Blog Archives

WordPress installation generator with plugins

I recently came across this link and find it very handy. You can generate a custom wordpress installation file (in zip format) for later installation. It includes a list of plugins you can select and will generate the complete install with all your selected plugins. Go Here for more information.

I got her back!

I picked up my poor little car on Saturday after a very traumatic separation for the two of us during a top installation. I dropped her off on Thursday and didn’t pick her up until Saturday at 4. It was a long separation but we both survived. My Miata now has a brand new custom top and it looks good. I do have a few minor complaints:

1. I now have a zippered top, meaning the top won’t go down unless you unzip the rear window. Not that big a deal.
2. They didn’t cleanup, I need to vaccuum out the rear shelf because of some fabric shedding and dust.
3. This morning I noticed some rippling in the rear drivers side of the top near the frame. I am going to call and see if they can re-adjust this section to get rid of the ripples.

Otherwise, I’m very happy with the work, it looks good and now I don’t have to be embarrassed about my duct tape patch job anymore. Next on the radar, is getting some kind of fix for the worn leather seats. I got a quote for $425 from them to fix the seats, but I can get a used set cheaper or for now I might just get a good pair of seat covers. Lastly, I’d like to get a touchup paint job to fix some fading on some parts of the car.

SpasAsssassin Rules – a laymans interpretation

I’ve been using SpamAssassin for some time now, personally and at work. I’ve been working with SpamAssassin rules to deal with spam that comes through the other filters and makes it to user mailboxes. I’ve been writing these rules in a very static way and they are not very effective as spammers frequently change their spelling. I did a search online and found a few good resources for figuring out how to write better spamassassin rules, but nothing really complete, or written for beginners in plan english. Spamassassin is written in PERL, so it uses PERL RegEx in its configuration. For me, since I am using a version of Spamassassin compiled for use on Windows in the NoSpamToday product, I am editing the local.cf file in my NST installation folder. This is where I add my custom keyword filters.

Before we get started, keep in mind, that I’ll be constantly updating this post with the most recent information.

First, I’ll assume you at least know what Spamassassin is, whether or not you are using NST (NoSpamToday for future referece). In using custom keyword filters, you basically have 3 lines of text for each word, the actual line telling SA (Spamassassin for future reference) where to look (i.e. body, subject, etc). The second line is the description telling basically what the filter is doing. The last line is the score, that SA uses to assign to a message matching the first line of code. I’m going to post the actual conetent of this post as an extended entry, so the main body won’t take up your entire screen. Click the title of this post to read more.
Read the rest of this entry

IE7 and printing e-mails

Now that IE7 is rolled out to over 1 million installations, time for problems!!! My company along with many other companies and end users, are now noticing that since the upgrade to IE7, users have sporadic problems printing e-mails from Outlook. We specifically run Office 2003 and when users print from outlook, sporadically, they will get a printout of the e-mail with the headers missing. We haven’t see any e-mails print with small text or some of the other symptoms that I’ve heard others experience. There are several workarounds and I’ll update this list as I come across more.

1. I f we use Microsoft Word 2003 to edit / compose the email and then print, noheadings are printed. If we uncheck Microsoft Word 2003 as our editor andthen compose the email it will print with headings.

2. Our firm is having a similar problem, and it is related to IE7 and ourthird party spam filter. When a message runs through the spam filterbut is passed due to the sender being on our white list, the messageheader does not print.The way to work around this, if you really need the messsage headerprinted is: forward the email to yourself which then prints perfectlyand adds the missing header back in. I do not know why this works, but it does.

3. Open a HTML formated email, select page setup, choose ‘Memo Style’, settop and bottom margins to zero (you may want to use the values above),click ok – print the emailThis problem is related to Internet Explorer 7 upgrade. Even if youremove IE7 after it has been installed the problem does not go away.

4. I found a solution: click on Format, you’ll see Send Pictures from the Internet is checked. Uncheck this, it should default check to HTML. Thiswill fix the problem. Some setting must have changed. No explanation

5. Another user suggested a less practical approach:He was able to print e-mails fine after doing the following:-Tools, options-In preferences tab, click e-mail options…-Under Message Handling, check “Read all standard mail in plain text”-Restart oulook, and you should be able to print e-mails fine.

6. You can disable font styles: Open Internet Options. On the general tab, click the Accessibility button. Check mark “Ignore font styles specified on webpages”.This will allow you to print headers on HTML emails.

7. If on emails that dont print the headers you first switch to landscape mode, they will print the headers correctly. You need to do it through the Outlook Page Setup function for it to work correctly. To do this:
1. Click on File and choose Page Setup
2. Choose Memo Style
3. Select the radio button for Landscape
4. Click OKThis setting will be for this email only and only until you close it.

The default setting will still be Portrait for other emails. This will at least let you print the missing information on these random emails until Microsoft releases an official fix for it.

8. In Outlook, go to “Tools” => “options”; in the preferences tab, click “email options”.
Under message handling, check the box “Read all standard mail in plain text”
You now need to quit Outlook and start Outlook again, and printing will be fine.

Details

Our old house sold rather quickly, it was listed, sold and closed within 30 days. Our buyer was a little wacky and we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to make him happy. The closing date snuck up on us big time and we had only a few days to make moving arrangements. Liz and I packed up as much as we could and we had some friends that were nice enough to come over and help us. We had some help loading large items onto a moving truck which we were fortunately able to get for free from our real estate agent’s company. It was a 15′ truck and took 2 full loads to get all of our things to the garage of the new house. Liz and I loaded the first truck load along with some help from friends with the large items on Saturday morning. We then took the load to the new garage and unloaded it with just Liz and myself. It took us about 1 hour or so to unload the first trip. Then we took the truck back to our house and started to load more. It was getting late and Liz’s dad had come down to help from Ocala, so we took a dinner break and ended up with Liz’s dad and myself stopping by Dairy Queen on the way back. We got all the rest of the stuff from our old house loaded onto the truck in a few hours. Leaving only some trash to put out for collection and some small items like mirrors and things we could get with the van. It was almost 10pm by this time so we decided to leave it at that for the night and I drove the full truck back to a baseball field parking lot next to some friend’s house whom we were staying with. The next afternoon, Liz went somewhere with the kids and I took the truck to the new house and unloaded it by myself. It only took me a little over an hour and a half to get the extremely packed truck unloaded. What can I say, I’m nothing if not efficient. Ha ha. That evening I took the truck back to the real estate agent’s office and got my precious Miata back. I enjoyed a nice pleasant ride back to where we were staying.

First our home sale was supposed to happen on a Friday and the closing on our new house on a Monday. However, there was some kind of delay last minute and we could not close on either until Wednesday. So Wednesday finally came, I took some vacation days off work for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but also had Monday off for Columbus day. So I had 6 days to move and get settled in. We met at the title company at 3pm on Wednesday to close on both houses. The buyer of our house could not be there so he came earlier and signed paperwork. Which we were very happy about so we didn’t have to deal with him in person since he gave us such a time dealing through his real estate agent. Not to mention his agent had a horrible accent and was very hard to understand. They got to us in a short amount of time and we signed all the sale papers for our old house. We finished only after about 15 minutes or so, and then decided to move on and finish the signing of the papers on our new house. This way, when the seller got there all he had to do was sign a few papers and we’d be all set.

Bad thing was that the amount we got back at closing was not as much as we had thought due to higher taxes and expenses in closing. So we got back just short of the amount we wanted. We had planned to pay off two big debts but didn’t receive enough to pay off just one of them. We will be getting an escrow refund from our first mortgage which will help and we don’t have a mortgage payment until Dec 1st, so I’m hoping the extra bill I hadn’t counted on will not be too high of a payment. We should be able to pay a little on the second debt which will hopefully make it more managable. We still have some things we need to buy though, like a dishwasher, since it died just after we got the keys. I’d like to get a new refridgerator, but that will have to wait. We did get a new TV (woo hoo), couch set, and some other things, but the budget is going to be interesting now. We are going to have to take Sarah out of private school and send her to a very highly rated public school nearby. We just can’t afford her tuition anymore with the higher living expenses. This has been hard for Liz and I’m not happy about it either, but unless I get a major career boost (and I already do good) or Liz gets a good job, we just can’t afford to send our kids to private school. Its bad enough just paying tuition for one, I can’t immaging how we could send all our kids to private school. Sarah will likely start public school in early November.

Activating utilities at the new house was a little strange, we are just outside the city limits of Temple Terrace, but still are on their water/sewer system. Tampa Electric still services us which is good, but water and trash pickup were tricky. The county told me they didn’t service my address, the city said they didn’t service the address, Temple Terrace told us they did. So it was a bit confusing getting it all setup. But on the day we moved in we had power, water/sewer and trash pickup is covered in our property taxes. I missed trash pickup this morning, I guess they come way earlier than I am used to, so I’ll have to remember to put it out the night before the pickup day. I ordered Verizon FIOS for internet access to try it out and see how it works for me. Its cheaper than Road Runner and has faster upload speeds which is more important to me than a few MB faster download speeds. I am downloading any TV shows I want to watch now so we didn’t get cable again and I don’t want to pay for Satellite, which stinks in Florida anyway with all the rain in the summer. I connected my PC via DVI to the new TV – a Hitachi 57″ HDTV. I watched some things on it in HD and its amazing. I just need to get a good surround sound system and I’ll be set. But thats one more thing I can’t afford right now. I might be able to get a PCI video card with a DVI port on it, and just use my e-mail server as my multimedia machine. I’d also need to get a wireless keyboard and mouse, but thats not too expensive. I have yet to decide what I want to do about that yet.

We love our new house, its not brand new and it has some maintenance things that will need to be done, but its been cared for and is in good shape overall. Its in a very quiet neighborhood, peaceful and pleasant. Liz has already been rollerblading a few times and I took the kids in the back yard last night to assemble their swing set and it was so quiet and there was a nice cool breeze blowing with no one else around. I have some installation inadequicies so it took a little longer than I had wanted to get the swing set assembled 🙂 We still have lots of stuff in the new garage so only my Miata can fit in there at night right now. I would like to have both vehicles in the garage by next weekend. Its not that much left to move, but its a matter of time and energy to go through it all. We made good progress in the few days we have been there, the kitchen and living room look great, but the other rooms are a little bare right now.

So I’m back at work today after a long break and am right back into the mix of things again. I think I am becomming a supporter of capitol punnishment for spammers. :-)]]>

TECH: Exchange Migration and permissions testing

Introduction

This posting will review the approach taken in a test environment to accomplish a simulation migration of our existing NT4 domain to server 2003 with Exchange 2003. All work was done offline on a private network IP scheme on an isolated switch to prevent communication problems with the production network. Access was limited to a hardwired laptop and a test desktop. Testing was performedwith a user/mailbox on Exchange 5.5, and another user/mailbox on Exchange 2003. Migration Process

The following are the steps in order that were used to perform a test migration of the NT4 domain. Directory exports from Exchange 5.5 were used to re-create the Exchange 5.5 Directory in a test environment.

Server Setup

? Initial NT4 PDC was create for the domain utilizing VMWARE and was updated to SP6A. Names utilized were duplicates of production network.
? Two additional NT4 BDCs were created;one to simulate a BDC, the other was create to perform the upgrade to Server 2003 and AD. Both were installed as BDCs and were updated to SP6A.
? Three NT4 member servers were created for use with Exchange 5.5. All were installed as member servers, and updated to SP6A. Each server was named the same as in production.
? Exchange 5.5 was installed on a member NT4 server, creating a duplicate of our existing Exchange 5.5 system. Org and site names were duplicated from Production.
? Exports of the Exchange Directory were imported and were also used to create the NT4 user accounts/mailboxes used in production. This populated the NT4 user database with usernames and blank passwords. New Mailboxes were created for users on their respective servers
? A test workstation was setup on the test NT4 domain. An exchange outlook profile was created for the exchange 5.5 user.
? Tests were performed to verify that DLs and inter-org mail flow was working.
? The last NT4 BDC that was created initially was promoted to a PDC (automatically making the original PDC a BDC).
? The OS on the new PDC was upgraded to Server 2003.
? The Active Directory Installation Wizard was run to upgrade our domain to AD.
? The AD wizard installed DNS locally on the PDC, but HOSTS files were still maintained on all NT4 servers, just as in production.
? A desktop was hardwired to the isolated switch and setup as an AD-client using a user account in AD. This was to verify that AD had successfully upgraded our NT4 domain to AD.
? A new server was installed also using VMWARE using server 2003 operating system. Server was installed as a member server of the AD domain. This was for use with the migration to Exchange 2003. SP1 was installed on the server and all updates and patches were applied.
? A temporary OU was created in AD to house the objects from the ADC replication process.
? Exchange 2003 was installed on this new 2003 server, along with the ADC and SRS. This new Exchange 2003 server was joined to our existing Exchange 5.5 site.
? The ADC replicated all Exchange 5.5 objects such as DLs, custom recipients, etc, into AD. The DLs were replicated to AD as universal distribution groups.
? Testing was performed between Exchange 5.5 users and Exchange 2003 users to verify mail flow and DL functionality. All tests completed successfully. No loss of public folder permissions was experienced. Although error 9552 in the Exchange 2003 server event log was experienced. But no loss of permissions was observed.

The above information was a test of a migration approach for an NT4 domain to Active Directory in a mixed mode domain. DLs are used in Exchange 5.5 public folders as security objects. Technically, when the ADC replicated the Exchange 5.5 DLs to AD as Universal Distribution Groups, once a user accesses a public folder where a DL is used as a security object, that Universal Distribution Group should automatically get converted to a Universal Security Group. However, since our domain is in mixed mode, this conversion failed. The result should have been a loss of all permissions on the public folder in question, leaving only the owner with any permissions to the folder. What I found in this test is that everything still worked, users of both Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2003 were able to use the public folders without a problem. I called Microsoft support on this issue and they were not able to explain why this worked, as they agreed with their KB articles that it should have caused permissions problems on all public folders using DLs on the client permissions of public folders.]]>