Monday, August 30, 2004

More OneNote PowerToys

As a confirmed OneNote fan, I love these power toys. Like the Google file system I blogged about earlier today, this is another example of great toys! See Darron Devlin's OneNote PowerToys page for thse toys! There are two toys:
  • WebPageToOneNote, adds a WebPageToOneNote button to the Standard Buttons toolbar in IE. When you click this button, the powertoy copies an image of the entire current web page to a new page in OneNote, created in a WebImageCaptures section.
  • A virtual printer that allows you to print from any windows app into OneNote.

Cool stuff!

GmailFS - Gmail Filesystem

Give geeks toys, and what do you come up with? Well, in this case, the Google Gmail System has turned into a Linux mountable file system. Richard Jones has built the GmailFS Gmail Filesystem for Linux. Wow!

Sadly, this is not available for Windows.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Re-appearance of GDI bug in XP SP2

[Updated 19.9.2004] Windows XP RTM had a bug in the Theme service which caused GDI handles to leak. My newsreader (Turnpike) suffered from this. The bug was resolved in KB 319740 and rolled into XP SP1. This bug has re-surfaced in the RTM version of SP2. The version of %systemroot%\system32\uxtheme.dll shipped with SP2 did not contain the necessary bug fix. The fix is straightforward. First you must obtain the copy of uxtheme from XP SP1. This is file version 6.00.2600.34. But check your system - if you are running this version then you do not suffer from this issue. If you have file version 6.0.2900.2180, then you need to install the fix as follows:
  1. Reboot your system into Safe Mode.
  2. Open c:\windows\system32 and re-check the version of uxtheme.dll.
  3. Copy the 6.00.2600.34 version uxtheme.dll (the version from SP1) %systemroot%\system32.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. After restarting, ensure the current uxtheme.dll file version in %systemroot\system32 is 6.00.2600.34.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

My first RSS Advert

Well - Mary Jo has surprised me. Her RSS weblog at Microsoft Watch is now sending out adverts. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. :-(

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer v1.2.1 available

At last, the updated version of Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (v1.2.1) that works with Windows XP SP2. Much needed.

This raises two questions. First, why wan't this available at the same time as SP2? One could go deeper and ask why wasn't MBSA simply rolled into SP2, but I'll pass on that one. The second question is: where's the updated Application Compatibility Tool Kit?

XP SP2 is running reasonably well on my main workstation, but now that SP2 is out, I feel it time for a complete rebuild from the ground up, if only to get rid of all the little bits of random beta stuff still on this box!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Recall Recalled :-(

I dowloaded Recall yesterday, blogging whilst doing the installation. Sadly, it does not work I get a .NET exception error ("Server Error in '/' Application. Object reference not set to an instance of an object") each time I try to use it. I've taken it off my system, pending getting it working. I suspect it may be a problem with my combination of Windows XP SP2 and the Whidbey beta possibly colliding with Recall (I've sent email and I'll post any resolution to this blog).

This is a bit of a shame - as the product looks most useful. Ahh - the joys of beta software!

As an aside, it seems to me that WinFS, with it's longer term ability to make searching fast and flexible, has generated some real short-term competition. Products like Lookout and Recall provide today what Longhorn may deliver some years down the road - and thus far, these are free. No, they are not as grand and glorious as the vision WinFS (and all of Longhorn) will one day become. But they're tools that help me today to manage the information overload that seems to be much of my working day.

Recall Toolbar - Search Within The Places You've Been

I visit a lot of web sites most days and often want to re-visit places I know I've been to (but which are no longer stored in IE's history). The Recall Toolbar looks like being a great solution.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Testing BlogJet

I have found (and installed) an interesting application called BlogJet. It is a cool Windows client for my blog tool Blogger and other tools.

You can get a copy here:

It is not free :-(

XP SP2 - First Experiences with RTM Version

I got the RTM version of XP SP2 from MSDN and immediately began the task of installing it on my two main XP workstations, and on my laptop. In other words, loading it onto systems where I have to rebuild if/when it goes wrong! :-) I've done three installs thus far. The first install was from a late beta build (2149 to RTM. It went smoothly and there seem to be no real issues. The second install was from an earlier build of SP2, and it needed to be removed before the RTM version would install. The third install was my laptop (PIV Centrino 1.8) which had been running build 2149 of SP2 beta. Some observations thus far:
  • Download from MSDN was OK - not as fast as some MS subsites, but faster than others. Certainly acceptable speed.
  • The SP installation process seems to take a long time. I did not measure the first two, but the third (on a 1.7mHz Centrino box) took just under 15 minutes.
  • The SP installation package is BIG - the network SP iteself (xpsp2.exe) weighs in at 272MB. Running this executable expaands the SP into 332 MB temporary folder on the local hard drive (although these files are deleted after SP2 finishes installation).
  • Upgrading from 2149 did not require me to remove the earlier version of the SP before installing th RTM version. The earlier build on my main workstation DID have to be removed before I could install the RTM version.

For planning purposes, if you've done any widescale deployment of interim beta versions of SP2, it probably makes sense to assume you can't upgrade the earlier version. Thus, allow time to deinstall and then reinstall SPs.

For me, the SP installation process has been relatively painless and thus far, I've had no real problems with any of these machines. So far, so good!

We're doing a pre-conference day at IT Forum!

Three of my colleages and I will be doing a preconference session at Microsoft's IT Forum 2004 in Copenhagen. COOL!!! So - if you are an IT Pro - what at the three things you'd like to know about .NET?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

XP SP2 Is Released

I've been away for a few days, taking a spur of the minute break in the north of England. When I got back this afternoon, the first hint that SP2 had shipped was in an article in The Innquirer's entitled How Microsoft will eke out Windows XP SP2. As an MSDN Universal customer, I'm downloading the full ISO image as I compose this entry. The SP2 ISO is coming down at around 60KB/sec - which is not outstanding for Microsoft but given how hard the servers must be being pounded, not bad at all. I hope for Microsoft's sake, they can sustain this level of speed once SP2 hits Windows update and becomes a 'critical update'! Microsoft's home page for Windows XP still says SP2 is "Coming Soon". The Inquirer is probably right about the trickle out effect. Certaily the first thing I'll be doing is to put the ISO onto one of our corporate servers for our IT boys to play with tomorrow morning when they get in! The next month will be interesting. Micrososft has a lot riding on this service pack - and I certainly hope it all goes smoothly as customers start to deploy it. We shall see...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The IE Team is blogging too - with a wiki!

The wave of new blogs at Microsoft continues to amaze me. I discovered the IE Teams IEBlog today. Not only are the team blogging, but there's now a Wiki over on Microsoft's new Channel 9 site where you can edit in your own comments. I've added my .02€ worth on both security zones and printing. It will be interesting to see where both the blog and the wiki site go!

Some Windows XP and Office 2003 Deployment Content

Earlier this year, I re-developed some deployment content for Microsoft, which turned into several Deployment Assistance Workshops, delivered to Enterprise customers. Microsoft has now published this content on the web. You can get the Deployment Assistance Workshops - Windows Desktop material from Microsoft's UK TechNet community website.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

More Common Sense Pricing for OneNote

I love OneNote. It's a great tool and I run it more or less constantly on my laptop! Office 2003 SP1 adds some neat new facilites, and I really like the new power toys. Bring on more toys! OneNote is cool - but at $200 is was over priced. But now, according to Product Manager Christ Pratley, Microsoft has re-priced the product. At $100, and at today's $/£ rate of 1.82, this works out at £54.00 (presumably +VAT). At that price, it's towards the high end of what, for me, is the right price - after all today it is essentially just a note taking tool. Having used SP1, and given the shape of the power toys ( and the potential for an object model and scripting to enable me to get stuff both in and out of OneNote) it may not be too expensive.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

So Ken Rosen is Blogging Now!

Ken Rosen is the MCT programme manager at Microsoft. He's just started a blog: Out in the Street. Welcome to blogsphere!

A New Security Book - as a Wiki

On two recent blog entries (this earlier one, and this later one), I discussed a cool approach to colaboration - the Wiki. In doing some unrelated research to day, I came across Keith Guide's Security book (The .NET Developer's Guide to WIndows Security) done as a Wiki. Now this is cool - he had folks help him convert it form the raw manual HTML pages, and it looks good (and looks a bit better now ). A nice idea and a good book - worth reading and buying. It's also useful reading material for MCSEs who want to delve a little deeper into security.