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March 25 2010

SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 Launch

Microsoft officially announced that May 12th, 2010, is the launch date for SharePoint 2010 & Office 2010. In addition, they announced their intent to RTM (Release to Manufacturing) this April 2010.

ISInc has a SharePoint 2010 First Look clinic scheduled for April 8, 2010.   Please visit here to register!

SharePoint Training

January 15 2009

ISInc e-Learning

Do you have staff in remote locations, and find it difficult to get them the training they need? There comes a time when your resource is too valuable to send off site for a class.  This is where ISInc’s e-Learning can come into play.  Now your students can access the same classes via their desktop computer.  

ISInc’s e-Learning training is live, interactive online training for those who would like to attend one of our face-to-face instructor-led training courses without leaving their offices, homes or classrooms.  Learners can listen to the presentation, ask questions, hear others’ questions and get live answers, all from wherever they choose.  They can engage in discussions with others in the physical classroom and  throughout the country who are involved in the same class session.

ISInc’s e-Learning training blends the best from traditional face-to-face instructor-led training with the latest in conferencing technology, allowing us to deliver live training to multiple locations at one time.  This model is based on our over 27 years experience as trainers and the general premise that the classroom is the foundation of a great training experience.

All courses offered at ISInc can be taken online via our live e-Learning training using Microsoft Lync. So, if you have employees in remote offices that you are trying to schedule for IT training, consider ISInc e-Learning Training. Please contact us for more information.

For more information on our e-learning and to view a video on how it all works, visit our e-learning page here.

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
username
password
put c:\test.txt test.txt
quit

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!

More »

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”

More »

October 31 2008

IE6 Float Drop in the California State Web Template

A question that recently came up in one of my CSS classes was about the California state web template that was created to standardize state websites.  The template can be downloaded at webtools.ca.gov and you can see live working copies of the customized versions of the template in many places, including:

The template is distributed with three optional column based layouts.  The webpage author can select a style sheet appropriate to the layout they are interested in: one, two, or three columns.  One of the problems with the three column layout in the state template is something known as float drop and you will only see it in Internet Explorer (IE) 6.

Float drop is a phenomenon that occurs when you have a floated element on a page and the width of the page become too small to accomodate the floated element and its neighbors.  Instead of displaying as they should, one of the elements will drop down below the other content.

For example, see this Department of Transportation webpage at full screen width:

Caltrans 3 column page at normal width
Figure 1

However, this is what it looks like on a lower resolution monitor.

Caltrans 3 column page at low width, float drop is evident
Figure 2

See how the middle column drops down below the right?  To prevent this from happening, they have added the following rule to the master css file attached to the state template:

 


#heading, #navigation, #main_content_1, #footer {
min-width:774px;
}

 

This means that those four div tags, which hold the main content of the page as well as portions of the header and footer, will never fall below 774 pixels in width.  This preserves the layout when the user’s screen width is too small, rather than having the elements  stack on top of each other.  The problem with this method is that IE6 does not honor the min-width property.  Thus, what looks lovely in Firefox and IE7 looks like Figure 2 in IE6.

When my student came to me with this question, I went in search of an answer.  The solution I came up with is the following code sample, which can sit anywhere within the head tag of your document:

 

<!––[if IE 6]>

#main_content_1, #heading, #nav, #footer { width:
expression(Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, 774)+'px');
}

<![endif]––>

 

Internet explorer allows you to embed JavaScript within CSS by using an expression, so we can set the width property equal to the result of an expression.  That expression checks to see which value is larger, 774 pixels or the width of the page?  Whichever is the larger of the two will be the new value for width.  This entire rule is embedded within an IE6 conditional comment (<!––[if IE 6]> … <![endif]––>), so that only IE6 will obey these instructions.  Since the expression function is proprietary, the conditional comment also serves the purpose of leaving our current CSS in a standards compliant state.  Simply embed this code snippet into the head of your three column pages and voila, no more float drop!

October 28 2008

Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Seminar

Thanks to everyone who attended our Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Seminar.  If your organization has any questions about how ISInc can help you learn, deploy, upgrade or manage your Microsoft SharePoint 2007 implementation, please contact us.

The slides from the presentation can be downloaded here:

Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Seminar by ISInc

If you are interested in our many training options, please look at our Microsoft SharePoint Training page for a list of available courses.

October 23 2008

Microsoft Alert – Critical Product Vulnerability – October 23, 2008 Microsoft Security Bulletin Release (Out of Band)

Microsoft just released an alert to provide you with an overview of the new security bulletin released (out of band) on Thursday, October 23, 2008. Microsoft has released security bulletin MS08-067, Vulnerability in Server Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (958644), to address a vulnerability in all currently supported versions of Windows. This security update was released outside of the usual monthly security bulletin release cycle in an effort to protect customers. We request that you take action immediately by first assessing and preparing your own systems and networks and applying the security update, then reaching out to your customers to assist them in securing their systems and networks by applying the update.

 

Details about this security update are below, but here are your key resources:

 

·         The full bulletin for MS08-067 is available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS08-067.mspx

·         We recommend that you use the Microsoft TechNet Security TechCenter as a source of security information: http://technet.microsoft.com/security

 

Summary

 

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Server service. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an affected system received a specially crafted RPC request. On Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability without authentication to run arbitrary code. It is possible that this vulnerability could be used in the crafting of a wormable exploit. Firewall best practices and standard default firewall configurations can help protect network resources from attacks that originate outside the enterprise perimeter. The security update addresses the vulnerability by correcting the way that the Server service handles RPC requests.

 

Recommendations

 

Microsoft recommends that you assess your systems and networks and apply this security update to secure your systems and networks and to help ensure that your computers are protected from attempted criminal attacks.

 

New Security Bulletin Technical Details

 

Identifier

MS08-067

Severity Rating

This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and rated Important for all supported editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Impact of Vulnerability

Remote Code Execution

Detection

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer can detect whether your computer system requires this update.

Affected Software

All currently supported versions of Windows

Restart Requirement

The update requires a restart.

Removal Information

·         For Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003: Use Add or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel or the Spuninst.exe utility

·         For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008: WUSA.exe does not support uninstall of updates. To uninstall an update installed by WUSA, click Control Panel, and then click Security. Under Windows Update, click View installed updates and select from the list of updates.

Bulletins Replaced by This Update

MS06-040 is superseded on these operating systems: Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP X64, Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows Server 2003 X64, Windows Server 2003 SP1 for Itanium-based Systems.

Full Details:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS08-067.mspx

 

 

Regarding Information Consistency

 

We recommend that our customers use the Microsoft TechNet Security TechCenter as a key source of security information: http://technet.microsoft.com/security, and that you sign up for comprehensive alerts at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/notify.mspx.  We strive to provide you with accurate information in static and dynamic (Web-based) content. Microsoft’s security content posted to the Web is occasionally updated to reflect late-breaking information. If this results in an inconsistency between the information here and the information in Microsoft’s Web-based security content, the information in Microsoft’s Web-based security content is authoritative. 

 

ISInc Support Options

If you are interested in ISInc support to keep your networks up to date, please contact us at 916-920-1700 to hear about our Managed Services options.