Archive for September, 2006

Do I really need a certificate?

Since I realised that Windows Mobile 5.0 won’t allow self signed certificates, I’ve been wondering what’s the best way around this. There are a number of online places where you can get a SSL certificate for about $99 which should work fine. However, in order to synchronise my Dell PDA with SBS 2003 I turned off the SSL Encryption as this was just over my local wireless network (which is encrypted anyway). This worked fine and all felt good. Then I thought, well if you can establish a VPN link back to SBS 2003 (which is fairly straightforward with SBS 2003) then you can synchronise that way without a certificate!

Dell Axim x50v needs trusted certificate

Looks like to sync with the SBS 2003 server I need a trusted third party certificate. The procedure for setting up syncing is here and Sean Daniel highlights that this does not work with the Dell Axim running Windows Mobile 5.0. I can understand why as it is for security reasons. Any one know of a good place to get a certificate?

Switched to SBS 2003

Yes, I’ve converted over to SBS 2003, so the Linux server running Samba has had this service turned off. The Linux Server is still running as it provides the Asterisk VoIP server under VMWare. It feels good and will offer me services which I didn’t have before. Also, the benefits of the platform that I talk to customers about will equally apply to me. So, I’m not selling them anything that I don’t use in my own business.

The changeover was pretty easy and only slight issue is that my IBM x206 server chucks out quite a bit of heat! Keeps the room nice and warm! Now, I need to set up my Windows Mobile 5.0 device to sync with the server.

On the horizon is to get CRM 3.0 SBE running as well. I’ve been through the set up of this already and it’s pretty straightforward. Once I receive Vista RC1, then I’ll get this on to another laptop and hook this up to the SBS 2003 domain and see how that works out. There’s a good guide on how to do this by Sean Daniels on his blog.

How to mourn something that never was!

Susanne covers this pretty well on her blog and its about the withdrawal of the Premium status of the Small Business Specialist Programme by Microsoft. The extra content on the Partner website was not really that extensive. There were some good IDC Reports on the SMB Market Place etc. The promise of extra stuff for Premium Partners never materialised and my view is that Microsoft realised that the effort they would have to put in to delivering this wasn’t worth the effort. I think they slowly came to this view because of the relatively poor response by Small Business Partners to the SBS Ignite Events. Apparently, people had cried out for Microsoft to come to their neck of the woods so that we would all feel loved and cherished. And what did we do? We spurned them and stayed away in our droves, and complained that there wasn’t enough technical content. So, like a rejected lover they’ve retaliated. I don’t blame them because they’ve got to put their effort in to things which are going to help them fulfill their business aims. Hey, that’s life!

Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 is where they are going to focus and NOT SBS 2003! We’ve got to realise this and start to focus our businesses in that direction. The things that are going to drive the future business applications are going to be running on Vista and Office 2007 and so SBS 2003 only becomes the enabler or the glue. The technologies underlying this such as .NET 3.0 is where it’s at! Businesses will buy in to these technologies once the applications are there to wow them! These’ll come and we have to be ready to support them. The change will happen because Microsoft cannot afford it not to happen and it will throw everything at it including the kitchen sink. Steve Ballmer will shout and screech louder until were all flipping our screens around in 3D!

Penetration Testing

This sounds rude, doesn’t it!

If follows on from my previous post and this article that I came across mentions the name of the interesting “pentration testing” tool that Dinis Cruz was using and that I dared not mention!

Here’s the article anyway.

Ed Gibson on the Road Event

This was a great event that I went to last night organised by the NxtGenUG guys (what a great job these guys are doing!). Ed Gibson is Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor in the UK and is an ex FBI employee. I think if I was told to do something by Ed, I would certainly do it! He’s got that air about him, which you probably only get from being an FBI Special Agent. His talk was mainly around cybercrime and his experiences of this and some of the legal issues involved.

There was a demo and talk by a security IT Consultant, Dinis Cruz. He showed how easy it was to compromise servers (which hadn’t been patched) and web applications which had not taken account of security issues when developed. He used an openly available tool to get command line access and then a full desktop session. It was so easy, as this tool automates the process where you can just select things from a menu! Until you see this you don’t realise the full consequences of not patching your servers (and this applies to Linux as well).

Problem is that we don’t really understand how attacks are perpretrated and so we don’t really understand how to defend our systems properly. We need to put ourselves in to the mind of the hacker and then maybe we can increase the security of our systems.

Atlas Toolkit

The Atlas Toolkit is a cool framework which is essentially Microsoft’s AJAX framework. AJAX is the hot topic at the moment and is a way in which browsers can give a much more user rich experience. Have a play around with the samples on the Atlas Toolkit website. It’s amazing the effects and animations that you can get.

I have a Dell Account Manager!

I was rang today out of the blue by a very nice man from Dell (from India of course!), who said he had been assigned to be my very own Business Senior Sales Consultant. So, if I wanted to sell lots of nice shiny Dell kit, ranging from servers, desktops, laptops, storage or pdas, then I was just to let him know and he would bend over backwards to get a good deal! I informed him that I was a loyal IBM Series X server person but had no issues with Dell on the desktop!

They obviously haven’t been reading my blog posts about Dell. SShhhh! don’t tell them!

Got More Time than Others?

In a conversation yesterday with a well known Community member, a statement was made that “some people have more time on their hands to post to newsgroups/blog”. The comment was aimed at myself and was not meant to be complimentary! I really think that those who have put themselves to be community leaders need to communicate through newsgroups and blogs, surely this is a prequesite for people taking them seriously and for them to give back to the community! Okay, I make a very minute contribution but I hope in some way it is useful and I like helping people!

Windows Desktop Search & BCM

Windows Desktop Search 2.06 does not play nicely with Business Contact Manager. You have to exclude BCM from the search path otherwise you get crashes from windowssearchfilter.exe on a continual basis. I’ve not come across a solution to this other than the workaround that I’ve suggested.

Also, I prefer WDS over Google’s Desktop Search because WDS is a lot kinder to the disk than Google’s Search! This has become an indispensible tool now for getting to emails, contacts and documents.

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