Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog
Well.. it’s been said that “Blondes have more fun”. And we all know that Developers are having more fun than IT Pros this week, so it must follow that blonde developers are probably having more fun than anybody.
Yes.. I must confess… this is NOT my natural hair color… AND I used to be a Software Engineer! But then I started playing with TCP/IP, the Internet, NT Domains, and I was hooked. Group Policies were in my blood. IT was in my future. (And so was “Just for Men”)
Here’s a discussion I had with a coworker back in 1989…
Younger, less grey me: “Wow! Come look at this! I just made an FTP connection to a file server in f***ing Finland!”
Him: “Huh? FTP?”
Me: “File Transfer Protocol. It’s an Internet standard.”
Him: “Huh? Internet?”
Me: “Yeah.. it’s this groovy** inter-connection of networks.”
Him: “Oh. That’ll never catch on. So.. what’s so cool?”
Me: “I just told you! I’m not just looking at some directory on the server downstairs.. I’m looking at a directory of files IN FINLAND!”
Him: (leaning over to look at the file listing. Finally, a light-bulb goes on over his head)…”Wow! …Porn!”
Me: “No! That’s not the point! I’m connecting to a server that’s way over… Hey! Where are you going?!”
Him: “Porn! FTP! File Transfered Poooorn!…” [rushing off to his workstation to start his own FTP-enabled porn collection]
** Okay.. maybe “Groovy” was already out of style in ‘89. But so was the tie I was wearing.
And so the Internet flourished. Because of porn. But I digress…
I spent several years as a developer even after those first FTP porn downloads. And I loved it! I went to a few cool conferences.. Borland’s, C|Net Web Builders, TechEds.. and it was at TechEd’s 94 and 95 that I saw more and more how Microsoft was making it easier to get porn..er.. to connect computers and manage directories of users. And in the small company I was developing for, we needed someone to manage the network, email, set up Internet connectivity, file servers, etc. And I stepped into the role partly out of necessity, but mostly because I really thought this stuff was groovy..er.. cool. Eventually I gave up development for full-time IT work.
Sound familiar? I know many IT Pros who have similar stories. Some not even involving porn.
Now.. flash-forward to this week. HUGE news coming out of the PDC. Developers are going nuts with fun stuff.. Windows Vista demos.. Office 12 demos… Max, Sparkle, LINQ, WPF, WCF, WWF… whoo-hoo! PDC is where it’s at!
“But Kevin.. you went to TechEd, didn’t you?”
<yawn> Yeah… I did. And it was fun. But… that fun pales in comparison to the all-out geek-O-rama that is this year’s PDC.
Granted – there are some really kick-butt products and technologies coming out yet this year and next year. Things that make a young IT Pro’s heart jump for joy. But when developers have so much fun… wow. It makes me think maybe I should start working through the new Visual Studio demos, watch a few MSDN webcasts.. maybe attend a few MSDN Events…
Yep. I think I’ll go back to being a developer.
…And I’ll color my hair blonde.
As a digital photography enthusiast, I’m really excited about this!
Microsoft has a new product just for folks like me. The current codename for the product is “Max”.
Did I say product? Wrong. It’s not a product; It’s an “experience”. (<sniff>.. I smell marketing. Bleah…)
Seriously though, it sounds a lot like FlickR or other online photo sharing… but it claims to have a new, cool interface built on WinFX.
Sounds to me like it’s worth a good long look!
For more informaton, here is the Max site.
Download Max here.
Have you tried it? What do you think?
UPDATE: I'm playing with it now. Here are a couple of notes..
1. It's not like Flickr at all. I was way off. You have to install it (and the installation requires and does the installation of WinFX Beta 2 as well), and then sign in using your Passport account. What happens is, you create these cool "lists", which are your photo albums... and there are several (well, three) ways to display your pictures:
2. What about sharing? Well.. that's something I haven't tried yet. I need one of my family members (Dad? Paul? Carl? Are you reading this?) I sent the installation link to to actually install it so I can share these lists with them. Apparently once they have it installed, I can share my lists with them, and the photos will be sent to their computer for their own viewing. Later they can delete them if they're taking up space. (And according to the help (which is all coming off the Max team blog, by the way), space is something that Max needs a lot of.).
3. It looks and feels a lot like Windows Vista! The graphics are smooth, glossy (at least on my computer), the buttons are animated, and the way it twists and bends the images is really amazing. If you want a good idea of what Windows Vista looks and feels like, play around with Max.
Give it a go! If you want, share your list with me. Contact me and let me know you're interested, and what your email address is, and I'll email you my Passport identity to use.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 019
I promised there would be some news on SQL Server 2005, and it happened today.
Paul Flessner announced today some good news, and some GREAT news.
The good news:Database Mirroring will not be included in the release coming November 7.
“Huh?! Why is that good?”
It’s good because, while we’re running 100 internal apps on SQL 2005, and we have many many enterprise customers (30 or so) running their businesses on SQL Server 2005, we’ve found that it’s not quite where we’d like it to be. So.. better safe than sorry… we’re holding off on making that feature available. No fear, though.. it’s still coming. Expect to see it sometime in the first half of 2006.
More good news: SQL Express Manager is going away.
“Huh? What’s good about that?”
Here’s the thing we’ve learned… or rather, what YOU have told us. You want an experience managing your SQL Express database that matches or compares to what you’re doing using the SQL Server Management Studio. Make the experience consistent. Express Manager was NOT that experience. So, the decision was made to create a scaled down version of the Management Studio for the management of SQL Server 2005 Express Edition.
“So, how will I manage my SQL Server 2005 Express databases without the Express Manager?”
A beta of the SQL Management Studio Express tool will be available for download when SQL Server 2005 Express Edition ships. In the meantime, the full-blown SQL Server Management Studio will also manage SQL Server 2005 Express Edition databases.
“Okay.. you said ‘Good news and GREAT news’.. what’s GREAT?”
This week, Winter Corporation released the results of a study they did of the Top Ten database platforms, and SQL Server came out quite well in the results. In fact, SQL Server currently supports the recognized LARGEST data warehouse system in the world – a whopping 19.5 TB. We also support three of the largest OLTP systems and two of the largest data warehouse systems across all platforms.
So it proves again that SQL Server is a platform that even the most demanding applications can trust to perform well.
I think that’s pretty GREAT news!
Here is the link to the official statement from Paul…
Find out about the September Community Technology Preview for SQL Server 2005 and how 300,000 of you have already helped make SQL Server 2005 ready for launch.
Got an IT question? Give me a comment, or contact me.
The schedule of TechNet Webcasts for October is ready to go.
I’m doing at least one of them; on Understanding Group Policy.
I’ve posted the entire schedule, complete with breakdowns by topic or product/technology, as well as full descriptions, as an article HERE.
And here are some additional resources:
· NEW: TechNet Events and Webcasts blogger site.
§ Check out the TechNet Webcasts Weblog.
§ TechNet Webcast Calendar
§ Security Webcast Calendar
· NEW: TechNet Events and Webcasts blogger site.
§ Check out the TechNet Webcasts Weblog.
§ TechNet Webcast Calendar
§ Security Webcast Calendar
See you there!
Have you seen Start.com?
Have you seen it lately?
Eileen Brown reminded me of it this morning… Very cool.
Chris Avis also has a couple of posts on it as well. (Post 1, and Post 2)
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 023
“What’s gonna happen to my DTS packages, now that SQL Server 2005 has this new SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services)?”
Well.. you’ve got several options.
The SQL Server 2005 Books Online has hefty document all about it in the “Upgrading to SQL Server 2005” section.
You basically have three choices:
You also might want to look at the information on Backward Compatibility.
Yes, Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Office is available today.
Here are some notes from a memo I received about it…
“Why should I upgrade?”
SP2 is an update to Office programs and servers that addresses top customer experience issues. To optimize the customer experience with SP2, Microsoft recommends people update their Office applications and servers to take advantage of the improved stability of the Office system.
Improved Security – SP2 includes an enhancement to Outlook to help prevent “Phishing.” Outlook has also improved the handling of “Junk” email. Junk messages are now rendered as plain text, preventing HTML information from being viewed inadvertently. Links are also now disabled in “Junk” email messages with SP2.
Improved application stability – SP2 includes many fixes and enhancements for Office applications and servers based on customer and partner feedback as well as extensive internal testing.
Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 – Microsoft Content Management Server, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft InfoPath 2003 have been updated to include support for the upcoming releases of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 has been updated to include support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
Go to http://www.microsoft.com/office for more details.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 020
“Hey Kevin… Exchange 2003 sort of takes advantage of Volume Shadow Copy service (VSS). Other things (like the file system) can use it to make quick snapshots of data. Does SQL Server 2005 have any such capability?”
There is indeed an interface definition for something called the SQL Writer. This guide (for backup application vendors) describes how you can write to this SQL Writer in order to support using the VSS framework.
So… there is hope that soon after (or maybe even, dare I say, right away when) SQL Server 2005 ships, you should be able to purchase backup applications that take advantage of VSS.
“What about good ol’ Windows Backup?”
I really don’t know about that one. Windows Backup can use VSS for the file system, and there were limitations on how it could (or couldn’t) be used for Exchange 2003.
That’s a really good question. I’ll tackle that one in a later tidbit.
Do you know the answer? Share it here, or add a comment with a link to the solution in your own blog.
Last week was a sad one. Horrible storm. Horrible flooding. Horrible people taking advantage of both. Devastated neighborhoods, cities, and lives.
Yet out of the worst tragedies often come the best, most encouraging stories about people and their willingness to help others.
I’m proud to work for a company that has both the will and the resources to help in these situations. At Microsoft we have a great internal web site dedicated to giving, and naturally right now the relief for hurricane Katrina victims is top on the list.
And even beyond that, my team at Microsoft (internally known as the Seminar Sales Team, and externally you see us as “Microsoft Across America”) has… shall we say.. “detoured” some valuable assets in order to help in the hurricane relief efforts.
That’s right! We’re sending in the trucks!
Three of our Microsoft Across America “Mobile Experience” trucks are heading to our home base in Dallas so we can off-load the un-needed AV equipment and event supplies, and loading them up with food and water. Then we’re sending them east to help out the Red Cross as mobile communication / command centers. These trucks have Satellite internet access, with WiFi, so they’ll be quite useful in helping currntly disconnected people get in touch with their families to let them know they’re okay.
So… I’m not going to have one of these trucks parked outside of my events in Des Moines and Minneapolis in a few weeks… and I’m extremely PROUD of the reason why!
(UPDATE: Here's the Microsoft Across America Program Manager's blog, with stories and photos coming right from the folks who man the trucks.)
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 018
A little birdie told me to expect a big announcement about SQL Server 2005 in the next day or two, originating from the floor of the PDC.
Stay tuned… As soon as it’s official, I’ll share it here.
UPDATE: It was announced today. Here's my blog entry about it.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 012
An even dozen Tidbits.
Credit for this one goes to my friend and teammate Matt Hester...
Q: In Mirroring with automatic failover, how do the SQL Client applications fail over when the mirror fails?
A: It really depends on the client application and how it was written. Client applications written using ADO.NET 2.0 will automatically fail over when the database fails over. However other clients will have to manually fail over. Basically the new SNAC (SQL Native Access Client) has information about the mirror, and about where to connect if the principle connection goes down. If the principle drops, the application will try the mirror. If a failover has occurred, then the mirror is able to respond and all is good. If the mirror drops (or doesn’t answer at all), the app will then again try the original principle, and so on.
Mirroring has always generated some great questions. John Baker has a great post on mirroring.
The inaugural meeting of the Minnesota Exchange Users Group is happening this Thursday, September 29th, 2005, at the Microsoft Office in Bloomington, Minnesota, from 4:30–7:00PM.
Pizza and Soda Dinner provided.
Speaker at the first meeting – Yours truly! I’ll be talking about the new features and benefits coming soon in Service Pack 2 for Exchange Server 2003.
“What’s the purpose of this Users Group?”
This is a peer to peer user group that will meet every other month; normally on the last Thursday of the month. Members include IT administrators, managers, and consultants. No formal experience with Exchange Server is required. People come to learn, share tips and tricks, and network with other professionals.
Go to www.mneug.org for more details, and to register to attend the meeting.
Here are the promised resources for the webcast I delivered today (September 7, 2005) on “A Technical Overview of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005”.
The content session number TNT1–154.
Hope you find these links useful, either as you watch the webcast live or later when it’s available On-Demand.
TNT1–154 Additional Resources
Virtual Server 2005 Product Overview
Virtual Server 2005 Frequently Asked Questions
Virtual Server Technical Overview (Whitepaper)http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/overview/vs2005tech.mspx
Virtual Server Technical Overview (Whitepaper)
Virtual Server R2 (formerly SP1) Beta Program
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/evaluation/sp1beta.mspxVirtual Server Migration Toolkit
Virtual Server Migration Toolkit Frequently Asked Questions
Server Consolidation with Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (whitepaper)
Automated Deployment Services (ADS) 1.0
Free Live TechNet Eventshttp://www.technetevents.com
TechNet Events Bloggershttp://www.techneteventsbloggers.net
Official Series Content Resource Pagehttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/tnt1-121
Free Windows Server 2003 Virtual Labs:http://www.microsoft.com/technet/traincert/virtuallab/windowsserver2003.mspx
Windows Server 2003 Evaluation kit:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/trial/evalkit.mspx
Windows Server 2003 Training and Events:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/training/default.mspx
Microsoft Events page:
Robert Scoble, for Channel 9, finally got that dream interview… it’s on the Channel 9 site for all to see.
Check it out!
Poor Robert sounds sooo nervous. And I don’t blame him one bit. I probably wouldn’t be able to form sentences…
Chris Avis here has challenged all of Southern California to come to the SQL Server 2005 / Visual Studio 2005 / Biztalk 2006 Launch event in Anaheim. He promises on his blog that if that event draws the biggest attendance of all of the launch events, he will shave his head.
Okay, Chris... once again you throw the gauntlet down. Your challenge isn't just to your seven blog readers, it's to the rest of your coworkers and teammates as well. You force us to offer similar challenges to our attendees, just because of how wonderfully competative we are!
Proof: My own Karaoke Challenge was FORCED into play by yours... (of course, I sing way better than you, so I'm not afraid one bit. <mooohahaha>)
Okay... so that's how it's going to be. Here's my own attendance challenge for Minneapolis. If Minneapolis gets the biggest attendance of any of the major SQL/VS/BizTalk Launch events…
no… waitasec… I’ll sweeten this challenge up a bit…
If the Minneapolis SQL Server 2005 / Visual Studio 2005 / BizTalk 2006 Launch simply gets better attendance than the Anaheim event, I'm getting me a sharp trimmer, and SHAVING CHRIS AVIS's HEAD! YEAH!
Yep.. you heard me right. I'm bad. Don't you think I wouldn't do it, either.
Someone's getting shaved, and it's not going to be me.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 025
This tidbit comes as an answer to a really good question asked at a recent TechNet Event:
“What if a Maintenance Plan fails at some point? Do I have the ability to restart the plan at a particular step?”
The answer to this is similar to the answer to the one in tidbit 28 – You really should consider plans as full sets of work. If the plan fails at some point, you would probably want to launch the task separately, or create a job just to tackle what wasn’t otherwise completed.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 022
“Just what ARE the Hardware and Software requirements for SQL Server 2005?”
I’m glad you asked.
You can find great details here.
Below are some additional resources for the “Exchange Best Practices Analyzer” webcast I delivered on September 28, 2005.
Hope you find them useful!
Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Toolhttp://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2003/exbpa/default.mspx
Exchange Team Blog: “You had me at EHLO…”http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/archive/2004/09/21/232516.aspx
Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer – MOM Management Packhttp://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=583FA809-F151-4784-AFD4-44D0B7687E6A
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 027
“In your demo of integrated log viewers, you showed looking at the SQL and NT Event logs on the database server you were managing. Can you integrate and view IIS Log information from a remote IIS Server?”
This question is a good one. I can see why you’d like to see what’s gone on on the SQL Server at the same time as on the IIS Server where the web application that is using it is running.
However, in the log viewer in SQL Server 2005, you’re only looking at the logs on the one server. You can open up two log windows side-by-side (for other servers), but you won’t be able to see it on the same timeline.
A solution is to EXPORT the log from one machine, and IMPORT them into the log viewer currently looking the other. Or export from both and import into the same console. This functionality IS supported on the Log File Viewer.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 011
SQL Tidbits Galore!
Q: Can I put Visual Source Safe components into SQL 2005?
A: Yes. If you have installed the Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 6.0 client components on your machine, SQL Server 2005 Management Studio will automatically detect that the VSS plug-in is available. As noted above, you can find the VSS plug-in listed in the Tools/Option dialog, by selecting the Source Control and then Plug-in Selection node. Also, the Source Control option in the File menu drop down becomes active, and from there you add an existing Management Studio solution to source control, or open a Management Studio directly from source control. You can enable multiple source control systems, and change from one to another. For more information on this check out this article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnsql90/html/TSQLQueries.asp
Oh yes! The Scripting Guys are at it again. More fabulous, funny, and above all USEFUL content on how to use scripts to your I.T. management advantage.
Mark your calendar: October 24 – 28, 2005. Hurry up and register today. Space is limited! Seriously!
See Dean Andrew’s TechNet Webcasts blog for more details, and more importantly for a list of all the prizes. (Note: you must be present at all of the webcasts to be eligible for some of the prize drawings.)
Okay… I confess that I was “ego surfing” a few minutes ago.. after I read Steve Lamb’s post on the subject.. I used Technorati to see who was linking to my blog posts.
I found a nice reference back to my request for Windows Vista feedback from August 31st.. Vlad Mazek’s post (thanks Vlad!) pointed people there, and (rightly) suggested that if you want to influence how the product works, the time is NOW to help us with feedback.
What I thought was especially interesting, though, was the one comment there from someone named “Anonymous”. (Wow… That guy gets around!)
Mr. Anonymous writes, basically, that it all sucks. It just plain sucks. And there’s nothing I can say to make it suck any less. It sucked in the beginning. And it now and for-evermore shall suck. Sucking forever and ever. Sucks. Sucky sucky suck suckity-suck-suck-suck.
Did I say it sucks?
Anyway… Mr. Anonymous (you know who you are); a simple question for you. WHAT sucks? What? Specifically?
My response comment asks him that also, and points out a couple of key ideas that Mr. Anonymous should have shoved up his.. er… crammed into his.. um… brain.
We have groups that blog internally about Windows Vista, and they have the eyes and ears of the product teams, if they’re not the product teams themselves. Some of them even record feature demonstrations as videos, and then ask for and pass along feedback. Do they want the product to suck less? …perhaps even, dare I say, to “ROCK”?! You bet!
Mr. Anonymous.. their goal is to help you see a product that moves from the “sucks” category, to the “ROCKS” category. And I and others like me will help you by passing along your feedback, and next year doing kick-ass demos to show you how good ROCKS can be.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 021
Twenty-one. Twenty one. Isn't this a lot of fun.
According to Simon Sabin, this feature got the biggest applause at the PDC 2005 Keynote on Tuesday, 9/13.
It’s a little thing called LINQ.
“What’s that? Some Linux thing?”
Ha ha very funny. No. It stands for “Language-Integrated Query”
It’s “a codename for a set of extensions to the .NET Framework that encompass language-integrated query, set, and transform operations. It extends C# and Visual Basic with native language syntax for queries and provides class libraries to take advantage of these capabilities.”
That’s what I said at first. But looking into it further, I see that it provides new constructs.. ways… for querying data using the C# or Visual Basic languages. These are part of the new CLR (Common Language Runtime) that comes as part of both Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005.
“Sounds like developer stuff to me!”
Yep. But it’s all about flexible, powerful, intuitive ways to work with data. And because the CLR is also part of SQL Server 2005, you can program against it there, too.
Simon has a more involved follow-up post about what he tried with it, here.
Get it while it’s still warm.
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 024
“What are the differences between the MSDE and the new SQL Server 2005 Express Edition?”
Here’s a good overview document containing a great comparison the two products.
NOTE: This was based on an earlier Technology Preview. Some items can and have changed since then. But overall it’s a very good introduction to this product.