The Microsoft Office Fluent user interface video

Wanna see what the new Office interface actually looks like? Maybe you or your customers have heard some bad things about the interface? Well with this video at least you can judge for yourself. Click here to be taken to the video page and then click on the Play Video button.
In our experience the new interface does cause some issues for traditional Office menu users but if they are willing to embrace the change then generally they all agree that the new interfac actually makes them more productive.

Test drive SharePoint

One of the best ways to learn SharePoint (WSS) is to take a test drive. Office Online has provided a test environment to use online. All you have to do is click a few buttons and you can play around with a practice site in your browser.

To get to the test environment:

  1. It says test drive the 2007 Microsoft Office release, but SharePoint is included in the test drive.

  2. Click on the big orange button.

The Test Drive environment will open in a new browser window after you click the Launch Test Drive button. You’ll see a few screens, you might be asked to click to connect to the server. There may be some lag time, so wait until you see the Setting up evaluation environment dialog box. It takes a while to get to the test environment.

Once it opens, you’ll see the following screen:

Start with the first selection on the right-hand side of the screen, ‘Overview of Windows SharePoint Services.’

Turn off Windows Security alert pop ups

Turning off Automatic Updates can cause Windows Security Alert pop-up balloons to appear in the taskbar tray every time you log on.
1. Turning off Automatic Updates causes error balloons featuring a red shield. Windows XP allows you to suppress any warnings that relate to Automatic Updates. You can also do this in Vista but, unfortunately, the newer OS forces you to turn off all security alerts just to suppress the Automatic Updates warnings.
To eliminate the warning balloons about Automatic Updates in both XP and Vista, take these steps:
Step 1. Double-click the red shield icon in the taskbar, or open the Control Panel and launch the Security Center.
Step 2. In the left pane or box, click Change the way Security Center alerts me.
Step 3. In XP, uncheck Automatic Updates and click OK. In Vista, select the second or third option.

Windows updates refusing to install most patches

If you find that Windows Update refuses to install most patches, you can register its missing DLLs yourself. This can be accomplished by manually entering seven commands (shown in Step 2, below) at a command prompt.
the /s switch runs the commands silently, freeing you from having to press Enter after each line
regsvr32 /s wuapi.dll
regsvr32 /s wuaueng1.dll
regsvr32 /s wuaueng.dll
regsvr32 /s wucltui.dll
regsvr32 /s wups2.dll
regsvr32 /s wups.dll
regsvr32 /s wuweb.dll

Exception of type System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException

See this error when attempting to install Sharepoint V3.0 on Small Business Server 2003?
The config wizard gets to stage 5, but says:

Configuration Failed
Failed to Register SharePoint Services
An exception of type System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException was thrown. Additional exception information: Could not access the Search services configuration database.

If so try :

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following subkey, and then delete it:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\12.0\WSS\Services\Microsoft.SharePoint.Search.Administration.SPSearchService

-Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard again.”

which seems to do the trick.

What a difference one less number can make

We have been usin gthe Microsoft Intelligence Mail Filter that is incorporated in Exchange Service Pack 2 for a while now. Previous we had the gateway set at 8/10 and the store set at 3/10. Basically, this means that if an inbound email scores 8 or above (on the spam scale) then the gateway action takes effect. In our case this was set to reject.
Now over the years because our CIAOPS web site had our email address on the front page we attracted lots and lots and lots of spam. This is why it is never a good idea to put plain text email addresses on web sites. admittedly most of the spam that did get through was getting caught by the junk mail filter and ending up in the junk mail folder in Outlook, but there was just so much. So rather than try and sort through it all the best bet was to crank down the gateway setting.
So we changed our gateway setting on the IMF from 8 to 7 ( just a single point ) and we went from > 1,000 spam emails a day to less than 10! Amazing eh? Just goes to show you gotta keep on top of these settings overtime. The other good thing is that it does prove how well the Microsoft Intelligent Mail Filter (IMF) does work.

Personal Identity Provider

We recently picked up a Paypal security key to allow multi factor authentication on Paypal and Ebay. Wouldn’t be nice if a security like this worked with all two factor autenication sites? Well, the closest thing is something called Openid which is an open source solution that provides a digital identity.
Now the great thing is that Verisign is now supporting Openid. If you go to and sign up for a free account you can then use the account on any site that uses Openid (which is growing fast) but the really great thing is that is this Verisign service allows you to link the Paypal security key. This means when you use an Openid site you can can also use your Paypal security key to provide addition security via a one way password that is generated by the Paypal security key.
Why is this so good? because now you only need one security dongle! If the Openid standard begins to catch on, which it looks like it will, then the standard web security option would be Openid and a Paypal security key. Wouldn’t that be cool?