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Microsoft Codename Max update

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Sep-2006 12:05

Yesterday I was thinking of adding Microsoft Codename Max to my server, so relatives could have a nice list of pictures of our baby Isabella. I didn't act on that because it was late - and I am glad I didn't.

That's because this morning I saw in some MSDN Blogs that Microsoft Codename Max has been updated, to incorporate .Net Framework 3.0 instead of the original WinFX Beta 2.

Great! I can install this now. Wrong. Pain settles in. After downloading the small (150 KBytes) installer it proceeded to download and install WinFX Beta 2!


The installer did that, and then placed the Microsoft Codename Max on my server. But this was the wrong one. As soon as I started it the program notified me of an update. No problem, I understood their advice to visit the site and download it. But I have just downloaded it from there!

Running the install again this time it complained about not having .Net Framework 3.0 on my machine. Of course not. This is what written on Microsoft Max page:

Max updates itself. Max uses Microsoft Update to make sure you have the most up-to-date version running. Which means you can try the new features—or get the latest fixes—with each release.

Max installs Microsoft .NET Framework  for you. Max installs the version of Microsoft .NET Framework required to work properly, so you don't have to.



Ok, off to remove WinFX, reboot, download .Net Framework 3.0 manually, because now I don't trust this installer.

Why am I ranting? Because this is supposed to be easy. I wanted something my mum, and the grandparents could install on their computers by themselves. This is not it!

UPDATE: Manually removed WinFX Beta 2, and downloaded the installer again. This time it's installing the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 RC1. Let's see how it goes. Interestingly, I couldn't find a .Net Framework 3.0 download on MSDN - the download link is only for the v2.0

Anyway, all seems to be working now (not without a couple of reboots), and let's start sharing the pictures!

UPDATE: It seems Microsoft Codename Max shares the full size pictures. On my Nikon D50, at high resolution it means each picture is about 2.5MB! I can see my inlaws getting really angry at some long albums. What about an option to automatically resize pictures before sharing and placing those in a cache?

UPDATE: It is now working here without a problem. Looking good. I have to test the new RSS feed feature.








Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta Invites Available

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Sep-2006 22:25

After a few glitches with the invitation system, I finally got to use Microsoft's Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta. This program is the future replacement of Outlook Express, it seems.

I have some invites available for this Windows Live Beta, and you just have to post a request here for me to send it. I will post a reply when I run out of invitations. There is no need to publish your e-mail address, I will send it to the e-mail in the comment authentication.

Make sure you use your hotmail.com address and that you are already using Windows Live Mail. If you are using the old Hotmail service this will not work, and it will be a waste of your time and my time.



The program brings together an e-mail client supporting POP3, IMAP, GMail and Windows Live Mail (previously known as Hotmail), newsgroup reader (NNTP), RSS Feed Reader (but you must have Internet Explorer 7 installed for this feature to work), contacts (synchronised with your Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Messenger account) and Calendar.

By the way, if you have a Windows Live Mail account then you also have 2GB storage (less than the current Lycos Mail 3GB option or the GMail ever increasing 2GB and counting option). But still a considerable mailbox size.

It has some interesting features, such as Windows Live Mail client (even if you don't have the premium hotmail service!), Active Search, which brings results related to the topic in the e-mail or newsgroup, and a most requested feature: automatic bottom reply in newsgroups!

When receiving the invitation it may look like an empty message. My suggestion is to forward this message without any changes to another e-mail address where you can see the source code (send to another e-mail address and save the message as HTML, then open on notepad). You will be able to find the invitation URL, something like http://ideas.live.com/AcceptInvitation.aspx?[long_code_here]. Simply copy and paste the entire URL (including the code) and login to your Live account when requested.

Complicated? Well, if you are reading this and want it badly, then that's how to do it (until Microsoft fixes the invitations).






Microsoft Student Day 2006

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 8-Sep-2006 12:46

I was talking to Microsoft's Darryl Burling and got an invitation to spend some time today with students - and so I came to attend the Microsoft Student Day 2006, happening here in Wellington. Lots of Microsofties here, including Nigel Parker, Nathan Mercer, Sean McBreen and Darryl of course, among others.

About 170 students Are here at the event, which showcases Microsoft technologies and explain how they can be used.  All sorts of cool information about Windows Vista, Live.com services, .Net technologies, etc. While here I will be showing some Windows Mobile devices, including Pocket PCs, portable media center and other mobile technologies.

At the end of the event there's an "Ask the Industry" time, so students can ask experts about IT, technologies in general and work at Microsoft and other companies.

I was actually planning to finish some development tasks here at Geekzone, but since the local power company decided that today was a good day for an outage, I had to get out of the house. Off came the desktop, the Exchange server and other appliances.

Since my Exchange server is down today (from 8am through 4pm) I will have an e-mail free day. Yay! People still can catch me on Windows Live Messenger though, because from time to time I use my Pocket PC to login and check how things are going.

Also, very convenient to have the Sierra Wireless card on loan, I can connect to Vodafone's HSDPA network, and since it's not officially launched I can enjoy almost full speed - for now. Let's see how this network performs in the next couple of months with the number of users joining the service.

At the moment it keeps bouncing from HSDPA to WCDMA to GPRS, which is due to low coverage in this area (and because I am indoors, and we all know how bad WCDMA 2100 MHz can be indoors).




Windows Vista RC1 CPP clarification

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Sep-2006 10:15

As you now know from lots of sites and blogs around the net (here on Nathan's Technet blog for example), Microsoft Windows Vista RC1 is available for download from the official Windows Vista site for participants in the Community Preview Program (CPP).

However there is a catch, and you should know this before you start a lengthy download: you need a product key (PID)! You will be able to use the same product key from Beta 2, if you were part of the original TechBeta or MSDN beta programmes, as well as PID issued when you register for the CPP.


Please note that currently the CPP is not accepting new registrations. If you don't already have a PID you will not be able to activate your copy of Windows Vista RC1, so don't waste your time and bandwidth downloading it now.

However, Microsoft plans to open the Customer Preview Program back up for new registrants. If you are not part of the original CPP, you will need to wait until the CPP opens to the public in order to register for a PID and install RC1. 

By the way, from experience and reading other blogs, don't waste your time and my time asking for registration keys in the comments. Read the post again!








Windows Vista RC1 Released

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Sep-2006 17:12

It's official: Microsoft Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is now available for participants of its TechBeta community. If you have access to the Microsoft Connect website and is part of the Windows Vista beta program, then you can download x86 and x64 ISO images now.

While details about availability of this build for others (public, MSDN) are not set yet, the Windows Vista team blog has a letter from Jim Alchin (Microsoft Platforms and Services co-president) about this release.


I will post more details as they become available. Keep an eye on this space during the next week (subscribe to my RSS feed) because we will have some more information coming out soon...









Some other tools for Windows Admins: AdventNet AppManager

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Sep-2006 09:26

Continuing the series of posts about administration tools for servers (the previous post on this topic is here and you will find the other links from there, as a chain) I want to comment on a very nice tool from AdventNet: ManageEngine Applications Manager.

This web based tool provides the admin of a single or multiple servers a lot of information that would otherwise require many hours of work and hundreds of scripts to collate.

You are able to see in a glance the status of servers and applications around the organisation and create "monitors" for those. What applications can you check with this tool? It will be a long list:


You can see the information in many different ways, including icons, tables, by category, etc.

  • Applications: Microsoft .NET, Oracle Application Server, JBoss, Tomcat, BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere
  • Web services: Apache, IIS, PHP Monitorin
  • Database: Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, DB
  • Website: URL, record & playback HTTP requests, URL content
  • Servers: Windows, Linux, Solaris, IBM AIX, HP-Unix / Tru64 Unix, FreeBSD
  • E-mail: Exchange Server, other mail servers (POP3/SMTP)
  • Custom: JMX Consoles, SNMP Consoles, Custom Script, QEngine Script

    For example, for SQL Server you can find information about memory usage, buffer statistics, lock details, database statistics (including batch requests, compilations) and more. For servers you can have disc information, CPU utilisation, memory levels, etc. 


  • Is it enough? Not yet. For each monitor you can establish thresholds for availability and health, and have special actions taken, including sending messages to speficied e-mail addresses (great for SMS!).

    The insight you learn on your company's systems utilisation is great. You can see performance and monitors charts for a specified period, and even determine how long this data will be stored.

    The ManageEngine Applications Manager comes in a Professional Edition and a Free Edition. Yes, free as in gratis. The free edition does not allow user management and gives you five monitors (albeit this was reduced from previous versions where the number of free monitors was 10). You can see how I am using the free edition with my two servers here and happy with it.

    It communicates to other servers via SNMP or WMI, and for some database operations it will need  the admin password. For this reason I suggest you use a VPN to communication between servers. Check my previous post on Hamachi, a great tool, easy to configure, that can be used for this (I am using it now).

    It will use some resources though. The install process is painless, but prepare to have TOMCat, Apache and the ManageEngine installed. I suggest you change the Apache service to Automatic to allow you to see the tool from other computers without need to login to the server, and I also suggest you have the latest Java run time.

    The company behind this application has a lot of other tools available, for all sorts of IT tasks. But what's interesting is that they are also behind of the Zoho set of web-based office tools (think of word processing, presentation, collaboration, spreadsheet, CRM, project management).



    Windows Live QnA Opens

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Aug-2006 10:54

    Remember how I was distributing invites for a beta of Windows Live QnA a few weeks ago? Don't worry about asking for an invite anymore, it seem like Microsoft has opened the service for the public, according to Techcrunch.






    Windows Live Hotspot Locator is... Live!

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Aug-2006 10:24

    Another live.com application being released by Microsoft is the Windows Live Hotspot Locator. The information present here is not much different from what you get from other sites such as jiwire or even our own Geekzone Find Wi-Fi Hotspot page (data provided by HotSpotHeaven).

    Actually the data returned by Microsoft's Windows Live Hotspost Locator is provided by jiwire.

    The interesting thing is the complete integration with maps provided by Windows Local Live. The only problem is that all maps are wrong (at least for New Zealand). Take a look in the screenshot below and you will notice that the pushpin is pointing to an address at least six blocks away from the actual location.

    But wait, there's more! It doesn't matter what location you select for Wellington, New Zealand, the map is the same. It's not a cache problem, because I tried the same on Firefox (yes, it runs on Firefox and really well!) and the maps were all the same.

    Also, for New Zealand results you will see that Telecom New Zealand is listed as "iPass", while CafeNet gets its own label "CafeNet".

    So, really, just another service adding to a bunch of well established providers out there... Sorry, but that's the truth.








    Update your Intel Centrino based laptops Part II

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Aug-2006 10:20

    A few weeks ago I posted about an update for the wireless drivers used by Centrino-based laptops and tablet PCs (Update your Intel Centrino based laptops and tablet PCs now). This is a follow up post.

    I've seen mention to this very important update everywhere on the Internet. But what was not mentioned afterwards was the finding from F-Secure (which was the first to report the vulnerability) of memory leaks in the Intel wireless service used to manage wi-fi connections.

    The way to solve this issue is to use the Microsoft Windows Wireless Zero Config service instead and disable/remove the Intel PROSet/Wireless Service, keeping the new drivers in place (or installing the drivers manually).

    Instructions from F-Secure and a report from SANS.

    You should end up with drivers version 9.0.4.17 even if using the Windows configuration service.







    Geekzone plug on Microsoft TechEd 2006

    By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 24-Aug-2006 15:25

    This year's Microsoft TechEd is just finished (we even managed to get an interview with Charlie Chung about Microsoft Exchange 2007 features for IT Admins and mobile users) and I am watching some of the videos available on their on-line presence, TechEd Live.


    One of the videos is with Microsoft's Darryl Burling showing some of the live.com features, more specifically how to add some site feeds to your personal page and some more detailed information on Microsoft Gadgets. And he uses Geekzone as an example on how to add a site's feed to your page.

    Check the video here (Geekzone appears at about 1 minute 40 seconds).

    We also have a Geekzone Blog gadget for live.com, available from the official Geekzone Blog.






    freitasm's profile

    Mauricio Freitas
    Wellington
    New Zealand


    I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

    I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

    Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

    If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

    Here's is my full disclosure post.

    A couple of blog posts you should read:

    Find more about Business Transformation | Enterprise Content Management | Customer Relationship Management


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