Items of relevance to my work for a company in Edinburgh providing solutions to the Finance Industry.
SharePoint 2013 post CU says Server Error:

The situation was that I thought I would bring my SharePoint 2013 up to date with the latest cumulative update, at the time of writing December 2013 as we are still waiting for the issue with SP1 to be remedied. So the cumulative update ran through fine and apart from a few complaints in the upgrade file to do with PowerPivot, all was well. So I went in to a demo site and got an empty screen with the following: Server Error: When you click on that link it takes you to an update deployment page for SharePoint Foundation 2010. So...

posted @ Monday, April 21, 2014 11:56 AM | Feedback (0)
Windows 8 x64, Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013

I had an interesting chat with our Internal IT guys today about a strange behaviour found with the mixture of software versions that inevitably happen. In our case our desktop kit can be bang up to date, i.e. Windows 8 and Office 2013 or in our technical division our consultants love to install the latest and greatest, with quite a few looking at Windows 8.1. Our Intranet runs on SharePoint 2010 as space for hosting is limited and there is a little little bit of the cobbler’s children effect when it comes to making the upgrade. Since the combination...

posted @ Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:38 PM | Feedback (0)
Life and Work and Windows Mobile 8

I know it breaks the principle of doing everything from one device but I have two windows 8 mobile phones. One is my own Nokia Lumia 920, and my work phone is a Nokia Lumia 820. It does mean carrying two phones but I got my own personal number a few years ago during a period that I didn’t have a work mobile phone and have run with the slight inconvenience of having two with me and the resultant bulk and charging issues. They both synchronise to my work Outlook e-mail, albeit the personal phone is on manual...

posted @ Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:32 PM | Feedback (0)
Replacing old Virtual PC / Server additions with ORCA

Over the last six months or so I’ve been assisting on a project to migrate some old software between data centres. The new data centres have Windows 2008 Server R2 and all the matching versions of SQL Server and SharePoint – not the latest versions but up to date when it comes to corporate land. Part of my consulting support has involved regression checks of both source and running software in test environments. With the apps being almost 8 years old the support and test machines are thankfully virtual but date back to Virtual Server time. It’s great having...

posted @ Friday, May 24, 2013 6:31 AM | Feedback (0)
SharePoint 2013 App vs Solution

This is going to be a horrible meta-post, you know the kind that contains little to no original material and points you to other stuff (like your last post I hear you say). I like the idea of a post over on the MCS UK blog on SharePoint 2013 Development (Apps versus Solutions) as it concisely runs through the thought process when considering how to construct your solution in SharePoint 2013. My caveat is the inclusion of Sandboxed solutions. Sandbox solutions will not be available in the next version of SharePoint, and if you agree with what is said...

posted @ Friday, April 26, 2013 1:36 PM | Feedback (0)
Post by Spencer Harbar on Configuring Back Connection Host Names using Group Policy

Ok, a rather long title but I didn’t want to go too far on the paraphrase. If you work with SharePoint I’d recommend a look at the latest blog post by Spence over at Groundhog Day: Configuring Back Connection Host Names using Group Policy . For one thing it is a nice reminder that SharePoint administrators need to understand their infrastructure. Sure we can’t keep all of the detail in our heads, but at least know the roles of the technology and what to use to do what. In this example Group policy is used to implement something on...

posted @ Monday, February 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Feedback (0)
SharePoint 2010 Emerges from NDA

With the start of the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, the much awaited information on SharePoint 2010 is beginning to emerge from NDA. For those SharePoint community members itching to share information there have been a flurry of obviously pre-prepared articles on the changes and improvements we can come to expect. My only caveat at this early stage (the product has yet to reach public beta) is that many of the articles are a bit on the light side, so the depth of material like we have with MOSS 2007 is absent at the moment. Two blogs to...

posted @ Tuesday, October 20, 2009 10:25 AM | Feedback (0)
That was the week that was

So where do I start? I’m in quite a different working arrangement at the moment, spending the working week in Basingstoke of all places. We’ve getting towards completion a project for the website of a High Street retailer and if you know anything about retail you know that the bulk of their annual sales fall around the Christmas period. I’ve worked on a handful of retail websites in my time, only a handful for a number of reasons. One of them is that there are very few organisations that are big enough to be able to afford to run...

posted @ Friday, October 16, 2009 5:56 PM | Feedback (0)
Passed 70-631 WSS Configuring Today

Yay, passed another Microsoft Exam today, almost a year since I sat my last Microsoft Exam. Today I passed 70-631 Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Configuring. It is an interesting exam, partly because it covers such a broad base, and partly because it was a great reminder for me as to what is included in the “free” download. The exam itself is a broad brush affair, with bits on dns setup, network load balancing, ISA Server, MOM, basically the stuff in the exam outline is covered – so go read it up. I got a pretty good score,...

posted @ Thursday, August 13, 2009 8:32 PM | Feedback (0)
London SharePoint User Group Meeting – August 27th

I just got an email through from Nick Swan of the UK SharePoint user group on an interesting event in London at the end of the month. He says: “many of you who are using twitter and reading blogs will have heard of Dux Raymond as he's very involved in the SharePoint community over in the States. In August he is over here for a visit and has kindly agreed to come and present at a user group meeting. As he's traveling such a long way we've decided to give him both sessions! (and the abstracts he sent were...

posted @ Wednesday, August 5, 2009 11:22 AM | Feedback (0)
What is Windows Azure? (A Hand-Drawn Video)

I like what Steve Marx has done over on his blog with an intro to Windows Azure – go look, its only 4 minutes long to watch his video.

posted @ Tuesday, July 7, 2009 4:01 PM | Feedback (0)
SharePoint SP2 Update

Run on over to the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog where they have posted an update to the expiration issue with SP2, it is a workaround fix and hopefully a corrected SP2 download will be around in the next 4-6 weeks.

posted @ Monday, June 29, 2009 11:09 AM | Feedback (0)
Sample MOSS 2007 Web Content Management site now available

Andrew Connell, one of the people to follow on SharePoint Web content management, and also the author of the best (ok the only) book on SharePoint Web Content Management, has just posted up a blog post to follow up his excellent presentations at Tech Ed EMEA in November 2008. I’ve got to get a good dig around in it, but the promise was that it would be a reference site for architecture as well as demos. Go see what Andrew Connell says on Adventureworks.

posted @ Tuesday, June 23, 2009 2:09 PM | Feedback (0)
Introducing the first Certified SharePoint Masters

I've been following @harbars on twitter and knew he was over in the 'States doing the Microsoft Certified Master Program, but reading through the other list of attendees just goes to show what a unique experience that R2 session was - most of R2 (as was R1) of the Program were Microsoft folks. So even more congratulations to Spence on the achievement. Check out the MCM Blog posting on it, and the SharePoint team posting. PS: Did I tell you that I used to work with Spence ? ;)

posted @ Thursday, April 30, 2009 3:00 AM | Feedback (0)
I am still employed!

My last post indicated that I may be seeking employment soon. I’m pleased to say that having reached the end of my consultation period, my current position is no longer at risk and I am still employed at my current job. A great relief, and although I am sure that challenges remain in the economy ahead, I am pleased. I’d like to say thanks to those in my “internal network” at work, my “external network” for those I know for offering help and suggestions, folks I know otherwise through the IAM etc but to my family for being...

posted @ Friday, April 24, 2009 2:22 PM | Feedback (1)
I am seeking employment

Due to market conditions, I may be looking for employment in the not too distant future. If you don’t already know me, I have a number of years experience working with Microsoft Products in a development capacity working for consulting companies on bespoke development and configuration projects. The bulk of this time has been work with internet technologies, whether applied to an application used internally by employees, or in secure Extranet and public Internet sites. Application of such technologies in project work has led me to apply my talents to the following areas: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – the latest...

posted @ Sunday, April 12, 2009 5:33 PM | Feedback (0)
Yay - got ecto hooked up to Twitter

Getting organised, now have ecto on my Mac hooked up to Twitter, and Live Writer on my windows machines hooked up too. Twitter, Blogging

posted @ Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Feedback (0)
My week with SharePoint

A shorter than normal week with SharePoint for me - I had Monday off in recuperative mode from my motocrossing, and I had a couple of days back in the office for the first time in weeks which meant the usual catching up with expenses and the other admin sort of stuff that happens. Tuesday marked the completion of an exercise in productionising of a SharePoint pilot that has been running for several months on a small farm running on a couple of virtual machines. This had a few interesting attributes, due to budget we found ourselves going from Enterprise Edition...

posted @ Sunday, April 12, 2009 1:13 PM | Feedback (0)
Understanding Field Controls and Web Parts in SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Sites

Andrew Connell’s article has finally appeared on MSDN and I’d recommend that you pour over it to understand how to choose and use the appropriate containers for content in Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007. Understanding Field Controls … on MSDN

posted @ Wednesday, March 18, 2009 5:01 PM | Feedback (0)
harbars reminds us of the "hidden" costs of sharepoint in the enterprise

You are deploying SharePoint into the Enterprise, so make sure you treat it as an enterprise application. Spence has posted on the 'hidden' costs of SharePoint in the Enterprise. But only hidden if you don't treat it seriously. And if you get a chance to corner Spence at a SharePoint event in 2009, ask him if Microsoft will be any further forward in giving us a single vendor solution to the issues he raises.

posted @ Friday, March 13, 2009 7:53 PM | Feedback (0)
SQL Data Services features in v1

Check out the blog post over on the SQL Data Services Team Blog - decided that relational tech still had a place to play in the cloud - and one of the big things for me - Visual Studio tools integration..

posted @ Wednesday, March 11, 2009 12:33 AM | Feedback (0)
I was in Barcelona for a week in November

I promised I would do a bit of a catch up, so these posts may come out in a bit of a random order. First notable thing was a trip abroad by myself. I've had a bit of a phobia about going abroad - not fancying the challenge of a foreign language for a time of relaxation. The chance came up to go to a Microsoft Conference in Barcelona - Tech Ed EMEA 2008 Developers, which was a week of presentations on subjects core to developing software using current Microsoft Technologies. It was a good week, but because it was paid for by...

posted @ Saturday, December 27, 2008 12:19 AM | Feedback (0)
Interacting with parent controls in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.

If you do a search in Google on the title above, you'll find plenty of code samples of the javascript to get and set the values of controls on CRM 4.0 forms and even how to do it from an IFRAME in a page. As you may know if you have any experience of extending MS CRM 4.0, the IFRAME is a big part of offering extra functionality to users. Of course, as you may know if you have a bit of a history in Web UI design, there are a few hurdles to be able to be allowed to run...

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2008 2:49 PM | Feedback (0)
Further catchup with the world of AlistairL

I think I would be better off with Twitter than these summary posts, but such is. These will placeholder my life until I get my thoughts down in more detail: A week last Friday I took Mrs AlistairL out for a Fish Tea at the Tailend restaurant in Albert Place. Alegedly related to the management of the Anstruther place at one time, they managed to squeeze us in without a table booking and the fish and chips was excellent. The dining room is a bit small, so look it up in advance and book. Recommended. I had "fun" this week wrestling with...

posted @ Sunday, August 31, 2008 5:45 PM | Feedback (1)
Catchup with the world of AlistairL

I do these catchup posts from time to time, when I go through a period when I'm not in to keeping the blog up to date. Happenings include: Cat MkII. After keeping her resolution not to have another cat, two weeks after the departure of Cat MkI I accompanied Mrs AlistairL to Dalkeith to meet a little female kitten being fostered with her brother and mother by the Lothian Cat Protection folks. After an hour of play we departed with a little 12 week old black male kitten who is now called Luey. He plays most of the time he is...

posted @ Tuesday, August 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Feedback (1)
Ron Jacobs is back with

I used to subscribe to a podcast called ARCast, which was an architecture Podcast from Microsoft, hosted by a chap called Ron Jacobs. I used to listen to it on the bus to the Business Analysis job I was doing at a Corporate Bank. They fitted in quite nicely, I could get 1 to 1.5 podcasts in on my ride into Edinburgh on the X25. When that job finished I was back to commuting by car and didn't listen to my MP3 player as much, but my RSS reader kept downloading the files and adding them in to the Media Player...

posted @ Monday, July 14, 2008 11:25 AM | Feedback (0)
The Windows User Interface Guy

He reads your mind to develop the perfect windows UI, be afraid - very afraid - by the windows ui guy.

posted @ Friday, February 15, 2008 2:16 PM | Feedback (0)
Application Deployment and stuff

Work continues to be interesting, I'm currently involved in a project packaging up a large application we wrote for a Financial Instituion. This involves scripting everything on and off the target machines using their chosen deployment API. Another learning curve, but good discipline for the end of things that developers don't tend to like. By the end of a project anything would run on our development machine because we've installed the contents of over the months, but show it a clean machine? Bang. We're making great use of Virtual machines to configure and test this stuff, they are just superb things even...

posted @ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:48 PM | Feedback (0)
Jonathan Blair Again - Linked in

I was amused to spot the name of our favourite celebrity MCSD.NET, Jonathan Blair, on Linkedin today, through a connection of a connection I notice he works for Microsoft now.

posted @ Sunday, July 22, 2007 6:34 PM | Feedback (0)
Fun with Excel 2003 and Web Services

Work are breaking me back in gently to the technical stream with one or two small jobs with bits of coding. I'm currently finishing up a Microsoft Excel 2003 based utility that imports and exports information from a system. A new version is on the way, so in the meantime we work around missing functionality by creating utilities. This particular one calls a few web services, and also a couple of aspx pages. In between we save a few xml files. Got really stuck last night with an xml document that wouldn't de-serialize at the server side. What was really annoying...

posted @ Friday, June 22, 2007 7:40 AM | Feedback (1)
Windows 2000 Track exams scheduled for 2008 Retiral

Microsoft have announced the retiral in 2008 of a batch of Microsoft Certified Professional exams. The retiral page features a list of exams to retire on 31st March 2008, mostly coming from the Windows 2000 Server MCSE and MCSA exam tracks, plus an NT4 exam for good measure. Looking at the list pop up some old "favourites" or what I would call one-off anomalies like the rather strange Commerce Server 2000 exam (70-234) which didn't even merit a simulation exam from Transcender, but was a credit to MCSD. And they are retiring my recent pass, 70-215 Putting Windows 2000 Server on a box and...

posted @ Thursday, May 10, 2007 9:30 AM | Feedback (0)
Alistair Laing MBCS

My work just kicked off a scheme to help suitably qualified staff to join the British Computer Society. I followed the process, and now I am a member. And I think that means I can put MBCS after my name. First proper letters I can put there, being as I don't have a degree.

posted @ Tuesday, May 8, 2007 6:02 PM | Feedback (0)
I have just been on a wpf course

I'm on my way home now from attending a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) course run by one of my colleagues, Pat Long. It's a brand new course he has just written, and I was priviledged to be a guinea pig along with five of my other colleagues. If it works out, the plan is to put more folks on it from my colleagues in the technical team, and even offer it externally. I first saw WPF at the 2003 PDC in Los Angeles, when we had various folks from Microsoft and even Adobe were wheeled out in the massive auditorium to showcase...

posted @ Wednesday, May 2, 2007 10:32 PM | Feedback (0)
ActiveSync fun with my Orange M600 and server Certs

Had a wierd problem out of the blue yesterday with my Orange SPV M600. We recently changed over the public name of our ISA server and this involved a resync of my pda - not a problem. The biggest hassle (tiny at that) was picking up the folders to take offline in mobile Outlook. Then I started getting an error when I attempted to synchronise my phone - "The security certificate on the server is invalid. Contact your Exchange Server administrator or ISP to install a valid certificate on the server. Support Code:80072f0d". This error could be seen on both the...

posted @ Tuesday, May 1, 2007 10:37 AM | Feedback (0)
Outlook 2003, VPN and Windows Desktop Search

I understand Office 2007, and in particular Outlook maintains a continuous index and is blinding when it comes to finding stuff. I've got Windows Desktop Search (WDS) installed on my work laptop and I find it excellent. I'm having fun lately marking the "utility" as I call it of various computer systems. This one has a 4 out of 5 rating. I've also installed Adobe Reader 8 for the iFilter it gives me, and once I'd turned on the extension I can index into the internals of pdf files. The only recent downside I hit was down to the joys of VPN. I...

posted @ Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:50 AM | Feedback (0)
Composite UI Application Block and Commonwealth bank

Working through my ARCast collection, I've just listened to a couple of ARCasts that are really relevant to the project I am working on. My project, for the Corporate Banking division of a leading UK Bank, is being architected smart client style using the Composite UI Application block. It turns out that work at Commonwealth Bank on their SmartClient CommSee project had a major input to this application block. The ARCasts describes some of the really helpful background of both fitting this type of application into a Bank, how to get developers engaged, how long it takes, is reuse really possible! I'm going to...

posted @ Monday, January 22, 2007 2:15 PM | Feedback (0)
The truck count

Not rhyming slang, but the figure that indicates the number of people you can lose on a project before it fails due to loss of knowledge. I.e. how many trucks can wipe out individual team members before we stop. I resychronised my zen nano at the weekend and about three months worth of ARCast came across - my podcast download sync had been working away happily in the background, downloading them into my sync playlist and - bang! - no space on my wee mp3 player. Ron Jacobs was talking to Dr. Neil Roodyn about just enough architecture, focussing on high value business requirements,...

posted @ Friday, January 19, 2007 9:01 AM | Feedback (0)
December now, so what's been happening in the land of AlistairL

December already, and a few weeks since my last post, so here is a catchup. Things have been pretty busy for me, with a fair amount of travel chucked in. I've been in Yorkshire for a visit or two, holding a follow up workshop for a report I submitted with the rest of a team looking at a web development project. It was great to work with the talented team at the client, although they'd had some challenges, they seemed to relish the opportunity to discuss their ideas and collborate a bit on what could be done. They were itching to...

posted @ Saturday, December 2, 2006 7:53 PM | Feedback (0)
Commerce Server 2002 Starter Site

After my secondment as a Business Analyst, I've had a couple of jobs that have been a delight - both to do with Microsoft Platform Websites. The first was to review a ground up implementation of an online channel of a mainframe application, the other is a short knowledge transfer using Commerce Server 2002. I've worked on similar jobs before - when a suite of software is bought and it takes a while to use all of the features. In this case it was an MSIB 2.5 implementation and after it went in Microsoft Content Management Server got all of the attention....

posted @ Saturday, November 18, 2006 9:03 PM | Feedback (0)
All over the map

In the last three weeks I've worked for different parts of the same financial services group, in Edinburgh, in Dublin and in Halifax. It has been interesting to see the similarities from the sector, but also differences due to history and business practices in the locality. I've also been to Leeds Bradford Airport for the first time, and been introduced to Halifax, Leeds and Bradford the towns. It has been a bit of a whistle stop, but some fascinating looks at scalable .net web architecture. And had the opportunity to work with one of my fellow colleagues from down South. He has...

posted @ Thursday, November 9, 2006 11:52 PM | Feedback (0)
Website of another Scottish .Net programming dude

I met Alan Ramsay while working in the IT department of a certain Bank's Corporate division. He had met Martin after Cedalion, and is a top Contractor developer type dude. Go on Alan, put more on your blog :)

posted @ Saturday, November 4, 2006 12:12 PM | Feedback (0)
ActiveSync through USB to my Orange SPV M600

Now that I'm off the Business Analysis engagement, I'm in the process of getting my technical kit back up to scratch. With the option of avoiding GRPS for synchronisation, I've been trying to sync through USB to my desktop. Past experience with previous Microsoft Smart Phones means that I always synchronise straight to the Microsoft Exchange Server, whether or not I'm on some wireless network (WiFi or GRPS). The new version synchronises Tasks too, which is great for todo lists and the Getting Things Done methods. I'd had all sorts of hassle sychronising through USB, and worked through the various options of...

posted @ Friday, October 27, 2006 9:04 PM | Feedback (1)
Alistair Laing is an MCDBA

My pass of 70-215 went up on the prometric site on Thursday, but I've been watching the MCP Site to see when the pass would get through. Went up on the online transcript today, up there at the top is the "Legacy" cert for Microsoft Certified Database Administrator for SQL Server 2000. Yay :) My 15th exam and I've been at this Malarky for over 10 years.

posted @ Saturday, October 14, 2006 1:18 PM | Feedback (0)
Passed 70-215 Today!

Passed 70-215 Administering Old Windows Servers this morning. Got 850, which was a pleasant surprise. A well broad spread of questions, including more on subnetting and routing than I expected. Expected stuff on UNIX was in there, and a total blinder on SNMP although I'd not covered much if at anything on it, the question looked simple. I think the pass makes me an MCDBA.

posted @ Thursday, October 12, 2006 1:37 PM | Feedback (1)
That's me done the Business Analysis Bit

Way back last year I posted a quick summary of the work situation. I'd gone from technical development consulting to being based on site in the IT department of a Scottish Bank. From an original 6 month stint, I ended up being asked to stay and finished up being on site with them yesterday. I've learned a whole lot about the workings of a Corporate Bank, a fascinating experience and given me lots to think about. I've also learned one or two things about Business Analysis, reinforced certain views I had and confirmed a few others. The people there were great,...

posted @ Friday, October 6, 2006 9:20 PM | Feedback (0)
70-215 Progress to Windows 2000 Server exam next Thursday

My technique of booking the exam before I'm entirely comfortable has worked, the nerves are beginning to kick in and I'm getting a bit of tunnel vision which is building as I get nearer to the day. I've also got a daily entry in my diary saying how many days to go to the exam, so due to the all day event I've put in Outlook, my M600 buzzes at about midnight every evening to remind me I have, for instance, 6 days to go. I'm at the stage when I use Transcender test software to poke holes in my knowledge,...

posted @ Friday, October 6, 2006 9:11 PM | Feedback (0)
Microsoft Exam Time Again

I applied one of my personal motivational techniques at the weekend and used the online facility at 2 Test to book my next MCP exam. When I get to the stage when I think I am refining what I know rather than learning new material, I give myself focus by booking the exam. Although it is possible to reschedule, i have never used that facility and gear up for the exam. And it tends to work for me, giving the last four weeks before the exam a bit of a boost. At this stage in my process I explore the edges of...

posted @ Wednesday, September 20, 2006 6:56 PM | Feedback (0)
Getting things done

A post by Simon Guest on getting Outlook 2007 configured for Getting Things Done has put me on to the David Allen methodology of the same name. Using my doing it cheap methodology, I got the book for a few pounds from an amazon seller, and reading through it seems to resonate a lot with me. Appears to be a more developed version of what I try to do with email (when not overstretched) and is a lot more proactive than a todo list. I like it, but must do it. 

posted @ Sunday, June 18, 2006 10:44 PM | Feedback (0)
Windows 2000 Server Recovery - the last chapter complete

So, a few weeks after I started the process, I've completed my book. The last part of the book deals with Windows 2000 recovery, and I expected to have problems with this. I'm not sure why, but I had the feeling that any of that Operating System Stuff comes down to a rebuild. I can get IIS back up and running in most instances, but dodgy boot stuff (as we saw earlier) is a bit out of my league. I've still got my DC lashed up with a boot floppy so it will start. And don't ask me about hardware diagnosis -...

posted @ Saturday, June 17, 2006 5:54 PM | Feedback (0)
Windows 2000 Optimisation

I did well with this chapter, with 13/15 in the assessment questions at the end. I put that down to a bit of an obsession about machine performance, and the developer background. Starting, stopping and killing processes is the fare of the development process. And performance monitoring with its graphs and counters is the nearest you get to a proper computer with flashing lights, so I've always had a play in there too. And on a more serious theme I've used all of this stuff when those big multi-processor servers aren't doing what is expected with a web site. All those subsystems in...

posted @ Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:42 PM | Feedback (0)
Windows 2000 Remote Network Connections

These days I take the availability of a VPN for granted, but in the early days of my Internet experience things were different. At the time Demon Internet ran actual Points of Presence (POPs) which were modems sat at the end of a leased line, usually run by some sort of early enthusiast. The leased line would normally connect to something like a PIPEX backbone, and the modems would allow early internet punters to call a regional number (between local and long distance) to get internet access. Back then sharing a 64K backbone wasn't a problem, especially when a fast modem...

posted @ Saturday, June 17, 2006 2:20 PM | Feedback (0)
MCDBA Congratulations to a colleague

Congrats to Robbie Gibbon, a colleague based in Edinburgh who just got his MCDBA. The way things are going I should be there soon too!

posted @ Wednesday, June 14, 2006 6:36 PM | Feedback (0)
MCDBA Lots of progress today

After the damage I did to the Virtual PC that is my domain controller (still booting from a virtual floppy) I've made great progress today with another six chapters of my book. I got organised recently with my employer to devote a day a month over the next couple of months to training, so this was my first today and it made a real difference concentrating on it mid week. I covered topics from file and print serving, with associated settings and permissions. And thrown in was a bit of IIS, network protocols and finally Terminal Services in its two modes. The...

posted @ Wednesday, June 14, 2006 6:32 PM | Feedback (0)
Fragged my domain controller

I'm on to the chapter in my book about disk management, so for a bit of fun I went for the "convert basic disc to dynamic" option. That appeared to work fine, did the reboot and didn't restart. Something about NTLDR missing. And of course now I can't see those shiny dynamic NTFS volumes what I've made. I'm working through KB 301680 in a hope I can get it back.

posted @ Saturday, June 10, 2006 8:57 PM | Feedback (1)
Windows 2000 Policies

After a brief sabattical for family stuff (and purchasing stuff at Hein Gericke in Glasgow and riding the bike!) I've run through another chapter of my book in pursuit of the 70-215 2000 Server Exam. I've just covered off Local and System Policies, so now I know where those system admins set those annoying password policies that make you come up with something brand new (and less and less secure) by remembering the last 20 passwords and making them last only 30 days. Oh and apparently there are things called GPOs (Group Policy Objects) which aren't used to buy stamps. Password policy options...

posted @ Friday, June 9, 2006 10:37 PM | Feedback (0)
Member Server Installation

It has just occurred to me that all of these short posts on my virtual network installation are the equivalent of wittering on a blog :) I'm in the process of building a member server on my domain, with a slight hiccough at the moment. For some reason the member server isn't joining the domain, but this could be because I've forgotten what I called it! I'm running the two VPC's together in a configuration suggested by Simon Guest, with two NICs per machine.

posted @ Friday, May 26, 2006 9:10 PM | Feedback (2)
Steaming ahead with Windows 2000 Server

Putting the service pack on now, excellent - making progress at last. Now for the fun configure and networking over multiple virtual PCs bit!

posted @ Thursday, May 25, 2006 10:50 PM | Feedback (0)
When Windows 2000 Server install says to use Smartdrive, it means it

I've been watching this install in Virtual PC for what must be hours now. I'm beginning to think I should have spent that extra 30 minutes finalising the boot disc to get smartdrv configured. Win2k setup advises you run with smartdrive, I didn't quite understand till now how much of a difference it makes.

posted @ Sunday, May 21, 2006 4:36 PM | Feedback (3)
Dust off the exams

I'm getting myself back into the MCP exams again, this time a little different with an exam on the MCDBA track, the last I need, which is a windows server exam. I got a cheap study guide off ebay for the Windows 2000 Server exam, and with virtual PC and an msdn copy of Windows 2000 Server Standard edition have been starting the build of the domain controller. First problem! As the MSDN version on DVD includes several versions of Windows 2000, apparently with that version you can't build a server by constructing boot floppies. You have to boot from another OS with CD...

posted @ Saturday, May 20, 2006 9:00 PM | Feedback (2)
ARCast - Modern Software

I'm working through the ARCast collection in a pretty random manner, or more likely I'm working through them in some filename order that my mp3 player dictates - it's just that it displays the description of the track when it is playing, so I don't know (or particularly care). I listened to one of the ARCasts from earlier on in the year - Modern Software, with Ron Jacobs talking to a chap called David Chappell. A lot resonated from David's comments, on one had he was quite negative about the success of SOA, but in a way that really connected with...

posted @ Saturday, May 6, 2006 12:44 PM | Feedback (0)
The week in summary

This week has been a welcome mixed bag, the weather is picking up and the plants in the gardens have taken this as a signal to start growing. Our Silver Birch in the front garden is unfurling its leaves as we speak, and next door's beech hedge has done the same. Only downside is that the grass has woken up too, time to see if the lawn mower still works. Monday My Cousins and Aunt, originally from Derbyshire and now a mix of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire were up spending a week in a cottage in the Lake District, so we drove...

posted @ Saturday, May 6, 2006 12:23 PM | Feedback (0)
ARCast and my Creative Zen Nano Plus

Since I got some money for a wedding anniversary present, I've been trying to decide what to buy. Settled on a Creative Zen Nano Plus - has 1Gb of memory and does protected wma files which is what I have most of my music on. Oh, and I got it in black of course, and bought a pair of black earphones. 1Gb demands a bit of thought in choosing tracks - it isn't enough for arbitrary selection from my tracks, so I decided to go for a balance of music, bits of classical (Beethoven and Saint-Saens), bit of modern rock (Evanescence,...

posted @ Sunday, April 30, 2006 9:09 PM | Feedback (1)
Joel on Software on the Development Abstraction Layer

An excellent article from Joel on Software on what he calls the Development Abstraction Layer. I agree with what he says about the way to run a great software company, and how to get the most out of programmers,  and the first time I've seen anyone comment on the success of Microsoft Alumni in setting out on their own! But PS, I don't personally have any experience of the sort of company he describes. Does that mean it can't exist?

posted @ Thursday, April 13, 2006 6:56 PM | Feedback (0)
Nine tips for a healthy "in production" ASP.NET application

From Doug Stewart via Kev - excellent stuff, though I think point 1 takes a wee bit longer to sort than the other points....

posted @ Thursday, April 13, 2006 6:52 PM | Feedback (0)
Upgrading your laptop

A couple of pointers on what to do with your slowing laptop. Blow out the dust, or upgrade the Hard Drive. Thanks to Mark and Martin in work mode for those ones.

posted @ Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:18 PM | Feedback (0)
So what exactly are the limits with entry level SQL Server?

Well, these days they pretty much aren't. Check out the long-ish post over on Euan Garden's blog for the proper answer, history back to MSDE and background material.

posted @ Thursday, March 9, 2006 6:34 PM | Feedback (0)
Cya MSIB, good call

Found via Mark Harrison, Ryan Donovan explains why we won't be seeing a new MSIB. Basically because the gaps that existed before, and made MSIB necessary, have melted away due to better architecture. Round of applause to ASP.NET 2.0 and Windows Server System Common Engineering Criteria (WSS CEC). With the next generation you don't have to be part of the club, just make sure you read the docs.

posted @ Monday, March 6, 2006 8:25 PM | Feedback (0)
Minimal Windows XP - For those vpc demo situations

Hats off to Mark Harrison, a good sharp pithy post on setting up a laptop to demo Office 12 Server.

posted @ Sunday, February 19, 2006 1:49 PM | Feedback (0)
How to change the speed of an Intel NIC through script

I was talking to a friend the other night about scripting and desktop deployments. He works in a team that mainly works on packaging applications for distribution to lots of desktop PCs. When we talk shop I find it a good learning experience for myself as a developer. We've all got so complacent in recent years with Web Applications, providing they've all got Internet Explorer whatsit then we immediately think of deployment as a copy and paste job into the IIS virtual directory. He has to think about hundreds of PCs being in various states, logged on, logged off, and funnily...

posted @ Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:16 PM | Feedback (0)
What is the job of a manager of a publicly listed company?

The American magazine Businessweek recently featured an interview by their Silicon Valley correspondent with Clayton Christensen, author of a book called the Innovator's Dilemma. The interview concerned Apple Computer's ability to build on their recent successes, rather than hitting the crunch they had when the PC platform overtook the Mac in the early 90s.   It is an interesting consideration of the shift in a maturing market from the proprietary dominance of the early market to the modularisation and commoditisation of the product as the market matures.   The fact that really got to me is the second last paragraph. Apparently in the states,...

posted @ Friday, January 13, 2006 11:27 PM | Feedback (0)
Requirements Analysis

I'm currently working in an assingment as a Business Analyst, I view it as a bit of a sabbatical from proper work like career development for development team members and proper techie stuff like web architectures, knowledge management etc. Anyway, whether I see myself working long term as a BA, I still think it is an essential role in the development of solutions using technology. Unfortunately it is also a bit of a thankless task if you have any inclination to doing it "properly", for instance the term analysis paralysis comes up. Two options ring home in the wikipedia description, bureacracy and inexperience....

posted @ Sunday, December 18, 2005 9:06 PM | Feedback (0)
Scaring the natives with angle brackets

Don Box has made an excellent point about XAML. A few years ago the PDC 03 attendees were keynoted with an introduction to XAML in one of the WinFX presentations. At the time I didn't quite get it. The dudes that did the whole UI thing with xslt and well formed xhtml weren't going to get bogged down doing all that windows stuff in xml. And the dudes that I know could kick about in C# or whatever with all the Javascript crafting they could do. So we come to Don's point. He claims (in his usual style) that 100% of the...

posted @ Sunday, October 2, 2005 10:56 PM | Feedback (0)
MVP Summit in Seattle

Spence is over in Seattle attending the MVP Summit, and getting grief for keeping it all quiet. Too right too, tell us more!!! If you don't know, Spence is an MVP for Content Management Server and is appearing at a CMS Newsgroup near you, of course thats when Stefan isn't diving in there first.

posted @ Friday, September 30, 2005 10:04 PM | Feedback (0)
Where is Commerce Server going?

I was attempting to pull together a "master" list for my CV the other day. The company that I work for relies heavily on them for the bidding process, so compiling and keeping them up to date is a necessary thing. That process of rediscovery reignited thoughts of my experiences with Microsoft Commerce Server. And hot off the heels of his visit to the PDC, Spence posts a history, perspective and view of where Commerce Server is going. Frankly, until reading Spence's article reminded me, I'd forgotten about the Merchant Server heritage. As his post describes, Site Server introduced a michmash of...

posted @ Tuesday, September 20, 2005 9:48 PM | Feedback (0)
Catch up in the world of AlistairL

The frequency of my blog posting tends to follow the ebbs and flows of my life. I certainly find it harder to notice the topics that fascinate me enough to blog them when I am under stress or a bit down. I've also had a couple of weeks holiday during August, and I deliberately tried to chill out and read books and go out instead of random surfing on the PC, and to an extend I succeeded. We only managed to get away for a couple of days, not really enough for me to detach my brain from the daily issues....

posted @ Saturday, September 10, 2005 11:07 PM | Feedback (1)
Classic ASP and steam driven web apps

Kevin's recent post about the pain of ASP reminded me to post about a recent system rebuild I had to do recently. I had to get a line of business application up and running, with data backup only and a new clean hard disk. The application concerned is part of company history where I work, was created many many years ago by the founding director and the small team of developers that made up the company at the time. Well, history is history and he and the original devs are distant memories for those of us still around. The application could be...

posted @ Saturday, September 10, 2005 11:06 PM | Feedback (0)
Kev's Back

And has his own radio show, what a guy.

posted @ Tuesday, August 2, 2005 9:26 PM | Feedback (1)
Undocumented interfaces, legacy code, rant

Not my rant, but Spences. Check out post 1 and post 2 for the latest. I have my sympathies with him here. Having worked for Microsoft Partner orgs, I've worked with a lot of devs that start each project by unrolling the current copy of Visual Studio, SQL Server, a bit of IIS and go from there. They might reuse components between projects, you know the components - they are called ADO. Show some of them an application server and fine, they'll install it and the documentation set. Then they notice SQL Server as a prerequisite, then they fire up enterprise manager...

posted @ Monday, August 1, 2005 9:14 PM | Feedback (0) - making asp 2.0 play nice with the w3c validator

I can't believe that MS missed this out from the original list, but Barry shows how to get asp 2.0 to recognise the w3c validator and deliver compliant xhtml. Don't know about the w3c html validator? Shame on you! Ok, run this site through it and it barfs - such is, I've done compliant stuff on other sites :) And yes, run idunno through it and it passes. Good dogfood.

posted @ Monday, August 1, 2005 6:49 PM | Feedback (2)
Quality of development work unrelated to time spent

Joel Spolsky recently added an article to his Joel on Software site, continuing his ongoing work about which programmers are best and whether it matters at all. To begin with, I disagree with an early comment about building a better mousetrap to solve some problem that hasn't been solved before. Sorry Joel, but the mousetrap was invented to solve an existing problem with mice. Better implies an existing solution to be improved on. There - got that off my chest. The really interesting bit in the article are stats relating to quality of software development mapped against time spent, as collated by a...

posted @ Friday, July 29, 2005 9:03 PM | Feedback (1)
Ivars Postcard in June

It has taken me a long time to read this, and comment on it. The Ivar in question is a chap called Ivar Jacobson, who you may have heard of being as he was one of the original team involved in the development of UML. He now travels the world and the posts to his email list are called Ivar's postcards. I am subscribed on my work email, which I don't read as often these days being based out of the office so I haven't worked through the mailing lists for a while. Ivar's postcard from June recounts his recent trip to...

posted @ Friday, July 29, 2005 8:37 PM | Feedback (0)
Perks of the Job - Euan Garden

Had the priviledge yesterday of attending a presentation on SQL Server 2005 given by Euan Garden. Its around three years since he was last in Scotland talking about the product and he is one impressive presenter. Bearing in mind the product is being developed by 1000 devs at Microsoft, Euan does an amazing job of covering the spectrum of the programme from Integration Services to CLR. Top stuff! It also reminded me that I am but one exam away from MCDBA, ah to cover so many disciplines!

posted @ Wednesday, July 20, 2005 11:02 PM | Feedback (0)
Getting the bus to work during the G8 week

These days I am leaving the Passat at home, using the bus in preference as it goes in on the green lanes into Edinburgh. Apart from the fact that half of them appear to be dug up at the moment, and they only start half way along Calder Road. The big wonder I have at the moment is how next week is going to Pan out with the various G8 related "celebrations" going on in the middle of Edinburgh. The bus that I get normally terminates in Waterloo Place, which is the other end of Princes Street, the main place to...

posted @ Wednesday, June 29, 2005 10:18 PM | Feedback (0)
The last few weeks at work

Names changed to protect the innocent and all that, but the work landscape has been quite different lately. In April I had a few days writing load tests scripts to hit an Accounting system. An interesting mix of VBScript sendkeys, bits of analysis and had the other guys doing a good bit of Citrix tweaking to build up a load to hit the server farm. Then mid April I was assigned to a Business Analysis job at one of the Banks headquartered in Edinburgh. Being a bit of a techie (really!) it is a bit of a change, but a good opportunity to practice...

posted @ Sunday, June 19, 2005 10:14 PM | Feedback (3)
I was at PDC 2003 in LA

Just in case you didn't pick it up in my last post. I was there, and saw amongst others, Bill Gates, Don Box and Erica Wiechers. Check out the gallery for a selection of the pics I took.

posted @ Saturday, June 4, 2005 6:30 PM
They have canned the rest of Jupiter

After the deafening silence at the PDC in LA with regards to the ebiz servers (I had to make do with the limited BizTalk sessions) we have the announcement that the Discovery part (i.e. the second bit, as opposed to Voyager the first bit) has been grounded. This is mentioned by both Spencer Harbar and Mark Harrison in their respective sites, so go there and take a look. Take note of the extra comment by Mark, useful extra info bearing in mind his role as a Systems Engineering dude at Microsoft.

posted @ Sunday, May 29, 2005 9:15 PM
Retro SQL Week

As the previous entries in the blog have described, I have been out of the office on customer sites for more days than not. I was going to point out that I have spent supporting a couple of customers using SQL Server 6.5, but it has just occurred to me that I have in fact used SQL Server 6.5, 7.0 and 2000 in the last 5 days and used all versions at one customer (albeit not the same project). Fancy that. I should really dive on to the Yukon box that one of my colleagues built using the disk I brought back...

posted @ Sunday, May 29, 2005 9:15 PM
Microsoft Solutions for Internet Business

Via, a blog about MSIB. Excellent news on a topic close to my heart.

posted @ Wednesday, April 13, 2005 4:06 PM | Feedback (0)
Second instance of MCMS for failover - Software Assurance Customers

Mark Harrison has a really informative post about maintaining a second instance of MCMS without purchasing an extra MCMS licence. Catch ? It needs to be cold (switched off) and you have to be on Software Assurance. Follow the links provided by Mark - the information doesn't just apply to MCMS.

posted @ Wednesday, April 13, 2005 3:56 PM | Feedback (0)
Of Jonathan Blair

If you follow my sparse blogging efforts, you may remember a post I made in November Of Rhana Consulting and Jonathan Blair. This was a reference to an MCP that is the subject of a case study on the MCSD web page at Microsoft. If you check out the comments on that post, someone claiming to be Jonathan Blair has given us an update. I've no particular reason not to believe the post, so good to hear that he has landed on his feet, even if Rhana have nose dived somewhat. Jonathan - an invitation - tell us more !!

posted @ Sunday, March 13, 2005 1:32 PM | Feedback (2)
How to give a good technical presentation

I just watched an excellent video of Don Box talking about a few of the ground rules that he applies to presentations. He does give a good presentation himself, I saw a few at the PDC and he applies the tips he talks about. Runs for about 23 minutes, but worth it! I hope one or two are familiar to you if you have had any training in presentation skills, but I like the technical spin on this. I've been quite impressed by the recent material I've found on channel9, but this is real world useful stuff rather than just interesting background information...

posted @ Friday, December 10, 2004 8:35 AM | Feedback (2)
Another one, 70-315 passed this time

Just passed 70-315 Developing and Implementing Web Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, the first of my c# exams towards my MCSD. Woohoo! Amazed myself at a half decent pass mark too - they are still sticking back to giving pass marks and section scores and I was more than a hundred over the pass mark (just ;)). The Que book and the transcenders were helpful, though I felt that the mix of questions was quite different to that of the transcenders in the exam that I took. And as I expected, the exam doesn't test coding per se,...

posted @ Thursday, December 9, 2004 11:20 AM | Feedback (2)
Not something you can write Mom about

I have just been watching the channel 9 tour of the SQL Server team, and Soner Terek used the phrase “Not something you can write Mom about” when speaking about the engine of Microsoft SQL Server. Sums up some major parts of my career so far, it can be quite challenging explaining to people what it is I do.

posted @ Monday, December 6, 2004 2:42 PM | Feedback (0)
Alistair does .NET part 2

Now finished the book I have been working through, so I have covered all of the material relating to 70-315. Of course, that is not all of it so I am now working on practice exams to show up my weak areas. And it is going pretty well too. I am beginning to get ready to book the exam, but it looks like all of the places have gone from the local test centres in December which is a disappointment. As for the material, I am itching to get to know the other areas. I have three exams to sit to get...

posted @ Monday, December 6, 2004 8:28 AM | Feedback (0)
Banner ad IFRAME exploit

Ouch. Just read about this on the register and also covered by Netcraft on their news site too. Basically, there is an exploit that hits IE 6.0 (but not on xp sp2) and has been infecting a number of european websites that run banner ads. Netcraft coverage on the exploit spread.

posted @ Sunday, November 21, 2004 3:28 PM | Feedback (1)
Alistair does .NET part 1

Since passing my SQL Server exam at the end of October, I’ve been focussing on bringing myself up to speed on C# and .NET with a view to my first coding exam being 70-315 developing web stuff with C# and VS.NET. It’s not as if I’ve completely ignored things over the years, just that I’ve only really had opportunity to skim the surface. My recent efforts have also been an opportunity to try out for myself the materials that are used to maintain and enhance the technical skills of the people we employ at work. First stage I went through was a consideration...

posted @ Sunday, November 21, 2004 2:56 PM | Feedback (0)
Of Rhana Consulting and Jonathan Blair

Ok, I'll start by declaring that I have no vested interests in the above company and individual. I only know the guy exists because he is an MCP Hero and reads books on the train. The other interesting thing is that Rhana Consulting used to have their business address in the same street as Cedalion used to be in, Maritime Street in Leith. I'm forging ahead with what I think is my fourth iteration of the Microsoft Developer premier certification title, MCSD.NET and diving in to the excellent technology that is C#. Having a recent look for Mr Blair and Rhana Consulting to...

posted @ Tuesday, November 9, 2004 12:15 PM | Feedback (4)
An exam pass, this time 70-228

I am pleased to report that I got my other SQL Server exam passed today. 70-228 Installing, Configuring, and Administering SQL Server 2000. I had been looking at the exam materials over the last few months in the absence of any other specific objectives. With my objectives set to .NET, I managed to get the exam in quickly this week to get a result for my studies before I get my head down for the next exam. That means I have one core exam to sit if I want MCDBA, but my focus is now on the three c# .NET exams to take...

posted @ Friday, October 29, 2004 3:16 PM | Feedback (3)
Recently, My work has mostly been in Glasgow

I posted a long time ago about working on various versions of SQL Server in the space of one week. My work over the last few weeks has been a bit of a change and I have been working for customers at their locations in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Different customers, I hasten to add. The first two weeks were an interesting time helping an Edinburgh company witht the performance of their SQL Server database. It was one of those good jobs where you get to really prove the techniques that you know about. That was interesting as well being a web...

posted @ Friday, October 15, 2004 3:01 AM | Feedback (0)
September and SQL Server 2000

It has been a while since my last post, these things are very much of the moment for me and frankly I have to be in the right mood to spout forth - I reckon MartinS must have the personality to blog away all that he does - I take my hat off to him. On the work front I have been out for a couple of weeks doing some onsite consultancy on Microsoft SQL Server 2000. It has been a real confirmation to me of the real value of proper indexing in giving SQL Server the best opportunity to do its...

posted @ Saturday, September 25, 2004 4:54 PM | Feedback (0)
MCP Exams and the Microsoft way of doing things

MartinS has just passed 70-316 to get his MCSD.NET "premier" certification and congratulations to him! He reiterates a point made many times by MCP exam takers that there is a definate Microsoft way of things. Many of these exams present answers in a multiple choice format and when given the option between the way you would do things, and the "proper microsoft" way of doing things, you have to defer to the latter. I'm not surprised, computer based testing has to degrade to one answer in the end so in the absence of a written exam format I'm happy to forfeit the...

posted @ Saturday, August 21, 2004 9:00 AM | Feedback (0)
This blog is moving to a new host

Hopefully that is. I have started a subscription to a paid hosting provider and will attempt to set up the blog in the new environment over the next few days. It will be under one of the alistairl domains, and should look exactly the same. How quickly it happens will depend on my navigation around the .net side of things. Shouldn't take too long at all. More details as it happens!

posted @ Tuesday, August 17, 2004 11:25 PM | Feedback (0)
New Hosting Arrangement in Place

Well, that migration went more smoothly than I thought it would. In the end I would put more of the time down to file transfer and familiarisation with the directory layout than actual configuration related issues. We shall see over the next few days whether everything is working ok - looks fine at the moment.

posted @ Tuesday, August 17, 2004 6:26 PM | Feedback (0)
Blog days are numbered

Its a fair cop. I, and the other europe.webmatrixhosting users have received notification that they are going to enforce the 30 day lifetime rule on sites hosted by them, so I am going to have to decide whether I want to pay some money and host this elsewhere, or go quiet for a while. Decisions decisions. I've been posting stuff up here for a while, on and off, we shall see what I decide.

posted @ Monday, August 16, 2004 11:47 PM | Feedback (0)
MSF 3.0 Exam on the MCSD.NET and MCSE Tracks

Managing, Organizing, and Delivering IT Projects by Using the Microsoft Solutions Framework 3.0 is on its way. And at last all that stuff you read about MSF for 70-300 and didn't use in the exam you can now use! An elective that appears on both premier tracks (not MCDBA though).

posted @ Thursday, August 5, 2004 12:48 AM | Feedback (0)
Long Way Round

Ewan Magregor has just completed a round the world trip on a BMW GS motorcycle, with some other chap who I'd never heard of. Well done to them (though they had a support crew). Looking forward to seeing the TV series about it, but I'll need Satellite television in the UK to see it. Mmmm, decisions decisions. Minor rant about newspaper coverage again - banner on the front of the print edition of The Scotsman describes it as "his easy rider round-the-world road trip". Off road bikes, no roads in Mongolia, easy rider ? Groan. And don't start me on their so-called...

posted @ Friday, July 30, 2004 1:46 PM | Feedback (0)
Thudfactor 31% Geek

Via a people link on Sunpig (See - I'm on there too!). I ended up at the Geekquiz on Thudfactor. I'm not sure about going both ways though... You are 31% geek You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of...

posted @ Sunday, July 18, 2004 7:16 PM | Feedback (0)
MCAD and MCSD Security Electives

I guess these will be coming out of Beta soon, as the MCP email newsletter featured them recently, and Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine now has a review of the electives. Summary of Mike Gunderloy's review? Tough due to the wide spread of the material, do the analysis and web services/server components exams before you do them. For the record, the two exams are 70-330 Implementing Security for Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and 70-340 Implementing Security for Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET.

posted @ Wednesday, June 23, 2004 5:50 PM | Feedback (2)
The Web in a Nutshell

Doing a bit of background research to keep up to date on copywriting and search engine optimisation and came across a reference to Wordtracker. A very useful site, at a good price, so have a look. To cut a long story short, take a look at the ticker across the top of their home page. It lists the top 50 internet search terms at that point in time. Sums up what the Internet is really about. Go look.

posted @ Wednesday, June 23, 2004 12:30 PM | Feedback (0)
Joel on Software - Back in June

Joel Spolsky is a bloke who used to work in Microsoft, at least I think he did. And he wrote the foreword to a book called In Search of Stupidity, which is actually how I came to know about, buy and read that book - more on that another time. As well as his day job, Joel has a website that he uses to spout forth from time to time on issues. After a quiet time since April 2004, Joel bounces back with a big post on Microsoft and APIs. An interesting article, and I admit I'm still thinking what I think...

posted @ Saturday, June 19, 2004 3:13 PM | Feedback (0)
April is showers, gardens and nothing much

I must admit that I have been struggling a bit with material for the old blog here. I go through periods of gushing to periods when I wonder what to talk about. I did figure that my latest gadget acquisition might merit a mention - I upgraded my old Orange SPV to the latest version a couple of weeks ago when my annual contract ran its course. I now have the SPV E200 which is quite nice, having got used to the various functions. It seems less prone to freezing like my old one, and I quite like the little changes...

posted @ Friday, April 23, 2004 9:02 PM | Feedback (0)
Working in Glasgow today

I had the occasion to visit the other big city in Scotland today doing a bit of support work on a web app. Got up early, travelled through to the city centre and popped in to Easy Internet Cafe for a cup of coffee and a read of my work email using the excellent web access tools provided with Exchange Server 2003. Of course, Cedalion have a real smart team who can design and implement the same thing for you. I have been through to Glasgow a few times and have almost got my head around the Costa Coffee arrangement at the...

posted @ Wednesday, February 18, 2004 10:46 PM | Feedback (0)
AlistairL now has a blog

With a number of people that I know having blogs, I thought it time to get in on the act myself. As you may or may not know, I am a Managing Consultant in the Financial Industry group of a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Scotland. I cover a number of areas, but things these days see me doing lots of work with SQL Server with a dash of Content Management Server and SharePoint Portal server thrown in.

posted @ Saturday, January 31, 2004 10:16 AM | Feedback (0)