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Author: Martin Created: 22.04.2007 07:12
Opinions about life, the Universe and Everything :-)

I'm product manager at Swyx. My main role is Scrum Product Owner. Everything I say on this blog is my private opinion and not that of my employer.

Recently I was wondering why my iMac is showing a Guest account on the login screen: LoginScreen

I’m pretty sure that I’ve disabled it and indeed when I checked it still was. And even more weird, it’s not possible to enable it. Why is that? Even as a fairly new Mac user I know that Apple usually is looking after details and tries to be perfect. The riddle is easily solved. The checkbox for enabling the guest account has a tooltip stating

AccountPrefs...

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Swyx started building a native SwyxIt! Mobile App for Apple’s iPhone. We’re used to be a pure Windows company. There are rumors that there was a Mac hidden in Marketing somewhere, but except a short side trip into the Linux world many years ago, Swyx Development was all PCs.

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Windows PowerShell is secure by default. It won’t execute a script when you double-click it. It won’t even run scripts per default when you told it to. You should understand this aspect of PowerShell’s security because it might bite you when you’re not expecting it Smile

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To connect to the server with SwyxWare’s PowerShell module, use use connect-ippbx. It allows to either use your current Windows account or a SwyxWare username and password. When using the latter variant you typically use get-credential to prompt for user name and password. get-credential is a PowerShell cmdlet using the standard Windows credential dialog. We decided to use a credential object for connect-ippbx, because this prevents having the password as normal string parameter, visible in the shell and as clear text string in Powershell memory. Get-credential uses a .NET SecureString which is much safer. However, if your SwyxWare username contains a comma, get-credential doesn’t work, because Windows does not allow comma in user names. Here’s a workaround:

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For my PowerShell session at Swyx Technology Conference I prepared an additional demo. I didn’t show it, because there was no time and most of the audience had little experience with PowerShell anyway. This demo uses the APIs described in the SwyxIt! Client SDK to consume events from SwyxIt! and uses that to display state changes of every speed dial key the current user has configured.

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SwyxWare 2011 will ship with updated SwyxIt! skins which properly show the new speed dial key states “Away” and “Do not disturb”. If you have own customized skins you might want to continue using them. Supporting the new state requires every speed dial key on the skin to be edited to define the images to show for the new states. I’ve build a small PowerShell script to help.

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The latest ASCOM IP Dect firmware (4.1.x) allows to provide a central phonebook by importing a csv file. With SwyxWare 2011 and the IpPbx Powershell Module it’s possible to automate the upload so that you could keep the IP DECT phonebook up-to-date.

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Some already noticed. There will be a Windows PowerShell module for SwyxWare v8.0. I want to explain how it came to be, what's the status is and where we're heading.

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If your regularly buy new SwyxPhones for your SwyxWare you might need to update SwyxWare’s SwyxPhone whitelist in order to use the new phones without buying a SwyxPhone license. It’s possible to do this automatically using the following Windows Powershell Script:

$url = "ftp://ftp.swyx.com/pub/phonewhitelist/phonewhitelist.msi" $msi = join-path $env:temp "Phonewhitelist.msi" if (test-path -PathType leaf $msi) { remove-item -force -Path $msi } $webClient = new-object "System.Net.WebClient" $webclient.DownloadFile($url,$msi) msiexec.exe /qb /i $msi

Save this as .ps1 file and schedule it with Windows Task Scheduler to run regularly.

...

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Shortly after the beta you’ll be able to download a Windows PowerShell 2.0 module for SwyxWare Administration. It’s something I wrote for automating some initial testing of our daily builds. It’s based on the ConfigDataStore API. Here’s an example:

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As with each new SwyxWare version we will release a beta version to Swyx Partners. With v8.0 it will be a little bit different. The initial beta build will be quite early in regard to the planned release date. It will not be feature complete, but stable and robust enough. As I’ve mentioned a few months ago, we (= Development, QA, Product Management and some colleagues from sales, marketing and presales) are using the daily v8 builds on our production SwyxServer.

We made some rather extensive internal changes in order to support new features like encryption or HD audio and to be prepared better for future enhancements. Therefore we’re planning to make newer builds available on a regular basis after the initial beta release. Direct updates from build to build are possible, even unattended. Each build will have a change log so you can decide if to use it or not. Support will be available via Swyx Partnernet Forum...

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If you're a Swyxware partner or customer you probably have installed a quickfix before. It's a rather tedious, error prone process. You have to unzip the quickfix, stop services, backup files, copy new ones, run Configwizard, etc. Starting with v7.0 Quickfix 3 we'll have a small installer to simplify the process. You unzip the quick fix ZIP file and run install.cmd, which starts the installer. It's able to

Check SwyxWare version Detect SwyxStandby Configuration and warn about DB replication Making backup copies of existing files Copy files Make a SwyxWare Database backup Update the SwyxWare database Update script or other files in the database Stop and start services What it is not

It's no replacement for a full-featured installer like Windows Installer, the technology we're using for our normal setups. It has no graphical user interface It's in English language only (but can update all SwyxWare language variants)

We'll plan to improve the quick fix installation...

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In the software industry "eat your own dog food" means to use the software you create for yourself. At Swyx we did this from the beginning. We never had another PBX*. Every new SwyxWare version is used internally first. In the past we hand-selected interim builds to be installed on our production system.

We keep this policy for for our main SwyxServer system to ensure maximal availability. We start updating that system to beta versions after we made sure that it works well enough. Swyx Development/QA has a separate system connected to the main one via SwyxLink. That system is used by all Swyx Development/QA staff for their day to day work.

With SwyxWare v8.0 we go a step further. We have a build system which builds [sic!] SwyxWare from the latest source code automatically every night. About two weeks ago we started to install and use these daily build on our Swyx Development/QA department SwyxWare system.

The update of the system is done automatically with a small Windows Powershell script...

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I have a computer at home which sometimes automatically powers on during the night. Windows event log was of  no help. My main suspect was Windows 7 task scheduler, which is able to wake the computer to run a scheduled task. But clicking through all tasks is tedious, therefore I used my favourite tool, Windows Powershell:

get-scheduled-task –recurse | where { $_.definition.settings.waketorun }

That all. It produces a list of all tasks which are configured to wake the computer if necessary. I found the task, switched off the wake flag and now have to wait and see if that has been the culprit.

What’s the output of this c# code? Is the result always the same?

string s = "I";
Console.WriteLine(s.ToLower());

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Tom’s last blog entries about getting the right perspective about our home in the universe reminded me of a photo made in 1990. Carl Sagan urged NASA to let Voyager 1 turn around at the end of it’s mission to take pictures of the planets in the solar system. Here’s the result:







Carl Sagan definitely got the right perspective about us:

The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator...

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When we designed extended call routing and remote inquiry ten years ago, we never imagined this design to last a decade. The function to announce a date like “January 1st, 2004” was implemented using a fixed set of audio files. We shipped files for years 2000 to 2009. For SwyxWare v6.10 we added audio for 2010 to 2030, because 2010 was not that far in the future anymore.

Today we had to learn that this was not sufficient. The ECR script function loading and playing the date audio files fails for years greater than 2009. You can observe this using remote inquiry or if you have a custom ECR script using the “Say Date” block. Instead of the correct announcement you’ll get “invalid date”. It is rather embarrassing that we didn’t recognized this during v6.10 tests. Embarrassed

For v6.12, v6.20 and SwyxWare v7.0 you will find a fix here:

http://www.swyx.com/support/ssdb.html?kbid=kb4081

...

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The most exiting new product Microsoft made in recent years is Windows Powershell. Yesterday they released version 2.0 as part of the

Windows Management Framework

While Microsoft positions it as the Windows management tool every administrator must know, I find it equally useful in software development. As soon as you start using it and write Powershell scripts you’ll never go back to batch files. But besides the great scripting the shell itself make day-to-day work of a developer much easier. I often see colleagues doing this to stop a service:

Navigate through Windows start menu to find the Services mmc snapin Make the MMC window bigger, because the default size is always too small Sroll through the services list to find the service Select the service Click the Stop button in the toolbar to stop the service. Even if you have the services snapin already open,...

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Wow!







Hint: Mute it, the sound is horrible :-)

...

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If you’re a SwyxWare Partner it’s a good idea to have a look into the Swyx Partner-Net Forum. You’ll find information and download links to SwyxWare v7.0 BETA. Enjoy.

Convince your boss to twitter:

Dilbert.com

What’s better than to start the week with a smile:







...

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No, this is not about Microsoft’s latest and greatest, but about SwyxWare. In the same way as Windows 7 technically is a rather small step from Vista, SwyxWare v7.0 is based on the foundation of v6.20.

Tuesday I wrote that we were planning to install v7.0 on our main production system next week. Well, we did it Thursday instead :-) As we expected, our Swyx colleagues immediately found some bugs. I spent the whole Friday hunting and fixing a nasty problem causing wrong “logged off” state to be shown for some SwyxIt! users.

But altogether the update went rather well. After a rather quiet Friday we’ll see how the new version holds up on Monday and the coming week in a real-life environment.

There’s one thing I’d like to share. Until now, SwyxFax and SwyxWare technically were separate products which their own administration tools and configuration store. We finally integrated both in SwyxWare v7.0. Now you only...

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This blog is not abandoned. I’m still alive and well. As everybody else, we had a rough time this year at Swyx. The world financial and economical crisis left it’s marks. We had to reduce costs, which slowed us down, of course, had changes in management and advisory board, etc.

On the plus side, we released a great SwyxIt update, iPhone support and continued working on SwyxWare v7.0. If everything goes well we will install SwyxWare v7.0 on our production SwyxServer end of next week. It’s planned to have a beta version available roughly at the same time via the Swyx Partnernet forum.

Compared with our original plans from last year, SwyxWare v7.0 got...

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No funny things this time, but something for everybody who knows C++. Somebody (not me) changed this line

if (str.find(‘x’)==0)

to

if (str.find(‘x’)>=0)

This is not made up, but a real code change, a little bit simplified. The intention is to find ‘x' everywhere in the string, not only at the first position. str is a std::string. Why does this change not work as expected?

...

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If you’re a regular SwyxIt! user, you probably know F11, the global hotkey to dial a number from any application. Select a number, press F11 and SwyxIt! will dial it. This works very well with applications where you have the number in textual form such as Word, Excel, Outlook, Notepad, etc. But what if the phone number you want to dial is not available as text, e.g. in a scanned document or a fax you received with SwyxFax.



Wouldn’t it be great to be able to dial numbers in arbitrary images? That’s much easier than I thought. Office 2007 has a component called “Microsoft Office Document Imaging”, which includes an optical character recognition (OCR) module with a documented API. I’ve written a small prototype to demonstrate dialing from images.

You need:

SwyxIt! v6.25 (I do not use any specific SwyxIt! v6.25 function, but that’s the version installed on my system) Microsoft Office 2007 (I’m not sure if all editions have the OCR functionality. Furthermore, it’s an optional...

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On Thursday I visited a jazz club in Iserlohn, which is about a half-hour drive from here. Swedish jazz band Oddjob had a gig there that evening. I stumbled over their fourth album last year on the website of my favorite jazz label. I think the most interesting things happening in European jazz are coming from Scandinavia. And Oddjob is a prime example.

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Most commercials are either boring or annoying or both. But this one is cool:

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Today, 10 years ago a few people started a new company based in Dortmund, Germany. It’s goal: Realize a pure software-based Voice over IP PBX running on Windows Server.

We called the company:

swyx-logo

Astonishing that it’s already ten years.

And it’s still a lot of fun :-)

Update: I found a photo from that time. That’s Swyx in 1999:

 

I’m not sure of the exact date of the photo. It’s sometime in 1999.

That’s incredible: http://vimeo.com/keithloutit Look closely. It’s no stop-motion animation, even if it looks like it.

Bathtub II from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.



...

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Ink

Last week we released an internal beta of the upcoming SwyxIt! version. At the moment it looks like we’re right on schedule for the official release. I won’t post a picture, yet. The skin is not the final one and I do not want to risk disgruntling our marketing department :-)

When it’s released you’ll get a SwyxIt! installation package to be deployed to client systems and a set of skins you have to upload into the SwyxWare database on the server. The new set of skins won’t work with SwyxIt! v6.20 or older. There won’t be a new SwyxServer or SwyxWare Administration version. An existing v6.20 will be sufficient.

My impression is that while the new client version still lacks some useful items it’s better than any SwyxIt! we ever released before. There will probably a lot of users who discover “new” features we already have for years, but which were not easily recognizable.

I’m pretty sure this ingenious invention will be a huge commercial success:







I probably would buy some if a software development kit would be available for it :-)

...

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Here’s my contribution to the funny friday blog posts

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… and cool new skin, designed by graphical user interface experts. That’s in the next SwyxIt! version. I’m using an internal build on a daily basis for some time now. Would love to show a screenshot, but I can’t. You’ll have to wait for official announcements.

Ok, just a tiny snippet:

phonebookButton

Sometimes small features make the difference. A few minutes ago I recognized a new context menu entry on music files stored on my Notebook:

image

If you click it, a small player opens which allows you to control a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) media device. In this cases it’s my Roku Soundbridge network MP3 player which Windows discovered automatically. The player looks like this:

image...

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I just finished reading “How to use Twitter for Information Mining”. Scary. While twitter seems an innocuous tool to keep in touch with your friends, everybody can get an impressive amount of personal information from the service. To say it with the words of Steven Levy from Wired magazine:

“No matter how innocuous your individual tweets, the aggregate ends up being the foundation of a scary-deep self-portrait. It's like a psychographic version of strip poker--I'm disrobing, 140 characters at a time."

But is it reason enough to stay away? Or could it be used responsibly without revealing anything you do not want? I tend to stay away, because you cannot conceive what aggregation of the data might reveal in the future. Every tweet seem to end up in a central database so that Twitter’s search function can access them. And so everybody can.

On the other hand could it be useful for Swyx to communicate with Partners...

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Something rare happened yesterday and during the night. It snowed almost continuously and temperatures are below zero (Celsius) The result is 20cm snow in Dortmund right now. smile_regular

Well, not completely…

During the last days I’ve been viewing some of the talks of 25C3 which are streamed live via the net. Very entertaining and informative. About an hour ago in a talk called “Making the theoretical possible” an international group of security researchers showed that the MD5 weakness which is known since a few years can be used to create a rogue certificate authority certificate which allows to sign arbitrary certificates which are accepted by all major web browsers.

That means that even if your web-browser shows that the connection to www.yourbank.com is encrypted and the SSL-certificate is valid, it’s still possible that a man in the middle reads or modifies the communication between your browser and your bank.

On one hand this was bound...

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I’m not that much into computer games, but this one I’ll probably buy:

http://www.telltalegames.com/wallaceandgromit

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image Today is my last work day before Christmas vacation. Therefore it’s the right moment to wish you merry Christmas and a successful new year.

It’s Friday, the week is almost over and here’s something funny for the weekend.

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There’s an official Monty Python channel on youtube now. smile_teeth

In Germany colds calls are forbidden. Today I experienced a way to circumvent that. I got a letter from Gruner & Jahr, the publisher of a monthly magazine I have a subscription for. The letter heading in bold face is:

Important: Your subscription of magazine:…

The remaining letter was quite short. Here’s the original text:

image

In English:

Dear Mr. […]

We would like you to call us about your subscription

      using the toll-free number 0800-…

Our service is available at...

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Maybe I should print out that as a poster and hang it on a wall near our office kitchen so that everyone can see it.smile_wink

[Edit 27.11.08]To prevent any misunderstanding: I think simplicity is a successful design principle one should remember and it's a worthy goal to strive for.

Before you continue you should read the first part about how to write a SwyxIt Plug-In in managed code. This blog post extends the first sample and adds full-text search support.

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There’s a software development kit for SwyxIt with a lot of useful examples. However,  SwyxIt’s roots are native, unmanaged C++, and most of the examples are in native code, too. Recently somebody asked in the forum if it’s possible to write a client plug-in in C#.

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In the German language there is a derogative slang term called “merkbefreit”, meaning something like “not notice anything”. Here’s a prime example:







This reminds me. I haven’t seen Fargo for years. May I should watch it once more. smile_wink

...

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Even politicians should understand this. But I’m pretty sure they’ll ignore technical facts as they do all the time.

v6.20 During lunch last week a colleague mentioned that there are two small features concerning SwyxIt! skin saving which will not be documented and which are not visible in the user interface. Reason for hiding these functions is that the GUI was fixed already for the release and, most important, no additional QA time was available to test it.

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v6.20 With v6.20 the skin setting in the SwyxWare Administration server properties got an new meaning. It used to define which skin to configure for new users. Now it additionally defines the system default skin. Every user which has selected the “system default” skin will use that setting. In other words, as administrator you’re able to switch all user’s skins by changing the default setting. New users automatically get the setting “System default”.

After you update SwyxWare...

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v6.20 Swyx Trace Tool, the diagnostics tool we introduced in v6.12, has got some new features, too. The automatic cleanup tasks now has three steps:

Step 1: All trace files of each application except the current one are compressed into a ZIP file Step 2: All memory dump files are compressed into a ZIP file Step 3: Old ZIP files are deleted according to the auto-cleanup settings The compression is done on a low-priority thread to not disturb normal operation. Because...

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powershell_logo That wasn’t unexpected. Today Microsoft announced that Windows PowerShell will be preinstalled on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. I’m using it since the first available beta and will never go back to the legacy command prompt and batch files. Unfortunately there’s...

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v6.20 One of the minor feature the Swyx Client Team were able to add to SwyxWare v6.20 while Open Stage Support was being implemented is a preview of SwyxIt! skins shown …

 

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I finally found a sourcecode formatting plugin for Windows Live Writer …

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Usually Microsoft Security Updates are released regularly on “Patch-Tuesday” each month. An hour ago Microsoft released an out-of-band security update.

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v6.20 You might have already recognized when you’re testing SwyxWare v6.20 Beta. There are some new hyperlinks in SwyxIt. The one on the skin selection dialog opens your default web browser and navigates to the skin download page on the Swyx website.

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v6.20 SwyxWare v6.20 mainly is SwyxWare v6.12 plus SwyxPhone Lxxx (Siemens OpenStage Phone) support. That feature determined the schedule and release date. Fortunately not every colleague was involved in implementing that feature. Some had time to add something else.

I won’t write about how to use the new Phones. You have to experience that by yourself.

There are some interesting technical changes, however. Before v6.20 when a SwyxPhone Lxxx logs in, a TCP...

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:-D

Warning: Technical content ahead. XML and programming know-how required :-)

Today a colleague mentioned an issue with our setup build process for SwyxWare v7.0. We have some xml configuration files which need to be adapted depending on the product language or OEM version. These files have settings like this:

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v6.20 SwyxWare v6.20 Beta that is. We’re in code freeze phase for two weeks now which means we’re done implementing features, the source code is locked down and we only fix high priority bugs. Later this month we plan to release a beta version. I don’t know if it will be fully public, for all partners or for selected partners and distributors only.

I plan to write a few blog posts about some of the new features. Stay tuned.

Homer Simpson votes for Barack Obama. Or at least he tries to:

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=1aBaX9GPSaQ

In contrast to Springfield, real-word voting computers are much more subtle. You won't recognize at all if they're manipulated. And not only in Germany politicians have a disturbing blind faith in that type of technology.

 

100

It’s somewhat embarrassing. Today, October 4th, 2008 my grandfather would have been 100 years old and I was totally unaware of it. He died in 1979. The city of Dortmund however did not forget it:

http://www.fhi.dortmund.de(German)

 There's a video on the Swyx website about Puma in the UK which switched to SwyxWare recently. Their IT manager explains why they choose our solution. It's the usual marketing stuff,

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Wink

Ha!

[Repost, after it got lost during the last website crash]

During the whole week I wanted to write this blog post, but never got around doing it.

 

About two weeks ago I stumbled about a CD called HA!, released this month as part of the “Young German Jazz” series of music label ACT. It’s the first CD of Jörg Brinkmann Trio. Jörg Brinkmann plays cello, Oliver Maas piano and fender rhodes, Dirk-Peter Kölsch drums, glockenspiel, objects. The description on the website sounded interesting and I looked for live concerts. The next one was in their home town Bochum, just a few kilometres away. And the venue was quite interesting.

The concert took place in a kind of big garage below a railway track, called ROTTSTR 5....

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Seems like the latest iTunes 8 update for Windows has a major new feature: It causes BSODs:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=536

These types of crashes are very rare nowadays. I can’t remember seeing one on my Vista x64 notebook ever.

But back to iTunes:

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Vor ein paar Tagen hatte ich Gelegenheit, Volker Pispers live zu erleben. Großartig. Unbedingt ansehen!

Dieses Thema hat er, etwas variiert und länger, übrigens auch gebracht:

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=unX6mu4OxE8

:-)

Es gibt übrigens noch eine Menge mehr von ihm auf youtube. Aber live ist auf jeden Fall besser.

It seems Google’s Chrome is not only fast at browsing. Three days of Chrome and here’s the next exploit:

Chrome “Save As” Function Buffer Overflow

A stack-based buffer overrun? twitch I thought these type of flaws are a thing of the past, at least in modern web browsers.

There have been rumours for a long time. Now it’s official. Google will release an own web browser today. I’ve mixed feelings about this. Another tool offering useful functionality for free in exchange of collecting our private data more easily?

Usually I do my weekly shopping on Saturdays. Last week was no exception. And that’s not worth a blog entry. But what’s worth blogging is that this time I could have bought Christmas cookies.

Yes, gingerbread and stuff. End of August. icon_irre

Freitag ist zwar schon vorbei. Trotzdem zum Wochenausklang was Lustiges.

Ralf König: Der Gesetzgeber

Big Grin

Yesterday I posted something about the different perception of the Office 2007 user interface. A few months ago I stumbled about a presentation Jensen Harris from Microsoft gave at Mix’08 about how the Office 2007 “Ribbon” came to be. If you have 75 minutes and are interested why the ribbon is like it is, view it. Jensen’s blog entry has some additional links which are worth a look, too.

Yesterday evening a few colleagues and I went to a pub for some beer Smile. We couldn’t completely keep our work out Wink and for a few minutes had a discussion about the current Microsoft Office user interface. One colleague mentioned that he needed about an hour including reading the online help to find the function to paste something from the clipboard into Word as plain text, i.e. to get rid of the formatting. First I thought he was kidding me, but he was serious. If you start Word, the ribbon looks like this:

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We all know that magazine covers or advertisements are retouched. This week’s issue of c’t has an article about the small ridge between photo enhancement and manipulation. It contained a link to this website:

www.glennferon.com

Glenn is a Photoshop genius. Look at the portfolio on his website. When you hover the mouse over an image you’ll see the original before retouching. I spent the last half hour clicking through his images and comparing original with the “enhanced” versions.

Why use expensive debuggers or anti-virus software. Diagnosing PC problems is so much easier:

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It’s Friday, therefore something funny. In a TV spot presidential candidate John McCain states that Barack Obama is just a celebrity like Paris Hilton and not fit to lead. Paris Hilton responded:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Winking 

Have a nice weekend.

The Olympic swim centre in Beijing has been constructed with foam bubbles in mind.

The result is so strong, the engineers say, that the entire building could be turned on its side without collapsing. Furthermore, the remarkable effect is that they’ve designed a building without triangles.

Spectacular.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/34283/description/A_building_of_bubbles

Morton wrote two blog entries related to the 8th of August. Most 08.08 related posts today will probably be about the Olympics in Beijing. I won’t talk about that. Here are two notable examples what happened on August 8 in the past:

In 1952 Jostein Gaarder was born. He’s well-known for Sophie’s World, A Novel about the History of Philosophy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1902 Paul Dirac was born. He was not only a famous theoretical physicist who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1933 together with Erwin Schrödinger, but...

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Heute abend (5.8.) läuft im Ersten ein Dokumentarfilm, den ich 2005 im Kino gesehen habe und dessen Bilder ich auch heute noch erinnere:

We Feed The World

 

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I’m wondering when the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) will issue a travel warning for the United States. It seems to be necessary. You may not only loose all your electronic devices, but you may end up in jail without charges or legal recourse.

Mr. Salerno’s case may be extreme, but it underscores the real but little-known dangers that many travelers from Europe and other first-world nations face when they arrive in the United States — problems that can startle Americans as much as their foreign visitors.

(Link found here).

On this year’s Black Hat security conference a public discussion was planned with Apple’s security engineering team. Apple is been criticized by the security community for their secrecy. What a great opportunity would that have been to show how they take security seriously. But that discussion will not take place.

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Finally. I completed my income tax return. Theoretically it’s possible to do that online without any paper involved. Earlier that year I requested a software certificate for that.

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… or use proper encryption when you visit the United States. Reason: The U.S. government can take it at the border, whenever they want, keep it as long they want and share the information with anyone they want.

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Next month E.S.T’s last album Leucocyte will be released. I’ve already ordered it, of course Smile

They finished it a few days before the tragic accident. Release had been stopped by the two remaining band members. But today I got an email newsletter confirming the upcoming worldwide release to be September...

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I have a problem with auto-updaters. They usually install a service or sit as “innocent” icon in the taskbar notification area. That’s a waste of my computer’s resources while they could do better, e.g. using scheduled tasks or checking only when the application runs. Plus it’s not easy to secure such a mechanism so that only your application can be updated and nobody can misuse it, e.g. to install malware.

We have no auto-update for SwyxIt! yet. We probably will do it, but it won’t be a service or another background task.

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A lot of people including some of my colleagues think Vista = Crap. Most of them never tried it and just repeat hearsay. Microsoft did an experiment and asked about a hundred people about their opinion about Windows Vista and how they would grade it. They showed them a future Windows version “Mojave”. Most of them gave better grades.

Where’s the point? There is no Mojave. They had been shown Windows Vista. Here’s the website about it: http://www.mojaveexperiment.com/

It’s a Microsoft marketing campaign, of course. You have to take it with a grain of salt. But I think there is some truth to it. My own experience is that Windows Vista is is far from perfect, but it’s much better than its reputation.

Tom posted a link to an interview Richard Feynman gave the BBC in 1981. I especially like this statement of Feynman about living with doubt:

You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I thinks it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean.

I might think about it a little bit and if I can’t figure it out, then I go on to something else, but I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious Universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is so far as I can...

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A lot of photos in magazines and ads are manipulated aka “photoshopped” nowadays to look “better”, to remove unwanted parts, etc. Today I found a great weblog called PhotoShop Disasters showing a lot of more or less obvious examples. Go, take a look.

We had some rain today. Ok, “some” is an understatement. The weather station at the University which is about a kilometre from here measured about 200l rain in 3 hours. The parking garage where I have my car and bike had about 15 to 20cm water.

 

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Morton wrote about Launchy today, a small program to find and start programs fast. It offers similar functionality as one of my favourite Windows Vista features: the Start menu. Just hit the Windows Key. Start menu pops up, cursor is in the search box and you can start typing. If I enter “Windows Key s w y x” I get:

swyx vista start











I use that feature all the time. It’s much faster than using the mouse and it finds not only start menu entries, but everything else on my system and in my Outlook mailbox.

...

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It’s Friday, therefore something funny :-)

There’s more of him here

This evening seem to be about ridiculous and unbelievable things. This German blog has a story about getting your boarding pass when flying with Air Berlin.

You check-in yourself with your passport at a computer kiosk at the airport. That’s not unusual. But the unbelievable thing with Air Berlin is that their system reads your surname and the first three digits of your first name form your passport and lists all matching boarding passes for you to choose and print. Air Berlin spokesman Peter Hauptvogel does not see a problem. When asked about, he asked back for a possible scenario where this could be a risk smiley-bangheadonwall-yellow...

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You know Bavaria, a German state, sometimes seen as as foreign country from other Germans, because they talk funny and have strange habits? They have a new law requiring anybody to get a license if they offer a live video stream via Internet, if this stream can be seen by more than 500 users at the same time. (found here, Sorry, German language).

That’s ridiculous, but controlling everything is very popular in Germany and gets still get worse every year. Crying

Cut

A few days ago “Hulk” with Edward Norton as the green monster had premiere here in Germany. It’s not a film I must  see, but it could be fun for a rainy evening with nothing better to do. But this time it’s probably not a good idea to spend money on it. To get it released for ages 12 and older, the film was heavily cut. (Here’s a link to a German language article about the cutting)

Why bother going to the Cinema, spending money on overpriced popcorn and beverages to see a movie with considerable parts missing? The funny thing is that the reason for cutting was to get more viewers than with a 16+ classification.

Fortunately there are some cinemas fearing the same and therefore showing the 12+ version during the day and the 16+ version on evenings.

These days public opinion often associates Muslims with fundamentalists. That’s a wrong generalization, of course. Irrational, brain-less people can be found anywhere. Here’s the newest example. This time from believers of another kind of myth.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php#more

Although it seems to be a satire it’s real. PZ Myers even gets death threats just because he made fun of a stolen cracker. How crazy are those people? notallthere

...

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We recently added an official SSL certificate to our trace tool upload server bits.swyx.com. Unfortunately it was too late for v6.12. We released the first Trace Tool version configured with HTTP URLs only. All QA tests had been completed and we couldn’t redo them using HTTPS before the release. But you can easily configure Trace Tool by yourself to use HTTPS.

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This one is not a new feature but a bug fix. SwyxWare trunks use profiles to adapt to specific SIP provider or ISDN lines. The predefined profiles can be adapted by adding your own special number replacement rules:

image

These rules always work from the beginning of a number,e.g.

+* –> 00*

changes numbers like +4923147770, which SwyxWare uses internally, to 004923147770.

Before v6.12 a rule like

* –> 123456

did not manipulate an empty number string. That is no big deal most of the time, because as soon as one digit is present, the rule is applied. But there’s at least one scenario where this...

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I’m currently writing some PowerShell scripts to automate parts of our build process. PowerShell has a feature called “strict mode” which is similar to “option explicit” in VBScript. It’s enabled with

Set-PSDebug -strict

It ensures that you cannot use a variable without having assigned a value before. That’s a good idea in theory, but currently it has some drawbacks which limits its use

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In SwyxWare v6.12 we changed the trunk recording file name generation. In v6.11 or older, SwyxGate and LinkMgr generated the file names and just got a start/stop command from SwyxServer. In v6.12 SwyxServer generates the filename and transmits it to SwyxGate and LinkManager together with the start command. As a result the file names have the same layout regardless of the service which records the conversation. And they can now have information only SwyxServer knows, such as the CallID from the corresponding call detail record.

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Last week I wrote about the new voicemail attachment file name in SwyxWare v6.12. This name format is adaptable to a certain extend. You can define the format to use by setting a registry value for SwyxServer.

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A few month ago I’ve written about an old Sci-Fi movie called “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. There seems to be some people working on Firefox who like this movie, too. If you have Firefox 3, type

about:robots

in the address bar:

Gort! Klaatu barada nikto! - Mozilla Firefox

Look what the page title says Wink

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Here’s the second installment of the SwyxWare v6.12 feature blog posts. Similar to part 1, this change was rather easy, too. But in the end it cost more time than we anticipated.

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One of the smallest features, in regard to implementation and testing effort is having the voicemail audio length shown in the subject. We realized that by changing this string in one script file from

"Voicemail from %n %u"

to "Voicemail from %n %u, Duration: %l"

You can use these placeholder in own ECR scripts when sending emails. Stay tuned for more v6.12 feature descriptions :-) [Original post on Tuesday, June 24th 2008. Repost Wednesday, June 25th after web site database problem]

Technorati Tags: ,

  del.icio.us Tags: ,

...

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The Microsoft Malware Protection Team which is responsible for the Malicious Software Removal Tool running each month during Windows-Update) reports that this month they added detection and removal of some worm types targeting online game passwords. And they found some:

“After its first day in MSRT, Taterf components had been removed from over 700,000 machines! For comparison, Win32/Nuwar (aka ‘Storm worm’) was removed from less than half that in its first month.”

After one week over 1.2 million machines had been disinfected. Mind-boggling

[Original post on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008. Repost Wednesday, June 25th after web site database problem]

To start the week with a positive message: SwyxWare v6.12 is done.

Now our usual procedure takes place. Our distributors have already been informed. Tomorrow the release will be announced in Swyx Partnernet together with download links for our partners. At the end of the week the public download will be available. We do this three-step release to give distributors and partners a chance to prepare before their customers get the new version.

Technically it’s a bugfix release. Nevertheless, we included some new features, too. There’s SwyxIt! Dialer mode for SwyxPhone S315. That’s a new mode SwyxIt! can run with. It allows initiating a call on an S315 phone logged in with the same user account as SwyxIt!. It’s not full-featured CTI. You have to use a SwyxPhone Lxxx for that. Then we have SwyxIt! Web Extension which is a new user interface control to show a web page inside SwyxIt! depending on certain call states. SwyxIt! Messenger is a simple instant messaging feature built into SwyxIt!. And, by the...

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Mozilla tries to set a world record with Firefox 3 download day which starts today 19:00 CEST.

Download Day - English

Esbjörn Svensson, one of the most talented and influential Jazz pianists of our time, founder of Swedish jazz trio E.S.T., died during a scuba diving accident two days ago. I still cannot believe it.

I had the privilege to see E.S.T. performing live many years ago in Cologne and last year here in Dortmund.

My thoughts are with his wife and children and his friends from E.S.T. Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström.

Yesterday while zapping through the TV channels I stayed a few minutes at ZDF where “How smart is Germany” was running, another one of these silly game shows. The host asked the following question:

I buy a ticket for the European soccer championship for 50€. I sell it for 60€, buy it back for 70€ and sell it again getting 80€. How much money do I earn? 0, 10, 20 or 30€

From the studio audience and the people participating via phone or online only about 25% knew the correct answer, If I remember correctly. Crying In case you’re as fit in mathematics as most of the game show viewers yesterday, the answer is 20€.

And this post is all you’ll hear from me about soccer and Euro2008. Smile

Hint for software developers. In Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 you can instruct Windows Error reporting to always create a process memory dump by setting this registry value in either

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\LocalDumps
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\LocalDumps

All details here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb513638(VS.85).aspx

This is useful because per default Windows Error Reporting does not create a dump for every error.

I don't know if the guy is brave or suicidal:

If the embedded video does not work try this link

Ausnahmsweise mal ein deutschsprachiger Eintrag. Ich las soeben, das am Wochenende hier in der Stadt zwei Tankstellen ausgeraubt wurden. Man vermutet, das es in beiden Fällen der gleiche Täter war. Warum ich das erwähne? Der Artikel sagt, beim ersten Überfall hätte man eine dreistellige Summe erbeutet, beim zweiten eine vierstellige. Die Pointe?

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Today is May 25th, also known as Towel Day. Everybody knows "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe". I spare you the quote about towels. You probably know that. But here are two from a completely different project:

The system of life on this planet is so astoundingly complex that it was a long time before man even realised that it was a system at all and that it wasn't something that was just there.  

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

They're from "Last Chance to see", a companion book to a BBC radio series, a documentary about endangered species Douglas Adams made together with zoologist Mark Carwardine.

Have a nice day. And don't forget your towel wink_smile

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As stated in the first part of this two part "series" one of the drawbacks of the approach to run an ECR script for every outgoing calls is the special dialing prefix to use. This part describes how to circumvent this restriction. Note: If you haven't read part 1 I suggest that you read it before continuing with this one.

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Sometimes customers ask if it's possible to let SwyxServer execute an ECR script for outgoing calls. The short answer is:

No, that's not possible. ECR scripts run for incoming calls to SwyxWare users only.

There's a longer answer to this question with a result you might not expect...

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People often argue that open source software is much more secure because anybody can review the source code and find problems. That be not possible with closed source software like Windows. A nonsense argument.

Theories are valid until a counter-example is found.

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Do you remember this from Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe?:

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

You can now experience that a little bit. Microsoft released a preview of it's WorldWide Telescope software. But don't try this at work. You probably won't get anything done today wink_smile

A long weekend is coming plus I'm on vacation next week. I will not travel, but stay at home. I plan to use the sunny weather to ride my bicycle a little more than just the daily ride to and from the office. In addition to that I plan to read the new book from Douglas Hofstadter:

The German translation had been released recently.

In my daily work I use VMWare Workstation (6.0.2 at the moment), because it makes it much more easy to switch between various SwyxWare versions*).

For a long time I had the problem that sometimes a Windows guest in VMWare reports an IP address conflict after resuming. Our IT guys told me a long time ago, that proper releasing and leasing of IP addresses via DHCP works much better with VMWare than in Microsoft Virtual PC. On my system it seem to not work at all.

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In case your wondering. The time stamps shown for blog entries seem to be always wrong. I've written this at 8:20 CEST (i.e. UTC + 2). But the time shown on the web site is one hour off. Maybe the website is still on winter time?

Yesterday the new PCs arrrived. I sat mine up and left it yesterday evening copying my data to from the old to the new system. This morning I was greeted with a blue screen stating

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Today was rather successful. After a long, strenuous discussion Winking with my boss, he approved purchasing new PCs for my team. Dancing PartyAnd our system QA gets some necessary hardware replacements, too.

And we will setup the systems by ourselves, of course...

www.dilbert.com

... to use Windows Vista instead of any older Windows version, then it's this one:

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) data shows that the infection rate for Windows Vista–based computers is 60.5 percent less than that of computers running Windows XP SP2, and 91.5 percent less than the infection rate for Windows XP with no service packs installed.

From the MS Security Intelligence Report July-December 2007. The numbers are normalized, i.e. they take the different number of installations of each OS into account. They are even more impressive when you consider that the number of PCs running Windows Vista has increased by millions during the last two years. I'm pretty sure that this is mainly because per default users on Windows Vista aren't administrators. Most of today's malware assumes that the user has administrative rights. You should read the whole...

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Did you know? You now can embed Dilbert comic strips in your blog.

www.dilbert.com

And there are a lot more goodies. Like animated Dilbert comics, a big archive including every strip since 2001. And finally they have an official RSS feed for the daily comic.

It's an old issue, but it came up again in the forum today. For future reference I post it here, too. Per default SwyxIt! enables application sharing so that you can share your desktop or an application with another SwyxIt! user with a few mouse clicks. SwyxIt! uses Microsoft Netmeeting for this feature. When Netmeeting starts the whole screen flickers or, depending on the speed of your graphic hardware goes black for a short time.

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XKCD is one of the best online comics. Check it out :-)

And btw, how do you know that you have a rather cheap GPS? Look here.

Hint: Hover you mouse over a xkcd comic and read the tool tip.

No Internet in South Park:

teeth_smile

SwyxIt! setup is a standard Windows Installer MSI package and can be deployed with any method which supports Windows Installer. SwyxIt! manual describes in section 9.3.3 how to do an unattended installation using command-line parameters. When you want to deploy SwyxIt via an Active Directory Group Policy object instead you need a Windows Installer Transformation (MST) to customize the setup.

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Last year Larry Osterman, Microsoft "Veteran" who started working there in 1984, had a series of blog entries about craplets, small, helper

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Reminder to myself. Be more careful with green curry paste. It's really, really spicy. wink_smile

Can you imagine that a nine-year-old taking the subway home makes the news?

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A student in Michigan has a rather unusual hobby.

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Tom showed a view from his office window. This is the view from my office:

IMAGE_032

It get's bettergreener in the summer wink_smile

SwyxWare v7.0 is supposed to support voice data encryption. Today we had a discussion about if and how to show a SwyxIt! user if the audio data is encrypted or not. We plan three modes of operation an administrator can choose for a SwyxWare installation: Forbid encryption, let client decide and only allow encrypted connections.

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Yesterday I found a weblog written by a man walking home. What's interesting about that?

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I went shopping yesterday to get some CDs. Yes, I'm old-fashioned and still buy music CDswink_smile. Fortunately jazz music is mostly sold without copy protection. Otherwise I wouldn't spend a cent for it. I rip all my CDs and store them on my Windows Vista Mediacenter PC. That's much more comfortable then juggling with CDs. And I can easily put them onto my MP3 player. Maybe I'm not so old-fashioned after allregular_smile. While in the store I had a look through the DVD section and found this one:

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Per Default Windows Live Writer can only insert arbitrary images. Today I found this plugin from Rahul Soni who works at Microsoft:

http://blogs.msdn.com/rahulso/archive/2008/02/17/smiley-plugin-2-0-for-windows-live-writer-wlw.aspx

It offers a new "Insert" option:

image

Per default you can insert smileys from MSN Light bulband Yahoo. DancingAnd you can define custom smileys, too. I've used that feature to use the smileys stored on this website:

...

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regular_smileteeth_smileconfused_smiletounge_smile

This is more a reminder for myself than a useful blog post. If you have a .NET application which seem to ignore its app.config file when running on Windows Server 2003, it could be this:

http://blogs.msdn.com/junfeng/archive/2006/08/09/692996.aspx

QA today found this problem while testing Swyx Trace Tool.regular_smile

Usually we have funny blog posts on Fridays to start the weekend. But this one can't wait till Friday :-D

When you installed SwyxWare v6.10 or later you might have recognized a new service called SwyxReporting:

image

It's disabled per default except you install SwyxWare as hosted version. In a hosted scenario SwyxWare uses a different licensing model which is based on feature usage. For each SwyxWare instance the configured users are counted together with the associated feature profiles. The data is kept in a separate database. Once per month an email report is generated which goes to the service provider who hosts SwyxWare and to Swyx. We use the reports to calculate the monthly license fees.

Querying the hosted SwyxWare instances is done by SwyxReporting service which runs...

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The newest issue of German computer magazine c't has an article about a new technology integrated into Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista. It's supposed to monitor your behaviour, e.g. which options you click in message boxes and store it in form of click profiles for each user. That data is then used to adapt Windows to change default buttons or not not display confirmation messages at all, because Windows knows what you clicked in the past.

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Today I'm updating our main development server which runs Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server to the newest version Visual Studio 2008 Team Foundation Server. Don't wonder about the names. That seems to happen when marketing guys get involved :-) I'll keep a log about how it goes. Here it is.

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Microsoft released a preview of Windows Desktop Search 4.0 this week. The most interesting feature is that you can access the search index over the net. I've installed the preview on two machines running Windows Vista. Before v4.0 if I open a shared folder in Windows Explorer and use the search function, Vista started searching the network folder file by file and displays a note that this takes a while:

VistaSearch1

Now when you have Windows Search v4.0 on both systems Vista queries the index on the other machine and you get the results...

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Have you ever seen xEyes, a small tool usually found on every Linux box? It's a small application showing a pair of eyes following your mouse cursor. Somebody even a built real life version. But now look at this:

http://cubo.cc/

Have a nice weekend.

This weekend some bishops complained about the commercial TV station's program. They think action movies like Peter Jackson's "King Kong" or "Die Hard" should not be shown on Easter Weekend and that the program is an "attack on public order". Do their TV sets have no "off" switch? And why should people who not share their beliefs not entertain themselves with some movies?

When I read about this discussion I recognized that one particular movie had not been shown this weekend, even if it would have fit the occasion ;-)

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A few days ago, Astronomers observed an extraordinary event. Swift, a satellite used to study gamma-ray bursts recorded an explosion which was so strong that the optical afterglow could have been seen with a naked eye making it the farthest object that could be seen without a telescope or other technical means. It's distance is 7.5 billion lightyears, that's about 7.09x1022km. And it means that the event happened 7.5 billion years ago when the universe was less than half its age and Earth didn't exist yet. The burst probably stems from a star collapsing into a black hole.

Polish "Pi of the sky" detector which continuously looks for optical flashes in the night sky recorded the burst. And wikipedia has some pictures made by the swift satellite.

...

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Imagine this: You have an mp3 player plus a Windows Software to fill it with music. That software has an auto-update function to keep itself up-to-date. A lot of software nowadays has. Via this auto-update the software manufacturer now tries to sneak a totally different application onto your PC. You think that nobody would do such a silly thing?

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but the weekend is close and here's something funny to end the work week (sorry it's in German language)

Apple-User im Gespräch- Tuxler

:-)))

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