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SharePoint Consulting (Kansas City Metro)

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Since installing Option Pack 4 for Windows NT to get IIS running Classic ASP, we have all felt the lack of ease from Microsoft to actually create websites on a developer box.  There has always been an expressed need to not need a custom configured machine to install Visual Studio and create web sites right away.  Why must we open Windows Configuration and add all these pieces if a solution for our OS could be added to the development product line.

My first development job was 10 years ago when I worked as an intern creating ASP site at the 19.  I remember always struggling to deploy updates to the servers and usually reverting to “coding-on-the-server” for high risk bugs and debugging. 

After that Windows 2000 really helped us out with IIS 5.0 on the server media and developers quickly moved to Windows 2000 as a developer environment.  Shortly after that we all started playing with the betas of .NET in 2001 and developing on a “server-like” environment became second nature. 

Then XP came out and we were able to install a consumer OS while retaining the ability to have IIS installed with the Professional edition.  Dynamic URLs were becoming the appropriate way of web site design instead of default.aspx?id=234.  We were entering the world of competitive SEO and ASP.NET needed to follow.  IIS 6 with Windows Server 2003 or XP allowed this to be done, but it was up to the developer to build the right HttpHandlers and Modules to make it happen.

With Visual Studio 2005, we received the tool Cassini for web site development in the IDE, however it was always a quirky tool to use and large applications would tend to default to an IIS installation on the developers box.  The task of removing the installed web server on the developers box was still not complete.

Then the age of Vista/7 came and we received all sorts of goodies, but limitations to “Run as Administrator” or if you were a SharePoint 2007 developer, you were launched back into the world of Server OS installation on your client box and the posts about how to make Windows Server 2003/2008 look like Vista started popping up all over.  Most developers could still use Vista/7 for their typical ASP.NET development however, and IIS had started to receive a lot of the features that were added to IIS 7.0 on the server.

Today, ScottGu announced the addition of IIS Express and it makes a lot of promises to elevate the need for IIS installations on the developers machine.  Read over the article and tell me what you think.  I think it is a step in the right direction and I am looking forward to using it.  I have never been a fan of Betas for Web Servers because it is easy to think your code is wrong when it could be an issue with the web server, but in this scenerio, I think I will give it a try when it is available for download.

 

Here are the highlights mentioned in his post:

  • It’s lightweight and easy to install (less than 10Mb download and a super quick install)
  • It does not require an administrator account to run/debug applications from Visual Studio
  • It enables a full web-server feature set – including SSL, URL Rewrite, Media Support, and all other IIS 7.x modules
  • It supports and enables the same extensibility model and web.config file settings that IIS 7.x support
  • It can be installed side-by-side with the full IIS web server as well as the ASP.NET Development Server
  • It works on Windows XP and higher operating systems – giving you a full IIS 7.x developer feature-set on all OS platforms

 

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3G-MicroCell Even though this week has been a bear for me dealing with AT&T support for DSL service and after 4 hours on the phone with their support team trying to get to the place where I can connect to their service again, I am still happy with the new product I introduced into our house, the 3G MicroCell.  The 3G MicroCell is a mini cell-tower for your house that generates a stronger 3G signal for you while going over your DSL/Cable modem to connect back into the AT&T network. 

Why did we get it?

After reviewing our phone situation in the house, we have came to the conclusion that we didn’t need some of the home phone features we were using if we had a solution for in-house unlimited calling.  We keep unlimited data and texting on our iPhones already, but our minutes would be limited if we turned off the nationwide long distance plan we had on our phone.  We were really tired on chasing down cordless phones all the time, making sure they were charge while the whole time, our cell phones were on attached to us. 

Does it work?

Our house is pretty wide open, but it does extend the suggested limit.  I placed the MicroCell in the location where we spend the majority of our time and also central to the other places we work and live.  Michelle has been baking a lot of cakes lately so we needed the ability to have it reach her kitchen and I needed full strength in my office.  The MicroCell has definitely been able to make that happen.  Outside, we are back on the 3G network, due to the concrete walls we have framing our house.  Even our Wireless-N signal has trouble breaking through to the outside.

Am I being ripped off?

Some people say it is a rip off to pay AT&T to use your DSL to take the load off their network, but you aren’t really taking the load off anything else than the cell towers because all your traffic is going to their core network via VPN.  The fact is I was able to turn off our $20/month unlimited long distance plan on our land line and turn on the $20/month unlimited calling plan on our phones while we are using the MicroCell.  Since the landline is pretty much dead and most our calls in and out are made via our cells, we are definitely seeing a benefit in how we communicate with each other and the outside world. Since our home phone is pretty much unused now, we took all the bells and whistles off the line and will keep it around for a few more months until everyone gets used to calling us on our mobile phones, then in the end we will nuke the service and MicroCell will have started to save us money.  Some reviewers say it does not replace the home phone, but I just haven’t seen the same things they have.  Time will tell.

Would I suggest it to a friend?

If you want the unlimited calling or you want the ability to have stronger signal in your home, absolutely.  You can trying it out and I believe with-in 30 days return it if you don’t like it.  It is very easy to setup and after some minor tweaks with your router (placing it in the DMZ was suggested) you can get the most out of the device. 

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Looks like I was one of the lucky 114,000 who AT&T lost their email to “hackers”.  Why is “hackers” in “double quotes”.  I can just imagine some executive at AT&T in their “Oh No, We Messed Up Meeting” saying, what happened?  Then someone replied, well we have had a breach and “hackers” broke in (using the quote in the air gesture) and stole our iPad 3G customers emails.

Oh well, I am sure my email has been sold and sold again by many different vendors, why not AT&T now.  At least Dorothy Attwood could have gave us her email to give to someone else instead of blinking it through a newsletter system.

June 13, 2010

Dear Valued AT&T Customer,

Recently there was an issue that affected some of our customers with AT&T 3G service for iPad resulting in the release of their customer email addresses. I am writing to let you know that no other information was exposed and the matter has been resolved.  We apologize for the incident and any inconvenience it may have caused. Rest assured, you can continue to use your AT&T 3G service on your iPad with confidence.

Here’s some additional detail:

On June 7 we learned that unauthorized computer “hackers” maliciously exploited a function designed to make your iPad log-in process faster by pre-populating an AT&T authentication page with the email address you used to register your iPad for 3G service.  The self-described hackers wrote software code to randomly generate numbers that mimicked serial numbers of the AT&T SIM card for iPad – called the integrated circuit card identification (ICC-ID) – and repeatedly queried an AT&T web address.   When a number generated by the hackers matched an actual ICC-ID, the authentication page log-in screen was returned to the hackers with the email address associated with the ICC-ID already populated on the log-in screen.

The hackers deliberately went to great efforts with a random program to extract possible ICC-IDs and capture customer email addresses.  They then put together a list of these emails and distributed it for their own publicity.

As soon as we became aware of this situation, we took swift action to prevent any further unauthorized exposure of customer email addresses.  Within hours, AT&T disabled the mechanism that automatically populated the email address. Now, the authentication page log-in screen requires the user to enter both their email address and their password.

I want to assure you that the email address and ICC-ID were the only information that was accessible. Your password, account information, the contents of your email, and any other personal information were never at risk.  The hackers never had access to AT&T communications or data networks, or your iPad.  AT&T 3G service for other mobile devices was not affected.

While the attack was limited to email address and ICC-ID data, we encourage you to be alert to scams that could attempt to use this information to obtain other data or send you unwanted email. You can learn more about phishing by visiting the AT&T website.

AT&T takes your privacy seriously and does not tolerate unauthorized access to its customers’ information or company websites.   We will cooperate with law enforcement in any investigation of unauthorized system access and to prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.

AT&T acted quickly to protect your information – and we promise to keep working around the clock to keep your information safe.  Thank you very much for your understanding, and for being an AT&T customer.

Sincerely,

Dorothy Attwood
Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Chief Privacy Officer for AT&T

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image

I have been recently been doing more photography and Flickr was only allowing me to do so much with the images in displaying them.  No customization of skin, no page grouping, no post like pages.  So I decided to host a WordPress blog to host my images.  I really wanted to try WordPress to see what features single-hosted blog products offer that our multiple-hosted blog system could take advantage of. 

So far the product is very cool, I can see how such a large developer network would help produce such cool “apps” for WP.  The product makes if very easy to make changes to your hosted environment that would be a little scary for a multiple blog host.  I need to compare features for their hosted solution.

Any who, FotoJeff.com is my new photography blog home.  I have been working with the Kansas City Rescue Mission a lot lately so most of my shots are for them.

FotoJeff.com – Photography Blog of Jeff Julian

My hope is to make this blog again my technology blog, Staff of Geeks our Geekswithblogs.net announcement blog and FotoJeff.com my photography blog.  I need to start dog fooding my thoughts on blogging and keep the noise down (by making more noise with this post :D).


 

SharePoint-Logo Here is the list of Zone ID’s for the Blank WebPart Page (BlankWebPartPage.aspx") that is part of the Publishing Portal with MOSS 2007:

  • TitleBar
  • Header
  • TopLeftRow
  • TopRightRow
  • CenterLeftColumn
  • CenterColumn
  • CenterRightColumn
  • Footer
  • RightColumn

I was in need of these and wasn’t able to find them with a simple search on Google so I wanted to share them with you.

To get a list of WebPartZone objects for a page that a webpart lives on can be done with the following code: 

foreach (WebPartZone zone in this.WebPartManager.Zones)

        this.Controls.Add(new LiteralControl(zone.ID + "<br />"));
}

Use this code in a webpart that inherits from Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.WebPart. This is a simple way to do the equivalent of a Response.Write while having the output in the webpart zone your part resides in.  It also saves you from attaching to the process and debugging with the watch or quick watch.