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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Aug 30, 2001 (Vol. 6, #66 - Issue #301)
Last Chance To Vote
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Last Chance To Vote for W2Knews Target Awards
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Error 1311 During Install? Here's a workaround
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • MS Releases Internet Explorer 6.0
    • Running W2K? Block Port 445!
    • Wintel Releases 64-Bit Gear
    • Get Ready To Be Bombarded with WXP
    • Not Done With Electives, Will I Lose My MCSE?
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Always The Last To Know When IT Breaks?
    • W2Knews Bookstore: All Books With 35% Discount
    • Need To Get Data Across?
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • W2Knews Bookstore: ALL BOOKS With 35% Discount
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  EDITORS CORNER

Last Chance To Vote for W2Knews Target Awards

FINAL CALL
The vote closes August 31-st. As you may know, once a year all the subscribers of W2Knews vote for their fave tools. This is the third year we do this. You can vote in about 30 categories for the products you like best. The finalists will all be visible and with a simple click in each category you will be able to indicate how you rate these tools.

Think of this as the Golden Globes where the public votes for their favorites, as opposed to the Oscars where the industry gives awards to itself. W2Knews Target Awards are a good indicator of who is a leader in their market category. A useful thing to know: check the W2Knews Target Awards, and you have a shortlist of the best tools.

Vendors that make the grade usually proudly display the logo on their websites, because it is a big thing to have your product actually being chosen by the market and your customers, instead of by a panel of editors at a magazine. The rule with the W2Knews Target Awards is: "One IP, One Vote". We're making an effort to keep this as much as an objective process as possible. Do it now? Thanks!

http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-LastChanceVote

If you could not see the Flash animation of our issue #300, (due to firewalls, security settings on IE, or .exe's being stopped as an anti virus protection, here you can admire it: Editor's Corner:
/?action=view&issue=78

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])

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  TECH BRIEFING

Error 1311 During Install? Here's a workaround

Last night I ran into an interesting little problem and found a trick around it that may save you some time in the future.

The whole thing started when I wanted to install MS Frontpage on my home system. We have a few websites that we host as a public service on our company servers. We set it up for them, but then we turn things over to these organizations so they can create and mod their websites with their own Frontpage. But I set up the whole thing for them for starters.

Anyway, the install failed consistently with Error 1311, cannot find E:\Office1.cab. But that file was clearly on the CD. Instead of diving in the MS Knowledgebase, I grabbed the phone as this was a warranty issue. Called MS Tech Support and within 3 minutes I was talking to a friendly guy who said he had heard about that one before.

He searched on the internal MS KB and found the article quickly. His first reaction was: "WOW". I asked what the issue was and it turned out he had actually entered that KB issue himself in the first place. The problem has to do with reading the CD-drive while running the setup at the same time. It may be a resources issue, that was not actually clear.

But the short workaround is to create a new directory on the C:\ drive, copy all the files from the CD to it (no CD reading problem there) and then run setup from the hard drive. This made the whole setup and registration go smoothly. Frontpage was up in less than 15 minutes. All in all a pleasant and fast resolution. Hope you'll be able to put this simple solution to use some day.

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

MS Releases Internet Explorer 6.0

Always grabbing the latest & greatest? IE 6.0 has crawled out in the daylight. I plugged it on the W2K Pro machine in my home office and in a few minutes it was running. First thing I noticed though that it changes a few settings to default: the links on the address bar were suddenly alphabetical, the icons were small instead of large, and when you hover the mouse over something, the labels did not appear like they used to. I had to set these manually back to the way I had them before. So, what's new in 6.0?

Superficially it looks pretty much the same. The new icons are in color like WXP, but then there is quite extensive new cookie management. There's the new Media pane that is integrated, the privacy policy notifier and the some image tools that allow smooth auto-resizing of larger images. You can also freeze the toolbars like they are. The one thing that should help solving problems is this option: "Enable third-party browser extensions." There is a new fault collection service, and new options for customizing the browser's style and color.

The biggest change in IE 6 are definitely the security features. Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. said: "Users can now decide what levels of risk they want to accept." Many of the features that were ON by default in earlier versions, have been turned off, so that any malicious code would not be able to take any advantage. I think this is a good version to replace all the other older IE flavors with, on a corporate wide level. You can get it over here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-NewIE60

Running W2K? Block Port 445!

NewsBytes just reported the following:

"Exploiting a hole in Windows 2000, a hacker says he penetrated Microsoft's corporate network earlier this month and had full access to hundreds of the company's computers. The security breach, which took place over a six-day period beginning Aug. 12, involved a shopping server that was part of the Microsoft Network in Europe, as well as scores of workstations and servers located overseas, he says.

"A list of the vulnerable machines was provided to Newsbytes by the anonymous intruder, a self-proclaimed white-hat hacker who uses the nickname "Benign." Microsoft officials refused to comment on the incident, noting that the company does not confirm or deny whether an unauthorized intrusion into its network has occurred.

"To breach one of the most heavily defended networks on the planet, the intruder says he did not exploit any known or new software bugs, nor did he use any special hacking tools. Instead, Benign claims to have virtually strolled into the systems' back door, using Windows 2000's TCP port 445, which is open by default to allow file sharing with remote systems." end quote.

The story is much longer, the above is just a quick heads-up. A link to the newsbytes full story is here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-Port445

And the fix in the MS Knowledge Base is here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-Port445Fix

Wintel Releases 64-Bit Gear

Fresh from the factory, MS and Intel released the general availability of Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition (WASLE) for Intel's new 64- bit Itanium CPU. Hardware guys like Compaq, Dell, HP and IBM will start shipping systems running WASLE in the next 30 days.

Here is some of the PR-hype that they had in the press release. Note especially what they say about "freeing customers from proprietary 64- bit solutions". What they do not say is S-u-n, but that's right in the crosshairs of this new combination.

"This is the next logical step in freeing customers from the high cost and complexity of proprietary 64-bit solutions," said Cliff Reeves, vice president of the Windows .NET Server Division at Microsoft. "Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition, is the result of a massive effort undertaken by Microsoft and its industry partners to provide customers with a 64-bit platform that meets their highly demanding technical and enterprise needs."

OK, so we move from a Sun proprietary solution to a cheaper Intel & MS proprietary solution. Just more people will sell that, so the competition will heat up. Waggoner Edstrom, Microsoft's PR people should give a little more credit to the intelligence of its customers.

And here is a blurb from the Intel Guy, Abhi Talwalkar, vice president and assistant general manager, Intel Enterprise Platforms Group. "Itanium- based servers combined with Microsoft's latest server software offer customers superior performance, greater choice, reliability and investment protection at significantly lower costs than proprietary solutions."

Note: Positioning against the infamous and dangerous proprietary solutions again. OK, OK, I may be a bit ironic here, but why don't they just say it like it is: "We think we have better stuff, and it's a lot cheaper than Sun".

A lot of software app developers are porting over their stuff to 64-bit Windows. But for us mere mortals, 64-bit computing is not even on the horizon yet. These chips are really expensive. Couple years down the road this stuff becomes affordable. For the moment, the new 2Ghz Pentium 4 will do just fine, and they are planning to pump these P4's up to a whopping 10Ghz before they run out of steam. They already showed lab versions running on 3.5 Ghz this week.

This 64-bit platform is really only useful for high-end stuff like web farms, data warehousing and datamarts, CAD, scientific research and of course graphics rendering farms for movies.

Get Ready To Be Bombarded with WXP

It's cool, it's sexy, it's stable and reliable and you need to install it everywhere. At least, that's what MS wants you to think. And they will throw a billion bucks at it (together with partners) to make you believe it. WXP works well enough that there's no reason to think it won't dominate the world. But a major pain in the neck may be enduring the onslaught of built-in sales pitches to buy more MS-software.

More over, the new OS will be a little more expensive than earlier Windows versions. The Home Edition upgrade was tagged at the MAP (manufacturer's authorized price) of $99, which is about $10 more than WinMe. The full version is $199, which is roughly $20 more than WinMe. The Professional Edition is going to be $199 for the upgrade and $299 for the full version. Both cases 20 bucks more than W2K. Obviously for consumers this is a good deal. Just $10 more for WXP compared to the clunky WinME code is a nobrainer.

But for a business environment? I have my doubts. And I'm not alone. MS is playing it like this: they want you to check out a comparison and then upgrade. I'm quoting some of their promo:

"This overview shows how Windows XP Professional integrates the strengths of Windows 2000 Professional--standards-based security, manageability, and reliability--with the best business features of Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition--Plug and Play, a simplified user interface, and innovative support services--to create the best desktop operating system for business."
http://microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/guide/features.asp

But Dave Kearns, the word wrangler for Network World put it like this, and I got his permission to quote him:

"Microsoft would really, really like you to move your desktops to Windows XP as soon as it ships later this year. You'll be inundated with marketing FUD trying to get you to make that switch. Resist it, for your own good (see "Windows XP Not for Businesses," http://nww1.com/go/0820WNT2A.html and "Windows XP may not be what you thought," http://nww1.com/go/0820WNT2B.html).

"This week, Microsoft was touting a new Web page ("Deploy Windows 2000 Professional Now or Wait?" (currently unavailable) The page's intent is to sway those of you who are resisting the move to Windows 2000 on the desktop to get moving and do that upgrade - if you've already started. Otherwise, they suggest you start planning to roll out XP Pro just as soon as it's available. One interesting Q&A on the page is:

Q) Is Windows XP the operating system platform for .NET?

A) Windows XP represents an important step in delivering on the Microsoft .NET vision. The Windows XP-based personal computer will be at the center of the .NET experience, empowering people to move beyond disconnected applications, services, and devices to complete computing experiences that redefine the relationship between people, software, and the Internet.

"The short answer would be, of course, "No." There will be at least two (and maybe more) OS releases before Microsoft is even close to what's been loosely defined as .NET. But by using weasel words such as "an important step," Microsoft would like you to believe that its necessary to go through the progression of Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP in order to fully participate in whatever the .NET initiative becomes.

"Resist. Use Windows 2000 on your desktops (and your servers). Skip the XP fiasco (see the newsletter and column referenced above) and wait for the next OS release sometime late next year".

So, that's Dave Kearns' opinion. Now it's up to you to look at the data, and decide where you want to go. In Sunbelt, we now have a wall-to-wall W2K environment. We like it but we also suffer from a major case of upgrade fatigue. [sigh]

Not Done With Electives, Will I Lose My MCSE?

Question: I have passed all the core NT4 exams and received my voucher from Microsoft to write the Accelerated exam 70-240. My company is paying for me to do the upgrade course through a Microsoft Training Center and I plan to take this exam as soon as possible. What I want to know is if I pass exam 70-240 before December 2001 , can I do the electives in 2002 and still receive my MCSE on W2K or do I need to pass the electives before December 2001 as well?

Answer: If you do not complete the upgrade requirements for the MCSE by 12/31/2001, you will lose your MCSE for as long as it takes you to complete any requirements that remain at that time. OTOH, you must take (and pass) 70-240 by 12/31/2001 (earlier is better than later, because MS is expected testing centers to be booked to capacity in November and December because of the expiration on the 70-240 voucher). If it doesn't matter to you or your employer that you lose your MCSE temporarily, then you can wait and finish up next year. Otherwise, if it does matter --for qualifying for MSDN subscription, for example--you must upgrade on or before 12/31/2001.

Thanks to Certification Guru Ed Tittel
http://www.lanw.com

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

Always The Last To Know When IT Breaks?

This will stop that problem. ELM is Real-time Business Continuity Monitoring software for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and TCP/IP devices. The latest version has Microsoft Cluster Server and Syslog client /server support.

ELM has long ago surpassed just monitoring event logs and is now an enterprise level monitoring tool. It's easy to use and packed with features. It collects the event log messages from Windows NT and Windows 2000 systems, performance data, and system configuration data. But it can also ping web pages and alert you when they do not respond.

It can monitor services, processes and flat files. And, it notifies you when important events or critical problems occur. Its powerful filtering and notification engine help simplify system and security administration tasks. Real-time monitoring guarantees your business continuity, minimizes server downtime and reduces user stress.

Without real-time monitoring you have to rely on your users to detect problems. With Event Log Monitor, you can count on being notified as soon as a problem occurs. You'll be the first to know, not the last. Get your full function 30-day eval here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-Last2Know

W2Knews Bookstore: All Books With 35% Discount

Great news: All books (tons of them) are now for sale with a 35% discount. Here are the categories. You should check out the dozens of deals that are waiting for you in these categories:

  • .NET
  • Microsoft Server Technologies
  • Networking/Communications
  • Operating Systems
  • Programming Languages
  • Software Engineering
  • Windows 2XXX
  • Computer Certification
Check out:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-BookClub35

Need To Get Data Across?

Sunbelt has been getting many requests for robust replication tools that do not have fail-over capacity and are a bit cheaper than the high-end tools. That makes us happy to introduce two tried and true tools. One is called PowerSync, the other is RendezVous. The are both targeted for somewhat different areas, and we'll discuss both of them. These kinds of utilities are an excellent value if you need to get data across with a more robust tools than those you find in the freeware or MS Resource kits.

POWERSYNC

PowerSync comes in two flavors: Real-Time (RTS) and Scheduled (S). PowerSync 5.0-RTS provides flexible and intelligent real-time file replication for Windows NT & 2000 servers. It offers cross-platform, one-to-many and many-to-one replication of server directories and files across LANs and WANs, with centralized management.

Among its features:

  • Real-time and/or scheduled operation
  • Automatically replicates directories and files to local and remote locations for data protection or distribution.
  • Replicates remote files to a central site for centralized backup.
  • Provide immediately accessible data backup for production servers for 24x7 operations. Distribute current data updates to remote servers from a central site.
PowerSyncŪ 5.0-S provides flexible and intelligent file replication for Application servers and NAS file servers on LANs and WANs. It gives you everything above, but schedule-based, not real-time. It means you can pump data across with any interval you set, but the only limit is not just after the file changes. This product is an excellent value in its class. You can check out the link at the end of this article for a 30-day eval.

OPALISRENDEZVOUS

OpalisRendezVous is a powerful tool for maintaining and distributing files across the LAN, WAN, or Internet. It automates data management functions such as replicating, transferring, archiving and mirroring of files and database rows to enable proactive administration of data distribution in Windows NT/2000 environments.

Some of the Features:

Computers can be linked by a network (LAN, WAN, Intranet, Internet) or a dial-up line (RAS). Data can be moved inbound or outbound from your NT/2000 sever. The graphical user interface provides quick and easy implementation, deployment and management.

  • Automate: Daily File Distribution
  • Archive Old Files
  • Update Remote Servers
  • Transfer new WEB files
  • Centralize Company Documents
  • Create Redundant File Servers
  • Synchronize Secondary Servers
  • File Replication
  • Data Replication
  • Monitor Modified Files
  • FTP File Transfers
Advanced File Options
Data distribution, such as web-publishing tasks, can be initiated based on date modifications, security changes, file attributes and size thresholds. Advanced features including overwrite, fail and unique name provide administrators with greater control over data management and ensures that files, directories and servers have the most current copies of files and application data.

Database Replication
OpalisRendezVous can also replicate database rows between any ODBC- compliant data source based on user request, scheduled event or query result. Replicating SQL, Oracle and other DBMS ensures that secondary servers or remote computers always contain the same up to date information as the primary servers.

Integrates with OpalisRobot
OpalisRendezVous combines with OpalisRobot, a system management and automation solution, to integrate data distribution with automated job processing tasks.

Evaluation copies with price indications are downloadable here:

http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-PowerSync

http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-OpalisRendezVous

  FAVE LINKS

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • Does Windows XP have a built-in firewall or not? Disagreeing parties:
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001FL-WXPFirewall
  • Secure your data with a touch - Thumbdrive uses biometrics to lock
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001FL-Thumbdrive
  • AT&T labs have some pretty good sounding interactive text to speech:
    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001FL-NaturalVoice
  •   PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

    W2Knews Bookstore: ALL BOOKS With 35% Discount

    Great news: All books (tons of them) are now for sale with a 35% discount. Here are the categories. You should check out the dozens of deals that are waiting for you in these categories:

    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=083001-BookClub35