Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

March, 2009

  • RichCopy bulk file copy tool released – get it here

    People have been asking me for years in my presentations what that icon on my desktop called “RichCopy” was.  I would of course tell them all about it.  That was always followed by a request for the utility.  Well, it only took nine years to fulfill that request, but it’s finally here.

    I didn’t even know we were going to release it, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it prominently displayed right at the top of the April TechNet Magazine.  The cover pic on the website is too small for you to see the box next to the TechNet name, but fear not.  Head on over to the column from Joshua Hoffman called, “Utility Spotlight: RichCopy

    Joshua gives you some of the background, history, and other information in the column.  But you’ll want to head right to the download link and grab one of my favorite utilities. Here’s a screenshot of this bad boy in action.  In the job below, I am uploading the content for the Interop Road Show to a server in Seattle.  RichCopy has ten upload threads going and as you can see, I am uploading the very beginning of the self extracting archive.

    RichCopy

    This brings me to an important point.  If you are supplying people a big fat .ISO image or zip file, please rethink your strategy.  WinRAR from RARLabs is a great archive utility and when combined with a tool like RichCopy, it’s a match made in heaven.  With WinRAR, I took the entire set of content and archived it into 100MB chunks.  People that use multi threaded download tools like RichCopy are going to love me for that. 

    My team standard for FTP is the wonderful FileZilla.  Like RichCopy, FileZilla is also multi threaded.  I have never used RichCopy for FTP because until the public release, you were required to be connected to our corporate AD forest to use it.  And the last thing I want is a FTP client that is running across the VPN connection.  That has all changed now, so I need to run some tests with both of them and see if there’s a clear winner.  Today I am using RichCopy for SMB and FileZilla for FTP.  Using a single util for both may make more sense now.

    Get RichCopy @ http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/d/0/fd05def7-68a1-4f71-8546-25c359cc0842/HoffmanUtilitySpotlight2009_04.exe.

    [UPDATE for 5/1] Ken Tamaru was/is doing development and maintenance of RichCopy.  He recently started a blog at http://blogs.technet.com/ken/.  There is the place to ask RichCopy questions.  Keep in mind however he has a day job and it’s completely different than being a developer for the RichCopy utility.

  • “I guess I'm not kewl enough to be a Mac person”

     

    This ad and video is pretty funny.  Lauren, you rock!!!

  • Windows 7 – Turning Features On or Off

    windows7_bloglogo I’m sure many of you read the blog by the Windows 7 product group and early this morning they posted an extremely interesting article about the Release Candidate (RC) milestone changes that are coming.  Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the article:

    The theme of “choice and control” has been applied in many aspects of how we have designed Windows 7. We’ve certainly received lots of positive feedback about the theme and about the choices we’ve made in the design, and we’ve also received a few suggestions for how we might continue to implement this theme in the future. We’ve received feedback for features that should be even more customizable (such as Explorer or the logon screen) or features that should be added to Windows (such as a PDF format reader, security tools, or disk utilities). And we’ve received feedback that some users might prefer to run Windows without certain features. This post is about a point of choice and control in the Windows 7 control panel called “Windows Features” which is where you can choose to turn various features of Windows on or off. This continues our discussion of changes we have made based on feedback from the Beta as we progress to the Release Candidate. This post is by Jack Mayo who is the group program manager for our Documents and Printing team and also worked on Internet Explorer 8.Steven

    See the rest of the post @ http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/03/06/beta-to-rc-changes-turning-windows-features-on-or-off.aspx.

  • Windows 7 Screencast on DirectAccess – the killer Enterprise feature

    Remember when you jumped from dial-up to DSL or a cable modem?  You know what I mean.  Those technology jumps that just make you smile really wide?  Well, I have news for you.  There’s another one coming that is going to rock your world.  It’s called DirectAccess and although I am not particularly fond of the name, the name is accurate.

    imageWhat is DirectAccess?

    Simply put, it’s direct access to your corporate network across an automatically established tunnel.  There’s a lot that has to happen in order for that to occur, but thankfully nearly everything is transparent to the user.

    DirectAccess clients maintain constant connectivity with the intranet, and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) provides the end-to-end addressing necessary to accomplish this. Since many organizations do not yet have IPv6 deployed, DirectAccess includes IPv6 transition technologies to help ensure IPv6 connectivity. 

    IP-HTTPS is a new protocol for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 that allows hosts behind a Web proxy server or firewall to establish connectivity by tunneling IPv6 packets inside an IPv4-based HTTPS session. HTTPS is used instead of HTTP so that Web proxy servers will not attempt to examine the data stream and terminate the connection.

    The Screencast

    Want to see this in action?  Sure you do! And unlike a lot of the content you see us demo in virtual machines, this demo is the real thing.  This is my production Windows 7 laptop.  Our MSIT department is hardcore on security so I’ve already logged in using multi factor authentication via a Smartcard.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    For More Information

    There is a ton of information on the internet about DirectAccess already.  I would highly recommend you start studying and learning about IPv6 if you haven’t already.  I would also recommend you start learning about the IPv4 to IPv6 transitional technologies that will help you get there.  Here are some good references.

    Errata and other Stupidity

    I am constantly amazed at the stupid stuff I say, but don’t pick up on it until after I’ve published something.  For instance, I said “a business people’s lives” instead of “a business persons life”.  Close to the end I say, “this is some technical networking” instead of “this is some complex or advanced networking”. Wow.  Major idiot moments there. LOL.

    And I need a chair that shocks the crap out of me when I say “got” too much.  Sigh…  I probably won’t re-record the darn thing because I am time boxed at the moment.  Maybe I’ll record it again when the Windows 7 RC is available and do it from a VM so you can see the full login process and experience.

  • Windows Server 2008 FTP Service 7.5 – now available for download

    ws2008 Microsoft has created a new FTP service that has been completely rewritten for Windows Server 2008. This new FTP service incorporates many new features that enable web authors to publish content better than before, and offers web administrators more security and deployment options. This new FTP service supports a wide range of features and improvements, and the following list contains several of the improvements in this version:

    • Integration with IIS 7.0: IIS 7.0 has a brand-new administration interface and configuration store, and the new FTP service is tightly integrated with this new design. The old IIS 6 metabase is gone, and a new configuration store that is based on the .NET XML-based *.config format has taken its place. In addition, IIS 7.0 has a new administration tool, and the new FTP server plugs seamlessly into that paradigm.
    • Support for new Internet standards: One of the most significant features in the new FTP server is support for FTP over SSL. The new FTP server also supports other Internet improvements such as UTF8, IPv6, and adaptive networking bandwidth usage.
    • Shared hosting improvements: By fully integrating into IIS 7.0, the new FTP server makes it possible to host FTP and Web content from the same site by simply adding an FTP binding to an existing Web site. In addition, the FTP server now has virtual host name support, making it possible to host multiple FTP sites on the same IP address. The new FTP server also has improved user isolation, now making it possible to isolate users through per-user virtual directories.
    • Extensibility and custom authentication: The new FTP server supports developer extensibility, making it possible for software vendors to write custom providers for FTP authentication. Microsoft is using this extensibility feature to implement two new methods for using non-Windows accounts for FTP authentication for IIS Managers and .NET Membership.
    • Improved logging support: FTP logging has been enhanced to include all FTP-related traffic, unique tracking for FTP sessions, FTP sub-statuses, additional detail fields in FTP logs, and much more.
    • New supportability features: IIS 7.0 has a new option to display detailed error messages for local users, and the FTP server supports this by providing detailed error responses when logging on locally to an FTP server. The FTP server also logs detailed information using Event Tracing for Windows (ETW), which provides additional detailed information for troubleshooting.

    x64 FTP Service @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=ffb7c167-279e-48d3-8169-dea85784c4d1.

    x86 FTP Service @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=b7f5b652-8c5c-447a-88b8-8cfc5c13f571.

  • Palm Treo Pro now available at Sprint.com

    side by side The Windows Mobile CDMA version of the Palm Treo Pro is now selling at sprint.com.  I have one on the way and it will be here tomorrow.  I plan to switch from my Palm Treo 800w to the Treo Pro to gain the additional battery life.  What else am I looking forward to?

    Probably the biggest change I will see between the 800w and the Pro is the addition of the new version of Internet Explorer.  Or at least that is my understanding.  With such a small screen, I’m not sure how much benefit I’ll get from being able to use touch for scrolling in IE, but I’ll know soon enough. 

    Now the real question is what to let my wife have?  She’s interested in moving to a smartphone style device so she can have access to her email on the go.  Considering she talks on the phone more than I do, the Treo 800w might not be a good fit for her.  That and she probably won’t like the blue color.  It’s such a boy color.  Then again she may not like the glossy black of the Treo Pro.  Lets hope.  Grin.

  • Windows 7 Rocks Screencast Contest – creative types apply here

    windows7_bloglogo Time to have some fun!  Once again Matt Hester and Keith Combs would like to invite you to demonstrate your mad skillz in the form of a screencast.  This little contest at first brush sounds like it’s going to be pretty easy, but I have a feeling there is going to be some serious competition this time around.  So before you rush into submitting an entry, think carefully.

    Take a close look at the announcement Matt made on his blog.  The Official Rules for the Windows 7 Rocks Screencast Contest are posted and are your source for answering any questions.  Follow the directions carefully, especially with regard to the deadlines.  Don’t wait until the last minute.

    What are the prizes?  Feast your eyes on the following:

    • One (1) Grand Prize. A Lenovo Thinkpad T61p Laptop. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) US $1700.00
    • One (1) First Place Prize. An Xbox 360 Video Game Entertainment System. ARV US $300.00
    • One (1) Second Place Prize. An 120 GB Zune Digital Media Player. ARV US $ 250.00
    • One (1) Third Place Prize. An 8GB Zune Digital Media Player. ARV US $ 150.00

    If you have never created a screencast, let me tell you they are part art and part science.  The one tip I will give everyone is to do a quick test demo capture.  Nothing fancy.  Check the playback in the capturing software you used.  Output the result in Windows Media Video format and play it on your PC.  Since we expect the video file to play in a Silverlight player, you should probably verify that, too.  See?  That was easy.  Grin.

    Looking for a free Silverlight account?  See http://silverlight.live.com/.  Keep in mind that service is BETA but it’s a great way for you to get your feet wet.

    Good luck rookies !!!

  • SCVMM 2008 R2 Beta – now available for download

    SCVMM_logo The beta software is now available for download on Microsoft Connect. To download, simply go to our site on Connect and sign in with your Live Id.

    Call to action:

    What is VMM 2008 R2 Beta and what are its new capabilities?

    VMM 2008 R2 Beta is a comprehensive management solution for virtualized infrastructure that takes advantage of many of the great new features of Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta including:

    • Live Migration: Enables the movement of running virtual machines from one virtual host to another with no downtime.
    • Clustered Shared Volumes: Helps enable Live Migration and eliminates the previous one LUN per virtual machine requirement thus simplifying SAN administration.
    • Hot addition/removal of storage: Allows the addition and removal of new virtual hard disks (VHDs) and iSCSI pass-through disks running on virtual infrastructure.
    • Networking optimizations: two new technologies -- Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) and Chimney - provide increased network throughput while reducing CPU load.
  • World’s Fastest Server?

    Matt Hester recently attended the geek portion of SXSW in Austin, Texas.  He ran across “The Worlds Fastest Server”.  What the heck am I talking about?  Here’s the excerpt from their website:

    image “The World's Fastest Server is hard to categorize because nothing like this has ever been done before. The short answer is that The World's Fastest server is an advanced web server built into a fully electric drag bike. The more technical answer is that The World's Fastest Server is a load balanced and virtualized web server that utilizes 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad processors, 4GB of memory, 3G wireless integration, SQL Server on it's own virtual machine, data collection for bike activity such as speed and RPM and GPS integration. The chassis for the servers is a fully electric drag bike with a Netgain WarP 9 Impulse electric motor that produces approximately 70 horsepower and 116 foot pounds of torque. When the bike is in action, multiple video cameras will stream live video to the server for everyone around the world to see.”

    See the videos Matt filmed and now has posted on his blog.  I’d like to take that server for a spin but I’m not sure I can trust Linux and Windows to play nicely at 120MPH.  You first.  Big grin.

  • Internet Explorer 8 Ships !!! – download the released product now

    ie8_h2_rgb

    See http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx for all of the information.

  • Interop Road Show coming soon

    interop_header_interior

    You might have noticed I’ve been a little MIA in the past couple of weeks.  Well, it’s been busy in my world as we are putting the finishing touches on the content demos, slide decks, etc. for the Interop Road Show we start in a few weeks.  It looks like all of the last minute fire drills are behind us, so I’ll start blogging more now.  I’ll be releasing details on the US Tour very soon so stay tuned.

  • Microsoft Online - Migration Whitepaper now available

    I am considering setting up some hosted Exchange accounts.  So I was interested in the new whitepaper that just came out that describes the various supported migration scenarios.  Here’s an excerpt from the paper’s intro:

    Microsoft® Online Services supports migration of the contents of local Microsoft Exchange Server mailboxes as well as the contents of POP3 and IMAP4 mailboxes from your current environment to Microsoft Exchange Online. Migration can be done as quickly or as slowly as you want. Small organizations may be able to migrate to Microsoft Online Services overnight or over a weekend. Larger or more complex organizations typically prefer to establish e-mail and directory coexistence for a longer period of time and perform a controlled migration in logical stages.

    Get the paper @  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=25350815-5c57-441a-b7fb-329ff5fe14b3.

    See Microsoft Online @ http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx.

  • Interop Road Show – registration now open

    interop_header_interior

    Is your IT Infrastructure fully dedicated to just one technology solution? Chances are you work in a heterogeneous environment that includes a variety of technologies from Microsoft®, Linux, MySQL and Apple. Integration becomes vital in order for your core business applications to maintain business flow and efficiency. How do you achieve identity integration? Run Open Source Software (OSS) on Windows Server® 2008? Ever wanted to leverage the power of SQL with your PHP applications?

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    Session 1:  Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Interop with Linux and OS X

    Do you have existing Linux workstations and servers? Are you buying Apple notebooks for your personnel? If so, then you're probably wondering how to secure and share information across your organization. Join us for a session that demonstrates how to authenticate and manage non-Windows operating systems. We'll explore Active Directory (AD) extensions, management tools, security, file sharing, desktop management and a number of other key challenges we all face on a daily basis. Get set for some great demonstrations and plenty of time for questions and answers.

    Session 2:  Running Open Source Software (OSS) on Windows Server 2008

    Are you afraid to run open source software on Windows Server 2008? Fear no more; it's easier than you think. Come discuss running LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) on Windows Server 2008. Not interested in Linux? No problem. You'll also learn how to run open source applications with IIS7, MySQL and PHP. Along the way, we'll compare and contrast the optimum maintenance, operation and monitoring of these diverse systems and applications. This session will include several informative demonstrations and you'll get plenty of time to ask questions.

    Session 3:  SQL Server 2008 and PHP Web Application Infrastructure

    Do you want to take advantage of SQL Server's great new features for your PHP sites? Join us for this session and learn how to make it happen. We'll show you how to leverage your existing development resources and PHP knowledge by simply changing the backend to Microsoft SQL Server 2008. We'll walk through the necessary steps to get PHP and SQL Server working together and you'll see how to enjoy a successful deployment and post-deployment experience. You'll also learn where to find the information you need when you deploy and scale PHP on SQL Server, including details about security, performance, backup, managing and monitoring. After the step-by-step deployment instructions and some helpful working demos, we'll be happy to entertain your questions.

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    Be sure to check out the cool prizes you have a chance to win if you attend!!!  The picture is actually wrong but the descriptions are correct.  See the prize rules.  I’ll get the picture corrected.

    See all of the information at http://technetevents.com/interop/index.htm for details on the sessions, city dates, times and locations, and registration links. 

  • Windows 7 “Tiki Tour” – registration open for the east coast

    tiki Get ready for Spring and join our local TechNet Events team to discuss the Windows Client OS Roadmap - Why Windows Vista is an important foundation for Windows 7. We’ll discuss security and application compatibility, as well as look at the new features of the Windows 7 Beta, presentations and demos delivered live by experienced IT Pros.

    Session 1: Moving to the Modern OS Roadmap

    In this welcome session, we will review the event agenda and discuss some of the key challenges IT Pros face in today’s economy.  We’ll discuss scenarios around Windows 2000, Windows XP, and the importance of moving to a modern OS.  In addition, we will cover Windows Vista and improvements that have been made with SP2 as well as review guidance concerning Windows Vista deployments.

    Session 2:  Windows Security and Application/Driver Compatibility

    This session discusses Vista security, data protection with the new Windows 7 “Bitlocker-To-Go”, rich support tools like Reliability Monitor, Resource Monitor, Windows Recovery Environment, the new System Restore and Problem Steps Recorder. We also cover application control using group policy and implement simple rule structures that include working with an application to Allow, Exception or Deny the installation. We’ll also discuss Group Policy Preferences and how a User can change their own policy settings!

    Session 3:  Windows 7 Beta Sneak Peek

    The way Microsoft develops Windows has changed. We’ll discuss the changes we have made in Windows Vista that will affect Windows 7 such as hardware, search as well as discuss new features that work with Windows Server 2008 R2 like DirectAccess™, a new network paradigm enables same experience inside and outside the office and makes seamless access to network resources increasing productivity of mobile users. We also will discuss BranchCache ™, which caches content downloaded from file and web servers, users in the branch can quickly open files stored in the cache, which frees up network bandwidth for other uses.

    For more information, see http://blogs.technet.com/blainbar/archive/2009/02/23/it-pro-tiki-hut-tour-spring-2009-registration-opens.aspx.

  • Windows Server 2008 PHP Training Kit – now available

    ws2008 The PHP on Windows Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including demos and hands-on labs to help you understand how to build PHP applications using Windows, IIS 7 and SQL Server 2008. The March RC1 release includes the following:

    PHP & SQL Server Demos

    • Integrating SQL Server Geo-Spatial with PHP
    • SQL Server Reporting Services and PHP PHP & SQL Server

    Hands On Labs

    • Introduction to Using SQL Server with PHP
    • Using Full Text Search over Office Documents in PHP PHP on Windows
    • IIS Access Control Features for PHP
    • Using IIS 7.0 Media Features in a PHP Application
    • Troubleshooting PHP
    • Migrating PHP Applications to IIS 7.0

    Got get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=c8498c9b-a85a-4afa-90c0-593d0e4850cb.

  • Windows Server 2008 IIS 7 Admin Pack – now available

    ws2008 The modules of the Administration Pack are a toolset to help you be more productive when using IIS Manager. Functionality varies from increased configuration editing capabilities to configuring FastCGI settings on your server.

    Configuration Editor - The configuration editor module will help you manage your configuration files. This tool is available for server administrators only. It allows you to edit any section, attribute, element or collection in your configuration file. In addition to editing these values you are also able to lock and unlock them. The configuration editor also allows you to generate scripts based on the actions you take as well as search the file to see where values are being used.

    UI Extensions - UI Extension modules allow you to manage existing features through IIS Manager.

    • The FastCGI module allows you to manage your FastCGI settings.
    • The two ASP.NET modules allow you to manage your authorization and custom errors settings.
    • Finally the HTTP Request Filtering allows you to setup rules for http request filtering.

    x64 Admin Pack @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=b74e3b35-b77c-4191-9ac4-8307423d09ec

    x86 Admin Pack @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=bc9b9f0f-830e-409c-a211-dcea1b4d9860