26 Oct 2007

Microsoft Wines

This is very cool, a special bottle of Stormhoek branded for Microsoft. I wonder if Microsoft South Africa will get any of these? Read more on Steve Clayton's blog or on the Stormhoek site

I'll anyway try find the Stormhoek sauvignon blanc this weekend at Macro to give it a try.

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06 Sep 2007

Revoked Certificate Preventing Install

This past week I battled to install MSCRM for almost 6 hours. I've done countless and fought every problem so believe me when I say this is such an odd event in my life now days that it actually is enjoyable trying to find out the problem. Now normal MSCRM install issues happen either at the environmental diagnostic wizard stage, or during the actual install. This happened much earlier, in fact when I tried to add a license key. When Adding the key and hitting add I got  a dialog saying:

The specified license is invalid.

For additional details see logfile C:\Documents and Settings\XXX\Application Data\Microsoft\MSCRM\Logs\crm30svrsetup.log.

Odd, but maybe it is wrong. I try it a few times and think well I'll pop on my trust 90 day trial to get up and running and deal with Microsoft on issuing a new key. Guess what he trial key failed too.

I'm not posting this on my IW blog (see right bar) because it's more than a MSCRM issue, because then I thought maybe something in the OS is wrong so lets install all the patches and reboot. One of the patches was Internet Explorer 7 which also refused to install with an error: Setup could not verify the integrity of the installation files. Make sure the Cryptographic service is running on this computer.

What now? I tried numerous articles and suggestions gleamed from the Internet including a monster (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822798) on from Microsoft which has reinstall Windows as an option listed (no I didn't do that, this box is running other applications just fine). But from what I learnt is that all Microsoft software is digitally signed but if something goes wrong with the certificates on the machine then it's borks the installation of those applications. MSCRM in my mind had the same problem since (I guess) it uses the digital certif to do the CRC (or similar) check on the key I used.

What was interesting was all the certificates were 100% fine, but if I right clicked on the MSCRM install MSI file and checked it kept saying the certificate had been revoked. Odd? Since it's not revoked on my machine or any other machine. And if Microsoft revoked a certificate like this why don't I know, hell, why are they still shipping IE with it? Something must be wrong.

What I found was a rouge revoked certificate had been installed, where it came from I do not know but it was there. To remove it I opened IE 6, went to the Tools Menu -> Internet Options. Then on the Content tab clicked Certificates, and on the last tab (Untrusted Publishers) I was able to see the rogue certificate and remove it. After that all installed ok.

Now just a side thought round this, but Microsoft recommends digitally signing all software. So if I was an anti-virus company or security company that took this serious I would not only sign the install of the software but the runtimes and update definitions. The downside is that if a virus/trojen could install a revoked certificate (not sure what privileges you need on XP, but I guess this is a UAC controlled operation on Vista) then it could bork all your security. Scary how 1 file can do that.

Update 13 Feb 2008: Trust me to have the wrong link for the monster article, then send it to a client as the solution to there problem. DOH! Fixed now.

27 Aug 2007

Office could not create the work file error

Suddenly today both outlook and word decided to start giving a new error message when I tried to launch: "could not create the work file. check the temp environment variable". After hitting OK it would launch. This is an odd one, and I am not sure of the cause (I have a theory I'll ponder below) but the solution was to run a check disk (chkdsk c: /F). Which fixed it nicely. I saw a number of security descriptor (AFAIK it was that, not an MCSE here) issues during the chkdsk, so I suspect something got corrupted.

The cause of the corruption may have been that over the weekend the IT team where I worked migrated everyone to a new domain via profile copy (doubt thats it) and deactivated UAC on the Vista users (think thats it). I am a UAC fan and turned it on again (using the msconfig tool) this morning and I think somewhere between being non-UAC admin and UAC admin the security catalog got confused causing the error. Just my pondering and I have no proof or way to test it (or interest in trying to get it to happen again) so take it with the pinch (handful, bucket, truck) of salt as needed.

27 Aug 2007

Congrats on the award!

My employer, the i5 Group (www.i5.co.za), won the Microsoft ISV partner of the year at Saturdays gala event

This was for the work done around the Rezonance product brand which I have had significant interaction with, so this means a lot for me. It's also a huge surprise for me since the South African ISV market is very strong (thinking of the K2 guys).

Well done to everyone involved!!

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15 Jun 2007

Microsoft is pushing open source

Before I begin let me clarify a few points so you are aware of the context of this post.
1) I currently work for a Microsoft Gold Partner, been contracted to Microsoft (through my employer) and spoken at TechEd.
2) Before that I worked for company which used almost solely open source software and developed software for that. I also did work with the Shuttleworth foundation at the linux days event.
So I have been on both sides of the fence, now on to the content...

Go anywhere near Slashdot and mention Microsoft and you will get atleast a few zealots who complain about it's attitude/actions to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software).

Well I am not going into the free part, since until I can live without money making everything free doesn't help and there is many people in the traditional OSS community which do make money (RedHat, Novell, many linux contributors etc...) so I guess I am not alone in this view.

But many people bring up the open source side, which makes less sense to me. Microsoft does have this shared source thingy which is some special license for special people, but that doesn't fit with true OSS where anyone can access it so I'm not including it. Microsoft has Port25 (there public front for their internal open source lab) which has some interesting information, but not really pushing OSS. There are also a few "sponsored" projects on SourceForge and the now defunct CodePlex. Neither of these push OSS as part of major projects. So while benefical aren't big enough.

So what is it that doesn't make sense to me? Simple, the .Net framework is completely open source. All of the .Net assemblies are in source code (IL) all the time and thanks to reflection can be transformed into a convient language of choice of the viewer. Since .Net is the big push from Microsoft the new core of their systems will be open source. This can be seen currently with their applications built on top of it, like Microsoft CRM which has all their assemblies in .Net and can all be opened and viewed. Microsoft CCF is even further advanced with it including some applications in .Net (like the admin console) but the bulk is available in direct source code. BTW Neither are obfuscated in anyway, so there is no attempt to close this source.

Agreed that the core big money makers (Windows, Office etc...) are still closed source, but how much of that is legacy versus how much is based on the choice of language tool (C++ Win32 vs Dot Net) and how much of that is specific plans to close off the source I can not say and no one outside the core executive at Microsoft could say, but the argument that Microsoft doesn't get it, is just wrong. They get it and probebly more than most of the zealots mentioned earlier since they have figured out to use it strategically.

07 Mar 2007

Visual Studio support for Vista available

One more step for me to get to vista (since I still haven't done it) is that Visual Studio 2005 is now officially supported on Vista thanks to the special Service Pack 1 being released for it. You can grab it at
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=90E2942D-3AD1-4...

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