Things hard and not so hard.... RSS 2.0
# Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My take and some answers on ithttp://www.cloudsecurityalliance.org/topthreats/

Welcome back folks to a beautiful 2014 and I had an interesting one while going through a Cloud Solution Design
I came across this document The Notorious Nine Cloud Computing Top Threats in 2013 and I thought I’d talk through these concerns one by one.

  1. Data Breaches -  this issue can occur on many levels and I don’t think it’s just limited to ‘Cloud’ per se – it could be your insurance company down the road,
    the doctor, dentist etc. and we’ve all seen those TV shows where the ‘hustlers’ go through someone’s trash to pull out key gems of information to unlock the scam.

    Interestingly in the paper, the university of North Carolina Chapel Hill came up with a technique to steal data from a VM running as one of many within the same host, with the ‘unis VM’ able
    to steal data being transmitted through the other VMs. This was performed through a combination of monitoring various known factors of the host,
    such as thread scheduling, L1 cache and power. The paper highlighted that currently the virtualisation technologies need to do more about isolation.
  2. Data Loss – Cloud and non-cloud users fall foul of this with Cloud typically being a target for hackers. Geo-Replication, backups and Government policies on data and it’s storage all help here.
    Encryption could be something that you may want to employ to ensure some protection over the copies of data now present.
  3. Account Hijacking – gaining unlawful access to account details such as user/pass combination. Amazon in 2010 was foul to a cross site scripting bug that allowed 3rd parties to get access
    to user/pass credentials. With the explosion on the Cloud keeping your credentials safe becomes that much more important. Also changing passwords frequently would be a good habit
    to get into.

    The other interesting point here to note is that if your account is indeed hijacked then it maybe sometime until the hackers exploit this.

    Gaining access to someone’s account doesn’t have to be a hi-tech solution either. As in the movie Sneakers all that was required was a dinner conversation for the voice password
    ”My voice is my passport”
  4. Insecure APIs – Cloud based APIs form the under pinning of many software and services available today. Essentially ensure these APIs are secure to the best possible effort and
    while they may not be compromised, are they able to stand DDOS attacks for e.g.
  5. Denial of Service – With the advent of the Cloud and cloud services, these attacks could for e.g. hit your Cloud based website causing it to be unresponsive, but you’re still being
    billed for the usage. Also within Microsoft Azure web site configurations we can now add DDOS settings to indicate when the underlying load balancer should throttle the requests coming
    from a particular rogue client.
  6. Malicious Insiders – the focus here is both internal, hosted and Cloud based solutions. Policies and procedures are more important within the Cloud space – what procedures does your
    provider follow? Who can access the encryption keys? where are they stored? etc.
  7. Abuse of Cloud Services – The Cloud possesses many servers, elastic scale and dynamic compute power, making it the perfect platform
    for a bot-net to spin up in and get to work. Azure limits default subscriptions to 20 cores, more are available upon request.
  8. Insufficient Due Diligence – Don’t jump into the Cloud platform without examining the offer. Many hosting providers have added the word ‘Cloud’ to the front of their names as in ‘Cloud Hosting Providers’ with the underlying process and infrastructure the same, with the same vulnerabilities.

    In this space Azure has many ratified processes that get re-certified each year with some of these processes available to military grade specification.

    Cloud is big business for Microsoft and getting things like this wrong would be a true achilles heel.
  9. Shared Technology Issues – as Cloud providers share underlying technologies from CPUs, Services, Storage and other services. If these are exposed then so is your platform potentially.

Talk to you soon.

Mick.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 4:07:07 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Azure | Integration | General | Other | TechTalk
# Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Now there’s hope, there’s an answer and a way out.

I’ve been fried, engulfed, pea shot and corn fodder with the darkness creeping up all around me.

Whether I’m lounging by the pool, or staring into thick fog with the occasional trip to the roof….

…the answer is here….

The addicts guide to PvZ!!

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2358604/plants_vs_zombies_how_to_cope_with.html?cat=19

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 11:48:51 AM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | Other | Windows Phone 7
# Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Keeping the raging iCant do a thing; iCant fwd a txt msg or voice mail iPhone debate… the new Windows Phone 7 Tools are in here all its Silverlight glory.

Imagine being able to play a FLASH movie on the phone! shock horror.

So grab the next big thing and look out phone world….the way phones were meant to be ;)

image

Windows Phone Developer Tools

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:38:34 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Azure | Other | Silverlight
# Saturday, October 03, 2009

Well – October is always a special month for me…I’ve got family birthdays and my MVP Award is up for renomination. You basically keep getting assessed for the work done in the past year.

Keeps you on your toes and makes sure that complacency doesn’t creep in :-)

I’m happy to say I’m back for another year!!! Whoo hoo! It’s really you guys – the community that make my efforts possible. As long as you need them, I’ll do my best to help.

Bring on 2009/2010 – there should be some great advancements in our technology worlds, more agile, more cloud based and more accessible.
(‘Integration should just work’ – that’s the theory)

MVP Logo - Horizontal

Saturday, October 03, 2009 9:52:41 AM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
2009 | General | Other
# Thursday, June 04, 2009

Well folks – that pain point SPAM, it’s normally pills, sniffers, adding inches, removing inches…

Lately I’ve been getting…”Just confirming for the online event X that is happening in 2 days <blurb> Click Here”

This latest one I had to share with you…

Essentially the SPAMMERs formula is… <Send Email><Add Words to Make User Click><Provide Dodgey Links that will track you for life><End Email>

Sent from a gmail acct (that makes it real… :)

-----------------------

Princeton Global Networks

<http://rm.resultsmail.com/customers/BGInc/img/new%20logo.jpg>

Dear Mick Badran,


It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2009/2010 Princeton Global Networks "Honors Edition" of the Registry.

The 2009/2010 edition of the Registry will include biographies of the world's most accomplished individuals. Recognition of this kind is an honor shared by thousands of executive and professional men & women throughout America and the World each year. Inclusion is considered by many as a very high mark of achievement.

Upon final confirmation, you will be listed among a select few of accomplished individuals in the Princeton Global Network Registry. There is NO cost to be included in the Registry as a basic listing.

For accuracy and publication deadlines, please complete your application by using the link provided below and submit your information to us at the earliest opportunity.

http://www.formdesk.com/pgn/New (Link has been modified as it contained GUIDs that I reckon verify my addr)

On behalf of the Managing Director, we wish you continued success.

Sincerely,

<Bugs Bunny>

Editor in Chief

Thursday, June 04, 2009 12:38:18 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | Other
# Tuesday, October 14, 2008

*rant

One of our staff recently got an iPhone after a vodafone sales rep suggested they should 'try' one......one piece of detail they left off......

Vodafone didn't put them on the appropriate plan (?????) as the iPhone can be a little chatty (as we all know).

First bill came in at a 500% increase from previous - wow!!! No phone calls, txts, reminders...nothing (but I get regular txts asking me if I want circus tickets??)

Upon asking them the big "Why" question - "Oh...you're not on an iPhone plan..." ???????? (Should have read "You're on our most expensive plan so we can squeeze more out of you!")

(But you sold me the iPhone......)

/*rant

The good thing that did come out of all this is that I discovered a site that compares all pricing/plans for iPhones from major carriers.

http://www.numbersinaflash.com/iphone-top-10-plans/ - even got knobs and dials!

Virgin Mobile look to be leading the way here

Problem#2 - How to move over to Virgin Mobile?

image

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 1:14:37 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | Other
# Thursday, October 02, 2008

I've been re-awarded my BizTalk MVP - so a big thanks for allowing me to be part of the program for another year (at least :)

A focus of mine is the community - sharing and bettering information sources around the technologies we work and play with. So thanks guys hope you're getting value out of my efforts, and thank you for being part of our growing community.

This year should be a fantastic year in the SOA/ESB/BizTalk/Oslo/WCF/WF/MOSS/BDC/RFID (did I leave any off?) as we're going to see the emergence of several of these technologies play beautifully together.
(we saw this in the last .NET 3.5 Framework - with WCF/WF Services.....stay tuned...for one of my favourite pieces - Windows Workflow)

So for me lots of things to focus on, but one main area is doing more information integrating MOSS/SharePoint with BizTalk/InfoPath/RFID....... and of course workflows....... :-)

Stay tuned......

Thank you linesman and thank you ball boys for your hard efforts and major participation!!!!!

Life is short!

Mick.

logo_mvp

Thursday, October 02, 2008 10:20:47 AM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [2] -
General | Other
# Thursday, July 10, 2008

One of the handiest tools I've used in the last year - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx

If you're presenting, even just showing your code, screen to colleagues then this is superb

Thursday, July 10, 2008 8:50:48 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | Other | Tips
# Thursday, March 06, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:54:47 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | Other
# Monday, February 25, 2008
Kirk Allen Evans recent blog post caught my 'silverlight eye'.

Silverlight.JPG

Shows some interesting effects that can be done with Silverlight and importantly has the src code there for you to learn from.

Well done Kirk!



Monday, February 25, 2008 2:35:18 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | General | Other | Tips
# Monday, August 20, 2007

In the previous beta this tool supported a huge range of different blogs and their respective APIs....except Sharepoint.
(There was a tweak we could do, but essentially you had to turn off NTLM authentication and go with Forms.....generally this wasn't going to happen anytime soon)

Enter - LW Beta 2 - pick up your copy HERE

Enjoy!

Monday, August 20, 2007 12:32:54 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
.NET Developer | General | Other | Tips
# Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wow what a night planned!!! WF 101 (even good for managers! :)); BTS hosting WF and making it all happen under BizTalk Labs (that's next after R2)

Check it out and looking forward in seeing you there......

-------- Details ---------

Examine Windows Workflow talking to BizTalk R2 and BizTalk Labs.

Firstly a BIG thanks to those that enjoyed the exam cram we did last month (we had to order additional pizza!) and I’ve since heard that several of you have sat and passed the EXAM!!! Well done!!

With R2 just around the corner......I decided to tackle the Windows Workflow(WF) question.
The message is usually BTS vs WF, never BTS AND WF.

We’ll cover:

1.      Workflow 101 (you should be able to bring your manager along to this one J)

2.      Hosting Workflow’s within BizTalk with the new BizTalk extensions for WF SDK

3.      BizTalk Labs – life after R2....and where we are heading.....

Meeting details:

When: July 4th Food at 6pm, kick off 6.30pm. Finish up around 8pm.
Where: Microsoft
1 Epping Road
Riverside Corporate Park
North Ryde NSW 2113 Australia.
(parking available)

 

WF Session Focus Details:
1.First
up we will look at the fundamentals of Workflow; what makes them run; communications; and how do we host them.
(WF is the technology that is brightly coloured in VS.NET and comes with .NET 3.0) – you could even workflow your toaster if you wanted to.

 

2.Next – we’ll take a Workflow and use WCF under the covers to act as the communication medium between BTS R2 & WF. Very nice.
So now in BTS R2 we can host WF (through a small ‘Orchestration wrapper’) meaning that when BTS persists, WF does too – WF is now running inside BTSNTSvc.exe.
(cross off the list – ‘find a place for my WF’s to live’)


3.Thirdly – Imagine being able to call our creation from anywhere and behind umpteen firewalls between caller/sender.....enter into the ring
BizTalk Labs!!! Very exciting – labs.BizTalk.net.
(what communications do you think we use.......WCF......hmmm....seems to be a common thread here!)
So it’s a night on WF/R2 wrapped up in WCF – wow what a great set of technologies!!!!

 

See you there and let me know your coming
Mick Badran.
p.s. I’ve fallen in love with Microsoft Surface.......wow!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2007 2:02:26 AM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Events | General | Other | Training
# Friday, June 29, 2007

MS have been busy in this space and we've now got the following (or soon will have :)

  1. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Evaluation Edition
  2. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Branch Edition
  3. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Developer Edition
  4. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Standard Edition
  5. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Enterprise Edition

Most are pretty self explanitory except for the Branch Edition (BE) - for those of you that remember the BTS Partner Edition (phased out with the introduction of BTS2006), BE is comparable with it.

There are some restrictions on this though (as currently determined by the powers to be...):
- the BE must connected to Enterprise Edition.
- two or more BE's can't talk directly to each other, must go through a Enterprise Edition

There's a document available that discusses upgrading to BTS06R2 - it's still a work in progress but it's a good start -
MS Upgrade Document

In particular there is a great image that gives a good outline of the dependencies (taken from the document):

 

 

Food for thought folks - there's some very exciting times ahead.

Friday, June 29, 2007 9:49:07 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights | Other
# Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm pretty excited about this one! BI - Business Intelligence. It usually comes up towards the end of my project (especially BizTalk ones), what do we now do with our information within our SQL Cubes?? I find that the subject of BI is never properly addressed - whitepapers etc etc. How do you set this up, more importantly - how can you make it effective and meaningful for your Organisation.

*Good question I think* - I know SQL 2005 has a whole bunch of prediction models etc etc....once I get my winning lotto numbers out of it....this blog will be just cease.....till then :)

So what's cooking (the paperback version) of this offering:

  • 5 days - get comprehensive and specific expert knowledge for 5 days. (Could be some of the most fruitful 5 days you spend!)
  • Our instructors have worked with Microsoft Corp in creating and delivering the Microsoft BI Official Curriculum - they definitely know their stuff :-)
    (we know your time is precious - we aim for our offerings to be pinpoint and as effective as possible for you)
  • Learn out the new Microsoft BI Platform- Sharepoint 2007 Portal Dashboards, Performance Point, Proclarity, OLAP Cubes and more
  • I'm someone that learns by doing.....so 40% of the course is interactive hands-on labs!
  • We've partnered with DDLS (this allows us to focus on what we do best together) - to bring you the best possible learning experience.
  • (I'm wanting to get on the course!!!! Brilliant....delivered to your city....you dont have to travel to the heights of Mt. Everest to find someone that knows about BI :))

More Information, Course Details - HERE

Book on the Course HERE

Hope to see you there!! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007 5:08:47 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Events | General | Other | Tips | Training
# Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A magic piece of software that deserves a great rap!!! :)

There I was....on a client site 'inbetween' meetings (as best you get) and I got a call from another client having a biztalk issue and needed some guidance. (sound familiar....family members wanting remote phone support....)

So I was chatting to my beloved/dear client trying to sort out the issue. If only I had a view of their screen....I thought smile_eyeroll

I then ran some thoughts through my head.....Netmeeting....I could try and get that going, but what about firewalls...the whole I'll call you, no you call me thing - it works, doesnt work....time consuming to set up etc. (you get the picture) - I'm thinking this is gonna be at least a 30min phone call.

Then I remembered (as a MVP) I get a few offers each month of 'use our product' type deals....and I remembered this one from Microsoft called 'Tahiti' - sharing/collaboration tool. (not to be confused with the Tahitian - "Save the cheerleader....save the World!")

Now get this - from digging up the past email, clicking on a link, 3MB download, installing and setting up a session, inviting the person at the end of my support call (via email, or I could use IM). And then they doing a corresponding setup etc. 15minutes!!!! 15 minutes only!!!

And within that time I was seeing their screen, control of their screen AND we had invited another techie to the session to help resolve their area of the problem.

So 3 people, all behind respective firewalls - collaboratively sharing etc.

SENSATIONAL!!!!! It really is a top top top (3 tops - must be good :) application.

Well you can grab the application (which is now called SharedView) from Microsoft Connect - Shared View

 

 

And now the finally........in 15 minutes...the sharing window!

 

(AND it's the sort of app that if you've got running....people are GOING to stop by your screen and think it's the next SilverLight application!!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:49:03 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other | Tips | Training
# Sunday, May 13, 2007

After being directed by a TechNet article to get the latest version of WDS - I was ready for the install.

Double clicked on wdssetup.exe - ready to roll.

A big error message says "Please remove previous versions....then upgrade"

After scouring add/remove programs and the updates, there was not 'apparent' entry called 'Windows Desktop Search' (I was directed to another article that mentioned if I checked the 'MSN Apps' registry to see if there was a WDS Version registered there.....I had a version number 3.0.0.000x but not much more as in a productID)

I finally resorted to a registry hack - searched for all key/values that had 'Windows Desktop Search" somewhere (as this was the path under c:\program files\..." - and I hacked away.
(this was a VPC image with undo disks turned on - so dont try this at home boys and girls :)

After completing that....I thought I'd re-run WDS 3.01 setup again.......and I got further than before - in fact the furthest I'd gotten.

I arrived at a welcome screen with a 'Next' button....guess what the first thing it did after I hit next..........

".....Upgrading previous versions......"

 

......now where's that number to book myself in!!! smile_thinking

Sunday, May 13, 2007 6:51:56 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [2] -
MOSS | Other | Tips
# Sunday, May 06, 2007

While preparing one of my presentations for the upcoming Sharepoint Conference I came across this funny article.

Talks about the principles of poor UI Design (I thought I could be asleep here...so I decided to read 2 words and not to risk me being in a winter hibernation slumber).

I admit I had a good laugh at this - so I'll share. (my favourite is #6)

http://www.sapdesignguild.org/community/design/golden_rules.asp

 

Golden Rules for Bad User Interfaces

by Gerd Waloszek, Product Design Center, SAP AG – Last Update: 02/27/2007

The SAP Design Guild Website is full of guidelines and tips for good user interface design, and it's not the only one on the Web. Nevertheless, we see examples of bad user interface design everywhere – many more than users would like to see. As people like to do just the opposite of what one is proposing, we thought that it might be a good idea to promote bad user interface design. Therefore, we collected "Golden Rules for Bad User Interfaces" on this page – please help yourself (and do the opposite). We started this page with ten rules and are continually expanding our collection.

Note: The rules are listed in backward order – the most recently added rules come first. In all other respects, the order of the rules is arbitrary and does not reflect their significance.

Golden Rule No. 14: Do not let users interrupt time-consuming and/or resource-hungry processes.

Ignore the users' cancel attempts!

Reasoning: Making processes that put the computer into agony more or less uninterruptible ensures that users take their mandatory coffee breaks.

Example: Start a backup or indexing process while users are not aware of it. Make this process hard to cancel, that is, let it ignore the users' mouse clicks and key presses.

Golden Rule No. 13: Leave out functionality that would make the users' life easier – let them do it the hard (cumbersome) way.

Reasoning: Additional functionality would provide users with too many choices and might confuse them.

Example: When users want to add items to a list, allow them to add items at the end of the list only and let them then move the items to the correct position. That is, do not offer additional functionality for inserting items at their target locations. To add some spice, introduce spurious errors that return items to the bottom when users have already moved them half-way up.

Example: Do not offer the option of selecting multiple items, for example, for moving or deleting items. The option of working on one single item suffices to let users achieve their goals – apart from that it may take a little bit longer...

Example: After inserting a set of new items (for example, by command, drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste) don't show them as selected. This would help users to recognize where in the list the items were sorted in. To detect the items that were just inserted will consume quite some time, besides the pure recall of which items were inserted. (Contributed by Oliver Keim, SAP AG)

Golden Rule No. 12: Destroy the work context after each system reaction.

Wipe out the context!

Reasoning: Destroying the work context allows users to reflect their work and ask themselves whether it really makes sense.

Example: Deselect selected screen elements after a system reaction (e.g. a round trip).

Example: Move HTML pages or tables that have been scrolled down by the user to the top after a system reaction (e.g. a round trip); in the case of multiple pages (e.g. in hit lists or document list) return the user to the first page.

Golden Rule No. 11: Take great care in setting bad defaults: contrary to the users' expectations, disastrous, annoying, useless – it's up to you!

Oh no!

Reasoning: Bad defaults are a nice way to surprise users, be it immediately or – at best, unexpectedly – anytime.

Example: Set default options in Web forms so that users get unwanted newsletters or offers, have their addresses distributed, etc.

Example: Set the default option in dialog boxes on the most dangerous option, for example, on deleting a file or format the hard drive.

Example: In forms, set dates (or other data) on useless default values. For example, set the date for applying for a vacation on the current day.

Golden Rule No. 10: Spread the message of bad examples and live it!

Cow

Reasoning: Examples are a perfect teaching method. But as we all know, bad examples are the best – they allure most.

Example: Just follow any of the other golden rules on this page, that's a perfect start.

Example: If you have to make presentations make sure that you include your bad examples in the presentations.

Note: Good examples are hard to find and typically criticized until nobody appreciates them anymore. Why waste time with unproductive discussions?

Golden Rule No. 9: Keep away from end users!

Site visit

Reasoning: You are the expert and know what users need – because you know what you need. Why should they need something else?

Example: If you think that a certain functionality is not needed don't implement it – why should other people need it?

Example: Many end users have many opinions, you have one. That's far easier and faster to implement.

Note: Doing without site visits saves your company a lot of time and money.

Golden Rule No. 8: Make using your application a real challenge!

Rocket

Reasoning: This teaches people to take more risks, which is important particularly in economically harder times.

Example: Do not offer an Undo function.

Example: Do not warn users if actions can have severe consequences.

Note: If you want to top this and make using your application like playing Russian roulette, change the names of important functions, such as Save and Delete, temporarily from time to time...

Golden Rule No. 7: Make your application mouse-only – do not offer any keyboard shortcuts.

Mouse

Reason 1: This will make your application completely inaccessible to visually impaired users. Therefore, you can leave out all the other accessibility stuff as well. That will save you a lot of development time.

Reason 2: This will drive many experts crazy who used to accelerate their work with keyboard shortcuts. Now, they will have more empathy for beginners because they are thrown back to their speed.

Golden Rule No. 6: Hide important and often-used functionality from the users' view.

Blind

Reasoning: This strategy stimulates users to explore your application and learn a lot about it.

Example: Place buttons for important functions off-screen so that users have to scroll in order to access them.

Example: Hide important functions in menus where users would never expect them.

Golden Rule No. 5: Educate users in technical language.

Teacher Lämpel

Reasoning: Lifelong learning is hip. As many of us spend a lot of their time at the computer, it's the ideal stage for learning. Moreover, sociologists bemoan that people's vocabulary is more and more reducing. Applications with a challenging vocabulary can go against this trend.

Example: Always send URLs as UTF-8 (requires restart) (advanced settings in MS Internet Explorer)

Golden Rule No. 4: Use abbreviations wherever possible, particularly where there would be space enough for the complete term.

Abbreviations

Reasoning: Abbreviations make an application look more professional, particularly if you create abbreviations that are new or replace commonly used ones.

Example: Use abbreviations for field labels, column headings, button texts even if space restrictions do not require this.

Examples: Use "dat." instead of "date," "TolKy" instead of "Tolerance Key," "NxOb" instead of "Next Object," and many more...

Golden Rule No. 3: Make it slow!

Snail

Example: There are nearly unlimited possibilities of making software slow. For example, you can include long lasting checks or roundtrips after each user input. Or you can force users through long chains of dialog boxes.

Golden Rule No. 2: Do not obey standards!

The evil designer II

Example: Do not use standard screen elements for a given purpose, such as single selection (e.g. use checkboxes instead of radiobuttons because they look nicer).

Example: Do not place menu items into the categories and locations they typically belong to (e.g. place "Save" in the "Edit Menu").

Golden Rule No. 1: Keep the users busy doing unnecessary work!

The evil designer
Example: It's a "good" habit to let users enter data that the system already knows and could provide beforehand.

Example: Let users enter data into fields only to tell them afterwards that they cannot enter data there (e.g. an application lets you enter data on holidays or weekends and tells you afterwards that you cannot work on those days).

Sunday, May 06, 2007 5:34:13 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights | MOSS | Other | Tips | Training
# Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Earlier this week I received an email from Anil Sanagavarapu who firstly is crazy about Cricket and the World Cup.

He mentioned that his company Iris Software is embarking on a cool RFID Services project.....

So we got chatting and I've just seen what they're doing around RFID using Microsoft RFID Services, was fantastic.

Specifically their solution implements:

  1. Sync/Async reading of Tags
  2. Enrichment of Tag data within MS RFID Services Environment, supplimenting Tag Info with data coming from external datasources in a high performance environment.
  3. Optional emails of various tag events as the items go about their merry way.


The guys are looking to bring out some Video Content around their solution and project based on their experiences. They will provide a Walk through of Microsoft RFID Services, how to develop and implement solutions.

Looking fwd to that - great work guys! smile_regular

Cheers,

Mick.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:09:30 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | RFID | Other
# Sunday, February 25, 2007

Examining BAM and BAM APIs 

Wednesday, 28th February 2007
6:00 PM Food and Drinks, 6:30 PM Kick Off
1 Epping Road, Microsoft
North Ryde, Sydney

Hi all, we're back at Microsoft North Ryde this month with a great presentation on BAM - Business Activity Monitoring. What information are you getting out of your running Business Processes? Averages, durations and things like Mins and Maximums? You should be and it's all relatively easy and quick.
I've provided a calendar appointment for your calendars so join me.

Presenter:

Mick Badran, BizTalk MVP who specialises in Microsoft Technologies as a Solutions Architect/Developer. With over 15 years consulting experience and 11 years as a Microsoft Certified Trainer provides in depth real world knowledge.

Session Details

Using BAM is something that can be vital to the business and even BizTalk operators to identify within the context of a business process - "How is the BizTalk process going?", "How long does it on average take for an Order to be fulfilled?" etc.
How hard or easy is it to extract this from your current system?
We will cover exposing your business data from your running business processes.
This session will cover the setting up of BAM but more importantly focuses on BAM Relationships and Continuations tying together various separate units of work that relate to the overall business process. The session will also cover BAM APIs and the new BAM interceptors within Windows Workflow Foundation.
Non BizTalk can also take advantage of BAM through the BAM APIs, giving a comprehensive view of all the subprocesses within a busness process.
Mick will cover the following aspects:

  1. BAM and BAM fundamentals
  2. BAM enabling your BizTalk processes
  3. Event streams and Interceptors - is this BAM or Star wars?
  4. Using the BAM APIs both internally within BizTalk and from external applications/services.
  5. Automating BAM deployments.

As always love to hear from you and what's been getting you excited at work.

Who Should Attend?

If you're looking to get additional business related information out of your Biztalk processes then this session is for you.
This session is technically focused for Biztalk developers and Application Architects.
Please be sure that you RSVP so we know how many to expect. Reply with a yea or ney to mickb.NOSPAMFORME@NOSPAMbreezetraining.com.au
Looking forward to seeing you there at Microsoft Premises - North Ryde
Mick and Mark 
Ph: 0404 842 833 (Mick's mobile)
SydBiz.Org

Sunday, February 25, 2007 1:20:32 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Other | Training
# Monday, February 12, 2007

If you're waking up after the new year and thinking about looking at SPS v3/MOSS 2007, it appears that you're not alone.

Breeze Training has put on extra courses due to popular demand. Breeze are partnering with Dimension Data Learning Solutions to bring these to you around Australia!

‘Additional dates have been put on because the 1st bootcamp sold out with a waiting list. For those that missed out we now have an additional date in Sydney for the end of Feb. If you are keen, book quickly as seats are limited.

Here’s the link Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Boot Camp (fixed link) check for dates in a city near you.

Code

State

Start Date

Status

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

NSW

12/2/2007

SOLD OUT

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

WA

26/2/2007

SOLD OUT

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

VIC

27/2/2007

Few Places

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

NSW

27/2/2007

Few Places

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

QLD

12/3/2007

 

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

ACT

20/3/2007

SOLD OUT

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

WA

26/3/2007

SOLD OUT

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

ACT

30/4/07 

 

MSSHARE07_BOOTCAMP_1

WA

7/5/2007

 

Monday, February 12, 2007 11:53:22 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
MOSS | Office | Other | Training
# Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's all pretty easy actually - if you have IE7 look in the drop down list of search providers (top RHS) and you'll see me smile_regular 

Dont know whether you'll use it - but it saves me all the time when I'm out on site and "I know I put that somewhere....." thought comes into my head.

The way to set your own provider up:

  1. Create an XML Sample Provider file - from here 
  2. Upload the file to your blog somewhere - let's say the root.
  3. Add the line to the top of the page
    <link rel="search" title="<your title>" href="<url to searchProvider.xml>" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" />
  4. Save all and you get a nice little drop down entry like mine!

    Enjoy!
Sunday, February 11, 2007 10:23:12 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other | Tips

Here's an per an Email from Eric earlier - grab it!

Hi all,

An updated version of the BizTalk Server 2006 CHM has been published and is available for download here.

Thanks,

Eric

Sunday, February 11, 2007 9:22:34 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [1] -
BizTalk | Other
# Thursday, February 08, 2007

A buddy of mine sent me this link
http://www.thesuperheroquiz.com/

Do the quiz and see who you come out to be.

I got SuperGirl!!!!!!! now I dont know whether that was who I am, or who I'd like to end up with :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007 10:02:53 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [4] -
Other
# Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Updated a machine to all the latest patches/updates/hotfixes...whatever.
Rebooted (there's always that moment where you wonder "will it" or "wont it" startup again.......

My system gave me a great error message (worst thing is - this was working fine before the patches. Windows didnt care)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 2:02:47 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other | Tips
# Tuesday, January 23, 2007

If you think of this as a proxy server for RDP Clients then that works. It can also sit behind an ISA 2006 server.

You need the latest RDP 6.0 client.

Download it from Microsoft here. Read the KB article here (which includes links to versions for OSes other than 32-bit XP, as well). smile_teeth

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 10:42:41 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other | Tips
# Saturday, January 06, 2007

I thought I'd share this festive season laugh being Christmas and all.

For the home I bought a set of Solar Powered Christmas Lights. I returned home with my purchase and instantly got huge points with all and sundry (so I might, just might be in the positives now)

I hung them up around the yard and discovered.....
the problem about these lights......think about it....solar powered lights (usually come on at night).

Let me just say that there's not one Christmas photo with these lights ON......so much for the points...easy come...easy go :-)
Saturday, January 06, 2007 11:05:38 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other
# Friday, January 05, 2007

A great buddy of mine gives blood, sweat and (I'm sure) tears to helping the community getting stuck into in VSTS.

Anthony has run breakfasts in Brisbane and Sydney, seminars, labs etc...all in his own time and for the love of it.

It's great to see such an expert who is passionate and has now been rewarded from Microsoft by being awarded a MVP


Anthony works with Breeze Training to offer a comprehensive VSTS Workshop. He constantly is refining/updating the workshop to reflect the latest updates and additions capable within a VSTS based solution. (I'm sure he sleeps at some point)

Well done AB!!!! Keep up the good work.
Friday, January 05, 2007 10:46:28 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other | Training
# Thursday, January 04, 2007

It's going around and a bit like a 'who dunnit' (sort of). In short - someone 'tags' you and you then have to reveal 5 things about yourself you normally wouldn't.

VSTS Guru Anthony Borton did me the honours and now I'm tagged. (thanks!)

So here goes:
1. I won $300 dollars when I was 15 on a radio competition for the longest toe(5.5cms) in Wollongong (where I grew up) - the comp. was on for the day and you had to go into the radio station for them to measure. My record stood from 10.30am onwards.

2. During my school holidays I used to sell Watermellons on Bondi beach in the mornings - had something going there.....

3. When I was 7 my dad dressed me up as a girl with a wig (we have a womens fashion shop in the family) etc. and took my sister and I to the local circus - as girls got in for free. (My therapist says I'm doing well now and nearly over it)

4. I'm left handed - "left handers are the only ones in their right mind" (something like that - I had a t-shirt when I was 5 with this. Yes using right handed scissors all your life is tough)

5. For my very last exam at Uni I studied for nearly 4 weeks for this last exam. Rode my push bike into the exam - panicked as the exam room was locked and no one else was there. I was 1hr early!! Got into the exam and during reading time didnt recognise one question (it was going to be tough I thought).

I discussed the exam with one of the supervisors only to be told that my lecturer in this subject stream DIDNT HAVE FINAL EXAMS!! We were assessed during the term.........I was back riding my bike again at 9.30am!

Now which island did my friends go to....

My five people I've decided to tag

  1. David McGhee - great guy now with Microsoft with a passion for just about anything.
  2. Chris Vidotto - Microsoft Technical Specialist - BizTalk. He's whooping me on xbox live at the moment.
  3. Mark Daunt - fellow BizTalk/MOSS/SQL expert - found sleeping in some bizzar places.
  4. Clayton James - Loving Sharepoint and being a MCT
  5. Mark Burch - Biztalk Support Engineer, and co-founder of the Sydney BizTalk User Group.

Looking forward in seeing what you've got folks.

Thursday, January 04, 2007 6:20:49 PM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [4] -
Other
# Tuesday, December 26, 2006

All full up, eaten several families out of house and home and we all slept under the tree waiting for Santa...early mornings.....:|

Best wishes and see you all in 2007 for an even better year!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 10:32:56 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Events | Other
# Friday, November 10, 2006

My fellow partner in crime from our Sydney User Group has taken up the challenge and launched a blog!!!

Mark Burch has been solving all sorts of Microsoft PSS BizTalk 'challenges' - great to have you onboard Mark!

He's got a wealth of knowledge and he's on the 'inside' (works for MS) - so he might tell you the best tips for the next race or some get down dirty into the land of BizTalk (as we know, that land is growing)

Watch out Mark...these blogs are addictive...

Mark's Blog -http://biztorque.net/

Friday, November 10, 2006 10:14:40 AM (AUS Eastern Daylight Time, UTC+11:00)  #    Comments [0] -
BizTalk | Insights | Other | Tips
# Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm impressed again with another piece of software!!!

While touching base with a fellow brilliant BizTalk buddy of mine Enrique, he led me to this.

Here's an app - 1 application to run that requires no installation on the target machine(s) that allows you to -share desktops, extend desktops across an IP network!!!

Check out MaxiVista - seeing that NetMeeting in Vista is being phased out and replaced with Windows Meeting Space...more 'locked' down and not as free and easy as netmeeting


Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:36:52 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other | Tips
# Thursday, September 14, 2006

While surfing the web the other night ..this Ad came up....anything wrong with it :)

I'm wondering if it was an Ad by AMD?? ;)
(Imagine being the company actually paying for these Ads)

Thursday, September 14, 2006 9:20:30 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other
# Monday, September 11, 2006
I thought I'd share an experience or two around this space.

Since being on the beta program for Vista (and installing the thing toooooo many times), it's looking pretty good as Vista is now in RC1.

I'm not much for the whole IPv6 stuff - where as I think it's great from a technology perspective, I mean...I can have 700 000 IP addresses per square meter on the earth (dont know what I'll do with all those devices....but hey, my IP enabled Fridge wont be lonely :))

Vista comes out of the box with IPv6 enabled - you CANT uninstall it, you just disable it. And there's a couple of other network items as well in each adapter bindings that relate to IPv6.

From doing training + presenting on IPv4 + IPv6 a few years ago (IPv6 isnt new, just legislation has caught up), the govts. wanted to track and capture internet purchase transaction details so essentially they could tax you on your purchases (e.g. GST/VAT etc.). The problem with IPv4 is that the addresses are no assigned in any country order, ISPs get given blocks and that's what you get.

Then there was the big scare that we're running out of IP addresses and we all should move to IPv6....then proxies/nat/reverse proxies etc. all saved the day. The argument has been quiet since.

Back to Vista....I was getting 'POOR' wireless performance with the IPv6 components active (even though there's no IPv6 near home at the moment)

So I removed the 'Logical Link Layer Transport' and his friend, then deselected IPv6 on the Wireless Adapter....
now my Wireless performance is 'Great' - go figure.

Mick.
Monday, September 11, 2006 9:42:28 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other
Mike sent me an email today (I know I was lucky, I got one!)

After he mentioned that he got a Dual Quad Xeon 64 bit....Mac Machine, he told me about driver issues (not a good sign).

So Mike was going to have to wait a little longer for the crunching of those holiday snaps.....

This little nLite is a .NET 2.0 app that can create bootable CDs/DVDs from your O/S Source material. It will
(1) incorporate special drivers - so for on 64 bit machines....SATA drives....nVidia RAID drivers and they usually give you a floppy disk (or in my case I had to download some). Now with a floppy disk....who's seen a machine that has a floppy drive lately??? they seem to be history. So good luck on the floppy disk!

So being able to add drivers to the installation media is just a gem!! Especially for ALL your wacky devices....Boot CD that does the entire lot.

(2) nLite will REMOVE the apps that you dont want e.g. Outlook Express, Windows Messenger..... so the actual install size is smaller. (so nLite doesnt just not install them, they are not on the cd)

(3) slip stream service packs + updates + hotfixes (nice!!!) - so I havent tried adding BTS to the install mix, but I'm working on it :)

(4) unattended/silent installs.

Nice app - save you a stack of time if you're in the business of building base O/S's etc. Dev/Test/Stage/Prod environments.

Thanks Mike! Check it out here (best of ALL it's FREE!)

Cheers,

Mick.

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:16:46 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Other | Tips
# Friday, September 08, 2006

Earlier this week I was onsite with a Sharepoint 2007 project (I know....BizTalk is the NEXT stage...)
Basically the conversation went:
Client: "We want to implement Sharepoint by December"
Me: "You'll want to look at Sharepoint V3" (why waste time on V2??)
Client: "Let's install it and talk more before lunch. Whatever it is....it's got to be 'FREE' as I have no budget left"

So I installed WSS V3 and configured a couple of WebApplications - one for 'test/play' and another for the 'live' site.

At lunch we spoke - I found out they wanted aggregated Search, Audiences, Roles, Profiles....basically ALL the things in PORTAL and not WSS!
But it had to be free.......

So the Partner I was working with (www.avc.com.au) told me all about their involvement with MS's new licensing model - SPLA.
Sort of like a leasing model, rather than a huge upfront cost!! My mind wondered........HOW GOOD!

So for this Client, they could quite easily pass off the per monthly leasing costs and not be slugged.

What this means for you/us:
- one of the biggest blockers to projects/solutions is the initial outlay (some folks call it 'Investment') for something that is not even generating returns. e.g. VSTS etc.

- you can now setup a development team for 6 months, paying something like a per developer per month price. End of the project you pay no more!

I've done alot of work over the years with the AVC crew, and they can explain further.

Here's a snippet from Andy Every (main AVC SPLA contact) that I asked for around a BizTalk 2006 example. (Aussie dollars)

SPLA is a subscriber licensing agreement where you effectively rent your licenses on a monthly basis. The benefits are:

  • Off balance sheet expense i.e. full tax write off, you never own the licenses.
  • You only pay each month for what you are using. No need to forecast maximum usage over multiple years
  • You can upgrade to the latest version of any product you are paying for at any time.
  • Greater visibility of your operational expenses
  • Project costs are only incurred for the duration of the project

To use your example licensing Biztalk Std Edition would be as follows:

Open Business Corporate          = $20,625.45 ex GST (RRP) for one processor license inc SA for the first two years,  then $6,875.45 SA every two years

SPLA                                       = $710.27/month ex GST (RRP) for one processor license (includes SA)

Please Note - there is a monthly Network Services Management Fee (usually we charge a standard $25.00 ex GST) that AVC has to charge to be in compliance with the SPLA Agreement

Friday, September 08, 2006 8:09:56 AM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [1] -
BizTalk | Office | Other
# Sunday, September 03, 2006

Nice to have some returns in life! Here's a useful offer if you're sitting exams from now until Christmas

Use this voucher number when booking for an exam with VUE - MSAU11711C74

Here's a snippet from the email I received earlier.

-------------------

Your MCT ID code is the key to your participation in the MCT Rewards Program. With this unique code, (used as a voucher number in the Pearson VUE registration system) your students will receive a 15% discount for every exam registered for and delivered between now and December 31, 2006.

Your code (MSAU11711C74) and the student discount are active today, so start sharing them immediately with students in your classrooms as you discuss the personal and career benefits of skills validation.

 

Sunday, September 03, 2006 8:56:59 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Events | Other
# Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thought I'd be up for a face lift - had my old blog for ages and there are a few things it DOESNT
do well.....so....rather than get a hair cut.....thought a change of blog is better.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 10:40:05 PM (AUS Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Other
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