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Windows Home Server – Can It Be a SOHO Solution?

July 22nd, 2009 No comments

Although the name of Windows Home Server may make you inclined to believe that it is only for consumer households, it can also be very functional in a small office/home office setting.


One article that was recently brought to our attention came from SMB PC Magazine (See page 7). The article provides an overview of Windows Home Server and discusses how it could be beneficial to SOHO customers. Research conducted by the author, Aaron Booker, includes contacting companies offering 3rd party solutions, and value-added providers that are installing home servers in businesses today. From the information gathered, he has validated that backup of up to 10 computers is the most common use of a home server because of its unparalleled speed and convenience. He then goes on to compliment Windows Home Server restore capabilities. Booker states that “The restore function is what is really impressive. If a user deletes a file or overwrites a file- the time needed to recover is literally seconds”. He also discusses topics such as using Windows Home Server to remotely connect and log onto PCs (Remote Desktop) along with add-ins, that enhance Windows Home Server functionality, as key features for this market.






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Another article that featured Windows Home Server can be found in Inc Magazine which is targeted at entrepreneurs and small business owners. Under “The Goods” section, the magazine introduces and writes about various aspects of the HP Media Smart LX 195. Some key items were noted about the HP Media Smart in this piece includes its small size, low cost, and how it can be used in both the home and small businesses. Once you begin using a home server, the article relays that you have the ability to listen to your music while you are out of the office and also share your pictures and videos on all popular social networking sites.


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With these articles as a backdrop, the Windows Home Server Team is pleased to announce a new web page which is focused on the SOHO customer. http://www.microsoft.com/windowshomeserver/soho


The page opens with an overview of Windows Home Server’s features from a SOHO customer perspective. Five case studies were written which describe how an average SOHO has benefited from using Windows Home Server. Corresponding to the written case studies, there are video interviews where you have the opportunity to listen to business owners discussing their personal experiences when using their home servers. They talk about subjects including how Windows Home Server has helped advance their office by saving hundreds of hours, money, and data.






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As always, there are links which allow you to view a demo of Windows Home Server and also download a FREE evaluation version.


– Steven

Secure online photo sharing with Windows Home Server and Community Add-Ins

June 17th, 2009 No comments

Don’t you love to share your photos with your friends and family? Those great shots of your little kids wearing their strained carrots or a picture of your daughter’s first formal dance; it’s through images that we graphically share the high’s and low’s of our most personal lives.  With Windows Home Server you can easily create a private online photo sharing experience for only those individuals you permit while being accessible to the internet.


 


When you add a Windows Home Server to an online photo sharing site, like Flickr it gets even more interesting. We know that for many Windows Home Server users securely storing and sharing photo’s online is a main reason for them to purchase a server in the first place. Add to that the robust developer community add-ins such as Ed Holloway’s online photo sharing Photosync for Windows Home Server  which automatically syncs the contents of your photo’s folder on the Windows Home Server to Flickr, Doug Barrett’s WebGuide which enables you to remotely access, listen, watch and stream your music, photos and videos stored on your home server while away from home and Andrew Grant’s Whiist that allows you to create and manage web content on your Windows Home Server.


 


I’m a social networking geek these days,  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and I blog about our cycling epics and Windows Home Server, yet I am very hesitant to share truly personal photos, especially group photos, using the current publically available online tools. I value my privacy and want to respect the privacy of my friends by not sharing photos or videos of them in a way that might make them uncomfortable, now or in the future.


 


It’s amazing how much information is shared across the web and photos are a means of visual sharing.  These days social networking and online photo sharing sites  like Facebook,  Flickr, Photobucket, and SmugMug  to name a few, allow us to share our photos with our friends and potentially the world with a few clicks of a mouse. These sites do a great job and provide a community gathering place for those interested in visually exploring the world around them. For an in depth look at the online photo sharing ecosystem including analysis of the various services, check out Wikipedia, cnet Online digital photo printing & sharing and Lifehacker’s review of the Five Best Photo Sharing Sites.


 


I mentioned my cycling epics earlier; this past year I spent 2 weeks riding our tandem down the pacific coast with 28 other folks from all over North America to raise funds for the American Lung Association. Before the trip I knew only one individual, afterwards we are all fast friends who now keep in touch regularly over Facebook and email. Over the course of the trip as the miles passed we all unwound and the ensuing antics of the trip were dutifully recorded by multiple cameras including some video footage of the best dances, camping mornings and late night cribbage games.


 


After the trip we all wanted to check out the photos from the other riders, especially the dancing, however as many of the riders are in the legal profession it was important to ensure security for many of the pictures, especially the really good stuff; yet we wanted to make it possible for all of the riders to access the photo’s online.  The answer to our dilemma was the Windows Home Server and its remote access and shared folder features.


 


Specifically what we did is to create one photo album (folder) and it’s link and password was sent out to the participants. This enabled them to use the web to link into the remote Windows Home Server to access the one online photo album while still keeping the rest of the information on the server private.  We also leveraged the add-in Photosync to share specific photos with the masses on Flickr.


 


With Windows Home Server we were able to collect hundreds of photos of the trip in a private password protected online location.  By allowing each rider to upload their photos, sharing became a breeze. Each of the photos is available online to anyone using web browsers who have the proper permissions.  Permissions are simple to set and can be revised at any time by the Windows Home Server administrator (probably youJ).  This enabled our entire cycling crew to share the experience all over again whenever they want. In addition with the add-ins like Whiist & WebGuide we were able to create a more robust viewing experience.


 


For families, hobby organizations, sports teams, vacation buddies, or conference attendees, anytime when privacy matters Windows Home Server is your online photo sharing solution. It provides a secure location to allow private online photo sharing in addition to robust image based backup software technology. There are alternatives to public websites, why take the chance with a public solution when Windows Home Server can create a private community where you can share photos, videos and files with your friends and family?


 


Moira