Monday, 19 July 2004

Mike Nash is responsible for security at Microsoft. He will be speaking during the newly-established monthly webcast briefing on July 28th:

Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Time: 8:30AM-9:30AM Pacific Time (GMT-7, US & Canada)
(Click here to register for the webcast)

Description: Join Mike Nash, Microsoft's senior executive in charge of security, for his monthly security update. Mike will provide the latest details on Microsoft's security enhancements and offer tips and insights into key security strategies for customers.  This month, learn more about Microsoft's security strategy and the key focus of improving software updating.  Mike will provide details on what Microsoft is doing to reduce the cost, complexity, downtime and risk associated with deploying software updates. Learn how these improvements can help you with patch management in your environment.

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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 19 July 2004 06:45:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 18 July 2004

Well, no more dual telephone service for me. Last week, I made the decision to cancel my old-skool standard land-line (POTS) phone service with Qwest, after signing up for and trying out Vonage's IP phone service, which works over my Internet connection.

The LEC's (that's "local exchange carriers") better think fast. They're going to lose this game.

For a lot less money each month, I can now take my phone number wherever I want with a soft-phone that runs on my laptop and/or a portable IP phone device that I can plug into any Internet connection. I can make all the long distance calls I want. I get my voice mail messages as nice little email attachments as soon as someone leaves one for me. I am spending less money each month. It costs less. I get more features for less cash. Oh, by the way - did I mention it's cheaper than the land-line service?

I made one small adjustment to the service on the Vonage web site under my account settings that set my IP phone bridge device to max quality, and the service is great.

This is the future of home telephony, not to mention business service. Hey Baby-Bell's - wake up and make some coffee - your customers are waiting...


I just noticed - if you want to sign up for Vonage service, they have a referral program where I can send you an invitation and you'll get the first month free, and I'll get an equal service credit - good for everyone! Just email me here: Send mail to the author(s) and I will send you the invite - be sure to send your name and the email address you want the invite to go to.

Their web site:

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Sunday, 18 July 2004 20:07:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It's nice when people use Flash for good purposes, instead of doing so just so they can say they did it. Remember intro movies? Sheez...

But, I digress... Along the lines of good use of Flash to get the point across, check out the Microsoft Innovation site/flash movie. Not only is it effective use of the medium, it's also good and interesting information.

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Random Stuff
Sunday, 18 July 2004 13:44:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I don't post about polittics here for the most part, but if I see something that that makes me laugh, it's fair game for blodge-chunking (I'll explain that term some other time).

Download: This Land is Your Land

If you don't laugh, there's something wrong with you.

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Sunday, 18 July 2004 07:44:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 17 July 2004

Now, how did I miss this???

Tons of well-organized information for users/administrators/implementors of SharePoint 2003 technologies. Now all we need to do is convince the owners to provide their content (especially news and categories/topics) via RSS!

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SharePoint | Tech
Saturday, 17 July 2004 21:02:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 16 July 2004

I spent some time today trying to figure out why PowerPoint 2003 was throwing errors when trying to open a file that was created on a PPT 2003 system, edited by a consultant off-site, and emailed back to a staff member, where it conveniently and immediately broke.

The error displayed when trying to open the PowerPoint file indicated that a part of the file appeared to be missing. I had seen this error before, back when PowerPoint XP was brand new and in beta, when trying to open a file that was generated in the new version of the application but then edited in an older version (like PPT2000 for example) and shipped back to the original owner.

The knowledge base didn't really get me any further than my memory did, but it turns out there was a patch released for Office 2003 that puts functionality in place to work around the fact that the consultant had edited the PPT 2003 file in PPT 2000. It's available from Office Online in the downloads section.

Now, it's nice to have the patch/fix, but since it's more of a high-quality band-aid than a true solution, we will be upgrading the consultant's computer the next time he's in the office.

Remember one thing: It's never considered to be in keeping with best practices to edit files in multiple/different versions of Office programs, especially when it can be avoided, and especially in those programs that do a lot of multimedia and embedded content (PowerPoint, Word, Excel). You may not always know the problem exists (like in this case where the consultant is using their own computer system and working off-site), but if you do know it's just not worth the risk or the software savings to use the older version: It costs more in lost time to report, troubleshoot and fix the problem than it costs to install the right software.

Lesson learned: When a consultant comes on site, be proactive and make the time to ask them briefly about what they will be doing with any shared computer files and what programs they will be using while they work. Had I done that in the first place, the problem would have been resolved before it ever happened.

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Office 2003 | Tech
Friday, 16 July 2004 21:47:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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