sy

5.23.2005

Tickling email in Outlook

Adrian Trenholm ? Tickling email in Outlook

GTD info.

5.19.2005

A List of the Simple Network Time Protocol Time Servers

A List of the Simple Network Time Protocol Time Servers That Are Available on the Internet

This is a KB article from Microsoft with a list of first and second level time servers. I synch with University of Delaware time servers because they are geographically desirable and only a few network hops away. They also have cool names after cartoon characters (huey, dewey, louie).

NIST has information on the NTP Protocol and setting your system clock, including instructions for all major OS's.

5.18.2005

AVG Anti-Vrius Free Edition

This is a great tool to use when your debugging an infection on friend and family computers. Its free and it does a good job.

After you get things sorted out, I recommend they license the SOHO or Pro versions.

Mac Mini FireWire Hard Drive Performance

Mac Mini FireWire Hard Drive Performance

I am amused at how many people are still fawning over the Mac Mini. It lacks memory, has a 5400 rpm drive and limited expansion capability. I can put together an x86 system for the same money as an upgraded Mini that will have greater disk capacity and performance.

Rant over.

This is a good article on how to upgrade the Mini using an external Firewire drive and the benchmarks that show a 75% performance improvement. Nice job.

5.16.2005

Sun Bloggers

Sun Bloggers

This is a list of all the offical Sun Bloggers with links (and RSS feeds) to their sites.

I currently subscribe to Tim Bray and Jonathan Schwartz's blogs and wonder who else I will find now.

Outlook.exe won't exit

Microsoft Outlook: Outlook.exe won't exit



I have noticed that the OUTLOOK.EXE process seems to hang around long after you close the application.

Wonder no more! This page lists a bunch of applications that 'conflict' with OUTLOOK and cause it to hang, or at least increase the amount of time it takes the process to exit cleanly.

5.13.2005

Designing a Course in Linux System Administration

Designing a Course in Linux System Administration | Linux Journal

Interesting Linux System Admin course from Transylvania University (KY, not Europe!).

Windows 2000 in place upgrade issues

Windows Server 2003 adprep /forestprep Command Causes Mangled Attributes in Windows 2000 Forests That Contain Exchange 2000 Servers

One of our engineers uncovered this gem doing R&D for an in-place upgrade of a Windows 2000 AD Forest that contains Exchange 2000.

This KB article documents how to prevent 'mangled' Exchange 2000 AD objects and how to repair them if you perform an upgrade without renaming the attributes first. I prefer to avoid the term 'unmangle' even though it sounds cool.

5.12.2005

Ultrasound - Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tool for File Replication Service (FRS)

Download details: Ultrasound - Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tool for File Replication Service (FRS)

Updated release of Ultrasound. Very cool tool for monitoring File Replication under AD.

5.9.2005

Why I switched to gmail

tygar-blog.com

Good article about how an academic guy uses GMail.

Reviewers Guide for MSNFS

Download details: Beta 2 Reviewers Guide for Microsoft Services for Network File System in Windows Server 2003 R2

Lots of UNIX services and integration built into Windows 2003 R2 (due this summer).

Upgrading Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 in a Medium-Sized Organization

Download details: Upgrading Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 in a Medium-Sized Organization

Very good overview of Exchange 2003 upgrade options.

Microsoft Exchange Server TechCenter

Microsoft Exchange Server TechCenter

Summary of Exchange Tech Docs:
Public Folder Best Practices
Public Folder internals
Public Folder Webcasts

Add WPA2 Support to Windows XP

LinksysInfo - The No. 1 In Linksys Support and WRT54G Firmware - HOW TO: Add WPA2 Support to Windows XP

Overview of how to add WPA2 wireless authentication to a Linksys WRT54G/GS router and Windows XP client.

The WRT54G release is beta, but the Windows XP WPA2 support was released last month.

5.8.2005

Russ Kaufmann: Common Exchange Cluster Questions

Russ Kaufmann: Common Exchange Cluster Questions

Windows Server 2003 R2 Beta 2

Windows Server 2003 R2 Beta 2

This release offers some very slick services, including native SSO (with associated daemon for Sun, AIX, Linux and other *NIX systems) support.

5.3.2005

IPv6 in the Home

EarthLink IPv6 in the Home

This is a pretty neat article published by Earthlink. They even include configuration and firmware update information for a Linksys WRT54G to support IPv6.

The WRT54G is the coolest 802.11a/b/g bit of hardware around and there are tons of firmware updates and configuration tips available to make it do *amazing* things. If you want to learn about routing, security and wireless, get a WRT54G. My fave firmware update is from Sveasoft, if only because the author has stirred up so much controversy over open source software, GPL licensing and the free market.

4.27.2005

GAL Sync with the Identity Integration Feature Pack (IIFP)

This is an overview of the IIFP release. The article details the components and functionality.

Be sure to apply the IIFP hotfix if your testing.

Identity Integration Feature Pack 1a (IIFP)

This is very, very slick. MIIS 2003 is an expensive proposition for most clients, even if they need the synchronization capabilities.

IIFP

Update for Identity Integration Feature Pack 1a (KB884192)


Below is a good overview of how to lab IIFP.

GAL Sync with the Identity Integration Feature Pack (IIFP)

4.26.2005

Top Ten Tips for Using Virtual PC 2004

Post from MSDN Blogs for future reference. I'm impressed that with SP1, Virtual Server 2005 supports Linux instances.

http://blogs.msdn.com/smguest/archive/2005/04/26/412025.aspx

Here goes:
10. When you create Virtual PCs, keep an eye on the size of your VHD file! It will automatically grow as you install new stuff on the Virtual PC, but will never shrink. Compress when the size of the VHD is significantly larger than the usage reported in the Virtual PC. To compress effectively, (1) defrag the disk in the Guest OS, (2) replace the spare space on the disk with binary zeros (using a third party tool such as cleanspace) and (3) run the compact hard disk wizard. Always remember to backup your original VHD before doing this!

9. Although Virtual PC additions is not supported for Linux images, you can replicate some of the functionality. You can use Windows SFU (Services for Unix) or SAMBA to cross mount NFS/SMB drives between the Host and Guest OS. To add time synchronization support for the Linux image, set the Host PC up as an NTP server (automatic in Win Server 2003 - registry switch in Win XP) and use virtual networking to sync using NTP. Remember to open up the NTP port on the Firewall of the Host OS beforehand!

8. On all your Virtual PC images, mount C:\ (on the guest) to Z:\ (on the host) by default. This will give you easy access to files on the host when needed (e.g. Z:\Temp, Z:\Windows). This shared folder functionality was shaky with earlier versions of VPC, but has been rock solid for me since SP1.

7. Use the Junction tool from sysinternals.com to create a junction called C:\Desktop on the Host operating system. Point this to your desktop (e.g. C:\Desktop -> C:\Documents and Settings\sguest\Desktop). In conjunction with Tip #8, you now have a very easy way of accessing the Host desktop (Z:\Desktop) from your guest OS. Same for Music, Photos and other folders that you may have setup.

6. Check out the command line options for "Virtual PC.exe" by running "Virtual PC.exe -help". You can start, pause, resume, resize and change other image settings from the command line. This is handy when creating demo scripts that use multiple images - or starting and stopping a Virtual PC when you are away from the machine.

5. A dual monitor configuration makes an ideal setup for having your normal desktop on one screen and a running Virtual PC image running on the other. Be aware though that you can't run the Virtual PC image full screen in this configuration - it will have to be windowed. (Virtual PC will come out of full screen mode as you use your Host desktop).

4. Confused about whether to use Virtual PC 2004 or Virtual Server 2005? If you want advanced scripting, VPC monitoring/administration or are looking for server consolidation, Virtual Server is for you. If you can't live without drag-and-drop and sound support for your Guest OS, you'll want to stick with Virtual PC 2004.

3. When you are creating Virtual PC's, try to consolidate by function - not by product. This will help you maintain the number of Virtual PCs you run. For example, if you want to play around with the Beta of Visual Studio 2005, try to create an "DEV" or "PROTOTYPE" image as opposed to a "VS2005" image. This will help you control the number of VPCs you run.

2. When setting up your Virtual PC's, start with 256Mb and then increase as necessary. If you are running a J2EE application server (e.g. WebSphere or WebLogic) I would recommend 784Mb. Also try and have your VHDs reside on a disk other than your system drive. This separation will help I/O throughput to the Guest OS - that, together with lack of physical RAM, tends to be the main reason for poor performance.

1. Get your images networked! I recommend two networking cards on each Virtual PC image - one bound to your main adapter, the other bound to a loop back adapter. You can configure this through the settings dialog when the VPC is shutdown. The first one should be used for connecting to the Internet - and will probably obtain it's IP address through DHCP. Create a private class C IP network for the second (e.g. 192.168.0.x) - bind them all to a loop back adapter installed on the Host OS - and create a common c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file for each image. Don't forget to enable the ports on the Windows Firewall (the Advanced settings of the loop back adapter) to allow access to applications that you are sharing!

4.22.2005

Synchronizing Multiple Exchange Forests

Chapter 9: Synchronizing Multiple Exchange Forests

Good overview on using MIIS 2003 to synch Exchange across multiple forests.

4.21.2005

Sveasoft - WRT54G firmware upgrades

Sveasoft

Its time for me to decide what I want to do regarding home wireless.

I just switched from Comcast to Verizon DSL now that its offered in my neighborhood. My DSL router comes with built-in wireless support. Its pretty good, but the DHCP functionality is brain dead, so I'm using Win2003 for DHCP.

Now that I have built-in wireless, what do I do with my WRT54G?

Dhcpexim.exe: DHCP Database Export Import Tool

Dhcpexim.exe: DHCP Database Export Import Tool

Very useful tool for exporting DHCP database and server configuration. We use this for discovery or migrating a DHCP server.

4.19.2005

Windows Server 2003 Access-based Enumeration

Download details: Windows Server 2003 Access-based Enumeration

Overview
Windows Server 2003 Access-based Enumeration makes visible only those files or folders that the user has the rights to access. When Access-based Enumeration is enabled, Windows will not display files or folders that the user does not have the rights to access. This download provides a GUI and a CLI that enables this feature.

This is an awesome update. Windows system administrators have been looking for a tool like this since Windows Server was first released. I don't know why Microsoft didn't 'advertise' this update more. I stumbled across this on Bink's site this morning.

4.18.2005

Optimizing Storage for Exchange 2003

Optimizing Storage for Exchange 2003

Very good article that covers just about every consideration for server disk sizing and performance design.

4.8.2005

SANS - March 2005 DNS Poisoning Summary

SANS - Internet Storm Center

Excellent summary about DNS poisoning threats. Comcast had a wide spread (system wide) DNS failure over the last 24 hours. I know users in NJ, PA (Pittsburgh) and AZ were impacted.

Just another reason to run your own DNS server (and secure it).

DNS Poisoning Update -this includes security updates from

4.7.2005

Learning to Use Regular Expressions

Learning to Use Regular Expressions

Not sure where .cx is, but this is a good starting point to learn regular expressions.

The bibliography is a bit dated (late 90's), but regular expressions have been around since (at least) the 80's.

O'Reilly has several good, if not definitive, books that cover regular expressions.

4.3.2005

Personal Folders Backup tool

Microsoft Office Assistance: Using the Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup tool

This is an overview of how to use the Personal Folders backup tool.

I like to configure my desktop and laptop to save all data to a folder (oddly enough) named Data (e.g. D:\Data), including my Outlook PST or OST data files. This way, I can backup a single folder (which is very large...) and have all my data in one place.

I typically put my Data folder on a non-system partition, so if I really hose my system disk and have to restore the system, none of my data is touched during the restore.

This link includes the Personal Folders Backup Tool.

3.29.2005

Roth Consulting Perl Page

The Roth Consulting Perl Page

Lots of Win32 Perl resources including a Perl Script Repository, Perl Package Repository and Perl Links.

3.28.2005

D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released

a million monkeys typing D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released

This is an update of Doug Johnston's planner pages. Thanks Doug!

Awesome job. The 2.0 release is a complete planning solution that incorporates Franklin/Covey, GTD and other planning systems.

My suggestion is to print out the entire system, carry it around for a week or so, see what is useful and incorporate them into a system that works for you.

As with the last package, version 2.0 is released under a Creative Commons license, which means that it is free for personal and non-commercial use.

3.22.2005

Visio Cafe

Visio Cafe

Visio Cafe is a collection of Visio templates from hardware vendors (HP, IBM, Emcor) and individuals (Bruce Pullig's Sun server and storage templates, Jean Dion's StorageTek and IBM servers).

Looks like pretty good stuff if you take the time publish professional Visio documents.

3.17.2005

How to install SQL Express 2005



Step by step instructions by Eyal Vardi.

Benjamin Edelman

Benjamin Edelman - Home

Benjamin Edelman is a pretty high powered guy. He's a PhD candidate in Economics at Harvard and a student at Harvard Law School.

If you wonder what he does with his free time, this is it. He publishes some very well researched articles on spyware, internet advertising and the creepy, semi-legal issues involved with both.

Very good stuff, the most recent published this month regarding eXact Advertising who seem to have lots of A-List clients such as Thrifty (rental cars), Netflicks, Circuit City and others.

3.15.2005

Ubuntu Linux Distro

Ubuntu - About Ubuntu

This is an effort on a "user and usability distribution" of Linux.

Its getting a lot of praise from users and its probably worthwhile looking at for a Linux Desktop at home.

3.14.2005

Microsoft Word MVP Site

Microsoft Word MVP FAQ Site

The format of this site is a little strange, but the content looks very good.

Everything you wanted to know about Word, including things you didn't know enough to ask.

3.11.2005

Tips for Mastering E-mail

HBS Working Knowledge: The Leadership Workshop: Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

Very good article with recommendations on how to handle large volumes of mail.

I think the best part of the article are the examples of good and bad subject lines and how to structure more effective e-mail messages (replies, tasking, etc).

3.4.2005

Radio Time

Radio Time: What Is Radio Time?

Radio Time looks like an interesting product. Like TiVo for radio.

I'm testing and will look at TV and FM tuners that work with RadioTime. These include Happauge, D-Link and Griffin products.

2.25.2005

Microsoft Preps for the 64-Bit Wave

Microsoft Preps for the 64-Bit Wave

This is a good overview of 64-bit operating system and application software from Microsoft.

Support from hardware manufacturers as well as Microsoft is begining to converge. Also, we are seeing many customers starting to show interest in Windows 64 bit computing as an alternate to UNIX servers.

The Myth of MythTV

I'm pondering MythTV as a future replacement for our DirecTivo.  I'm concerned about the future of TiVo, but its a very nice system and creating as refined and well designed a system with either MythTV or Windows XP Media Center.

Stay tuned.

I believe my nephew Greg and I hit the wall last night trying to build a MythTV. MythTV is open source software that turns your PC into Tivo++.

KnoppMyth — MythTV that can run from a CD — didn't run because it didn't recognize the Linksys card in the computer. So then we spent the usual comical four hours trying to get to it to recognize the spare hard drive I'd installed. Ironically, the HD came out of our Tivo when I'd upgraded it. There's something funky about how Tivo formats its drives, though. Plus it helps if you notice in the KnoppMyth documentation where it says that the HD has to be the first drive in the system.

We (by which I mean Greg) then got the MythTV installed on the HD and booted the machine. We got a lovely graphical UI, but no TV. That's ok. We expected to have to spend another few hours poking around; the problem seems to be that mySQL isn't starting up properly.

But then I had an enormous D'oh Moment.

MythTV requires you to put a card into your machine that handles the video in and out. I installed a standard Hauppauge 250, so that shouldn't be a problem. ("Shouldn't be a problem" in linux-talk means that it requires only one Linux Day to get up and running, where a Linux Day equals 8 hours of hacking by someone who knows linux inside out (Greg), 12 hours of "helpful suggestions" from a Windows user, and two pizzas.) No, the D'oh Moment came when I realized that MythTV is TiVo for the bottom 125 channels that come through your cable and only if all those channels are unencoded. Our cable TV provider, RCN, starts the premimum channels at 165, and they're all encoded.

TiVo gets around this in a kludgy way by having you stick some IR-emitting plastic thingies in front of the IR receiver in your cable box. So, when TV wants to record the new episode of The O.C., it changes channels on the cable box by flashing the same IR signals you would have sent manually with the remote. MythTV takes the signal before it goes into your cable box because it has no way of changing channels on your cable box.

So, if we were able to get our MythTV working, we would still need our TiVo to record premium programs, such as The Sopranos and the commercial-free version of Police Academy VI.

Damn! MythTV is such a cool idea! Especially in light of the FCC's Broadcast Flag requirement. (Support the EFF!)

An amazing breakthrough

OK, not so amazing. I have had mega problems with the touchpad on my work laptop (HP nc8000).

At seemingly random times, I would drag and drop (move) folders in Outlook, select random blocks of text in IE and Word and generally trash documents and configurations.

I re-visited the configuration for the Synaptics TouchPad (Control Panel - Mouse). I disabled ClickLock, Tap and Drag, and all Pointer Motion. Now it seems to work better. Time will tell.

Another problem I had with previous touchpads is the cursor jumping due to static electricity from my hands.

2.23.2005

Server Performance Advisor

Download details: Server Performance Advisor

Run this in conjunction with the Performance Monitor Wizard on my main server.

Looking to narrow down performance problems on my main server before I just throw hardware (faster CPU or more RAM).

I also get a mysterious soft disk error on my system partition that I would like to know more about.

Exchange 2003 Troubleshooting and Disaster Recovery

Excellent collection of links for Exchange 2003.  In particular, setting up SMTP domains for inbound mail, mailbox recovery and disaster recovery are things every admin needs to understand in detail.

here are the links I referred to during my TechNet presentation last night.  I've also included the link the a previous blog entry about hardware failure and recovery.  here's the link to the BlogCast on the Recovery storage group also if you want to run through the procedure again...

 

Recovering hard deleted items

 

TechNet events and Errors message centre

 

Disaster Recovery Operations Guide

 

Setting up SMTP Domains for inbound email

 

Troubleshooting mail flow and SMTP

 

Exchange 2003 Recover mailbox data feature

 

How Recovery Storage Groups work

 

Exchange transaction logging

 

Exchange Best Practices Analyser Tool

 

Hardware failure and recovery with Exchange 2003

 

If there is anything I've missed, feel free to coment, and I'll update the list as I go....

 


[Microsoft WebBlogs]

2.21.2005

CleanSoftware.org - Free software, no nasties!

CleanSoftware.org - Free software, no nasties!

What is CleanSoftware.org? Its 'mission statement' is:

CleanSoftware.org is a resource to help Windows users find the best free daily-use software, free from nasties: adware, spyware, harmful/intrusive components, and threats to privacy

I have long used a collection of command line and simple install-free applications. Lots of them are collected here and I hope to add links for packages they have not included, or ones that require installation, but are 'compelling' for my daily use.

2.17.2005

Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta) Refresh Released

Bink.nu | Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Refresh Released

The refresh was released Feb 16th (happy birthday to me...).

The last software update with the prior release was 1.0.501.
This download release level is 1.0.509.


The Microsoft download site link is here:

The TinyURL is: http://tinyurl.com/3luf4