Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to be a pro at Google

My friend and coworker, Brad Turner, once joked that if asked what search engine he used he would say "David Lundell". While I do have a way of phrasing my searches just so, I thought I would point everyone to some great lessons on how to be better at google. I learned about these from a former business associate, Gary Thede, now the President of Boost eLearning.

Check out the following 3 free lessons from Boost eLearning on how to be a pro at googling!

Their three free lessons are part of a bigger pack of 20 lessons. The lessons are all done in the same format: Intro, followed by an Overview, followed by the formula, a couple of lessons on application of the formula, a few tips on the limitations, a quick example for you to try (it doesn't connect you to google), and then a conclusion (see the tabs towards the top of the screenshot:


They have 3 free lessons: 1) Phrase Searching, 5) Wildcards, and 10) FileType Operator (see the above screenshot).


The complete list of lessons is here

If Steve Ballmer wants to be more competive with Google he could do worse than invite/entice Boost Elearning to develop something similar for! I have not tested these techniques on, only on google and just the techniques from the free lessons, but the rest of the lessons do look intriguing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MIIS/ILM Error: System.BadImageFormatException

So I had MIIS 2003 SP 1 reporting to me that the format of my GalSync-Extension.dll is invalid. So I tried recompiling it -- no luck. Same error. The only MSDN article on this indicated that unmanaged code is being passed to the load method.

Through trial and error we found the solution: stop and start the MicrosoftIdentityIntegrationService. If that doesn't work try a reboot.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

I just got pranked by Laura Hunter

Laura Hunter is perpetuating a prank that according to Wikipedia has reached such mainstream acceptance that Youtube pranked all of its visitors on April 1st of this year.

Only Laura has pulled off this prank with such utter geekiness!

You'll probably need help to solve this one. Try this link

Good one Laura!

No spoilers just some hints and links that may spoil it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SQL 2008: Processor or Server/CAL

Congrats to the SQL Server team for shipping 2008. It looks like a great product. Congrats as well for keeping the licensing costs the same and adding a new option with the web edition.

One question that many still have in mind is how to license SQL server. Processor licensing allows unlimited users and devices, whereas a server license allows unlimited users or devices as long as they have a CAL. Server CAL can be much cheaper than Processor license or it can become much more expensive.

Many ILM customers also have this question, and while the product team pushes you to processor licenses and says that if you want to go Server/CAL you need 1 CAL for each user that will connect directly to the SQL server (in case it does other stuff, or your ILM admins like to run unsupported queries under the hood) for each Management agent (how in the world did 1 device -- the ILM server -- become multiple devices and need many CALs? -- Maybe under some sort of multiplexing scenario since the data is getting pushed to other places) each situation will be different.

So I have developed a formula and a table to help you figure this out

Per Processor Licensing Costs =
Cost Per Processor * # of Servers * Avg CPUs per Server

Server + CAL Licensing Cost =
Cost Per Server * # of Servers + Cost Per CAL * # of CALs

Break Even Formula
# of CALs = (Cost Per Processor * Avg CPU per Server - Cost Per Server) * # of Servers/Cost Per CAL

As you can see the break even point between Server/CAL and Processor comes down to a ratio between CALs divded by the number of servers vs Processors (not cores, but physical packages) divded by the number of Servers. (Remember that one CAL allows one user or device to access an unlimited number of licensed servers -- you don't have to buy a CAL for each server you want to access. See

Using the sample licensing costs from Microsoft's site

Edition Workgroup* Standard Enterprise
Per Processor  $         3,700  $       5,737  $     23,911
Per Server  $            730  $         885  $       8,487
Per CAL  $            146  $         162  $          162


Using these sample numbers (and your costs maybe different)


Break Even Points in terms of CALs per Server vs CPU/Server
Workgroup Standard Enterprise
CPUs/Server CALs/Server CALs/Server CALs/Server
1                  25               30               95
2                  51               65             243
4               136             538
6                 833
8               1,128
10               1,424
12               1,719
14               2,014
16               2,309
18               2,604
20               2,900
32               4,671
64               9,394


10 SQL Enterprise Edition servers with an average of 2 quad core processors (that is still just two processors for licensing purposes) and I have less than 2430 (243x10) devices or users to license and am likely to maintain these ratios than Server/CAL should be cheaper than processor licensing. 20 processor licenses at $478,220 and 10 server licenses $84,870 plus $393,350 cost the same. Hiring more people and/or acquiring more devices might tip the balance, but acquiring more SQL servers or adding processors to existing boxes could counter that.

As you can see this is really an enterprise wide decision how will I license SQL servers for my organization.

What to do about users coming in from the web, well you can use processor licensing for those SQL servers or you could go with the web edition for $15 per processor per month. What about data on internal servers? Replicate it to the web edition server! SQL to SQL communication does not require a CAL.

Remember that "SQL Server 2008 Web may be used only to support public and Internet-accessible Web pages, sites, applications, and services."

In terms of features it is comparable to Workgroup edition, so none of the high availability features like clustering or mirroring are supported, only log shipping. There are several minor differences in the functionality of Web vs Workgroup

No ad hoc reporting through report builder, in service broker it can only be a client and its development tools come from SQL Express Management studio.

IDM in pop culture

Some days I am amazed at how deeply the identity management concepts have penetrated into popular culture:

"Mr Big Stuff, who do you think you are?" clearly relates to an authentication issue or authorization issue.

"Won't get fooled again" by the WHO is clearly making a reference to a Certificate Revocation List, now that I have revoked your certificate you won't be authenticated again.

One area where pop culture is still shockingly uninformed still need help is in asset protection. I guess the authors of many forlorn love songs wish they could have used Rights Management Service and issued a use license that did not contain the permission to "Steal my heart" and "Break my heart."

Love One Note -- hate KB's with unintended consequences

I love One Note. Especially on a tablet PC. I can take notes either by typing or writing on the screen, I can sign contracts it is great.

We recently purchased a home. My real estate agent would send me documents, I would print to One Note and then sign them, print to PDF using Primo PDF and send them back.

It was great until Print to One Note stopped working. The Send to One Note 2007 printer was gone. My old Send to One note 2003 (BC) was still there but of course could not work. So I followed a KB article and created the printer by hand, and could not get it to work.

So after 3 fruitless attempts, I ran Office Diagnostics in One Note 2007. After 3 fruitless attempts, I ran Office Repair. After 3 fruitless attempts (notice a pattern here), I opened PowerPoint and discovered the following:


I can't read the text of any PowerPoint file. Pictures show up fine, but the text is all garbled. It does not matter what font I select.


Before burning a ticket with Microsoft on this or uninstalling and reinstalling Office I thought I would post this here and go sprinkle some questions among the PowerPoint newgroups.

Update as of 8/20/2008

Some of the Powerpoint MVP's gave me some excellent advice along with a link to an FAQ, that perfectly addressed my problem

How to install a TEST printer driver(and why PowerPoint is cranky about printers)

I still have my problem with One Note and have opened a ticket on that one:


I had followed the advice in the following KB article:

When I set the manually created Send to One Note 2007 printer to be the default printer (as stated in method 2 of the KB article) that's when I got the PowerPoint text problem.

In the link below the posters said to run Office Diagnostics. Didn't work for me.

This link had an interesting idea


Until I get it fixed my current workarounds are to grab a screen clipping with One Note(much less effective)

Or to use Agilix GoBinder Lite.



According to the tech at MSFT, quickbooks could be the culprit and we both laughed as he told me that the recommended fix was to uninstall Quickbooks. But he softened it to the Quickbooks PDF printer. We sure enough that did it. I deleted the Quickbooks PDF printer and voila the printer came back.