Online contact details Plaxo/Accucard – are they secure?

I’ve had a few people using some of these online contact / address books such as Plaxo and now more recently Accucard/Accuscan.  Now these services purport to keep all your contact details in a secure environment for everyone you wish to add.  They also cross reference your details between you and other people that have stored your contact details in their files too.  So the question is – with so many people using these now, how secure do you think they really are?  Also have you thought about the fact that once you have stored your details or those of your contacts there, what these services could potentially do with them?  Spammers?  Just thinking….


Your comments?

Cool mobile device apps for Pocket PCs

I’ve done a lot of work with mobile computing and in particular the Pocket PC phones – I currently use an iMate and am waiting on the arrival of my HP iPaq 6365 which is coming from Singapore by way of a friend who is passing through, later this week (HP Australia are not releasing them until November/December).


There are a number of applications that I’ve found indispensable in my use of the mobile device that I feel are must have applications.


spb Pocket Plus – is a plugin that enhances the Today screen on the Pocket PC and allows a host of new features such as the ability to quickly close down a specific application, a battery monitor that runs along the very top of the screen and not take up valuable screen real estate.


spb GPRS Monitor – is a cool utility that allows you to monitor the traffic on your GPRS connection.  You can punch in details of your GPRS data plan and it will track how much it’s costing you and alert you if your over a certain percentage of your daily or monthly quota.  It can also produce graphs and export information to a file for later analysis.  Great tool that ensures you don’t run up excessive GPRS data bills.


spb Time - is a great little clock that can act as a screen saver so that when it’s in your devices cradle, it can be a nice looking desk clock.  It also has a world clock that visually shows you night and day over the entire world map.  I find this so useful as I communicate constantly with people across all timezones and it helps ensure that I don’t call them in the middle of the night.


Pocket Informant 5.21 – enhances the calendar, contacts and tasks functionality of the PDA with some major extensions.  Tasks can now have nested subtasks, and Calendar appointments can now be colour coded, have easy to pick start/finish and duration times just to name a few.  The search facility can search across all of the PDA’s databases for a given phrase or word – very powerful.


So – I hope these are useful for you all – I certainly have gotten some great use out of them.


Oh – nearly forgot – you can purchase these from either http://www.handango.com/ or http://www.pocketgear.com/ – I’ve used both without too many issues but don’t have a preference for either of them.


 


 


 

SBS2000 to 2003 Upgrades – a few considerations…

Ok – my preference for installations of SBS2003 is to do a totally fresh installation.  However there are times when this is not possible due to budget contraints or time limitations.  I’ve had two such customer scenarios this week that needed to have the inplace done, one for budget reasons, and the other for time constraints.  So we’ve used the inplace upgrade method.  Before using the in place upgrade method I’d considered a few things.


1. Did I install SBS2000 on this system? I look at this as I want to ensure that it’s a system that I’ve controlled for it’s life.  If I didn’t install it then there may be a heap of underlying issues just waiting to bite me.


2. Is the hardware capable to run SBS2003 for the next 2-3 years.  In the case of the systems I’ve done this week, both were for 5 user sites, one was a 2.4Ghz system with 1GB RAM which was fine, the other was an 800Mhz system with 1GB RAM which was at the very low end of what I wanted.  I advised the 800Mhz customer of this and he was fine – wants to replace the server next financial year anyway.


So here’s the process I followed in these upgrades this week.  Both of them had RAID 1 using software mirroring, so we disconnected the mirrored drive before we commenced as our utlimate backup plan, and then later once it was done and we knew the upgrade was 100% we reconnected it and reconfigured the mirror.


Preflight Check – these can all be done prior to the day of the upgrade to minimise the downtime


 


  1. Check workstations – if any Win95 or Win ME then upgrade can not proceed
  2. Check SBS2000 Service Pack levels – must have SBS 2000 SP1 installed
  3. Minimum 2GB Free on C: Drive
  4. Ensure ISA SP1 is installed (v3.0.1200.50 if no SP, v3.0.1200.166 SP1)
  5. Install hotfix for ISA for W2003 Server (ISAHF255.exe – KB331062)
  6. Download and unpack the latest supportpaq from HP for the server
  7. Clean up drives, delete files not needed and empty recycle bin
  8. Defrag drives (if time permits – do this remotely)
  9. Verify backups are good

 Rollout Process


  1. Ensure the Internet NIC is disconnected
  2. Disconnect the mirrored hard drive (if it’s a dual drive mirrored system)
  3. Remove any UPS cables to the server
  4. Remove Exchange IM
  5. Remove Admin tools
  6. Remove AV software

    1. Remove Scanmail for Exchange
    2. Remove Trend Client from the server
    3. Remove OfficeScan Corporate Edition from the server
    4. Reboot

  1. Note any specific config options that need to be reinstated later

a.      Exchange – forward all mail to specific host


  1. CHKDSK /f on all hard drives
  2. Save and clear event logs
  3. Reboot server
  4. Check event logs – note / decide on action about ANY errors
  5. Insert SBS2003 CD1 and commence setup
  6. During the W2003 installation portion of setup, if it asks you for drivers for the HP/Compaq server, insert the SmartStart CD as it has the drivers the system needs.
  7. Phase 2 of the SBS Setup
  8. Reboot and complete the To Do list
  9. Do not do step 6 of the to do list – Import Files – as we don’t use this option
  10. Detune ISA security
    1. Remove the authenticate all users from the outbound web listener
  11. Windows Update & reboot
  12. Review loginscripts to ensure that they are correct and do not have any additional characters in them
  13. Test one workstation on LAN – verify access to email, files etc
  14. Install ISA FP1, ISA FP1 URLSCAN (isafp1ur.exe), ISA SP2
  15. Install Trend AV & configure
  16. Install GZIP Hotfix, E2003SP1 and Post SP1 SBS Hotfix
  17. Modify hardware firewall to add additional ports and protocols
    1. 443,444,4125
  18. Shutdown and configure the mirror the original hard drive
  19. Workstation rollouts
    1. Assign applications to all workstations from the SBS console wizards
    2. Remove old AV & rollout the new AV
    3. Add users to be able to logon remotely via RWW on the desktop computers
  20. Verify all AV clients are seen in the AV console