Monthly Archives: October 2005

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It is a small world, isn’t it?

Warning — listening to the music at the beginning of this SBS Podcast may get it stuck in your brain….


I was listening to the SBS Podcast, who’s theme is about community and I just loved some of the comments in the show this week about how we all win when we share.


Now I do need to clear up a few things… First off… I’m Lutheran and not Catholic….so .. you can probably skip the ring kissing and just tell folks to give me a hug instead  Now how I ended up not liking Coffee and addicted to Mountain Dew AND raised in the Lutheran church…. I have no idea….. google or msnsearch on the long standing relationship between Lutherans and Coffee…anyway…..and secondly… I’m just one person and one view.  You really want to hear and listen to a lot of people and not just me.  And you know what really rocks about the SBS world?  Is when we realize that we can sooooooo help each other when we reach out to one another.


I’m going to a user group meeting tomorrow night in Fresno.  Now its’ not a SBS meeting, it’s a IT techy one, so I won’t get all that good SBS business processes stuff like Susanne and Amy talk about, but it’s still a mini bit of my geek get togethers where I don’t have to lower down the tech talk.  And there’s usually an added benefit that we techs can play stump the techy sales guy.


Now what Chris did not tell you was how we two really met.  You see we first met virtually.  Both of us had gone to a CPA Tech conference and not met one another there.  But he did meet Anne.  So he, I and Anne started swapping emails post conference and it was finally AT SMBnation that I got to meet up with a kindred spirit.


And that’s exactly what the SBS experience is indeed all about.  We are kindred spirits out here.


So point your browser to www.sbsgroups.com and find yourself a group of kindreds.

Speaking of Wireless

So are you up on your TLAs?  Three letter acronyms?  Wireless has TONS of ‘em.  On the download center a document about wireless was just posted.


Presents two deployment methods for secure wireless access: one for small office/home office (SOHO) networks and one for small organizations.


Here at home I have the wireless on the ‘outside’ of my network but I am using WPA with preshared key.  I need to bring it inside the network but just haven’t yet, mainly because I don’t domain join this Tablet PC anyway….


It’s mainly used for hotels, travel …and …. for when the Evil Queen has to man the front door at Halloween.

I’m guessing Prince Charles doesn’t have a Tablet PC

Well here I am… it’s Halloween evening again….. Evil Queen…handing out candy at the door and in between the trick or treaters on the tablet pc connecting wirelessly to the upstairs network.  And sitting here in this garb got me thinking about how yesterday I read a CNN article about how Prince Charles is concerned about the environment and global warming [yes, good] but then he said ……


…..he was worried about the importance of technology in modern life.


“If you make everything over efficient, you suck out, it seems to me, every last drop of what, up to now, has been known as culture,” Charles said in the interview, which was recorded last month in Poundbury, England.


“We are not the technology. It should be our … slave, the technology. But it’s rapidly becoming our master in many areas, I think,” he said.


Funny because for me, technology has brought me more culture.  It’s made me more aware of other countries, other cultures and customs.  It’s opened doors for me and introduced me to people that I’d never meet otherwise.  Heck, many a time I’ve had conversations with people for many months before I ever meet them in person.  


So what about you?  Do you find technology opens more door?


Oh gotta go… I hear the trick or treaters at the door… 

Interested in CRM 3.0? November 10th in Vancouver is where you want to be!


 


Canada once again is first to the UserGroups for Scott Colson on CRM 3.0!


 


VANCOUVER: Microsoft Small Business Server User Group - Build stronger customer relationships with Microsoft CRM.  


 


Sign up here!

Event Code: 1032285155


 


Date: November 10, 2005 6:30PM – November 10, 2005 8:30PM


Language: English


 


Location:


Microsoft Canada


1111 W. Georgia Street, Suite 1100


Vancouver, British Columbia


Canada


V6E 4M4


 


General Event Information


 


Products: Microsoft Business Solutions CRM, Small Business Server


Recommended Audience: IT Professional


 


Description:Microsoft CRM is a flexible and customizable platform


that can be configured to meet unique business needs. Join Scott


Colson of Autonomix Inc. to review the overall structure of


Microsoft CRM, explore its native Outlook experience, learn how to


create custom entities, and set up workflow rules to automate common


business processes. Demonstrations will be performed using Microsoft


CRM 3.0 installed on Windows Small Business Server 2003, with


highlights of new 3.0 features exclusive to the Small Business


Edition.


 


AGENDA


 


6:00 PM – 6:30 PM              Registration


 


6:30 PM – 8:00 PM              Presentation


 


8:00 PM – 8:30 PM              Questions and Answers

32 downloads later…. I’m back to my “Brett” condition

Okay so I feel a bit like Brett tonight.  I had a set back in deploying my new workstation.  You see I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not a hacker.  Not in the traditional definition.  One that can figure things out.  Because even though there’s supposedly a hack to get yourself from a XP pro to a MCE 2004 or 2005, I was like a fellow SBSer Frank and could not get the hacks to work. 


So I flattened my workstation that I’ve been working on trying to migrate to for months now.


Yup, I repartitioned it and started over.


Not that I had done a whole lot to it… I was in the equivalent of putting together of categories on a blog like Brett is at when I decided to just start over and rebuild the box.  I could not get all the media edition stuff on there.  This is why they really and truly recommend that you only buy it OEM anyway as all the issues I had with finding drivers and WinDVD decoders so the Media edition would play.


So now I’m about back to where Brett is right now.  Media Edition is loaded up, patched up with 32 security patches.  The funny thing is that the Rollup Update wasn’t in the section I would have thought it was, but instead down in the recommended section.  But so far it’s finding the TV stations and tuning in like it should.


…so exactly what is Squeaky Lobster enabled anyway?

Things we can do to workstations that we shouldn’t do to servers

I think a new server should have a “Care and feeding” document for new owners.  You know, those folks that have never seen or used a server before.  I’d make sure it said things like …..


  • This isn’t a workstation so don’t have someone sit and use it as one
  • This isn’t meant to be turned off at night
  • This isn’t meant to be reformatted and reinstalled without a plan to recove the active directory.

You know my other concern of what I am seeing?  Underspec’d servers.  We’re starting to put a lot on these boxes and we’re not thinking at all about drive speeds, controller cards, SCSI versus SATA and all that.  I mean like there’s no way I could put CRM [which is another MSDE database] on my home server with is already stressed with WSUS.


We’ve seen issues with underpowered servers not being able to handle ISA’s MSDE database and it will stop the service at midnight.  Flip the logging to flat file and the server will be fine.  Treat the server with respect and it will treat you nicely.  Underspec it and you’ll find you get some unusual errors.

I have ghosts

Stuck in my monitoring database are ghosts.  I didn’t properly remove my usb harddrive so now at 5:50 my alert system hits me via email and IM and tells me I have low disk space.  but I really don’t.  See those dates? It’s an OLD alert and not a current one.  And I have yet to figure out a way to clear them out of the database other than rebooting the server so it will reset the counter.


So don’t worry.. it’s nothing to fear.. my server is not possessed… it’s just a bit haunted by ghosts that’s all…..





From:  <Administrator@domain.com>
To:  <sbradley>
Subject:  Low Disk Space Alert on DOMAIN
Date:  Sat, 29 Oct 2005 17:49:10 -0700
>Alert on DOMAIN at 10/27/2005 5:49:05 PM
>
>The following disk is low on free disk space. Low levels of free disk space can cause performance problems and prevent users from saving files on the disk.
>
>Drive Letter: HarddiskVolume6
>Free Disk Space: 0.000000. MB
>% Free Disk Space: 0.000000.%
>
>You can disable this alert or change its threshold by using the Change Alert Notifications task in the Server Management Monitoring and Reporting taskpad.
>
>
>Kind regards,
>Administrator

I want to keep my system safe as possible

I don’t want to use exchange because I want to keep my system as safe as possible.“


Heh.  This must be “good enough security“ tonight or something.


The poster on the Lockergnome posting site should understand something about Exchange.  He’s thinking that having Exchange running is adding ‘insecurity’ when I would argue that if you don’t install it and use it’s power to clean, despam, and protect from viruses, and instead use POP accounts to pull in email directly inside your desktops you are not using the power of the server to better protect you. 


In my network I pull off just about all attachments and only let those attachments that I need for absolute business into the desktop.  Then I ensure that I have an Exchange aware antivirus and it cleans the email before it hits my desktop. 


Bottom line thinking that a part of an operating system not used will make you more secure may not be the right thing.  You need to look at the bigger picture. 


In this case, fully utilizing what you have, I think will go farther to help you be more secure.

Good enough security

What’s enough security?  What’s good enough security?  We got to talking about this in regards to a couple of blog posts and patching.  I was attempting to remotely patch my SBS box over remote web workplace and because the SMTP service got stuck taking down IISadmin, remote web workplace also got a little smooshed in the process.  We got to talking about remote patching and how you can do it safely and dependably.  A terminal services connection will give you the most consistent and dependable patching connection.  But given Terminal services historial issues [TSgrinder comes to mind] how can you defend a well known port of 3389?


Well one thing that you can do if you add the premium edition is ISA server.  With the addition of the premium firewall you can set it up so that the TS port only responds to you the consultant.  With Remote Web Workplace, the firm’s employees really doesn’t need access to that straight TS port do they?


But what else can you do to give good enough security?


Passwords/passphrases. 


Today I toured the open house of a hospital with a new treatment center.  And as we were walking through the computer rooms, me being the geek I am, I was looking at what systems they were running.  And there on the screen was … tapes to the screen…. the user name and password.  And it was quite a sucky password.  I mean … the whole idea behind urging folks to write down passwords in the first place is to ensure that you choose better ones.  The one I saw today, written down, taped to the screen certainly was not in this category 


A long administrator password helps hugely to better protect that Administrator account.  The human brain has a limit to what we remember.  There’s a limit in our brains of how much we can process and remember. 


Good enough security means taking extra precautions…. like passwords.

Adding more space

Hey, I didn’t think of that one….


I asked a question on how the SBS Podcast gang felt about reparitioning domain controllers given our new ability to increase Exchange to 75 gigs….and Damian in the podcast recommends to simply ‘add a volume’ or mount a new drive to an existing space to make that Exchange partition bigger.  That reminds me of the blog poster and he had his Exchange on a Maxtor one touch.  Yes, you read that right, they were running their entire Exchange store on a backup device.  Now I would not consider that an optimal setup, but it showcases that the Exchange store can go just about anywhere.  Obviously it’s preferred to be on a nice harddrive and not a usb connected device.


They also recommended when buying harddrives to get a drive that has a 3 or 5 year warranty …. that ‘is’ your Email, and the gang from the podcast are recommending considering putting it on another controller card if you do grow that database large.


It says they are seeing more performance issues as we start layering on databases… when you spec out and buy your server… consider that.