Thursday, February 25, 2010

End of support for Windows XP! And Vista? (okay, service pack dependant)

http://blogs.technet.com/lifecycle/archive/2010/02/24/end-of-support-for-windows-xp-sp2-and-windows-vista-with-no-service-packs-installed.aspx
Yes, support for Windows XP SP2 has now ended, you need to be on SP3 to be in support from Microsoft.  Fair play though, SP2 was released in 2004. 
But ending support for Vista?  Did I read that right?  I know that everyone thinks that Windows Vista is pants and Windows 7 is great (just a note to all you smug people who went straight from XP to 7 and think you’re so clever – honestly, Windows 7 is 90% Vista, you’ve just been missing out for 3 years) and Microsoft does want you to ditch Vista and go 7 as soon as possible, but ending support for their ex-flagship seems harsh. 
Ah, its Vista without a service pack.  You should have SP1 at least now to be in support.  Quite right too, Vista without SP1 is a bit ropey – especially at copying files if I remember.
You know though, its funny that I stopped playing with Ubuntu since I got Windows 7…

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Office 2010 – 64 bit edition?

Interesting article on TechNet about the two versions of Office 2010…

http://blogs.technet.com/office2010/archive/2010/02/23/understanding-64-bit-office.aspx

I greeted the news that there was going to be a 64-bit edition of Office with a moderate amount of interest, mainly because this might be useful to deploy on our planned 64-bit XenApp farm.  This article does mention though that for most users, Microsoft actually recommend installing the 32-bit version, even if you use 64-bit Windows, the reason being “compatibility with existing 32-bit controls, add-ins, and VBA”. 

That sounds mighty ominous to me.  I think I will take their advice and just keep a 64-bit copy handy in case some user (there’s always one) wants a million row spreadsheet or something.

Apart from compatibility issues, the versions are described as being “largely indistinguishable, except that 64-bit Office has a much higher memory capacity”, meaning 64-bit can have more documents open and still maintain a decent speed. 

The setup process even guides you away from 64-bit Office.  Running Setup.exe will install 32-bit version (unless you already have 64-bit Office installed) – to install a fresh 64-bit copy of Office, run \x64\Setup.exe.

Monday, February 8, 2010

IIS - Forcing website PDFs to download as a file, not embed in the web page

I can’t take any credit for this, another member of my team came up with this nice solution to make a website download a PDF (or any file, we just needed to do this to a PDF…) as a file instead of opening it embedded in the browser.  This is a change applied in IIS (on IIS 6 – not tried it in Windows 2008 yet) to either a directory or a single file.  Watch out you don’t apply it to a directory with ASP or HTML file in it!

Right click the directory or file in IIS Manager, click Properties.  Click HTTP Headers and Add.  Use the name “content-disposition” and value “attachment”…

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For added compatibility with different browsers (Firefox likes this) click MIME types, select New and enter the extension (.pdf in this case) and MIME type “application/x-download”…

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Click OK…

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And OK to finish.  The clients might have to clear their temporary internet files to get the full effect, but its tested and working in Firefox 3.6 and IE8.  A bit cleaner than the previous solution we were using of an ASP page processing each PDF download in memory…

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

People on Picasa - Google is freaking me out. Again.

imageI haven't used Picasa for a long time but always liked it and thought I would see what the new version was like and it has left me slightly freaked out.  A popup asked me if I wanted to start naming people and up came a load of mugshots from my latest pictures (and even more worryingly, videos).  I started naming them and the list of unknown people dropped and a gallery developed.  It even knew people's second names and email addresses as I typed their names (I assume it ransacked my contacts).   And it started correctly identifying people with incredible accuracy.

Now I know that Google's mission statement is to organise the world's information and make it instantly available and useful to everyone - I just didn't think that extended to what all my friends looked like and what their names are.  I hope Google never does start to "do evil" as if it does going into hiding is going to be very hard now!

Very clever, Google.  Very useful.  And pretty scary too.

Telnet Client in Windows Server 2008 + R2

One of the more inexplicable omissions in Windows Server 2008 and R2 is a telnet client - maybe it saved 8kb or something, maybe it was a security thing but it was definitely annoying.  On running telnet on a 2008 server by default you get the worrying message "'telnet' is not recognized as an internal or external command".

The command to restore this basic functionality is:

servermanagercmd -install Telnet-Client

It works in R2 too though it does whinge that you should be using Powershell.  Yes, whatever, just get on with it.

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