When was the last time you checked out Microsoft Downloads?

image Mark A’Bear is one of our resident ‘amateur’ geeks in the education team. His job isn’t to be a full-time geek, as he’s our Education Partner Manager (and from my days of working at Microsoft partners, I know he’s pretty good at that). But he’s also a closet geek, and he has many moments of geekery – like when he talks about his home network, and his Home Server. Home Server! That’s geekery.

Within the team, he sits somewhere in the middle of the geek-tree, with me waaay down towards the bottom, and Ben Nunney sitting in the top of the tree. (Ben’s our specialist for Live@edu, as you’ll see on his blog).

Mark also blogs for UK Education Partners, but he keeps it low profile, which means I can occasionally steal content from his blog posts. (If you are a UK Education Partner, and you want to know where Mark’s blog is, email him). This week, I read one of his blog posts and thought it would be useful for network managers up and down the country (who, let’s face it, are the only people in school and reading this blog this month).

So, in Mark’s own words:


I subscribe to a weekly notification of top new downloads from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads. The reason I do this is to keep track of all the great new content that appears on a daily basis. To encourage partners to regularly check out these resources I’ve listed a few that have appeared in the last week or so:

1. Windows Live Essentials – the suite of applications such as Messenger, Live Writer, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker have all been updated – and so has the Windows Live Toolbar

2. Online Services Guide – a comprehensive guide to Microsoft’s online services including product offerings and licensing models

3. Geneva Beta 2 – this is going to be an important technology for delivering user access and single sign-on solutions

4. Windows Automated Installation Kit (Beta 2) - The Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) is a set of tools and documentation that support the configuration and deployment of Microsoft® Windows® operating systems.. By using Windows AIK, you can automate Windows installations, capture Windows images with ImageX, configure and modify images using Deployment Imaging Servicing and Management (DISM), create Windows PE images, and migrate user profiles and data with the User State Migration Tool (USMT).

5. Windows Azure Platform Training Kit - The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Windows Azure platform. Endquotes

The Geneva identity beta is potentially quite wide-reaching – as Becta reported on their ‘Emerging Technologies for Learning’ site in May.

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