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  • Wired Magazine Launches in the UK

    I posted in the back end of last year that Wired magazine were coming to the UK (as reported by Steve Clayton here)

    Well it launched recently!

    I hadn’t seen much about it and on a recent trip to the shops i mentioned to my other half that i wondered when it was due out. I picked up another magazine to have a flick through and a sample version of Wired dropped out!

    I bought the magazine just so i could also get the sampler and the real issue was in the shops the week after!

    You can read the sample magazine on the brand new Wired.co.uk here

     

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    I was pretty impressed with the first issue. The format is almost identical to the US version (even the paper on the cover feels the same!) but with a UK twist

    I know printed media is having a hard time right now (Maxim magazine has gone online only) but sometimes i like to just sit and read. I can throw a magazine in my bag and flick through at my leisure and Wired is right up my street

    A couple of articles from the new UK edition that caught my eye

    The man who saved the BBC

    The people who really run Britain

    Who’s cashing in on apps?

    Pick up a copy for yourself!

  • Blogging for….

    I’ve had a bit of a crisis of confidence when it comes to blogging recently

    When i moved away from WordPress to my own hosted blog i was really excited but for some reason my enthusiasm has worn off

    One of the reasons i think is that I’ve gone back to lonely feeling you get when you first start blogging

    When i first created my wordpress account i knew full well no-one would be reading and i was effectively talking to myself

    Over time as other blogs linked to me and i wrote a couple of posts that people found via Google searches people left comments and all was good

    I knew when i moved to my own domain I’d pretty much be starting again but for a while i really did feel like i was talking to an empty room

    When Microsoft release a new product sometimes people say their biggest competition is their previous version (XP vs Vista for example)

    In some ways I’ve had this

    My old blog gets more comments and views then this blog

    If you do this Google search my old blog appears fourth in the list

    I’ve spent most of my time recently figuring out running the blog than actually posting stuff. Then i did start writing posts i started and then ended up trashing the posts as i didn’t feel they were very good

    So what’s my point here?

    I don’t have one really.

    Your probably thinking “stop whining..it’s just a blog”

    It’s a valid point but this was something i needed to get off my chest

    In my last post on the old blog i said i was going to leave the blog in place for archival purposes but I’m considering deleting it. I don’t think the fact I’ve duplicated the content has helped on a Google search perspective (I’ve learnt more about sitemaps and the like recently more than I’d care!)

    Right…I’ll stop the self pitying and get on with it!

  • Children and Online Safety

    There has been an series running on Channel 4 this week on sex education with a specific focus on young people and how they gain all the information about “the birds and the bees” from Internet porn

    They are also started a campaign called “Protect Kids from Porn”

    I had a whole post drafted out in my head about the features built in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but the excellent Mark Wilson blog got his post online before i did 😉

    His also shows how to turn on parental controls in Mac OS X. He didn’t show the windows equivalent as all his machines are domain joined so i thought I’d help out. These screenshots are for Windows Vista but the principles will be same in Windows 7

    Click the Start button and start to type “Parental Controls”, click it (or press enter) and then click continue at the UAC prompt

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    Click on your child’s user account (or create one first, then click it!)

    The parental controls screen is displayed and the very first option is to turn on the controls. By default activity reporting is turned on too

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    If you click OK now that’s actually enough to get you started

    Here is what the settings will be configured for

    Web Filter – defaults to the medium level

    Time Limits – none

    Games – no restrictions

    Programs – Any

    At this level anything unrated will get blocked as will categories such as pornography, drugs, weapons, etc

    If you wanted to get a bit more specific you can customise the web filter first by click the “Windows Vista Web Filter” link which will display this screen

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    I’ve changed the web restrictions to the custom setting so we can see the categories available

    On this screen we can pick one of the predefined categories

    From the Vista help files

    High Children’s sites include content that is understandable and usable by children, and that is appropriate for them. The language of a children’s site is typically aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds, and the concepts presented are accessible to younger minds. When you choose this level, you permit your child to see children’s sites, as well as any website that you add to the list of allowed websites.
    Medium With this level, websites are filtered based on web content categories. This lets your child explore the wide range of information on the Internet, but not see content that is inappropriate.
    Low No web content is automatically blocked.
    Custom This level also uses content categories to filter websites, but allows you to filter more content categories.

    There is a disclaimer at the top of the help page

    The Parental Controls web filter rates the content of websites, and it can block some websites based on the content categories you decide are objectionable. Turning on the web filter should significantly reduce the number of objectionable websites your children might view, but it does not offer absolute protection. Because objectionable content is subjective, the filters might not block all of the content that you want them to block.

    Which is sort of understandable – we can’t block spam 100% accurately so don’t expect it with the content filter

    What you can also do is setup blocked and allowed lists by clicking the “Edit the allow and block list”

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    From here you can make specific decisions about websites. Let’s say i was worried about my child using Facebook. I could add the domain name in here. There is also a setting here that only allows sites to be viewed if they are on the allowed list. You can also export your lists here so that you can take them to other computers (or for multiple accounts on the same PC)

    The final two options on the parental controls main screen allows you to stop file downloads and also vist a web site that allows you to request a rating for a site

    If someone tries to visit a blocked site they’ll see this

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    If they think the page has been blocked by mistake they can shout “DAAAADDDDD!!!” or “MOOOOMMM! and click on the “Ask an administrator for permission”

    You’ll get a UAC prompt, you enter your password and you can then choose to allow or block the site

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    Other parental controls include setting time limits (no computer use after bed time), place restrictions on the games that are played (if a game is Games for Windows certified it’ll have an age rating and content categories

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    As with the web filter you can block or allow access to specific games and block a game if doesn’t have a rating

    Finally you can block the actual applications that run the PC. If your worried about them using peer to peer applications and being exposed to questionable material you can setup a list of applications they are allowed to use (Microsoft Office for doing their homework for example)

    Once this is all setup you can then view reports that keep a track of the user accounts computer usage

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    It’ll let you know which websites they use the most, which games they are playing, when they are logging on, what changes are being made to the system,etc,etc. You get summary reports as well as full details. You can even get the system to remind you to view the reports by clicking on the family safety options button

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    Very powerful stuff considering it’s built into the operating system. You can also take a layered approach to this

    OpenDNS allows you allow and block web content based on categories (you could use this in conjunction with the Windows filter)

    Many home routers as allow you to setup restrictions there

    You can also buy third party software (NetNanny for example)

    Lots of ISPs have protection systems you can take advantage of

    However the important thing is to take a proactive approach to this

    In the first show the presenter asked the question

    “Why aren’t these controls turned on by default”

    I think this shows a naive approach to computer safety (as well a misunderstanding of some basic principles)

    When you get in your car does your seat belt plug itself in?

    When you buy a brand new computer the first account that gets created becomes the system administrator (how would you set it up else?)

    This means it doesn’t really matter if the parental controls are on or off. You would have the power to turn them off anyway

    As my children gets older this is something I’ll be giving a lot of thought to.

    The Channel 4 program pointed out that many parents probably don’t know what their kids are doing with their computers

    While there are a lot of systems in place to protect children it’s still ultimately down to the parent to make use of these systems.

    Hopefully the Channel 4 campaign will raise some awareness

    Some links of interest from the Channel 4 campaign site

    ParentsCentre

    www.parentscentre.gov.uk/usingcomputersandtheinternet This site directs parents to links and articles on a broad range of topics surrounding internet use and the associated dangers that exist.

    Know IT All (KIA)

    www.childnet-int.org/kia A Government-funded suite of educational resources from Childnet designed to help educate parents, teachers and young people about safe and positive use of the internet.

    Kidsmart

    www.kidsmart.org.uk Aimed primarily at parents and people who work with children, this site includes top tips, resources and some "SMART" rules to help teach children how to stay safe online.

    Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)

    www.fosi.org FOSI aims to make the online world a safer, better experience for the whole family. The site promotes best practice, tools and methods in the field of online safety.

    Thinkuknow

    www.thinkuknow.co.uk A set of sites, each aimed at a different audience (children aged 5-16, parents and teachers) with age-appropriate safety tips. Includes a place which young people can use to report experiences where they feel uncomfortable or worried about someone they are in contact with online.

  • Working with hidden content types and site columns in SharePoint v3

    This isn’t new but I’m reproducing for my own benefit!

    I blogged ages ago about needing to get at the Event content type in SharePoint which by default is in the _Hidden category

    I normally get at the Event content type by creating a calendar, enabling content types and then following the links until I uncover the content type

    Today I needed to use a Wiki Page as a content type but my usual method didn’t work as you aren’t able to manage content types in a wiki library

    When editing a content type your URL will look something like this (I’m doing this on a SBS 2008 SharePoint setup)

    http://companyweb/_layouts/ManageContentType.aspx?ctype=0x0102

    The ctype parameter identifies the content type (in this case the Event type)

    All I needed to do then was find the ID for the wiki page content type and a quick google search made this the easy part

    There were a ton of pages with this information but i used this one as it also provided them in a useful CSV and XLS format (thanks!)

    The table below shows all the items in the _Hidden group. The full list is on the post i mentioned but I’m only interested in the hidden ones as i can get at the rest via the UI

    Reusable HTML 0x01002CF74A4DAE39480396EEA7A4BA2BE5FB
    Reusable Text 0x01004D5A79BAFA4A4576B79C56FF3D0D662D
    Page Output Cache 0x010087D89D279834C94E98E5E1B4A913C67E
    System Page Layout 0x01010007FF3E057FA8AB4AA42FCB67B453FFC1
    System Master Page 0x0101000F1C8B9E0EB4BE489F09807B2C53288F
    Office Data Connection File 0x010100629D00608F814DD6AC8A86903AEE72AA
    Universal Data Connection File 0x010100B4CBD48E029A4AD8B62CB0E41868F2B0
    System Page 0x010100C568DB52D9D0A14D9B2FDCC96666E9F2
    InfoPath Form Template 0x010100F8EF98760CBA4A94994F13BA881038FA
    User Workflow Document 0x010107
    Wiki Page 0x010108
    Event 0x0102
    Workflow Task 0x010801
    Office SharePoint Server Workflow Task 0x01080100C9C9515DE4E24001905074F980F93160
    Administrative Task 0x010802
    Workflow History 0x0109
    Person 0x010A
    SharePointGroup 0x010B
    DomainGroup 0x010C
    Post 0x0110
    Comment 0x0111
    RootOfList 0x012001

    *(these lists also include types for MOSS)

    There is also another post showing hidden Site Columns (here) which also has the spreadsheet formats (though i couldn’t get the page to open while i was writing this and ended up using Google’s cache of the page)

    Once I’d changed the group of the wiki page content type i then created a new wiki page content type that inherited from the original to create my own base wiki type (as I don’t think you should mess with the built-in types!)

    I was able to use the wiki content type in regular a document library so i could mix wiki pages with regular documents (which was the whole point of the exercise!)

  • Windows Foundation Server – Food for thought

    At a recent AMITPRO meeting we had a presentation on Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)

    This is hosted SharePoint, Exchange, Live Meeting with other services on the way

    I could see the attraction for a large company that is maybe running their own Exchange implementation (for example) and moving it off-premise into the could obviously bring some cost savings and do away with some management headaches

    The problem i had was relating this to small business (I’m picking on Microsoft here but I’m thinking hosted services from anyone)

    Generally small businesses will need at least one server in-house so they can at the very least do file and print sharing. For us this has meant SBS 2003 (and now SBS 2008). Regular Widows Server works about the same price or more so SBS has extra features and easy management

    Since Exchange (and SharePoint) comes as a part of this why use the hosted service? (i know this is over simplifying the whole thing but bear with me)

    Today Microsoft announced a product that joined the dots up a little for me

    Windows Server 2008 Foundation (press release)

    The product is basically Windows 2008 with a 15 user limit and some limitations such an 8Gb memory limit and no virtualisation capabilities

    The idea is this would sit on a lower spec server and provide basic file and print and remote access services

    I‘ve had conversations with potential new clients recently who are looking at a first server and though i never thought I’d think this SBS 2008 is actually “too big” for them. They are generally growing business who have reached the stage where they recognise they need a server based system

    SBS 2008 +CALs is more expensive than SBS 2003 at the lower end and you also need a slightly beefer server (4GB minimum)

    Foundation could now fill this gap

    A single server in-house for the day to day stuff and then get some hosted mailboxes and voila! You could load SharePoint and WSUS and you would have a pretty decent feature set. The downside is the nice simple SBS management wouldn’t be there but if the client is taking up a managed services offering that wouldn’t really matter to them as that’d be your job!

    While I’m not getting too excited about this it certainly giving me some ideas and will give an interesting alternative when talking about that first server.

    No official details on price yet but the software will be available pre-installed on servers from manufacturers such HP, Dell, etc and they are looking at the under-$1000 mark (seems awfully familiar to what they said about Home Server)

    Couple of other posts i found are here and here 

    One to keep an eye on

    Update: As usual SBSDiva has a great post on this here where she compares it to a brick…you know for building stuff with

    More links here and here