Tuesday, 22 June 2004

If you work with Windows XP Professional on a Windows 2000/2003 domain and you use Group Policy, this is for you.

Microsoft has released an updated version of their spreadsheet that lists the full set of Group Policy settings described in Administrative Template (.adm) files shipped with Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2. This includes all policy settings supported on Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003. The spreadsheet includes separate worksheets for each of the .adm files shipped, as well as a consolidated worksheet for easy searching. Using column filters, the spreadsheet allows simple filtering by operating system, component and machine/user configuration, as well as regular text search of keywords through Excel.

Essential for network admins planning a move to SP2 when it's released later this year - so go get it.

NOTE FOR DOMAIN ADMINS AND GPO GEEKS: The .ADM template files associated with Win XP SP2 can be found on your XP computer after you apply the service pack. Search for *.ADM or browse to:


Or, extract them from the service pack CAB files if you're feeling adventuresome.

In other words, this works just like any other set of ADM files. Once you've applied the template files to your group policy objects on a domain controller, you'll see new options for lots of things like the Windows firewall and other nifty new GPO features.

IMPORTANT: Note that applying the ADM templates to your DC does not modify the group policy data in existence - it just opens up the new policy fields. However, you should carefully test the new settings, probably in a test OU with the proper ADM templates applied. In reality, you should not test these on a production domain until you are familiar and comfortable from testing on a lab or test domain system. Also remember that as long as SP2 is in beta, nothing is guaranteed, so it's all at your own risk.

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 22 June 2004 09:02:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 21 June 2004

Paul Allen and partners came significantly closer to winning the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which will be awarded to the first team to send a spaceship carrying a pilot and the weight of two passengers to an altitude of 100 kilometers twice within two weeks.

SpaceShipOne successfully launched just barely into outer space today after taking off under the belly of a larger aircraft. Rocket engines pushed it and its single pilot just outside the Earth's atmosphere, and then it fell back to earth, gliding the last part much like the space shuttle does.

It's fun to see private enterprise making this kind of thing happen. Certainly having someone like Paul Allen to bank-roll the project helps a lot, but ultimately it's great to see a non-government project get off the ground - literally.

The private space race has a number of teams actively competing for the $10 million prize.

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Random Stuff
Monday, 21 June 2004 20:32:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 20 June 2004
Nick Bradbury, author of TopStyle, FeedDemon, and HomeSite, wrote the other day about stupid software thieves. It never fails to amaze how stupid people can be. 

He received an email this morning and comments on it:

"Fix your piece of s--- program! I upgraded to FeedDemon 1.10 and it crashes with 'Win32 device error.' Did you even test this s---?"

I've actually received a number of emails (and one forum post) about this bug, but I have no plans to fix it. Why? Because the error message only appears if you upgrade a cracked version of FeedDemon 1.0. This is a deliberate error message that FeedDemon 1.10 displays when it detects that you upgraded from a specific cracked version of FeedDemon 1.0.

That's right, people who use a pirated version of FeedDemon are emailing me for support.

Once again we see the sizable overlap between stupid and dishonest. In my years as a police officer - a previous career path - I saw this over and over. Not only are thieves and cheaters not very smart, they'll often make it all-too-easy to catch them.

Read Nick's blog entry - it's worth the time and the resulting laugh. And good for Nick, taking action to protect his intellectual property. I buy his software, not only because it's great, but also simply because I use it. Not to mention because it's the honest, good and right thing to do. This is an important conversation to have.

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Sunday, 20 June 2004 20:12:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Delorme has a great and relatively new GPS device out called the Earthmate GPS Receiver. The name's not new, but this version runs off USB power, so none of the separate power cords like their old stuff used to require, and no more serial ports to fight with (for that matter, my new laptop doesn't even have a serial port).

What's so special about it? Well, for starters you plug it in, along with the Street Atlas 2004 USA software that comes with it, and you're pretty much instantly listening to your computer give you turn-by-turn directions to wherever you want to go. Plus, you can talk to your computer, verbally giving commands like "Next turn?" or "Where am I?" The computer answers your questions.

So, that sounds pretty neat you say, but so what? Well, on a recent trip to California, I spent a weekend with a friend in a rental car, traversing the southern part of the state. Everywhere we went we used the laptop with the GPS device, and we were able to find things that otherwise would have been pretty difficult, we always knew where we were, and ultimately we were able to quickly plan routes and get to places. We did a lot in a few days, and had fun in the process.

There's a bunch of new fancy GPS devices on the market, selling for over a thousand dollars. If you have a laptop and want great functionality, don't spend the money on the expensive stuff. Try this first.

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AudioBlogging | Random Stuff | Tech
Sunday, 20 June 2004 09:03:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I want to write something about my dad. Nothing flowery, nothing earth-shattering. Just that I love him, that I am proud to be his son, and that I hope he has a great Fathers Day.

He's been there when I was at my worst, and for that I am grateful.

So - Thank you, Dad. And by the way, I can't find your cell phone number again, and I tried you at home and work. Call me, why don't ya. ;-)

Fathers Day is a hard one for me. I am happy for my dad and my relationship with him, and also sad for other reasons on this day each year. But for both of the people on my mind this day, I am truly grateful for those relationships and the time I have been privileged to spend.

I'm also lucky to have good friends who think about me on days like this. They dropped off a card while I was out this evening. On the face it reads, "Those we hold most dear never truly leave us." I believe that.

Days like today are important. They give us pause, to thank those who have meant so much, and to remember those who have gone before us.

Happy Fathers Day.

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Personal Stories
Saturday, 19 June 2004 23:41:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 19 June 2004

As a homeowner of a house and a few acres in the Middle of Nowhere, I've become very well acquainted with the Home Depot over the past couple of years. I love Home Depot. Here's a few reasons why.

  1. Even though I hate credit cards, I got one from Home Depot. They have regular promotions (meaning almost all the time) that allow you to charge any purchase over $300 with no payments and no interest for 12 months. Granted, it gets expensive if you don't pay it all off before time runs out, but that's not a problem in my case - I always pay it off each month. If you have issues with charging up credit cards and getting into a world of Financial Hell, just skip this part completely, you'll be happier. :-)
  2. Internet-only specials. For example, this weekend they have a special for Internet purchases only, not available in the store, for price reductions on a variety of items, including two power tools I have been considering buying. Needless to say, they got purchased today.
  3. Free shipping specials. Right now if you place an order for more than $49, they'll ship it for free, as long as its not something super heavy or huge. What counts for huge? Well, not 12-inch compound miter saws or 10-inch portable table saws, if that gives you an idea. Granted, it's ground shipping, but hey - it's free.

So, I saved $55 on the tools, got free shipping, and no payments and no interest for 12 months. I'll pay it off next month, but it's nice to know I have the option to spread it out if I want to.

Plus, they're everywhere and easy to find. They're also easy when it comes to returning items that don't fit or don't work or that you don't like or whatever. I can go there and learn stuff in free classes on the weekends.

The only complaint I have about Home Depot (if you can call it that) is that their concrete floors are so darn hard, and the stores are so darn big, that by the time I'm done shopping my feet, legs and back are killing me. Of course, Costco has the same problem. Put down some of that nifty hard rubber floor material you sell, and I'll stick around a little longer each time I shop. Maybe you'll sell more stuff.

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Random Stuff
Saturday, 19 June 2004 16:57:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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