Sunday, September 28, 2008

Exchange 14 - What's coming down the road....

The reason to attend the Exchange Connections conference this fall in Las Vegas may well be session topic Paul Robichaux is giving on Exchange 14. Paul has been given permission to talk about some of the new features and enhancements that will have you standing up and cheering. As far as I know, this will be the first public discussion of Exchange 14.

EXC27: What’s New in Exchange? - Paul Robichaux
This session gives an overview of the most noteworthy new features and enhancements for E14 (Exchange v14) that you should know about.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Removing internal SMTP headers

Every SMTP message leaves a trail of where it has been. The SMTP headers are part of the RFC and are often useful in troubleshooting.

However, the SMTP header also reveals things about your internal infrastructure such as your internal IP addresses and host names. For this reason, security people often recommend stripping them out of the a message that is leaving the organization. I have always been a bit "iffy" about doing this since, after all, the RFC says "put the headers in that there message." And, my additional argument is that not having this internal infrastructure information will not slow down a talented hacker or a hacker that has specifically decided to target your organization.

The information security people counter back that anything you do to slow down the intruders is worth doing. (We won't argue that point.)

Usually to strip out the internal SMTP headers, you need some type of 3rd party message hygiene / SMTP security software to this for you. However, Microsoft has a clever way to do this. You simply deny anonymous connections the right to read this particular message property. You can do with with the Exchange Management Shell on a Hub Transport that is Internet-facing (sends e-mail directly to the Internet or to a 3rd party message hygiene system. Let's say that my Send connector is called "E2K7 SMTP to Internet", here is the EMS command:

Remove-ADPermission "E2K7 SMTP to Internet" -User "NT Authority\Anonymous Logon" -ExtendedRights Ms-Exch-Send-Headers-Routing

If you are using the Edge Transport server, you can do something very similar, but you simply revoke the Edge Transport Server's group permissions to do read the message header information. Here is the EMS command necessary to revoke the SMTP connector to an Edge Transport server (called "E2K7 SMTP to Edge Transport")

Remove-ADPermission "E2K7 SMTP to Edge Transport" -User "MS Exchange\Edge Transport Servers" -ExtendedRights Ms-Exch-Send-Headers-Routing

Bharat Suneja has a good discussion on this.

Organizational mailboxes or SMTP addresses

As most readers of my blog knows, one of the things my business does is sell custom Active Directory management software. Our customer database is very simple; we usually track a single customer contact for each one of our customers. We periodically send out notices for maintenance contracts, updates, patches, and tips. I am surprised how many e-mail addresses that worked perfectly 6 months ago will no longer work. The IT field (as well as others) is very "fluid".

I am now becoming a big advocate for organizational / role mailboxes or SMTP addresses. These are mailboxes that server a specific function and are assigned to the person that currently has that job. Here are some examples for a test company:

Notice that I made the aliases a bit harder to "dictionary spam". You can assign these SMTP addresses to the individual that does the job or you can create dedicated mailboxes or even assign these addresses to mail groups.

The important thing to think about is that for "official" communications with the company, you set up aliases that don't change when someone leaves the company. Yes, these will become the targets of sales people, but I would rather mass delete some sales oriented e-mails than to miss things such as my support contract for software is expiring.

Congressional communications

[Don't get me wrong, I like Senator Obama and will probably vote for him since I don't have a lot of confidence in Senator McCain anymore.]
Have you ever written your senator or congressperson? It sure seems like they don't pay too much attention to what we send them. A friend of mine in Illinois forwarded me this thread between himself and his congressional delegation. Here is his communication in reverse order....

Dear Mr. Obama,
Thank you for your polite response to my earlier contact. I think, however, that you misunderstood my position. I do not merely oppose the originally proposed "bailout" package, I oppose any bailout package, stimulus package, or other transfer of public funds to private entities under any circumstances. As an reputed egalitarian you should also. No liberal should support the transfer of liability from the poor and future generations to the wealthy and predatory of the present.

Further, the Keynesian fallacy of a "economic stimulus" has long since been discredited. Keynes is joining Marx on the scrap pile of history and we would be wise to not have our nation join him there by further pursuing that self-serving system of planned economics. May I suggest, especially if you want to whip your economically illiterate opposition this fall, that you spend an hour or so with a primer on Austrian economics, perhaps Thomas Taylor's An Introduction to Austrian Economics, 98 pages (available at
Best regards, Stephen B.

Dear Stephen:
Thank you for writing to share your concerns on the current state of the U.S. economy and the government’s response to the ongoing stress on our financial markets, homeowners, and families.

From Wall Street to Main Street, the U.S. economy is in trouble. We have suffered 600,000 lost jobs since the beginning of this year, over a million families have lost their homes to foreclosure with millions more at risk, and many banks and other financial institutions are struggling to stay afloat. The bailout of investment bank Bear Stearns, the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Federal Reserve’s emergency intervention to save AIG, and the emergency Treasury action to shore up money market mutual funds demonstrate the seriousness of the situation we face.

In response to these concerns, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson have met with congressional leaders to request legislation that would authorize direct intervention in the economy. The plan would grant the Treasury Secretary $700 billion to purchase bad assets from financial institutions. By doing so, the Treasury would inject much needed liquidity into the market and work to rescue the economy from a worsening downturn.

While I agree that urgent and decisive action is necessary during this time of economic turmoil, I will not grant a blank check for billions of taxpayer dollars to the Treasury to bail out banks, with no oversight, accountability, guaranteed help for homeowners, or even assurances that the risky plan will work to the benefit of American workers and taxpayers.

Instead, we must insist upon a plan that includes relief for burdened homeowners, ensures restraints on exorbitant executive salaries, and ensures that the American people share in the upside as Wall Street recovers. It is also critical that the power to spend $700 billion is not left to the discretion of any one person but is instead under the rigorous oversight of an independent and bipartisan board.

Further, we need to move forward on a second emergency economic stimulus plan including tax rebates to help families cope with rising food and gas prices and investments in jobs and relief for state budgets.

In closing, be assured that as this process moves forward I will continue to work for a fast, fair and viable response to our nation’s economic crisis. Again, Stephen, thank you for sharing your comments and concerns with me. Please feel keep in touch on this, or other matters of importance to you.
Sincerely, Barack Obama
United States Senator

P.S. Our system does not allow direct response to this email. However, if you would like to contact me again, please use the form on the website:

My communications to Senator Obama (and Durbin) were submitted via a web form, so I don't have an exact copy of them. However, I did submit this almost-verbatim copy of that communication as a letter to the Chicago Tribune (which they haven't yet printed).

An Open Letter Regarding Financial "Bailouts"

Dear Senator Obama and Senator Durbin:

I tried several times today (9/25/08) to contact your Washington, DC offices via telephone, however your offices were apparently not accepting calls from constituents. I was attempting to contact you to encourage opposition to any further bailouts of the financial industry.

Bailouts are a moral hazard of the most dangerous kind, not only to the financial industry, but to the country as a whole. They set a horrible moral example for our young people and expose America to charges of hypocrisy as a free and capitalist nation where all men are created equal. That equality must include the equality to fail, for wealthy bankers just as for everyone else. It is immoral beyond measure to imagine that we should in any way tax the poor and the unborn to subsidize the wealthy and the incompetent.

Admittedly it may be hard times for a while, but these institutions, and the people responsible for them, must be held accountable for their mistakes. In the end, it will make our financial institutions more cautious and our nation stronger.
Best regards,
Stephen B.

This is a response that I received to a previous communication to Senator Obama, in which I stated that I was opposed to the bailout of Fannie and Freddie (and I think I mentioned also AIG). (I'm sorry, I can't find the original of that one.) Note that he explicitly states that he also opposes bailouts, although he does qualify it with "at this time," and he apparently is hunky dory with general handouts to citizens well-off enough to pay taxes.

Dear Stephen:
Thank you for contacting me to share your views on the government response to the housing crisis. I appreciate hearing from you.

As you know, the crisis in the housing market was a key factor in our current economic recession, with problems in subprime lending expanding across all mortgage markets and throughout the financial sector. We have already lost more than 600,000 jobs this year and there are concerns about rising unemployment and greater inflation. Most recently, the unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve to try to rescue our nation's largest insurer demonstrates how fragile our economy is, and how devastating the foreclosure crisis has become for our economy as a whole. Coming on the heels of the bailout of investment bank Bear Stearns, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this emergency intervention to save AIG leaves no doubt that our economy is in serious trouble.

In 2006 I raised alarm about warning signs in the housing market and have continued to fight to end unsustainable lending practices and expand affordable housing options. I introduced the STOP FRAUD Act to combat fraudulent and deceptive mortgage lending practices, fought for increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant program to provide assistance for homeowners and communities across Illinois, and sponsored the Homes for Heroes Act to combat homelessness among our nation’s veterans. I also urged Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson to intervene in early 2007 and immediately convene a homeownership preservation summit to fight foreclosures and increase oversight of the mortgage industry.

With over a million homes already in foreclosure and estimates of more than a million more to come, Congress recently passed H.R. 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. Among other things, this bill will allow roughly 400,000 borrowers to refinance otherwise unaffordable loans. This is an important start, but we urgently need additional economic stimulus to help working families who are struggling. This is not a time to bail out failed financial executives or shareholders. Leadership in the months ahead will be critical to the long-term resilience of the American economy. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to stabilize our economy and get us back on a path of growth and shared prosperity.

I look forward to keeping in touch during this process.

Sincerely, Barack Obama
United States Senator


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bob Barr trying to kick McCain and Obama off the Texas ballot?

Is Bob Barr trying to kick McCain and Obama off the general election ballot in Texas? No, he is not trying to "kick" them off. He is trying to "keep" them off because they BOTH missed the filing deadline to be on the Texas ballot. Will the Texas Election Commission "bend (or is it break)" the law to satisify the two major candidates? Probably so, but it is hardly fair or right.

[Note: Bob Barr (formerly a Republican) is the Libertarian candidate for President. I do not believe is moderate enough to be a Libertarian and I disagree with him on many issues.]


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Funny summary from the AP

I might have expected such as "summary' from a blogger or FoxNews, but not from the AP. This first sentence of this article is really funny....

Palin lawyer meets with investigator in probe
By MATT VOLZ – 22 hours ago
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Less than a week after balking at the Alaska Legislature's investigation into her alleged abuse of power, Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday indicated she will cooperate with a separate probe run by people she can fire.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Getting a photo aspect ratios correct using IrfanView

Getting the aspect ratio of a portrait photo right can be tricky if you want to put it in a Web page. Especially if the place you are going to put the photo is expecting a certain width x height ratio. That is the aspect ratio and if you get it wrong the photo will look squashed or elongated.

My company's Directory Update and Directory Manager software allow you to upload a JPG photo in to the Active Directory. The photo is then stored in the user's jpegPhoto attribute as an octet stream. By default, our DirectorySettings.XML file uses a default photo size of 130 pixels wide by 170 pixels high for the photo (that is an aspect ratio of 3:4). Whatever you upload will be re-sized in to that particular ratio so the original file should have the same aspect ratio.

Here is a good way to make sure that your "source photo" is the right aspect ratio. I have found some good, powerful, and free software that will help you do this. It is called IrfanView. (If you download this software and find it useful, send the author some money via his web site, even just 10 euros or something.) Install the IrfanView software and follow these steps to resize a photo:

  1. Load the original photo in to IrfanView (in my example the original photo was 2.2MB and is 2592 x 1944). You will probably need to "zoom out" a bit so that you have the whole photo on your screen.
  2. Next you need to "crop" the photo to keep only what you want. Using the mouse, select the part of the picture that you want to keep; try to select the photo in roughly the size that you want. You will notice an outline around the selected area.
  3. From the Edit menu, select Create Custom Crop Selection (or just SHIFT+C).
  4. On the Create Custom Selection box, select the 3:4 ratio and then click the Apply To Image button. Notice now that your selected area on the photo is now slightly changed. If this is the desired "portrait", then you can proceed, otherwise go back to Step 2.
  5. On the Edit menu, choose Crop Selection. Ta da! You have a new image!
  6. Save the new image as a JPG file. My new image is now 91KB and is 629 x 839. Yes, that is a weird size, but it is the RIGHT aspect ratio.
  7. Now I can upload the image in to Directory Update or Directory Manager without it being stretched or squashed. Once uploaded, the Directory Update or Directory Manager software will "resize" the image to be 130 x 170. The resulting image file size is approximately 5KB.
You can, of course, modify this procedure to use a different aspect ratio than the defaults, but this is just what works out-of-the-box with Directory Update and Directory Manager.
Thanks to's "TechTips" for re-introducing me to IrfanView.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Exchange 2007 and Simple Display Name

The Simple Display Name option in Exchange (using the displayNamePrintable) attribute is an IA5-String that is designed to hold only ASCII printable characters. The intent is to provide an alterative to the display name for systems that only support ASCII characters (such as mail gateways to mainframe systems from a few years back.)

However, Exchange 2003 allowed you to set a Registry key that would change the display name on messages that were leaving the organization (external messages) from the displayName attribute to the simple display name. This is a VERY handy feature for those of us who have a display name that has information such as department, job code, title, etc... and we don't want that information being sent to external recipients. The ability to have an internal and an external display name is very useful! You can do this in Exchange Server 2003, here is a KB article that will help with this:

Microsoft is now finally supporting this feature in Exchange Server 2007. (Yay!) It is supported on a per "Remote Domain" basis and is a property of the remote domain. Starting with Exchange Server 2007 SP1 RU4 (rollup 4), you can enable this feature using the Exchange Management Shell. To do this, for the default "remote domain", you would type the following EMS command:
Set-RemoteDomain "Default" -UseSimpleDisplayName $true
(Thanks to Exchange guru Henrik Walther for the syntax!)

And now for some local news.... Stop Rail Now

Here in lovely, tropical ville de Honolulu, we have been in yet another mass transit row. The third since I have been living here, as a matter of fact. To put in steel-on-steel rail or not, is the question. Well, a lot of the NIMBYs (not in my back yard) and PAVEs (people against virtually everything) have been causing a ruckus. This time the city has secured federal funding (something on the order of $3.5B) plus they have raised the excise tax by .5% in order to help pay for it.

The anti-rail folks don't really have a cohesive view of what they want or why we should not have "steel on steel" rail, they just know they don't want it. Their advertising and tactics have been misleading (in my opinion), not factual, and just plain out low. But it appears that they have stooped to a new low. We are in the middle of a mayorial election and our current mayor (Mufi Hannemann) is quite popular (I rather like him even in spite of not liking politicians).

This past week, someone put up a nasty web site (racist and vulgar) and then sent out an e-mail purportedly from Mayor Hannemann's campaign manager promoting the web site. Naturally, the source IP in the headers of the e-mail message was traced back to the Law Offices of John Carroll and Eric Ryan. Carroll and Ryan, of course, professes no knowledge of this and I suspect that someone that can pass the bar exam would be smarter than this anyway. But he has been an "anti-rail" supporter and he is letting the anti-rail supporters use his office. If they are using his office to stupidly slander people, then he should bear some of the responsibility.

The moral of this story? E-mail is traceable, kids. So play nicely.


Free hex / binary editor

The need for a good, easy-to-use hex / binary editor came up today in on one of the mail lists I am one. One of the Exchange gurus (Michael B. Smith) recommended XVI32. Thanks for good tip Michael!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is this a good idea?

The Bush Administration proposed a massive economic bail-out this week but the details are still sketchy (non-existent?) McCain condemed this (rightly so) and Obama praised it (dude, what are you smoking?) The "left" is praising this because it has the appearance of helping out the little guy. The "right" is praising this because the Bush Administration proposed it. The financial markets are praising this because it allows people controlling the money to move their investments to safer investments.

BUT, do we want our government to take over between $500,000,000,000 and $1,000,000,000,000 (no one is really sure how much it will cost!) of our nation's bad debt? Who pays for this? The U.S. taxpayers will pay for this. Maybe the economy will benefit some from this, but at a cost of an additional trillion dollars in federal debt the Chinese?

Do we want the government controlling this much of our economy by holding bigger stakes in financial institutions?

Mr. President and Senator Obama: The free market works WHEN you make solid investments and manage your money in a fiscally responsible way. When you don't, things like our current crisis occurs. The government must not be in the business of bailing out bad business decisions, even when they are massive.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Global Address List and special character sort order

I'm working on some material for a presentation and one of the topics is using special characters as part of the naming standard (when naming objects such as mail groups, conference rooms, etc...). If you use special characters in the display names of these objects, they will all sort together in the Global Address List. Here is a list of some of these characters along with the sort order (ascending to descending)

' (back tick)
- (hyphen)
! (exclamation)
# (pound symbol)
$ (dollar)
% (percent symbol)
& (ampersand)
( (open parenthesis)
) (close parenthesis)
* (asterisk)
@ (at symbol)
^ (carrot)
_ (underscore)
~ (tilde)
+ (plus)
= (equals)

Connections slide decks

At last, the long awaited slide decks from the past few Connections conferences. I have been promising to get these posted for months. Thanks to my bud Exchange MVP Pat Richard for reminding me. :-)

See you at Exchange Connections!

Anyone planning to come to the Windows and Exchange Connections conference in Las Vegas in November? I'll be there! This is my favorite Connections since it happens at the same time as the SharePoint, Office, ASP.NET, and other developer's conferences. I have 3 new presentations I am doing at this conference and I hope they are going to be well received.

EXC24: Amaze Your Friends and Users with Global Address List Tips and Tricks - Jim McBee
For most organizations with Exchange, the Global Address List (GAL) becomes your company’s corporate phone directory. Most Exchange administrators don’t realize that you can further customize the GAL and do some very simple things that will make this resource even more valuable for your users. This intermediate level session takes a look at some things you can do to customize the GAL including creating address lists, customizing details templates, defining "resource" objects, and creating a naming standard that helps with sorting.

EXC22: I Wish I Had Known…Exchange 2007 Upgrade Lessons from the Field - Jim McBee
Get practical advice and experiences to help prepare you for Exchange Server 2007. Exchange Server 2007 has been out now for two years but only now are many organizations moving forward with plans to upgrade. This overview session covers many of the common problems and their solutions that early adopters have experienced when moving from Exchange Server 2000/2003 to Exchange Server 2007. Even if you are not ready to upgrade yet, you will take away a checklist of things you can do to help get you prepared.

EXC23: You Can Take it With You...Taking Advantage of Exchange 2007 Database Portability - Jim McBee
This intermediate level session examines the new Exchange Server 2007 database portability feature that allows a database to be moved to a different Exchange 2007 server. The session looks at copying databases to another server in the same organization, using Standby Continuous Replication, Move-Mailbox options, and moving a database to a new organization entirely.

The cultural war or a very vocal minority

Perhaps it was Pat Buchanan that fired the first cultural war salvo at the 1992 Republican National Convention: "There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America," declared Buchanan in prime time. "It is a cultural war." (A good friend of mine was a Republican delegate and came home from Houston that year admitting he was going to vote for a Democrat (Bill Clinton) for the first time in his life.) Maybe the first shot was some Greenpeace activist prior to that? Though I generally agree on fiscal issues with Pat Buchanan, I remember his speech and dismissed him as a lunatic.

Yet that speech seemed to set off a more intense "left" versus "right" battle that escalated throughout the Clinton years and in many ways gave us the Bush Presidency. That anachronism of the Republican Party, Sarah Palin seems to be a reaction to that very furor even 16 years later. While I don't often pay much attention to voter stastitics (who votes for a party and why), I have always assumed that about 40% of voters fell in to this "cultural warrior-voter" category. Granted, I live in a "blue" state, I rarely run into these extremists that I have been told exist out there either trying to make me use socialized healthcare and buy an electric car or require me to start going to church.

That is why I found it very heartening to read "What Culture War?" by LA Times columnist Dick Meyer. The gist of it is this: "The idea that there is a vast war over the moral and spirtual compass of the nation is a dramatic narrative, and it has dominated popular political analysis for nearly two decades. It just doesn't have the added virtue of being true. The vast majority of Americans are pragmatic, independent, and unpartisan in their basic views. They are eclectic: 'liberal' on some matters, 'conservative' on others. As a percetage of the total population, the extremist factions-right and left combined- remain a small slice, 6.6 percent. These happen to be the people who not only go to conventions, but whom the cable news bookers corral to argue about politics on their shows. They are also the people who host televsion and radio talk shows, who publish blogs, and who make civic noises. But they are not us."

People that are not like "us" are really "not like us"

Bill Mahar - Love him or hate him, most people will at least find *something* to laugh about or agree with at least occasionally. In one of his "bits" a few years ago, he made an interesting observation about George Bush's view of the world and that he did not understand that "people that are not like us are really not like us". This was in reference to the government not understanding why a $25,000,000 reward was not effective in finding Osama bin Laden.

Last week, Gregory Rodriguez had a good column in the Los Angeles Times where he essentially reiterated the same thing. His column mentioned that because the U.S. is essentially a "melting pot" of people, religions, and cultures from all over the world, we usually get along and are tolerant of one another. But, to assume that people in other parts of the world share this tolerance and understanding of their fellow country-people that are some what different is a dangerous assumption.

While we have cultural street fairs and celebrate our heritage once a year (such as my own Scotch-Irish background), but then go back to barbequing with our British neighbors the next week.

"If for no other reason than to understand emerging threats, Americans will have to stop pretending that for most people around the globe, identity is something not just to celebrate -- once a year, at a street fair or during fill-in-the-blank history month -- but to die for." Take a look at Mr. Rodriguez' column
America's 'identity' blind spot: The American experience leaves the United States and its citizens unprepared to confront the global rise of ethnic nationalism and secessionism.

Freudian slip? - Yes, Mr. President, you have done a great job!

I don't know if this is some editor's Freudian slip? Or if they intended for this headline to have a sneaky double-meaning? Of course, you would only get the double-meaning if you were not much of a Bush fan anymore..... All of my friends that are Democratics and most of my Republican friends agree that the best thing about this next election is that the next president won't be George W. Bush.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Obama and McCain Tax Proposals

Source: Tax Policy Center

Here is a summary of the estimated tax cuts proposed by the candidates. While I certainly welcome tax cuts, I am wondering how the U.S. government is going to cut taxes after proposing a $700,000,000,000 bail0ut for Wall Street AND Fannie Mae AND Freddie MAC, AND AIG, etc...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are we in "backwards" land now?

I'm a Republican. Technically, I consider myself somewhere between a "Colin Powell Moderate" and a "Ron Paul Libertarian", but that is too hard to quickly describe at a party and really kills the conversation (people start finding excuses to go talk to other people.) I usued to "mostly" agree with the Republican platform of a strong military, spending less, taxing less, and encouraging business. The Republican Party has been mutating, though; and not in to good mutants like Halle Berry's "Storm".

Based on the predictable right-wing's outcry surrounding John McCain's rise to be the Republican candidate and his not really caring, I expected McCain's running mate would be someone with not only impeccable credentials but also highly qualified. I like McCain, by the way. So Sarah Palin sort of put the election in to bizarro mode. Yet the "left" and "right" reaction to her is even more bizzare. The Week's editor, William Falk, is apparently in the same boat I'm in. Here is his commentary from The Week's 19 Sept 2008 issue:

"I am so confused." After years of steeping myself in a couple of hundred opinion columns a week, I'd thought I had a good grasp of where the Left and Right's leading lights stood on any given issue. But somebody seems to have switched the scripts. Conservative pundits who once disdained feminism are lauding Sarah Palin's heroism in pursuing a demanding career while raising five kids. Liberal feminists, meanwhile are suggesting that because of her unseemly ambition, Palin would either be an irresponsible absentee mom or a distracted vice president. Stranger still is the reaction to the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of Palin's 17-year old daughter, Bristol. Just yesterday, it seems, religious conservatives were denouncing the young, unmarried, and pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears as a symbol of all that’s gone wrong in our permissive, secular culture, and condemning her mother’s terrible values. Now, in defense of the Palins, evangelicals are arguing that those things-oops!-happen in even the best of families. Meanwhile, the usually free-thinking Left is fulminating that Bristol’s swelling belly sets a terrible example for the nation’s impressionable youth.

Have we all fallen down some rabbit hole? One day, Republicans say a lack of political experience is a fatal flaw; Democrats say it frees you to see things anew. Now it’s the other way around. It’s as if these strongly voiced opinions were simply debating points, chosen because they suited the circumstances-and candidates-of the moment. Could it be that intense partisanship unhinges us all, leading us to being with the conclusion we prefer, and then to reason backward to reach it? But that would be so intellectually dishonest, so … irrational. Surely, there must be some other explanation."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

E-commerce, gas prices, and the economy

It is Sunday afternoon in Jimville. I need to be working on the 2nd edition of Mastering Exchange Server 2007, a series of articles on e-mail archiving, my presentations for Exchange Connections, and my Ithicos Solutions-related business stuff. Not to mention the pile of things on my other desk at work. Yet, I installed a new shower head in my bathroom and a new faucet in the kitchen sink. I realized that the filter on my water purifier needed to be replaced and I was out.

I got ready to hop in my truck and run down to Home Depot to pick up some new ones. Home Depot is about 8 miles from my house, but in traffic it takes 25 minutes or so to get there and I figure I would burn about $5.00 in gas.

I googled the water filter part number and came up with dozens of places that sell them, did some quick price comparisions, found the best deal from a reputable looking place, bought them and had them shipped for just over $5.00. Total time was less than 10 minutes. Now, while I love Home Depot, this saved me a lot of time on a busy Sunday afternoon.

I wonder if others are having similar experiences and are turning to e-commerce not only to save time, but to save gas?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Exchange Server 2007 and wild card certificates

This topic came up in a discussion list that I am on and I thought it worthy of blogging. Some Certificate Authorities (such as DigiCert) offer a "wild card" certificate. While these seem to work fine for web sites, they are problematic with other Exchange Server 2007 technologies such as POP3, IMAP4, ActiveSync (Windows Mobile 5 devices), and Outlook Anywhere. It sounds like these should be avoided for Exchange servers and instead use certificates with subject alternate names (SAN certificates or now called Unified Communications certificates.)