2008 November

Latest Postings

November 20 2008

FREE SQL SERVER 2008 Software

Get the expert training you need to get the most from Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008—and the software—FREE when you enroll and attend select SQL courses at ISInc. With this expert training, you’ll learn to take advantage of the powerful and trustworthy array of new data-driven management solution of SQL Server 2008, plus come away with a free copy of the software.


That’s right. Enroll and attend any one of these 8 featured SQL Server 2008 training classes between December 10, 2008* and June 30, 2009 (while supplies last) and you’ll receive a fully-licensed copy of SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition with 1 CAL—FREE.


This offer is available for a limited time and only on these 8 courses while supplies last, so act now.  Contact us at 916.920.1700 or via email at [email protected] to register and remember to ask about the free software. You can also enroll directly into a class from the website and just type “FREE SOFTWARE” in the notes field to take advantage of this terrific offer.


Qualifying Classes:


2778 Writing Queries Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Transact—SQL

6158 Updating Your SQL 2005 Skills to SQL Server 2008

6231 Maintaining a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Database

6232 Implementing a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Database

6234 Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services

6235 Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services

6236 Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

6317 Upgrading Your SQL Server 2000 Skills to SQL Server 2008

November 19 2008

Using Windows XP Task Scheduler to Automate an FTP Upload

I recently came across a problem where I needed to schedule the daily FTP upload of a set of files to one of my client’s FTP servers. I was a bit out of my element and found that locating a solution to this task was surprisingly challenging. I thought I would post the steps here so that someone in a similar situation might benefit from the time I spent in trial and error.

1. My first goal was to make sure I could upload via ftp using the command prompt in Windows XP. I created the following script, ftp_script.txt, which I placed in a scripts folder on the C drive:

open www.yourhostname.com
put c:\test.txt test.txt

Plug in your corresponding hostname, username, password, and file locations. This script will upload the local copy of test.txt to the server. The above script can be passed into your command line ftp client. Open up your command prompt and type:

ftp -s:path_to_script\scriptfile

Which, in my case, was:

ftp -s:c:\scripts\ftp_script.txt

The “-s” allows you to specify a file name in order to pass your username, password, and put commands to the command line ftp client.

2. If you get Step 1 working, the next step is to create a command file to run the ftp script. The command file is just a text file with a .cmd extension that calls up the command line ftp. In my case, I created ftp.cmd with the contents:

ftp -s:c:\scripts\ftp_script.txt

Test your command file by double clicking it to make sure that it executes the FTP successfully.

3. Finally, create a daily task using the Windows Task Scheduler. Go to Start > Control Panel > Scheduled Tasks (in Classic view). Click Add Scheduled Task and when it prompts you for the application, browse to your command file that you created in Step 2. As you finish out the task scheduler, you’ll get to choose how often you want the task to run and at what time.

After you complete these steps, your ftp job should be ready and waiting for its next scheduled execution time. I hope you find this trick as useful as I did!

November 7 2008

Coding CSS – Essential Firefox Add-Ons

If you spend any time coding CSS from scratch or debugging existing stylesheets, you know how tricky it can be to find that pesky error! Whether it is getting IE6 to play nice or just understanding where all that white space is coming from, these Firefox add-ons should help you do the job better and faster. I’ve only chosen a couple of my favorite add-ons and my favorite features of each. Feel free to include your favorite features or add-ons in the comments as this list is anything but exhaustive.

The Web Developer Toolbar by Chris Pederick has many useful features like an easy-access javascript disabler, a simple window resize to test 800×600 screen resolution, and an option to view all of the stylesheets associated with a page (easily searchable!).

One of my favorite features, however, is surprisingly simple and incredibly useful.  Using the Outline menu, you can outline any block level element on the page with just two clicks of the mouse.  Personally, I can end up spending minutes of wasted time adding borders to elements here and there trying to figure out why I am seeing too much or too little space in a certain area.  No need to do that anymore with this feature. It outlines your div tags for you, making spatial debugging a much simpler and faster process.

My other favorite feature in the web developer toolbar is the quick access to the W3C XHTML validator.  It will upload your local file and display your pass/fail status quickly and efficiently!

Next on my list is the Firebug add-on which again, has a wealth of useful and time-saving debugging tools.  My favorite, by far, is what I’ve coined as their CSS specificity revealer.  Ok, you got me, I just made that up.  The feature I’m referring to goes something like this:

1. You add some CSS rule

2. Your CSS rule doesn’t work

3. You can’t figure out why it doesn’t work

4. You wish to yourself there was some tool out there that could tell you if someone wrote a rule that is somehow overriding your own

5. You realize that firebug has that very feature and you’re going to use it now!

Launch firebug after you’ve installed it and click the “Inspect” button at the top of the console.  Now, watch the Style panel on the right hand side.  As you mouse over different elements on the page, you will see which rules apply to which elements.  You will also see which rules are being overridden by others as evidenced by the line through.

For instance, in the above example, the #description rule is overriding our normal <p> tag line height of 1.4em because #description is an ID (which will always have a higher specificity than a non-ID rule).

Personally, I think this feature of firebug makes it one of the best CSS debugging tools out there.

And remember, feel free to leave me some tips and tricks in the comments section if you have any!

November 4 2008

SharePoint Consulting Services

Are you trying to kick off a successful project using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007? Do you want to make sure you install and implement it using the industry best practices? Are you migrating from 2003 to 2007?

ISInc can help you kick off a successful implementation with SharePoint with our packaged consulting offerings!

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What is Microsoft Forefront?

This is exactly the question that I asked Tom Shinder, a Microsoft MVP on the Forefront Security product. He spent some time and came up with this posting for us to help you understand Microsoft’s offering around Forefront.

What is Microsoft Forefront?

Have you heard friends or colleagues mention Microsoft Forefront and wonder what they were talking about? If so, you’re not alone, as Microsoft Forefront is relatively new and just beginning to get real traction in the network security market.

The first thing you need to know is that there is no “Forefront” product. Instead, Forefront is a collection of Microsoft security products. This collection of Forefront security products is referred to as the “Forefront Security Suite”

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