“My small business is too big!” No defense contract for you!

December 20th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

For those of you who follow the GSA, there have been a number of happenings with them this year!

Back in April they opted to re-examine awards: GSA re-examines Alliant Small Business awards

And then a new hurdle is introduced: Small companies face another hurdle on Alliant contract

The companies have passed GSA’s bid evaluations process, but GSA and Small Business Administration officials now must check that the firms meet the criteria for being a small business, said Mary Powers-King, GSA’s director of governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs). Because of that, companies ultimately might not get an Alliant Small Business award.

What this means is companies who have been snatched up through acquisitions are now putting themselves in a difficult circumstance in order to produce revenue like they used to.

One company — Kadix Systems — was acquired by Dynamics Research Corp. in August, which could end its eligibility for the contract.

The old adage of bigger is better, apparently doesn’t play out when it comes to $15 Billion worth of federal contracts – So staying small and nimble may play to your advantage when you want to continue bringing home the billions.

The court found problems with the past-performance information GSA used to determine who received awards. The court ruled that the agency based its evaluations on “sketchy” information and used that information as a major factor in awarding the massive contract.

Although not required by the court, GSA decided to re-evaluate the Alliant Small Business contracts, too. Earlier this year, GSA asked the 62 small businesses to extend their offers.
“Given the history with this, we really want to make sure we’re on very firm and solid ground,” Powers-King said.

The court had chided GSA for diverting from its plan for selecting companies, particularly regarding past performance, when awarding the Alliant contracts in 2007. For the latest round of awards, “we very, very closely adhered to our plan” and included a review of how well officials stuck to the plan, Powers-King said, adding that GSA is confident of its choices for Alliant Small Business.

I can only commend the courts for questioning old practices of not rewarding and awarding on sketchy information, and apparently this forces a revisit of the grandfathering of a number of “not very small businesses” anymore as a result of these acquisitions.

It just goes to show, as you grow you best plan for your circumstances as the tide can change at any moment.   Your meal-ticket of yesterday won’t be the one of tomorrow, so innovate, improve and elevate.

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, Defense, Politics | Comments (56)

FreE-Books before the 25th! IPv6 and Secure Core for the Holidays

December 20th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

As always, thank you ever so much Joanne Lin (MS) !

For those of you who saw the last Free E-book deal from Microsoft Press, it is back again with another stringent timeline to get it!

You have until December 24th to download these beauties!

With a simple ‘click’ and ‘register’ you can have these two Beautiful E-Books downloaded and in your possession for reading and excitement!

Understanding IPv6, by Joseph Davies

Writing Secure Code for Vista, by Michael Howard and David LeBlanc

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If you’re even remotely interested in these technologies, free stuff, books, reading, future certification and anything else – this is the deal for you!

To keep up to date of deals like this, you can subscribe to the Microsoft Press Connection Newsletter.

Happy Holidays, and this gift is wrapped and ready for Christmas and Hanukkah!

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Posted in ASP, Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Ebooks, Microsoft | Comments (60)

It’s IsAlive! Wait, where did my cluster go?

December 18th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

It’s a dark night, you’re in a cold murky alley.   There’s a random file found in the root of your drive (or mount point).   Suddenly, your cluster goes offline.   WTF!

If you’re thinking, “Damnit, what did my storage vendor do now!” You’d be mistaken.

There’s this little doozy out there:

A physical disk resource may unexpectedly fail or go offline when the IsAlive function is executed on a Windows Server 2008 cluster node” to the tune of Q953652

Microsoft declares it to happen when you meet the following scenario:

  • You have a Windows Server 2008 cluster node.
  • The IsAlive function is executed on the cluster node while a file is being accessed in the root folder of the cluster disk.

In this scenario, a physical disk resource on the Windows Server 2008 cluster node may unexpectedly fail or go offline. This behavior occurs randomly.

Or otherwise read as: If you have a file in the root of Drive letter or Mount point, the drive may ‘disappear’ when you have this configured in a cluster (This does not apply to Server 2008 single servers)

Quite often this is blamed on the storage (regardless of vendor) so be sure to keep your clusters up to spec and make sure to apply this Hotfix from Microsoft, especially if you meet this criteria!

Good luck Clusters, and those cold dark alleys won’t be so bad.

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Exchange, Hyper-V, Informational, Microsoft, SQL, Storage, Technology, Windows Server | Comments (102)

Windows Live Writer 2009: RC, Why use anything else?

December 18th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

I was talking with a friend of mine tonight asking him what he used to do his blog writing, and he said he used the WordPress editor.  I was shocked, awed, even amazed.

He is a perfect candidate for using LiveWriter, if not for the simple reason that you can put words NEXT to text without having to do all forms of magic to get it done.

There is however one amazing feature of LiveWriter which not enough people realize.

If you go into the Help, you’ll find the Writer Team Blog!

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That simple little action lead me to find (because I wondered if there was an update) That indeed there is an update! The RC for LiveWriter 2009 is out! I didn’t even know it was coming!

What’s new in 2009?

Well, you can go to the Writer Blog and find out more like here or here.

But I’ll cover a few of the things which I find particularly amazing and I think you’ll agree!

image Oh my god! Word Count! What a simple yet elegant function! And here it is!

image (These number of words are ofcourse, up until this point!)

image That’s also Sweet! (found in options!)

Some of the new plug-ins seem pretty sweet!

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FLICKR UPLOAD
Uploads an image to your Flickr account and inserts an inline picture into your post.

DIGG THIS
Automatically adds a DiggThis badge to your blog post after you publish it from Writer.

TWITTER NOTIFY
Automatically generates a TinyURL and sends a Tweet about your blog post after you publish it from Writer.

Speaking of images! (Like that one above) Your image manipulation options have gone through the roof!

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Check out our ability to do text wrapping! Though a major pet peeve of mine is when I click “next” to an image after selecting Left, it keeps bringing me to the top! (hint hint) It’d really be nice for it to select the area next to the text so I can start typing there!

With the introduction of Center, it guarantees our place with the position of the text after an image.  It’d be nice to have some kind of universal everything I post should default to ‘x’ though I’ve yet to find these defaults/options to manage.

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Check out those borders baby! Wow that is a lot of options to choose from and I’m not complaining!

Infact, I opt’d to give “reflection” a try here, looks pretty sweet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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But nothing can really compete with… a Watermark embedded into your image?!

You can manipulate the text, the font type and size, and especially the position.  Seriously, Wow, this is cool!

Let me say this again.  This is really cool!

Oh, did I mention how fricking cool TILT is?!

image 

Some of the new Photo Album and other settings will be pretty sweet, but managing text, writing it, manipulating images and getting content into some usable fashion are my major deals with this as are a majority of folks I know who use LiveWriter.  Everything else is just CAKE!   I suggest you go out there and download this RC now! Get it out there, because is this pretty sweet, and will continue to be sweet!

imageWindows Live Writer 2009 (Release Candidate)
Version 14.0.8050.1202

Go, get your Live on!

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, Live, Microsoft, Technology | Comments (57)

How much does Free Microsoft Learning Cost? (Hint: Free!)

December 18th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

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Every so often I get asked by people for help improving their skills, making them more marketable as well as ways to get access to training and resources.

And more often than not, I lead them in directions with the huge cost of $0.00 associated with it.    Whether you’re looking for Certification, access to Labs, E-Books, or Training information.

I’m a BIG fan of Free!

So, can you afford freE-Learning?

Thanks to our friends at Microsoft, here is another resource available to you!

By visiting this lovely site, it will display all of the available courses being offered by Microsoft Learning for Free!

What relevant topics are available on there at the moment:

  1. SQL 2008
  2. Application Virtualization
  3. Terminal Services in Server 2008
  4. Virtual Machine Manager for 2008
  5. Hyper-V
  6. ASP.NET
  7. .NET Framework
  8. Windows Security
  9. Microsoft Security Guidance I-IV

…And more!

Seriously, there is a motherload of information here, so much training to wrap your teeth into!

If you saw my previous post about the voucher to get the Hyper-V training for free, this training is very complimentary to that and more! (Especially since that voucher seems to be faulty at the moment)

So get out there, get yourself something Free for this season.  It’s your education, do something about it!

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Posted in .NET, ASP, Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Ebooks, Exchange, Hyper-V, Informational, Microsoft, SQL, Technology, Virtualization, Windows Server | Comments (71)

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