Archive for February, 2010

Vegas – The home of XP, DameWare, Messy Desktops, Java, Intel video cards and Sound

I love airports.  What else to do with your free time besides scout out all of the things that shouldn’t be done in public :)  I’ve been to Seattle, Gatwick, Southampton and now let’s take a look at what we can find in Vegas…

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What does the departures board say?  It says I’m running Windows XP and looking closer at the board doing the adverts next to it tells me:

  • They run a Java based dos client (DDC Java – version 1.6 even)
  • They use DameWare to remote control their devices (anyone want to sniff port 6129?)
  • They haven’t done too much with the desktop for 14 days as the clean desktop wizard is appearing
  • The have sound on their kisok machines (why?)
  • They are using the intel graphics chip set

Come on guys, I wouldn’t want to go gambling in your city with your IT staff…They’re showing their hands making it easy for the opponents to gauge them!

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Now Boarding – Anti-Virus flights from SEA (with Alaska Air)

For those of you who commonly read MVP blog posts, you know where we all were last week, right?  Well, if you didn’t there are loads of places that will tell you we all descended on Redmond for a big summit, but the rest…Well, I’m under NDA.  However, when I was leaving Sunday, I wasn’t the only one at the airport.  Sure you say, there are loads of passengers at the airport.  Nope, this is no normal passenger.  On Sunday, February 21, Alaska Airlines had a very special passenger…He kept “popping” up everywhere…to Las Vegas:

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…to Palm Springs

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…to San Diego:

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(apologies for the fuzzy images above, I was on a bit of a recon mission without trying to get kicked out of SeaTac) :)  Who was this stray passenger?  Well, let’s have a closer look at other monitors around SeaTac:

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Ah, ok it was Mr Micro.  Most people call him Trend.

What have we deduced from this lesson?

– Alaska Airlines uses Trend Micro A/V on their corporate LAN

– Ensure you make alerting silent if the machine is connected to a kiosk 🙂

Happy travels!!  

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I get interviewed by Korean MVP Sung Ki Park

While at summit, Erdal and I did a load of interviews of other MVP’s and their experiences.  What we didn’t realise is that one of the MVP’s wanted us to do an interview for him in return.  Watch and enjoy as Sung Ki Park, a Windows Desktop Experience MVP from Korea, interviews me and I try my hardest to understand Korean 🙂

Oh and make sure you wait till the end to see the best bit 🙂

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MVP Summit 2010 – Catching Up with MVP’s (Bev Hatchard)

The Microsoft MVP Program is a worldwide programme that has over 4,000 recipients representing over 90 competencies and spanning more than 70 countries.  According to the official MVP website:

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is an annual award given to outstanding members of Microsoft’s technical communities based on contributions made during the previous 12 months to offline and online Microsoft-related technical communities

This week, over 1,300 MVP’s have travelled the globe to descend on the Redmond and Bellvue campus to learn new things, share their experiences and, well network.  The MVP’s are just like normal people, they’ve got jobs, kids and commitments.  We got the chance to meet up with some MVP’s and have them share their experiences with us and tell us why it is so important to visit campus and take a week out of their busy schedules.

The first intervew, I’m happy to say is with a fellow UK MVP Bev HatchardSimilar to me, she’s a Windows Desktop Experience MVP.  My colleague Erdal Ozkaya (another WDE MVP from Australia) and I got the chance to get her view…See what Bev has to say:

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Data Protection…Bah, Who Cares Really

So, on my way to Las Vegas en route to the MVP Summit 2010 and where do I get to travel via?  Of course, my favourite airport London Gatwick :)  Just a note, it’s neigh on impossible for me to “avoid” Gatwick, so every time I get to fly through Gatwick I ensure to keep a look out for interesting things.  If you’re a frequent reader in the past you surely know about their difficulties with the Windows XP monitors and you’ve probably read about my thoughts on the MyMemory automated vending machines (Story1, Story2, Story3).  Well, good news, today all of the monitors I passed were working and the prices in the MyMemory machine were better than before and competitive with Dixons (who now seem to operate two shops in the South Departures Lounge).  However what was worrying was what I came across upstairs.

For those of you who haven’t had the experience of travelling through Gatwick lately, over the past 18-24 months Gatwick has gone through various transformations, one of them being moving the primary security channel from the ground floor to the upstairs just outside the main restaurant.  Supposedly there are more security machines and they can get passengers through more effectively and efficiently.  Personally, I don’t believe it, and in my personal experiences, I’m waiting longer upstairs, but hey ho.  What scared me today though was the sign I came across as part of Gatwick’s further transformations.

Upstaris, after clearing the security channel there was a set of scaffolding to what looked like roof access.  Being the curious type, I approached it and low and behold exposed to the outside world – the names and telephone numbers of all of the parties involved in the works on transforming Gatwick.  No, not internal telephone extensions, rather their mobile numbers.  Yep, fully exposed to the public:

gatwick numbers

Now, I know usually you can get information if you work hard at trying to unearth it or uncover it, but hey, here it is open to Joe Public and no strings attached.  You’d like to think that they’d put this sheet behind the door where people who were working on the project – those who would need these numbers – would have secure access to, but nah, let’s throw data protection to the wind and make it visible for everyone.

N.B. For protection of those innocent I’ve blacked out the last two digits of everyone’s mobile, but should you want them, book a flight via Gatwick and as soon as you’re through the security channel, presto, they’re yours for having 🙂

So, food for thought, if you ever do any contracting work at Gatwick or do work for BAA, I’d ask them their idea of data protection as you’re mobile number, should you be anyone involved in the project at a level of any significance, will be visible to all.  Thanks again Gatwick and BAA for making my delay all the more interesting by yet again giving me another story to write about your airport 🙂

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Windows 7 Themes – Guernsey One

NOTE: This is the first in a series of Guernsey themes.

Everyone likes to personalise their background.  With Windows 7, this capability has been extended even further.  Windows 7 introduces “Themes”.  What a Theme lets you do is combine one or more backgrounds with your favourite sounds, colours, screen saver and any other personalisation settings.

With the kind help of the Guernsey Press Company Limited, I’ve been given some exclusive photos of the great Channel Island of Guernsey.  Their photographers take images all around the island and they’ve given me over 60 of their best which they feel showcases their island.  You can read more about the Guernsey Press’ stories (and see where they get the photos) from their website.

What I’ve done with the photos is create a Guernsey Theme for Windows 7 which I’d (and they’d) like to share with you.  This is Guernsey One:


The images are depicted by a URN (Unique Reference Number) and should you wish, you can use that URN to get a physical copy of the image (using the URN) here.

To install the theme (which rotates all of the above images, download it by clicking on the button below (it’s 38 MB). Once downloaded, simply double click the file and enjoy 🙂

download button

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What kind of security might your car tell everyone about you?

In 2006 as a valentine’s day present, the UK put in to effect an initiative called Chip and Pin.  What it meant was that you no longer signed for card purchases at the till, rather you entered a four digit code – the same four digit code you enter when withdrawing money from a cash point (ATM).  According to the marketing people:

Chip and PIN is the new, more secure way to pay with credit or debit cards in the UK.

What it actually meant is that anyone who gets your PIN can then purchase stuff as you. No longer needing to practice your signature.

Now, here’s the twist.  There are places that use Chip and Pin who have number plates that are only digits…Here’s an example:

normal number plate

What does that number plate say?  Well it says 35949 and underneath it, Silverline Cars.  Ok, so we know this Alfa Romeo came from Silverline Cars.  No big deal.  However, what if you were to have your number plate personalised or have a four digit number plate? (it’s the “in” thing to have a smaller number as it’s easier to remember)

four digit number

No problem,again we can see this one came from a place called Doyle Motors Honda…Now, here’s where security comes in to play.  Walking down the road the other day I came across the following:

security number plate

I’ve blurred out part of the number, but the biggest concern is what is below the number.  If you click on the photo it gets larger.  I’ve blurred it out, but what it is – the person has not only personalised their number plate, but they’ve gone to the extent of telling you who they are…Why the concern?  Information is ubiquitous today.  Those four digits plus the person’s name gives me loads of information on who they are (and maybe even their pin number), not to mention, there’s probably an online telephone directory (p.s. there is), which now lets me know where that person lives (and yes this person was in the public directory)…

All from their number plate.  Next time you think of having something personalised about yourself and you’re going to make it publically available, think what it might say about you or even what information it might just be putting in the wrong hands…

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Office 2010 – Deployment Options

As Office 2010 gets nearer RTM (another phase of releases went out the other day to TAP customers) many of us need to begin to think about how we’re going to deploy it.  Good news is that Microsoft has taken the thought out of the what’s and how’s and put it all together for us in a simple document.  Even better, they’ve given us three options – a PDF, an XPS or even a Visio (what the PDF and XPS were made from, no doubt).

In short, there are five ways to deploy Office 2010:

As with anything, each has its advantages and disadvantages, all outlined for you and downloadable from here:

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Deploying Office 2010 with Presentation Virtualisation (a.k.a. Terminal Services)


(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)


Administrators can use Windows Server® 2008 Terminal Services as a deployment option to allow users to operate the Office 2010 applications from their workstations. Terminal Services is run on a shared server and presents the application user interface on a remote system, such as a local workstation. Using Terminal Services to take advantage of App-V enables the optimization of the application through the sequencing process of application virtualization and then uses Terminal Services to deliver the application as a presentation virtualization.

  • Centralizes management of applications, such as controlling application usage and license metering, which can help administrators ensure compliance.
  • Supports end-user roaming experience and to quickly make applications available to end-users.
  • Provides thin-client support.
  • Reduces network traffic because only keyboard, mouse, and display information is transmitted.
  • Application availability is dependent on both the network infrastructure and the servers running the application.
  • Graphic-intensive applications might experience degradation in performance.
  • Less flexibility of traditional end-user experience on a workstation.
  • Presentation virtualization is a good solution if application compatibility, such as running multiple versions of Office, is required and you want to use the processing power of servers running Terminal Services to operate the applications.
  • When older workstations do not support the operating system,  presentation virtualization is a good solution.
  • Ensure that redundancy is in place for presentation virtualization infrastructure to avoid having a single point of failure.
Deployment Help & Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 Using Application Virtualisation (App-V)

image (Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)


Administrators can use Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) as part of a deployment option to allow users to run Office 2010 applications on their workstations. App-V streams applications on demand to the workstation, from which the application is run. However, the application is not installed on the workstation.

  • Centralizes management of applications, such as controlling application usage and license metering, which can help administrators ensure compliance.
  • Supports end-user roaming experience and provides applications to end users quickly.
  • Allows multiple versions of Office to run on the workstation and can run both virtual applications and installed applications.
  • Office 2010 runs in an isolated virtual environment, which can enable previously incompatible applications to run on the same workstation.
  • Uses available workstation processing power to run applications.
  • Requires supporting infrastructure and resources for App-V, which will vary depending on the infrastructure deployment option selection.
  • Network bandwidth availability for streaming application to end-user device.
  • Integration into existing infrastructure, such as patch management process.
  • When application compatibility, such as running multiple versions of Office 2010, is required and you want to use the processing power of the workstation to run the applications, then application virtualization is a good solution.
  • When you want to use the existing processing power of the workstation to run the application, then application virtualization is a good solution, as opposed to the use of presentation virtualization, where the running of the application takes place on the servers.
  • When scalability is needed for the distribution of the virtualized application to many hundreds of computers and in different locations, such as remote offices, we recommend  use of change and configuration management software, such as Microsoft
  • System Center Configuration Manager, as the delivery mechanism.
    Ensure that redundancy is in place for application virtualization infrastructure to avoid having a single point of failure.
Deployment Help & Tools

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