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Archive for June, 2007
According to Microsoft, there are no Australian MVPs in Windows Mobile. So, I aim to fill that gap by de-facto.
I’ve been using Windows Mobile since I first had a Windows CE Cassiopeia from Casio, back in 1998. I’ve gone through a Viewsonic Windows Mobile 2002 device, the O2 XDA PDA2K, the iMate JasJar, and recently the Palm Treo 750 and Samsung Blackjack. I’m using the Blackjack more now that I have temporarily dumped BlackBerry from my plethora of daily devices. (And those who know me, know I was a BlackBerry junkie; I was active in IBBUG (before it seized up, after the versatile Laura Nuhaan left) and sent thousands of e-mails from the tiny keypad over four years.)
I also commenced – and need to return to – a SourceForge project to make a visual programming language for Windows Mobile.
So, to fill the void of Australian Windows Mobile MVPs, I’ll aim to make one a post week here discussing new advancements on this platform.
(Of course, any Microsofties who would like to nominate me to actually be an MVP, I’d be very grateful! )
Today, I’m taking Microsoft exam 70-620: Technical Specialist: Configuring Windows Vista Client. I’m feeling moderately confident …
… Which leads me nicely to this entertaining blog by Trika Harms zum Spreckel, which advises of new developments in the certification and exam process from Microsoft’s Learning team themselves.
Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 has been out for a little while and runs on Vista (unlike VPC 2004). Very kindly, it is free to download and free for use. This makes it an excellent tool for running different operating systems without having to partition and slice an existing hard drive, or configure dual-booting.
For software developers or systems administrators, Virtual PC allows experimentation on “clean” systems. As the Virtual PC hard disk is simply a disk-based file, this can be backed up and reinstated as desired, each time returning the virtualised computer back to a known state.
For many people, this offers a risk-free opportunity to try out Linux. Just like Virtual PC has no charge, so too Linux can be freely obtained. (Note, that site does not actually send free disks any more, but it does link to other such projects and also the direct download links for many popular distributions.)
It’s not absolute plain sailing to install, though. You elect to create a new Virtual PC, map the virtual CD drive to your real CD (or an ISO image) and “reboot”. The Linux installer kicks in then apparently hangs. No amount of waiting will help. The problem is it’s trying to start X-Windows to provide a graphical installation process, but X-Windows will not run in a virtualised console window. You can still make a retro text console system until an X solution can be found.
Here’s what to do in Fedora 7, although the steps will be mostly identical for other releases. Take charge immediately when the Fedora installation options are listed. Happily, Red Hat have provided a text console installation option, as #2 on the list. In previous versions of Fedora it was necessary to directly modify the boot options command line to add the “text” modifier. You’ll find this then gets things moving; you can complete the Fedora installation and reboot the virtual PC again. Be sure to opt for the customised installation and deselect the X server right down the bottom.
Check out my first piece, published today – part one of a jaunt through the hottest 10 apps on SourceForge. You can see my list of works (one, right now) via http://www.itwire.com.au/component/option,com_tag/tag,David%20M%20Williams/Itemid,0/
My goodness – Newcastle flooded. Who’d have thought? Friday 8th June was a torrent – not of bits, my preferred type – but of water from the sky. It took me two hours to drive home, through raging waters. And thankfully I could drive home! Many people were stranded in office buildings and many cars were abandoned. Latest news reports say over 5,000 vehicles have been written off by insurance agencies.
It’s well known now that Windows Vista is suffering from backwards-compatibility issues (and to be fair, not necessarily Microsoft’s fault but that of sluggish third-party vendors.) I’ve written about this on mailing lists and other sites and once here.
What’s received a lot less publicity – owing to being less for the general public – is the 64-bit nature of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.
I’ve started my new role as CIO for an exciting startup company (and, by the way, I chose the ASUS Lamborghini VX2 laptop.) Although there will be a lot of strategy required soon, the immediate task is to get an online presence.
I bought a 64-bit HP server with dual Xeon processors and 4Gb RAM. It’s running Windows Server 2003 standard – 64-bit edition – and Exchange 2007. The Exchange install was a breeze; Microsoft have made an excellent job of reducing its complexity and giving it a very focused administrative interface. I had it running quickly, along with OWA.
After a day of running this, I felt confident enough to move along and install BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1.3. Now, everyone who knows me know I am a rabid BlackBerry enthusiast. I’ve been involved in IBBUG (before they just seemed to die out …), I’ve sent well over 10,000 thumb-typed messages and I’ve advocated BlackBerry among the tech and journo communities. However, I really have to vent my rage on RIM for mucking up my server here ……..
Oh, the BES install was flawless – with one minor problem; BES 4.1.3 complained that MAPI was not available. A quick Google gave a download link from Microsoft for the benefit of Exchange 2007 users, as this component no longer ships with the product. That satisfied BES and the install completed.
However ……. my dummy web site no longer worked. Nor did OWA. (And sure, it’s not best practice to run mail and web and BlackBerry all on the one machine, but hey, we’re a startup – and it cost over $36K for this kit as it was!)
At first I wondered if the BES’ new MDS services were at fault, possibly having set itself in place as the machine’s web server. Yet IIS was indeed still running – but the application pools had failed to start for “unspecified easons”. A trawl through the application log revealed a .NET framework mismatch – and oddly enough I then noticed IIS listed .NET framework 1.1 as being available but .NET framework 2.0 had disappeared.
Repairing the .NET framework 2.0 got me further – the dummy web site returned and OWA’s login page showed – but it was still not perfect; clicking login just gave an error page. IIS no longer listed any problems with the application pools – but it did list the .NET framework 2.0 as being in 32-bit mode. That got me thinking, given Exchange 2007 is a 64-bit system.
To cut to the chase – the BES wouldn’t run without .NET framework v1.1 installed; it gave C++ run-time errors when removed. Yet, with it, IIS was slashed down to operating in 32-bit mode – and this was no good for OWA.
The end result? .NET 1.1 is gone, .NET 2.0 was repaired again, and IIS returned to 64-bit mode. So, I have OWA back but no BES. I considered trying out the two BES 4.1.3 hotfixes out but it was getting late. My thinking now is to leave as is, and set up POP for the benefit of the BlackBerry handhelds at this time. After all, we’re a startup: we have a sum total of two handhelds at the moment (the spiffing 8800 model.) I’ll return to the BES with a dedicated machine once our usage is heavier.
So, Vista is not the only modern Microsoft environment with compatibility problems. I can do one better and bring the two together: previously Exchange shipped with management tools for use on desktop operating systems. The Exchange 2007 DVD did not. The explanation I got was because it’s a 64-bit system and most client PCs are 32-bit, although that was fairly lame. In fact, I found a link on Microsoft’s web site where the 32-bit management tools for Exchange 2007 can be downloaded so they definitely exist but just didn’t get included on the DVD.
It’s all moot though: one of the first steps in the installation prompts for Microsoft’s new PowerShell to be installed. 32- and 64-bit versions exist but here’s the rub: they’re only for Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. There’s no Vista release. Trying to install the 32-bit XP version just fails. So, ultimately, Vista and Exchange 2007 have such compatibility problems that they don’t even cohabit.
The June meeting is fast approaching. This month, Adam Cogan will be back to talk to introduce Microsoft CRM. For those of you that haven’t seen Adam talk before, he is the leader of the Sydney Dot Net Users Group, Chief Architect for Sydney based Superior Software for Windows (SSW) as well as being a Microsoft Regional Director.
Microsoft CRM provides a complete suite of powerful marketing, sales, and customer service capabilities, all with a familiar and consistent user experience based on Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Office Outlook messaging and collaboration client.
The session will be broken into the following sections:
â€¢ Up and Running on Microsoft CRM
â€¢ Experiences with customizing and extending CRM
â€¢ Using Workflow in CRM
â€¢ Planning for Microsoft CRM 4 (aka Titan)
There will be pizza provided on the night and there should be a chance to interact with your peers. Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends and colleagues. All you need is an interest in software development. Please note that we’re no longer at the university – we’ve moved to the Forsythes IT Training rooms.
Please RSVP by around lunchtime on the day so that we can plan for numbers.
Newcastle Coders Group Monthly Meeting
Wednesday 6th June 2007 6pm – 9pm
Forsythes IT Training Rooms (get map)
9 Denison St Newcastle
See you there!