Recommendation of the week

Vacations are good. I recommend them. I am back from a cruise in the Caribbean and to a person everyone at my place of employment has commented on how rested & relaxed I look.  Heh.

Naturally I come back to a full plate, so I will be sharing some of those challenges with you as the week progresses.

Florida Keys

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When did blogging become hazardous?

I was in shock this afternoon when I read that Kathy Sierra has been receiving death threats on her blog. Read what others are saying over at Techmeme or Scobleizer since they can probably articulate this issue better than I.

We are truly living in a mad world when someone is attacked in this manner. I think Kathy said it best when she said:

“If you want to do something about it–do not tolerate the kind of abuse that includes threats or even suggestions of violence (especially sexual violence). Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this “social commentary”, “protected speech”, or simply “criticism”. I would never be for censoring speech–these people can say all the misogynistic, vile, tasteless things they like–but we must preserve that line where words and images become threats of violence. Freedom of speech–however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.”

Update: Climb to the Stars seems to have the best set of links to help understand the background of this issue

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This IS a work blog, right?

Me: “I am dying for something salty, crunchy, yummy right now…because I can’t get this Exchange restore to work. Have I mentioned I hate our backup software because it is so hard to use?”

Coworker: “I have some rice cakes around here somewhere, I think. They are probably pretty old…”

Me: “Oh, I have almonds, whole wheat crackers and gum at my desk. Naw, I want chocolate or Breyer’s Rocky Road Ice Cream or some of that really great Tom Yum soup from my favorite Thai restaurant

Coworker: “You know what would be really good? Chocolate dipped pretzels OR pretzels dipped in Nutella.”

Me: “You are killing me. I am running back to my office & drinking more green tea to try to GBTW!”

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No security fixes doesn’t mean no patches

Sure, there was the announcement about no security patches in March from Microsoft.

That didn’t mean no patches were released. I was glad to see this single patch in particular: KB929338. This error message has dogged me off and on over the last year with little relief. You would get the BSOD and the error was:

Stop error message in Windows XP with Service Pack 2: “STOP 0x0000001a: MEMORY_MANAGEMENT” or “STOP 0x0000000a: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL”

Here is to a stable, non BSOD rest of March.

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Killer feature?

I was visiting Mobitrends and he has some pictures of Vista Sideshow prototype devices. Have you heard about Sideshow?

Wikipedia describes Sideshow as:

a new technology that lets Windows Vista drive auxiliary, small displays of various form-factors where ready-access to bite-size bits of information could be imagined. These include displays embedded on the outside of a laptop lid or on a detachable device, enabling access to information and media even when the main system is in a standby mode. Data can also be displayed on cell phones and other network-connected devices via Bluetooth and other connectivity options.

I will be watching this feature to see what comes of it.

Launch of Vista is great event

I headed to downtown Washington DC on Tuesday with hundreds of other IT professionals to witness the launch of Vista, Office 2007, see many other products demonstrated and of course, get our free copy of Office 2007.

This event was well orchestrated. My favorite part? The ‘Ask the Experts’ room. I have already been working on installing Sharepoint 2007 so I had questions and I also got to see one of my favorite Outlook MVP’s ever, Sue Mosher. As usual, she knows how to impart knowledge in a way that makes you go back to your desk thinking and inspired. Thanks for the insights Sue!

There was another event happening in the same area where the vendor booths were and if you look closely at this banner, you have to ask yourself, “Coincidence that this event was happening the same day that Vista is launched?!?” I think not.

Fingerprint Systems at the tanning salon?

At a recent visit to Palm Beach Tanning Salons (I occasionally suffer from SAD), I discovered that they now require a fingerprint ID in order to list you as a current member. I am not particularly comfortable with so much information about me sitting in the database of a tanning salon.

Information Week reports that the government of course is going to be purchasing more and more of these systems. As a non-citizen of the United States, I have had to give up a lot of privacy due to security concerns and that is understandable. Do private businesses get to have this data too?

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Update: Event ID 9646

Over here at this blog site I posted about experiencing the following message in the Application event logs:

Mapi session “/o=Corp./ou=company_VA/cn=Recipients/cn=username” exceeded the maximum of 32 objects of type “session”.

Here is Microsoft’s guide to this issue: Microsoft Knowledge Base article 842022 where they recommend upgrading all this 3rd party software to latest versions if you just can’t remove it. In my case, it ultimately boiled down to AIM flooding MAPI network connections as it tried to check for mail etc. Turning off new mail notifications helped a lot. I had two users who needed to have Windows reinstalled since they had other issues and that cleared up all their issues.

Honestly, I think that Exchange is behaving properly, it really was user activity that caused the errors.

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Versamail 3.5 changes in new TREO 650P

I had a user come in and want to set up her new TREO 650P that she got from Verizon so that it would synch with our Exchange Server. I went through and input all the required settings into Versamail 3.5 and it came back with SSL errors: it just didn’t like the certificate. Huh. So, I went out to my certificate authority server and tried to download the certificate manually but I wasn’t getting the usual responses (as in, “Do you want to install now?”).

After talking to Palm, turns out that if you aren’t using certificates from authorities that they list on their website when using Versamail 3.5, you are out of luck. Knowledge Base article 16733 goes on to state:

  •   “If you are receiving these error messages and you’d like to continue using VersaMail 3.5 with EAS, you will need to use one of the Certificate Authorities on this list, or discontinue use of SSL. The error messages are occurring because VersaMail cannot match the Certificate Authority of your SSL Certificate to the approved list. Unfortunately, there is no option available at this time to modify the trust list.”

This is is a real showstopper for tiny organizations that are trying to cut costs and simply create their own certificates. The user has decided to go back to Verizon to get a Windows based unit.

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