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What Video Game Character Are You? I am Kung Fu Master.
I am Kung Fu Master.

I like to be in control of myself. I dislike crowds, especially crowds containing people trying to kill me. Even though I always win, I prefer to avoid fights if possible.

What Video Game Character Are You?

Blogs I read

Rob Marshall @

... my god, it's full of stars

June 2010 - Posts

  • Scuba - Malta - June 2010 - Visting the P29 and Rozi

    more video from my underwater exploits ...

    This time, Malta, June 2010, me and a friend go dive the P29 and the Rozi on twins+stage


  • iPhone 4 - get a grip!

    Funniest announcement EVER about Apple products:

    Steve's "Golden" and very helpful advise is:

    "Just avoid holding it in that way."

    Let's back up a bit here ... hold it that way?

    Sink a few hundred in to a new toy, to find out you can't hold it in a regular and accepted way. A phone that can only be handled in a certain way? Have we gone foward or backwards here?

    The official advice from Apple is to:

    "avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band".

    Another insightful response from Apple:

    "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas."

    Gripping stuff, my iPhone 3G isn't as fickle about being touched, so this is due to the new antenna being on the outside, oh yeah and being on the bottom left!

    I was going to buy one of these puppies. If the queues were not so long yesterday I'd probably have one here right now. Kind of relieved that I didn't. Apple seem to have teething trouble every time they release something new. All companies do I guess.

    I'll most likely wait for Apple to revise the hardware and engineer out this flawed antenna as I'm always going to hold it "that way" since I'm left handed. Guess Steve wants us lefties to disappear or not buy his phones! Maybe he should get some lefties to join his test group so this kind of sillyness doesn't happen again ... I bet someone in the Apple engineering department has known about this since day 1 :-) Impossible to imagine that they don't.

    Good luck Apple :-)

    Links: <--- this ones worth following as it is getting updated a fair bit!

  • xxx gets approved by ICANN

    After what seems like an eternity, mostly likely just a decade, the top level xxx domain gets approved for use.

    As usual, Slashdot has some withering, comical and amusing comments worthy of burning some time to read

    One commentor points out that instead of trying to regulate the internet like this to protect our children (mines on the way, by the time he touches the net it'll be a different beast altogether I'm sure), instead create a .kids top level domain and ring-fence appropriately. Far more efficient way of going about it, and makes it a lot easier for parents to control (filter everything except .kids)

    Wonder how long it'll take before the porno industry moves to .xxx, bet the take up is SLOOOOWwwww

  • ConfigMgr 2007 and Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 integration

    Jeff Wettlaufer highlighted this video on how to integrate FEP 2010 in to ConfigMgr 2007, seems to have caused a bit of a stir at TechEd 2010 I believe, bit of a hot topic ...

  • Documentation topics every Configuration Manager admin should know

    Over on the The Configuration Manager Support Team Blog, there's write up on ConfigMgr Documentation topics that are currently in demand. The list is a bit empty right now, only refering to the Prerequisites, but a little birdy gave me a bigger list which can be shared.

    This gives you an idea of what the entry-level, as well as well-oiled ConfigMgr administrators are looking at.

    No surpise that PKI appears in the list, as people consider Native Mode for their existing or new implementations, nor that PXE for OS deployment, Installing ConfigMgr Sites servers and Client installation properties appear ...


  • No2 on the way …

    My son at 27 wks :-)


    Its truly amazing what technology can do with sound waves.

  • ConfigMgr 2011 - SQL Replication troubleshooting

    As you probably already know, ConfigMgr 2011 (v.Next) uses SQL Replication to pass data between sites ...

    I've been troubleshooting SQL 2008 Replication, and found a few interesting links that might help grow out your skills in this area if you're not already above novice-level :-)

    Here is SQL Server Replication exposed on MSDN in all its glory:

    Here are a collection of links on troubleshooting from MSDN:

    Alexander Chigrik has a write up on SQL Replication troubleshooting ... - Not sure how appropriate this to the way ConfigMgr expects SQL replication to be configured so be careful what you change, and only use this guide by Alexander to identify existing faults rather than using it to define a standard group of settings for SQL (read the article, you'll understand)

  • SCVMM 2008 R2 hotfix rollup

  • Set adrift ...

    Incredible story behind a lost underwater camera, check it out here:

    If I was the manufacturer of the camera housing I'd be using this in my marketing :-)

  • Jeroen Erkelens - Good example of thinking on your feet

    I stumbled in to this article by Jeroen Erkelens earlier. The reason I thought it'd be worth sharing is that I've come across this kind of solution in several companies, and managing an exit code harks back to the DOS days which has spawned several solutions all varying in degrees of elegence. Today we would use VBScript and massage the error return value to suit our needs.

    Good job Jeroen in outlining your solution, very helpful diagrams included.

  • Setting up a ConfigMgr 2011 Beta (v.Next) Hierarchy for lab use

    Now that v.Next Beta build 7469 has been made available, I thought I'd put this little lot together for you.

    Installing ConfigMgr 2011 Beta Hierarchy

    I make a few assumptions in this guide, that you've checked the Hardware Requirements and can easily meet them, with either a physical or virtual test environment, and that if you encounter any problems, you're savvy enough to be able to overcome them. Have a flip through the Release Notes, and with good ConfigMgr 2007 skills you should get by. The setup shouldn't challenge existing ConfigMgr administrators, beyond configuring SQL Ports and the Windows Firewall.

    Now that the product is X64, you should be using an X64 OS, and install X64 prerequisites. The only X86 application that you might need, is Trace32.

    The environment looks like this

    Windows 2008 Domain Controller: Domain called LAB

    • ConfigMgr 2011 Central Administration Site (to enable us to show SQL 2008 replication taking place)
    • ConfigMgr 2011 Primary (to show SQL 2008 replication to the CAS)
    • ConfigMgr 2011 site security: Mixed Mode

    I'll cover the following in a separate posting, or update this one:

    • A Secondary (to show SQL 2008 Express replication to SQL 2008 Standard\Enterprise)
    • Windows 2008 R2 Domain Controller
    • Windows 2008 R2 ConfigMgr 2011 Central Administration Site
    • Windows 2008 R2 ConfigMgr 2011 Primary Site server

    If you wanted too, you could add another VM or two in for Remote SQL setup of the CAS and\or the Primary. Really is up to you how you set out the pieces, but for simplicity sake I’ve kept SQL local, and been cheeky with WSUS’s use of the ConfigMgr 2011 SQL instance. Keep ConfigMgr 2011’s SQL instance isolated in production.

    To build the lab you'll need the following:

    • Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise or Standard - X64
    • SQL 2008 Enterprise or Standard with SP1 - X64
    • Cumulative update package 6 for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 - KB977443 - X64
    • ConfigMgr Beta 1 build 7469 (future builds will differ slightly, but this instruction set should hold)
    • WSUS 3.0 SP2 - X64
    • .NET framework 4.0 – X64
    • You should also use SQL 2008 Express to host WSUS, but ever wayward, I chose to put it in the ConfigMgr 2011 instance, never do this in production

    The OS's need all the same requirements as ConfigMgr 2007, with the obvious exception of X64, and the notable absence of WEBDAV.

    You need to install:

    • .Net Framework 4.0
    • IIS
      • When installing IIS, select .Net Framework 3.5.1, as this will be required for SQL 2008
    • WSUS 3.0 SP2

    Once all of your VM's are domain ready, maybe snapshot them, and start configuring for ConfigMgr 2011.

    We're going for an almost bare minimum hierarchy configuration here, we just want the two sites talking.

    For now we only need the SQL\SMS administrators and Site Server groups setup.

    • LAB\SC-SQL-Administrators
    • LAB\SC-ConfigMgr2011-Administrators
    • LAB\SC-ConfigMgr2011-SiteServers

    Put your domain administrator in the SQL and ConfigMgr groups, and then put the computer accounts of the CAS and Primary servers in the Site Servers group.

    Remember to reboot the servers for their computer accounts to get updated with the new group memberships.

    ConfigMgr 2011 uses the same A/D schema as ConfigMgr 2007, so you can follow these steps from ConfigMgr 2007 on how to extend the A/D using LDIF or a precompiled executable:

    Same steps from ConfigMgr 2007 apply here, so follow this guide on how to create the container:

    Remember to permission the System Management container with your Site server A/D group so that the Site servers can administer it. When permissions are applied, make sure Apply to is set to This object and all descendent objects so that ConfigMgr 2011 can create and delete objects in the container.

    Now that's done, let's get SQL 2008 with SP1 installed. Remember, for Beta 1 we cannot use SQL 2008 R2, and we need to use a named instance

    If you've isolated your test network from the internet, then SQL will warn about Microsoft .NET Application Security, and if you've not already configured the firewall you'll get a Windows Firewall warning. Both can be safely ignored for now as you'll take care of the Windows Firewall later on, and don't need internet access for SQL to operate.

    For installation options, I chose the following:

    · Database engine services

    · SQL Server Replication

    · Management Tools - Basic

    Most notable parts of the installation where setting up the instance:


    Note: Install SQL 2008 and setup a named instance, not a default instance, then use that named instance to install ConfigMgr 2011 into. In production do not share the instance with any other applications due to security.

    I chose to run the Agent and Engine using the NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM account and for the Agent to start-up automatically:


    I added the local administrator, and our A/D group for SQL administrators:


    That was pretty much all that I needed to configure before starting the installation.

    Configure the Windows Firewall for SQL 2008 replication

    For SQL replication to work, we need to tweak the firewall, and I've included two quotes from the Release Notes on this topic:

    Configuration Manager Setup Prerequisite Checker verifies that these exceptions are configured correctly when you install a central administration site or a primary site and Windows Firewall is enabled. However, by default, SQL Server named instances use dynamic ports, and you must manually reconfigure your named instance to use the static TCP port 1433. SQL Server named instances also require the SQL Server Browser Service, which uses both TCP and UDP port 1434. Unless restricted by non-default, the port 1434 is already configured in the Windows Firewall.


    Replication between Configuration Manager sites requires that SQL Server is configured to use the static TCP port 1433. Additionally, SQL Server Service Broker requires the static TCP port 4022 to send and receive messages. For replication to be successful when Windows Firewall is enabled, there must be a firewall exception for one of the following:

    • Sqlservr.exe
    • Ports TCP 1433 and TCP 4022

    Follow this link for info on configure the port for the SQL 2008 named instance

    If you are having firewall issues, use the firewall logs to see if the ports are being blocked, or install the Telnet Client and use it to test the ports dynamically both ways from the CAS to Primary, Primary to CAS without having to restart the ConfigMgr 2011 wizard for a retry:


    Worst case, If you can't nail it, I'd suggest turning the firewall off on the CAS and Primary to see if they were interfering with SQL communications.

    Now we have SQL 2008 installed, lets ignore the warning that the ConfigMgr 2011 SQL instance should remain isolated, just this once, and drop WSUS in there. Obviously I wouldn't suggest this outside of development, instead you should choose to setup SQL 2008 Express Edition, or use a remote SQL installation. By all means install WSUS in to SQL 2008 Express.

    If the lab has internet access, you can download the prerequisites during the installation wizard. Obtaining them for an isolated development environment requires Windows 7 or 2008 X64 editions with internet access, and an account with local administrator rights. To get the prerequisites downloaded you just need to obtain the installation media, open a CMD prompt, navigate to the SMSSETUP/BIN/X64 folder and run SETUP /DOWNLOAD <PATH>. Make sure the folder already exists, then you just need to store this lot with your installation kits.

    Now, let's get on with creating a hierarchy.

    Before you begin, make sure you are installing with a domain account, so that the A/D can be contacted during the installation process.

    As you can see, we've got several changes on the splash screen, since this is Beta, most of this is just place-holding at present.


    Nice warning about meeting the prerequisites for both hardware and software.


    Hey look at that, the CAS waiting to be selected.


    Ready up


    Ok prerequisite time.


    Here's a list of prerequisite files for ConfigMgr 2007 and 2011 so you can visually see the difference



    Some notable additions being: SQL 2008 Express, Silverlight, .Net Framework 4.0, SQL Client

    While you’re waiting for the prerequisite checker to complete, you can see it in action via its own log on the System Drive. once done it’s time to name and shame


    Here, you need to name the SQL instance, and you see I've chosen VNEXT


    Typical provider question


    If the site can reach out to the internet, it will report back UX data


    Choose your agents for the site (these are the defaults)


    Summary and off we go


    Yep we're ready to install. You need to make sure SQL and the Windows Firewall are setup AOK otherwise you're about to fail. If you're using a VM, snapshot now, so you can roll back on failure to this point and do away with the lengthy wait during the wizards initial setup.


    Once the installation is underway you can watch the GUI, or check out the setup logs on the System Drive to monitor the sites installation progress. You'll find TRACE32.EXE in the TOOLS folder, register that then bring up the ConfigMgrSetup log.

    In the log, you're looking for:

    Installation and configuring site, or uninstallation are done
    INFOL CCAR installation is completed

    In the wizard, you'll see


    Get the wizard to launch the console for you before it finishes up, or launch it yourself


    One you've checked over your Site Status, status messages and logs, and think the sites behaving with SQL and A/D, the firewalls setup correctly on both the CAS and the Primary, then it's time to get the Primary attached.

    Create a standard address on the CAS to the Primary


    Now we can install the primary, fire up the wizard and choose the Primary Site server option this time around


    We’ve been here


    We’ve been here


    Name and shame


    New dialog, for attaching to the CAS.

    Enter the CAS NetBIOS name


    We're going for Mixed Mode


    We’ve seen this before


    We’ve seen this before


    We’ve seen this before


    We’ve seen this before


    We’ve seen this before


    We’ve seen this before


    Pretty much soon after hitting the Begin Install button, you should see this appear in the ConfigMgrSetup log, indicating that the CAS is ready for the site attachment:

    INFO: CAS: <SERVER> is ready to be attached by this site: <SERVER> from CAS: (null).

    You can also check out the Replication Configuration Monitor log (rcmctrl) to watch SQL replication in action.

    The whole replication initialisation process will take a very long time ...

    That's pretty much it, you should be ready to play with the features now.

    The ConfigMgr 2011 console

    You'll all remember how sluggish the console experience could be, well that seems to be very much a thing of the past now. This new console is very fast, responsive.

    Worth noting:

    • It's definitely worth mentioning that the console experience is very responsive. I cannot wait to put it under load (1k> of clients) to see if it remains so. If it does, I think a lot of our administrator woes on the front-end are gone.
    • The Product Group have given us a standalone installer for the ConfigMgr 2011 console. Awesome. You can find it here: <SMS FOLDER>\bin\X64\adminconsole.msi
    • The console can connect to a secondary for the first time since SQL 2008 Express is installed

     So, from here, read the Release notes, which contain heaps of info to help get you're evaluation environment up and running, and have a go at getting your lab setup so you can take a first glimpse at probably the best Systems Management product available. If you’ve used VM’s and taken regular snapshots, you should be able to easily roll back and install Beta 2 when it arrives.

  • Slow performance in ConfigMgr with BITS\Kerberos

    Interesting write up at the Configuration Manager Support Team Blog on a way to possibly speed up transfer of large packages out to your DP's.

    Very handy

  • WMUG presents: Randy Roffey from Silect - MP studio

    Yep we've got another virtual event for you to watch. This time Randy Roffey from Silect shows off MP Studio

    You can check out our latest recording here


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