Professional Geek
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  • Introducing……

    Evie

    Evie Elisabeth Parkes

    Born 27th January 2009 at 01:17 weighing 8lbs 8oz

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    Mother and baby doing great – in fact we’re home!

  • Microsoft Live ID – How many do you have?

    The problem of digital identity has been discussed many times by people a lot smarter than me. What frustrates me is when something seems obvious but doesn’t work that way

    I have a Microsoft Live ID. I’ve had it for years and years. It’s the ID I use for Live Messenger, it’s the ID I use for my Xbox Live account, it’s also my hotmail address and it’s the account I use when taking Microsoft exams.

    All these things are specific to me.

    You probably already know as an IT professional you can associate your Live ID with your employers Microsoft partner profile. This helps them as their Microsoft partner status can rely on the amount of staff they have with Microsoft certifications. Also key people in the organisation can be given access to the Partner portal to manage the company relationship with Microsoft

    So what’s the problem?

    I recently booked some Microsoft training for myself and others at the company on the partner portal. The invoices for these are delivered via email.

    When i received them the company name on the invoice correctly read “IBIT Solutions” but the invoice address was my home address

    There was a problem with the invoice amount which was a priority so once this was sorted i asked about the invoice address

    In the reply i was told that the invoice will be sent to the address in the my Live ID and if I wanted to change that I’d need to do it myself

    I replied back to query why their system used the email address from the my Live ID and not the partner profile yet it was able to get company name ok. The reply i got back was

    What I am trying to make you aware of is, when you choose to associate yourself to a company in the Microsoft Partner Programme, you can do this without using the company address – which is what you have done. It’s optional, either you use your home/private address or the company address – it’s completely up to you  – your choice.

    If you would like the invoices to be sent to the company address then you will need to edit this in your individual profile to affect these changes.

    Your individual profile is xxPersonalIDxx and you have associated this to a Partner in the Microsoft Partner Programm using your own address. The system recognizes you as being an individual associated to IBIT Solutions, but as I have already mentioned -  because the address field(s) are to be filled out by the individual, using either your home/private address or the same address of IBIT Solutions will result in you being sent an invoice to whatever address it is you have used to create your account with.

    If you opt to enter your home address then the system will issue you with an invoice to the email account you have associated to IBIT Solutions using the address you have entered in your hotmail account (individual profile).

    Of course, to avoid this you can associate xxCompanyIDxx and use this email alias to book yourself onto events and have the invoices sent to your company email account with the company address and not to your hotmail account which you have set up using your home address.

     

    I replied back to explain that i still don’t “get it”

    If i’m signed into the Partner Portal surely it’s obvious that anything I’m doing there is on behalf of the company? Why would I want an invoice to be addressed to me?

    If i created a new company specific Live ID where would my Microsoft certifications sit?

    If I (or any other employee) left the company they would expect to take their certifications with them as they are personal to them and they would that Live ID to associate with the new company. Surely using a company specific ID here doesn’t work?

    I’d also then have two Live IDs to work with and signing in and out of anything that uses the passport network is a pain in the neck as far as i’m concerned

    Just wondered how everyone else deals with this? Are you maintaining multiple Live IDs?

    Are there any guidelines on how you should deal with Live ID’s when work situations and personal life are blurred (again the Certification thing, I feel is a good example)

    Otherwise just let me know if i’m completely missing the point?

    I was always under the impression that I’d only ever need one Live ID for signing into multiple services

    The person i was swapping emails with has since said that he can see my point and will forward my query onto the relevant team so we’ll see if anything else happens

  • I’m officially a two browser person

    Since Google Chrome is actually out of Beta I’ve installed it on my PC at home and my laptop (and i plan to install it at the office too). I have mentioned before about why i thought i might run two browsers, compatibility with some Microsoft products, Application shortcuts and the speed increases are just a couple of reasons

    Another reason is this though

    Internet Explorer 7

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    Google Chrome

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    Note: the screenshot from Chrome looks wider as it render the page across the whole screen. In IE it the page was centered with white space down both sides – i cropped out the white space

    Now i know this may not actually be the browsers fault. It could be the way the web site designer has put the page together but the average browsing public wont really care about that

    Just for fun i fired up my Windows 7 virtual machine and opened it in IE8 (i don’t like to use Beta software on my main system where i can help it!)

    Internet Explorer 8 Beta

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    Internet Explorer 8 Beta (running in compatibility mode)

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    This isn’t a me taking a shot at Google Chrome. I’m sure if i look hard enough I’ll find pages that render just great in Chrome and look awful in IE

    That it’s worth I’m really enjoying using Chrome and since i spend a lot of time in Google Reader and Gmail it makes sense for me to take advantage of Google’s own browser

    All areas of IT seem to have their own religious wars and the browser wars are one of the fiercest. Just remember with any software you have the choice to use which ever fits your needs and for me that means using multiple browsers. Not blindly swearing that my first choice of browser is the best there is, everyone should be using and all other browsers suck!

  • Sunday Sillyness

    I was just checking out next weeks fixtures for the Sunday football league i play in

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    The name at the end of the fixture is the referee for the game. Seen who is in charge of the last game?

    Foul! Foul! Foul! Foul!

    Ok i know the spelling is slightly out but it made me look twice

  • Mirrors Edge – XBox 360

    I haven’t posted anything game related in a while, mainly as I’ve been playing Pro Evo 2009 (more on that later!) but since I got a couple of games for Christmas I’ve spent a bit more time away from the football!

    I saw a couple of reviews and screenshots of Mirrors Edge and added it to my Amazon wish list as a reminder to take a better look at it at a later point

    Since it was on my wish list my good wife picked it up for me and i’m glad she did

    First up I’d like to congratulate EA and DICE as publishers and developers for trying something a bit different

    The main theme of Mirrors Edge is that you are a “runner” whose job it is to deliver information for an underground organisation

    The term runner nods to “free runners” (see video below) who jump across buildings and climb over obstacles using various acrobatic means. I’m sure you’ve all seen this sort of thing?

    The game is played from a first person perspective (like Halo, Call of Duty, etc) and when I first realised this I was a bit concerned because if you’ve tried to do any sort of jumping and climbing in a first person shooter you’ll probably understand my frustration as it rarely works all that well (mainly because your view means you can’t see the floor and where you going at the same time) so I was pleasantly surprised that the controls are pretty easy to get to grips with and before I knew it I was sliding under barriers and jumping off walls like a good ‘un

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    Graphically it’s amazing and any screenshots you see don’t really do it justice. Once you’ve mastered the controls and you’re stringing together jumps and slides, the action moves at quite a pace and the feeling of speed is very realistic

    I read in a review (somewhere – can’t remember where it was sorry) that the combat sequences feel “tacked one” like an marketing afterthought and I can see where this view is coming from. Your character doesn’t carry a gun and is generally expected to run from the bad guys using her skill and speed to get away. You can take weapons from the bad guys but this isn’t all that easy and there are actually two achievements (XBox) you can obtain by not using any weapons. However, every so often the game forces you stand up to the enemy and go toe to two with them and the game wont continue till you have knocked them out whereas in other sections the point is to get away. When there is four of them and they all have machine guns it can get a bit frustrating!

    My only real gripe with the game is sometimes it isn’t immediately obvious what you have to do next. You’ll be trapped in a room and the only way to advance is to find a way to the air conditioning vent high up in the corner of the room. (I think these are generally called “puzzles”!)

    If you don’t have a lot of patience I could see some gamers giving up in frustration.

    I finished Chapter six last night and according to the achievements list I’ve got two more to go. Other than the main story mode there are also time trial and speed run modes which will be also be worth a look once I’ve got tired of all the difficultly modes

    There also isn’t any online functionality other than the time trial leader boards. It would have been cool to maybe race against friends across a level but maybe there will be scope for this in a sequel?

    When I was talking to someone about this I compared to playing a first person version of Jet Set Radio Future (can we have a new version of that please??)

    In summary I’ve really enjoyed playing this so far and the small annoyances wouldn’t stop me from recommending it though the lack of online features make me wonder about how often you would revisit this after completing the story mode and getting some decent times on the trial mode

  • Unreasonable?

    Isn’t amazing how demanding some people can be, even when they are getting something for nothing

    Google have introduced a channel system for releases of Chrome

     

    You can subscribe to one of our update channels:

    • Stable channel. Everyone is on the Stable channel when they first install Google Chrome. The Stable channel is updated with features and fixes once they have been throughly tested in the Beta channel. If you want a rock solid browser but don’t need the latest features, the Stable channel is for you.
    • Beta channel. People who like to use and help refine the latest features subscribe to the Beta channel. Every month or so, we promote stable and complete features from the Dev channel to the Beta channel. The Beta channel is more stable than Dev, but may lack the polish one expects from a finished product.
    • Developer preview channel. The Dev channel is where ideas get tested (and sometimes fail). The Dev channel can be very unstable at times, and new features usually require some manual configuration to be enabled. Still, simply using Dev channel releases is an easy (practically zero-effort) way for anyone to help improve Google Chrome.

     

    Sounds like a pretty cool idea.

    They also mentioned some of the new features available for people in the dev channel (release notes here) with one of them being a move away from the WinHTTP library so they can become more platform independent (Linux/Mac)

    I finished reading the blog post and thought it was good post that communicated where they are at the moment

    As always the comments on blogs can sometimes be better than the article and a couple jumped out at me

    Blah blah blah. When’re ya gonna release a Linux version is all I care about.

     

    and

    This Article lacks a Linux version. You can help by releasing one, asap.
    Cheers,
    Torrid

     

    I actually laughed out loud at that last one

    It conjured an image in my head of someone writing a letter to customer services

    Dear Sir

    I’m writing with regard to your latest blog post about your Chrome browser

    It’s not enough that you are giving us the capability to preview upcoming features via you beta and dev channels. Nor will I accept that developing your own implementation of the HTTP network protocol shows that you have plans to make the software available on other operating systems

    The article is severely missing a Linux version!!

    I demand that you release a Linux version immediately

    I pay good money for this software……..

    Regards

     

    Can’t you tell it’s the weekend!

  • Useful Commands – CmdKey

    A couple of weeks ago I saw a post on Mark Wilson’s blog talking about CMDKEY. At the time I thought “that’s one to remember” but wondered if I’d ever actually need it

    Turns out today I did!

    CmdKey is used for managing cached credentials

    Someone called today as they were working with the documents on their SharePoint site and the “created by” field was a different user to the one who was actually logged into the PC

    What had happened was when the user had been created they initially didn’t have permissions to access the site so they were presented with a username and password prompt

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    They put in a username and password combination that DID have permissions to the site and put the tick in the box for “remember my password”

    So I used the following commands

    CMDKEY /List

    This gave me a list of the cached credentials on this PC

    I found the one I wanted and used

    CMDKEY /Delete:TARGET – where target was the name of the server/site I needed to delete

    I closed the browser and restarted and all was well!

    The CMDKEY command is included on Server 2003 / Server 2008 and Windows Vista but NOT XP

    However, you can copy it from a server 2003 machine onto an XP machine and it’ll work just fine

  • Internet Explorer Crashes on Opening – EntAPI.dll

    Busy, busy busy on the first week back!

    Got a call today from someone who was having problems opening Internet Explorer

    Each time he’d get an application fault

    My first thought down to previous experience was that it was an add-on trying to load I so ran IE in “no add-ons” mode. IE opened fine so I spent a little while disabling lots off add-ins with little success so I went back to the beginning and looked in the event log for the actual error (should have just done this first!)

    Faulting application iexplore.exe, version 7.0.6000.16762, faulting module entapi.dll, version 8.0.0.240, fault address 0x0000368a.

    I found the entapi.dll file in the windows\system32 folder and the file properties suggested it was a McAfee component

    A quick search turned up lots of people with similar problems who “resolved” the issue by simply renaming the file

    I renamed the file and as reported this stopped Internet Explorer crashing

    Not a complete fix in my book though as this means all I’d done was stop a component of the anti-virus software from loading!

    Since it was a McAfee component I went to their knowledge base and did I search on entapi.dll hoping to find out a little more about what it does and the very first entry was this

    Internet Explorer crashes in a Buffer Overflow module (KB57756)

    entapi.dll is part of the buffer overflow module? Glad I wanted to dig a bit deeper :-)

    The article says that it’s a know issue with version 8.0.0.240 and updating to one of the following will fix it;

    VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i cumulative Patch 14. or upgrade to VirusScan Enterprise 8.5i/8.7

    This particular PC had 8.0i on so I loaded the latest patch (which was 16) and this fixed the problem

    I checked the properties of the old and new entapi.dll files and we’d jumped from version 8.0.0.240 to 8.0.0.455

    Sorted!

  • Happy New Year

    First post of 2009!

    Whatever you did last night I hope you had a great time!

    2009 is certainly going to be an interesting year one way or the other so enjoy the ride :-)

    Today also seems like a good point to stop cross posting between here and the wordpress.com blog

    If i know you could you leave me a comment (or send me an email please?) just to make sure everything is working ok?! ;-)