Thursday, May 31, 2007

FBL Hell

If you are in the business of parsing and processing email Feed Back Loop (FBL) messages, you may want to read this about the AOL proposed standardized format.

I guess this is good news in the way that hopefully a standard will emerge, but I'm not sure that AOLs proposal is best. My main problem with it is that they intend to redact the email address. That just further complicates the process of flagging the account in your database (time to re-examine the X-Header drawing board). I mean, they are ONLY sending these FBL messages back to a whitelisted sender so what is the paranoia of an email address or screen name getting hijacked?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Buy your new Dell at Wal-Mart ?

A recent announcement that Dell will be selling it's consumer based PC products through Wal-Mart is an interesting move... and IMHO, very risky. How can they maintain that they are high-end and at the same time, sell through the low-end retailer?

Dean to Dell... are you sure about this?

What's next? Will I be buying a Dell PowerEdge at Home Depot or Lowes? And would I go to the "Information Desk" for support?

Some would argue that Dell is already low-end and they belong in Wal-Mart.

What do you think?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tip - Terminal Service session reconnect problem

TS Server Admins -

If your users have problems in reconnecting to a Terminal Service session after a connection drop or intentional disconnect, try the following support article:

What this does is add a value to the registry that changes the KeepAlive behavior. It stops the keep alive function after 1 minute so that the session will transition into a disconnect state. Once in the disconnect state, the session can be reconnected by the user. Without this value, the session may remain in an active state (depending on how the disconnect occured) and therefore the user cannot reconnect to it. Instead, the user may get a new session.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blank Password more Secure than Weak Password

This is a new one on me, but according to Microsoft, on Windows XP (and I assume Vista) the use of a blank password on a user account is more secure than the use of a weak password... like "1234" or "aabb". Why? because if a user account is created without a password, then that account cannot be accessed remotely. I have not tested this but I have to assume that they set a local security policy that blocks remote access if the account does not have a password.

Sounds like it's time for a lab test on this one.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

TrendMicro OfficeScan Attack

Arrived at my office desktop this morning to find that TrendMicro OfficeScan has decided that my Radmin Viewer software is malware and it has quarantined it. Fortunately, it was the older version 2.2 viewer that I don't use anymore so no real harm done... to me. Now we will see how many help desk calls we get from those that were using the old version... thanks for a bad day TrendMicro! Come on Trend... this is a commercially sold product that has not been widely abused. At lease give me a warning about this before sending it to the dungeon. This is one reason (of many) that we decided to walk away from Symantec CE version 10.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Take a Walk - In your Data Center

Every Data Center manager should assign a on-site staff member to walk the data center daily to check for problems. This IT guy should be checking for things like:
  • Those pesky flashing amber lights on raid subsystem and in host machines
  • The environment - high temp, hot spots, humidity
  • Audible alarms
  • UPS systems - move your hand over battery units to sense heat that may indicate a failing or overheating battery
  • Listen for noisy fans or hard drives that may indicate a impending failure
This proactive approach to Data Center management can help to head off disaster.

Linksys Router Firmware Upgrade - Determine Version

For my first Tech Tip I thought I would help demystify the old Linksys router version problem. The trouble is that you must know the correct version number of your router in order to download and install the correct firmware upgrade. For the most part, there is no issue... just look the serial number / model number sticker usually found on the bottom of the box (sometimes the side) and the version will be listed after the model number. For example "Model No WRT54G v2.2"

But what if the version is not listed? In that case is it simply v1.0 even though it is not listed (and most of the version 1.0 are not).

What about just installing the later version firmware even though it is not for my v1.0 router... Don't do it. You will most likely turn it into a paper weight... and not a very good one at that. I know because I have done it.

Hope this helps someone out there!

Pop of the Starter's Gun

The race has begun. Blogging is a new venture for me, one that I hope to be able to keep up with. I am one of a somewhat reticent nature, so this will challenge me.


My goal here is to make a daily post of "tales from the IT world"... sometimes the dark side of IT, sometimes a helpful tip, sometimes a rant or rage about something (look out Micro$oft). Since I spend about 50 hours of every week in the IT trenches, there must be something to post on a regular basis... right?

I'll keep you posted !