Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Don't be fooled by cheap imitations...

    …Please!

    Hackers Circulate Fake Microsoft Security Update

  • 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!

  • 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!"

  • 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. 

  • Notes from the TechNet Briefing in Indianapolis, Indiana

    Tool

    Indianapolis!

    Here are the questions (with answers) I jotted down at our TechNet Briefing in Indianpolis.

    Also, for your convenience, here is the link to my blog post containing the link to that resource document I handed out.

    Q: Will there be or is there currently a 64–bit version of Small Business Server 2003?

    A: Here’s the answer that comes straight out of the SBS 2003 FAQ page

    “Windows Small Business Server 2003 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 with SP1 run well on 64-bit capable CPUs today. Customers today will see performance benefits running 32-bit Windows Small Business Server 2003 on 64-bit chips. To build a 64-bit version of Small Business Server, we need all the Small Business Server components, such as Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server, to be 64-bit. Once these products reach 64-bit capability, we will evaluate a version of 64-bit Small Business Server based on customer need.”

     

    Q: Does or can the new SQL Management Studio use Visual Source Safe?

    A:  Yes!  MSDN Presenter and Developer Evangelist Jacob Cynamon gave me this snapshot that shows what you will see when it’s available from within the SQL Management Studio.

    SourceSafe<— Click to see full image.

     

    Q: You showed how I can run SQLCMD from within a Query Editor window as well as the command line.  Can I also launch it from within a stored procedure?

    A: If there is a way to make a T-SQL stored procedure execute in “SQLCMD” mode, then yes, I’m betting that you can.  I’ve emailed this question to some folks who will know for sure, and I’ll update this answer as I get a better one.  (Or if you know, feel free to add a comment below.)

     

    Q: With Database Mail – Does the SMTP and POP3 support have to be installed on the Database Mail Server? 

    A:   No. During the configuration of the Database Mail, you first configure accounts, and then add those accounts to profiles.  Accounts simply refer to an email name and address and a server to send to.  It doesn’t have to be the local machine (in fact, most likely it won’t be). My example used a POP3 mailbox on my local server, but it could just as easily have been an Exchange mailbox.  Here’s what the Account setup looks like:

    DBMailAccount<— Click to see full image.

    Then you can add your configured accounts into a profile.  Here’s what that page looks like:

    DBMailProfile<— Click to see full image.

     

    Q: Is there a way to diagram the database tables as there is in SQL 2000?

    A: Yes.  In the beta I was using for the demos, that function wasn’t there.  In the latest CTP (Community Technology Preview) build, database diagrams can be built in the Database Diagrams container under the database you’re working on in the Object Explorer.

    DBDiagrams <— Click to see full image.

     

    Q: Is MAPI support gone, or will my SQL Mail configurations still work after an upgrade to SQL 2005?

    A: SQL Mail is still supported for backward compatibility, and managed under the Management container in the Object Explorer. NOTE: there is a hint in the current documentation that suggests that it will be removed in future versions of SQL Server.

     

    Q: Is there a web interface for SQL Server management?

    A: No, not for SQL administration.  There is for SQL Reporting Services, however.

     

    Q: Are there any improvements on how SQL Server works in a clustered configuration?

    A: Yes!  Much of the improvement comes from improved clustering in the foundation of Windows Server 2003.  SQL Server 2005 can now be implemented on clusters of up to eight nodes on Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, four-node clustering on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, and a max of 2–node clustering on Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

    SQL Server 2005 specific improvements include support for an unattended cluster setup.  Also – all of the different services within SQL 2005 are cluster-aware, including:

    • The Database Engine
    • Analysis Services
    • Reporting Services
    • Notification Services
    • SQL Server Agent
    • Full-Text Search
    • Service Broker
    • Database Mail

    Also, all of the major management tools (Management Studio, Profiler, etc) are also cluster aware.

    If you have a followup question or comment, feel free to enter it by clicking the comment link below.

  • My daughter the bug lover.

    Things that make you go, “Eeeeeew!”

    Tarantula_11

    My girl Laura loves everything creepy-crawly.  The creepier-crawlier, the better.

     

  • How to attend TechEd without attending TechEd

    BalmerTongue

    You can pre-order the Event DVDs!  Even if you’re not able to attend, $195 will get you recordings of all the TechEd 2005 sessions.

    Did you know that Microsoft has this “Event DVD Store”?  I didn’t know it until I saw today’s Windows Platform News email.  Sweet!

  • You wanna start something? (and win prizes?)

    Check it out.  A new contest!  “start something amazing

    Startsomething

    Send in your stories about your passion and how technology has helped you bring that passion to life.  There are 5 categories to choose from:

    • Culture and Community
    • Music
    • Memories
    • Home and Lifestyle
    • Sports and Games

    Lots of prizes, including a chance to meet billg.  Other prizes include an overseas trip with National Geographic Expedition, VIP access to a major movie premiere and a home makeover with an HGTV designer.

    The contest started today, and ends September 30th, 2005. 

    Good luck!

     

  • Okay... Now I'm just a little more afraid of Google.

    What do I like about working for Microsoft?  Many people have different experiences working for different companies, or even different parts of this one; so not all will agree.  But my personal experience here has been one of un-paralleled joy.  I finally feel like I’m working with and for people who “get it”… who know that a company will succeed if it has the best people, and is willing to let these people stretch and succeed in areas that may not necessarily be their main role. 

    In past jobs, I’ve experienced both bad and good; sometimes at the same place, depending on who was in charge, or more often, what the current economic situation was at the time.  At the small subsidiary of NCR where I started as a developer, it was four years surrounded by fear and CYA.  I survived two large layoffs before me and 200 of my close friends were all “let go”.  Then at little JobBOSS Software, Inc, when it was JobBOSS-the-small-independently-owned company, it was WONDERFUL.  We were truly in charge of our own destiny.  But then it grew, was sold, and then sold again, becoming too political and stressful… and admittedly, much of the stress and corporate angst comes from the economic climate during those times; not really the fault of any one executive.  Not every manager was an a**hole.  <grin>  And, sincerely, I never worked for one that I didn’t like or didn’t respect.  They are all good people.

    So now, when I read this InfoWorld article about how Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, plainly states that he values letting engineers have time to just work on whatever they want… well, obviously, he “gets it”, too.  It struck a chord with me.  Here’s my opinion: The company – any company – that fosters and encourages that level of trust and nurturing to the very smart people they employ, and is able to maintain that culture throughout their organization, is going to succeed in a big way.  This has now made it all the more obvious why Google is doing so many things right.

    And what does that mean for Microsoft.. or anyone competing with Google in some way? 
    Be afraid.  Be very afraid. 

    …or should we really?  Do we at Microsoft have to be?  Maybe not.  Does the fact that I and so many other employees have the approval (and even the encouragement) to say whatever the heck we want (within reason) on our company-hosted blogs somehow imply or infer that perhaps we also give our employees the same freedom in the ways that Google values?  If I learn of some corporate policy or stand that I strongly disagree with, and in this blog call Steve Balmer an a**hole, will I be fired, or merely Scobleized

    (Honesly, I would expect to be reprimanded.  I don’t think anything warrants that kind of disrespect to anyone, ever.  But in Robert’s case, it sure did have an amazing impact.)

    So from my somewhat limited, less-than-two-years-here perspective, I’m happy to report that every one my 7 superiors from Steve Balmer on down, also “get it”. 

     

  • TechEd Podcasts!

    There aren’t any there yet, but watch this space.

    …or subscribe to the feed.

  • Game consoles are like...

    …buses?! 

    IMG_7581 (Medium)

    Yep.  Alex Barnett is absolutely right.

     

  • Notes from the TechNet Briefing in Bloomington, Indiana

    Tool

    Hi!

    Here are the questions I jotted down at our TechNet Briefing in Bloomington, as well as some answers and additional resources.

    Also, for your convenience, here is the link to my blog post containing the link to that resource document I handed out.

    Q: I’m running Windows Server 2003 servers in an Active/Active cluster.  Are there any known issues with SP1 for Windows Server 2003?

    A: Doing a search of the knowledge base on “Service Pack 1 Windows Server 2003 cluster” give the results here, where there are several articles related to some issues that may arise.

    Here are a couple that seem applicable:

    Cluster Services does not work correctly in a Windows Server 2003 SP1-based cluster that has the Internet Connection Firewall enabled
    (883398) - Describes behavior where Cluster Services in a Windows Server 2003 SP1-based cluster does not work correctly if the ICF is enabled on the cluster-based server computer.
    New event log messages for the Cluster service account are included in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
    (871236) - Describes new events that appear when user rights are missing from the Cluster service account.
    Other than that I can’t find any issues. 

    Q: COM+ and DCOM

    A: Unfortunately, I have to confess that for this one I didn’t write down enough of the question to remember what was asked.  (Sorry!)  As I recall it had something to do with whether or not there were also changes to how COM+ objects permissions are managed.  And for that I was not able to find an answer.  However, I would recommend you check out the great help documentation that is included in the Component Services console. 

    CompServicesHelp 

     

    Q: When do I get my SQL 2005 Beta?

    A: This question was from a gentleman who had attended Bryan von Axelson’s SQL 2005 Webcast Series, where live attendees who filled out evaluations would be sent a copy of the beta.  I’ve sent an email to Bryan, and will update this page when I get his response.

     UPDATE: Bryan says…

    First, we are not supposed to call it ‘BETA’ anymore.  It is now the Community Technology Preview Build – Gotta Love it!!

    Second, they are being shipped now.  They starting processing everything last week.

    Q: I’m using the release candidate of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) in production, and it did NOT pull down SP4 for SQL Server 2000.  Why is that?

    A:  At release, the plan is for WSUS is to support updates Windows, Office XP, Office 2003, SQL Server 2000, MSDE 2000, and Exchange Server 2003.  I don’t know why the Service Pack wasn’t there, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that it is still just a release candidate.  It may be that SP4 for SQL wasn’t made available throught the

    I highly recommend you check out the WSUS FAQ page.  Great info.  I also found a “Known WSUS RC Issues” wiki.  I didn’t seen any mention of your issue there, however.

     

    Q: I’m configuring ISA 2004 to let my users have FTP access externally.  But it’s not working.  What am I doing wrong?

    A: I wonder if you’re running into the problem that is described in KB article #884580, having to do with FTP clients that operate in Active Mode.  The article describes the issue, and possible solutions, including the mention of a hotfix (although you will have to contact MS Support for that). 

    UPDATE: My friend and teammate Keith Combs has dealt with this issue directly, and was good enough to post the solution on his blog.  Thanks, Keith!

    If you have a followup question or comment, feel free to enter it by clicking the comment link below.

  • New IT Artchitect Certification

    Are you certifiable?

    ArchitectsLittleKevin

    There’s a new Microsoft certification available, and it looks like a really valuable one.

    It’s a new “Microsoft Certified Architect Program”, with resources and benefits for the elite few who are the best at designing, implementing, and managing the entire IT infrastructure lifecycle.

    This is not just any “take a few tests and get some letters after your name” certification…

    “The Microsoft Certified Architect Program identifies top industry experts in IT Architecture. These professionals have 10 or more years of experience, possess strong technical and leadership skills and form an elite community. Unlike other IT certifications, this credential was built and is granted by industry architects, as candidates must pass a rigorous review board with previously certified architects.”

    Check out the Architecture Resource Center for information about the program, as well as related RSS feeds Architect Program blogs.

  • IIS7 Details Coming Out

    The next version of IIS, slated for release in the Windows “Longhorn” products (BOTH Server AND Workstation, and perhaps even in the “HOME” version) has some cool and useful new features. 

    This post on The Longhorn Blogs the other day has the details.

  • Are you up for a Pre-TechEd Party?

    Wine…or even just an informal “meet-n-greet”? 

    Jeffrey Palermo is hosting a get-together on Saturday, June 4th, at the Peabody Hotel (right across the street from the convention center).  Here are the details.

  • Mommy! Look! More Ewoks!

    A review of Episode III? 

    I’m sorry – I haven’t seen it yet.  My review will have to wait.

    But I’m still chuckling over Rory Blyth’s review.  It really is “The only review you will ever need”.

  • A bad case of the force.. er.. um.. FLU!

    I guess some of the IT Jedi might miss a day of work this week. 

    (Nod to Georgeo Pulikkathara for finding this.)

  • XP is now 15x safer? Wow!

    Here’s an encouraging/enlightening news story posted yesterday on C|Net containing notes from an interview with Jason Garms, who heads Microsoft’s anti-malware product team.

    Comments posted to that story are as expected though.  “15x nothing equals… ?” 

    Cute. 

  • Important SBS 2003 SP1 Note

    Many of you who run or support customers running Small Business Server 2003 have had issues with (and understandable confusion around) installing SP1 that came out for Windows Server 2003. 

    I’m happy to report that they’ve improved things now with the new SBS SP1 that is out. 

    The big updates:

    1. They’ve changed the Windows Server SP1 website to no longer reference SBS at all, other than a link to the SBS SP1 website.
    2. Though not recommended, it’s now actually okay to install SP1 for Windows Server 2003 onto an SBS 2003 box, as long as you then also install the SBS SP1 version.  The new update completes the SP updates for all the SBS tools, as well as fixes the issues that just the Windows Server 2003 SP1 caused. 

    I highly recommend you read the through this FAQ about SBS with SP1.

  • Another chance to attend TechEd 2005!

    Teched55X55[1]

    I learned on Dick Carlson’s blog that there are some additional passes to TechEd 2005 going on sale now. 

    Dick says the cost is $1,995, (although the site says $1,895). 

    Here’s the registration page.

    See you there!

     

  • Too early to think about TechEd 2006?

    Absolutely not!

    TechEd2006

    Yes, it’s in Bean-town next year.  June11–16.  (So, my oldest son won’t have to be sad that I’m missing his birthday yet-again… but my youngest daughter will be. <sigh>)

    Here’s where to sign up for notifications and news about next years TechEd:

    GetReadyforTechEd2006

  • Are you a Blogebrity? (Is anyone, really?)

    Okay.. Time reported on it, so it must be true. 

    Blogebrity

    But wait?  Is it really? 

    Actually.. no.  Blogebrity Magazine is not actually happening.  It was a hoax.  Well… not really a hoax… but it was actually part of a “Viral Marketing” contest that attempted to get hits just by word-of-mouth (or link-stream) publicity.  In fact, I’m playing right into their hands, discussing it here. 

    I’m being used!  I feel so… cheap!  <*sob*>

    Well… fine.  Check out the one of the contest current leaders: CryingWhileEating.com

    Actually… I’ve heard that some of these “products” may actually happen, given the number of hits and amount of interest they’ve generated.  I for one will subscribe to Blogebrity as soon as it hits the virtual newstands. 

    On second thought.. no, I won’t.

  • Recently Published Microsoft Windows Downloads?

    Did you know that without this update, if you’re moving to 64 bit Windows XP from 32 bit XP and using the File and Transfer Settings Wizard, you might have problems?

    I found that out by looking at this page that has all of the most recent updates on it.  Cool!

  • The Dark Side of the Farm

    Making the rounds:  Grocery STORE WARS.