24 Aug 2010

Tech·Ed Africa 2010: Want to go for free?

Win 1 of 4 Tickets to Microsoft Tech·Ed Africa 2010 worth R6 150 each!!!

Venue:    ICC Durban

Date:       17th - 20th October 2010

All you need to do is take a photo of a Microsoft Tag in a really cool/funny/practical place and upload the picture to the Facebook competition page.

More details in the competition animated video here.

Full Competition Rules on our Facebook page.

Dates for Submissions & Announcements of Winners:

  • 25 Aug 2010    -    Last Date For Submissions (week 1) (5pm)
  • 27 Aug 2010    -    Week 1 Winner Announced
  • 01 Sep 2010    -    Last Date For Submissions (week 2) (5pm)
  • 03 Sep 2010    -    Week 2 Winner Announced
  • 08 Sep 2010    -    Last Date For Submissions (week 3) (5pm)
  • 10 Sep 2010    -    Week 3 Winner Announced
  • 15 Sep 2010    -    Last Date For Submissions (week 4) (5pm)
  • 17 Sep 2010    -    Week 4 Winner Announced

Submissions & Announcements of Winners:

  • A new winner will be selected weekly.
  • Last date for submissions for a particular week is 5pm Wednesday of that week.
  • Winner for that week will be announced on the Friday.
  • Submissions after 5pm will count towards the following week.
  • Submissions which did not win in a previous week will still be considered in following weeks and need not be re-submitted.
  • A person can only win once, thereafter all his other submissions will be ignored.
  • You cannot submit on behalf of another person.
  • Submissions are done by posting a photo to the Facebook page wall.

Terms and Conditions apply:

This competition is limited to Tech·Ed Africa 2010 entrance and does not include Travel, hotel or any other expenses. You will be required to help out at the Developers Community Lounge at Tech·Ed Africa 2010 for 3 hours a day if you do win. For Full list of rules please consult the Facebook page.

23 Aug 2010

New posters added to www.newdrp.com

Stolen directly from Zayd Kara’s blog, which is a fantastic read. If you not reading his blog, you should.

Our team (editor: our = ATC team at BB&D) have been hard at work and are pleased to announce that following posters have been added to the DRP Site for FREE download. Here is a quick brief on the posters that have been added:

Direct Compute – “Microsoft DirectCompute is an application programming interface (API) that supports general-purpose computing on graphics processing units on Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7. DirectCompute is part of the Microsoft DirectX collection of APIs and was initially released with the DirectX 11 API but runs on both DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 graphics processing units”

Download and details.

WCF Error Handling Best Practices

WCF Error Handling Best Practices – WCF error handling is complicated by the fact that client and service are separated by physical boundaries. This quick reference poster provides you with best practices for handling WCF errors.

Download and details.

Windows Embedded Standard 2009

Windows Embedded Standard 2009 – “Windows Embedded is family of operating systems from  Microsoft designed for use in embedded systems.” This quick reference poster describes the development cycle of creating a Windows Embedded image.

Download and details.

Windows XP Mode

Windows XP Mode & Windows Virtual PC - Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC, available on Windows 7  allows you to run multiple Windows environments, such as Windows XP Mode, from your Windows 7 desktop. This quick reference poster provides you with a quick overview helping you decide if Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC is for you.

Download and details.

18 Mar 2010

Downloaded PowerPoint files need repairs?

I download a lot of PowerPoint presentations and recently I am seeing more and more are stating they need repairs when opened!


Unfortunately repairing does not work and downloading them again doesn't help either! What is happening is that Windows is detecting that these files are from the Internet and enabling a block on them for your protection. To remove this block, you need to right click the file, select Properties, click the Unblock button and click OK.


You will then be able to open them successfully.

Thanks Joseph for spotting the type-o in the original post.

30 Dec 2008

Installing MSMQ in Domain Mode on Windows Server 2008

Yesterday I needed to install MSMQ on my laptop which runs Windows Server 2008, which wasn’t as logical as it first appeared. I simply fired up the Server Manager tool, went to features, selected Message Queuing and clicked next. However my code kept giving me an error: “This operation is not supported for Message Queuing installed in workgroup mode.”

So I went to find out what this mean, and it turns out MSMQ has two modes workgroup and domain. Domain is the “yes you can” mode where everything works while workgroup has restrictions:

The following restrictions exist when using Message Queuing in workgroup mode:

  • Computers in workgroup mode require direct connectivity with a destination computer, and only support direct message transmission. Messages sent by such computers cannot be routed.
  • There is no access to Active Directory Domain Services. As such, you can create and manage private queues only on a local computer. You can view the list of private queues on another computer, and the messages in them, using the Computer Management snap-in. For information about managing queues on remote computers, see Verwalten von Warteschlangen auf anderen Computern. You cannot view or manage public queues or any other information in Active Directory Domain Services. You can, however, send messages to or retrieve messages from private queues if there is direct connectivity.
  • Internal certificates cannot be used for sending authenticated messages; an external certificate must be used. For more information about user certificates, see User Certificates.
  • Messages cannot be encrypted. For more information about encryption, see Encryption for Message Queuing.
  • There is no support for dependent clients. For more information about restrictions on the deployment of dependent clients, see Dependent Clients.
  • Cross-platform messaging is not supported. For more information, see Cross-Platform Messaging.

That is taken from the helpful TechNet page Deploying in Workgroup Mode, which also states:

The default installation setting is that the directory service Integration feature is installed

Oddly enough though that is NOT what I got, in fact when I went to check Directory Service Integration had not been installed even though I am on a domain (and was connected to the network at the time)! To fix it, I had to go back to the Server Manager Tool, Features, Message Queuing and manually select it.



15 Sep 2008

Outlook 2007: POP3 and delayed email or how to avoid downloading RSS feeds too often.

I have been spoilt for a long time by living in an Exchange environment, so when I recently had to use a POP3 environment (even if it was just temporarily), I felt like I had gone back 15 years. One of the reason it feels like I have gone from Vista to Windows 3.1, is that Exchange pushes the mail down (or at least that is how I appears to work – I’m no Outlook expert), so mail arrives instantly when someone sends it.
Unfortunately POP3 is pull based and it doesn't come down until Outlook checks for mail. The horrible part is that by default it is configured for only checking every 30 minutes :( That could mean if someone misses your check window (like they would know) you could wait almost forever for their mail. Thankfully you can change that, first go to Tools -> Options
Next go to Mail Setup and click the Send/Receive button.
By default you should have one group (called All Accounts) and below that there is an option to Schedule an automatic send/receive every x minutes. In the picture below you'll see it is set to 1 minutes, which really helps (close enough to instant that it doesn't matter).
However if you are like me then you also use Outlook for RSS feeds, and that change will mean you will now be downloading feeds every 1 min! You can fix that easily by splitting RSS and Emails check times
To do that click the Edit button and remove RSS from being included, then click OK. If you are a perfectionist (which you may gather I am from my picture below), you could also click Rename to understand what it is easier. Next click the New button and do not select to include Email, just RSS. Click OK and now you should have two Send/Receive groups. You can now click on RSS in the list and set a separate interval for how often it should check (once an hour is good).  Click Close, OK and you are done :)

08 Jul 2008

Help files (CHM) don't work

So in Vista and/or IE8 there seems to be an issue with CHM files which you have downloaded from the Internet, where they just do not load their content.

I stumbled across this with the HMC 4.5 documentation which is presented in, you guessed it, CHM help files. Just like when I found the MSDN Library Broken this is caused by a security feature trying to protect you. To resolve this you need to close the file, right click and select properties. On there in the bottom right hand corner is a nice little Unblock button which once clicked you can then use the file normally.

08 Jul 2008

The Zen of Hosting: Part 11 - DNS

The last of the hurdles to overcome for the deployment was the running of the DNS server. This is because we run on a private IP range internally and use ISA to match external IP's and ports to the services we want to publish (i.e. NAT). This basically allows us to lower the attack surface because we only let out what is needed and an also mix and match servers to the same IP (lowering our IP address usage).

This also means that we have not only DNS servers to allow the servers and staff internally to find the other servers and services but we also have to have external servers too to allow users on the big bad Internet to find them. There is so much duplication of work for this configuration deployment scenario as you are having to create records on a best case of two servers and worst case is four servers and configure them differently. This also means the area for mistake is increased considerably. The upside is that internal staff do not need to go out the LAN and back in via the net or even go through the external firewalls and that we an have different domain names internally and externally, which is great for testing and development and only publishing when needed.

What I do not understand is why the DNS server team at Microsoft can't take a leaf from MSCRM 4.0's IFD deployment and allow you to specify what the internal IP range is and allow you to set A/CNAME’s for both internal IP ranges and external IP ranges. So when an internal IP requests a resolution it gives the internal A/CNAME records and for non-Internal they get the external A/CNAME record. This is such a logical thing to do, that Bind has this feature for ages, so come on Microsoft steal another idea from Linux ;)

One of the design choices for the DNS structure is a concept of mine called IP address abstraction. The idea of DNS is to get us away from IP’s but the problem is that in normal DNS configurations you end up with loads of A records and the moment you need to change IP addresses you end up with spending days changing IP addresses through all the records. What IP address abstraction is that you take a core domain name, and create a single A record for each IP you have.


  • internal1.test.com A
  • internal2.test.com A

What you do then is everywhere else you use CNAMEs to those names, regardless of what the domain name.


The advantage is that if the IP’s change ever, you change them in one place and it reflects everywhere, yet the experience to the end user is the exact same as DNS has always been.

04 Jul 2008

Great Hyper-V Post

Great post I found on the blogs about 5 key things to know about for Hyper-V, thought it may be of use to someone following my previous post on Hyper-V. Definitely don’t agree with their number one point that for serious usage it should be run on Core, we because of the reasons in this post. Anyway you can read more at Top 5 things to know about Hyper-V