Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Since Microsoft is offering Office 365, I’m a hugh fan of it, but it’s only since yesterday that I migrated my PIM solution from Kerio Connect to Office 365.
I choose the Office 365 E3 subscription because I do IT and this one offers advanced IT configuration and control, an Office Professional Plus license and Active Directory integration.
In my configuration, I keep my old mail sever running (because over the years I have created many anti-spam custom routing rules) and forward all e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I also added my own vanity/custom domain to Office 365. All pretty much as described in the Simple Domain Sharing for SMTP Email Addresses article. Step 3 of that article tells you to change your primary e-mail address to the one of your own domain. This is an important step, because it will change your user name for all services. Now I have have Outlook w/ Exchange, SharePoint and Lync on the PC and it all works fine.
But with Lync 2010 Mobile on the Windows Phone, it was another story. The client kept saying ‘Can’t connect to the server’. This post describes what I did to fix it for myself.
- domain.com (set to shared, but as primary; explained in steps 2 and 3 here)
This should work. Have fun!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I’m using a lot of computers, both PC’s, Windows-servers and since recently a MacBook with the Snow Leopard OS. When that’s also your case, your may be looking for a way to synchronize your digital assets, so that you always carry them with you.
For 1,5 year or so I am using Windows Live Sync (sync.live.com). This Microsoft tool, formerly known as FolderShare, is a free file synchronization app for synching your files and folders between two or more computers. I mainly use for syncing my documents and favorite (portable) tools. By the way, most tools come from Scott Hanselmans’s Ultimate Tools List.
I also used Live Sync for syncing my IE bookmarks. But since I mainly use Firefox (because of the great add-ins), syncing IE is not enough. I was looking for a way to sync my bookmarks between Firefox and IE, with all my PCs and Mac. Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) does this for you! It’s available as add-on for FF (Mac and PC), plugin for IE and Safari (Mac). I heard that Chrome support is coming soon. The Firefox version also securely syncs FireFox’s password manager! Well, that makes live much easier!
Mac and PC
I sync my photos between my Macbook and PC with Dropbox. I could do this with Live Sync of course, whether it not that Live Sync doesn’t work on Snow Leopard. For some people, Live Sync is even more important than the upgrade to Snow Leopard. So I started trying Dropbox and I’ll love it. Only the 2 GB limit sucks (more GB costs money).
Passwords and KeePass
Passwords are another thing. Because the internet is still an insecure place and good initiatives like CardSpace and OpenID are still not mainly accepted, every internet site asks you to sign-up and sign-in over and over again. A good advice: never use the same username/password for every site! I use KeePass (download here), a password database with 1 master password that gives you access to all your other sensitive information. For every registration, I add a new record to KeePass. KeePass is free and open source. I have to admin I’m doing a double administration: I add entries to KeePass, then use FireFox and let FireFox remember my passwords as well.
And the great thing is: you can sync your password database by using Live Sync or Dropbox. And the later versions of KeePass support synchronizing multiple versions of the KDBX-database files. Ideal for when you got multiple versions due to offline usage!
For Mac users, there is KeePassX. It’s the ported open source version of the Windows-based KeePass for Mac, Linux and Windows. Unfortunately KeePassX is behind in features compared to the Windows variant and also doesn’t understand the newer KDBX file format. So KDB-files for interoperability and KDBX for advanced features. Here’s how you do both.
As of version 2.09 of KeePass, KeePass has a good trigger event system. You can do many things with it, like making an automatic backup of your database to a second location. But today I discovered there is also an ‘Export action’. This is what I’ve done:
- Open KeePass 2.09 (or newer);
- Go to Tools, choose Triggers…;
- Choose Add…;
- Give your new trigger a name and make sure Enabled and Initially on are checked;
- Choose Next. In the Events tab, choose Add…;
- Select the event Saved database file and choose OK
- Choose Next two times. In the Actions tab, choose Add…;
- Select the action Export active database. Specify a file path e.g. C:\Dropbox\KeePass\database.kdb. The documentation about how to specify the file format is missing, but specify KeePass KDB (1.x). Other inputs are accepted but won’t work later on.
- Choose OK and choose Finish.
If you now save your KDBX-password database, you’ll get a KDB export in your dropbox folder. Automatically. And dropbox synchronizes this to your Mac.
Note: Don’t make the Mac leading so don’t edit or add new passwords on your Mac. The information will be lost during a future export + sync.
Music with iTunes Home Sharing
Apple came with a very nice feature in iTunes 9: Home Sharing. It lets up to five computers in a single household share movies and music files more easily. You can access and play music and movies on each iTunes from every other iTunes PC. This only works if you are signed-in with the same Apple ID on each computer. iTunes also comes with built-in synchronization. It automatically transfers new purchases from other users' libraries to your own computer and vice versa. For non-purchased content you have to manually press a button called Import.
iTunes Home Sharing works nice, but I doesn’t let you synchronize your playlists :-(. I have to figure out if I can use Dropbox for that.
For me this works perfectly! I have all my pictures, music, documents, bookmarks and passwords synchronized. Now with 3 PC’s and 1 Macbook.
Hope this helps,
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Lately I’m working a lot with VMWare virtual machines. For my job I’m involved in a project that has the goal to provide ready-to-use environments to software architects, designers and developers. These Microsoft-based environments are preconfigured with the latest development, database, change & configuration management tools and their latest patches.
For today I created a new virtual machine based on the brand new Windows Server 2008 R2. The goal was to create a new software development environment based on the latest and greatest tooling. First thing I noticed is the improved performance! A cold boot including logon only takes 40 seconds! The virtual machines I created before were based on Windows Server 2003 R2 and take more than 5 minutes to boot! Also after the boot process, the OS ‘feels’ much better.
What did I install ?
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 (Enterprise x64-edition);
- Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 and SP1;
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and SP1;
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, Team Explorer 2008 and SP1;
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SP3 (to possibly support old apps, but all services are disabled);
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SP1;
- Microsoft Office 2007;
- Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with SP2;
- Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 beta 1;
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Team System beta 1;
- Microsoft Expression Web, Blend, SketchFlow, Design and Encoder 3;
- Developer Express DXPerience (WinForms/Silverlight/WPF/ASP.NET components, XPO, XAF, CodeRush and RefactorPro) 9.2.3 RC
After installation, 39 GB was taken (oops, only 1 GB free space). Thanks to my earlier post, it was easy to extend to 60GB.
I want to use this VM for learning about new technologies. For this reason, I added the following training kits:
- Visual Studio 2008 Training Kit (download)
- Visual Studio 2010 Training Kit (download)
- ASP.NET MVC Training Kit (download)
- SharePoint 2007 Training Kit (download)
- SQL Server 2008 Training Kit (download)
- Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation Training Kit (download)
- .NET Framework 3.5 Enhancements Training Kit (download)
- Windows 7 Training Kit (download)
The new Windows 2008 R2 operating system is from the same generation as Windows 7. The installation is very easy and more notable very fast! The .ISO-installation in VMWare took only 13 minutes.
Windows noticed me several times about compatibility issues with VS2003, 2005, 2008 and SQL Server 2008. Installing the appropriate service packs afterwards fixed this. As far as I could see, all apps worked fine.
As I posted a few times earlier, the TFS installation is a very multi-step painful process. For a rock solid installation of TFS 2008 you should plan at least a couple of days. The TFS 2010 installation is much simpler and above all, faster. After the installation, the Team Foundation Server Configuration Wizard pops up. This wizard helps you configure your SQL databases, the SQL Reporting Services configuration and SharePoint integration.
The beta 1 version of TFS 2010 contains the SP1-version of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. This SP1-version is not compatible with Windows Server 2008 and R2. For this reason, TFS skips the SharePoint installation/configuration. To solve this, you have to install WSS 3.0 SP2 first, change the DefaultAppPool identity from ApplicationPoolIdentity to NetworkService and replace SharePoint.exe in Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 10.0\Tools with the latest version. All steps are described on http://blogs.msdn.com/dstfs/archive/2009/05/15/installing-tfs-2010-on-windows-server-2008-r2-rc.aspx .
I got two famous TFxxxxxxx-errors during the TFS setup, but they were easy to solve.
TF255046: This is because SharePoint’s Central Administration web site runs on another TCP port than TFS expects. Change the port number to 17012. You can do this by following this guide: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288247.aspx
TF255047: This is because you haven’t created a SharePoint web application and default site collection. Create the web application and site collection first via the SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration.
Now that this was done I installed Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition. But the Pro-edition doesn’t have Team Explorer (the TFS-client) and I couldn’t find an installer. My resolution was to uninstall Pro and install the Team System edition. You can download Visual Studio 2010 Team System from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=255FC5F1-15AF-4FE7-BE4D-263A2621144B&displaylang=en
Hope this helps.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Let me first explain why I’m writing this post. I have a MediaCenter PC (running Windows 7 RC1 7100 x32) in my living room which doesn’t have enough disk capacity because the TV recordings take a huge amount of disk space. On the other hand, my workstation (which is always on) has 3 TB of storage. Of course there is the traditional way of assigning a drive letter to a network share, but that has some disadvantages. Some applications are not compatible with network drives or simply refuse to work with it. In my opinion, the best way is to have a ‘virtual drive’ that acts as an internal hard disk for maximum compatibility.
A few weeks ago I read a blog post about mounting a Virtual PC hard disk (VHD) during the Windows 7 setup. It’s possible to install Windows 7 into a VHD container and mount the VHD during the boot. An end-user won’t notice the difference (besides a 3% performance hit), but in fact there is only 1 file on disk.
So this means Windows 7 has improved VHD support. New in Windows 7:
- You can create VHD with a dynamic or a fixed size;
- You can attach/mount the VHD;
So this is what I did:
On my workstation:
- Go to Computer Management (via Administrative Tools);
- Go to Disk Management
- Once the virtual disk service has been initialized, right-click on Disk Management and select Create VHD
- Specify a location for the VHD, enter a size and choose the format. I choose Dynamically expending
- After pressing OK you may hear a sound indicating that some new hardware has been installed. Now look for the new disk in the Disk Management screen
- Right-click on the disk (in the square where it says Disk x/Basic/x GB etc) and choose Initialize Disk and choose a MBR partition style and press OK.
- Right-click on the disk (in the rectangle where it says 300,00 GB unallocated) and choose New Simple Volume and finish the wizard
- When the formatting is done, right-click again on the disk (in the square where it says Disk x/Basic/x GB etc) and choose Detach VHD and press OK
On my Mediacenter: Go to Computer Management (via Administrative Tools); Go to Disk Management Once the virtual disk service has been initialized, right-click on Disk Management and select Attach VHD Browse to the network location where you created your VHD on your work station and select the VHD-file Press OK Your disk is now mounted and accessible via Explorer as it is a normal physical disk
If you like, you can always move your VHD file to a new location e.g. external hard disk, another computer etc and re-attach the VHD.
Hope this helps,
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I was watching the Channel 9 video about Silverlight 3 with my hero Scott Guthrie.
Silverlight 3 has some very interesting features:
- Ground breaking Expressions tools (support for Photoshop, TFS)
For video watchers
- Live video (including pause)
- Adaptive streaming
- Good for Line of Business Applications (support N-tier architectures)
- Sync of data between Silverlight App and server-side (includes all the diff algorithms)
- Navigation (SEO, deep linking)
- New Toolkit Controls
- Pixel Effects
- Animation Easing
- Bitmap API
- GPU Acceleration
- Text/Image Improvements
- Element-to-Element Binding
- LocalConnection API
- Binding Validation UI
- Dynamic Styling and BasedOn
- Merged ResourceDictionary
- Assembly Caching (download assemblies when you need them, caches for future apps)
- Network monitoring API (am I online or offline)
- Out-of-browser and Offline
- .NET RIA Services
- Binary XML
- Web Service Utility
All these new cool features are packaged in an installer which is 30K smaller than v2!
Download the beta from http://silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight3/default.aspx.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Tag it & Get It
Since I installed Windows 7 I have this weird 200MB partition. Today I found out why this is. I read the article ‘How to Avoid 200MB Hidden System Partition From Been Created During Windows 7 Installation’ which explains perfectly the reason.
This 200MB partition bothers me because it’s preventing me from upgrading from build 7000 to 7048. After an hour installing it prompts an error and rolls back the installation.
I installed build 7048 on my work laptop (Dell D830) this week and I didn’t get this. I think MS changed this.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
The .NET Compact Framework 3.5 is only a subset of the full framework. One of the limitations is that you cannot talk to WCF services using ServiceContracts.
Microsoft released a long time ago PowerToys that can generate a WCF proxy to overcome this problem.
One of the application of the PowerToys is NETCFSvcUtil.exe. This tool generates two files. One file does the magic, the other is the implementation of the proxy client. You can add these two files to your Windows Mobile solution in order to communicate with WCF services. Unfortunately it only supports the basicHttpBinding and not the more powerfull wsHttpbinding.
I added the path of the PowerToys to my Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt variables. I added the PowerToys path (C:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\SDK\CompactFramework\v3.5\bin) to the vsvar32.bat file which is located in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\Tools.
Now it looks like this:
@set PATH=C:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\SDK\CompactFramework\v3.5\bin;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\BIN;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\Tools;C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5;C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\VCPackages;%PATH%
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Recently I wrote a post about the Windows 7 behavior of the WIN+E shortcut. I’m glad to read today on the Windows 7 Engineering Blog that the default behavior of the RC has been changed.
“Mando writes, “In Win7 the Win+E shortcut opens an explorer window but the path is “Libraries” instead (which isn’t where I want to go most of the time). Is there a way to configure the target folder of “Win+E” or is there an alternate shortcut that will get me to the “Computer” path like it did in Vista?” RC reverts the behavior and now the shortcut will launch the “Computer” Explorer. Also, we changed the link in Start Menu -> Username to match the Vista behavior.”
Saturday, February 28, 2009
About a year ago I bought a Motorola DC800 Bluetooth transceiver. My workstation is paired with this DC800 and the DC800 is connected to my 5.1 stereo system. With this setup, I can play all my PC sound over my Harmon Kardon speaker system :-)
I noticed a change in the way Windows 7 handles audio compared to Vista. To redirect the audio from my PC speakers to the DC800 I go to the following Windows dialog…
.. and select the DC800 and make it my default device. With Vista, I have to quit all my open audio applications and restart them to apply the change. This way especially annoying with my gadgets. I have a radio gadget that required a restart of the Sidebar.
In Windows 7 the sound is redirected immediately to my Harmon Kardon speaker system (and back). It works with all applications. Much better!
I’m still very enthusiastic about Windows 7. All my daily applications (SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2005/2008SP1, Messenger and Skype, web browsers, VMWare, Office, Kaspersky anti virus and media players (VLC/WMP) work like a charm. But I have to say that I experience also some weird problems like slow Silverlight videostreams, hanging IE8-sessions and my D-disk that sometimes becomes read-only (till reboot).