How Windows Home Server Saved My Sanity


The recent installation of the Windows Media Center has been an ongoing major project. Apart from the physical install, there has been a a few ongoing issues:

  1. High-Definition TV “green screen of death”.
    Thanks to the Vista and XP Media Centre forum, this is a known and fixed issue. The Microsoft Hotfix is available here.
  2. Electronic Program Guide
    Attempted to install epgStream. Will install ICE.TV instead (giving a referrer to PMM!) as epgStream isn’t working the way I expected. Could be user expectation error.
  3. Noise
    Once the processor gets going, fans go on. And never seem to turn off. This is probably a BIOS tweak fix, or turn down the processor a little. A PATA drive vs. SATA drive may also be an issue, too.
  4. IPtv
    So, where is Australian IPtv? What about Australian video downloads? For that matter, what’s the story behind episode guides? This should just work.


During tweaking the server on Tuesday, I de-installed Windows Live Onecare Family Protection. Installing it in the first place might have been my error. From what I can discern, after de-installation, the remnants of a firewall was left around. 6 hours of troubleshooting later, I decided to restore a previous working version of the Media Center setup.

Thankfully, Windows Home Server had an image of an automatic backup from Monday. Process to fix:

  1. Make a Restore CD from the supplied .ISO file
  2. Reboot with Restore CD
  3. Log into the Home Server
  4. Select the image to restore
  5. 18 minutes later, reboot
  6. Back to Monday night’s Windows Media Center

Rather than stuff around for another 6 hours, restoring a known-good backup saved my sanity.

Flikr, Windows Live Photo Gallery is goodness

Sydney Harbour

As Larry mentions in his post, the latest beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery is out.

After installing it, the first feature I tried out is the new "upload to Flickr". I am a Flickr Pro user: the ability to see and comment on my friend’s photos is like attending slide-show evenings from the comfort of your own computer.

The internal buzz in the leadup to announce even got Jeff Sandquist hyped! And Long Zheng, an excellent photographer also loves it.

Windows Vista added support for tagging photos as another mechanism for organising your digital memories. Windows Live Photo Gallery reflects these tags when upload into Flickr. Now as a Flickr user, this was a wow! moment.

Watch and listen to my (first) screencast.

Unified Communications + Windows Live = Knowledge Worker 2.0

I am a mere Knowledge Worker in a large Enterprise. Working online, my work productivity has seen some major changes of late

I’ve installed the latest Windows Live for my Windows Mobile 6 Treo. One of the interesting features is voice search.

It’s a little difficult to describe in text (and in Australia it’s a little not-ready, but US and UK Windows Mobile users should install the latest version) — we’re heading down a very interesting path. However, voice is starting to be everywhere.

Along with the Office Communications Server, the concept of presence, work, location, phones, voicemail and email start to coalesce into a connected smartness. I can dial into our system whilst driving and give voice commands to the server.

Where ever I am, my laptop is connected to the work telephone system. Outlook gets my voicemails (which are just sound files!) and my presence is connected to my Outlook calendar. Using caller ID, the incoming call is connected to our global address list.

When not on my laptop, using Windows Live on my Treo, I can chat over the Telstra NextG network.

Knowledge Worker 2.0.

Windows Live Chat on Windows Mobile

Imagine: you are out having a pleasant dinner with your parents-in-law. One thing leads to another, and you start playing with your new toy: Windows Mobile 6.0 and my new Palm Treo 750.

Minutes before leaving the house, I had downloaded and installed the Windows Live client for Windows Mobile into my Treo, and had yet to log in to the service.

Over dinner, when the conversation turned to something where I could merely "nod", I un-pocketed by Treo 750 and signed in.




Appearing on my "Today" screen was my Windows Live login details: Windows Live / Windows Mobile pic 1
Ooh, Messenger sign in. Tap here to sign in, let’s sign in and see who is online. pc_capture2
I nod politely pc_capture3
At 6:10pm on a Friday, Sydney time only my European friends tend to be online. In this instance, Paul Foster fellow enthusiast from the UK is online, so I start up a quick chat.

The Contacts are exactly the same as your desktop and web list. No matter where I am, with my trusty Treo I can chat with them.

Windows Live / Windows Mobile pic 4
Yes, in our chat we refer to each other as "dude" as it sounds cool.

Notice the little "Voice clip" option at the bottom left? By clicking on this, I was able to send a quick "G’day" to Paul.

Windows Live / Windows Mobile pic 5

A voice clip? Yes, just like the desktop version of Windows Live Messenger on your PC.


Windows Live / Windows Mobile pic 6


I demonstrated this to my parents-in-law to show them I was a worthy husband for their daughter. Thankfully, they were impressed.

Oh, and thanks to Paul Foster for his assistance.