Found 20 posts tagged with 'microsoft'

Week in Technology

September 15, 2005 — 0 Comments

It’s been an interesting week in technology (and it’s not over yet).
First of all, for those that don’t know, the PDC (Microsoft
Professional Developers Conference) has been underway since Monday and
they’ve been unleashing new stuff left and right.

Some of those include:

  • A PDC Build of Microsoft Vista (User Interface Video, Exploring and Using Vista Video)

  • A PDC Build of Microsoft Office 12 which showcases the dramatic new Office User Interface – a must see (Diving into the New Office Video). Probably the most popular video with 60,000 views already!

  • Microsoft Workflow Foundation. I’m still unsure of what the hell
    this really does and how it fits in with their other products (when I
    have time, I’ll check out the video).

  • New version of Sharepoint (Video)

  • LINQ, which stands for Language INtegrated Query. From the
    channel9 website, LINQ “makes query and set operations, like SQL
    statements first class citizens in .NET languages like C# and VB.” I’ve
    just scratched the surface of this, but it looks pretty cool so far. I
    guess it’s time to watch the video. When you are done with that, head over to this site for some more LINQ resources.

  • Information about the ATLAS project which brings AJAX technologies to ASP.NET.

  • Microsoft Expression
    which includes Graphic Designer (sorta like Adobe Illustrator and
    Photoshop(?)), Interactive Designer (think Macromedia Flash) and Web
    Designer. Being a web dude myself, I think Web Designer (code named
    Quartz) is probably the thing that I’m most excited about that’s been
    shown at the PDC so far. I want to get my hands on this software in the
    worst possible way.

  • There’s more but I’ll let you mosey on over to Scoble’s for the rest…so far, tomorrow is another day after all.

In non-Microsoft tech news, meebo has been released to the public. If you ignored all that Microsoft stuff, listen to this.

Meebo, is an AJAX (web application by virtue of using AJAX) IM client
that allows you to chat on AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, and ICQ. Google Talk,
schmoogle talk. This is hot!

It’s still a beta alpha so don’t expect things to work
perfectly. I’ve tested the login but at the time that I logged in all
my buddies were sleeping, so I’ll test the actual chat portion tomorrow.

Before anyone uses this service seriously, they need to put up their
privacy policy and use SSL. I’m not sure how they missed that when they
went live, but according to their blog they know about it and they are going to fix it.

Oh yeah, and Google released a blog search which only searches blogs. Technorati and Icerocket and others must be sweating it.

Customers and Microsoft

September 07, 2005 — 0 Comments

Ever since I bought the latest 30 Seconds to Mars CD I’ve been thinking a lot about DRM, Microsoft, and customers.

DRM, in the entertainment media sense (i.e. audio files, movie files,
etc.) serves absolutely no purpose for customers. There are no features
in DRM which actually benefits customers. It doesn’t make anyone’s life
easier, better or more rich. It’s an invention by companies to maintain
their revenue stream.

, Microsoft’s most public mouthpiece, talks about
company-to-customer relations often in his blog. He’s always quick to
point out
that companies that don’t listen to their customers are doomed. It
makes sense. As a company, your customers are your lifeblood. If you
wrong them enough times, eventually they will seek an alternative.

Unfortunately, in Microsoft’s case, one of the problems is that they
have too many customers; too many people or groups of people to please.
The DRM on the CD that I bought is a perfect example. The CD used DRM’d
Windows Media Audio (.wma) files to protect the content.

How does DRM’d .wma files help me as a customer? The answer is, they
don’t. I’m not the customer, the recording company is. The two are
mutually exclusive. The record company doesn’t care about the customer,
they just want to protect their revenue stream and Microsoft is helping
them. So in this case, Microsoft is alienating one customer to please

Before I go any further, I should say that when I write Microsoft in
this post, I mean the corporate entity and I’m not referring to
individual impassioned developers or groups of developers that actually
care about the products that they are working on and shipping.

Continuing on the note about customers and Microsoft, let me discuss IE
(Internet Explorer) 7. I truly believe that the newly reconstituted IE
team is passionate about giving their customers a great product to use.
What I don’t believe, and I don’t think anyone does either, is that
this move is completely altruistic. It’s not as if Bill Gates woke up
one day and said, “You know, IE 6 is good but our customers deserve
something better, so by golly, I’m going to give it to them!”

Everyone knows that the only reason Microsoft rebuilt their IE
team (after disbanding it) was because of Firefox’s rising popularity
(heck, even Microsoft’s employees admitted to using it instead of IE on
their blogs). In this case, who is
the customer? If you guessed the users, it’s my opinion that you have
guessed wrong, it’s the shareholders.

Firefox only had one customer to please; the users. They set to build a
better browser and they did it. Not because someone was cutting into
their little slice of the pie but because they wanted to make a great

Microsoft, the entity, seemed to have stopped caring about their most
important customers (their users) a long time ago. If you don’t take my
word for it, read Dare Obsanjo’s post on the subject. He should know, he actually works at Microsoft (although I’m not sure how after posts like those).

Microsoft knows what they need to do, now it’s time to see if they actually do it.


August 19, 2005 — 0 Comments

Microsoft’s LogParser tool is hot. I’ve been meaning to check out this tool for a few months but I never had time until recently.

LogParser, which uses a SQL engine for its queries, can query a
impressive array of input formats. Some of those formats are IIS logs,
csv files, XML files, Windows Event Logs, the Active Directory, the
registry, the filesystem, and more! The output formats that it
generates are equally impressive. Those include GIF charts, datagrids,
direct import into SQL Server, XML, and more.

If that wasn’t enough, the tool is completely scriptable using JavaScript, VBScript, or C# and VB.NET.

Yesterday, I was just hacking around figuring out the syntax and today
I wrote a full blown script to query my Active Directory to retrieve
all of the server objects. Based on that record set, then I query the
Application and System event logs on each server looking for only
warnings and errors.

Here is a snippet of the code to select objects out of the Active
Directory. I’ve replaced my domain with the fictional contoso.com

adQuery = “SELECT cn, operatingSystem, operatingSystemServicePack FROM
LDAP://contoso.com/DC=contoso,DC=com WHERE operatingSystem LIKE
serverORDER BY cn”

Below is the snippet of code that is used to query the event logs on each server:

SELECT TimeGenerated, EventID, EventLog, EventTypeName, SourceName,
Message FROM \” & record.getValue(“cn”) & “Application WHERE
EventTypeName NOT LIKEInformationAND TimeGenerated >=
TimeGenerated DESC

For those with experience in any kind of SQL programming, the queries
will come as second nature. For those without, I can easily say that
SQL programming is by far the easiest language to pick up so it’ll be
no time before you’re hacking out your own queries. If you get stuck,
there is an unofficial LogParser web site with all sorts of goodies.

I’ve made the full source code
for my script to query event logs for download. I should note that I’m
not a programmer by trade so there might be a more elegant way to do
what I did. If you find any mistakes in my code or find a better way to
do something let me know.

Note: The zip file contains two files. One is a .wsf file and one is a
.vbs file. The .wsf file is a workspace file and it “includes” the .vbs
file. The .vbs file should be placed in the c:scriptslib directory
but you can change that. Usually, I follow this directory structure for

—Scripts (place script files here)
——-Logs (logs get generated here)
-——Lib (include files are kept here)

Although I have provided the scripts for download, you are taking
responsibility if you run them on your computer and or network.


October 22, 2004 — 1 Comment

Microsoft is developing a new shell called Monad or msh. I believe that originally this technology was slated to be deployed with Longhorn but you can actually use the beta now as long as you have Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 and the .NET framework 2.0.

The new msh has power of the *nix shells (bash and k) and much more. A typical *nix command might look like this “ls -a | more”. Where the text output of ls is piped through the more command. In the new msh, when you pipe the output of commands from one to another, you are actually piping .NET objects instead of text. These .NET objects have all their properties exposed to the new command. It’s pretty interesting. Here is a good introductory write up and some introductory videos as well (below).

Interested in downloading the new shell? Follow the instructions below:

1. You will need need a passport account. If you do not have one yet, you can sign-up for one at the beta website listed below.
2. Goto http://beta.microsoft.com
3. Log into the site using the following guest ID: mshPDC
4. Select Microsoft Command Shell
5. Select Survey in the left column
6. Register with a valid email address.
7. Wait for the information to be sent to you through email. (May take a day or two)
8. Once you receive your confirmation email, log back into http://beta.microsoft.com for the content


October 21, 2004 — 2 Comments

I use Microsoft products all the time, but it seems that every time that Ballmer opens his mouth he says something stupid. In his latest spoken gaffe, he says that piracy is rampant in developing countries because PCs are too expensive. Too expensive?! PCs have never been cheaper, some coming at 300-400 bucks depending on where you go. So I guess it couldn’t be that Photoshop weighs in at ~$600.00 or that Windows XP Professional itself is ~200.00. Software piracy is rampant software is ridiculously priced, period.

This guy needs to stop ad-libbing and have someone else write his speeches for him.

Visual Studio Service Pack 6 Bug

April 23, 2004 — 0 Comments

The developers at our work are still using Visual Studio 6 for the majority of their development work and when one of them noticed that there was a Service Pack for Visual Studio we installed it on our development server. Boy was that a mistake. Apparently there is a bug in the Service Pack that will break IIS from being able to load ASP pages (ASP.NET and regular HTML files are ok) on a Windows 2000 Server.

Now I have to say that for the majority, I’ve never had a big problem with Microsoft’s Service Packs, but I wonder how the hell this got past QA?

I called Microsoft and I have a fix for the problem “Unable to Run ASP Pages After VS SP6 Installation”. This is apparently caused as a result of the permissions on mfc42.dll (located in %systemroot%system32 – on Windows 2000) being changed. The IWAM_MACHINENAME user needs to have Read and Execute permissions to this file. Once this is done, then it should work once again (it has in my environment).

Remote Desktop Issues

April 15, 2004 — 0 Comments

A friend of mine at work was having an issue where he would remote into his Windows XP home machine and it would immediately disconnect him. He asked me if I had ever seen that (which I hadn’t) and that was that. Of course, that was not that as I had to go find out what the hell was causing it. I use Remote Desktop religiously and I think I would wither away without it so I had to find the problem just in case the malady struck my machine.

Fortunately, in this day and age we have Google and I was able to find the solution lickety-split. Turns out that the latest version of the Nvidia drivers cause this issue. Just disable the NVIDIA Display Driver Service and everything should work fine.

Which brings up another interesting point. Google is like an everlasting font of knowledge. I ask it a question and it gives me the answer that I want (sometimes I have to look further than the first page – oh the horror!). Seriously though, I can’t remember what I did to solve tech issues/programming issues without it. I guess in those days we had to buy  lots and lots of books. I think if Google’s goodness went away, I would have to move to Tibet (not that there is anything wrong with that), live in a hut and survive by killing the chickens that walked in front of said hut.

Channel 9

April 06, 2004 — 0 Comments

Some of the developers at Microsoft put together the Channel 9 website in order for regular people to see an inside view of Microsoft’s developers and projects. Mostly it’s all about attempting to build a community though. Start here and take a peek. I’m sure that this is going to be a big hit among the geek community but only time will tell to see if it is accepted by all people.

Microsoft Download Center

April 02, 2004 — 0 Comments

Keep up on all the of downloads that Microsoft has made available by going to this link. Now if only they would RSS the sucker so that I wouldn’t have to visit the site daily.

MS Search -- Fools

March 29, 2004 — 2 Comments

Microsoft is attempting to get in the search engine gig, which is really no surprise. I’m sure they see Google making money hand over fist and want to cash in, hell I would. Of course they are going to fall flat on their face with this thinking:

I want to make sure [a user] can’t get through … an online experience without hitting a Microsoft ad.” CEO Baller said.

Haven’t they learned anything from Google? The one thing that makes them good is the lack of complexity and bullshit on their site. CEOs says the darndest things.


March 26, 2004 — 0 Comments

Microsoft is working XNA which is a development platform that serves as the foundation for future game stuff with Windows and Xbox. They have video demos (car, noir, xenomorph) of what XNA can do and it’s pretty interesting looking. I just wonder if that is stuff that is actually going to be what interactive video games will look like or just cut-scenes…

New Microsoft Downloads

February 19, 2004 — 1 Comment

Just a little note, the ASP.NET Resource Kit is available for download. Also, and I think that this is interesting, Microsoft has released a component called the SQL Server Web Data Administrator which allows you to do the following in a web browser:

  • Create and edit databases in SQL Server 2000 or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000)
  • Perform ad-hoc queries against databases and save them to your file system
  • Export and import database schema and data
  • Manage users and roles
  • View, create and edit stored procedures

Critical Updates

February 11, 2004 — 5 Comments

I’m sure most of you have heard about the Microsoft critical update that was released yesterday (2-10-2004) but if you look at Windows Update today you will see another Critical Update for KB833407. The reason for this “critical update”? The font Bssym7.ttf contains unacceptable symbols, namely, the swastika. As you may or may not know there was an uproar about this font containing this symbol and it was summarily removed from the font because of heat from Jewish special interest groups.

Before, this update was something that you opted to install, but now users are FORCED to remove this symbol from their computer if they want to be compliant with all “critical updates”. Personally, I think that this is bullshit (and others do to). I understand what the swastika represents to most people (especially Jewish people) but the fact of the matter is that for thousands of years the swastika was a commonly used symbol in many cultures around the world before it was used by the Nazi party. It is ridiculous that one religious organization has enough pull with Microsoft. Although I have the option to leave that critical update there forever, most users don’t really look at what updates they are installing. As long as they are critical, then they install them. Microsoft could be seen as infringing on free speech by doing this. I know that if I were a lawyer, I would jump all over that shit.

Stupid Moments In Advertising

February 02, 2004 — 5 Comments

I’m sure you all have seen the “Great Moments” at work commercials for the new Microsoft Office “System” (Microsoft Office suite). The ones where they do seemingly vague and amazing things because of the software and then somehow save the day.

I hate these commercials. They don’t say anything about what the software actually does or how it can accomplish these grandiose feats. I guess simply by loading the software, it turns you into some sort of superhero that can leap buildings in a single bound, fly around the office, receive spontaneous high-fives from co-workers and act like a total jackass (a la the commericals) at work. Way to go Microsoft, you made commercials that aren’t funny, aren’t useful, and are stupid. I hope these die quicker than the “Dude, you are getting a Dell” guy commercials (then again, the Dell intern commericals are just as annoying).

I'm So Excited And I Just Can't Hide It...

November 13, 2003 — 0 Comments

You remember my Microsoft PDC post where I talked about the new version of Microsoft’s Operating System that is in alpha (not due for release until 2006)? Well as an MSDN subscriber, my company is getting the Alpha release of Longhorn (new OS) and Whidbey (new version of Visual Studio)! Can’t wait to install them on a VM at home.

Microsoft PDC

October 28, 2003 — 0 Comments

This week kicked off the 2003 Microsoft Professional Developers Conference. They also devoted an MSDN site to their next OS version that is code-named Longhorn. This site has screen shots of what the next client version of Windows will look like.

I’ve seen screenshots of their new version before this beta build and from what I have seen, I’m not impressed. I don’t like the Longhorn side bar with that stupid analog clock (as seen here). I think that it takes up too much screen real estate. The Longhorn sidebar also allows you to stream weather information to it, stock quotes, etc. Doesn’t this sound like something they did with IE 4 (Active Channels and “Push” technology anyone?). That technology, while hailed by many as cool and innovative, fell flat on its face. I’ve seen more innovation, and originality from the Apple shop (in terms of the GUI) that I have seen from Microsoft.

Late Night Patchin'

August 01, 2003 — 0 Comments

Due to reports (here, here and here) of hackers starting to probe ports 135, 139, or 445 for a new worm to exploit this Windows vulnerability, I’ve had to do some late night patchin’ at work. Although the above ports are not open on our border routers, I thought it would be wise to take the “better-safe-than-sorry” approach and do some emergency patching to pretty much ALL of our servers. This patch does require a reboot and when I rebooted our FTP server, it didn’t come back up. I forgot that it has a stupid warning message in the BIOS where you have to hit F1 to continue. So I had to drive 30 minutes from home to work to hit one stupid key on a keyboard. Damn, I really need to investigate KVM over IP. By the way, I’ve already started getting scans on my home firewall on ports 445 and 135, so patch now or be sorry later.

Microsoft Bug

July 16, 2003 — 0 Comments

Looks like there is a big MS bug. It’s for all operating systems from NT to 2003 and it is listed as “critical”. This is targeting systems with TCP ports 135 open. So if that’s open on your firewalls you better close them or install the patch. There is another one that is listed as critical for all but Windows Server 2003 but it doesn’t seem as bad as the other one. Read up and patch up!

Where Are You Oh .NET Framework?

July 14, 2003 — 0 Comments

I’m setting up a server at work and I’m putting a .NET Windows application that I wrote onto it. Usually, when you go to Windows Update, it is in the download list for Windows 2000, but for some reason it isn’t. Luckily people don’t count on Windows Update for shit and I was able to find it on Microsoft’s download site. Lame.