Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • At work on a new IT Pro Community / Events Site

    Have you been to TechEdBloggers.net yet?

    (What about now, after you clicked that link?)

    What would you think about having a place like that to go to year-round, where you could view or subscribe to IT Pro-related event-news from Microsft, as well as blog postings from others in the IT Pro community?

    Well, I’m part of a team of people working on a site just like that, where IT Pros, Partners, MVPs, and Microsoft Presenters will be able to submit blog feeds, and can get targeted, “Just-what-I-want-to-know” news from the community. 

    Our goal is to have the site up and running by TechEd, so we’re on a tight schedule.  But we’re on track!  In fact, check out this outline of categories we’ve created to describe the heirarchy of topics you can use.  And if you look it over and have questions or comments, PLEASE enter your feedback below.

    How does that strike you? 

  • Politics aside, I think this is good.

    He did, afterall, invent the Internet.

    Gore to receive Internet lifetime achievement award

    Seriously – I had started using E-mail, FTP, NNTP, and even Gopher (from my school!) several years earlier, but I remember that the first time I ever used HTTP, after downloading an early version of a browser; the first page I ever “surfed” was a sample page that actually contained Al Gore’s picture.

    What was that browser called?  NCSA something… And I can’t even remember the guy’s name who built it and then went to Netscape.  Someone help me out here.  I’m only 41 and I’m having a “senior moment”…

  • Geek Dinner Results

    …or rather, for me, just geek drinks.  I had family obligations which kept me from making it to dinner with Robert Scoble and many local area Geeks and Bloggers.  But I had a splended time once I arrived, talking about blogging and podcasting and blogcasting.  Of course, in the presence of  “the Scobleizer”, I was just “some other Microsoft geek blogger”.  But it was a lot of fun talking about blogs and technology that allows people to communicate and learn.

    I’m one of those folks that loves talking about work, mainly because I love my job, so I felt right at home.

    Next week I’ll be in Rockford, IL on Monday and Tuesday, and Milwaukee, WI on Wednesday and Thursday.  Anyone want to get together with me for a geek dinner?

     

  • My First Video Blog Attempt

    I had the pleasure of delivering the keynote speech at the Appleton, Wisconsin based “NE Wisconsin” AITP chapter’s “IT Expo” this morning. 

    I’m considering taking my video camera around TechEd this year and documenting / sharing some of the conference.  So as a trial run, I took the camera with me and did a very quick  tour of the Expo.  I just wanted to try out my editing software, and see what it looked like when saving the video at a low bit-rate once I added fades, transitions, music, etc.

    Here’s the result.

    What do you think?  Should I double the bit-rate?

  • Just because you can't be there doesn't mean you can't attend...

    "Huh?  That didn't make sense, Kevin."

    Let me explain.  As you know, TechEd 2005 is sold out.  But you can still get in on the action from home for many of the live sessions going on.  Here's are the details:

    ---

    TechEd05WebcastSeries


    Microsoft Tech·Ed 2005 is sold out!  If you missed your chance to register, there is still a way to experience Tech·Ed 2005. Tune in for a special week of webcasts June 5-10, 2005, as we simulcast 12 sessions live from Orlando, Florida.

    Get up to speed on SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, Exchange Server 2003 management and operations, security, Windows Server 2003 infrastructure, and more.  Click a link below to register for the live webcast.

    Tech·Ed 2005 MSDN Simulcasts:

    June 6, 10:30 a.m. (Pacific)

    Working with SQL Server 2005 from Visual Studio 2005

    June 6, 2:00 p.m. (Pacific)

    Smart Client Architecture

    June 8, 7:15 a.m. (Pacific)

    ASP.NET 2.0: Overview of ASP.NET 2.0 (Part 1)

    June 8, 11:00 a.m. (Pacific)

    ASP.NET 2.0: Overview of ASP.NET 2.0 (Part 2)

    June 9, 12:15 p.m. (Pacific)

    ASP.NET 2.0: Going Global Gets Easier! New Localization Features in ASP.NET 2.0

    June 10, 7:45 a.m. (Pacific)

    .NET Framework: Being More Productive with the .NET Framework

     Tech·Ed 2005 TechNet Simulcasts:

    June 7, 9:00 a.m. (Pacific)

    Architecting and Deploying Windows Update Services

    June 7, 2:00 p.m. (Pacific)

    Understanding and Fighting Malware: Viruses, Spyware and Rootkits

    June 8, 5:30 a.m. (Pacific)

    Tips and Tricks to Running Windows with Least Privilege

    June 8, 7:15 a.m. (Pacific)

    Security Policies? Ugh, Just Give Me a Firewall

    June 8, 2:30 p.m. (Pacific)

    Security Configuration Wizard in Windows Server 2003 SP1

    June 9, 2:00 p.m. (Pacific)

    Exchange 2003: Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

    Also, view live and on-demand pre-Tech·Ed webcasts.

     

    TechEd05WebcastSeriesPrize

    Plus, attend any live Microsoft webcast through June and you could win a Portable Media Center (official rules)! 

     

     

     

    Related Resources

    Tech·Ed 2005 Home Page
    Learn what's new at Tech·Ed 2005 and view the agenda.
     
    TechNet Virtual Labs
    Test Microsoft's newest technology online with our hands-on labs.

    MSDN Webcasts
    Review additional webcasts for developers that can help you get the most out of attending Tech Ed 2005.

    For a calendar of additional live and on-demand webcasts that might interest you, check out the TechNet Webcast Calendar and the MSDN Webcast Calendar.

    ---

    Don'tcha just love it?  I thought you would like to know about this, but if not, give me some feedback below and let me know!

    Kevin

     

  • I gotta get me one of these...

    This t-shirt ROCKS….

    T-ShirtHumor.com

  • Easy DNS Report

    This is great.  I didn’t realize I had a couple of things wrong with my DNS configuration – particularly regarding safe and trusted email configuration on my home email server.

    My friend and coworker Keith “King Cobra” Combs blogged about this site: www.DNSreport.com, which very quickly runs through a gazillion tests** and returns the results, with suggestions on how you can fix any errors or warnings that it finds.

    I’ve since fixed the minor problems that it found. 

     

    ** "Kevin... I've told you a million-bazillion times: Don't exaggerate!"

  • A Day To Reflect

    EagleFlag

    My Dad is a veteran.  He served our country as an officer in the USAF, specifically what was known as the Strategic Air Command (SAC).  He, like so many others, felt it was important to serve and add to the strength of an already strong nation, in order to maintain peace; to ensure that future generations would benefit from a prosperous and peaceful way of life. 

    His memories of being a "nation at war" started in his early years growing up during WWII.  All the rationing.  And eventually walking down his street waving a little American flag on V-J day.  His teenage years included news of the Korean war, and being a nation on high-alert, waiting for someone to drop the first bomb during the tense times of the "cold war" with the USSR.  Then, after ROTC and eventually in the Air Force, he's on duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis… and he's one of the well-trained, level-headed guys deep underground in a Titan Missile Silo, waiting and praying; Waiting for that phone to ring, but silently praying that it doesn't.  Thankfully, his prayers were answered.  And just as thankfully, there were so many men and women serving and defending our country; facing-down the Soviets, but preferring a peaceful solution.

    My memories of being a "nation at war" are more recent, of course.  I was born, strangely enough, just about 9 months after the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Go figger!)  I am old enough to remember Viet Nam… how scared we all were when my Uncle was sent there instead of Thailand, and so thankful when he came home safely.  I remember the many different other conflicts… the continued stand-off with the USSR… the eventual turn to democracy and the breakup of the Soviet Union… the new threat of terrorists and Islamic extremists who organize for no other reason than to kill the western "infidels". 

    And now we are again a nation at war, and we're safe at home while our brave men and women aer serving a greater good by fighting against oppressive regimes and radical terrorists. 

    Today we are celebrating "Memorial Day" here in the United States of America.  I'm very proud of my Dad and I'm thankful for the many many men and women like him who have served, and the many who have died on behalf of our country.  So this is just my little way, today, to remember them, and to say a heart-felt and sincere THANK YOU. 

    We appreciate what you've done, and what you do.

    We will NOT take the freedom and peace we live in for granted.

    And we humbly salute you.

    Thank you!

  • What to wear? What to wear?

    Aaron Junod’s recent post on “Packing for TechEd” got me thinking about sharing my own list, and advice, too.

    I've been to 9 TechEds (Wow!  This is the 10th for me!), and I've always packed too much.  I always forget about the number of shirts we get, or ones I buy in the MS Store, so I usually end up having brought a couple that I never get to wear.  Plus, this is my 2nd TechEd as a Microsoft employee, and our choice of uniform is rather limited.  (I have two blue MS Employee shirts, and I have to wear them each day of the conference.  Maybe I'll buy a third while I'm there, just to freshen things up a bit.)

    So.. here's my advice:

    1. Pack some empty space.  Bring a bag that is much too big for the typical week away, and use the space to pack all those promised trinkets that you're bringing back for your coworkers/wife/children/pets.
    2. Wear long pants during the day.  Convention Centers are typically cool, so you'll be freezing if you don't wear long pants.  You even might want to bring a sweater or sweatshirt to wear if you get really cold.
    3. Wear shorts in the evening.  Whatever party or event you're at will probably involve (hopefully) music and dancing.. so stay cool. :)  NOTE: It's NOT okay to wear socks with sandals.  Never. Uh uh. Nope.
    4. Bring a swimsuit or something to wear out by the pool.  You just MIGHT have some time to enjoy the SUNSHINE while you’re down in sunny Orlando!

    What hints/tips do you have?

  • Cranky Middle Managers

    Now waitaminute… before you get to wondering if I’m about to start jumping all over my current or any previous manager I have had, let me stop you right there.  I love my boss.  Really.. I do.  (You’re reading this, right John? <heh>)

    In my search for good audio to throw onto my MP3 player while I’m exercising or riding in airplanes, I’ve come across “The Podcast Network”.. and in particular a podcast that looks to hold some promise of being entertaining if not enlightening: “The Cranky Middle Manager Show”. 

    Show number “001” (I guess they have hopes of hitting triple-digits) was introduced today. 

  • Hit the road, Dad!

    Here’s the scene… I’m stressing about preparing for a keynote speech I’m giving at an IT Expo tomorrow, which means tonight I’m flying away from home yet again.  I’m on the road too much as it is… I mean, I love my job, but I love my kids more.

    So anyway, I happen to be driving to pick up my oldest son from his school Tennis Match.  My two youngest, my girls, are in the backseat along for the ride. 

    I’m playing a CD… and the Ray Charles song “Hit the Road, Jack” comes on.  My girls and I start signing along; and we’re sounding great.  Seriously.  I’m asked to play it again, over and over, so we can all keep singing.  Pretty soon we’re changing the words to “Hit the Road, Dad”… and then I think, “Ouch.  Yep.  Tomorrow I’m on the road again”  <sigh>

    But then, fortunately, the mood takes a dramatic up-tick.  The next song I have on this CD compilation of songs (legally purchased through MSN Music, I must add) is “The Boys Are Back In Town”.  So I let the song play, and sing…

    “Get who just got back today!
    That crazy Dad who had been away.
    Hasn’t changed, hadn’t much to say.
    But I still think that Dad is great!”…

    etc.

    So now, over and over again, we’re singing , “Your Daddy’s back in town!  Your Daddy’s back in town!”…

    “Saturday he’ll be dressed to kill,
    Firin’ up the charcoal grill!
    Drinks will flow, and blood will spill,
    But if Dad wants to cook - you better let him!”…

    etc.

    Even for those of us with hectic working lives, it’s little moments like these that remind us where our priorities truly lie. 

  • And I'm there!... just off to the right a bit!

    Monday’s edition of RocketBoom’s video-blog (vlog?) contained an interview with Robert Scoble, while he was hosting a “geek dinner” in Minneapolis.

    I arrived to find only two people sitting at an outdoor table – one of them being Robert.  Initially, I thought, “Wow.. what a lousy turn-out!”.  But as I drew near, fortunately, I noticed the fancy video-camera perched on the table, aimed at Robert’s head.

    I sat down quietly and watched as the interview continued.

    Here is the final result.

    Any other fans of RocketBoom out there?  I don’t particularly personally agree with their politics (How’s that for an alliteration?), but like many of you, I find Amanda Congdon quite curiously charismatic.  (Ooo.. another amazing awesome alliteration..)

  • Brief Example of a Software Assurance Purchase

    Microsoft no longer offers a Technology Guarantee on our products.  Customers can purchase a SQL 2000 License (L), SQL 2000 License with Software Assurance (LSA) or renewal on Software Assurance (SA) for existing SA on existing products.  If the customer purchases just the L, they would not get the next release of the product (in this case SQL 2005). If the customer then wanted SQL 2005, they would purchase the full L for SQL 2005 again when it becomes available.  If they purchase SQL 2000 with LSA today, they would get SQL 2000 now and future releases of SQL during the term of the SA agreement (typically 3yrs).  In this case, they should get SQL 2005 since it is due out at the end of this year.  SA is usually a 3 year deal with an average cost of 30% of an L per year. 

     

    Illustration A:  Let’s say an L for SQL costs $1000.  SA would be $300 per year.  In a 3 year agreement, the total cost would be $1900.  Depending on the type of agreement, the costs can be annualized over the three year period or paid in one up-front lump sum.

     

    Illustration B: Let’s say you buy the L for SQL 2000, cost is $1000 today, and you purchase without SA. At release of SQL 2005 you would pay another $1200 for license (there is expected to be a price increase with the release of SQL 2005). Total investment would be $2200

     

    So not only does SA offer you access to newer releases of the products, it provides additional support. For more information on all SA Benefits, please go to: http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/programs/sa/default.mspx.

     

    For additional information on how to purchase SQL, visit the following site: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/howtobuy/.

     

  • TechNet Briefing Resource Pages

    I blogged about this before, so for the sake of my recent TechNet Briefings audiences in Muncie, Chicago, Rockford, and Milwaukee – here is the link to information on where you can download my Resource Document that I gave out at the event.

    This will give you the file with the live links, so you won’t have to try and type them all in your browser.

  • SQL Server 2005 - SQL Profiler Question

    I received a great question in an email concerning a SQL Profiler demo I do in our live TechNet Briefings this quarter:

    Kevin,

     

    I attended your technical briefing in Chicago last month. Thanks for a very nice and informative session.

     

    During the presentation for Yukon, you did a nice demo of analyzing

    perfmon and trace files using Yukon profiler. I want to try that at my work. I opened up Yukon profiler but couldn't find a way to load

    perfmon results for analysis. I wonder if you can help me out and tell me how to do that.

     

    By the way, I use Beta 2 of Yukon. And my perfmon results is collected into a csv file. 

    Thanks in advance.

    You’re welcome – in advance. 

    By the way – it’s okay to call it “SQL Server 2005” now, rather than Yukon. 

     

    Yeah, the tool is a little awkward in that regard.  In SQL Profiler, I "Open" my saved SQL trace file, and I "Import" the performance data.  In SQL Profiler you'll find that under the File menu -> Import Performance Data.

     

    For my demo I had the performance data saved as a binary log file (.blg file), but .csv is also an option that can be imported into the profiler.

  • Can't we just get it right?

    …and if not, why not?!

    This article in eWeek really bugs me:

    “Faulty Microsoft Update Rekindles Patch Quality Concerns”

    Just when we finally see the tide turning and people starting to believe that Microsoft is really improving things, we shoot ourselves in the foot by releasing an update that causes problems.  And while usually I don’t mind doing it as a representative of the company, I’d really rather not have to keep apologizing on it’s behalf.

    I agree with the concerns raised in the article, as well as the idea that, really, IT Pros must test updates before they roll them out in production.  And new tools like WSUS (the next version of SUS) will make it easier to automatically distribute updates to special groups of test machines.  We’ve done a lot, and we’re doing more; but it’s still tough to get the word out about all the improvements we’re making when we have a bad release.  It’s like months and even years worth of trust-building can be un-done with just one bad release. 

    About the only thing we can do is improve how we test these updates.  Maybe even widen the external resources with our partners who are also willing to help us out – and give them good incentives to do so.

    What do you think?  Am I overreacting?

  • Home Security OS? XP?!

    I’m sorry, Paul, but I’m sure I’m not alone in being worried about trusting your home’s security to Windows XP Embedded.  You mention that the system will be set up to get updates automatically – which is fine for a desktop or laptop PC, and questionable for a server (please, people.. TEST all updates!), but do you really want to trust your home to this?

    What happens when the update causes it to crash?  I assume they didn’t design the thing to unlock all the doors if it goes haywire.  Or did they?

    I dunno.. maybe I’m just being alarmist. (pun intended)

  • Milwaukee Wisconsin TechNet Briefing Questions (and Answers)

    Hello again, my Milwaukee friends!  Other than a noisy start, and an annoying fire drill interruption, I had a great time with you all!  How did you like the event?  I got a few helpful comments, but if you have more to say please feel free to email me or, even better, enter your comments here in feedback so we can discuss them.  For example – I’m not so sure this was a good venue to come back to.  To be blunt – the staff at the Sheraton was hard to find and not very helpful, the pastries were not very good, and the room was not set very well.  But if you like it as a convenient location, rather than the MayFair Mall in Wauwatosa, or if you have other venue suggestions, please let us know!

    Anyway.. Here are the promised answers to the questions I jotted down during our event; things that I wanted to look into further.  I hope you find them useful.

    Q: Can the new SCW (Security Configuration Wizard) included in SP1 for Windows Server 2003 target other server versions besides Windows Server 2003?  Like maybe Windows 2000 Server?

    A: SCW is very limited in as far as what servers it can target.  It only runs on or targets servers that are running Windows Server 2003 with SP1 installed.  That’s it.  See the “Quick Start Guide” for more informaiton about SCW.

     

    Q: I’ve noticed that if I have an installation CD of Windows Server 2003 with SP1, and another I386 folder containing a Windows Server 2003 install image that includes the SP1 bits slipstreamed into it, the two installation images are not identical.  I perform a “diff” against them and see there are differences.  Why is that?

    A: Well… I wasn’t able to find anything on our web sites about this.  I don’t really know why this would be – unless there are subtle changes or some tools that aren’t updated in the same way.  (Does anyone else reading this have an explanation for this?)

     

    Q: When using the DTA (Database Tuning Advisor) in SQL Server 2005, after I apply the recommended changes, can I roll them back somehow automatically?

    A: No.  There is no automated way to do this.  I would be selective about the changes you make, and make sure you keep a copy of scripted changes, so that if you need to you can edit the scripts (replacing “ADD”s with “DROP”s, and vice versa) so that you can execute it and undo what was done.

    Any other questions or comments?  Be sure to send your feedback here.

  • New SSN, PDQ.

    Interesting.  Are they really going to make us all of here in the U.S. get new Social Security Numbers?

    Here’s the C|Net article about it.

    Personally I think it’s a good idea.  But along with this someone has to come up with strong and enforced standards on how to use and protect that information.  Anything short of inserting RFIDs under your skin behind your ear…

  • A New Blog - TechNet Webcasts

    Dean Andrews, our man in charge of all TechNet Webcast events here in the US, has finally started blogging

    Check it out, and subscribe (RSS) to it if you want the latest webcast news straight from the guy who knows all.

  • On Blogging...

    Okay…Now I’m excited. 

    “Oh Kevin, you’re always excited about something…”

    Hey.. I love my job.  Is that a crime?! 

    I don’t know what the final URL will be (or even if I should be telling you about this yet), but we will soon have a really cool new communication channel opening up for us, and you’re all invited not only to read and subscribe, but to participate.

    Here’s the deal – We’re putting together a web site that will be an IT Pro community blogger / events site.  We’re in the preliminary stages of planning now, but it will eventually contain agreggated posts from bloggers on the Microsoft Across America – TechNet team.  We will likely also allow partners, Microsoft MVPs and others to contribute by adding feeds from their own blogs.  We’ll include additional news from Microsoft or perhaps other sources also – all IT Pro related.  And this can be a place where you can then subscribe to RSS feeds on specific topics, bloggers, event types, location (for live events), IT Pro news, etc.  The possibilities are staggering!

    Here’s a thought: Put YOU in charge of how you get contact from Microsoft as far as when events are coming to your area, or webcasts are happening that interest you. 

    A really good example of the kind of site we’re considering is the TechEd Bloggers site. 

    So – Why am I telling you this?  I want to know what would you like to see!  Give me some feedback if you have an opinion about how we’re using blogs and RSS to keep in touch with you.  What information would you find useful showing up in your RSS aggregator/reader every day?  Do you want Microsoft advertisements?  Do you want to know what your favorite TechNet presenter had for breakfast?  …or do you want just the information you need to get your job done and make your work life better?  (And what form should that information take?)

    I’m writing up my own thoughts on this today, for a meeting tomorrow.. so your input now will be invaluable to this process! 

    Thanks!

  • On blogging and the Average Joe...

    I’m reading a very thought-provoking thread on Scoble’s blog.  He is visiting Target’s HQ today, and because it’s based here in my home town, I was curious to see what he has to say about it.

    He posed some questions for his readers, which have generated a really great discussion on the merits of blogging in general.  He asks basically, “What would Target get out of blogging?

    Is blogging ready for “prime-time”?  Would a company like Target get something out of it, or is it just for geeks?  Is Scoble, or are the bloggers at Microsoft, trying to make people look at “blogging as a hammer and the whole world as a nail”?

    Well?

  • The end is coming! ..and now we know the date!

    Eileen Brown posts about some resource for Outlook command lines.  And she’s also found out that the world according to the Outlook Calendar ends on August 31st, 4500.

    (She links to the really fun tips and trivia site where she found this, too.)

     

     

  • Windows Server SP1 - Application Compatibility KB Article

    A new KB article has been posted listing applications tested and found to perform just fine, as well as a list of those with known compatibility issues, and links to additional information on how to resolve the issue.

    Here’s the link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896367

    “How did you find out about this, Kevin?”

    I’m glad you asked.  You can use RSS and News Aggregator software to watch for KB articles for areas you’re interested in to be published.  Check out this old post for more info…

     

  • Webcast Series - Business Intelligence using SQL Server 2005

    I’ve mentioned this series several times during our live TechNet Briefings recently, and now I see that a UK counterpart of mine, Matt Stephen, has posted a nice summary about it.

    So rather than duplicating what he’s done, I’ll just link to his great writeup