Archive for September, 2006

Plugging CSA’s

September 25, 2006 9:45 pm

“What the heck is CSA?”, I hear you cry. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s the wave of the future in food as far as I’m concerned. Okay, maybe that’s putting it a bit strongly, but if you care about your local environment and like to eat fresh, organically grown produce, hear this one out.

There’s been a big problem with e-coli infested spinach lately. Apparently this was tracked to a big company in California, which markets pre-washed, bagged spinach to a lot of supermarkets. I’m not sure if the FDA has pinned down exactly what the root cause of the problem is, but Andy, one of the farmers of the CSA we are a part of, says it may have a lot to do with the industrialized processes they employ to get the product out there. That, and the bags make a nice little greenhouse for the bacteria to grow in. For full details read his article on the matter. If you belong to a CSA, particularly twosmallfarms.com, you don’t have to worry about things like this.

The CSA farmers make sure that your food is grown organically and delivered to you in safe condition. One more reason to bypass big, industrialized processes and go small and local.

Go find a CSA near you (Search engines are your friend) and say goodbye to worries about food safety.

How to connect to older Samba server versions using Vista RC1

September 18, 2006 10:10 am

I ran across an issue with my home network server, which is running an older version of Linux and Samba to share files around the house. Vista RC1 wouldn’t authenticate with the server. After some digging using Google I found out that you need to change one of the local security policies (Local Policies – Security Options – Network Security: LAN manager authentication level) from “Send NTLMv2 response only” to “Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated”.

Unfortunately the machine I had this problem on didn’t have the secpol.msc file on it (I still don’t know why), so I dug some more and found that there is an equivalent raw registry key:

HKLM/System/CurrentControlCset/Control/LSA – LMCompatibilityLevel

It’s 3 by default on Vista RC1 (NTLM2 only) and I had to change it to 1 (LM & NTLM, NTLMv2 if negotiated).

I’m afraid that this will bite some other folks like me who have “unorthodox” network setups at home. I hope Microsoft has a good reason to ship with this default setting, but I’d advocate they change it.

Update: A friend at Microsoft helped me realize that enabling LM & NTLM can be a potential security risk. Passwords can be stolen when using LM and NTLM. Vista uses NTLM2 by default to guard against the known vulnerabilities of NT & NTLM authentication.

In my personal situation I’m not that worried about changing the setting, since my computers stay isolated on my home network, but it’s probably not for everybody.

Ghosting a Vista RC1 drive using Ghost 8.x

September 17, 2006 2:13 pm

I had to do this recently to make a backup of a system hard drive for “just in case”…

I found some instructions using Google (https://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=181082&SiteID=1) and here is the gist of what needs to be done (to spare you from having to read the whole thread):

Run a command prompt as Administrator and do the following:

BCDEDIT /set {bootmgr} device boot
BCDEDIT /set {default} device boot
BCDEDIT /set {default} osdevice boot

Then run Ghost 8.x like this:

ghost.exe -fdsp
or
ghost32.exe -fdsp

I tried this with two hard drives (once with a test drive, then with the real one), and it worked beatifully.

Vista from a developer’s point of view

September 9, 2006 6:05 pm

To me Windows Vista marks a great new milestone for software developers. Not just because Microsoft invested years of development into a new programming framework, but because that framework will be included out of the box. Until now, if you wanted to take advantage of the power of the .Net Framework (1.0, 1.1 and 2.0) you had to either include the installer for the framework or create some other magic to get it on the user’s system (asking the user to please, please download and install it first?)

With Vista, not only do you get the .Net Framework 2.0 (much improved over the previous versions) in the box, but also the amazingly powerful Windows Presentation Foundation (which is what I’ve worked with), Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation (two pieces I know nothing about yet).

This will lower the barrier to entry for applications developed using these powerful tools to zero. As long as you’re writing your application for Vista you can be sure the basic requirements are there.

There will be issues with certain features of WPF (rendering in software vs. hardware, especially for 3D), but the framework helps you detect these issues and makes it possible to adapt your application to lower its “flashyness” (RenderCapability.Tier, remember this needs to be shifted down by 16 bits if you want to use 0, 1 and 2 as the human readable values).

To me Windows Presentation Foundation is the most important technology to come out of Microsoft for a long time. I’ve never written too much actual Win32 or even MFC/ATL UI code for client applications, but I’ve done a lot of HTML / CSS stuff and pure business object stuff (COM/ATL). More about that in my next post. I don’t want this to get too long.