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Interesting Stuff Sys Admin

The Cool Features of MS Class of 2007

I headed along to Microsoft’s latest “Business Value” presentation this morning on their latest products – Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007. The keynote was headed by Microsoft CFO and New Zealander Chris Liddell who, along with business journalist Rod Oram, spoke about the need for NZ companies to step out of old roles and processes, stay original and aim higher.

On show were the new abilities of messaging and enterprise communication that Office and Exchange will bring about. You’ll be able to update you calendar, clear your voice messages and respond to emails all from your mobile phone. For those in the office you can see when others are at their desks or their reasons for being away and Instant Message (IM) them with Office Communicator.

Communication blockers across business are also being worked on in the new products. With Outlook 2007 you can email a copy of your Calendar to any recipient while specifying what info they see and if it’s today’s items, this week’s or this month’s. If the two companies are joined by a Federation then you’ll also be able to use the IM and presence tools of Communicator.

Overall if you’re a Microsoft based medium to large sized business, the upgrade path for you is better and more feature packed than ever before. And honestly, this time, you might even use most of the new features rather than wondering how that guy down the hall makes the boss happy with his awesome PowerPoints.

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Sys Admin

IE7 in the Wild

The latest version of Internet Explorer is out and about now and reaction seems to be mixed.

Most feedback on forums and in newsletters so far are of problems with the last Release Candidate (RC). The IE7 installs I’ve experienced have ranged from a single reboot for the last RC to two reboots when I installed the production version. Mozilla’s competitor browser Firefox has never needed a reboot. IE7 does work as advertised though and once people move to the new browser there should be fewer problems and less security holes.

Overall IE7 is a huge step forward from Microsoft, combining security fixes, tabbed browsing, a new UI, speed increases and a host of rendering improvements. But is it good enough to combat the hordes or techy folk who have embraced Mozilla’s Firefox browser? The latest 2.0 version of Firefox makes it’s own improvements and in my experience remains faster and most importantly handles standards based code better.

Nice work Microsoft, but you’re not quite there yet.

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Sys Admin

Replicating Printer Queues

Every now and again you stumble across a handy little tool that’s worth sharing with everyone else. In this case it’s Microsoft’s Print Migrator 3.1 that allows you to backup all print queue, driver and port information on one windows server into a CAB file and then restore it on another.

I currently use this for a client that uses two print servers for redundancy. They’re being feed from a UNIX system and one holds the even numbered queues and the other the odd. If one fell over the UNIX admins just alter their software to point at the working server. Each night the Migrator backs up the queues and new queues are created once and then copied over automagically.

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Sys Admin

Installing a Windows Dev Box

In the interest of saving this for future reference, here’s is a general how-to for installing a Windows based Web development server.

The reason for running up a Windows server as opposed to the typical LAMP alternative on Windows was due to frustration. The older Ubuntu server I had just made it very difficult to install the versions of PHP and MySQL that I wanted.

Applications I used were:
Apache 2.0.55
PHP 4.4.2
MySQL 4.1.18
Subverison 1.3