Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Hoosier Daddy

    NewTechNet
    This coming week is another travelin’ TechNet Briefings week for me.  I’ll have the pleasure of presenting live events in a couple of my favorite Indiana towns:  Bloomington and Indianapolis!

    May 24 – Bloomington, IN
    Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center
    302 South College Avenue
    Bloomington ,  INDIANA 47403
    Phone: 812-336-3681
    Venue URL: Link to WebSite

     

    May 26 – Indianapolis, IN

    Theater- AMC Clearwater Crossing 12
    4016 East 82nd St
    Indianapolis ,  INDIANA 46250-1620 

    Phone: 317-595-6230
    Venue URL:
    Link to WebSite

     

    Click on the date above if you are interested in registering. 

     

    Not sure if you should?  Well.. here’s what we’re covering this time around…

     

    Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Is Evolving
    With the recent release of Windows Server 2003 SP1, now is the best time to see the benefits of these significant updates.  Are you prepared for the changes this upgrade will have on your network system?  This is a great opportunity to see how SP1 may change your entire network infrastructure for the better.  Join our experts at this technical briefing.

     

    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is coming
    It has been 5 years since a major Microsoft SQL Server release. In a technology timeline, that could be considered a lifetime!  Attending this session is your first step in preparing for a change that could give you a technical knowledge advantage over all the other IT Professionals working with corporate data.  Get prepared for the change coming soon.

     

    Click the links above to register, or visit the TechNet Briefings site (www.technetbriefings.com) for session topics and links to registration and additional resources.

     

    Tell your friends!  Invite your user groups!  And please introduce yourself and tell me you saw this on the blog.

     

    Kevin

     

     

  • Only the Business Intelligent Need Apply

    Here’s another reminder of a good SQL 2005 webcast series going on this coming week.

    Series_8_TechNetBI_left

    I’ve mentioned this a number of times in our live events.

  • Why is this man smiling?

    SmilingMan

    Because his long wait is over!

    He has been waiting patiently for the long-promised Service Pack 1 for Small Business Server 2003, and now it’s finally HERE!

    With Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1, you can take advantage of several key product improvements, including:
    • Enhanced security and performance
    • Increased reliability
    • Improved productivity and collaboration

    Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1 includes the latest updates to Windows Small Business Server and its product technologies:
    • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
    • Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 Service Pack 1
    • Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1
    • Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Component
    • Windows XP Service Pack 2 for Client Deployment
    • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Service Pack 1 for Client Deployment

    Additionally, the following updates are available for the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition:
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4
    • Microsoft Internet and Security Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004

    For detailed technical information about this service pack, see What's New for Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

  • I gotta get me one of these...

    This t-shirt ROCKS….

    T-ShirtHumor.com

  • SQL 2000 vs SQL 2005 Drag Race

    (Big nod of thanks to Mat Stephen for finding this.)

    Rob Garrison has done and documented performance tests comparing SQL 2000 and a beta of SQL 2005 in his “OLTP Drag Races” post.  Guess what the result was?  SQL 2005 is faster!  Even in beta.

    So you know it will be faster when it ships.  (I can’t wait!)  And as Rog points out; yes, new features are cool, but really, “speed is king”.

  • New App Compatibility Tools version available

    Version 4.0.1 was published just a week ago.  (How did I miss it?!)

    Those of you who attended live TechNet Briefings January-March know that this is a very useful set of tools for addressing compatibility issues.

  • 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?

  • More SQL 2005 Webcast Series news...

    …from the new TechNet Webcasts blog.
  • I'll never look at orange cones the same again

    A recent Robert Scoble post pointed to a web site by a person referring to themself as Kibo (James “Kibo” Parry). 

    I took a quick tour of his web site, and I’m still chuckling.  Check out the “virtual reality tour”.

  • 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. 

  • 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? 

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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/.

     

  • 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..)

  • Rockford IL TechNet Briefing Questions (and Answers)

    Hi!

    Wow… I haven’t blogged in awhile.  But yesterday at my TechNet Briefing in Rockford, IL I got some great questions and I thought I would share them (and the answers) with you:

    Q:  I want to roll out SQL now, but if I get SQL 2000 installed – what happens when 2005 comes out?  Will the upgrade be difficult?

    A: No.  Great effort is going into making sure the upgrade will be as painless as possible. 

    Q: What about the price?  Will there be a time after which I can buy SQL 2000 and be assured of a free upgrade?  Will I be forced to pay full price for 2005, or some upgrade price?

    A: The way the purchases will go will depend on whether or not you purchase Software Assurance along with your purchase of SQL 2000.  If you buy (or are already covered by) SA, you will get the SQL 2005 upgrade without any additional cost.  If you purchased SQL 2000 without Software Assurance, then you will have to purchase SQL 2005 at it’s full price.  (Note: I’m not privvy to any inside information on discounts or other programs that may or may not be offered.  I’m just giving you the standard official policy in these matters.)

    For answers to licensing questions, as well as how Software Assurance works, check out the main Microsoft Licensing web site.

    UPDATE: Here's a brief description including an example of what Software Assurance is, and how it can benefit you.

    Q: Relating to RPC Authentication (new feature available in SP1 for Windows Server 2003); How do you set up that authentication for, say, something like Outlook 2003 communicating with Exchange? 

    A: This one is worth trying out.  I’m in the process of installing SP1 on some virtual machine images I used in a previous webcast series, and I’m going to make that work.  I’ll document the results here in the blog, either as a post or maybe even as a blogcast showing what I did.

    By the way: if you haven’t already, you should consider using RSS in order to be notified whenever there are new posts here on my blog.

    Q: Do you have a good resource for Scripting with regard to Windows Backup? 

    A: I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to find any examples of scripting for driving Windows Backup.  But please check out the Windows Script Center for some tremendous scripting resources, including a “Find A Script” section for samples of just the task you’re trying to perform.  (and if you know of any backup scripting resources, please add them as feedback to this post!)

    Q: Kevin, you mentioned that OSQL was replaced by the SQLCMD command-line tool in SQL 2005.  Does that mean that OSQL is gone?  

    A: No.  OSQL is still there (at least in the beta 2 version I was running).  So you shouldn’t have to worry about re-writing your scripts that already use it. 

    Do you have additional questions or comments about my answers?  Feel free to click feedback below to continue the discussion.

  • Useful Security Videos for Home Computer Users

    Very nice.  I’m often helping my neighbors get their computers cleaned up after large amounts of spyware and malware have been unwittingly installed.

    Here are some free videos done by the “at home” people at Microsoft, to help people understand various issues surrounding safe web browsing and keeping your PC clean of those sorts of annoyances.

    Thanks to Steve Lamb’s blog post for pointing this out to me.

  • SQL 2000 SP4 is out

    Mat Stephens has a good summary of the upate on his blog.

    (**warning** – his post is in English.)

  • 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?

     

  • 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”…