Monthly Archives: August 2007

Gears of War Hidden Fronts Map Pack Free

Starting Monday the Gears of War Hidden Fronts Map pack will be free…

“With nearly 500,000 downloads to date, the “Gears of War®” Hidden Fronts Map Pack has become the No. 1 piece of premium downloadable content on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Beginning Monday, September 3 at 2:00 a.m. PDT, the Hidden Fronts Map Pack will join the Annex gametype and Multiplayer Map Pack 1 as another piece of free downloadable content for “Gears of War.””, Team Xbox

Here is a Direct Link to the Article.

Cross Post from

Another Vb’er gets bit by Option Strict

Was just reading Julie Lerman’s blog and noticed the issue she had wouldn’t have happened if Option Strict was on.  This really highlights the problem of having implicit conversions occur at runtime.

Microsoft Group Policy Diagnostic Best Practice Analyzer verfuegbar

Seit ein paar Tagen gibt es ein weiteres Tool aus der “Best Practices”-Serie: den Microsoft Group Policy Diagnostic Best Practice Analyzer.

Damit lassen sich die vorhandenen Gruppenrichtlinien auf Fehlkonfigurationen und Probleme analysieren sowie die Ergebinisse als Dokumentation verwenden. Leider ist das Tool (derzeit) nur in Englisch verfuegbar und dadurch auch nur auf einem englischen Windows Server 2003 aufrufbar. Es existieren im Internet zwar Tipps, wie man auch das umgehen kann – davon rate ich aber eher ab.

Weitere Infos und Downloadmöglichkeit sind im KB 910422 zu finden.

Viele Grüße

Dieter Rauscher
MVP ISA Server

The 7 Foot Tallk Wonder of the Future World: A Wax Masterchief

A buddy of mine sent me a little link today.  Kinda brightened up my day from my issues with Xbox 360 support (which I am in the process of getting ironed out).  Take a gander

Master Chief Statue

You may ask what that is?  Yes, it is a (about) a 7′ tall Master Chief.  It is joining the like of Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Brad Pitt and many more entertainment superstars in being waxed for Madam Tussaud.  That shows you the impact the Master Chief has on entertainment.

Disappearing Visual Studio 2005 Menu Items

If you're like me and installed SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Development Studio after installing Visual Studio 2005, you might notice some menu items like Debug > Attach to Process are mising. I found the fix to this issue in this KB article.


I'm now the proud owner of Robblehead, the Rob Howard bobblehead doll. Together we will take over and rule the world. BWA HA HA!

InvalidOperationException in loop

This issue seems to be raised a lot in the newsgroups. When you iterate a container, ArrayList for instance, you cannot remove items in the contain inside the body of the loop. You get a nasty exception if you have no regard for the rules.

Apparently, the run-time imposes a read-only restriction on the iterating container. The read-only restriction forces all assumptions about the container to be valid during the loop iteration process. There’s an article here that discusses this in more detail.

Basically, this code produces an exception:

//arr is an arraylist with some random items
foreach (string s in arr)

whereas this code does not:

//notice the inline declaration of the ArrayList in the loop
foreach (string s in new System.Collections.ArrayList(arr))

However, I did get yelled at for providing a solution that was not efficient :-).

To be fair, the solution discussed in this article is mildly inefficient; it takes well under a second to remove 10000 items from a collection. If efficiency is your main issue, you may want to make use of the generics approach. The generics approach will follow this approach:

List<string> list = new List<string>();
//add list items

//define find here
public bool find(string s)
      //add some condition here, for now return true
      return true

To be clear, the generic approach is much faster at the expense of more code. There is no free cheese. However, because both of these approaches execute in well under a second, you earn your daily wage by focusing on other inefficient points in your application such as indexing your database records. It’s not worth it to optimize away 0.5 seconds for this routine while your database records run on stale indices for instance. That’s pretty pointless in my humble opinion.

Something of interest to note is that while the underlying implementation of remove is implemented with a linear search followed by a delete, the generic approach also uses a linear search using the find method. But it is important to note that this linear search is a one-time expense. This sweep marks all items for deletion and then removes them in one pass. My approach essentially incurs this expense every time remove is called. This explains the jump in performance by the generics approach.

 In the real world, you won’t get any brownie points for that optimization. Period. Go find somewhere else in your application to spend time and energy on.

PowerPoint Game – Ambient Clicks

New PowerPoint Game by Fikree. Ambient Clicks is a short puzzle-clicking game. Your task is to click all the stars and targets to complete this game.

WCF Developers,What’s new on .Net 3.5 March CTP

Hi Folks,

One of the most important questions for all .net developers,since most of the developers are new on .net 3.0 and its technologies,and meanwhile they heard on .Net 3.5 Beta releases and CTP (now March CTP is availble),to know main changes and difference/fixes and new features on .Net 3.5,i will advice all of you to read Thom Robbins Blog Post for the details of the changes on .Net 3.5 :

Hope this helps… 🙂

Moustafa arafa

Where’s George?

So I go to Burger King today and on a dollar bill I receive as change I spot a peculiar marking…

…it’s a round red stamp that says:

Track this Bill
Registered Bill

The website makes me chuckle… so I check it out.

As you can imagine, it’s a website that tracks your bill and it’s movements.

For now my dollar hasn’t moved very far, but I’m planning on spending it to see how far it will go [:D]

You can check out it’s movements here: CLICKITY 

The Weakest Link

Andy Greenberg wrote an article for titled Accounting For Human Error, which illustrates how human beings, the users themselves, are the weakest link in the security chain. Enterprises spend millions, or even tens of millions of dollars on security technology and security expertise to ensure their networks and data are protected, but it only […]

Changing local admin password?

Changing local admin password?

I just find a good method to change the local admin password of client PC remotely from MCPMAG. By using this method, you don’t need to put the new password in script in order to make it work. You may reference this:

SysInternals offers a free too called PsPasswd , which
allows you to remotely reset passwords on a range of computers
on your network. The tool will also report successes and
failures of changed passwords, and allows you to run a single
command against a list of computers. Since the password is just
included within the syntax of a command that you run, it will
never be stored as plain text in a batch or script file.

To use PsPasswd, you’ll first need a list of all computers in
your domain. To enumerate all computer objects in a domain,
you could run this script:

LogFile = “C:computers.txt”
Const ForWriting = 2

Set objConnection = CreateObject(“ADODB.Connection”)
Set objCommand = CreateObject(“ADODB.Command”)
objConnection.Provider = “ADsDSOObject”
objConnection.Open “Active Directory Provider”

Set objCOmmand.ActiveConnection = objConnection
objCommand.CommandText = _
   “Select Name, Location from ‘LDAP://DC=mcpmag,DC=com’ ” _
   & “Where objectClass=’computer'”
objCommand.Properties(“Page Size”) = 1000
objCommand.Properties(“Searchscope”) = ADS_SCOPE_SUBTREE
Set objRecordSet = objCommand.Execute

Set objFSO =
Set objFile = objFSO.CreateTextFile(LogFile, ForWriting)

Do Until objRecordSet.EOF
   objFile.WriteLine objRecordSet.Fields(“Name”).Value

Note that the script will output to a file named “computers.txt”
on the C drive. This could be changed by editing the LogFile
variable assignment in the first line of the script. Note that
in your environment, you will also need to change the domain
referenced in line 12. In my example, I use

Once you have a list of all computers, you can then run
pspasswd.exe to change the local administrator password on
all systems in the list. Here’s the syntax that I used on my
test network:

pspasswd.exe @c:computers.txt administrator P@ssword!

Following the @ symbol in the command syntax is the path to
the file containing all computer names. The next part of the
syntax is the name of the account whose password will be
changed, followed by the new password (P@ssword!).

Now here is the output that was generated from the command:

PsPasswd v1.21 – Local and remote password changer
Copyright (C) 2003-2004 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals –

Error changing password:
The network path was not found.

Password for BSODMEadministrator successfully changed.

Since the output will list both success and failures, you will
be able to note the systems in which the password was not
successfully changed. In my case, the system named PC1 was not
located. So I would have to ensure that PC1 was online and then
run the command a second time. (Note that PsPasswd can also be
run against a single computer.) Since the command relies on UNC
paths to connect to systems, you will need to ensure that the
target systems have File and Print Sharing enabled and that File
and Print Sharing is not being blocked by the system’s firewall.
By default, the Windows XP Pro SP2 firewall does not allow File
and Print sharing. However, this can be quickly changed via
Group Policy.

As you can see, with a simple list of computers on your network,
remotely changing the local administrator password using PsPasswd
is a relatively painless process.

Neuer Artikel auf Admin-Tool des Monats – Logfiles in Echtzeit lesen

Mit der Serie “Nützliche Admin-Tools” möchte ich für mich nützliche Tools aus dem Alltag eines IT-Administrators vorstellen und besprechen. Vielleicht kann der ein oder andere davon profitieren.

Zu meiner täglichen Arbeit gehört es, verschiedene Logfiles auszuwerten. Das sind zum Beispiel ISA Server-Logs oder auch Logfiles von unserem Mailserver oder der IP-Telefonanlage. Wenn man mal schnell etwas nachsehen oder nachvollziehen muss oder aber um in Echtzeit zu sehen, was denn gerade passiert muss man die Logfiles öffnen. Die meisten Anwendungen bei uns protokollieren in Text-Files, was im Vergleich zu einer SQL-Datenbank Vor- und Nachteile hat. Die hier zu erörtern ist nicht Sinn des Artikels. Zurück zu den textbasierten Logfiles am Beispiel eines ISA Servers. Man kann das Lofgile natürlich in Notepad  öffnen, um es sich anzusehen. Das hat aber den einen entscheidenen Nachteil, dass es dann immer den Stand zum Zeitpunkt des Öffnens hat und Aktualisierungen nicht angezeigt werden. Notepad kann nur einmal auf die Datei zugreifen. Und alle paar Sekunden das File zu und wieder aufmachen ist sicherlich zeitaufwändig und unkomfortabel. Deshalb habe ich mich auf die Suche nach einem Tool gemacht, das mich dabei unterstützen kann. Ich habe mehrere Lösungen gefunden, bin aber bei einem Tool hängen geblieben.

Direkt zum Artikel.

Viele Grüße

Dieter Rauscher
MVP ISA Server

Calling all network manager type people

Put this onto your radar:

Had a meeting with some bodies here at the MS Australian partner conference just a while ago, in particular the lovely Frederique Dennison (Product Marketing Manager, Secfurity and Management) where we were discussing network management tools and processes.

Microsoft is certainly ramping things up for the SME end of town and if you work in this space then you need to start getting familiar with System Center Essentials (SCE) before the guy up the road does. It’s going to change the way networks are maintained moving forward – making things easier, more visible, more pro-active rather than reactive (aka waiting for the phone to ring).

You can download a VHD of SCE to play with so you’re not installing it into your production environment to begin with, and being a virtual machine you could even play with it whilst flying home from the conference [8-|]

Hint: SCE is part of the wave hitting a network near you next year (, so get your board waxed and ready ahead of time.


New Partner Locator tool for Australian MS Partners


Microsoft have also recently launched a cool Find a Partner tool which ties in Microsoft Virtual Earth with the usual MS Partner Directory. Now you can quickly find and visualise not only the local Pizza place, but your local MS SBSC, Certified Partner or Gold Certified Partner. I’ve noted that it also shows those people with business that operate from home as their home address too – so something to keep an eye on for sure! The picture shows up your top level competency and if you click next, it shows you that you may also be a Small Business Specialist as well.

You can find the new Partner Locator at

Published: 31/08/2007 5:08 PM

Microsoft Australia Launches Partner TV


Once again, Microsoft Australia lead the pack in communicating to the partner channel. Today at the Australian MS Partner Conference, on Hamilton Island, Microsoft launched "Partner TV" – a new initiative from them to communicate with us resellers.

Pip Marlow, the Director of the SMS&P group at Microsoft Australia has presented one of the first blogs focusing on talking to partners about what they want to achieve from the partnership with Microsoft, and inviting resellers to continue to provide feedback to Microsoft so that they can provide us with the right tools to do the business we need to do.

The site is

Published: 31/08/2007 4:59 PM

Aussies – add this to your RSS feed

Sitting in the key note this morning at the MS Australia partner conference.

Nick Mayhew just announced this URL to keep an eye on (or subscribe to with RSS):



How to diagnose a Network Port problem.


Today I was onsite with one of my clients and experienced a strange problem with one PC that was being ghosted from an image. The client runs a chain of retail outlets and when they open a new outlet they use Ghost to prepare a machine based on an image. They have a run up area down the back of their warehouse as well as two older servers. The problem was that when they went to use the PC to do the build, the ghost image (1.5GB in size) would not come down at all. The target system would logon to the network via the DOS (yes DOS) boot disk, we could connect to the shares on the server in the main server room but the image would not transfer. Ok – so how do you diagnose this problem?


The first question needs to be – has this ever worked before? And if so then when did it last work? The answers to this was "yes it has worked and it last worked 2 weeks ago".


Ok – so next question – what changed in that two weeks? We put in a new Netgear FSM7326P Layer 3 Managed Switch. We did this as part of an overall network upgrade and now have web access to the management consoles on all of the switches in the network. It worked on an old 100MB hub before that. The new switch is connected via a 1GB cable through to the main switches in the server room. Connection to the PC’s in the run up area is via 100MB cables, and we have two servers in this area two – they connect one via 1GB and the other via 100MB to this switch.


So I thought I’d try a few tests. First up I tested copying the 1.5GB file from the main server in the server room (SVR1) down to one of the servers in the run up area (SVR3) – it copied the 1.5GB file in about 1-2minutes. Ok – so that ruled out the connection from the local switch to the remote switch. Next I put my laptop into one of the 100MB ports and copied the file down to it – it came down in about 4 minutes – not bad given I had 100MB port. No problems so far. I then connected my laptop to the port that the target PC was using – same test – same results. Ok – at this point it looked like the entire switch structure was fine and not at fault.


I connected to the web management console and looked at the ports on the switch – nothing sinister there either. An idea struck me… all ports by default are set to automatically detect the port speed and duplex options. The machines we are using for the stores were connecting at 100MB Full Duplex. I suspected that maybe they might not like this. I tried the port on that target machine and changed it to 100MB Half Duplex via the web console. Rebooted the PC and tried again –it worked like a charm. So I used the web console to set all the ports in the run up area (used by other machines like that one) to half duplex as well to prevent future issues.


Hopefully these little tidbits of HOW I diagnosed a problem provide more value than the resolution itself.

Category: Troubleshooting
Published: 31/08/2007 9:49 AM

Managing Hard Drives in Vista

I used to regularly remove programs I hadn’t used in the past 30 days or any data that was more than a week old in order to salvage every last byte of hard drive space. That is no longer necessary. Now computers come standard with 250 Gb or larger drives. Even a terabyte drive is […]

Inserting a watermark in PowerPoint

Microsoft Word has a feature to insert a watermark, but not PowerPoint. Here’s how you can insert a watermark with the help of Custom Animation (Emphasis > Transparency):

  1. First, you will need to enter the Slide Master. Click View > Master > Slide Master.

  2. If you have a watermark image, insert it on the content master. If not, you can insert text or WordArt (the 2nd style) onto the content master.

  3. Next, click Slide Show > Custom Animation.

  4. Select the watermark, click Add Effect > Emphasis > Transparency. The default will give it a 50% transparency. You can adjust the setting according to your preference.

  5. Set the Start from “On click” to “After Previous”. This will allow the transparency to start automatically.

  6. Now, right click on the watermark and select Order > Send to back.

  7. Finally, close Master View.

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