Words and Software

Technical writing for Windows 10. (old: Intelligent Systems Service, Data Protection Manager, and Operations Manager)

September, 2006

  • DPM version 2 beta 1 released

    It's official, they're announcing it today: DPM V2 Beta1 is out!

    A few of the new features in DPM V2:

    • Protect Exchange Server storage groups
    • Protect SQL Server databases
    • Use both disk and tape for data protection, all managed from one easy-to-use console

    If you haven't already signed up for this beta, go to https://connect.microsoft.com/programdetails.aspx?ProgramDetailsID=822&wa=wsignin1.0 to apply. (The link will take you first to a login page. After you log in, the correct page will open.)

    If you already signed up, you can download DPM V2 Beta1 at https://connect.microsoft.com/Downloads/Downloads.aspx?SiteID=205.

  • How to write really bad instructions

    This evening, trying to assemble a pressure-mounted baby gate for my dog, I picked up several tips and tricks for writing really bad instructions that I just have to share for everyone's edification:

    1. Only name half of the parts in the diagram. Users enjoy the challenge of matching line drawings with three-dimensional pieces and matching them to the procedure through the process of elimination.
    2. Put the procedure illustrations, the parts diagram, and the assembly instructions on widely separated pages. This will encourage the user to get familiar with the booklet by paging back and forth.
    3. Make assembly a game for the user by showing one method in the illustration and then sneaking in a footnote that tells them never to do it that way with model X (model X being the one they bought).
    4. Slip in a reference to a part that isn't labelled or named anywhere else in the book. Context makes it too easy to guess - users like to be challenged!

  • How to add RAM to a laptop

    Over the years, I think I've replaced just about everything inside my desktops except the motherboard. But I've never even peeked inside my laptop. Somehow I absorbed the edict that only "authorized technicians" could touch one.

    I had this extra memory though.

    And a great set of instructions. This is an excellent example of good technical writing made great by the generous inclusion of clear photographs.

  • Why you have to call for a hotfix

    Josh Ledgard's description of getting a hotfix online is fascinating to me because I've frequently come across those KB articles that seem to speak directly to my problem, and then turn coy with "To resolve this problem immediately, contact Microsoft Product Support Services to obtain the hotfix."

    Like Josh, I don't want to call anybody. But I've always wondered why some things are downloadable and others are rationed out by PSS. Josh gives the answer in the comment thread:

    The root of this comes from a policy that went into place when some windows users downloaded some bad hotfixes and that caused a lot of complaints that we needed to be clearer about what's been really well tested and what was just published as a hot fix. However, today, I don't beleive that our developer customers really need this form of babysitting as long as we make it clear that a hotfix is not as well tested as a service pack.
  • Extending the schema for end-user recovery

    Your organization might be large enough that the keys to the Active Directory schema are closely held by select administrators. And as a result, when you want to enable end-user recovery for your DPM servers, you have to ask those administrators to run DPMADSchemaExtension.exe for you.

    They come back to you, concerned because the tool requires the name of the DPM server -- and you have several. What's going on?

    What we didn't make clear enough in our documentation is that, although the schema need only be extended once, you still must enable each DPM server individually -- whether through the DPM Administrator Console (if you have permissions to extend the schema) or by running DPMADSchemaExtension.exe. Either method authorizes end-user recovery for that DPM server.

    So, you run DPMADSchemaExtension.exe and enter the name of the first DPM server. Schema is extended, and that server is authorized. Run it again and enter the name of the second DPM server. The schema has already been extended, so nothing more happens on that aspect, and the second DPM server is now authorized.

    To quote from Data Protection Manager 2006 Schema Extensions:

    The DPMADSchemaExtension tool performs the following tasks to support end-user recovery:
    • Extends the schema
    • Creates a container (MS-ShareMapConfiguration)
    • Grants the DPM server permissions to change the contents of the container
    • Adds mappings between source shares and shares on the replicas