Category Archives: Miscellaneous

TechEd 2012: Day 2

Lovely wheather in Amsterdam on our second day at Microsoft TechEd 2012.

Unfortunately I missed the second keynote (will have to catch that on video later).

Since I really like IPv6 I chose Edward Horley’s talk WCL324: IPv6 Bootcamp: Get Up to Speed Quickly as my first item of business. Ed, whom I have not seen before, delivered a great talk and had some very good advice on IPv6 deployments. I fully agree with his recommendation of disabling the IPv6 transition technologies, but leaving IPv6 itself enabled. You will have much more predictable network behavior then.

Next up I got a chance to meet an old hero of mine; Dr. Tom Schinder. Tom was/is the leading expert on ISA Server/TMG products. I have read his book on ISA 2000 and probably all of his blog posts on the subject. Tom has lately begun spending more time as an architect and gave a very interesting session on the foundations of cloud computing; AAP304: Private Cloud, Principles, Concepts and Patterns. The session basically explained why the System Center suite does what it does. I got to shake the good man’s hand later and have a quick chat. Unfortunately I didn’t have a change to get a picture with him. The camera on my HTC HD7 is just too poor.

In my first session after lunch, SIA200: Cyber Security Defenses: What Works Today, I also got a change to meet another speaker that I have heard a lot about; Robert Grimes. Robert wrote the Protect You Windows Network book together with Jesper Johansson. This is a great book that I highly recommend to anyone interested in security. Rober, and his co-presenter Mark Simos, gave us a fantastic 75 minutes of security information. Loved this session!

The day’s last session was Andy Malone’s SIA400 The Cryptography Chronicles: Explaining the Unexplained, Part 1. This is one of the very few level 400 sessions on TechEd and it was great. I am really fascinated by cryptography and Andy gave a really good introduction. He also had a little competition for the audience with a Caesar substitution cipher (which I was able to solve!). Unfortunately it had some mistakes so the plaintext read WE ARE AKK GEEGS, instead of the intended WE ARE ALL GEEKS. I talked to Andy later and he admitted that it had been pretty late when he put that one together. Part 2 will be on Friday.

We finished the day with a nice cruise on the Amsterdam canals.

TechEd 2012: Day 1

First day of the conference proper and we are, to use a Microsoft term; superexcited.

First item of business was the keynote delivered by Brad Anderson and a few others. Much attention was given to the upcoming launch of Windows Server 2012 and the new System Center 2012 Suite. Microsoft has a great story here and I’m having trouble seeing other companies with the same capabilities.

Next for me was Mark Russinovich’s Introduction to Windows Azure Virtual Machines (AZR208). This is a really interesting new capability of Azure, which also puts Microsoft in the IaaS market (previously Azure was only PaaS). Mark delivered a great talk as always. The man’s knowledge is impressive.

During lunch we caught Mark Russinovich and Scott Guthries live chat about Windows Azure. Questions were put to the panel via Twitter. That was really cool. I even got some of my own questions answered!.

Hacking sessions are always fun so after lunch I went to see Paula Januszkiewicz’ talk entitled “Crouching Admin, Hidden Hacker; Technologies for Hiding and Detecting Traces (SIA301)”. This was a huge let down as Paula just kept repeating old, well known security axioms like “Have a dedicated admin account” and “Don’t log on to workstations with your admin user”. Very boring and disappointing. As far as I could tell she didn’t cover any of the stuff the title of her talk indicated. Paula’s demo of Stuxnet, if you can call letting your VM become infected, failed, but that was due to the recently discovered deactivation feature of Stuxnet, although we did not know this at the time.

The last session of the day was SIA205 Running Active Directory on Windows Azure Virtual Machines. The talk was delivered by Samuel Devasahayam from the Directory Services team. Sam was a great guy and covered all the stuff you need to know before you deploy AD on Azure VMs. We met Sam later outside the conference center and had a nice chat.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

TechEd Europe 2012: Day 0

Today was pre-conf day. A whole day of focusing on a single subject. John Craddock delivered the goods in my selected session: Building Federated External Access for Microsoft SharePoint 2010. The TechExpo and the Hands On Labs areas were not open yet, so the conference hasn’t really started yet.

Very much looking forward to tomorrow, which will start off with the main keynote. That’s always fun. Later in the day I plan to catch some sessions on the new features in Windows Azure, and Mark Russinovich will deliver one of them!

TechEd Europe 2012: T -1

Hello again

1 day until @teched_europe starts!

Another nice day in Amsterdam, although it rained a lot today. Went down to the @AmsterdamRAI conference center to register for the event. New this year is self service registration, Microsoft taking lessons from the airline industry I guess. The RAI seems nice, but everything was pretty much closed, will see more tomorrow.

A few friends arrived today also. We’re going to have dinner and see  England vs. Italy in the European Cup.

TechEd Europe 2012: T -2

Hello all!

So it’s time for the long awaited return of the @teched_europe Conference here in Europe. This time in the wonderful city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It has been a long wait for us techno geeks since Microsoft decided to push the conference back to the summer timeframe instead of autumn. 18 months to wait is a long time!

Arrived in Amsterdam today, nice hotel, terrible Internet (writing this at the McDonald’s next door that has free WiFi). Taking in the sites today. More to follow!

If you want to know more about the Conference, have a look at:

2 days until TechEd starts!

Some nice one-liners

  • Restart the computer you are logged on to immediately, forcing all applications to close:
    shutdown.exe /r /t 0 /f
  • The same for a remote computer:
    shutdown.exe /r /t 0 /f /m \<computer>
  • Add someone to the local Administrators groups:
    net localgroup Administrators /add <user or group>
  • Enable Remote Desktop on a remote system:
    reg add “\<computername>HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlTerminal Server” /v fDenyTSConnections /d 0 /t REG_DWORD /f
  • Schedule a reboot of the system you are logged on to (works on Windows Server 2003):
    schtasks.exe /Create /RU “NT AUTHORITYSYSTEM” /SC ONCE /TN “Restart” /TR “%systemroot%system32shutdown.exe /r /t 0 /f” /ST 22:00 /Z
  • Schedule a reboot of the system you are logged on to (works on Windows Server 2008 and later):
    schtasks.exe /create /TN “Restart” /SC Once /ST 23:00 /TR “%windir%system32shutdown.exe /r /t 0 /f” /RU “SYSTEM”

Windows Live stuff #1

Here are a few tips I picked up regarding using the Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite and the Hotmail mail service. I use Hotmail to host my email with my own vanity domain, which I think works great (and it’s free!). Don’t know if these things work exactly like this if you use another mail service or have other default programs.

  1. The Inbox button in Windows Live Messenger will open Windows Live Mail if Windows Live Mail is set to automatically sign in to Windows Live.
    To stop this behavior; select Stop signing in, in Windows Live Mail (Options->Connections):
    This will open your default browser instead and navigate to Hotmail when you hit the Inbox button.
  2. To get the new cool Jump List and notifications when you pin Hotmail to the Windows 7 Taskbar; first navigate to your Hotmail Inbox, then drag the tab down to the Task Bar. If you do it from the Windows Live Home page you will not get these cool features.

Poor sound quality in Spotify

I love Spotify, but recently I have been plagued by poor sound quality. Specifically I experienced clipping, popping and variations in volume level during playback. As far as I could tell this affected all the songs I played in Spotify. At first I thought the problem was specific to Spotify, but after doing some tests with Grooveshark and Windows Media Player I discovered that the problem affected all apps playing sound. After a little digging I discovered a workaround for the problem.

Open the Sound properties:


Select Properties for the Default Device, the select the Enhancements tab:


Select Disable all enhancements. If you are playing music it will momentarily pause and then continue, hopefully (as it did for me) with now crystal clear quality.

Happy listening!

Last.FM profile:


Remote Desktop on Linux?

With the momentum behind desktop virtualization; both with VDI and Remote Desktop Sessions (formerly Terminal Services), more and more people are looking for ways to access the Windows Desktop from platform other than Windows. Citrix offers the Citrix Receiver which supports virtually all platforms, but if you want to use the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) your choices are limited. This is a list of the RDP clients I have found for Linux:

Unfortunately none of these support more than RDP v5.1, which do not offer any of the newest features such as multi monitor support etc.