Archive for August, 2009

Site Cleanup & Going Mental With Tags

So today I’ve changed the site theme/template and I’ve decided to also be a bit more tidy with my tags as I’ve noticed there are *way* too many tags on the site.  I’ll leave all of the articles, but most of the tags are going to go bye-bye in an attempt to try and “clean it up a bit Justin”.

Think it’s a good idea?  Does less tags equal a cleaner blog or am I just generating more work for myself, yet again?

Oh and what do you think of the new template?

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Shortening URL’s Part 3 – Security!

In what seems to be a series of stories about shortening URL’s, today we’re going to take a look at the dangerous and viscous side of things – the security.

The first article I wrote on URL shortening defined the services that were on offer and the pitfalls of using them (i.e. if the service goes offline, you’ve got no URL forwarders):

What URL Shortening Service Rules the Roost?

Ok, so not too bad.  There are a variety of services out there for you to use and they all do about the same thing – shorten URL’s.

We then took a look at one of the services (TinyURL) and coupled it with the recent Server 2008 R2 release and made a fancy TinyURL (and talked about Server 2008 R2):

Windows Server 2008R2 + TinyURL = http://tinyurl.com/ws2k8r2

Now, let’s break it down one step further and look at the dodgy side of URL Shortening…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Windows Server 2008R2 + TinyURL = http://tinyurl.com/ws2k8r2

server2008r2logo We’ve all used a URL shortening service before (see my posting about which ones are making waves here: http://www.227volts.com/?p=940) so I thought, let’s get the community involved – which is what I like doing 🙂 – and do this with Windows Server 2008 R2.

Now that Server 2008R2 is out in the wild, you can download it if you belong to MSDN or TechNet Plus (if you don’t have one of these subscriptions, ask yourself why!?!? you need one).  At any rate, say you don’t have a subscription, you can easily download and demo Windows Server 2008 R2 from the TechNet Eval Centre using this URL:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/evalcenter/dd459137.aspx

Ugh!  What a horrible URL to remember, eh?  Ok, now lets get TinyURL involved.  We pop over to http://tinyurl.com, plug in the URL above and request:

http://tinyurl.com/ws2k8r2

for Windows Server 2008 R2 and presto, we’re in business.  So, for those of you who’ve made it this far…in summary, go evaluate Windows Server 2008R2 (remember it only runs on the x64 platform).  You’ll like what’s on offer!!

Watch this space soon for the Windows 7 eval and hey, who knows, maybe we can get a cool TinyURL for that one too!

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Happy 25th Birthday PowerPoint

PowerPointlogo One of the things that most of us in technology seem to hate – PowerPoint presentations…why?  They all put us to sleep and there is usually no dynamics aside of the slide transition as part of the presentation.  Well, albeit a Microsoft technology, for once big blue isn’t to blame for PowerPoint…It seems it was called Presentation 25 years ago and was the brain wave of Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin. 

Albeit, as boring as it may be, Gaskins and Austin got a hefty $14 million for it in August 1987 from Microsoft.  It began to be used publically on laptops (according to sources) February 25, 1992 and by 1993 it was the leader in presentation software and today is used by 95% of all presentations.  To date annual sales are on average $100 million, so not a bad purchase 22 years ago.

At any rate, happy 25th birthday PowerPoint!

For more information, see a complete article over on the Beeb’s website

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Texas Judge says no more selling Word (for now)

A Texas judge ruled Tuesday that Microsoft cannot sell one of its flagship products, Word, in the United States because of patent infringement.

 

You read that right: Microsoft cannot sell Word, the judge ruled.

Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML," according to an announcement by the plaintiff, Toronto-based i4i Inc.

XML is a "markup language" that allows users to customize the underlying format of their word-processing documents, for example, and makes them readable across different word-processing programs. The ability to read and write XML documents is an integral feature of Microsoft Word.

Download the injunction (PDF)

In its complaint (PDF), i4i alleges Microsoft willingly violated its 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) on a method for reading XML. The company, whose Web site advertises that users can "Create and edit XML content in Microsoft Word," helps clients work with XML.

i4i filed the lawsuit in March 2007, seeking an injunction and damages. The Eastern District of Texas is known for being a haven for patent litigation.

The injunction (PDF), which becomes effective in 60 days, prohibits Microsoft from selling future Word products that allegedly use the patented technology. It also enjoins Microsoft from testing, demonstrating, marketing or offering support for those future products.

Davis also ordered Microsoft to pay i4i more than $290 million in damages.

"We are disappointed by the court’s ruling," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict."

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It’s Here, so download and install – but PLEASE * 27 – do a fresh install

For those of you technophiles who haven’t been living under a rock, you know that today, August 6th, 2009, Microsoft are releasing the code for Windows 7.  For those of you that have TechNet Plus or MSDN Subscriptions, the wait is over:

win7rtmdl

So, go out and download it now.  HOWEVER, PLEASE * 27 (why 27?  Well, it’s my favourite number), but anyways, PLEASE do a fresh install.  DO NOT UPGRADE.  Yes, I know you can upgrade it, but why would you want to?  The first thing anyone who is going to potentially support you will ask is – did you do a fresh install?  If your answer is no, ask yourself why!  If something went wrong during the Beta or the RC which you might have loaded, guess what, you bring that bad stuff along with you.  A fresh install is always better.

So, you ask, how do you get TechNet Plus or MSDN if you don’t have it?  Well, the easiest way is to visit TechEd.  Not only do you get good information from all the great speakers like my colleague Andy Malone, or even me & Erdal Ozkaya, you get a FREE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to TechNet Plus and with it comes Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 when it comes out.

So, now I’ve said that, what are you waiting for?  Go get the code complete, install it and let us know what you think…where you say?  Well, naturally over at Springboard – http://www.microsoft.com/springboard/ – you’re one stop resource for Discover > Explore > Pilot > Deploy > Manage

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Twitter the latest victim of DDoS

twitter We all hear about it, we all know about it, but we all hope we never get it.  The dreaded Distributed Denial of Service Attack or better known as DDoS.  Well, in the days of social media, that we are all starting to rely more heavily on, today’s DDoS victim is the beloved Twitter.  It seems someone is out to get them as they’ve been completely knee capped.  Let’s see what comes of this…

http://status.twitter.com/

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Windows 7 to come with IE now in Europe (no E version after all!)

After feedback and numerous people saying how difficult it was going to be in order to get a browser on a box without one, Microsoft has decided to ship the same version of Windows 7 all around the world and bin the “E” version which was to be shipped in the EU browser-less.  It looks now as if the OS will ship with a portal (in IE) allowing you to select your browser upon running “the Internet” the first time.

"In the wake of last week’s developments, as well as continuing feedback on Windows 7 E that we have received from computer manufacturers and other business partners, I’m pleased to report that we will ship the same version of Windows 7 in Europe in October that we will ship in the rest of the world," deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said in a statement.

The commission had said it "welcomed" Microsoft’s move, also giving the software some confidence that it could ship Windows 7 with the browser included. If the commission accepts Microsoft’s proposal, it will fully implement that proposed ballot screen to Windows 7 buyers in Europe.

"One reason we decided not to ship Windows 7 ‘E’ is concerns raised by computer manufacturers and partners," Heiner said. "Several worried about the complexity of changing the version of Windows that we ship in Europe if our ballot screen proposal is ultimately accepted by the Commission and we stop selling Windows 7 ‘E’. Computer manufacturers and our partners also warned that introducing Windows 7 ‘E’, only to later replace it with a version of Windows 7 that includes IE, could confuse consumers about what version of Windows to buy with their PCs."

Read more over at C|Net

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Microsoft releases Security Update Guide

This Guide was designed to help IT professionals better understand and use Microsoft security release information, processes, communications, and tools. Our goal is to help IT professionals manage organizational risk and develop a repeatable, effective deployment mechanism for security updates. In this Guide, you will find a convenient glossary of terms, an overview of the Microsoft Security Bulletin process, and a stage-by-stage review of Microsoft Security Updates. The Guide is organized according to the following stages of the security update process:

Stage 1, Receive Microsoft Security Release Communications

Stage 2, Evaluate Risk

Stage 3, Evaluate Mitigation

Stage 4, Standard or Urgent Update Deployment Timeline

Stage 5, Monitor Systems

Ongoing Stage, Watch.

Each section outlines the purpose and objective for that stage, as well as the expected target outcomes upon that stage’s completion.

Find more information about this useful guide here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=c3d986d0-ecc3-4ce0-9c25-048ec5b52a4f#tm

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What URL Shortening Service Rules the Roost?

The folks over at Kaspersky Labs decided to do some research on twitter and harvest short URL’s for 24 hours to see just which URL shortening service people commonly use.  For those of you unfamiliar with URL shortening it is taking a big website address like:

http://www.msteched.com/online/view.aspx?tid=e260f558-3cbd-45db-a7d0-ffdffd3460c4

and making it something like:

http://tinyurl.com/tela027

What good is this?  Well, when a tweet has to be a certain number of characters, every byte counts.  Also, it’s a heck of a lot easier to remember shorter URL’s than longer ones….So, without further adieu, here’s the results

208187802

Looks like bit.ly is the king with just shy of 54% of the URL’s out there.  The next big dog with just over 25% of the user base is tinyurl.com and there are of course others…

Something of interest in the statistics though, the fact that 1 in every 2 URL’s is bit.ly.  What if someone were to try and take that service down or DDoS it?  Essentially 1/2 of twitter’s URL’s are compromised…Food for thought.

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