Every Techie needs to read something.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

You know I have to post it, if I want to be a good blogger, so here goes.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Here is wishing that 2007 is going to be a terrific year. So get your resolutions in order, because they start tomorrow, or maybe the next day.

Personally I only have a few resolutions.

  1. To Gain Control of the entire world.
  2. To re-grow hair on my head.
  3. To finally be able to fold the space time continuum.
  4. To not mess up a single check by writing 2006 instead of 2007.

I know, almost the same resolutions as last year.

Enjoy 2007!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The CJ7

The CJ7, originally uploaded by ms.thenetworker.

This was during the first blizzard of 2006, it was just really funny how the snow piled up on the bumper and hood to make that opening. You can just barely see the headlights in there.

Great Picture - The temple

The temple, originally uploaded by Juanillooo.

If you are in need of some wallpapers, you have to check out Juaniloo's Photos. This is one of my favorites here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone

I just wanted to take a little bit of time here to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I have particularly enjoyed this Christmas, both of my kids are old enough to really appreciate the season, and this year we almost found a balance between giving too few and giving too many presents.

No, there weren't any Nintendo Wiis, Playstation 3s, or X-Box 360s under our tree this year. I was really happy that my wife and I were able to peg exactly what they wanted.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

When Getting New Features Means that Old Features don't work anymore

You can categorize this post under "whining". The new blogger is out of beta, and I thought "Woo-Hoo". I have been using the beta for a little while now, and I bet the finally fixed the problems so that I can now publish using the Word Add-in and Google Docs and Spreadsheets like I was able to before I switched.


It still doesn't work, and I found in their help info that they don't even know if they are going to upgrade the word plug-in.

But wait, there's more...

Luckily, I did a quick little search, and I ran across this post on TechNirvana, what a life saver. Thanks Abhishekg!

Now if only Docs and worksheet would place the title of the document as the title of the blog post, and fix the insertion of an extra space after making a hyperlink.

But remember Mike, this stuff is all free. OK, I feel better now.

Free Screen Capture Utility - MWSnap

MWSnap is a must have if you do any sort of documentation. As the title of the blog says, it is a free screen capture utility, and allows you to grab only sections of your screen, and save or print them. This utility is just full of neat features, including a color picker, automatic saving of captures, and automatic printing.

One of my favorite features is that when you use the Ctrl+Shift+A shortcut key, a little zoom window pops up which is zoomed in to the cursor's location, so that you can make really accurate selections. No more thin lines around the pictures for your documentation.

Thanks Mirek, you wouldn't believe how much time this has saved me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Microsoft Robotics Studio - Free Robot Development

Sorry for the inconvenience, but there is a new and improved version of this post on my new blog. You should check it out.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Marines!

Today I checked my email a little late, but sure enough, there they were. Birthday greetings from my Brothers. Today is November 10th, and the Marine Corps is 231 Years old. I have been out of the Marine Corps for almost 9 years now, but I still think about the Corps every day.

Year after year, when I see the birthday greetings from my friends, I am still glad to know that I am not the only former Marine who still remembers the Marine Corps Birthday, it seems like every year I meet another former Marine who doesn't celebrate Nov 10th. I don't know about the rest of you Jarheads out there, but every year I get all the Marines I know locally, and hoist a few in honor of the Corps. Usually we only number 2 or 3, but all of you that I served with, and all of my other brothers and sisters out there who I have not met are there with me, if only in thought.

So Happy Birthday to all of you Hard Chargers!

Semper Fi!

And remember, if you want to help out some terrific Marine Corps related charities, and get a great book about steak, read this post about "Command of the Grill" , or visit the Command of the Grill web site .

Friday, October 20, 2006

Weber's Command of the Grill - A Salute to Steak

So as you probably know, my Birthday is coming up, I'll be 231. OK, I've been around for awhile, but not quite that long. What I'm talking about is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. You see, Marines care about the day their beloved Corps was founded, November 10th, 1775, and celebrate it every year, and even though I haven't been on active duty for quite awhile, I'm still a Marine, and I still celebrate the Marine Corps birthday.

As a matter of fact, I believe that I am legally obligated to have at least a few beers on that day with any Jarhead I can find, and trust me, there are at least a few everywhere. They may not be wearing a sharply pressed uniform , or sporting a motivated high and tight, but they are there, just yell out "Semper Fi!" and I bet you'll at least get an "Ooh-Rah! " back.

What brings this up, is I have been long awaiting the release of Weber's Command of the Grill - A Salute to Steak , so long in fact, that I forgot all about it until I was on Weber's web site. This book is the result of grilling competitions held for Marines, go ahead, find out more, I dare you.

Now, I love to grill, I love steak, and I love the Corps. What could be better than a book that combines all of those. I'll tell you what could be better, every single penny of this $10 book goes to supporting Marines wounded in action, or the families and children of Marines who were killed in action. The Charities supported are:

- The Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund - Provides financial assistance to injured Marines, and other service members injured while assigned to Marine Units.

- The Wounded Warrior Project - Provides programs and assistance to severely wounded service members.

- The Fisher House - Provides a home away from home for the families of patients receiving medical treatment at Military and VA medical centers.

- The Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation - Assists the Children of Marines and Law Enforcement who were killed while serving their country.

If you know a Marine, buy this book for them, if you know someone who likes to grill, buy this book for them. Hell, buy one for yourself. Give something for those who sacrificed everything. Just don't buy one for me, I bought 2 of them today.

Semper Fi!

10/23/2006 Update: Big thanks to the Grill Junkie for helping to promote Command of the Grill. If you like to grill, make sure you put Grill Junkie on your "to check often" list, or subscribe via RSS.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ms. Dewey Search Engine

I saw this on Chris Pirillo's Blog.

I guess if you have a whole lot of bandwidth to spare, or are very lonely, you may want to do your web searches on Ms. Dewey (hmmm... maybe I should have said at Ms. Dewey's site?).

What is the world coming to. I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. I bet I can guess what comes next...

The Outlook Dumpster - Adventures in Deleted Item Recovery

If you are a Outlook user (on a Microsoft Exchange server) and don't know about the Outlook Dumpster, whoa Nelly are you going to be glad that you read this post.

If you manage an Exchange server, and don't know about the Dumpster, then you may want to mark this day on your calendar, so that you can celebrate it in the years to come.

As many of you know, when something is deleted from Outlook, it goes into the handy dandy Deleted Items Folder, but what many users don't know is that even after you empty the deleted items folder, the data still hangs around for awhile. How long depends on what your exchange administrator has decided. This is specified in the Mailbox and Public folder limit policies on the exchange server. Personally, I keep everything for 120 Days.

Recovering Items from an emptied Deleted Items Folder

So you are a good user, and you regularly empty your Deleted Items Folder, when suddenly you realized that you accidentally deleted your favorite Kim Chee recipe, and it was the only copy you had. All you have to do to recover it is:

  1. Highlight the Deleted Items Folder
  2. Click on Tools Recover Deleted Items
  3. Look through the list, and find that Kim Chee recipe, then highlight it.
  4. Click on the "Recover Deleted Items" icon (it looks like an envelope with an arrow on it).
  5. Go back to your deleted Items folder, and there it is.
  6. Make the Kim Chee , eat it a week or two later, and apologize to your co-workers for the smell.

Sounds good, nothing can go wrong right?

It does sound pretty good, but there are some instances when items don't go into the deleted items bin, this is referred to as "Hard Deleting" an item. There are several ways that this may happen. If you use shift + Delete when deleting an item, or if you move an item from a folder to either a personal folder file or to another mailbox. If this happens, then you can not recover them using the above method, because the "recover delete items" option is not available.

Well, that isn't so great.

Don't fear though, you can use a simple registry change to make the option available everywhere. Just follow the below instructions, but be careful, editing your registry can have some really bad results if you do it wrong.

  1. Close Outlook (and all of the outlook windows).
  2. regedit
  3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftExchangeClientOptions
  4. Right click on the right side of the screen, and choose New DWORD Value.
  5. Type in “DumpsterAlwaysOn”
  6. Double Click the value and enter 1 into the Value Data, then click on OK.
  7. Open outlook again.

If you want to read the steps for this all on your own, as well as Microsoft's Official "bad stuff can happen when you edit the registry" spiel, then just follow the link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base article and see for yourself (see if I care).

So what do I care, I'm an Exchange Administrator?

I'm pretty sure that no one would actually ask this question. This is a must have registry change for a Exchange Admin, but more importantly though, is that you set up your Exchange Server to maintain deleted items for some reasonable period of time. This way when your CEO syncs their new handheld, and it hard deletes all of their calendar, contacts and task information, you can swoop in and fix it in a few minutes. Of course the alternative is to load up some backup tapes (you have those right?), and restore the data, and hope that the CEO didn't make a whole slew of changes since your last backup. This is also handy when someone accidentally deletes all of the items from a public folder, and you don't find out until a month later after the fact. Of course, we need that information now.

Here is an excellent article about How to Implement System Policies in Exchange 2003 , and it also covers the Deleted Items retention policy.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Writely Post

Well, I am checking out Writely, and let me tell you, it is really cool! First off, it looks very similar to a Word like interface, but all inside of a browser of course. I also noticed the really neat tabs across the top, Collaborate, Publish, Blog, and Revisions, but you have to check out this file menu! Not only can you save it in 5 different formats, but I can even get an RSS Feed!

I wanted to check out the blog posting features, so I thought I would just put a picture in here, and try to post it. Blogger has a nice add on for Microsoft Word that I am a big fan of, but it doesn't support the posting of pictures. So lets see....

Holy Cow! That is just the coolest. Not only does it support it, but it allows you to set the column size of the preview so you can see exactly how it will look. Pretty sharp.

So anyway, go check out Writely. Now if I could just figure out how this whole tag thing works...

Update: For some strange reason, after it was posted, the title did not show up, so I had to edit it again in blogger in order to have a title, although the URL contained the title correctly. Hmmm...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Free Word Processor?!?!

I just saw a blurb about Writely on GeekBrief.TV, and I had to check it out for myself.

Maybe there are a few reasons why this isn’t huge news, I mean after all, doesn’t Open Office have not only a free word processor, but also a whole office suite for Free? Well, yes.

Doesn’t Open Office let you access your documents securely over the internet from any computer? Well Ye… er… No.

Zap! That's the ticket! I guess Google has gobbled this application up, when they gobbled up a company called “Upstartle” (what a cool name). Here is nice little blurb about from Jen Mazzon, although this post is pretty old, March was so months ago. The post says that Writely has a wait list, but right now if you have a Google account, it will let you sign up for it.

I guess that not only is Writely a free, but it is also a collaborative product. Is that cool or what?

I so have to try it out. I’ll post more as I move along.

2007-01-26 Update: Well, quite awhile ago, writely was officially pulled into the Google Family, and is now called Google Docs and Spreadsheets. It isn't a bad product, especially since they integrated spreadsheets in there too. It is missing some features that you may have come to expect from a word processor, but still, it is free, and widely accessible.

I haven't checked on it in a little while, but when Blogger Beta became the official blogger, I wasn't able to get it to work, and then I was, and then I wasn't. I have since started searching for other blogging tools. Want to see if it works for you, try "When getting new features means old features don't work anymore". There is a good link to an article with instructions that worked (sometimes) for me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Tech TV Crew

I used to love to watch TechTV, and I was sooo broken hearted when it was pulled. Well, technically it wasn't pulled. G4TV bought it, and then shut it down. I'm not sure why, G4 Sucked.

Anyway, I stumbled across the TWIT site because I was looking to see what happened to the podcast, and boy am I excited to hear that the crew from TechTV is still making a living. I sure do like those guys. It sounds like Leo Laporte is the one who got things going, what a guy. Patrick Norton is also on the show, and some new voices.

I also saw that Megan Morrone was one of the hosts on Inside the Net. I checked out her web site and it was just really cool. When I moved I couldn't get TechTV, and just before I had to stop watching it, Megan was pretty far along in her pregnancy, and now to see that she has at least one very cute daughter. Here are some of their BIOS listed in the Twit site. I am just really glad to see all of the familiar faces, or hear their voices as the case may be.

Update 2006-01-09 - The TWIT Netcast made Time Magazine's Top 10 podcasts!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The 7 Deadly sins of Email

I was listening to the MCPMAG’s MCP Radio podcast a little while ago, and Michael Domingo mentioned a list called the “7 deadly sins of email”. Many of the sins I have seen other people commit, so I decided I would go out on the vast wealth of information we call “the internet”, and start looking at web pages at random, until I found this web page.

Several days later, I decided to just use google. My only other idea was to send out a chain email to all my friends, stating that if they knew of this list, and would send it to me, then they would win dinner with Salma Hayek or Matthew McConaughey (the winner’s choice of course), and that if they forwarded the email on to 10 friends, than Microsoft and AOL would send them 1 hot dog with onions, and a half eaten Twinkie.

Anyway, I found Lifehacker’s 7 Deadly Sins of email, which is pretty practical, and I also found one on an IT Management web site that seems to be aimed at avoiding legal problems when composing email. Although both of these lists were full or some really good suggestions, neither of these are what I was looking for.

Then the BBC had this list which was also pretty practical. All of a sudden, I found the list I was looking for on GeekLikeMe.net. I have to bookmark this one, because I see every one of these sins frequently.

So please, go ahead and read the 7 Deadly Sins of Email.

09/22/2006 - Update
I just ran across "The E-mail To-Don't List" in Men's Health. It is another one of those good advice lists.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How to re-initialize the offline files cache and database in Windows XP

Usually when I have to use this trick, it is because I was synchronizing a laptop, and I get the following error message:

“Unable to merge offline changes on “ %share_name% “the parameter is incorrect”.
Quick little warning
The fix is pretty straight forward, but don't do it if you think you have changes that haven't been synchronized to the network. If you think you may have some, then scroll down to the section of this post which reads "Finding out what files need to be synchronized". If you ignore this warning, don't blame me when someone bounces the laptop off your head because you just lost days worth of work.

The Fix (if you don't have changes that need to be synced)
After performing the following steps, the offline files cache will be cleared, and anything which was made available offline will need to be made available once again.

Now, if you are sure that you don't have any changes, just open any Windows Explorer window (my computer will work too), and click on:
Tools > Folder Options > Offline Files.

Now hold down Control and Shift, then click on "Delete Files". You will get a message letting you know that all unsynchronized changes will be lost (hence my warning above), and that afterwards, no network files or folders will be available offline. It will ask you if you wish to re-initialize the cache. Pressing OK twice will agree to this, and agree to a restart.

Bookmark this because ...
I would like to say that this fixes it forever, but I won’t say that, because it doesn’t. To be honest, I am always looking for this article, because about once every two months or so, I have the same problem and have to figure out how to do it again.

I am willing to bet that a format / reload would fix it, but the machine is some weird tablet from a small company, and I don’t feel like messing with it. The last time I called the company, they had a total of 1 support person, and he was on vacation.

How this fix can divert yet another synchronization disaster
Sometimes I have used this solution to straighten out another problem I have seen, on the same computer strangely enough, when I connect to the network, there will be thousands of files that the system thinks are modified and it wants to sync up. Unless that user is really productive, then that would probably be a bad idea (as you can imagine).

If you are having either of these problems
You may want to ask the user if they have modified anything since they were last on the network. When you reset the cache any modifications will be lost. You can also look in the Offline Files Folder and sort by date modified or Synchronization status.

To view your offline files, in a easy to sort by modified date and synchronization status, just open any Windows Explorer window (my computer will work too), and click on:
Tools > Folder Options > Offline Files, then click on the "View Files" button.

Finding out what files need to be synchronized
If you are having problems with seeing the modified / cached files, just disconnect the system from the network, then you should be able to view the files in their original location or in the Offline files Folder, copy the modified files anywhere on the local disk, then after clearing the offline files cache, you can bring the system back online and put the modified files back where they should be.

How to re-initialize the offline files cache and database - Microsoft TechNet Article

Friday, September 08, 2006

THRIVE! | Why Survive When You Can THRIVE!

Believe it or not, I happen to read a good deal of material about personal productivity. Thrive! has a newsletter that they put out every Friday, and not only is it valuable and insightful, but it is also very entertaining. Matthew Poepsel has a style of writing that I find very enjoyable.

Don't believe me, try reading the current newsletter. I really liked the following line:

"Many of us are very caught up in what our boss thinks, what our mom thinks,
what our neighbor thinks, and what the
Of course, as with anything, some issues are funnier than others, but I can't say that I have read a single newsletter that didn't offer something worthwhile. (If only I could say the same thing for my blog)

Do yourself a favor, sign up for the newsletter, you can find the signup box on the top right side of the main page.

ITtoolbox Blogs

ITtoolbox Blogs
Ok, this is kind of funny. I took a look at my own blog, and in the adsense link at the top, there was a linkt o IT Toolbox blogs. It looked interesting, so I followed it.

I just recently gutted my bloglines subscriptions so that I could start adding ones that I read, and it has been kind of hard to find some good IT related blogs. I don't have a whole lot of time to scour the internet looking for blogs.

If I find any really useful or interesting blogs on this site, I will let you know. I will warn you though, don't think that if I haven't posted anything about ITtoolbox Blogs by next week that I don't think there is anything interesting, it may just be that I haven't had a chance to read anything.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Microsoft Access error: Compile error . in query expression

Sometimes you just can’t win. I went through writing this super duper module in Visual Basic, which does all sorts of fancy stuff. I made sure that it can handle any error, and keep right on going. I am worried that if Microsoft sees this module, they will try to buy me, and copyright my brain. Ok, it isn’t quite that good, but you get my point.

Now when I open any of my queries, I receive the error:
“Compile error . in query expression ‘val(nz([proj_name],0))’”

It seems that the error is with any of the built in functions. If I remove the val statement, I receive it for the nz statement.

Of course, being a modern information worker, I used half of Google’s bandwidth to search for an answer, and I found some really great ones, just none that helped me. Generally, this type of error deals with a missing reference in the visual basic editor. Allen Browne has a terrific page about Solving Problems with Library References (thanks for that page Allen).

He also points to another incredible resource, Doug Steele’s Access Reference Problems

In my case, none of these steps worked for me. I did manage to narrow my problem down to one single statement. It seems that when I use the call statement to run a sub procedure, I get that error. The really neat thing is that I don’t even have to touch the module, all I have to do is have that call statement in there, and magically, none of my queries work.

I even tried converting the sub into a function, and I still get the errors if I have any code in my module that invokes the function.
I have made a post to the very helpful people that read the Microsoft Newsgroup Server. Unfortunately, I posted to Microsoft.public.access.modulescoding, and it doesn’t look like Google carries it.

Update: My post on the newsgroup was answered by Allen Browne. What a helpful guy. He had me choose compile in my vb module, and fix all of the errors, after that, it worked like a charm.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Microsoft Says Recovery from Malware Becoming Impossible

A friend sent me a link to an article where Microsoft Says Recovery from Malware Becoming Impossible, and it is a really good read. It looks like the meat of the article comes from Mike Danseglio, program manager in the Security Solutions group at Microsoft. He was giving a presentation at an Infosec conference.

Page 2 has a terrific quote on it, "Phishing is a major problem because there really is no patch for human stupidity." They also say that Microsoft is getting 2000 attacks an hour. That was pretty amazing too.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The US Plans to build a Moonbase?

I saw this little blurb about how the US Plans to build a Moonbase, and it struck me a couple of ways. First off, let me admit that I don’t get a whole lot of news; I just don’t have the time. So maybe I missed it, but shouldn’t this have been a bigger story? One of the obstacles listed in the 5th paragraph is how to reacquire our “culture of exploration”. How little press this topic received helps to illustrate how big of a problem that is.

I know that when I was a kid, we actually watched shuttle lift offs in class. It was something that was supposed to help kids get motivated, and make them want to study math and science. These days, I don’t think that I can tell you when the last shuttle lift-off was. I don’t know if it hits the news unless there is some disaster.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Microsoft Has Stopped Competing with Linux?

I read a interesting article on LXer stating that Microsoft Has Stopped Competing with Linux. I wasn't really sure about it to start with, but it made a whole lot of sense.

It does seem that on the Desktop front, Linux is really just trying to catch up with windows, rather than innovate. Linux still has a number of strengths, but it isn't on the desktop.

One other thing that the article points out is that Microsoft is changing their push, and moving more into markets like Enterprise Solutions for collaboration and resource management. This is something that I have noticed with a release of a whole slew of new products, like BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, and Small Business Accounting, just to name a few.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Free ScreenCapture Utility

If you write instructions and/or documentation, then I guarantee you will like this Great little Screen Capture Utility, especially if you are on a budget.

As far as I can tell, it doesn't stay memory resident, and when you hit the capture hot key (Ctrl + Shift + A by default), you get this handy little zoom window, so that you can get a nice clean capture that you will not have to crop later. Then you just copy it, and paste it into your documentation program and you are good to go.

Of course, the price is right, it is free! Go ahead, give it a download.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Specialist vs. the Generalist

For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about some of the advantages of getting to specialize in one aspect of technology. Specifically, being the "Exchange Admin" for a company, or the IIS guy, or anything along those lines, being able to learn a product or technology inside and out. You see, I am a Network Manager / Admin for a small company, about 60 employees. I have worked here since it was less than 20 employees, and basically whenever there is a problem, I am the one who gets called.

Don't get me wrong, there are some really neat things about working for a company of this size. Primarily, I get to do a little of everything, I run Server 2003, SQL, IIS, DNS, WINS, AD, SharePoint, and basically fix anything in the building that runs on electricity. Yesterday I was writing scripts to pull values from our "insert company name here" accounting system, and dump them into excel, today I was installing a demo copy of SharePoint portal server, and tomorrow I will be installing a couple of Windows machines, and loading Oracle on them.

I started thinking about specialization because the last few days have been a little rough. I basically was given more work than I can possibly do, and the method of delivery was a series of meeting which ate up half my already overbooked day. Of course, everything needs to be done ASAP, and I already have a “to do” list a mile long.

To me, this is the biggest disadvantage of working for a small company. There really isn’t anyone else to do all of the jobs. I was finally able to get the company to hire someone that I can dump most of the smaller stuff, like desktop support, etc. He is overloaded with work too, so it is a case of the amount of work expanding to consume all available manpower.

Generally I don’t sweat this too much, I mean, I am only human. I make sure that I spend plenty of time with my family, even if I have to get back on my machine after the kids go to bed. Thank goodness for remote desktop, and the power of scripting. I don’t have any idea how I would keep up, or at least as close to “up” as I am, without them.

Really, I just wanted a chance to vent a little bit, so if you are still with me, and can sympathize with my pain, post a comment and let me know. On the flip side of that, if you get to specialize, and want to list off all of the downfalls there, let me know.

One of my new favorite internet authors has this post about being a generalist. It is a good read, and may I suggest checking his blog daily, as well as his terrific project, DIY Planner.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Working with Sharepoint Offline - Review of Revelation and Colligo for Sharepoint

Well, my company has been using SharePoint for a little while now, and of course the question has come up, “How can I get access to files while I am offline?” Like a good network guy, I tried to use the standard stuff, trying to make the folders available offline, but it didn’t support that.

Also, like any good Network guy would do, I googled it, and ran across Colligo for SharePoint, and it looked pretty sharp. So I followed this link, and downloaded their demo, which according to their sales people, was really stable. After a nice little 3MB or so download, I was ready to roll.

The install was quick, and pretty painless. Unfortunately, the beta doesn’t support Events, or threaded discussions, although they do plan on implementing it in the future. There are a few other items it doesn’t support, such as Surveys and Picture libraries, but I was not too concerned about that.

When you set the program up, you map “Workspaces” to your various SharePoint sites. It is a little bit of a pain, because you have to enter the URL in manually, thank goodness for cut and paste, and the program doesn’t support searching for sub sites to synchronize. Colligo plans on implementing additional web part support, as well as site searches, into the product in the future.

Besides those two limitations, I don’t really have any complaints about the product. I had no issues with crashes, and the interface is easy to use. I talked with sales, and when it retails in mid February, it will sell for $149. Although if you contact sales, they may sell it to you now for half price, if you are willing to say a couple of lines about the product that they can use in marketing materials later on.

Because of the lack of threaded discussion support, I figured I would search on.

While reading an article by Chris Johnson, I noticed he had a trick using Microsoft’s Sync Toy, which seemed like it would work for a Techie like me, but I didn’t think the employees who needed offline access would be able to use it effectively. Although the price (free) was right for me, Chris also mentioned Digi-link Revelation, so I figured I should check it out.

The web page for Revelation had a flash-type demo, but it looked a little cumbersome to me. The list price was only $30, so I emailed the company asking for a real demo, and they quickly sent me a temp registration key. After a heftier 40MB or so download, I had a copy of it in my hot little hands.

First off, I noticed the install kicked off the install for the Microsoft Desktop SQL Server (MSDE), which didn’t make me to happy, everyone remembers Slammer, right? After install, I entered the SharePoint server, and was happy to note that it found all of my sub sites, and gave me an option to add them in my sync list.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the application to work on a Virtual PC. It installed correctly, but once you start the sync, it doesn’t do anything but use up memory and CPU time.

After installing it on my desktop, it worked fine. That is when I realized that the only thing you can sync is document libraries, which explains the reason for the cheaper price tag. The interface for it looks like SharePoint, and has a nifty view option, so that you can see what is on the server vs. what is on your machine. The method used to sync it was a little confusing. There is a sync server option, which really sets the options that the program will use when you sync that server. Then there is a big honking “sync now” button in the top corner which actually starts the synchronization.

I had pretty much decided at that I was going to get the Colligo for SharePoint, and had uninstalled Digi-link Revelation. That is when the fun began. The install complained that another application had the database open, which strangely enough was the database server that Revelation had installed (imagine that). I went in a stopped the service, and was able to continue with uninstalling Revelation. Once that was done, I noticed that the SQL icon was still in the systray, and when I looked in the add/remove programs, realized that it was a separate item which had to be uninstalled.

While typing this mini-review up, I realized that Revelation may be enough for some of my users, and I think I will play with it a little bit more before I decide against it. After all, every dollar I save by purchasing Revelation

**** Update 8/30/2006
- I haven't had the time to do another full review of Colligo for Sharepoint, but I have in fact installed the new release of Colligo for sharepoint, and they have fixed everything that I had an issue with it. What is even better, is that if you only want to read Sharepoint content, you can get Colligo Reader for Sharepoint for free! It is a great product.

Also, I think that I may have to say that Barry Jinks, the President and CEO (or someone masquerading as him), is the first confirmed reader of my blog! Congratulations Barry!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Strange SharePoint Team Services 2 Restore Issue

Like a good administrator, I was testing my SharePoint site backups, and was having a devil of a time getting it to work. Before I go into too much detail, if you are not familiar with backing up and restoring SharePoint using the stsadm command line tool, then you probably don’t want to read any farther.

If you are reading this, than you probably already know how to use it, or have looked at this Command Line Operations guide to stsadm.

To continue, I was testing the restore of my backup, and kept running into an error "Exception from HRESULT: 0x80040E2F”. I tried the usual, creating a site, and then deleting it, and verifying the versions, all to no avail. Of course I have gobs of free time, watch out for the puddle of sarcasm over there, so it wasn’t too big of a deal.

I had tested the backup and restore very thoroughly when I set up my neat little script, which backs up the entire SharePoint site every night, with the convenient file name of year-month-day-sharepointbackup.dat. As it turns out, what I was doing was renaming the backup file to sprestore.dat so that I didn’t have to do all that typing when I tried the restore. Once I stopped renaming the backup file, it worked like a charm.

Oh well, we live and we learn.

PS: If you have any interest in the script, reply to this post, and I’ll be sure to clean it up a little, and post it.

You may also like:
- Tools to work with SharePoint Offline – Review of Revelation and Colligo for SharePoint
- Script to Back up SharePoint Team Services 2