Upcoming webcasts

There are two webcasts planned for November that should be of interest to DPM customers (and those still considering whether DPM is right for their business). Microsoft Webcast: Protect Critical Data While Lowering IT Costs with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2006 and HP Thursday, November 10, 2005- 9:30 AM Pacific Time (US &…

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Some criticism of technical documentation

Selena Sol at extropia replies to the question, “What would you want to see in software manuals/technical writing to further disassemble the mystery?” with a thoughtful discussion of what is needed in documentation, “putting the writer back into technical writing”. Being in that field myself, my first thought was that these were pretty basic guidelines…

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Repurposing words

Esquivalience—n. the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities Only, there’s no such word. The fabricated esquivalience was included in the recently published second edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary as a copyright protection strategy. This caught my attention because we’re working on the vocabulary for the next version of DPM, the terms and definitions…

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New Microsoft certification plans announced

Here I am, partway through the exams for the MCSA, and we announce “a new generation of Microsoft certifications”. I click frantically through the FAQ, trying to find out if my efforts have been wasted. Then, a sigh of relief — I’m not wasting my time and should continue along this track to complete the…

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DPM Exec Chat transcript posted

The transcript from the executive chat session, System Center Data Protection Manager Revealed (Oct 13, 05), is now available online. A few features of the next version of DPM are mentioned: support for SQL, Exchange, and clustering. We’ve had a lot of customers asking for those, so “V2” should be very popular!

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Is DPM right for you?

Here are two ways to evaluate DPM… View Christopher Whyte’s on-demand webcast, Introduction to Data Protection Manager. Download the evaluation edition of DPM and try it for yourself. By the way, if you already tried the beta edition of DPM, you may recognize that some of the differences in the eval edition reflect feedback from…

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Do you use scripting for system administration?

If not, it can be worth learning. As a system administrator once told me, “If you have to do it more than once, run a script.” The Scripting Guys at Microsoft provide great advice and resources for scripting, including the upcoming Scripting Week 3, a series of webcasts that will take place Oct 24-28. (Each…

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One way writers can embarrass themselves

Documentation typically goes through numerous passes, between writers and technical experts and editors and peer reviewers. And those passes can accumulate a lot of revision marks and comments. All part of the work process. But let’s suppose your product team is working with a partner who needs an advance look at content in progress… You’re…

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"Why can’t I install DPM on a…."

There’s an old song (70s) with a chorus of “Things get a little easier once you understand.” (Okay, I’m dating myself by admitting I remember when the song came out, and it’s a really bad song, but the thought fits here.) Things can be easier…to accept, to work around, to deal with…when you understand the…

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The story behind Chapter 1

When I joined the DPM group, I started off digging through the specs to learn about the product and I discovered a wonderful document called “Master Scenarios”. What this document did was tell the story of a fictional customer and DPM. I had read other content on DPM before this, marketing materials and Help-in-progress and…

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About me

I’m a senior technical writer on the Windows Server Central Services team, working with the System Center Operations Manager product group. I started at Microsoft in 1997 in Training & Certification as an instructional designer on the Windows 98 courses. After many years in T&C (which is now Microsoft Learning), DPM offered me the opportunity…

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Cool tool: Process Explorer

A really common annoyance (for me) is trying to rename, move, or delete a file, only to be told that I can’t because “something” is using it, but the error doesn’t tell me which “something” it is and most of the time I can’t figure it out. I’ll open Task Manager, Processes tab, and stare…

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The identity of Help

Today, I’m thinking about product Help, DPM’s in particular. Mostly I’m thinking about the questions I want to find answers for next week (because I’m taking the rest of this week off). For instance, what was our guideline in DPM 2006 for deciding what would go in Help and what would be documented in other forms?…

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"I don’t read instructions…"

Yesterday, while I was watching a usability session, the participant mentioned that he prefers to open up a new tool and just poke around, rather than reading the documentation. I can empathize with that approach — I do it myself sometimes. “Explorer” types like to jump right in and poke around. Maybe try to do…

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Executive chat: "System Center Data Protection Manager Revealed"

Please join our execs for a live chat on DPM on Thursday, October 13th, at 10:00 A.M. (Pacific). See more details at: http://www.microsoft.com/communities/chats/default.mspx#05_1013_TN_EC Join…. Bob Muglia – Senior Vice President of Windows Server Division Rakesh Narasimhan – General Manager for Data Protection Manager Seetharaman Harikrishnan – Director for Data Protection Manager …for an open discussion…

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Why XP’s System Restore rocks

Before yesterday, I’d only used System Restore a few times: when I was trying out a lot of changes and wanted to be sure I undid them all, and once when I hit something in Internet Explorer that made it look funky and got tired of trying to troubleshoot it. Oh, I also used it…

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Talking to tomorrow

One of the most interesting aspects of working on the next version of DPM is that we — the writers — are here in Redmond, and the product team (a great group of developers and PMs) is at IDC in Hyderabad. That’s a 13.5 hour time difference. Except we’re still in daylight saving time so…

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Kicking off another set

Now that DPM 2006 has been released, it’s time to do it all again. We had our content kickoff this morning for version 2 of DPM. To me, this is the anything is possible stage, when we can air our most grandiose visions. “And the user chooses a scenario – click – and every chapter…

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ASR* and DPM

*ASR = Automated system recovery In our documentation, we recommend, “To ease recovery in the event of system partition failure, install DPM to a partition that is separate from the system partition.” We also recommend that you create an ASR set to back up the server system state. How are these recommendations connected? It has…

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The next Office interface

I must confess that I am not an early adopter of software upgrades. I like a high degree of comfort with the applications I use frequently; I want to open it and do whatever I feel like doing without needing to figure out how. And most of the time the apps are already able to do…

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