Exchange 2007 won't be coming to R2

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is supported on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 servers, but will not be supported on the upcoming Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system.

The reason, according to Michael Atalla, group product manager in the Unified Communications group at Microsoft, is lack of resources. "We are focusing our resources on getting Exchange Server 2010, which will be fully tested and supported on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, customer ready to be released later this year."

This means that if you're planning to do a complete operating system refresh when Windows Server 2008 R2 is released later this year, you'll have to move to Exchange 2010 as well. Not that I need any more reasons to do so, anyway. Exchange 2010 rocks!
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How to Tell Which Version of PowerShell is Installed

Friday, July 24, 2009
One of the easiest ways I've found to determine which version of PowerShell is installed on a computer is to run the $host.version command.

The output will display the Major version, Minor version, Build, and Revision number. For example, here is the output from a computer with PowerShell V1 installed:

And here is the output from a Windows Server 2008 R2 beta computer, which has PowerShell V2 integrated into the operating system:

Note that the Build and Revision numbers are -1, indicating that the PowerShell V2 CTP (beta) is installed. Once PowerShell V2 RTW (Release to Web) is available, the Build and Revision numbers should both be zero.
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Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTMs

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Microsoft just announced that Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 released to manufacturing (RTM’d).

RTM officially happens only after sign-off occurs. What happens is a build gets designated as a RTM contender after going through significant testing and meeting our quality bar for RTM. Then, it goes though all the validation checks required for RTM including having all languages of that build completed. If all the validation checks have passed – sign-off for RTM can occur. Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600 as RTM.
I've been working with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 for over 18 months in the Windows TAP (Technology Adoption Program) and as an early adopter. I'm happy to see a lot of changes that I and others in my company requested get implemented. We are delighted to work with the Windows and Server development teams, who produced such awesome products.

Evaluation software will be available for download in the first half of August and the full product available to customers with Software Assurance in the second half of August. General “off the shelf” availability will come in the September timeframe, as planned.

Congratulations, Windows Development Teams! You have two sure fire winners with these new operating systems.

PS - Look for our new book, "Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed" to be released soon.

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Imagine Cup, Cairo, Egypt #5

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
[The last entry from my wife, Amy, on our trip to Cairo, Egypt for the Imagine Cup competition]

Hey all,

We’re sitting at the airport (5:30pm) waiting for our delayed flight to London. Thought I’d use the time to wrap up our Cairo experience.

Wednesday, we went to Coptic (Christian) Cairo to visit the Hanging Church, St. George’s, and the Coptic museum. It was very beautiful inside the church. It’s called the Hanging Church because it was built over two U shaped tower remains and “hung” between them with palm tree wood. The Coptic Church seems very similar to Catholic. Many of the same saints, taking of the host bread and wine. The dogma is the main difference and they revere icons. It’s kind of like a cross between Orthodox and Catholic. The church dates back to the 1st century. A young woman was kind enough to give us a tour around the church and explain the symbolism and icons. While there, several people approached us. An elderly lady wanted her picture taken with me, and her daughter with Claire. She kissed us both on the cheeks afterwards and seemed very happy. Another woman approached me and wanted to show me her baby and asked that I touch him. She was very nice and took a photo for us.

In the evening we went to Giza for a sound and light show at the Sphinx. It was kind of cheesy, but the kids enjoyed it and it provided a brief history lesson. Jeff was not happy with the Giza pictures he had so far, so it was agreed that we would go back in the morning early before we had to pack.

Thursday morning we went back to Giza and took more pictures of the Sphinx and the kids on camels. We then packed, left for airport, and are now waiting.

In closing, I wanted to reflect on and share a few things I’ve learned about Egypt and her people. The people are so very nice and always smiling. Never met one who wasn’t as helpful as his English would allow. They just love kids. Claire is glad to go so she won’t have to be hugged, kissed, and talked to by strangers. People seem to have a high sense of cleanliness. Men are always well-groomed, most keep their hair very short. Clothes are clean. Ladies and children are neat, clean and properly covered. There is a large variety of acceptable dress. Never had a problem or felt uncomfortable in Western dress.

Cairo is very dirty which is surprising considering that the people are neat and clean. There are piles of trash and rubble everywhere; everyone litters; saw children playing in trash piles. The buildings are covered in black soot from the poor air quality. Also, the buildings are all “unfinished” because taxes are much higher when they are completed. So all around, buildings are missing floors or look to have levels added. The living conditions are unbelievable. First, there are no homes, only apartments. There are no building materials except concrete and brick. It is a very colorless city. The apartments rarely have glass windows, just wooden shutters or curtains. There is laundry drying off windows and balconies everywhere. They have electricity, some have little individual air conditioners, and most do not have elevators. Holes in walls are common. The City of the Dead is an ancient cemetery at the foot of the Citadel. The poorest live inside the cemetery within above ground family crypt rooms set aside for families to visit their departed members. This is apparently ok with the local populous.

Our plane is at the gate now, so we're off to London for 2+ days!

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Imagine Cup, Cairo, Egypt #4

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

[More from my wife, Amy, on our visit to Cairo for the Imagine Cup competition.]

Hi all,

Sunday, the kids and I went to Saqqara (pronounced "Sakara") which is just south of Giza. There is a tomb with wonderful carvings on the walls of daily Egyptian life (no photos allowed), a deeper underground tomb that we could go down into (see pictures on Facebook) with a black stone sarcophagus. The main attraction is the Step pyramid. It pre-dates Giza. The steps are called mustafas and one would have been a common burial tomb, but this pharaoh wanted to make an impression and had multiple mustafas built on top of each other to represent the sun and rays (which lead to the standard pyramid shape). The shape is based on the sun, Ra, (top or peak) and the rays coming down to the earth combined to form a pyramid shape. From the Step pyramid, you can see about a mile away south to Dasr where the “Bent” pyramid is (see pictures). The builder got the angle wrong and "bent" the pyramid inward 2/3 of the way up. Needless to say, the pharaoh was not happy and ordered construction of another one next to it.

Pyramids or burial tombs can be found up and down the Nile, but only on the western side. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, they believed that was representative of the life cycle. So tombs are set in the west where the sun or life ends. There are over 115 discovered “pyramids” at this time. It is estimated that only 25 to 35% of Egypt’s antiquities have been discovered.

We also went to a papyrus shop and learned how the ancient Egyptians made paper out of the plant. We went to a carpet school where youth are taught to weave and knot carpets by hand.
Jeff finished his work in the afternoon, we went to the pool for awhile, then he slept through dinner until the morning.

Yesterday, Monday, we were at the pool during the day and then went to the Khan el Khalili bazaar in the evening. It is the old spice trade route market dating back to the 11th and 12th century. It is a site and experience that cannot really be described. It was crazy, noisy, trashy, pushy salesmen, and local shoulder to shoulder, but very colorful and full of energy. Jeff was offered ten camels for me. I was not flattered.

Today, we are going back to Giza this afternoon and evening for the Microsoft Imagine Cup closing ceremonies and a night time light and sound show at the Sphinx. Right now am sitting pool side, lounging.

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Imagine Cup, Cairo, Egypt #3

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
[More from my wife, Amy, on our Cairo trip. I'm only entering them now that I have time.]

Hi all and happy 4th of July to you!

I almost hate to remind the kids it is the 4th today. They are bummed about missing fireworks. Yesterday, Friday, we did some looking around the City Stars complex that the Intercontinental hotel is connected to. It is like a mall but more, there is a little amusement park, theaters, bowling alleys, etc... but it is about the size of 5 city blocks. It is just massive and believe me it doesn't take long to get completely lost. Thankfully, Microsoft has placed colorful Imagine Cup logo shaped foot prints all around. There are several other hotels at various point of the mall and many contestants are staying at them, as they are cheaper. The footprints lead you to the Intercontinental entrance.

Here is an important travel tip: Find a local supermarket store nearby where you are staying for inexpensive daily needs. We found one down the street in Paris and was very helpful. Lucky us, we have one here just down one floor in the mall from the hotel. It is called Spinneys (I think it's called that because the yellow and green shopping cart wheels can spin 360 degrees. :) It's like a Target or Walmart. I don't think they have clothes but they have TV's, toys, jewelry and most importantly, bottled water and food cheap. They have packaged food, a deli, bakery, and hot dish area. It's been decent and convenient. One night we had chicken and rice (they eat a lot of rice here - it's good) and another we had some "cheese pizza" on bread. Of course, they have all the toiletry things you might forget like lotion, Q-tips, aspirin, etc.

Jeff started the IT Challenge competition early this morning so the kids and I went to the little amusement park last night to let him get to sleep early. It's like a really big Chuck E Cheese meets a local traveling carnival meets, well, general garish parental torture/noise/little kids everywhere/no safety regulations. They went on a couple of little rides and then went on these bumper cars that went faster than I've ever seen bumper cars go. Well, Claire got a little scared and then a little hurt when she hit the wall going pretty fast. The seat belt straps across her cut into her neck on both sides and gave her a burn. So she was very upset and we left. We put ice on the scratches and this morning they are red marks, but she says they feel better.

Jeff is in the heart of the competition today that runs for 24 hours. Then they have to review the entries, then meet with each contestant for review then score them. It will run well into tomorrow. They get little or no sleep during this time.

Not sure right now what we are going to do today. Kids are just getting up and must feed them. I have a list of several places and am going to talk to the concierge about them.

I've been meaning to mention security. Everything is screened here. There are screeners and walk through detectors for everything, even to get into the mall, and of course all the sites we've visited. At our hotel, there is a bomb sniffing dog that goes around your car before they'll let you drive into the parking lot. We feel very safe here. :)
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How to turn off the "Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely?" security warning in IE8

Monday, July 13, 2009
A common question I hear from users of Internet Explorer 8 is, "How do I disable the 'Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely' in IE8?", as shown below.

Before I explain how, you should understand what it's warning you about. You will see this warning whenever HTTP (non-secured) elements are displayed on an HTTPS (secured) web page, which means these elements are not encrypted. Typically, these elements are just embedded images, but they could also be areas of the page where information can be entered.

By clicking Yes (the default), you will only see the secure areas of the page and will know what areas are secured. If you disable the warning, you will not know which (if any) of the elements are the page are not secured.

To disable the security warning, follow these steps:

  • Click Tools > Internet Options
  • Click the Security tab
  • Click the Internet zone and click the Custom Level button
  • Scroll down to the Miscellaneous area and change Display mixed content (shown on the left) from Prompt to Enable
  • Click OK

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Imagine Cup 2010 to be held in Poland!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Imagine Cup 2010 worldwide finals will be held in Warsaw, Poland. This is a video that introduces Poland as the host of IC2010.

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Imagine Cup, Cairo, Egypt, #2

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
[More from my wife Amy on our Imagine Cup trip to Cairo, Egypt]

So, I left off the evening of day two. We went on a Nile dinner cruise. It was ok. The city is rather dark along the river compared to Paris last year. Not much to see. Meal was ok. We had "front row seats" for the show which was not a good thing as the music was so loud it was deafening. The belly dancer was pretty and engaging. Jason was embarassed and didn't watch her. The whirling dervish was good.

Thursday - Jeff had to start work for the Imagine Cup IT Challenge. We slept in and the kids and I spent the whole day at the pool.

I had mentioned in the last email that I had comments to make on overall observations and since we had a down day, now is a good time to post all that.

Traffic - Crazy! Imagine a three lane road turned into a 6 lane road but still with only 3 marked lanes. I don't know why they bothered to paint lanes as no one pays attention to them. They drive in what I would describe as a zig zag pattern. Any potential open space is forcibally taken by car. Horns blair constantly. Cars pass within an inch of each other. Hardly any lights, even on the cars!. Pedestrians walking at random in amongst cars, no cross walks. Has to be seen to be believed. Thank $%&^&* I don't have to drive while I'm here.

Overall Appearance - The kids are already sick of hearing me point out the living conditions to them. Yes Mom, we know how fortunate we are. Blah, Blah, Blah.... Yet, for me, the obvious poverty, dirt, lack of facilities or anything remotely civilized is so sad yet at the same time amazing. Let me explain further, it is so dirty, poor, etc... yet the people seem oddly happy and content. It is just their way of life and I have the sense that they might not necessarily change it, even if they could. Being a country with little natural resources, everything is concrete. Little color to the landscape, just apartment after dirty apartment made of concrete. There is not obvious "garbage service" as there are random piles of garbage all over. Debris from buildings litter the sidewalks. People litter constantly. The saddest was seeing the Giza pyramids yesterday and all the tourist debris (water bottles etc..) all over the last remaining 7th wonder of the world. I am told they are working on it but things happen in "Egyptian minutes" which are vastly different from our minutes. That is a big joke among locals.

People - I was not entirely sure what to expect as far as dress, etc. But have found that there is an extensive variety and tolerance for dress as far as the Islamic culture is concerned. The women range from dressing like westerners to the extreme which is completely covered in black except for the eyes (even hands). No one is treated any differently than anyone else, it is a personal preference. The Egyptian people are overall very friendly and humorous. They are very curious and intelligent. School is controlled by the government and is free. They love children, and socializing. Drinking and such is against Islamic teachings, so the common social practices revolve around family and local community. That is a main reason why there is little or no crime here. Family and the "honor" or your family is so important that they act as very strong detourants to bad behavior. You know how our politicians have talked about it takes a village to raise a child, well here, they put that into action.

If you are interested in learning more about the culture, religion, history, etc... I would be happy to share details. I have learned so much more than I thought I already knew. I have a much broader appretiation for the culture and religion of the middle east now. Historical problems now make more sense. It's hard to concentrate that all into one email.

No big plans for tomorrow. There is a childrens' museum and a rail museum we will try to do tomorrow. Kids love the pool and there is some kind of amusement Space Park inside the City Stars mall next to us that they want to check out. The rest of our group (wives and kids) are down south in Luxor and will be back Saturday evening. They haven't yet had a chance to see the city and pyramids so I'm kind of coasting right now till they get here so we can all do things together. Jeff's big push for the Imagine Cup really starts in tomorrow through Sunday evening, so we are having breakfast with him in the morning but will not see him hardly at all till Monday. It was great just to lie at the pool all day. The kids made friends and had a blast. We got post cards and will find out how to mail them tomorrow. I'm curious how long they will take to get to you.
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Imagine Cup, Cairo, Egypt, #1

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
[I'm posting here some email that my wife, Amy, wrote to family and friends to let you know about our travels. I hope you enjoy reading these. - Jeff]

Well, it's our 2nd full day here in Cairo for the Imagine Cup. It's right now Wed afternoon at 3:35 local time. We got in Monday evening around 5 pm and Microsoft sent a driver to pick us up (which was nice and easy). The hotel is on the airport side of Cairo so wasn't a long trip. It would normally take at least an hour to drive across the city. Hotel is beautiful, room comfortable. We were hot and tired so just ate and went to bed.

Day 1 - Cairo City Tour - I had previously arranged this tour with a local agency (Lady Egypt)and they are proving to be very reliable and high quality. A representative met us on time (9am) at the lobby and introduced us to our guide (Adel) and our driver (Maged). Adel is an Egyptologist and "freelances" with many tour companies. We started off by going to the Egyptian Museum. This building was completed in 1907 (no A/C). The artifacts are wonderfull to see but I must say that it is suprising to see how they are housed/kept. The statues are just out in the open and easily touched. Some things like jewelry and King Tut's mask are housed behind plexiglass but there is practically no preservation techniques employed. For example, there are some papyrus scrolls with beautiful painted pictures that are over 5,000 years old but they are hanging in wooden boxes on a wall in a staircase with a skylight above shining sunlight directly on them. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed inside the museum. They are building a new museum to more appropriately house the artifacts near Giza but it won't be ready for a few more years. Things move slowly here. Our guide was great. He gave a thorough history lesson/tour and taylored it towards the kids. We watch alot of history programs and I am a bit of a buff but I think we all learned alot. He really put the time frame in context and answered all my questions easily. Jason had a blast with all this. Claire was hot and just wanted ice cream. Next we went to the old Coptic center of Cairo. This is where one of the oldest Christian Church still exists, called St. Sergius. The holy family stayed in this church for a time while hiding from King Herrod when Jesus was a baby. Next stop, The Citadel. First, it is the highest point in Cairo and is topped by the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. It is basically the Middle Eastern version of a castle. It served as a fort, city, palace, and religious center. It was built in the late 11th century. It served many purposes over the years but one famous battle was with King Richard the Lionheart during the crusaides. He was actually briefly captured here by Saladin (Persian ruler during the 12th century and cruisades), then released upon promise of peace. The Mosque of Muhammed Ali is a beautiful, open place at the highest point in the Citadel. Muhammed Ali was the last of the Islamic prophets. Adel was very patient in explaining the Islamic religion. We had a nice long discussion on the differences between Islam, Christianity, and Jewdaism. People here are very open and happy to answer questions that we might consider too personal. They want you to understand them better.

Last stop, the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. This was a major commerce and trade center on the Spice Route from the east as far back and the 14th century. It is today a confusing maze of tiny galleys and narrow streets of shop after shop and coffee houses. We didn't stay long as we were hot, and too tired to walk much more. We will definately go back as it is open late into the night and will be more able to enjoy the atmosphere then. We got back to the hotel around 4:30pm. Pool, dinner, sleep.....

Day 2 - Giza - Early meet with driver (7:30 am) who took us across town to Giza, which is actually another town/suburb of Cairo. Took a little over an hour. Adell met us at the entrance. He gave us a history lesson and then we were off to explore. Not. We had just started looking at the first and largest pyramid when the camera stopped. Somebody (I'm not pointing fingers - Jeff) had forgotten to charge the battery last night. Here we were at the last remaining 7 wonders of the world with no camera, no shade, cranky children (I'm not pointing fingers - Jason) and over an hour to kill. We did manage to get a few pictures before it died that Jeff will post to the Facebook page. We wandered around and tried to avoid all the men trying to give us camel or horse rides. I won't go into details but they are very, very pushy. We walked around the pyramids, not easy as ground is very uneven and rocky. But without a camera, it seemed a bit of a waste of time ( we already decided we would just have to come back). It was so hot that more crankiness happened (I'm not pointing fingers - Me). We met back up with our guide and drove down the hill to the Sphinx. It was lovely to see and we could get pretty close but not like the pyramids that you could actually climb on. I did expect it to be bigger somehow. Of course it is large but compared to the pyramids, it just seems not so large as I expected. Next we went to a local jewelry store and Claire got an Egyptian cartouche necklace with her name in heiroglyphs. A cartouche is a long oval shape that only the royalty used to mark things as theirs. Their name would be spelled out inside the oval. Next we went to a local perfume shop that is family run since the 1920's. Very nice people, explained Egyptian process which dates back to pharonic times of extracting the natural oils from flowers to create perfumes. The oil is pure essence from the plants, no additives or alcohol. The Lotus flower, which is a symbol of Egypt, can only be found here and is government controlled. It can only be obtained in Egypt and the pricing is regulated. They grow all the flowers on farms out by an oasis south and west of Giza. We were able to smell many flowers unique to the area as well as familiars such as Gardenia, Rose, Jasmine. Canopic jars were found in King Tut's tomb full of Lotus oil and it was still there in the jars and still smelled. We ended the day early ( 2:30 pm) and headed back to the hotel so the kids could swim. We are going out tonight on a Nile river dinner cruise. There will be belly dancers and whirling dervish dancers. Should be a blast. I'm off now to get the kids and Jeff out of the pool to get ready to go for the cruise.

We have no plans for tomorrow as Jeff has to start working for the IT Challenge. I'll probably let the kids sleep in and do the pool. I'll write more tomorrow as I've got to tell you about the traffic, security, and general climate and appearance of everything.
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Tools of the Trade

Saturday, July 4, 2009

There are various tools, utilities, and applications that we use during the Imagine Cup IT Challenge.

The image above displays a network traffic matrix for all network communication in the IT Challenge. Each line in "The Eye of Sauron" represents network traffic between two hosts. This is captured on the judge's Microsoft ISA 2006 server since it's the focal point for the network.

Other tools we use are network packet sniffers, protocol analyzers, and network packet regeneration tools. We use these tools so we can verify that the competitors' builds are working properly, as well as monitor and troubleshoot network issues.

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Hello from the Imagine Cup IT Challenge!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Head judge and captain of the Imagine Cup IT Challenge, Rand Morimoto, is keeping a running blog on the IT Challenge here in Cairo, Egypt.

You can read his blog here.

The competition is half over at this point. Just 12 more grueling hours to go. Then, after a full 24 hours of configuring, the 10 competitors will each face half an hour of judging. That means we'll all finally get some sleep after 30 hours.

The Intercontinental Cairo City Stars is a fabulous hotel. Really first rate for this kind of competition and shows off all the hard work that the teams have been putting in. We haven't had many of the power issues that have faced the Imagine Cup IT Challenge competitions in years past.

Tomorrow we will all get some sleep after the judging completes. Monday is the Imagine Cup Cultural Day, where we will all go the Giza to take in the pyramids. Here's a picture that was taken of the stage being built for the cultural day ceremonies.

It will be interesting, for sure!

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Welcome from Cairo!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm visiting Cairo as a judge for the Imagine Cup 2009 competition. We arrived on June 30 and entered the blast furnace that is Cairo. It's a dry heat, as opposed to Florida, so even though it may be 104F it's tolerable (don't ask my wife or kids, though).

The first two days we spent touring Cairo with a guide. Day one we took a city tour and visited the Egyptian Museum, Coptic Cairo, the Citadel, and the Kahn El Kalili bazaar. Day two we visited Giza to view the pyramids. Both days were amazing!

Today, I started to prep for the Imagine Cup IT Challenge. I met the two captains, Rand Morimoto and Chris Amaris, in the IT Challenge room. Rand is the owner of CCO (the company I work for) and Chris is the CTO. Val├┐ Greavu is the other judge from Romania and is arriving tonight. The four of us will be administering and judging the 24 hour competition. 5 hours of judging happens after the 24 hour competition, so the competitors and judges will have been up for 29 hours.
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