September 2004 - Posts
So, I am doing my usual scan of the other MVP blogs, and I come across this post on Susan Bradley's blog.
Now, I admin on Mark's forum. How did I miss that very very cool tool.
And I thought I was patched......
Today, I downloaded the free GDI+ Flaw scanner from http://isc.sans.org/gdiscan.php
As well as the files I was kind of expecting to have the flaw, I also got these notifications that are directly related to FS.
Flight One UT
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Flight Simulator 9\Flight One Software\Ultimate Traffic\gdiplus.dll
I have safely replaced the files.
Over the past few weeks, I have been a beta testing Quest Software’s up and coming new version of MessageStats Version 5. I wanted to share some experiences with you, as this is a vast improvement on version 4 and has some really cool features, even for us on SBS “small networks”. Thanks to Quest for including me on the beta, and approving this early “quick look” at the product.
This system works on SQL or MSDE databases, and sucks the information from your exchange server. All the reports are super easy to use and are all given to the user via a smart looking web interface. It is important to note that this product will run well on a server – client setup or a single client. The setup really simple, and the cost (basing on version 4) works out about €10.00 per user.
One of the really cool features that are new to this version is the “Executive Summaries” that give management a quick snapshot of mail usage. These reports include server traffic usage, Recipient Traffic Usage, Service Delivery, Capacity and Financials. Here are some quick screenshots of my own server for this and last month to give you an idea of the data you get.
OK, time for one more…. This is my favourite report. Top Internet domains…. As you can see my fellow SBS MVP’s send one hell of a lot of Yahoogroup messages ;-)
Email misuse is a major problem for small businesses. I have often walked onto a customer site to see the receptionist in the process of sending a 10MB Video or a set of 1000 holiday pictures to 100 of her mates. IMHO, this product will allow small businesses to save money and increase efficiency of employees. I for one would probably not send as much "chatter" email to my pals if I knew I had this kind of monitoring in place ;-). The best part is even the CEO will be able to use it.
There is so much more that would take way too long to go through here, but as soon as the demo is available here, I strongly suggest you give it a go. If you get stuck, drop me a line.
For those emailing me looking for Flight Simulator RSS Feeds...
Well ummm.... there aren't any :) I am working on getting that changed.
In the mean time, there is a new link on the left here for all the FS2004 articles.
First, Chad Gross has just put up a blog about the new XP SP2 update for SBS2003, take a read here.
But, this brings up a point. A common question that comes my way is how do you know about all these new updates, patches and changes for SBS and other products? You must be searching all day....
Well, no... Susan Bradley converted me to RSS Feeds a while back, and I would not give them up for all the tea in China. (Well.. maybe ALL the tea in China, but you get what I mean).
So, I suggest that you go and get yourself a RSS Reader. There are a few out there, and I use two.
The first (and best IMHO) is the SmilingGoat Sharepoint Feedreader, available here and FREE! Coool or what?! To install this, simply run the install on the SPS Server and go with the defaults. Then, this batch file will add the webpart to your SPS Sites. You can also use the STSADM File manually if you want. Then, kick up Sharepoint and add the webpart, the rest is really easy.
The other Reader is for Outlook, and you need to part with some money. However, it is also very very cool. Go to the newsgator site for more info.
Now, go and get your favourite RSS feeds and add them in. Susan has a great list here.
Today, example code called "poison JPEG" that crashes IE was released that exploits that scary bug we all should know about MS04-028. The example is here: http://gulftech.org/?node=downloads
I suspect that a worm will not be far behind.
Patch up people :)
For all you designers out there, scenerydesign.org has recently added a scenery design specific wish list for our friends on the MS FS team to take a look at. Unlike other forums, this is specific for scenerydesign suggestions:
Go here to add your own
Today I spoke with Arno Gerretsen, whom as many of you know is the man behind www.scenerydesign.org
A couple of weeks ago he released the first beta of the FS9 Version of the Conditional Animation Tool (CAT) that allows desginers to have total control over GMAX animations in FS9 without having to understand the ASM source code.
The first version, whilst excellent, did not work with a rather complicated animation that I sent to Arno, so he informed me today that he is reworking the code to deal with far more complicated animations.
This is indeed fantastic news for all GMAX FS developers out there.
People contact me all the time with issues and Flight Simulator 9. People often complain of crashing to desktops, lockups and the like.
Here is an interesting fact. About 9 out of 10 contacts regarding these type of issues are related to add-ons from third party developers, not FS itself. Now, before you all start sending me "Nick, you Microsoft lover" emails.... yes... it is true, FS does indeed have bugs that cause CTD's and lockups and they are working hard to fix them. You will soon see that with the update that was recently announced.
Before all you developers start sending me hate mail ;-) I do not blame you guys either... a lot of you out there are really pushing the limitations of the program and are trying things that MS did not intend. I applaud you for this. IFSD, the group I develop add-ons for, also have a bug in our scenery that causes a CTD.
Anyway, there is a point to this, that I recommend to all your FS'ers out there...
After installing Flight Simulator, do one simple task, that will one day come back to save you.... make a copy of the Flight Simulator install folder and call it something like "Flight Simulator 9 - base install". Then, if you have the disk space, once every 3 or 4 months, make another copy of your working Flight Simulator folder.
Only today did this save me one hell of a lot of work. A quick rename of my backup and I was up and running again.
I know of people that have 40+ GB installs of FS, and of course this method is not really viable for them. They only have one option.... a backup device :)
How many times have you taken over an existing network and thought "oh my God. How could the engineer possibly of configured X this way"? The problem is a daily one for me. Trying to explain then to the client why they have to spend a few more bob to get it right is an even more daunting issue.
This morning I visited a new site, and found simple issues like no UPS on the server, a 10Mbit hub on a network where all the PC's have Gigabit network cards. Not one, not two, but three firewalls all hooked up in a line, a 20GB backup unit on a 300GB server. I cannot imagine how it is possible for a company to consciously supply a network like this.
I asked the client was money the issue.... was there a tender for the work? What? They informed me that the network company that came in had no "major" limitations on budget and that they knew in advance that they were getting the work as they were recommended. This makes my skin crawl... this network company KNEW they were going to get the work yet they left a 10Mbit hub on the LAN and no UPS.
Forget your email blacklists..... I want to see a web based "Network Cowboy Blacklist" that is search-able by country and location publicly available to the poor souls that know no better.
So, I was just about to post up the list of KB's, but I see that the ever so lovely Ebitz has done it for us :)
Check out Susan's blog here
Microsoft have today announced the soon to be released update to Flight Simulator2004. This update will fix many issues and will be, to be blunt, fantastic.
Updates to include:
Autogen Memory leak is fixed.
Improved Performance - including fixes for CTD's
MAJOR improvement to allow higher detail terrain. Back to FS8 format - 19 Meter
Missing Bridges added back. 160+
A long time a go, in a galaxy far far away...
Matrox released drivers for the Matrox Parhelia video card that allowed Outlook to function on three monitors without kicking up a "false" Word window. We rejoiced when they fixed the problem.
Since then we have had about 5 or so updates to the driver made available to us Parhelia users. (This is a lot for Matrox releases). Guess what, the phantom Word window bug came back....
In that time, I and others have asked on the forum for this Word "false window" to be fixed, just like it was in the previous released driver and also to have release notes for the driver updates.
Sounds like a simple request doesn't it... it appears not to be....
PLEASE MATROX! Fix these two issues!
Today I finally got around to installing Sharepoint Services SP1.
Finally, my discussion lists are in the correct order (most recent at the top). This is indeed great news. Thanks MS.
So, this morning I woke up to a sad message from Grey Lancaster, a fellow SBS MVP. He has been retired from the SBS MVP's.
I am a new SBS MVP, and have only been in the program for one year. At last years summit, I met a tall man.... kind of intimidating to look at (boy is that man tall), but the most gentle spoken person I have met in years.
On our smoke breaks, he shared his experiences in the SBS MVP program with me and other new MVP's and made us all feel extremely welcome and kind of "warm" inside. Susan Bradley sums up Grey in her blog here as does Wayne Small here
Grey, you will always be a SBS MVP.
This question keeps coming up, so I figure this is a good place to post the answer as it is difficult to find.
The Matrox Parhelia card has a fog rendering issue with FS. To fix this issue you need to add the lone below to the display.cfg file in the FS main directory:
; Matrox Parhelia on Win2k/XP
TableFog = 0 <<-- Add this
So, this is a blog eh?
A year ago I said to Susan Bradley... that this blog lark will never get off the ground. Here I am a short while later posting my very own :)
I figured that since Chad Gross, my evil twin, also had one it must in some way be cool. So once I figure all this out expect more FS, SBS and general banter.