Monthly Archives: November 2004

Site notices

Back with a new blog

I’ve been offline for a couple of weeks, on paternity leave after the birth of my son.

Now I’m back at work, and Conchango is encouraging its consultants to blog under their name. I’ll still post here, but anything work related will be mirrored on my new Conchango blog.

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Passed Microsoft Certified Professional exam 70-224

Today I passed the Microsoft Certified Professional exam 70-224: Installing, configuring and administering Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server.

Microsoft’s non-disclosure agreement prevents me from saying too much about the exam but much to my relief I scored maximum points in three areas (“installing and upgrading Exchange 2000 Server”, “configuring Exchange 2000 Server” and “managing Exchange 2000 server growth”) – as someone who primarily designs and implements systems (rather than performing daily operational and administrative tasks) I would have hoped these would have been my strong areas!

It may seem odd taking an Exchange 2000 Server exam in 2004, but I booked this a year ago (whilst I was still working with Exchange 2000) and if I didn’t take it by tomorrow then I would have just lost my money! Perhaps I’ll get around to doing an Exchange Server 2003 exam soon, but I need to start working with the product again first…

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Quality tips for webmasters

I’m no web site designer, but anyone who has seen my main website recently will have noticed that it is undergoing a few changes. I hope to extend the new style to my other websites soon (including this blog), but time is not on my side.

During my code validation with the W3C Markup Validation Service and the CSS Validation Service I came across the W3C’s Quality Tips for Webmasters. There is some useful stuff there to help novice (and experienced) developers to produce better websites. Worth a look.

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Your e-mail: anytime, anyplace, anywhere

For some time now, I’ve been using the mail2web.com web service for reading my e-mail when I’m away from home.

The basic service doesn’t require registration (no details are stored as it is basically an HTTP wrapper for POP3 and IMAP4 servers), but registered users can use a customised mail2web site with multiple e-mail accounts, favourite newsgroups, frequently used links and even their own image.

Now the guys at mail2web have made the service even better, with WAP and PDA versions of the website. In an earlier post, I gave details for connecting a PDA to the Internet using the Vodafone GPRS service (the principle is the same whoever your mobile carrier). Now I can access my e-mail on a page that is formatted to suit the PDA screen.

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Accessing the Internet using Vodafone GPRS and a PDA with Bluetooth

I’ve been trying to get my PDA (an HP iPAQ 2210) to connect to the Internet via a Bluetooth connection to my business mobile phone (a Nokia 6310i). I was having problems with this until I found the details on the Vodafone website (Get More from Your Mobile | Internet on the Move | Set up your PDA); however the Vodafone details don’t include PDAs running Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003 or Bluetooth connectivity and so I’ve posted my own instructions here:

(these notes assume that that you are familiar with using the PocketPC and that you have already successfully paired the PDA with the mobile handset).

From the Start menu, select, Settings:
Move to the Connections page and click the Connections icon, then select Add a new modem connection.

Give the connection a name (e.g. Vodafone GPRS) and select a Bluetooth Dialup Modem, before clicking Next:

Enter the number as *99# and click Next:

Enter the username and password (both web). Leave the domain name empty and click Advanced…:

On the General page, set the Baud rate to 57600 and enter a modem command string of +cgdcont=1,"ip","Internet":

On the Port Settings page, set 8 data bits, no parity, 2 stop bits and hardware flow control:

All other advanced settings should be default (most notably the connection should use server-assigned [IP] addresses):

Click OK, and then Finish.

Turn Bluetooth on:

Launch the Vodafone GPRS connection (e.g. by clicking the connectivity icon at the top of the screen and then clicking *99#):

The PDA will initiate the connection with the mobile handset (it may be necessary to confirm the connection on the handset):

Once connected, Internet services can be accessed as normal:

To disconnect, click the connectivity icon at the top of the screen and click Disconnect:

Finally, turn Bluetooth off to conserve power:

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Microsoft error code lookup tool

Today’s Windows IT Pro magazine network Windows Tips and Tricks Update, highlights Microsoft’s Error Code Lookup tool. The tool can be used to determine error values from decimal and hexadecimal error codes presented by Windows operating systems, looking up one or more values at a time and showing informational data associated with the value where it is available.

(Note that although the Web page is called “Exchange Server Error Code Look-up” the tool actually handles Windows operating system error codes).

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Burn CDs from the command line

A few days back I downloaded and ran a fantastically useful tool for writing CDs from the command line – Alex Feinman’s CreateCD. It seems to work well, and appears fast, with plenty of functionality. In a recent Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine article, CreateCD was even discussed as a method for creating backups using CD-RW discs.

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Microsoft launches Partner Pack for Windows

Microsoft has released another add-on pack for Windows, but this time most of the software is supplied by partners. The Partner Pack for Windows is aimed at consumers and includes:

  • Games (Super Slyder and Serpentine).
  • Homestead Photosite (web photo publishing application).
  • Microsoft Time Zone (displays the time in multiple zones around the world).
  • Computer Associates eTrust (antivirus software).
  • Google Deskbar (desktop search tool).
  • Desktop Media Gallery (templates and images).
  • Onfolio Express (research tool which runs within Internet Explorer).
  • Post-it Software Notes (software version of a post-it note).
  • PayPal Payment Wizard (add PayPal payment buttons to e-mail).
  • Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (backup and restore files to/from USB flash drives).

Some of this may be useful, some not, but it’s interesting to see Microsoft shipping Google Deskbar at the same time as developing their own desktop search capabilities.

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