June 2004 - Posts

I just finished the configuration of a Virtual Server setup with two virtual machines: one with IIS 6.0 and Exchange 2003 (OWA over SSL, POP3, IMAP, etc) and another with ISA Server 2003 Beta (both running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise). Great combination, just works fine; and pretty easy to configure (thanks to the enhanced configuration of ISA 2004). Furthermore, I like the new Exchange 2003 additions for anti-spam as well. I was doing this setup to prepare a production roll-out later this summer on some larger network and I guess I'm now ready to go :-)

Btw: the virtual networks in Virtual Server are just cool to play around with some networking technologies. If you did not do so yet, just give it a try.

One drawback: you need pretty much RAM to run all these machines concurrently but this was not really an issue over here (fixed box 2 GB; laptop 1 GB). I guess I'll take some time this summer to set up a complete demo configuration using Virtual Server for the SchoolServer project as well; this will make demoing certainly easier (now I have to take 2 laptops and a router with me together with a Pocket PC; using VS I think I might eliminate one laptop and a router by setting up 3 virtual machines). I'll keep you reported :-)

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Vector graphics are in and Microsoft is on the vector-ship as well :-) That's the key message of Microsoft Expression. More info can be found on http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/default.asp?pg=home. Didn't have the time to play with it myself for the moment, but I'll shedule it in my personal agenda and report you the results (likely)...Del.icio.us | Digg It | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit | DotNetKicks

There've been quite a lot questions about running Cassini (the light-weight ASP.NET web server that is part of the ASP.NET Web Matrix of which the code is freely available via www.asp.net) as a Windows Service. Since I did this already more than one year ago, I decided to put the bits and bytes of my solution online (in a stripped-down release since the full solution was designed especially to provide a secured download center for Microsoft software - see http://download1.ma3d.com for example; you'll recognize the string "BdsSoft" which is my nickname when creating software solutions :-) - this solution is based on Cassini and WSE to secure the download process by using some ticketing system over a secure channel between the download- and ticketserver). The solution can be downloaded from www.bartdesmet.net/download/cassini.zip. It's allowed to make all the changes you like to make, but let me know via mail what you've changed so that we can bring our ideas together to make the solution even better.

Remark: the EULA of Cassini still holds of course; more info via www.asp.net - Source Projects - Cassini.

Enjoy!

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It's marry-time at Microsoft Belux :-) After Gunther a few weeks ago, it's now Gerd's turn!

Congratulations Gerd!

If there are people who know other Microsoft Belux weddings, please report these over here: I think I might start some directory service :-) Just kidding...

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People who've installed Office 2003 will have noticed the new 'Research Pane' in the Office 2003 tools. In fact this is not a rigid black box, but fully extensible by using web services. For our SchoolServer solution, I gave a (pretty cool) demo of the use of these web services to insert absences (of students in the school) directly in Excel by just doing a few clicks in the research pane. The data is retrieved from a web service on the school LAN that contains the latest information on absences. Using a Pocket PC smart application, one can register the absences while walking through the building (wireless of course!). Quite a lot of people were pretty amazed about this sample that shows how extensible the SchoolServer solution is. However, if I find the time this summer I'll try to create a (short) article on this topic, explaining the basics of the research pane extensibility.Del.icio.us | Digg It | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit | DotNetKicks

A few days ago, Microsoft released its own anti-spam filter based on several technologies that were already built in into Outlook and the Hotmail on-line service. With the release of Exchange 2003 we saw a new API in the Exchange SDK that allowed third parties to develop a spam filter on Exchange 2003 in a flexible and (fairly) easy way. More info on the anti-spam initiative can be found on http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/twc/privacy/spam.mspx (including the documents describing the further plans in the field of anti-spam such as the Caller ID technology). The anti-spam filter was installed on the servers I'm responsible for a few days ago (in combination with the Exchange 2003 SP1) and it seems to work pretty well (http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/techinfo/security/antispam.asp). Make sure you read the referenced documents as well to get the (easy!) configuration right.

One note: if you install Exchange 2003 SP1, make sure you copy the customized OWA files (I added a link to install the SSL certificate on the client) since these will be replaced during the setup :-(.

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According to several sources around the net, the second release candidate for the Windows XP SP2 is on its way. However, I can't wait to see it but it's 100% right that Microsoft takes the time to get it right (remember SD3 etc?). The latest build according to the source is 2142 and RC2 would be shipped by June 7th to the beta testers. More on http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=20778&category=main (weird file extension in that url :-)).Del.icio.us | Digg It | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit | DotNetKicks

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