August 2007 - Posts
I've talked about Granite Digital before, when I commented on their USB to anydrive adapter, but I was working with someone recently who is having intermittent errors on a server and has been going nuts trying to sort it out. Turns out the server is running conventional, parallel SCSI (SCSI-320, actually). A good choice for a server when this one was built, but these days I'd choose Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) instead. For just the sorts of reasons he's seeing - intermittent buss errors when the drives are known good, the drivers are up to date, the firmware has been updated on the controller, etc. I've been there more than once, and I know how frustrating it can be. Well, if you're having SCSI problems, there is simply no better resource than Granite Digital. They make the best cables and active terminators, bar none. And they know SCSI like no one else. I've used them for years, and they are helpful, knowledgeable, and determined to make it right. Every time I've tried to cheap out and grab a cable from Fry's or wherever, I've ended up paying the price later. Usually not right away - it works for the moment. But then as things deteriorate down the road (hey, it's HOT inside that server cabinet!), I start having problems. Sure enough, no name cables, and most likely a passive terminator. Swap them out with good ones from Granite Digital, and one of their active terminators, and the problems go away. And stay away.
So, do yourself a favour. If you're running SCSI, (or Firewire, or SATA, or SAS,) and you actually care about your data, check out the folks at Granite Digital. Peace of mind is remarkably inexpensive. Especially as we move to faster and faster servers, with 64-bit I/O, it gets a lot more important that the path to that data be perfect.
So, HP has asked fellow MVP and ExpertZone Columnist Barb Bowman to help them design their next laptop. If you want to have input, post a comment to her blog. I have! This is your chance to help HP out-do the Acer Ferrari, my current favourite laptops.
As most of you know, we run our writing and consulting business on Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. It includes Exchange Server 2003 SP2, and we've been using the same, quite public, email addresses for at least 17 years since our first book, and publishing that address in our books. So we get a LOT of SPAM. The Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) version 2 that is part of Exchange helped a lot, but management of it was becoming increasingly onerous, even with IMF Companion. And, frankly, way too much stuff was getting through, while the false positive rate was too high to simply delete it all. Finally, a friend/fellow MVP offered a solution - ExchangeDefender. Well, I admit, I was skeptical of how much better it could be, but I decided it was worth a try. Well, all I can say is "Wow". Setup was trivial - I just told Vlad what my domain names were, and then changed the DNS MX records for my domains to point to his server. Oh, and set up his server as my "smarthost" in Exchange as well. Once the DNS settled down, I also restricted Exchange to only accept SMTP from his servers. That was all that I really had to do, but of course there was some tweaking required. I had to go in and add all the alternate email addresses we use on our main accounts, and I had to add my whitelist of known good folks. Both of these were a bit more of a nuisance than absolutely necessary, since they required doing each one individually instead of being able to add them in a bunch. But it's a one time thing, and it's done now. (And it's logged as a suggestion for the next version of ExchangeDefender.)
So, what are the results? Simply amazing. Our daily SPAM has dropped by 99+%. From nearly 1,000 SPAM messages a day, to somewhere around 10-15. And even when this latest round of stock pumping increased the level worldwide, we didn't have any change.
So, if you're getting buried under SPAM, and want a really first rate operation to take the load off you, without limiting your ability to manage accounts yourself, ExchangeDefender is a winner!