Facebook – Friend or Fiend?

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Ok – so I’ve resisted many of the online social networking sites for a while now. I’ve got some info up on LinkedIn and now finally got a Facebook account. I’ve got to ask the question though "Is it too much to be connecting?".

What I mean by that is that I have various circles of friends. Some of them overlap, but in broad terms that can be broken down into Business and Personal groups. Do I really want my Business friends knowing that I’m involved in a number of other clubs and groups? Do I want my Business friends browsing my personal contacts list and linking up with people without a proper introduction? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against it, but at the same time I am wondering just what value it will provide overall.


Category: Software I use

Published: 30/10/2007 6:34 AM

SBS Events in Sydney in November!

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Sydney, November, 2007 – that’s the place to be if you want to see some of the best get together and chat about all things SBS and SMB related. There are two key events on in late November.

 

November 21st, the Sydney SBS Group will be moving their regular meeting to take advantage of a truck load of SBS talent being in town. It’s a $5.00 fee for the event and it’s being held at Microsoft’s North Ryde premises. We only have room for 150 people, so get in quick to register for the event. For those outside of Sydney, we’ll be webcasting the event (although you just HAVE to be there to meet the people). Registration and further info is here

 

 

 

 

November 23rd, sees my company SBSfaq.com in conjunction with Trend Micro present Australia’s first SMB Security summit. We’ll be getting an up close and personal with the issues that affect our SMB clients and how we can address them to the best results. Registration for this event is free, but space is limited to 100 people, so don’t miss out. Registration and further info is here

Featuring some of the world’s most respected SMB security experts, the Security Summit will address a comprehensive range of issues on SMB security to help you provide the right security solution for your customer(s). These include:

  • Understanding the latest security threats – We brief you on current and emerging security issues so you better understand the threat horizon facing you and your customer(s).
  • Understanding security from your customer’s perspective – We explain what your customer(s) really need so you can tailor an appropriate security solution for each.
  • Understanding security from an SMB IT resellers perspective – We inform you how offering security solutions to your customer(s) can result in a profitable business. We also provide you helpful tips from individuals that are currently doing so.
  • Understanding security from a technical implementation perspective – Learn how to efficiently implement security solutions and audit the results for effectiveness.
  • Learn how to support customers remotely – Learn how to support your customer(s) from a remote location and learn useful "tips" from individuals that are currently doing so.

In addition, you can ask our security experts direct questions that pertain to any of the topics covered at our Question and Answer session.

 

Please support these community events, they will be fantastic chances to meet with many others in the community that have the same passion and goals as you yourself do.


Published: 25/10/2007 10:21 PM

Preparing for Cougar aka SBS 2008

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This is the first in a series of posts around preparing for the next version of SBS (code named Cougar) which we’re expecting to be called SBS 2008. It’s due out next year, some time after Longhorn server is released. Given Longhorn server is to be released in February 2008, that puts Cougar sometime after that. I’m currently writing a book for MS Press called the SBS 2008 Administrators Pocket Companion (the little task focused book). As part of that I’m realizing that there is so much that the SBSer will need to know in order to support Cougar in the real world. One of the things that I’m currently learning a lot about is PowerShell. It’s a cool scripting environment that forms the basis for Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007 management. I’m hoping that the SBS team will provide some cool commandlets for managing SBS too ;-) Time will tell.

In the mean time, here’s a few links to get you going into Powershell

Microsoft Official Site http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/management/powershell/default.mspx

How to download PowerShell http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/management/powershell/download.mspx

PowerGui http://powergui.org/index.jspa

If you have some cool links for PowerShell, please post them on the comments of this blog for all to see.


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 21/10/2007 6:51 PM

The description for Event ID… in source…. cannot be found

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Don’t you hate it when you go to a server to review the event logs and it’s filled with

"The description for Event ID (NNNN ) in Source ( SOMETHINGGOODHERE ) cannot be found."

Now – in itself these don’t constitute a big problem. They may however be symptomatic of a larger issue. This is a pain as it means it’s very hard to read and decipher what is going on with a server and therefore how to fix it. I had this recently on one of my servers, and left it be for a while until last week when I had the sharepoint issues. I decided then that I had to take the time to clean up my servers event logs and get this fixed once and for all.

Each program or service that logs events to the event logs, needs to provide a set of registry settings that point to the location of the dll files that are used to decode the event log messages. If you take event logs from an SBS server and try to read them on an XP client then you’ll get lost of these "The description for event id.." messages simply due to the fact that the XP client has no way to interpret the messages themselves. With that knowledge in mind, we can star to look at my specific issue.

In my server I had the following error;

Event Type:                Information

Event Source:            MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE

Event Category:            (2)

Event ID:                17147

Date:                        14/10/2007

Time:                        7:02:01 PM

User:                        N/A

Computer:                SERVERNAME

Description:

The description for Event ID ( 17147 ) in Source ( MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: .

Data: <Removed Data here as it does not matter for this blog post>

 

So the first place I looked was in the registry for this particular service to see what it was pointing to for the event log reader dlls. Under HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog you will find the sub hives of each event log. Within those you will see further sub hives for each program or service that is configured to log events to the event logs. The screen shot below shows that my event message file dll for this service is sqlevn70.dll and should be located under C:\Windows\sysmsi\ssee\mssql.2005\mssql\binn\resources – note this screen shot is from the system I was troubleshooting.

 

Knowing this, I went to that folder location and found that there was a 3kb file there with that name. Strange I thought – let’s compare it to a known working machine. The screen below is from a good server. Note that the event log dll is in a 1033 subdirectory.

 

I checked the faulty server and whilst we had this directory, it didn’t have the right file. I figured that the given there were other instances of SQL 2005 on this server, I could find the right file and put it into the right location. I did a search on the servers hard drive and found the following;

 

I then copied and pasted it into the correct location (as per my known good server), modified the registry entries to reflect the new file location, and then did a reboot of the server.

 

Ok – so after the reboot, of the server, I can now read the event log messages. The one from the top of this post now reads correctly as per below.

Event Type:        Information

Event Source:        MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE

Event Category:    (2)

Event ID:        17147

Date:            14/10/2007

Time:            7:02:01 PM

User:            N/A

Computer:        SERVERNAME

Description:

SQL Server is terminating because of a system shutdown. This is an informational message only. No user action is required.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Data: <Removed Data here as it does not matter for this blog post>

 

See – much easier to read now that we can see whats in the event logs. This example hopefully will help you figure out how to go about sorting things for your own event logs.


Category: Event Log Errors

Published: 16/10/2007 2:18 PM

SBS 2003 Best Practice Analyser has been launched

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Yes- you heard it here first – Microsoft today have launched their new analysis tool for SBS 2003 servers that will help understand some of the common configuration mistakes and advise on how to correct them. The tool is available here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3874527a-de19-49bb-800f-352f3b6f2922&DisplayLang=en

This tool has been a result of many requests from the community to better configure and understand their SBS servers. Thank you Microsoft for responding to our needs!


Category: SBS 2003 R2

Published: 16/10/2007 10:03 AM

Do you get the Name ActiveX Control message on Sharepoint Services 3.0 sites?

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UPDATE: I’ve reverted to the old init.js file as if you make the changes below, it removes the ability for you to log in and add webparts to the page using a web browser. I’ll investigate later and sort it. Need to get on with writing today.

Prior to today, you may have noticed that when you browse this blog you get the following warning…

   

   

No – it’s not some attempt by me to subvert your computer – it’s Microsoft

This issue is due to the functionality built into WSS 3.0 and Sharepoint 2007 that allows it to show online presence information. In a public facing website, it’s not all that much use.

MS know of the problem and have a KB on how to resolve it. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931509

Either you can add this site http://blog.sbsfaq.com to your trusted sites list (not recommended)

Or you could do what I’ve done and use Option 3 in the KB above. I could not locate the init.js in my Master Page, so I modified the init.js script directly


Published: 11/10/2007 1:04 PM

MS KB 934525 Breaks WSS 3.0 sites – here’s how I fixed it

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This morning I applied the current MS patches to a number of my servers. On some they worked fine, but on this server – my blog server the patch horked up Sharepoint Services 3.0.

I was getting the following error

Event Type:                    Error

Event Source:                Windows SharePoint Services 3

Event Category:                Topology

Event ID:                    6800

Date:                            11/10/2007

Time:                            7:31:59 AM

User:                            N/A

Computer:                    SERVERNAME

Description:        

The database WSS_Content on SERVERNAME\Microsoft##SSEE is not accessible to missing Windows Internal Database signatures.

     

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

   

I picked a section of the error message that would not likely generate too many false positives and searched on the following…

"is not accessible to missing Windows Internal Database signatures."

Found a number of references to people having this error earlier in the year and how they resolved it. Not sure though why it caused me trouble now.

Vlad has seen it too. http://www.vladville.com/fixing-sharepoint-30-with-kb932091

I ran through that process, but the Sharepoint Configuration Wizard would not work still. It kept failing on step 9 of 10.

Digging into the logs seemed to suggest that my administrator account didn’t have permission. I’ve actually renamed my administrator account to something else. After some digging and help from some friends (thanks Damian) I was still no closer to the solution. Damian thought it might be related to orphaned sites on my WSS 3.0 installation. I had a gut feel that it was the renamed admin account. I renamed the account BACK to administrator, rebooted and re-ran the Sharepoint Configuration wizard – and finally – after 4 hours of messing around, it works!

At the end of all this – I’m still in my pre-patch situation. I had both an NTBackup and StorageCraft image of the server before I started patching this morning. However after 4 hours of messing around, I need to get some work done. I’ll look again at the patch on the weekend to see if I want to bash my head against the wall some more.

Watch out for it this patch – it’s not nice!


Published: 11/10/2007 11:49 AM

The joys of beta testing

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One of the joys of testing new software is the temporary error messages they have in it. Below is one from one of the packages I’m testing now. At least it’s clear why things don’t work J

 

 

 


Category: Software

Published: 9/10/2007 7:24 AM

Testing Email Antispam Solution – now in progress

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This morning I’ve started testing of TrendMicros InterScan Messaging Hosted Security product. It’s an in the cloud based Antivirus/AntiSpam/AntiPhishing solution that should offload the task of cleansing my email before it reaches my server. As part of that I’ve had to change my DNS records for mail to have it delivered to their servers first. I’m still running the full CSM for SMB on my server with it’s antivirus/antispam turned on too for the moment. I’ll have a full report over the next few weeks as I trial this in comparison to just CSM for SMB.

If you have any issues with email not getting to me, then please leave a comment on this blog with your email address and I’ll sort it out.


Category: Software I use

Published: 9/10/2007 7:18 AM

MVP means you are invulnerable… NOT!

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A fellow MVP – Kathleen Anderson has reminded me of a spoof video that Microsoft did a few years back for an MVP summit. The video suggests that the instant you become an MVP that you’ll have hordes of loyal followers, beautiful women throwing themselves at your feet and you become invincible. If only it were true! In reality, becoming an MVP often means that you have a target painted on your back as people try to take you down a peg or two in the belief that you might think your better than everyone else. I’m here to tell you – that from my perspective anyway, being an MVP is at times a curse as much as a reward. Imagine you’ve been shown a glimpse of technology that is 3 years ahead of its time, and your not allowed to discuss it with fellow workmates. Imagine the long hours spent beta testing the latest things from Microsoft for zero pay. Imagine the lost time with family as they wonder just what the heck has gotten into you that you want to spend MORE time in front of that #$%#$%#$ computer.

Still – it’s not all bad. You get to meet some great people from all over the globe, and really discuss things that can affect the long term direction of the product. But as I said – it’s not all it’s made out to be.


Category: Personal

Published: 7/10/2007 10:24 PM