Professional Geek
RSS icon Email icon Bullet (black)
  • Installing SQL Management Studio Express on Vista x64 – Tim Long

    Just wanted to share as I had this exact problem…thanks Tim!

    Also it’s so I don’t forget how to do it!

    Installing SQL Management Studio Express on Vista x64 – Tim Long

    It’s still generic name of ativan very annoying that 64-bit Vista/XP still isn’t on a par with 32-bit brethren as this isn’t the first time I’ve ran into problems installing software but that rant can wait for another time 🙂

  • Poor Vista show by software vendor

    Not the first time you’ve heard this story but thought I’d share

    One of our clients is just about to change all their PCs as part of a larger IT project

    They currently don’t have any Vista PCs so we had a chat about that. Obviously the client has heard all the usual press stories and second hand tales of woe but wanted to know what I thought. I told him my only concerns were his line of business applications as we’d need to make sure there were no compatibility issues

    I received a document with details on compatibility for server/database/client and this bit jumped out (names protected)

    “Note: It is a requirement of the ****** install with Vista 32bit a) to use SQLServer ODBC driver, not the SQL Native driver that comes with Vista; b) to ensure the selection for User Account Control (in Control Panel, Security Settings) is switched OFF for that user in the user admin area prior to running the ****** Installshield (else below errors will occur) and remain off, otherwise ****** will not work (creating the ODBC within the UserDSN may resolve this, however that ODBC is then only available to that specific Windows user).”

    Not exactly clear to be honest so I asked for some clarification

    Does this mean you want us to UAC off permanently or just for the installation?

    The response was,

    “By this we mean that if you leave it off it will work and therefore our recommendation, but we do have one client who has left it on and instead created the ODBC’s in the UserDSN and have, in their specific instance (so far as they are not live yet), successfully used ****** using Vista with UAC on.   UAC has not been without its problems and we therefore cannot give a definitive guarantee ****** will work with UAC on in all cases.”

    So this is the “you must lower your security to make our app work” response

    I ignored the “UAC has not been without it’s problems” line (for now) and replied to ask when they expected the program to be 100% Vista compatible so I’ll post back here when I get a response

    I’ve still got to ask about their other LOB application so will be interesting to see what the response is there

  • The National Computer Museum at Bletchley Park

    I posted a little while back about the good news Bletchley Park received and said that I’d like to visit and take a look around the National Computer Museum

    Well as a bit of a weird coincidence I’d completely forgotten that we’d arranged a visit to Milton Keynes on the Saturday immediately after the post

    Said friends actually live in the Bletchley area which made things even easier so I dragged one of my friends along

    First up we had a quick look around the mansion which was a fantastic looking buildingMansion 

    In here there were details of the history of some of the famous names such Alan Turing (wikiepedia entry here)

    After that we had a quick look through the huts where all the code breaking took place

    DSC_0250 Listening station – she didn’t say much DSC_0254 Alan Turing’s office

    After that we jumped onto the end of one of the tours and heard all about “bombes” that were used to break the Enigma Machine

    DSC_0261 I won’t try to explain how the bombes worked!

    Then it was onto the part I’d been waiting for and the National computer museum where we got to see the Colossus rebuild project 

    DSC_0265 Colossus was the world’s first programmable computer.

    DSC_0278 It had no storage though and all output was directly to a typewriter

    DSC_0276 Calculations were performed using valves and the black valve on the left of this picture is an original valve used during the war! Apparently they have about 10 years worth of spare valves so if you have any old gadgets lying around that have valves they welcome donations

    The rebuild project has been led for the last 14 years (!) by the legend that is Tony Sale. Most of the documentation was restored and whole project started from just 8 1945 photographs and some fragments of circuit diagrams some of the original engineers had been keeping illegally (good job geeks are hoarders!)

    DSC_8448 Me with Tony Sale

    It was onto the museum proper after that and I was in my element!

    DSC_0294 Calculators and PDA’s! I had one of the Psion’s in this picture!

    DSC_0296 BBC Micro! I actually owned one of these CUB monitors as well. My dad hacked it up so when it was plugged into our spectrum we had sound and volume control. What a mod!

    DSC_0303  Radar!

    DSC_0306 Punch cards!

    DSC_0312 DSC_0309

    DSC_0317 The very first PC we owned had one of these in. Along with 8MB of RAM, a 50MB hard disk and a quad speed CD-ROM

    DSC_0320 Legend!

    DSC_0328  An Apple Mac!

    DSC_0326 Had both of these. An Atari ST and a Amiga 500

    DSC_0342 DSC_0341

    The first two computers I have any memory of! Look at the rubber keys!

    DSC_0362 Why is the screen the wrong way round? Because it’s trying to look like a sheet of paper. This system was just a word processor. Look at the size of it!

    DSC_0367  I want a desk like this in my office!

    I’ll stop there….as you have probably guessed I took a ton of photo’s which I then spent the next week boring friends and family with

    I had a great time with my only “criticism” (not really the right word) was I was expecting to see more hardware as there appears to be lots of gaps in the time periods (Other than a PET I didn’t see much commodore kit for example). But I do understand it’s still pretty new and things are being added all the time and they are running on a shoestring (donate!!) as the museum itself is free! It’s Bletchely Park you have to pay to get in

    If you have any interest in computer history do something to support our computing heritage!

    Other resources:

    The National Museum of Computing (they have newsletters too)

    Bletchley Park

    Codes And Ciphers

  • SBS / EBS Launch Event in the Midlands

    After a ton of partner feedback the Microsoft UK team have decided to do away with the traditional all singing-all dancing launch event Emily Lambert and Gareth Hall have decided to take the event to the partners!

    This means they will visiting the various user what does generic 2mg ativan look like groups around the country to show off the brand new SBS 2008 and EBS 2008. The upside to this is that it will be a much tighter event and will also give a boost to the local user groups as partners who don’t usually attend wont have much choice if they want to be at the launch event!

    The brief for existing AMITPRO members is also to “bring a friend” so if your based in the midlands area and you’ve never attended a user group meeting drop a comment here or email me at andy@ibitsolutions.co.uk and “you can be my dog” (terrible 80’s reference – I shouldn’t blog while under the influence)

    So the date to mark in your diaries is Wednesday 12th November

    AMITPRO normally meets on a Tuesday night but the shift to the Wednesday night it so that we can ensure the venue can accommodate us (we’d better make sure we all bring a friend!)

    There will the usual network before and after the event so should be a good night!

    As always check out the other AMITPRO blogger’s for their views

    Vijay Riyait – UK SBSC PAL

    Steve Wright – AMITPRO Leader

    Richard Tubb – AMITPRO member

    Also Emily Lambert from Microsoft blogs too

    Make sure you attend!!!!

  • The power of the Internet hype

    While not giving you the power of the stats a self hosted blog would afford, the stats that WordPress.com provide are generally good enough for me

    I get to know which posts are more popular than others and see how site visitors come across my page

    The page views numbers also help give me an ego boost when I need it 🙂

    The numbers are usually pretty predictable. I get fewer visits at a weekend with each weekday having similar figures so I get a nice curvy line

    However, I was shocked when I saw this graph last week

    image

    WTF?! Best day ever!

    At the top of that spike I got more visit’s on that single day than I usually get for an entire week!

    What caused it? This post I made about Google Chrome towards the back end of last week. On that particular day that single post alone got about THREE times the amount of visits the entire blog does on an average day.

    According to the stats it’s down to the fact that I linked to a post on the official Gmail site (who obviously get a hell of a lot more visitors than my humble blog does!)

    At the bottom of their post was a “blogs that link here” section and I must have got a lot of click through’s!

    Another side effect of this meant I was at the top of the WordPress “Top Growing blogs” and “Top Posts” lists for a short while which doesn’t mean a lot but made me happy for a hour

    Just goes to show what a bit of hype can do!

    Needless to say my “Andy is stupid and has infected his own computer with a virus though it’s a worm if you want to be picky and has let everyone on Facebook know including a whole host of fellow IT pros who will probably ridicule him at tonight’s users group meeting” post didn’t quite get the same amount of visits…it did get more comments though 😉

  • Bletchley Park given a boost

    Just saw this on this BBC news site

    Bletchley gets £50,000 donation

    The article is pretty comprehensive so I won’t reproduce too much of it here

    I’m planning on making a trip to check out the National Museum of Computing soon so was pleased to hear this news today

    The donations made by IBM and PGP are made with the idea it will help get some more funding to help keep the site up and running (another BBC article on the “neglect of Bletchley park” is here)

    I was given this book Colossus- Bletchley Park’s Greatest Secret as birthday present which recommend if you have any interest in computer history (it’s huge though!)

    Massive geek mode off 😉

  • Stupid is as stupid does

    If you’re on my Facebook friends list you’ll have got this message over the weekend

    Hello All
    If you’ve had a weird message from me (other than this one!) today please delete it
    I got the same message from a friend and while allowing my curiosity to get the better of me i managed to infect myself
    Highly highly embarrassed
    Feel free to message me with abuse
    Andy

    So I thought I’d explain what I meant when I said I’d allowed my curiosity to get the better of me

    On Saturday morning I got a message from a friend via Facebook. The English was terrible (the subject was – Gt you! Ha-ha, now watch and cr!) and the link certainly looked “dodgy”. I figured my friend had his PC compromised and it was sending messages from his Facebook account

    It was the first time I’d seen this type of malware attack so I thought it might make an interesting blog post so followed the link

    It took me to a page that looked like YouTube (if YouTube was broken!) and I got a message displayed telling me that my flash player needed updating and I was prompted to download a file

    I downloaded the file and uploaded it to VirusTotal for analysis which then identified the file as being the “KoobFace” worm

    Koobface.worm – McAfee

    Win32.Worm.KoobFace.A – Bitdefender

    W32.Koobface.A – Symantec

    Koobface Family – CA

    This was where I made a stupid mistake

    In my attempt to select the file so I could delete it I inadvertently double-clicked the file and it ran

    As you can imagine my language was colourful at this point

    I got a message on screen

    “Error installing Codec. Please contact support”

    Using the information links above I managed to remove the main worm program and a browser add-in it had loaded to Internet Explorer (I’ve since flattened the machine and reloaded best generic for ativan from a backup)

    Unfortunately it had sent messages using my Facebook account by the time I’d cleaned up.

    I didn’t know who exactly it had messaged hence the warning to everyone in my list

    Highly highly embarrassing as there are a lot of IT pros in my friends list!

    Some of you may be thinking,

    “What was your anti-virus doing during all of this?”

    Good question, but I’ve got a little confession

    I’m not running any at the moment

    Just before Vista was released, Jim Allchin (co-president of Microsoft’s platform division) was quoted as saying Vista’s increased security meant he wasn’t running any anti-virus on a PC his 7-year old uses at home (Techweb reported about it here – he changed his viewpoint slightly afterwards)

    When I recently made the switch to Vista 64-bit as I was installing all my usual programs and thought it would be an interesting experiment to run without any anti-virus software (and blog about it here later!)

    I’ve been running without any anti-virus since mid-July. I use some of the well known on-line scanners as well as some offline tools twice a week to check all is ok and until yesterday everything appears to have been fine

    That said all the anti-virus software in the world can’t protect you from being stupid!

    So what have I learnt from this debacle?

    1) It may be a good time to end my experiment

    2) I rarely allow websites to keep me signed in but Facebook had been an exception. I’ll be going back to how I usually run!

    3) If you tell friends it’s ok to abuse you, then they will 🙂

    As a side note it looks like Facebook have been doing some work too. When I now click on the original link Facebook blocks the page with a warning the site is dangerous

  • Installing Windows Live Writer on Vista 64-bit

    I’m running Vista 64-bit so tried to install Live Writer a while back and got the following error

    clip_image001

     

    From what I’ve read it’s to do with the unified Live installer and not Live Writer

    I’ve seen a couple of blog posts that mention if you can get the MSI file you can install it ok. Most of these posts had a link to a german site that has the file on it. I wasn’t too keen to download an MSI file from a site I knew nothing about so decided against that.

    Another post suggested installing Live Writer on a 32-bit system and copy the MSI from there. I tried that and couldn’t find the MSI so that was scuppered

    So I thought I’d try something obvious – what did I have to lose?

    Download the installer file (WLInstaller.exe) from the Live Writer site, right click on the file and click properties then click the compatibility tab

    Put the tick in the box to run in compatibility mode and click ok

    clip_image001[8]

    Then run the program as an administrator and it should work!

     

    I’m posting this on my Vista 64-bit system from Live Writer so it worked for me!

  • Google Chrome – One interesting bit, ok two, maybe three

    When the Internet is in full blown hype mode I usually don’t even bother to blog about it. But this I thought I’d make an exception on this one

    However, I haven’t even downloaded Chrome yet! (I have seen it in action though – some people can’t wait!)

    However, a few things caught my eye

    Application shortcuts

    Didn’t fully appreciate this when I first read about it but the Gmail blog explains it well

    If you use Gmail or Google reader (or whatever) you can create an application shortcut. The idea is that when the browser opens the page it gets rid of the all the interface elements that remind you that your working in a browser (tabs, address bar, etc) so that it looks like a regular “desktop” application

    V8 Javascript VM

    Read about it here but in a nutshell Google have started from scratch with the javascript virtual machine. If it’s as fast as they claim it will make vast improvements to the more complex web apps (have you got any friends on Facebook with a million apps installed? Fed up of waiting for that page to load?)

    Google Gears (or just Gears as it’s now known)

    When I first read about Google gears I didn’t pay it any serious attention. My initial thoughts were “offline access? if I was that bothered about offline access to my RSS feeds I’d use a desktop app!”

    I know realise i was missing the point. As well as doing lots of caching to help speed things up it’s also a local database engine. The web developer can shift some of the database load to the client and help prevent lots of trips back to the server (vastly simplified I know!)

    MySpace are using it, as are WordPress and obviously Google apps like Google Reader are using it

    The thing here though is that it’s built into the browser. Previously you had to download as an add-in for your preferred browser and I never got around to it. Have you?

    So what’s my point?

    Well I don’t really have one. As I said these features jumped out at me. They are pretty unique to Chrome. Things like tabs in separate processes, sandboxes, incognito mode, crash control and the like are appearing in the “other browsers” already

    That said if you put all three of these features together and then use some of Google’s apps it could make for an interesting experience

    I’m a pretty heavy user of Google reader, regular user of Gmail and occasional user of Google docs

    I could still keep my preferred browser (if I wanted to) and install chrome then setup application shortcuts and use chrome just for using my google apps

    I’ll get speed increases, offline access and it will behave in a similar way to a desktop program so they is a chance I wont even notice I’m using a browser!

    Anyway just thinking out loud

    I wont be installing it on my main machines just yet due to it’s brand new beta status, security flaw and questionable EULA

    My poor old laptop is looking like a candidate though

    If you want another opinion on Chrome, Vlad obviously has one (which is definitely worth a read) so take a look here

  • Virtual PC – Couple of gotcha’s

    Everyone knows virtualisation is a hot topic. I love the fact I can have a complete test infrastructure without having to keep lots of kit hanging around (you should she what’s in my loft at home!)

    I ran into a couple of hiccups last night which I kicked myself for once I’d realised what the problem was so if your a Virtual PC / Server / Hyper V veteran you’ll think I’m a dumbass 🙂 but I also want to make a note of this as I’ll probably forget!

    I use my Technet subscription in combination with Virtual PC at home (new hard disc on order and then it’ll be hyper-v all the way!) and I like to create setups similar to how are clients are working. This generally means an SBS virtual machine with a client PC (mostly XP) sometimes with a member server or if I’m just learning about some new software (e.g Exchange 2007 or SharePoint ) it’ll just be a single server

    Last night I was trying something and needed a couple of Windows 2003 servers (no sbs here) so I created my first server, ran updated updates, etc then shut it down and took a copy of the virtual machine to save me some installation time and then started the first machine up again, made it a domain controller and added a client PC to the domain (all good so far)

    I then started up my second server so I could configure it as a member server

    I spotted I wasn’t able to ping the other server or the client.

    They could ping the second server but not the other way around

    I only had a single network card in each of the systems and set them to local only so didn’t have anything weird and wonderful going on

    After a bit of head scratching I ran arp –a and that was when the penny dropped

    Virtual PC creates a MAC address for the system when you first create it. As I’d copied the original system the servers had identical MAC addresses. While I thought the first server and the client were able to ping the second server they actually weren’t. It was resolving back to the first server!

    Thankfully the fix is pretty easy (it’s in the troubleshooting section of the virtual PC help file)

    Two or more guest operating systems have the same Media Access Control (MAC) address.

    Cause:  If you create an image of a host operating system that includes Virtual PC and virtual machines configuration files (.vmc files) and copy that image to another computer, each virtual machine configuration file included in the image contains a MAC address. The MAC address will not be reset automatically when you place the image on a new physical computer. As a result, the virtual machines that are copied onto the new computer will have the same MAC addresses as the virtual machines on the computer that was used to create the image.

    Solution:  Edit the .vmc file to remove the MAC address. Find the following line:

    <ethernet_card_address type="bytes">0003FFxxxxxx</ethernet_card_address>

    Remove the number so the line appears as follows:

    <ethernet_card_address type="bytes"></ethernet_card_address>

    After you remove the number, Virtual PC will create a new MAC address the next time you start the virtual machine.

    After I’d done that I was able to ping everything ok so joined the domain and rebooted

    That was when I ran into my second problem

    When I tried to logon I got the following error

    The name or security ID (SID) of the domain specified is inconsistent with the trust information for that domain.

    No head scratching here though as the message is self explanatory.

    The top of this knowledge base article gives a nice explanation of what my problem was here

    During installation of Windows, a machine SID is computed to contain a statistically unique 96-bit number. The machine SID is the prefix of the user account and group account SIDs that are created on the computer. The machine SID is concatenated with the Relative ID (RID) of the account to create the account’s unique identifier.

    Similar to the last problem in that I’d caused it by using a duplicated system

    But what to do about it?

    My initial thoughts were SYSPREP or start from scratch but then I remembered the awesomeness(?) that is sysinternals.com would save my skin again

    There is a util on the site called NewSID that does exactly what I was looking for here

    There is a big disclaimer on the front page for the utility about Microsoft not supporting images that are prepared using NewSID but this was just a test environment and their warning is generally also talking about disk cloning scenarios

    I ran the utility and it even helpfully offered to change the computer name for me as well

    I restarted the system, rejoined the domain and was able to carry on!