom learning activities that we execute each year for Microsoft partners in the country.

If you are a Microsoft partner and you would like to enroll your organization in this training program, please contact me or leave a comment on this post. Prior registration is mandatory, and seats are filling up very fast. Priority will be given to partners based in Qatar.

The following are the courses that we will be running this year.


  • Venue: InfoCenter Doha, Near Sana Roundabout.
  • Lunch & 2 coffee breaks will be provided for all technical trainings.
  •  Timing: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM




SQL Server 2008 R2 Airlift

Sept 19-20


Forefront Threat Management Gateway

January 19-20


Forefront Unified Access Gateway

Feb 8-10


Unified Communications – Lync IGNITE

December 12-16


Introduction to Identity Lifecycle Management with Forefront Identity Manager (FIM)

Feb 22-24


Windows 7 Desktop Deployment

January 11-13


Exchange Server 2010

Jan 25-27


SharePoint Server 2010

Dec 19-21


Dynamic Datacenter with SCVMM + Hyper-V



System Center Service Manager

7-9 December


Data Protection Manager

Nov 22-24


System Center Operations Manager

Nov 2-4




Venue: Microsoft Qatar office, QSTP

Server Products Licensing

November 11, 2010

2pm to 5pm


Selling Microsoft Productivity

· Unified Communications

· Portals & Collaboration

· Messaging

November 30, 2010

2pm to 6pm


Selling Dynamic Datacenter

· The Private Cloud Concept

· Virtualization & Advanced management

· Competitive Selling

November 3, 2010

11am to 2pm


Infrastructure Optimization Assessment training

· Core Infra

· Business Productivity

December 23, 2010

2pm to 5pm


Selling Forefront Security Suite

· Endpoint Security

· Edge Security

· Server Security

January 2, 2011

2pm to 5pm


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