2005-02-27 “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”

Took my family to Cypress Gardens yesterday (between Tampa and Orlando) to see a concert with Billy Joe Royals, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, and B.J. Thomas. The guitarist for BJ’s band is my cousin, Tom. What a great concert! And the weather co-operated as well.

Today’s another story … it’s been raining all day long, with prediction for it to continue. So, selecting the song of the week was an easy one … let’s start tapping our toes … as we sing along with B.J. Thomas’ hit song:

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head
(aka Downloads Keep Crashin’ All My Disks)

Downloads keep crashin’ all my disks
And just like the patch
Whose files are too big for my disks,
Nothin’ has been fixed,
Those downloads are crashin’ all my disks,
They keep crashin’ …

So I just did me some talkin’ to Support
And they said they didn’t like the way
I got things done
Sleepin’ on the job
Those downloads keep crashin’ all my disks,
They keep crashin’ …

But there’s one thing I know
The code they sent to help me
Won’t defeat me
It won’t be long till happiness
Steps up to greet me

Downloads keep crashin’ all my disks
But that doesn’t mean
That I will soon be taking risks,
Patching all my disks,
Cause – I’m never gonna stop
The pain by complainin’
Because I’ve made
All my backups today!



Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP]
“The days pass by so quickly now, the nights are seldom long”

Overcoming slow CompanyWeb startup

REVISED Feb. 27, 2005 [Thanks to a tip from Steve Foster!]


It’s a well known fact that the first person each day that attempts to access the CompanyWeb Sharepoint Site on an SBS2003 server will encounter a delay. Ray Fong previously offered a modification to the IIS Application Pool as a possible workaround – see http://msmvps.com/kwsupport/archive/2004/03/14/3911.aspx – but that does not completely solve the problem of the first person getting hit with a long delay before the companyweb’s home page appears.


With an assist from Steve Foster, you can create a scheduled task on your server to start up IE every morning prior to employees arriving, and they will not have to endure the long wait!


1. Click on Control Panel > Scheduled Task > Add Scheduled Task; then click Next
2. Scroll down to find and highlight Internet Explorer from the list of available programs, then click Next
3. Type in a name for your task (like “Start CompanyWeb“), click ono the Daily option, then click Next
4. Set the time that you want this to run (maybe 6:30am) and click Next
5. Enter your administrator password (twice), then click Next
6. Click on the ‘Open advanced properties’ box, then click Finish
7. In the Run: box, append -nohome http://companyweb to the end of IEXPLORE.EXE
(note make sure there’s a space between ieplore.exe and -nohome …)
8. Click on the Settings tab and change the ‘Stop Task’ option to 0 hours 1 minute, then click OK


If you want to test to make sure it’s working correctly, go back to Control Panel > Scheduled Tasks, right click on the task you just created and click Run. IE should open up, and one minute later it should close. That’s it.


[PREVIOUS VERSION] Prior to Steve’s suggestion (above), I had written a 3 line batch file to do the same thing. But it also required downloading two free utilities. I like Steve’s solution much better, but here’s how I used to do it. I created a small batch file that will startup IE, display the companyweb home page, and then closes IE. It utilizes two free utility files (sleep.exe and process.exe). SLEEP.EXE is included in the free Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. Download and install the kit on an XP workstation, and you will have your ‘sleep.exe’ file. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9d467a69-57ff-4ae7-96ee-b18c4790cffd&displaylang=en and PROCESS.EXE is a free utility from BeyondLogic. It comes with several command line options. I use the -q option to gracefully close IE after it has been opened. You can download the utility from here: http://www.beyondlogic.org/solutions/processutil/processutil.htm


Here’s my script:


REM Script C:\companyweb_startup.cmd
START “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE”
http://companyweb/default.aspx
sleep 30
c:\process.exe -q iexplore.exe
exit


Save the file with a .cmd suffix, and then schedule it to run every morning, maybe at 6:30am!I hope this helps someone. And let me know if this script can be improved!

Lazy man’s way to track user logon/logoff

I always like to find easy ways to do things. Mick recently shared in the public newsgroup how he maintains a log file of user’s logons and logoffs.


Step 1: Create the following two files using Notepad or your favorite text editor:

——logon.cmd—-
echo logon %username% %computername% %date% %time% >> \\sbs\share\logon.log

—–logoff.cmd—–
echo logoff %username% %computername% %date% %time% >> \\sbs\share\logon.log


Step 2: Update Group Policy to run the appropriate batch file. In Group Policy, go to:
User Configuration-> Windows Settings-> Scripts (Logon/Logoff)-> Logon


Step 3: As users log on and off, your log file should look something like this:

logon June VSXP Tue 22/02/2005 10:39:51.12
logoff June VSXP Tue 22/02/2005 10:41:08.45
logon MickM VSXP Tue 22/02/2005 10:42:01.07
logoff MickM VSXP Tue 22/02/2005 10:42:46.81

2005-02-19 “The Letter”

Someone asked in the newsgroup recently what would happen if all email suddenly stopped, or iif businesses failed to get critical email.In today’s world, that would be a major blow, for sure. Which is why dealing with spam and spyware (I call it “scumware”, personally) is so important.

I’ve been using Sunbelt’s IHate Spam for Exchange on a couple of servers, and recently (due to the Microsoft takeover of Giant), Sunbelt had to switch their spam engine to now use Cloudmark. I can’t complain. Previously I would have 100-135 spam mail in my quarantine boc that I would have to go through. Now, I’m down to maybe 2 a day!

Anyway, with thoughts on email, I  went back to 1967 for the hit song from the Box Tops:

The Letter

Give me a server for my SUV
Ain’t got time to use my Blackberry
Lonely days are gone,
I’m a coming home
My newgroup, they wrote me a letter.

I don’t care how much email I’ve got to send
I’ve got to get back to my server again
Lonely days are gone,
I’m a coming home
My newsgroup, they wrote me a letter.

Well, they wrote me a letter
Said they couldn’t live with this spam anymore
Listen, mister, can’t you see
I got to get back to my newsgroup once more
Anyway……….

Give me a filter for my email server
I can’t wait for it to be delivered
Lonely days are gone,
I’m a coming home
My newgroup, they wrote me a letter.
My newgroup, they wrote me a letter.


Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP]
“The days pass by so quickly now, the nights are seldom long”

2005-02-12 “My Girl”

Well, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us … so be sure to tell the special person(s) in your life that you love them. We send out a special Valentine love song this week to someone we all love (?)—

My Girl  — aka Bill Gates

 


I’ve got downloads left to do today.
And it’s late at night
And I’ve got to be done by May.
I guess you’d say
What can make me work this way?
Bill Gates (bill gates, bill gates)
Talkin’ ’bout Bill Gates (bill gates).

I’ve got so much spyware, that my friends envy me.
But I’ve got a sweeter OS
than Linux will ever be.
I guess you’d say
What can make me work this way?
Bill Gates (bill gates, bill gates)
Talkin’ ’bout Bill Gates (bill gates).

Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Ooooh.

I don’t need no money, fortune, or fame.
I’ve got all the patches baby
one man can claim.
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
Bill Gates (bill gates, bill gates)
Talkin’ ’bout Bill Gates (bill gates).


Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP]
“The days pass by so quickly now, the nights are seldom long”

2005-02-06 “When I’m Sixty Four”

There was no SOTW last week ’cause I was in New Orleans enjoying myself at the annual NADA convention. Not that I couldn’t have done a post, but not at the price they were charging … I was in a $300 a night room, and they had the nerve to want to charge $17.95 a day for Internet access from my hotel room. No way!

Well, this is Super Bowl Sunday here in the States. Eagles vs the Patriots. Funny, both names are great symbols of our country. Anyway, to avoid the Janet Jackson fiasco of last year, they’ve asked Paul McCartney to give us a “G” rated half-time show.

 

Gosh, was it only 40 years ago that the Beatles were the instruments of Satan himself, leading teenagers to ruin on the road called “rock ‘n roll”? My how times have changed, So, maybe we are all a bit older, and have mellowed out a bit …

So, without further delay, let’s get on the Super Bowl bandwagon with a Beatle’s classic:

When I’m Sixty-Four


REAL: http://www.iqm.ro/beatles/beatles/whenimsi.ram

When I get older losing my files,
Many years from now.
Will you still be backing up my server each night
Emails saying things are just right.

 

If I’d been up till quarter to three
With patches on the floor,
Will you still need me, will you still help me,
When I’m sixty-four.

You’ll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could help you, too.


I could be handy, scanning for hacks
When your network’s down.
We can build a server by the fireside
Sunday morning, give it a try.

Loading the software, adding new drives,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still help me,
When I’m sixty-four.


Every summer, going to Seattle,
So we can see Bill Gates, it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save;
Laptops on our knees,
While we sit and wait (for it to boot)

Send me an email, drop me a line,
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you want to say
‘Cause my server’s wasting away
Give me your answer, send me a fix
Mine for evermore.
Will you still need me, will you still help me
When I’m sixty-four.



Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP]
“The days pass by so quickly now, the nights are seldom long”

2005-01-22 “Just an Old Fashion Love Song”

I was in Las Vegas this past week for a conference, where (a) I attended my first Vegas wedding -our office manager got married while out there), (b) I saw 10 singing Elvis (does that make it an Elvii??), and (c) I saw a spectaculor impersonation and show of the Blues Brothers.

 

All of the music and entertainment got me to think about how things are still the same, even though we change. The one constant is our ability to show love, and receive love – that will change the world!

So, let’s go back to a song made famous by the Three Dog Night, and written by Paul Williams:

Just An Old Fashioned Love Song
aka: Just An Old Fashioned Program
WAV: http://www.geocities.com/thejunction27/justanoldfashionedlovesongthreedognight.wav


Just an old fashioned program, running on my new PC
And wrapped around the software are the legal words that promises I’ll never see
You’ll swear you’ve heard it before as you slowly load the disks
No need in registering now, ’cause they’ve never send a fix …
Just an old fashioned program
Written back in nineteen hundred and eighty-three
Just an old fashioned program
One I’m sure they wrote for the Apple III
 
To run our code on it, and wait to see just how much time it really takes
To underscore our love affair with cr*ppy code and programs that we know will break
You’ll swear you’ve heard it before as I slowly ramble on
No need in fixing it now, ’cause the patches all are gone
 
Just an old fashioned program
Running now on very slow Pentium III’s
Just an old fashioned program
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me


Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP]
“The days pass by so quickly now, the nights are seldom long”

Who’s listening to my ports?

A recent post on the newsgroup wanted to know how to determine what application may be listening out onto a port on outr network. Susan Bradley and David Copeland offered the following advice:


1. From a  command line, type:  netstat -ano . This will give you a list of TCP/UDP ports, their current state, and what Windows application (PID#) is attached. Here’s an example of what you would see:


C:\netstat -ano
Active Connections
  Proto  Local Address  Foreign Address   State       PID
  TCP    0.0.0.0:135    0.0.0.0:0         LISTENING   1028
  TCP    0.0.0.0:3389   0.0.0.0:0         LISTENING   952
  TCP    0.0.0.0:5800   0.0.0.0:0         LISTENING   532


2. Now, open up your Task Manager, click on View > Select Columns, and click to enable PID (Process Identifier). You will now find a new columnd (PID) added to your list of active processes. Click on the PID column header to sort the list of processes in ascending PID number order.


In my example, I was curious about port 5800 / PId 532. Task Maanager reported that “winvnc.exe“ was using it.


3. Another command line prompt you may wish to check out is: tasklist /svc . The result is a list of processes and PID numbers, like this:


C:\tasklist /svc
Image Name           PID  Services
==================== ==== ===========================
System Idle Process     0 N/A
System                  4 N/A
smss.exe              552 N/A
csrss.exe             680 N/A
winlogon.exe          704 N/A
services.exe          756 Eventlog, PlugPlay
lsass.exe             768 Netlogon, PolicyAgent, ProtectedStorage, SamSs
svchost.exe           952 DcomLaunch, TermService
svchost.exe          1028 RpcSs
svchost.exe          1100 AudioSrv, CryptSvc, Dhcp, dmserver, ERSvc,
svchost.exe          1144 Dnscache

4. You can also concatenate the netstat or tasklist commands with the find command, if you have a specific PID number you are looking for, like this:


netstat -aon | find “:3389″
tasklist /svc | find “nnn”

5. Finally, check out KB 832017 for more information on Service overview and network port requirements for the Windows Server system:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;832017


 

Blackberry and SBS

Well, I’ve spent the better part of several days trying to connect my first Blackberry to an SBS server. After trying to do it on my own, I finally contacted Cingular/Blackberry (BB) support. Here’s the lowdown (aftere I first do some venting) –


VENTING: It must be SOP that Cingular puts you on hold for 45 minutes before you ever talk to a human being. By the 3rd day, I was almost getting use to the drone of their pre-recorded messages. After talking to front line people twice, I finally got patched over to a true BB support person (in Canada, naturally) today. I literally was on the phone from 10:30am until 2pm — all for a single Blackberry!!!!


SETUP: I have a single BB 7290, and I was trying to use the BB redirector/desktop software to sync up email and contacts. I was told by BB that it should work without my having to forward incoming emails out to the BB via Exchange. Yea, right. Well, I couldn’t make it work unless otherwise.


Today, with BB tech support with me on the phone, we totally reconfigured my redirector/desktop, stopped Exchange form forwarding the email, and got everything to work.


SOLUTION: Part of the problem is that the BB desktop/redirector does NOT work well with Cached Exchange mode. So they had me setup a second MAPI profile in Outlook, with cached mode disabled, and used that profile to configure the desktop/redirector. It didn’t work right away, but I could here him typing furiously on his keyboard, and lo and behold, the emails started to fly.


CONCLUSIONS: Why, you may ask, was I on the phone so long? Answer: 1 hour wait /on hold, 1 houre to walk me tru uninstalling / reinstalling / and configuring both the BB and the software, and then 1.5 hours to work on the BB locking up when I was trying to sync up to my public contact folder. Yes, my public contact folder! I was thrilled when I heard they supported it — without my having to copy the contaxcts to a temporary folder under my Inbox.


Unfortunately somewhere between the desktop softwar,e the USB cable, and the BB phone itself, it kept freezing up. Finally found out that there was a KB article that lock ups may occur if trying to *only* sync up a Public folder. Onmce included syncing up an empty person contact folder, the syncing and uploading worked like a charm.


Well, that’s my experience. Let’s see how things are working on Monday!

Unofficial survey of cell phone / PDA / Pocket PCs

I recently asked some of the SBS MVP’s what products they use for cell phones or PDAs. I’ve listed their comments below. If you have are using something different, please post a response!


1) Cellphone  Sprint: Sanyo RL 4920. Just upgraded from Sany 8100 (didn’t use the camera). Pros: easy to use; great, great battery life!  Cons: Signal sensitivity not as good as the 8100.  Pocket PC:  HP iPAQ 5555   Pros:  Lots of built in features: Bluetooth and 802.11b, fingerprint reader. Cons: Battery Life stinks!  Wish I could trade it.  Only Expansion Slot is SD.  Never had any trouble with OL2003 and synching contacts with my 5555


 


2) Just got an Ipaq 6315. Now if I can figure out how to get my contacts to sync which I never could with the Ipaq 5555.


 


3) I got 3 Samsung SCH-a650’s for lawyers and they’re very happy with them.  We need tri-mode and no camera (not allowed in some courts), and those fit the bill.  Well recommended by Verizon repair techs, too.


 


PDA – Dell Axim X30.  I have very basic needs for a PDA – 80% Outlook contacts and calendar, 20% Avant Go and media player.  I picked the X30 because it’s cheap and seemed to have a lot of bang for the buck.  Battery life is good.  Since getting mine, I’ve standardized on these for the office – we have 4 or 5 total.  One started having screen problems a day before the warranty expired and Dell replaced it, and the others have been fine


 


4) Smartphone -> Motorola MPx220. It’s a really small and cool phone, has more features that I could ask for. Cingular Wireless service is good here in Delaware and even better in Puerto Rico. I’m pretty happy with it. I finally wrote my “review” today:


http://msmvps.com/javier/archive/2005/02/05/35038.aspx. Of course as soon as I got it, I learned about the MPx (which has full QWERTY keyboard in a similar small package).


 


5) We have the iPpaq 6365 (Aussie version of the 6315).  Basically the phone section leaves a lot to be desired – it has poor quality and frequent dropouts.  We’re waiting on a Rom upgrade from HP which is supposed to fix it.


 


6) Cell phone – Sanyo PM-8200 w/ Sprint PCS service.  I love Sanyo phones – they take a beating and just keep on going.


http://shop.store.yahoo.com/cellular-battery/sanyo-pm-8200-holster-swivel.html . As for PDA – don’t have one.  However, I’m thinking that I’m going to bite the bullet and upgrade to a PDA phone sometime in the next few months . . .    So far, the Audiovox PPC6601 is at the top of my list. Welcome to Audiovox:


http://www.audiovox.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=13872&langId=-1


 


7) I had the Sanyo 8100 and loved it but the big trouble I had was it slipping out of the plastic holder frequently. You might look at this one for the 8200 as well: http://www.factorydirectcellular.com/home/sanyo/sanyo-pm8200.htm


 


8) Using the I-Mate PDA2K EVDO that uses the CDMA Network and 3G Roaming Broadband. In a word: Brilliant! (only issue is that the Bluetooth is a little inconsistent, dropping out and not auto-reconnecting at times  - but that’s Bluetooth.) Has an SD Slot for accessories like WiFi ( Built into the GSM, but given the 920 KBS of the CDMA Roaming Broadband, really not needed for other than War Driving ), GPRS and Memory Upgrades ( The combined Memory + WiFi Card has “Issues” )



http://www.imate.com/products.php?id=11


http://telstra.com.au/mobile/business/products/mobilebroadband.htm#flex_plans


 


I also use the Sierra AirCard for the laptop which totally frees me for the need to search out WiFi Hot-Spots.


 


9) I’m deciding if I want to take an i-Mate from the cellular company http://www.orange.co.il/corporate/imate/index.html, though I would prefer the model with the keyboard – or whether to buy the iPaq 6340 as it is named here. I have heard reports that the iPaq drops of the network all the time when calling.


 


10) iPaq HX4700 WLAN, 128/64MB, Pocket PC 2k3 – Built in bluetooth (don’t use) and wireless (use all the time); Some kind of slot or card reader built in,  SD I think. Also have a Palm Tungsten C with wireless, built in thumboard. Works good to, but doesn’t talk to exchange other than OMA. Also has some kind of slot for ?. The iPaq has a bigger screen, and is a bit thinner – I find it easier to carry. If we had more wireless hotspots in Canada I’d probably use the iPaq more. I find both of these gizmos confusing, but that’s just me.


 


11) Sanyo 8200 flip phone.  Small, easy to use, nice features.  Got it at Costco 1 week ago ($49 after rebate). I really like the 8200 features: * Easy to take out the phone and snap quick pictures (with flash) of opportunities (wiring, connections, circuit numbers, serial numbers, the car odometer), * Ability to record quick audio notes and to record conversations to capture phone numbers or specifics., etc., * Talk to dial, great 2 way speaker phone to enable quick conference calls and hands free to type and talk at the same time.


 


I also like the ability to plug in a simple $9 USB cable and to use it as a modem for my laptop (RWW) in a pinch. (I was sitting in the middle of the desert, at a freeway rest stop, outside of Yuma Arizona, and connected to one of my customer’s desktop s through RWW to fix a problem- what a beautiful thing!)


 


Because I’m not a fan of personal devices that do everything in one device (if that one device fails I’m without many ‘devices’) I have a Dell Axim Pocket PC with a wireless card that gives me everything I need and I don’t have to hold that huge thing to my ear to talk.  I also think that if I have a phone in my ear I can’t use it as a PDA/PPC very well.


12) Re: USB cable … had it for the 8100 and it still fits the RL4920, just had to download the updated phone drivers from FutureDial   I’m getting about 100k up and down (according to speedtest.charter.com). Future Dial supports some other carriers and many phones.   www.futuredial.com (also available