Monthly Archives: September 2006

Good thing I’m not going to Australia or Korea….

From: Techdirt.com

Another Airline Grounds Dell, Apple Laptops

from the bet-they-just-lost-two-corporate-accounts dept

Following the lead of Australia’s Qantas, Korean Air has forbidden the use of Dell and Apple laptops on its planes (via Engadget). The company says users can bring the computers aboard, as long as they put their batteries in their checked luggage. This seems doubly pointless, because if the airlines are going to overreact and forbid the use of the machines on board, why let the batteries on at all, since there are questions about the safety of batteries travelling as cargo, too? Spokesmen from Apple and Dell have a point that there are plenty of their laptops that didn’t ship with the exploding battery figure, so they shouldn’t be any more of a threat to an airplane than any other laptop, and to single their users out really isn’t all that helpful. All this ban will do is drive some customers to other airlines, where they’ll carry their machines on unmolested. However, the original article does say the FAA is reviewing the safety of lithium batteries — so maybe it won’t just be Apple and Dell owners getting the special treatment.

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5 Common Mistakes in Implementing SharePoint Portal Server

As a SharePoint consultant, I’ve come across many different architectures and designs of SharePoint portals.  When I am asked to assist in the design of a brand new architecture or assist in the redesign of their current infrastructure, I try to assess my clients’ understanding of their design needs.  I more often than not come across things where, if implemented originally, may cause pain at a later time.  Here are some of the most common things that I see that you should take into account before (or as) you design your SharePoint infrastructure.

1.        Do not put all documents into SharePoint.  This is a common mistake.  SharePoint can be a good document repository, but it should not replace your file servers for documents that are collaborative in nature.  A better design would be to keep non-collaborative documents on your file servers and point SharePoint to the file server as a content source.  Putting all your documents into SharePoint unnecessarily grows your SQL database and makes a backup and restore more cumbersome.  This becomes and issue when you need a file level restore.  There are great products to help mitigate this, but if you only implement out of the box features—save yourself the potential headache.

2.       Put the processing power on the WFEs, not the SQL back end.  Another misconception that plagues architects is the issue of how much hardware, its specifications and its location.  The most common error made is placing the biggest, most powerful piece of hardware at the back end with SQL.  If the SQL database is dedicated to SharePoint, that is nothing else will be utilizing it, the placement of the power is misdirected.  The “hoss” should be placed at the front end with the WFE.  That is the end that is doing the crawling, the end that is serving up user requests and the server most utilized.  Performance is a huge consideration for any application and SharePoint is no exception.  The correct placement of power is critical to get every ounce of performance out of this application.

3.       Don’t underestimate the amount of space needed.  If you plan to deploy SharePoint  you need to understand that more is what you need.  More hardware, more people, and more disk space.  Can you spell SAN?  You’d better.  A typical ratio to use would be 5 or 6 to 1, that is—for every 1 GB of data, you will need 5 or 6 GB of free space.  Yes, I’m not kidding.  If you don’t adequately size your disk space you will be forever adding space at inconvenient times .

4.       End user training is crucial for a deployment of SharePoint to work.  Imagine this:  You spend all the time and money your company has to deploy this killer app and no one wants to use it because they don’t understand how it works.  Spend the time to develop an internal training program for end users or spend the money on competent external training.  Don’t let your investment go down the drain.

5.       If search is the reason (or deciding factor) you chose SharePoint, making sure the result sets are accurate and informative can be a time consuming effort if your implementation has more than 100 content sources.  A good measure to use is 0.5 FTE (Full Time Employee) for every 100 content sources.  That is to say, if you point your SharePoint server to crawl 100 different places, one-half of someone’s day will spent on ensuring that what is crawled is useful, that errors are resolved, that the content sources are being correctly crawled, that filters are correctly working, etc.

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“Hot” is relative

85 degrees outside at the pool is nice (35 deg C)
85 degrees inside your house is NOT nice
 
Today at about 5pm, my air conditioning unit breaks.  Living in Phoenix, Arizona in the summer with no AC is dang near a life threatening event.
 
About a year ago, the outside unit broke down and I had the technician replace it.  It appears that it is broken again and the guy can’t come out until Monday…..I have to go through another day without AC…..heaven help me.
 
 
 
 

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Arizona Governor’s Race — IT IS ON!!!

From AZCentral.com:

 

"Difficult race

Most polls have Napolitano with a commanding lead over her potential Republican rivals, so Munsil will have to catch fire quickly in the general election with issues that please his conservative base and appeal to moderates. Napolitano hopes to grab a good chunk of Republican votes by touting an agenda that she says reflects mainstream Arizona. That means a lot of talk about the economy, education and health care.

The clock is ticking. Early ballots will be mailed out to voters in less than five weeks.

As the underdog, Munsil probably will frame the debate around two hot-button issues: illegal immigration and banning gay marriage, which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot as part of a separate measure. He said he also will campaign heavily on education and the state’s crime problems.

Napolitano, who enjoys high approval ratings, will remind voters of her accomplishments: implementation of full-day kindergarten, the transition of a massive state deficit into a budget surplus and Arizona’s strong economy.

Munsil called Napolitano "out of step with Arizona."

Barry Dill, a Napolitano campaign consultant, responded in kind.

"Over the next eight weeks, we are confident that Len Munsil will be exposed for the inexperienced, out-of-the-mainstream zealot that he truly is," Dill said.

And the race begins."

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TechMentor Conference

Here’s my semi-annual plug for the conference I regularly speak at:
 
Experience the Premiere Conference for Windows IT Professionals
TechMentor Las Vegas, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

TechMentor provides focused training — by expert instructors — on integrating, managing, securing and troubleshooting your Microsoft Windows server systems.

 

100 Sessions, 6 Tracks:
. Exchange/SQL Server
. Scripting and Automation
. Security
. System and Network Troubleshooting
. MCSA: Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator
. MCSE: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
Who Should Attend:
. Network and Systems Administrators
. Network and Systems Engineers
. IS/IT Managers and Directors
. MCPs, MCSAs and MCSEs
. Security Specialists
. IT/Systems/Technical Analysts
. Helpdesk/Desktop Support
. Consultants

 

Here are the sessions I will be giving:

Monday, October 09, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
12:30 – 2:00pm MCSE: Physical and Logical Devices
  Hard drives are the most important physical and logical devices on a Windows system. With basic disks, dynamic disks, volumes, partitions and troubleshooting, there’s a lot to know. Don’t forget about handling drivers, driver signing and driver rollback. You’ll learn about disk quotas, defragmentation, removable drives and how the operating system detects and handles these devices.
Monday, October 09, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
4:00 – 5:30pm MCSE: RAS and Remote Administration
 

This session will dig deep into remote access services, covering protocols, security, RAS clients and permissions. RAS policies — the heart of RAS security — will be demystified so you can fully understand how to create and manage them. You’ll also learn about other remote access topics like Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, Terminal Services for administration (which has new names and interfaces for Windows Server 2003) and tools like the MMC and how to use the Adminpak for administration.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Instructor: Richard Taylor
3:30 – 5:00pm MCSE: Network Security
  When it comes to network security, there are plenty of options within Windows Server 2003. You’ll get reacquainted with old friends like SMB signing and port filtering, learn how to secure authentication and how to use certificates to increase network communication security. You’ll also get into IPSec — an abyss of settings and options you’ll learn to decrypt – and the new and improved Windows Firewall, which you can control almost 100% through GPOs.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
8:30 – 10:00am MCSE: IIS and IIS Security
  Windows Server 2003 now has a distinct product for running a Web server – IIS. You’ll learn the new features of IIS including overlapping recycling, real-time editing of the XML metabase, Application Pools, Web Service Extensions, and the key architectural changes that improve stability, security and performance for your Web servers.

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
4:00 – 5:30pm MCSE: Managing and Monitoring Performance
  Although Task Manager has been around a long time, it has several new features for you to learn. There’s also the System Monitor (a.k.a. Performance Monitor), which is ideal for baselining and troubleshooting network, application or system problems. You’ll also learn the ins and outs of Software Update Services (SUS), and how it should work with GPOs. Event Viewer is still essential for monitoring, but the audit policy needs to be set up to fill the security logs. You’ll also see Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA), which is constantly being upgraded with new features.

 

Thursday, October 12, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
10:15 – 11:45am MCSE: Disaster Recovery and Backups
  Learn how to navigate the myriad options for troubleshooting, backup and recovery. There are still familiar tools like Last Known Good and NTbackup, as well as new options like Automated System Recovery and Volume Shadow Copy. For Active Directory, there are also System State and authoritative restores, the Recovery Console, tombstoning and emergency management.

 

Friday, October 13, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
8:30 – 10:00am MCSE: PKI and Certificates
  Windows Server 2003 PKI can deploy an enterprise public key infrastructure fairly simply, but understanding the correct hierarchy for your Certificate Authorities (CAs) is essential. You’ll learn the correct design of PKI and your CAs, as well as how to issue and manage the certificates required for the multitude of certificate-using applications. There are plenty of new PKI enhancements as well, including certificate enrollment, qualified subordination and custom certificate templates.

 

Friday, October 13, 2006 Instructor: Richard Taylor
10:15 – 11:45am MCSE: Review Session
  Do you still have burning questions about Microsoft technologies, exams, or the exam process? This is the time for those questions. We’ll open up the floor to your questions, and guide you through some summary activities to help solidify your knowledge from the week. We will look at a few archived Microsoft questions that give you a clear understanding of the type of questions you’ll be up against when you sit for the exams. Remember, “There are no stupid questions.” Bring your questions to this session.

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Interesting trip

On my way out, two seats behind me, sat Charles Barkley . When he got up to go to the restroom, I asked his wife if she thought he would let
me take his picture. She indicated that he wouldnt have a problem with it. She was mistaken.

"Man….if you take my picture, I’ll have everybody on the plane in my face.  That’s why we’re hidin’ out now.  I’ll sign somethin’ for ya."  I did not know he was on his way to Salem, Mass to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. 

Now I’ve got a blue piece of contruction paper with Charles Barkley’s name on it.  The LAST before he became enshrined.

Sent from my Windows mobile smartphone

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YAY!! Knowledge Network works!

I installed Knowledge Network, a component of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007), and had issues.  I finally got it up and working.
 
The issue was that the client installation isn’t your typical installation.  According to the client configuration documentation, you have to use a tool called ORCA to edit the database to point your client (KNClient) to the Knowledge Network server (KNServer).  If you don’t do that, you will need to edit your registry.  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\KnowledgeNetwork\1.0.  You will need to add a REG_SZ value named KNServer that is set to the root URL of the Knowledge Network server (http://<KNServer&gt;).  Now here is where I was having issues. 
 
I could not initially connect to http://<KNServer>/_vti_bin/KnowledgeNetwork/ProfileService.asmx so I went into IIS and looked for the virtual directory.  It existed in a web site which I had given a host header to called "SearchCenter".  So I typed the host header in my browser and it came up.  I then went to the registry and used SearchCenter as the KNServer name.

The first issue was, if your Search Center is using a CNAME (alias) you will need to use the alias or you will get the following error message in the KNClient.log file:

System.Net.WebException: The request failed with HTTP status 404: Not Found.
   at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.ReadResponse(SoapClientMessage message, WebResponse response, Stream responseStream, Boolean asyncCall)
   at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.Invoke(String methodName, Object[] parameters)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.Interfaces.ProfileService.GetUserProfile(String userAlias)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.UploadProfileTask.Synchronize(ProfileService service)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.UploadProfileTask.Execute(Scheduler scheduler)

But that was only a THIRD of the problem.  Even after making the change to the alias in the registry I was getting the following error messages:

8/31/2006 11:27:35 AM: Started Upload Profile to Server Task
8/31/2006 11:27:42 AM: Trying again 1.
8/31/2006 11:27:42 AM: Trying again 2.
8/31/2006 11:27:43 AM: System.Net.WebException: The request failed with HTTP status 401: Unauthorized.
   at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.ReadResponse(SoapClientMessage message, WebResponse response, Stream responseStream, Boolean asyncCall)
   at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.Invoke(String methodName, Object[] parameters)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.Interfaces.ProfileService.GetUserProfile(String userAlias)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.UploadProfileTask.Synchronize(ProfileService service)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.UploadProfileTask.Execute(Scheduler scheduler)
8/31/2006 11:27:43 AM: Ended Upload Profile to Server Task

So then I thought it was an authentication issue.  So I went into the registry to:

HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\KnowledgeNetwork\1.0

And I created a new DWORD value called ‘UseDefaultCredentials’ and set it to 0.

I then got the following error messages:

9/2/2006 8:48:16 PM: System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapException: Invalid argument.
Parameter name: aliasUri
   at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.ReadResponse(SoapClientMessage message, WebResponse response, Stream responseStream, Boolean asyncCall)
   at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.Invoke(String methodName, Object[] parameters)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.Interfaces.ProfileService.GetUserProfile(String userAlias)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.UploadProfileTask.Synchronize(ProfileService service)
   at Microsoft.Office.SocialNetwork.UploadProfileTask.Execute(Scheduler scheduler)
9/2/2006 8:48:17 PM: Ended Upload Profile to Server Task

If your server is using a port number, you will need to add that as well.  Not adding the port number to the URL will result in you getting the previous error message in the KNClient.log file.

So now everything is working nicely and I am a happy camper again!

 


 

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