Thursday, 12 August 2004

My friend and coworker Scott pointed me to an article by Robert Hensing on his new security incident-response weblog that does a great job of explaining “Why you shouldn't be using passwords of any kind on your Windows networks.”

The fact that Microsoft's security people are now starting to blog about their areas of expertise is awesome - and I realize it's not an easy thing for security management to buy into for a number of justifiable reasons. What Robert suggests in this article is right on the money, and is where many companies are already heading (and where the rest should be heading).


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IT Security | Tech
Thursday, 12 August 2004 12:24:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 11 August 2004

Update: Six more invites available to resourceful peoples who can follow instructions... Wow, making a real mess of this post! ;-)

I have one invitation to offer up for a Gmail account. First email to reach me gets it. You'll have to find/guess the email address though. ;-)

WINNER: Tim Gilbreath was first, and got the gmail account. Thanks for playing. :-)

EDIT: This is apparently harder than I thought it would be... No, no everyone... Not my regular email address, and it's not like it's rocket science or anything... Look around you. Follow the yellow brick road, push the envelope, open your eyes... Heh...

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Random Stuff
Wednesday, 11 August 2004 19:42:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft has published this list of dates for where and how XP SP2 will be made available:

  • From 8/06 - Release to manufacturing
  • 8/09 - Release to Microsoft Download Center (full network install package)
  • 8/10 - Release to Automatic Updates (for machines running pre-release versions of Windows XP SP2 only)
  • 8/16 - Release to Automatic Updates (for machines not running pre-releases versions of Windows XP SP2)
  • 8/16 - Release to SUS
  • Later in August - Release to Windows Update for interactive user installations

UPDATE: If you have to deploy to an organization, you should read this guide.

Other Methods of Deployment
In addition, they have published an article and related tools called "Temporarily Disabling Delivery of Windows XP Service Pack 2 Through Windows Update and Automatic Updates," which offers a number of options to IT operations shops that may need to delay the auto-updating of SP2 on any one of a number of machines, until testing can be completed. The tools allow you to temporarily disable application of the service pack via Windows Update, as well as to re-enable it. The article also discusses some of the benefits of using Software Update Services (SUS) or Systems Management Server (SMS) to deploy SP2.

By the way, a little about SUS: Do you have a company that relies on Windows Updates to patch your computers, but wish you had more control over the process? Ever have a patch cause a problem because you didn't get to test it first? SUS is your answer. Information on SUS is available at Note that SUS is available as a free download to customers with a Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server license and can be downloaded from here.

For those who are thinking they'll just block the Windows Update IP address or URL at the firewall or content filter, think again... Laptops, anyone? You get the picture. Plus, a firewall block would just be a cheap, lazy "solution" that would break every other update. Read the article and the FAQ.

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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, 11 August 2004 06:57:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 10 August 2004

Watch the computer updates how-to video
Watch the Computer
Updates how-to video

Or go to this web site to set up your computer automatically

Windows XP SP2 will be available starting August 16th for automatic download over the Internet, if you have automatic updating turned on. If you run Windows XP at home, you should have it turned on by now. If you don't know how, or whether it's on or off - don't worry, we are here to help. In the next three or four paragraphs, your computing life will become easier. Read and learn, it's easy!

So - Why so many redundant posts here about SP2 and how to get it? Because, the greater the number of home users who get SP2 and install it now, the better. Why? It will make your lives easier, as well as everyone else's. It will at least help prevent security issues. It will practically eliminate the browser pop-up problems you have, and as such will reduce the footprint of spy-ware and other malicious code. If you'll also go and get the free year's worth of AV software and firewall protection that Computer Associates will let you download (for home use), you'll not be a platform for the rampant spread of viruses. It will make all our computing lives better...


So, PLEASE - if you are a home user, do two things:

  1. Go to this web site to prep your system automatically to receive SP2, or watch the video linked above and follow the instructions to enable automatic updates.
  2. Tell everyone you know to do the same thing. Think of it as a positive viral infection effort -- word-of-mouth, power-to-the-people style of getting out the message.

Please, pretty please.

Go. Do it. NOW!


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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 10 August 2004 11:22:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 09 August 2004

Tom posts about a couple of common sense things to do when designing your blog web page to make it more usable for those people who read your site on a mobile device.

I actually view a number of blogs on my Blackberry hand-held, which has a pretty darn small piece of real estate for a screen. But, in HTML content mode (AKA RBRO mode) it's workable. I can even log onto secure web sites with form-based logon fields and fill out forms and submit content to other web sites.

I agree with Tom's suggestions about what the little things are that can make a big difference to the mobile user when laying out your pages. Of course, you could always design a WML/WAP version of your web site, and if you do 100% CSS it's all about order, not layout. At any rate, the point is that it's a good idea to think about the many users of your site, and how they consume your content - and for the average blogger, basic layout changes are about all one is going to take on.

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Blogging | Mobile
Monday, 09 August 2004 20:01:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Evan Dodd addresses the /3GB switch confusion and common misconceptions in an informative and to-the-point article on his web log, pointing to technical commentary by a colleague, in the context of Exchange server.

Exchange Server is a complicated product, but things as simple (yeah, I said it) as the /3GB switch don't need to be such a mystery. Admittedly, most exchange admins won't actually care what the switch does. But for those that do want to know, they can easily find out, and even participate in a lively discussion. Or get a link summary of the whole discussion here.

This is a good example of why blogging by the people who are in the trenches is such a great idea. By the way - Another good Exchange commentary resource is KC Lemson's blog.

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Monday, 09 August 2004 19:09:43 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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