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  • Sonicwall Firewalls and Internet Explorer 7

    In my post about the full release of Internet Explorer 7i said that i was only using it on the laptop as i was worried about not being able to use it with the Sonicwall firewalls we use.

    I decided to do a little bit more investigation into this a felt like i’ve been missing out!

    A quick look on the microsoft IE newsgroup indicates that the firewall runs a script called BrowserCheck.js when it opens the pop-up window.

    Basically this means that the firewall is expecting Internet Explorer 6 so just does nothing when it encounters version 7.

    This gives me two options

    1) Wait for Sonicwall to upgrade the firmware to support IE7

    2) Make the sonicwall think i’m using IE6

    I’m going to take the second option i think

    Microsoft provide the “User Agent String Utility” on their download site for this

    When you run the utility it gives you the option to report the site to Microsoft so “they can help improve” Internet Explorer. I didn’t see the point in doing this as Microsoft wouldn’t be able to browse to the firewall interface. Next you get a new Internet Explorer window with some text added at the end of the title to let you know it’s in compatibility mode. Any tabs you create in this instance will report itself as Internet Explorer 6

    It all worked fine even if i did fine the solution a little clunky

    Also found some registry files on the Fiddlertool site that changes the user agent string as needed. These changes are more permanent but it’s a preference thing in the end.

    So this means i’ll be upgrading my main pc to the latest version!

    ** Updated on 19/03/2007 **

    This has been fixed!

    Read my new post here

  • Backup Exec and Daylight Savings

    This morning i got an e-mail from a customer to let me know he hadn’t received his usual message to let him know the backup had completed

    I duly logged onto the server and noticed the backup job had completed successfully

    and then it hit me..

    This year in the UK, Saturday 28th, signalled the end of British Summer Time which meant our clocks went back an hour and we get an extra bit of sleep. (I didn’t, six month old babies don’t know about daylight savings)

    Twice a year Backup Exec always clears out the notifications settings when we change our clocks for daylight savings. Normally after daylight savings the first thing i do when i next get into the office is to reset all the notifications. (For some reason i forgot this year)

    It’s been like this for as long as i can remember in every Backup Exec version i’ve seen

    Also i can’t ever remember seeing a knowledge base article (or anything) about it so thought i’d have another look today

    This article is for version 9.1 but guess it still applies

    http://seer.support.veritas.com/docs/268776.htm

    The article acknowledges the problem and provides the following fix

    To resolve the issue, reselect the recipient check boxes after a time change occurs.
    What?

    That’s not a fix. What if you manage lots of copies of backup exec? I spent the morning logging onto all the servers we look after that run backup exec. Luckily for me it’s not in the hundreds but what if it was?

    Second issue i have with this is that the current version is 10d. As i said above this has been going on for years so why hasn’t anything been done about it?

    Is it really so difficult to sort out?

    **Update**

    As pointed out in the comments by Charlies this has indeed been fixed in version 11 (finally)

    I did my usual “sweep” this weekend to reset all the notifications and the server we had with 11d installed had no problem.

  • Cleaning My RSS Again

    Last week i posted about the mess that is my RSS feed list

    I spent Friday afternoon tidying it up a bit and instead of deleting feeds i read and deleted lots of posts that were hanging around

    The result was that i got my unread post count down from 1400 (or so) down to….ZERO!

    Since then i’ve found the updates i receive much easier to digest and the information is more relevant as some post are only really useful in the timeframe in which they are posted (software release anouncements for example)

  • Digitial Music Anywhere – Update

    Following on from my post yesterday about the cracked Itunes DRM system Ryan at Download Squad rants about this much better than me: http://www.downloadsquad.com/2006/10/26/ipod-cracked-so-what/

     Sort of sums up exactly what i was thinking!

  • Cleaning My RSS

    For some reason i though that title was quite funny…

    I was a bit of a late comer to RSS. It was one of those buzz words i’d heard lots about but wasn’t really sure about what it could do for me. Then one quiet afternoon i looked into it a little more, anti acidity drugs online, subscribed to Newsgator and was hooked!

    Since i read a lot of blogs RSS is such a no-brainer now. If not preaching to the converted an few nice simple explanations of RSS are:

    A non technical explaination of RSS

    How to explain RSS the Oprah way

    To begin with i loved that i could get at my Newgator feeds from anywhere but eventually i needed something with a bit more oomph

    I tried one or two different readers and i’m currently using RSS Bandit.

    RSS Bandit is easy to use. Has a built in web browser which is a nice touch and also has the ability to use “remote storage”. This means i can upload my feeds to some location (currently I’m using a SharePoint site via WebDav) and when i get home i can download them and carry on where i left off. Plus you can use XSLT to change the style of the post which is pretty cool

    Only downside is that it uses a little too much memory for my liking and some feeds it doesn’t handle too well

    I’ve buy ativan spain seen the RSS features in the Outlook 2007 beta and i’m quite excited about using that properly but i’m waiting for the finished product as i follow the “don’t use beta software on production machines” mantra and i mainly reed my feeds on my PC in the office

    I’ve digressed a little from why i started this post!

    Ed Bott blogged about tidying up his feed list after inspiration from Adrian

    Adrian lost 40 blogs from his 950(!) feeds and Ed dropped 10 from his 225 feeds

    I don’t quite have that many feeds. (I’m at 79 ) but i currently have 1400 unread posts! Part of the problem i have is that i subscribe to a blog based on one post i have read. Then after a couple more posts i realise that i’m not that interested in anything else that blog is talking about but don’t delete it because something else might come up in the future! Rubbish!

    There are certain blogs in list that i browse straight to and they never have an unread count so i’m going to move all these into a new category (favourite or something) and then start culling the crap and keep the things i like to check but don’t read on regular basis (e.g I’m subscribed to the Community Submitted Scripts Center)

    I’ll post again when to see how much i’ve removed

  • Xbox Sales

    From the Yahoo News site: http://biz.yahoo.com/seekingalpha/061025/19252_id.html?.v=1

    “Carl Howe (Blackfriars Communications) submits: Colin Sebastian at Lazard Capital Markets has warned that he expects Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT – News) XBox 360 shipments to only total 4.5 million for the year, instead of the 5 million expected. That says to me that the XBox 360 marketing plan is fading fast.

    Why? People forget that the original projection for XBox 360 sales was for 5.5 to 6 million within six months of launch. That projection was re-iterated in January this year, but extended out to 5.5 million by July. And now, we’re looking at 4.5 million for the year. Ouch.

    We’ll know more after Microsoft announces earnings tomorrow. But many analysts were originally projecting that there would be 8 or 9 million XBox 360s in the market before Playstation ever launched. If these numbers are correct, it says that sales aren’t living up to projections. And with two new competing consoles launching next month, this story isn’t going to improve a lot without a serious marketing push to compete. Suddenly, that one-year lead Microsoft had on Sony (NYSE: SNE – News) doesn’t look like such a big advantage after all.”

    I always thought that Microsoft were aiming a little high with some of their targets. However i do think this piece makes an interesting point

    “That says to me that the XBox 360 marketing plan is fading fast.”

    For some reason it has felt recently that Microsoft haven’t been marketing the Xbox as aggressively as i’d expected to them. I can’t really remember seeing many XBox 360 adverts on the TV. Granted there have been adverts for games but it feels a little thin in the console advertising department. Granted this is my personal viewpoint and it may be different in the US and the rest of Europe and it could just be that i don’t watch enough TV or i ignore adverts!

    Maybe they are going to have a big push when the PS3 launches? Especially with Gears of War just around the corner and Halo 3 in the new year

    Oh well..just me thinking out loud. Isn’t that what this blog is for?

  • Swing It

    Disclaimer: I will not make any profit from what i’m about to talk about.

    On thing we have been doing a lot of over the past twelve months is server replacements. We had a lot of customers using Small Business Server 2000 for sometime and were looking at taking the step to the next version to take advantage of newer hardware and all the cool features of SBS (Remote Web Workplace, Outlook Web Access, SharePoint, etc,etc,etc)

    At my old company this would have involved decomissioning the old server and replacing it with the new one. This meant a visit to each PC to point to the new domain. Someone had to recreate all the user accounts, passwords and email addresses. This isn’t too bad in a small setup but imagine a company that has 40+ users.

    When i moved to the new company i decided that there must be an easier way of doing this.

    Luckily since i read lots of SBS blogs i had heard about the Swing Migration technique and guy called Jeff Middleton. After doing some research i convinced the bean counters to lay out the cash and get me what i wanted!

    I have to say it was money well spent.

    The ability to migrate everything to the new server with minimal downtime and domain, user, mailboxes intact was fantastic. Also the fact that the only main PC configuration was for printers (which if you really wanted to you could script as well) made life so much easier

    I would recommend you take a look at it as we thought it was worth every penny

    SBSMigration.com

    One of the blogs where i first heard of this was on Sean Daniels blog

    He quite rightly points out that you might also learn something too!

    Also as he did when we first used it we had a few minor snags but since every installation is different that is to be expected.

    On a final note i e-mailed Jeff to ask him a question and considering the time differences his responses were quick and  useful!

    So do yourself a favour and check it out!

  • Digital Music Anywhere

    According to a post on the BBC news web site (view it here) software has been developed that allows people to use songs downloaded on Itunes away from their Ipod and onto other players (Creative, Sony, etc).

    This in a addition to a post on the SBSDIVA site where she rants about not being about to sync’d her Ipod from multiple locations caught my interest.

    I never quite realised how restrive owning an Ipod was.

    Reason being i dont own an Ipod and i dont plan to buy one. I just have a generic player that also doubles up as a USB pen drive! It means i can use it for work and pleasure. It’s one gig and holds enough music for occasions i’d need music on the go.

    I also don’t buy music online. I prefer to buy the CD (i’m a hoarder…i collect things so i need the CD) and then transfer into digital format.

    I have purchased online music a couple of times and the experience put me off. It was for a family member (mother in law to be precise) who was trying to track down a song and i helpfully suggested i’d locate it online for her. I did this from my PC at work with the idea of transferring it to my laptop where i would then transfer it to her PC at a later date (this was before i had my pen drive!). My concern was when the site (and windows media player) started to mention licenses. It wasn’t made clear to me about transfer rights and i didn’t know if the file i had downloaded could move between those three computers. I eventually managed to get it all figured out and she had her track and was perfectly happy with it.

    What struck me after was what if she’d try to do that on her own? There is lots of publicity on how easy it is to download music nowadays and i completely agree but if i got confused with it when i use computers everyday how would she have got on when she still struggles with backing up her work data to a CD? I have lots of computers and devices i want my music to work with.

    Why is it so complicated to do?

    The music industry want us to buy music legally, which they have a right to. But if they make it so we can’t use it quickly and easily how can they expect people to stop using “other” methods to obtain digital music?

  • Doh!

    Ever feel stupid?

    I have a vbscript that copies a series of files from one server to another (don’t ask why!) that runs using a scheduled task

    Now if i run the script manually all works fine. If i run the scheduled task manually all works fine.

    However, every week when i expect the data to have been copied nothing happens

    I’ve simplified the code for posting purposes as the code also does some logging and error checking

    SourceFolderPath = “S:\Images\System\”
    DestinationFolderPath =”E:\images\TempArea\” 

    set FSO = CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)

    set SourceFolderObj = FSO.GetFolder(SourceFolderPath)
    Set DestinationFolderObj = FSO.GetFolder(DestinationFolderPath)
    ”Empty Destination Directory

    For each LoopFile in DestinationFolderObj.Files
    LoopName = LoopFile.name
    LoopFile.Delete
    next

     ”Transfer files

    For each LoopFile in SourceFolderObj.Files

    LoopFile.Copy(DestinationFolderPath)

    Next

    Can anyone tell me why this fails?

    I had a eureka moment this morning

    The source folder is on drive S:

    Which exists when i run the script manually. But it doesn’t exist when i’m logged off

    So i added the following

    strDriveLetter = “S:”
    strRemotePath = “\\Server\Share
    strUser = “someuser”
    strPassword = “somepassword”     
    strProfile = “false”

    Set objNetwork = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Network”)
    objNetwork.MapNetworkDrive strDriveLetter, strRemotePath,strProfile, strUser, strPassword

    And volia!

    Not entirely sure why i didn’t spot this earlier but needless to say when i did i felt like giving myself a kick!

  • IE 7, First thoughts

    I’ve been waiting for the full release of Internet Explorer for some time.  I had a preview when i installed the Vista beta (RC2) but i didn’t install the IE beta onto any of my XP machines as i dont install beta software on “production” kit.

    Now i fully understand why people prefer to use other browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc) but since ALL of the users i support use Internet Explorer i always ensure we’re using the same software as our clients where possible.

    So when the download was made available last week i decided to install it onto my laptop first (just in case).  I like the new tabbed interface and was especially pleased that the print features have been overhauled. The improved full screen mode was also a welcome change as the toolbar auto-hides so you can see as much of the page as your screen will let you. I haven’t managed to look at the RSS integration properly yet as i’m still using RSS Bandit but i did notice the orange icon light up as i browsed my favourite blogs. I even managed to test the anti-phising filter using some spam i received and this seems like a nice touch that will help my end-users.

    The only downside for me at the moment is that when using the management pages of the Sonicwall firewall’s we use, any pop-up windows just appear as blank pages. No buttons or text. Nothing!

    I tried moving the address into the different zones to see if there was a security settings prevent the code on the page from running but this didn’t make any difference. A post on the Sonicwall support forum seems to suggest that the next firmware update will fix this. For this reason i wont be updating my main PC just yet and i’m glad that i took the step of upgrading on the laptop first!