Monthly Archives: October 2007

Need a laptop with a TPM?

For the third time in a week someone asked the question "If I want to use BitLocker with a Trusted Platforms Module (TPM), which computer should I get?"


Wonderful question. For some reason, the hardvare vendors seem to treat the TPM chip as the ugly stepchild that they do their best to ensure nobody knows they have. Som even ship with the chip disabled in the BIOS by default. And, if you want to find out whether a particular computer has one, be prepared to read long and geeky tech specs, looking for keywords like "TPM 1.1", or, if the manufacturer decides to make things a bit snazzier, key words like "HP ProtectTools Embedded Security", which is HP-Marketing speak for "it has a TPM chip."


I finally found a decent resource. Wave, makers of software that utilize the TPM, provids a matrix of platforms that ship with a TPM, and, if they know, which version. To run BitLocker with a TPM, you must have a version 1.2 TPM chip. The page is not entirely up to date. For example, the HP nx9420, 8510p, and HP6715b, all have a TPM chip, but are not listed. For Lenovo, they list only "ThinkPad Notebooks", when, in fact, the T-series and X-series both have version 1.2 compliant TPM chips. The Dell Latitude Dx20 and Dx30 also have a version 1.2 chip, but only the, Dx20s are listed.


If you have a computer that should have one but BitLocker says you do not have one, check to see if it is enabled. Windows Vista Enterprise and Ultimate will detect it automatically. Open Computer Management, click the Device Manager node, and see if there is a "Security Devices" node there. If there is, expand it. You should see a Trusted Platforms Module there, complete with version. If you do not, check the BIOS. Dell, for example, ship with the TPM turned off. Go into the BIOS and look under the Security entry or tab. There may be a TPM or "TPM Security" entry there. See if the chip is disabled. Enable it and Windows Vista will pick it up the next time you boot.

SQL Server Management Studio – standard reports in the Summary Page

In SQL Server Management Studio, the Summary Page can be displayed at any time by pressing F7 (or, to be chosen from the menu –> View –> Summary). When you select an item in the Object Explorer of SQL Server Management Studio, information about that object is presented in the document window called the Summary Page.


You can opt to display the Summary Page when starting SQL Server Management Studio.


–> Tools –> Options –> Environment –> General –> At startup: Open Object Explorer


Note that the Summary Page will be displayed when the option ‘Open Object Explorer’ is being chosen. Other options will *not* bring up the Summary Page at startup (which include ‘Open new query window’, ‘Open Object Explorer and new query’, ‘Open empty environment’).


Following is the list of reports that can be found within the Summary Page when you choose a *SQL Server* in the Object Explorer. This list will be changed when you choose different kinds of database objects.


~ server dashboard
~ configuration changes history
~ schema changes history
~ scheduler health
~ memory consumption
~ activity – all blocking transactions
~ activity – all cursors
~ activity – top cursors
~ activity – all sessions
~ activity – top sessions
~ activity – dormant sessions
~ activity – top connections
~ top transactions by age
~ top transactions by blocked transactions count
~ top transactions by locks count
~ performance – batch execution statistics
~ performance – object execution statistics
~ performance – top queries by average CPU time
~ performance – top queries by average IO
~ performance – top queries by total CPU time
~ performance – top queries by total IO
~ service broker statistics
~ transaction log shipping status


Recently, Buck Woody blogged the standard reports that can be found under the Summary Page. More information can be found here.


http://blogs.msdn.com/buckwoody/archive/tags/Standard+Reports/default.aspx

Releasing the Source Code for the .NET Framework Libraries

Read from ScottGu’s blog and knowing this news,


One of the things my team has been working to enable has been the ability for .NET developers to download and browse the source code of the .NET Framework libraries, and to easily enable debugging support in them.

Today I’m excited to announce that we’ll be providing this with the .NET 3.5 and VS 2008 release later this year.

We’ll begin by offering the source code (with source file comments included) for the .NET Base Class Libraries (System, System.IO, System.Collections, System.Configuration, System.Threading, System.Net, System.Security, System.Runtime, System.Text, etc), ASP.NET (System.Web), Windows Forms (System.Windows.Forms), ADO.NET (System.Data), XML (System.Xml), and WPF (System.Windows).  We’ll then be adding more libraries in the months ahead (including WCF, Workflow, and LINQ).  The source code will be released under the Microsoft Reference License (MS-RL).

You’ll be able to download the .NET Framework source libraries via a standalone install (allowing you to use any text editor to browse it locally).  We will also provide integrated debugging support of it within VS 2008.


Full story is here

OK is not OK, but Close is ?

I’ve been rummaging through the Windows Vista User Interface Experience Guidelines draft, a 33 MB pdf file, and it poses some interesting questions around warning and exception dialog messages.  Now apparently it is not OK to present the user with an exception message and an OK button.  Instead the guidelines recommend the button caption should be “Close“.  Is that close as in “so close but yet so far” ?  Or close as in we’re about to shut down your application and windows and you’ll loose all unsaved work ?  (that one always gets people when you use a modal dialog <g>)  .

Close seems incredibly wrong to me. In fact I’m sure when I’ve assisted folks over the phone and some other application or windows has presented them with only the option of “close” it has caused much angst. I raised this with Nick Randolph and he suggested that perhaps a better caption would be “Continue” . I think that’s a good option in some cases. In others where you can’t continue as such, instead you “Resume” and in others you might go back to the screen/page from where you launched the original request, hence “Back”.

Continue, Resume, Back, and dare I even suggest Retry or Ignore, but not Close.

Xbox Live Xtival 07




For 72 hours over the weekend of 23-26 November the world’s largest free gaming festival is taking place on Xbox Live. Competitions, events, exclusive downloads and whole lot of online gaming will bring the wonders of Xbox Live Gold membership to everyone – for a strictly limited time!


 


For Xbox Live Silver members and those who haven’t ever plugged a broadband cable into their Xbox 360, it’s the perfect time to get involved, make new friends and discover all the amazing things that happen on Xbox Live.


And for existing Xbox Live Gold members there’ll be loads of cool events and activities with some exclusive opportunities… [:P]


  • The Xbox Live Xtival ’07 takes place from 23-26 November 2007.
  • During this time Xbox Live Gold membership will be free to everyone.
  • To take part all you need to do is plug in your Xbox 360 to a broadband connection and sign in.
  • There will be a full line-up of Xbox Live events, competitions and exclusive downloads to enjoy.
  • These ‘headline’ acts will be announced soon on Xbox.com.
  • Xtival ’07 is only taking place in European countries with Xbox Live.

http://forums.xbox.com/16451135/ShowPost.aspx 

Xbox Live Xtival 2007




Durante il weekend tra il 23 e il 26 Novembre prossimo, per ben 72 ore consecutive, avrà luovo il più grande festival al mondo su Xbox Live, ci saranno: eventi, competizioni, download esclusivi e sopratutto potrete divertirvi giocando online, ma ricordate: solo per un periodo limitato!

 

Per gli utenti con abbonamento Xbox Live Silver e per coloro che non hanno collegato la loro Xbox 360 ad una connessione a banda larga, é il momento ideale per farsi nuovi amici e scoprire tutte le cose affascinati che accadono su Xbox Live.

 

Per gli attuali utenti Xbox Live Gold, ci saranno montagne di eventi e di attività da scoprire in esclusiva… [:P]


 


  • L’ Xbox Live Xtival ’07 avra’ luogo dal 23 al 26 Novembre 2007.
  • Durante questo periodo Xbox Live Gold sara’ gratuito per tutti.
  • Per partecipare tutto quello che dovrai fare e’ collegare la tua Xbox 360 ad una connessione a banda larga ed effettuare l’accesso.
  • Ci sara’ un line-up di eventi Xbox Live, competizioni e download esclusivi da godersi.
  • L’evento verra’ annunciato su Xbox.com prossimamente.
  • Xtival ’07 ha luogo esclusivamente nelle nazioni Europee abilitate ad Xbox Live.

http://forums.xbox.com/16452777/ShowPost.aspx 

Which Exchange Server 2007 Server Cluster Type Should I use, CCR or SCC?

This is becoming a pretty common question in my Exchange classes. Which should I use? Why one over the other?


My current recommendation is to use CCR whenever possible vs. SCC. Why? I am glad you asked that question.


High Availability, see my definition here, is all about risk mitigation. What we should be doing is identifying risks to our important/critical applications and finding ways to eliminate or at least mitigate the risks where economically feasible.


One of the major risks that I see with Exchange Server 2007, as well as previous versions of Exchange, is losing my production database because of a disk failure or my database becoming corrupted. In the case of a disk failure, I would normally restore my database, but that takes time, and very few people want to run a dial tone database while they recover. So, two Exchange Server 2007 technologies provide some protection against a lost database drive or a corrupted database. One is Local Continuous Replication (LCR). LCR, however, is a single server technology and does not provide the risk mitigation against an entire server loss that a cluster can provide. The second technology is to use Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR). CCR provides the one extra piece that a Single Copy Cluster (SCC) does not: it provides for loss of the database disk or corruption of the database.


Since CCR does not do a block by block copy like a SAN replication utility might, the likelihood of corruption passing from the production database to the passive copy is extremely low. Remember, the passive copy is receiving transactions and having them applied to the database much like the production database. Corruption is not copied in such an environment.


Of course, we can’t forget that by using CCR, we also can eliminate the need for a SAN, which is a huge cost savings.


So, add the increased risk mitigation and elimination of the SAN requirement for high availability and you can see that CCR is a vast improvement over SCC.

Xna 2.0 arrive bientôt

Le XNA 2.0 qui débarquera avant la fin de l’année intègrera un grand nombre de nouveautés. Regardez plutôt en ce qui concerne de Game Studio ::



  • Une nouvelle interface de gestion pour dialoguer avec la console de manière plus simple et intuitive.

  • Le Content Pipeline est plus accessible avec une nouvelle conception de l’étape de build et d’incorportation de ressources aux projets.

  • De  nouveaux projets font leur apparitions liés justement à la gestion de contenu de jeux.

  • Enfin, serise sur la gateau, Xna Game Studio 2.0 sera supporté par toutes les versions de Visual Studio 2005 (Argl ! mais on arrive déjà à la 2008 …)

Mais aussi pour le Framework :


 


  • Une nouvelle API de jeu en réseau (miam).


  • Refonte de la partie audio avec de nouveaux outils pour XACT


  • Gestion Xna / WinForm améliorée.


  • Un graphics device intelligent, plus besoin de gérer les états de reset et de recreation.

  • GameComponent devient un composant hiérarchisable


    A noter aussi que cette nouvelle version du Game Studio sera finalement commercialisée en un pack unique : plus de versions amateur et professionnel.
  • IMPORTANT UPDATE: Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 Virtual PC (VPC) images to expire on Nov 1st.

    Hi everyone, We know many of you have been testing the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 VPC images, http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/default.aspx . It has been brought to our attention that the current…(read more

    Mutlple Accounts and Organization

    Setup Outlook to help organize and manage your day.  We all receive a number of emails for various reasons including those from family, business and generic. 


    Outlook can be setup to use mutliple accounts so take advantage of it by setting up account for specific purposes.  You may want to create mutliple Yahoo or Gmail accounts, one for family and friends another for business.  Personally, I use Yahoo for family and friends, another account for business and Gmail for generic.  


    Setting this up give you the ability to setup Rules based on “Through Specified Account”.  I have setup  Rules for all incoming messages for each of my accounts to move emails into specific folders.  I then added these folders to favorite.


    Now with a quick glance in Outlook favorites I can see quicky what I have and what has priority allowing for a much more efficient processing of email.   This is just one way of many to use Outlook to help you work smart – setup what works for you best.


     

    Signatures and Multiple Accounts

    Do you want your emails to family and friends to have a signature that is personal and fun but want to your business emails to have professional signature.


    One way to accomplish this is to have multiple email accounts configured in Outlook for different puproses. I have setup one as my personal (family & friends) account and one is for business and the other generic. 


    Once I had this setup I then went into Outlook, Tools – Options – Mail Format – Signatures to write signatures for each of these accounts and specify to have it on all new and/or replies and forwards.


    Just remember you will need to specify the account you are sending from on New Messages.  But still a great feature to setup.


     


     

    Sony XL1 200-Disc Changer/Recorder on Sale – $99

    Get it while they are hot.  My guess is Sony is getting rid of their stock, and this will most likely be a discounted product in the upcoming months.  At $99, there is no question that there is no money to be made selling PC-based DVD changers to such a small market, especially when use is limited to the local PC and not over Media Center Extenders.  The only other possibility is a Blu-ray version replacing this in the future, since it is Sony you can’t count that out.

    SpyBot Definition File Update 31.10.07

    Please use the web update feature to obtain this latest update. 
    THE BETA DEFINITIONS ARE FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY!

    Refer to the below URL for additional information regarding this latest update.
    http://www.spybot.info/en/updatehistory/2007-10-31.html
    Re-Immunize several times to fully protect your application.


    MAC address filtering (DHCP) Part 2

    After my previous post on the subject, I started thinking (happens once in a while):
    If all you need to do is copy/create the files, create some “informative” registry keys
    and then simply restart the service…then the service was looking for the “informative” keys
    and the DLL all along.

    In other words since Windows 2003 can use this feature, it has actually been there yet not
    implemented. So I discussed this with T (shortly…he never has time for me… ;) ) and he
    claimed that there might be a potential change to the DHCP service during the installation
    process (MSI file).

    I ran FILEMON and REGMON and I could not find any traces of a change to files or registry keys
    that affect the DHCP service…hmm.

    Converting a Web Widget to a Sidebar gadget

    Easily convert millions of web widgets, games and videos – designed to live on home pages,
    blogs or MySpace – into gadgets for your Sidebar. If you like widgets on the web, you’ll love
    them on your Sidebar.

    http://www.amnestywidgets.com/GeneratorWin.html

    Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) @ Perth .Net Community of Practice

    Tomorrow I’ll be presenting on Windows Communication Foundation at the Perth .Net Community of Practice – My first presentation on .Net 3.0 and my second presentation at the user group. First one was on ADO.Net.

    Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) with Brian Madsen

    Join us at the Perth .NET Users Group November 1st to hear Brian Madsen present on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). The Windows Communication Foundation (previously codenamed “Indigo”) is Microsoft’s unified framework for building secure, reliable, transacted, and interoperable distributed applications. In this session, Brian will look at what WCF means as a platform for distributed applications and some of the key features and differences between WCF and ASP.Net Web Services.

    TOPIC: Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) with Brian Madsen

    DATE: Nov 1st, 5:30pm

    VENUE: Excom, Level 2, 23 Barrack Street, Perth

    COST: Free. All Welcome.

    Brian works as a Senior Software Engineer for Micromine (www.micromine.com.au) – a Perth based ISV which provides software and management solutions to the mining industry internationally. Besides .Net, his passion for SQL Server lead him to organise the MS SQL Server User Group – Perth, associated with the national SQL Server organisation (www.sqlserver.org.au). He is also the founder and administrator of CSharpZealot, a C#.Net centric online community (www.csharpzealot.com).

    So if you got a few spare hours come along and meet some of the cool guys there.

    Perth SQL Server UG Event – SQL Spatial, February 2008

    In February 2008, John O’Brien and Bronwen Zande will present at the Perth SQL Server UG.

    The full details has not been finalised yet but i’ll put them up and send out the notification as soon as possible.

    More to come….

    VS2008 Beta2 VPCs re-released

    As you might already know, the VS2008 VPC will be expired on Nov 1st, the VSTS team is going to release a new VPC with updated expiration date. Detail in below,

    As the final act in our saga of expiring VPCs, I’m happy to announce that we’ve reissued VPCs for VS2008 Beta2 with an updated expiration date. You can find the updated links on the VS2008 download page: Thanks to everyone that has helped us get the word out about this situation and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this might have caused you. Needless to say, we’re taking steps now to ensure that we don’t make this particular mistake again.
    Source from Jeff Beehler’s Blog — VS2008 Beta2 VPCs re-released

    PRÁCTICA RECOMENDADA: Separación de Red para Terminal Server

     


    Una buena práctica para servidores que proveen varios servicios (entre ellos Terminal Services), es separar el tráfico de red.


     


    Pero…


     


    ¿Qué es la separación de red?


    Es la separación del tráfico de red


    (ajá… ¿como y con qué se come eso?) tranquilos, para allá vamos :-)


     


    ¿Qué tráfico de red?


    Por un lado RDP y por otro todo los demás protocolos que generen tráfico de red.


     


    ¿Como logro la separación de red?


    Pues muy simple, nuestra mejor práctica va a ser instalar un adaptador de red extra, el cual usaremos para dedicarselo a TS y su tráfico RDP.


    Cada adaptador tendrá una dirección IP distinta (si queremos y necesitamos podemos hasta asignar diferentes subredes).


    Así que está en nosotros el educar al usuario y configurar los clientes de escritorio remoto -mstsc- (RDC) apuntándolos a la dirección IP del adaptador de red que hemos decidido dedicarle al tráfico RDP. Para el resto del acceso a los demás servicios y protocolos usaremos la dirección IP del otro adaptador.


    Ejemplo:


    Adaptador A (dedicado para tráfico RDP): 192.168.1.10


    Adaptador B (resto del tráfico): 192.168.1.20


     


    • Si desearamos conectarnos a TS lo hariamos apuntando 192.168.1.10 en RDC.

     


    • Si desearamos accesar a una carpeta compartida lo hariamos apuntando a \192.168.1.20

     


    ¿Qué logro con ésto?


    Reducir el riesgo de tener un cuello de botella.


     


    Espero este tip les sea útil.


     


    Saludos!


    Cross-posting desde http://geeks.ms/blogs/eliasmereb/

    Wonderful Changes in Exchange Server 2007

    I want to end the work day on a positive note. Yes, there are a couple of things about Exchange Server 2007 that tick me off, but overall, I love the product.


    I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to mention some of my favorite features.


    • Databases – The change to a single database is a big plus in my mind. Also, I love that we can now have up to 50 Storage Groups and up to 50 Databases when using Enterprise Edition. With the larger number of databases, we can now have smaller and faster databases. We can also have an extremely large number of spindles to provide even more disk I/O. Of course, being able to have a single transaction log disk per database also is a nice change which will lead to better performance as well as easier database recovery.
    • OWA – Wow, lots of great changes here (except for the issue of Public Folder support which will be added back with SP1). I love that it is so much easier to select recipients without having to do a search. The vast number of new options is also a big plus.
    • Mobile – Being able to allow users to wipe their own lost/stolen mobile devices is nice as well as being able to allow users to setup their own devices. The updated Exchange Active Sync is fantastic.
    • OOF – Out of office messages are now much more granular. It is possible to configure them in a number of ways so that we can control the OOFs differently based on whether it is an internal sender vs. an external sender and even to the point of controlling OOFs to partners where we have SMTP connections setup directly with them.
    • Transport Rules – I can’t say enough about all of the fantastic things we can now do using transport rules. I could go on for hours about the many new options we have as administrators including simple things like being able to add disclaimers to all outbound email.
    • UM – Unified messaging with the Outlook Voice Access capabilites are fantastic. I am having a blast playing with this new functionality.

    If you have looked into Exchange Server 2007, I highly recommend downloading an evaluation version, taking a class, and seeing just how it can improve messaging in your company. The changes I have listed above are just the tip of the ice berg. There are many more new features that I am sure your company can use today.

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