Monday, November 30, 2009

Windows 7 Family Pack in Australia

It seems that Microsoft Australia finally listened to the tide of complaints about the lack of a Windows 7 Family Pack here in Australia and has finally decided to release one.

Now, in the US, this costs US$149.99 for 3 * Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade licenses.  Obviously Microsoft Australia thought they could suck more money out of Australians than their brethren could in America, so we have to pony up AU$249 for the same software.

Oh, well - at least we have the Family Pack available.


The Outspoken Wookie

Forefront TMG 2010 Released

It appears that Microsoft has snuck out Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 on the quiet.  No fanfare, hardly any mention of it anywhere.  Andrew Nayler brought this to my attention on Sat, but I've not had time to blog it since...

It can be downloaded here and surprisingly there is no reference to Forefront TMG on the Microsoft Australia Forefront home page (maybe Microsoft Australia wasn't informed about the new release, either), however the US site mentions both Forefront TMG 2010 and also Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server which has also been released on the sly.

It appears that part of "The New Efficiency" (which is what Microsoft's releasing all their new server software under now in an attempt to let business owners know that Microsoft software is no longer a business expense, but an efficiency investment) is not letting people know about new software releases.  I just don't get how this is "efficient" in any sense of the word!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Optus Shafts Australian Android Users

Optus users who buy an Android device eithther through Optus or elsewhere are having *all* paid apps blocked until Optus can try to force Google's hand and skim profits from Google.  Read more here.  The article also lists a workaround involving updating the phone's firmware with a real (ie, non-Optus firmware) and then running an enabler application.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, November 27, 2009

ICANN Seems To Not Understand That HTTP != SMTP

If you have a read this news item, ICANN claims that domain redirection - which is used only for http traffic (ie, web sites) - ICANN offers a FUD reason why this is bad: "For example, users sending e-mail to a domain that does not exist should get an immediate error message."  Aahhh, since when does a http redirection affect smtp traffic?

The ICANN is trying harder and harder to make sure people know that they are still a necessary part of the Internet these days, and it is comments like this that show how little they actually understand of how the Internet works.


The Outspoken Wookie

Teach Yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM In 24 Hours

Anne Stanton has now released Teach yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 24 Hours in collaboration with a couple of her contacts.  It is written for the IT Pro, the new technical or business user or the developer just trying to get a taste for what Dynamics CRM is all about. It also replaces CRM for Dummies (which didn’t quite make it).

The book is available through Sam's Publishing from informIT, Borders, Amazon, etc.

Anne definitely knows her shit when it comes to MS Dynamics CRM and her CRMLady blog is packed full of useful CRM-related information.
The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well, STS-129 and the ISS have closed the hatches and are preparing for a departure that's scheduled to take place at 19:53 today, Wed 25 November 2009 (Brisbane time).  The mission has gone well to date and aside from wishing I was up there with them, I am glad that the Atlantis crew are heading back home safely.  Atlantis is the one Orbiter that can't accept power from the ISS, so needs to have quicker missions due to needing to supply its own power throughout the entire mission.

Only 5 more Shuttle missions remain and I'm trying to work out how I can spend between February 2010 and whenever STS-133 eventually lands over in Florida without our clients noticing it too much...


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Do You Want Your Child To Become A Scientologist

Well if not - and what sane, caring parent would - then have a read of this article which may well be cause for concern.  These nutbags should be kept well away from children - nothing they do is good.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are You A Virtualization Newbie?

And willing to admit it?  If so, let me know (privately if you want) as there's an opportunity for you to get hold of some training material before it is released as a "trial by fire" of the material (not of you).  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Configure BitLocker Encryption On Non-TPM Windows Systems

Derek Schauland (MVP in File System Storage) tells you how you can configure BitLocker volume encryption on Windows systems that do not have the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip present and enabled.


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Headlines

OK, this is simply unfair.  It appears that just because I've already posted some of the best news headlines that I've ever seen (earliest, first, second), news outlets continue to challenge these with attempts of their own.  This headline comes from Uganda, originally reported by Anorak on 5th October, 2009 (referring to a publication originally made on 2 October, 2008) - and it is another beauty!

As you can see, sometimes these things take a while to bubble to the top!  If you know of any more news headlines of this quality, please let me know so I can share them with the world!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

LCROSS Finds Water On The Moon

Back in September 2009, the LRO discovered the presence of Hydrogen at the Moon's south pole, indicating that there may be water in some of the many permanently shadowed craters.  Well, on 9th October 2009, LCROSS observed the impact of the spent Centaur rocket stage into the Cabeus crater, kicking up a plume of dust that was observed by the trailing LCROSS satellite and also Hubble as well as many telescopes on Earth.  The LCROSS impacted the Moon's surface abiut 5 minutes after the rocket stage, creating a smaller plume.

Well, on 13th November 2009 NASA scientists announced that there was indeed water detected in the plumes from the LCROSS impacts.

That opens the Moon back up as a possibly viable first base for our future space exploration - if there's water there then that will provide not only drinking water for residents, but also cooling and especially rocket fuel needs.  With the gravity of the Moon being about 16.7% of that on Earth that means that instead of needing to overcome 9.81 m/s/s of gravity on Earth, rockets launched from the moon will need to overcome a mere 1.63 m/s of gravity.

Now, the Moon's gravity isn't anywhere near as consistent as that on Earth.  And the gravitational pull of the Earth isn't all that consistent - the accepted nominal or average value at the Earth's surface is 9.80665 m/s/s, however this is 9.78033 m/s/s around the equator and 9.83217 m/s/s due mainly to the centrifugal force at the equator being greater than at the poles (actually, it is non'existent right at the poles) and it varies across the Earth's surface depending on what you're standing (or floating) on.  Now, because of this centrifugal force, the equator bulges outward a little, meaning that when you're standing at ocean/water level on the equator, you're further from the center of the Earth than someone standing on one of its poles at ocean/water level.  No, the Earth is not a (consistent) sphere, but it definitely isn't flat!  :)

Because the Moon doesn't spin on its poles as the Earth does, there's no centrifugal force as we experience here on Earth.  That means that there's no equatorial bulge and the resultant centrifugal variation across the entire surface.  However, the Moon has what's known as "Mascons" across the surface of the moon which can greatly affect its gravity, and these were discovered by NASA's Lunar Orbiter program due to errors in the navigation of these orbiters being greater than the mission specifications had catered for.

These mascons (mass concentrations) are often made up of the dense bodies of impacted asteroids, basaltic lava flows or iron-rich sediments lifting up from the Moon's core.  In 2011, NASA will launch its GRAIL mission to thoroughly measure the Moon's gravity field.  This will result in the Moon's gravity field being more closely mapped than that of the Earth!  The interest in mascons is due to their effect, as discovered with the Lunar Orbiters, on all missions around and to the surface of the Moon - and if we're going to be launching future space missions from the Moon, we need to know how these mascons will affect trajectories.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, November 13, 2009

Second Greatest Ever Headline

Following really closely behind the Greatest Ever Headline is this, the Second Greatest Ever Headline.  Sure, Christian Scientists are a bag of nutters, but the CS Monitor is still a somewhat decent publication, not too heavily tainted by their other total and utter nonsense.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adobe Downsizes By 9%

Well, they downsized their staff by 9%, but I bet that does noting for their code bloat.  If the world truly was a fair place, those they let go would have been the coders who created the massive code bloat in their applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Reader.  An example of this code bloat is that Adobe Reader is 26.1 MB in size and chews resourses like a 90 year old man chews Viagra tablets before a trip to a brothel, whereas Foxit Reader is only 5.14 MB and equally light on system resources.  We all know Photoshop takes longer to load than a fuel tanker using only a shot glass - and it reduces available RAM like a nuclear reactor depletes Uranium*.

The whole idea of downsizing and tightening up the company needs to be linked with a downsizing and tightening up of their code - Adobe products (in particular Reader) have had huge numbers of security issue up to date.  I truly hope this series of layoffs results in better code from Adobe.

* Yes, I know that nucular (Dubyaspeak) reactors aren't the only source of Depleted Uranium.  Naturally occurring Uranium is about (from memory) 99.27% U238, 0.72% U235 and 0.01% U234 and through various forms of magic, Enriched Uranium (the product) is produced and sent to help charge our iPhones and Depleted Uranium (the byproduct), with about a third of the good stuff (U234 and U235) and less than 2/3 of the radiation of naturally occurring Uranium is then sent to be used for (surprisingly) radiation shielding material, amongst other things.

Nuclear reactors also produce Depleted Uranium from their Enriched Uranium fuel, however this spent nuclear fuel is slightly different to the other Depleted Uranium in that it contains U236 and a bunch of other useful stuff as a result of the nuclear fusion and is generally then sent of for further reprocessing.

Thus endeth the "Cursory overview of Uranium types".  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, November 06, 2009

Exchange 2007 Backflip - Will Run On WS2K8R2 Now - does this mean SBS 2008 R2 and EBS 2008 R2 are now possible? We can but hope!


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, November 05, 2009

MAPS Licensing

To be honest, I'm getting sick and fucking tired of butting heads with Susan Bradley over her loose interpretation of the MAPS EULA.  MAPS is for *internal* use only - not to be used with our clients, our customers, our friends, our brothers, sisters or great grand parents, our dogs or cats, not for emergencies nor because we don't agree with the restrictions in the EULA - and this is and always has been clear in intent and wording in the EULA.  This goes for both the media and the licenses for use of the applications on the media.

So, in another attempt to get the message across to those who don't want to comply with the MAPS agreement, here's what I received from MS Licensing Australia earlier today on this same point, and in particular about someone using their MAPS SCVMM License for managing their clients' virtual environments that is hosted in the reseller/paretner's data center:

I just had a chat to the Partner Regional Service Center and they confirmed that updates to the program have rolled out circa May 2009. It seems much of what we had previously referenced in the initiative addendum now is simply a part of, and subject to, the terms of the Microsoft Partner Programme Agreement, see here. In any case, I believe the update has made things substantially clearer than ever before, please see the following excerpt:

4.5 Software Benefits.

a. Company’s right to use Microsoft software offered to Company under the Program may be governed by a separate agreement or other use terms for the applicable software. IN THE EVENT OF A CONFLICT BETWEEN THIS SECTION 4.5 AND ANY SEPARATE AGREEMENT OR OTHER USE TERMS FOR THE APPLICABLE SOFTWARE, THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS SECTION 4.5 WILL CONTROL.

b. Company must not engage, or participate with any third party, in the unauthorized manufacture, duplication, delivery, transfer or use of counterfeit, pirated, unlicensed or illegal software or other Microsoft Materials and Company must not otherwise infringe any of Microsoft’s intellectual property rights. Company must reasonably cooperate with Microsoft and its affiliates in the investigation of counterfeit, pirated, unlicensed or illegal software and other Microsoft materials. As soon as Company becomes aware, Company must report to Microsoft any suspected counterfeiting, piracy or other copyright infringement in computer programs, manuals, course material, marketing materials or other copyrighted materials owned by Microsoft and/or its licensors.

c. The software licenses that Company receives under the Program may not be resold, transferred, or used except as expressly provided in this Agreement (see the Program Guide and Program Website for more details). Company must acquire a sufficient number of Microsoft software licenses through the Program and/or applicable Microsoft licensing programs to match (1) the quantities of the Microsoft software Company uses and (2) the maximum number of users and/or devices that may access or use the Microsoft software under Company’s agreements with Microsoft or a reseller. In addition, Microsoft may collect data from the Windows Genuine Advantage, Office Genuine Advantage and other similar programs to ensure that Company does not use or activate more software than authorized by this Agreement (see the Program Guide for more details). As detailed in Section 7, Verifying Compliance, of this Agreement, Microsoft may conduct audits to ensure Company’s compliance with all terms of this Agreement. To ensure compliance with this subsection, Microsoft may also (i) otherwise contact Company and (ii) take action to ensure that Company does not use more software than authorized by this Agreement.

d. The benefits Company receives under the Program, including software, are not intended for distribution to Company’s customers. Company’s customers must acquire a sufficient number of Microsoft licenses to match (a) the quantities of the licensed software Company may provide to its customers under a separate agreement, and (b) the maximum number of users and/or devices that may access or use the licensed software under the customer’s license agreement with Company or Microsoft. Company will inform Microsoft (1) of any known or suspected failure by a customer to possess sufficient numbers of Microsoft licenses, and (2) any known or suspected violations by a customer of any Microsoft license agreement.

e. Any software licenses that Company receives under the Program will be valid for the Term of this Agreement only.

Alternatively, the reference you may opt to use for simplicity is available from:, see:

Action Pack software is not provided for personal use, for hosting customer applications, or for installation at a customer site. It cannot be used, for example, to host a commercial website; this is considered a production environment outside the scope of the software's intended purpose.

As per either reference above, I believe it is now almost extremely clear that the software available through MAPS is only to be used by the Company. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to approve the use of MAPS license or even just the software obtained under MAPS for the use of a Company’s customer - they should look to separately license and fulfill their software requirement by their own means. It’s also worth noting that in section 4.5. b. the condition notes essentially state the Company must be responsible to keep the software available to them strictly under their own control, not to participate with a third party, and report to Microsoft any infringements. To disregard these rules is to risk breaching the agreement that governs the Company’s rights to the software to begin with.
So, I don't know how to make it any clearer.  MAPS is for INTERNAL use only - you cannot use its licenses, its media or any other part of it for anything other than internal use.  OK, except maybe for a coaster!  :)

And yes, this change from this material in an Addendum to being in the Agreement proper is partly because of my discussion with Microsoft over MAPS usage rights in the past and asking them to put this in plain, simple English.  Even plainer and simpler than it was before, which was pretty plain and simple!


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Kiva Surpasses US$100,000,000 in Loans

Around 2pm on 31 October, 2009 (Happy Halloween for those in the U.S.), Kiva hit a major milestone:

in loans raised.

It's a wonderful accomplishment involving 584,189 Kiva Lenders in our first 4 years of operations. What's even more amazing to me is that it took over 1 year to raise our first $1 million . This year alone, we're on track to raise nearly $60 million. On behalf of the volunteers, staff, microfinance field partners and the entrepreneurs they serve -- thank you and congrats to Kiva Lenders for reaching this incredible milestone!


Congratulations to Kiva and all of those involved - Staff, MFI Partners, Lenders and especially the Borrowers.  I'm proud to have played a part in this significant goal, as well as the AASFSHNR Lending Team's reaching of our goal of being the first (of hopefully many) Lending Teams to lend US$1m.


The Outspoken Wookie