Monthly Archives: January 2009

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The cutbacks are deep, aren’t they?

Dang.  The economy must be worst than I thought.  Only 250,000 euros and a laptop?  Not a million euros anymore?

Wow…the cutbacks are deep aren’t they?



——– Original Message ——–

Subject:  Congratulations!!!
Date:  Sat, 31 Jan 2009 18:40:45 +0100
From:  Maria Jose <sweepslottery@ymail.com>
Reply-To:  <microsoftorg@yahoo.com.hk>
To:  undisclosed-recipients:;





Microsoft Corporations:
Customer Service
Your Reference No: ESP-X/M-2810
Your Batch No: 2009/101/MIC
                                                                     
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION.

We are pleased to inform you of the release of the long awaited results of Sweepstakes promotion organized by Microsoft, in conjunction with the foundation for the promotion of software products,(F.P.S.) held 16th January 2009,in Spain.Where your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the 2nd category and therefore attracted to a cash award of 250,000.00 Euros (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Euros)and a Dell laptop.To claim your winning please call your claims agent for your payment process and include your personal information for smooth transaction.

Contact Person:Tores Nado
Tel: +34-634-055-744,Fax: +34-911-311-763
Email: microsoftorg@yahoo.com.hk

(1).YOUR NAMES…………..
(2).CONTACT ADDRESS………
(3).TEL/..MOBILE/.FAX NUMBER
(4).OCCUPATION…………..
(5).COUNTRY …………….
(6).AGE/SEX……………..

The Microsoft Internet E-mail lottery Awards is sponsored by former CEO/Chairman, Bill Gates and a consortium of software promotion companies. The Intel Group, Toshiba, Dell Computers and other International Companies. The Microsoft internet E-mail draw is held periodically and is organized to encourage the use of the Internet and promote computer literacy worldwide.

Congratulations!!

Sincerely,
Mrs.Maria Jose
Promotions Manager.

BIG Changes Coming to the Microsoft Partner Program

When Mark says we need to be there, people need to listen.  Look for the details coming out February 9th:


SBSC & MSP Buzz » Blog Archive » BIG Changes Coming to the Microsoft Partner Program:
http://sbsc.techcareteam.com/archives/331


Want to know more about the changes coming to the Microsoft Partner Program that WILL affect all Partners?  Questions like:  Will we retire the 70-282 cert?  What will it take to become an SBSC?  Will we even have a Small Business Specialist Community or will it finally become the SMB competency? 


Get answers to these questions and more Monday February 9th at 9 AM PST in the next  5W/50 Series – New Generation Certifications: Program Overview & Certification Resources Available for the SBSC Community.

Do the right thing


Remember my concern that UAC’s adjustment bar default setting was too low and should start out at high and the the person could adjust it?


Turns out there’s a bigger problem than just my concern:


http://www.istartedsomething.com/20090130/uac-security-flaw-windows-7-beta-proof/
http://www.withinwindows.com/2009/01/30/malware-can-turn-off-uac-in-windows-7-by-design-says-microsoft/
http://www.gottabemobile.com/2009/01/30/windows-7-security-issue-highlighted-by-long-zheng/
http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/archives/2009/01/windows_7s_uac_is_now_insecure_by_design.html
http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=3410
http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/01/30/hack-turns-off-windows-uac-forever-and-ever/
http://www.neowin.net/news/main/09/01/30/microsoft-malware-can-disable-uac-in-windows-7-by-design
http://windowsconnected.com/blogs/aubrey/archive/2009/01/29/massive-security-hole-in-windows-7.aspx
http://www.electronicpulp.net/2009/01/30/release-windows-7-movement-started-by-fan-im-with-it/


If you don’t want to dive into all of those links, just click on the first one.


Think of what it’s saying.  That as Windows 7 stands now, malware can be scripted to lower the UAC slider bar all the way off and you’d never get notified that malware was doing this.  


Now before those say that you are adults and you don’t need UAC to be bothering you with black screens and prompts, I know you are an adult.  But malware doesn’t play fair.  So why in the world should Microsoft make that slider bar NOT notify WHENEVER there is a change to the UAC setting.  What you can’t even handle that as that’s too much of a bother or something?  Then go buy a Mac.  Seriously.  And every time you update the software and type in a password for Mac’s version of UAC, I’m going to remind you that it’s no different.


Is UAC Emasculated in Win7? – Security Watch:
http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/01/is_uac_emasculated_in_win7.php

“This is a serious problem for UAC, but UAC is not the only security feature in Windows 7. It’s also worth noting that the version affected by this is a beta, and Microsoft has ample opportunity to fix it. In fact, Zheng proposes a fairly simple and obvious fix: The control panel which changes UAC settings, the one which Zheng’s attack abuses, should require confirmation in secure desktop mode. That way the attack couldn’t automate it.”

“It’s surprising that Microsoft overlooked this in the first place, but odds are it will be fixed somehow before Windows 7 hits the shelves.”


I hope he’s right.  Are you listening Mr. Sinfosky?  We’re expecting you to do the right thing by Windows 7.  Joe Wilcox may thing that Windows 7 is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but as a current user, buyer, deployer of Windows Vista in production, in my office, I am honestly disappointed with some of the choices I see in Windows 7. 


I get it that you had to give choices back in Windows 7.  I get it that a slider bar was needed to give people back that choice.  I get it that UAC felt too heavy handed for folks used to eons of Administrator rights.  I get it that you had to do something to give people back choice.  But you went too far.  The pendulum is swinging back in time too much. 



The bad guys are one step ahead of us and if you leave the current UAC implementation, I’m concerned that they are now two steps ahead.


Do the right thing by your customers and ensure that each change of the UAC bar gets the human interaction it needs, and not subject to malicious software interaction instead.

On this one, just say no.

So you have a SBS 2003 box with WSUS 3 and along the way you’ve picked up .NET 2.0.


If you are in that boat, you will find that you will get offered .NET 3.5 sp1 “and family” update to your systems.



Well sorry but .NET is one of the three patching family members that I’m not fond of at my Dinner table.  The other one is a SQL 2005 sp3 service pack that I’ll also wait on.  The last one I’m not keen to patch is XML as it has issues installing sometimes.


Bottom line I always patch with security patches if my risk factors that I’ve determined tell me to patch as soon as possible.  However with Service Packs, I can wait.  I will wait.  I will test.  I will hold back.  And I will get my server into a condition to be Service packed.  I will take a backup.  I will do a system state backup.  I will get to a mental happy place to deal with issues should they crop up (and with .NET getting to that mental happy place to be prepared for issues takes me a LONG time, lemme tell ya). 


There is no need to install any service pack on the day, the week or perhaps even the month it comes out.


On these service packs, just say no for now and hold back.

The Official SBS Blog : Cannot resolve names in certain top level domains like .co.uk.:

The Official SBS Blog : Cannot resolve names in certain top level domains like .co.uk.:
http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2009/01/29/cannot-resolve-names-in-certain-top-level-domains-like-co-uk.aspx


Generational Security

Recently on a listserve the topic came up of the new generation of computer users in a firm.   The ones that embrace the browser.  The one that embrace the spreadsheet without training.  The ones that understand email and calendaring without having to tell them where the send button is and what the paperclip is.  The ones that post to their myspace page and add their friends to their IM all day.  The ones that go to their online web based emails…..see where I’m going with this? 


When you hire someone, there is an interesting risk factor that one should realize from the get go.  Those employees of the ‘older’ less tech generation will use the tools you give them and need training to efficiently use them.  The younger generation don’t need the training to be efficient, they need monitoring and blocking to be efficient. 


Assume from the get go when you hire someone from one of the generations that embraces technology that they will bring their email in your door even if it’s not in your Outlook.  Plan on the fact that they will know what Facebook and Twitter and Myspace and Instant Messenger is all about.  Ensure that your security policy has in writing what your stance is on these uses of your assets are.  Plan for the risk they bring to your firm.  If you want to limit the access to only during lunch, then use tools like firewalls to set appropriate policies.


Amy Babinchak has always had a great philosophy about such things… ask yourself what access and web sites to they truly need to go to? 


Bottom line, plan accordingly.  Your employees are on IM.  They are on Facebook.  They are on twitter.  They are on Craigslist.  They are on ebay.  They are on….. you get the idea…. is that what you want them to be doing?

Google apps and support

I’m sure there are those that will say that I’m just posting the ‘hate the cloud view’, but I was surprised to see this rant from a guy that I consider to be savvy.

Don’t mess with Joel Spolsky.

The Business of Software – Don’t ever use Google Apps for anything important:
http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.730915.0
Google Apps customers say domains aren’t being renewed | The Industry Standard:
http://www.thestandard.com/news/2009/01/28/google-apps-customers-say-domains-arent-being-renewed


Google just opened up an offline version of gmail because there are times people want to be offline.  The cloud has some dark patches that we need to be aware of.


Joel’s The tale from someone on Joel’s forum (and others) of lack of support needs to be a precautionary tale to those recommending solutions. 


Small firms may be cheap, want it all, but you burn us with lack of support, trust me, we make decisions based on that one thing only.  SUPPORT.


(update, the guy isn’t Joel but someone on his forum)


I still get down to the fact that when small firms get burnt on support they will make decisions afterwards accordingly.  I have yet to see anyone else but a .dot com or a pure consulting play firm use google apps.  There is still typically some line of business app that pulls a firm away from the cloud.  Out here in the sticks where the Internet speeds are still spotty, an offline story is still big.


 

If ya got SBS 2008 don’t be playing around with SP2

» Microsoft delivers new Vista SP2 test build | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1855
Microsoft warned those testing the forthcoming service pack on Windows Small Business server against downloading the new SP2 bits, citing a “known issue that effects branding.”


So Microsoft wants us SBSers to know that from now on we shouldn’t wait for our own patches but to merely install any Service pack because it’s been tested for SBS.


And then there are those times when you see in a Windows 2008 R2 Escrow build that the implied message is that once again we are the oddballs and need to wait for word from the SBS blog or other SBS authority to tell us the real skinny.


Lord only knows what “known issue that effects branding” means, but fyi regardless.

The Official SBS Blog : Windows Small Business Server 2008 Repair Guide Updated:

The Official SBS Blog : Windows Small Business Server 2008 Repair Guide Updated:
http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2009/01/28/windows-small-business-server-2008-repair-guide-updated.aspx


The Official SBS Blog : Slow Connectivity for Outlook Anywhere and Sites that use the SBS Web Applications App Pool:

The Official SBS Blog : Slow Connectivity for Outlook Anywhere and Sites that use the SBS Web Applications App Pool:
http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2009/01/28/slow-connectivity-for-outlook-anywhere-and-sites-that-use-the-sbs-web-applications-app-pool.aspx