An alerting app for IT admins with a WP7 smartphone

Every IT administrator is sleeping with one eye open to check for the status of the infrastructure under his responsibility. To help into this direction, Derdack, based in Potsdam, released a new enterprise alerting app for Windows Phone 7,  message master® Enterprise Alert. The app enables Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), Service Manager (SCSM), HP Operations Center and IBM Tivoli Monitoring users to manage business critical incidents directly from a WP7 smartphone.

For the full press release, read here: DERDACK News and Events.


Γράψε το δικό σου ERP με το Visual Studio LightSwitch

Καλά, μπορεί να μην είναι δυνατό να γράψεις ένα ERP (κυρίως γιατί η ανάλυση είναι το πιο δύσκολο κομμάτι και όχι ο κώδικας) αλλά η Microsoft υπόσχεται ότι θα μπορούμε χωρίς εμπειρία σε deep development να φτιάχνουμε business εφαρμογές με το νέο εργαλείο Visual Studio LightSwitch που θα είναι διαθέσιμο από το τέλος του μήνα. Εφαρμογές για το desktop αλλά φυσικά και για το cloud.

Η λογική μου θυμίζει Visual FoxPro (που για καιρό την είχαμε χαμένη, αλλά ίσως κάποιοι απλά να ετοίμαζαν την επάνοδο με νέο περιτύλιγμα). Όσοι την είχαν χρησιμοποιήσει, είχαν εθιστεί σε σημείο να αρνιούνται να την αφήσουν για να μάθουν κάτι πιο σύνθετο. Ήταν απίστευτα απλή, έστηνες πολύ γρήγορα μικρές και μεγάλες εφαρμογές διαχείρισης δεδομένων και είχε και πολύ καλή ταχύτητα (στην πράξη για την δεκαετία του ’90 ήταν απίστευτα γρήγορη για μεγάλα data sets).

Από τον επόμενο μήνα, θα μπορεί κάποιος με στοιχειώδεις γνώσεις να δημιουργήσει πολύ εύκολα και γρήγορα φόρμες για να δουλέψει με την βάση δεδομένων της επιχείρησης (σε SQL Server φαντάζομαι 😉 )  ή να δημιουργήσει τη δική του βάση δεδομένων χωρίς να γράψει κώδικα. Τα παιδιά της ομάδας έχουν δημιουργήσει και μια σειρά από εισαγωγικά videos για να προχωρήσετε κατευθείαν στο ψητό χωρίς πολύ διάβασμα.

Για λεπτομέρειες και resources, μια επίσκεψη στο LightSwitch Developer Center είναι αρκετά χρήσιμη. Για επαγγελματίες προγραμματιστές το LightSwitch Architecture θα εξηγήσει τα ενδότερα.


Turning 100 needs adaptability

You might have noticed that this year IBM is celebrating its 100th birthday. ZDNet has some interesting turning points in IBM’s corporate history: IBM at 100: 15 inflection points in history | ZDNet. Andrew Nusca comments:

The lesson here? History repeats itself. IBM’s focus on innovation has indeed helped it adapt — proactively, I might add — to a changing market. When it began to rest on its laurels, play the short-term game and ignore its central tenet to offer “global business solutions” — whatever the phrase meant at the time — IBM began to descend into failure.

ZDNet’s Gallery IBM: 100 years of THINKing big is also very nice. And don’t miss the following amazing videos:

Harden your Windows apps with EMET

Do you have legacy applications that worry you? Are you still waiting for a security patch? Some months ago, Microsoft released the Enhanched Mitigation Experience Toolkit v2.1 (EMET), a powerful configuration utility that will help you harden Windows applications.

For more details here: The one security tool every Windows user should know about | ZDNet

From Microsoft’s Download Center:


The enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is designed to help prevent hackers from gaining access to your system.

Software vulnerabilities and exploits have become an everyday part of life. Virtually every product has to deal with them and consequently, users are faced with a stream of security updates. For users who get attacked before the latest updates have been applied or who get attacked before an update is even available, the results can be devastating: malware, loss of PII, etc.

Security mitigation technologies are designed to make it more difficult for an attacker to exploit vulnerabilities in a given piece of software. EMET allows users to manage these technologies on their system and provides several unique benefits:

1. No source code needed: Until now, several of the available mitigations (such as Data Execution Prevention) have required for an application to be manually opted in and recompiled. EMET changes this by allowing a user to opt in applications without recompilation. This is especially handy for deploying mitigations on software that was written before the mitigations were available and when source code is not available.

2. Highly configurable: EMET provides a higher degree of granularity by allowing mitigations to be individually applied on a per process basis. There is no need to enable an entire product or suite of applications. This is helpful in situations where a process is not compatible with a particular mitigation technology. When that happens, a user can simply turn that mitigation off for that process.

3. Helps harden legacy applications: It’s not uncommon to have a hard dependency on old legacy software that cannot easily be rewritten and needs to be phased out slowly. Unfortunately, this can easily pose a security risk as legacy software is notorious for having security vulnerabilities. While the real solution to this is migrating away from the legacy software, EMET can help manage the risk while this is occurring by making it harder to hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the legacy software.

4. Ease of use: The policy for system wide mitigations can be seen and configured with EMET’s graphical user interface. There is no need to locate up and decipher registry keys or run platform dependent utilities. With EMET you can adjust setting with a single consistent interface regardless of the underlying platform.

5. Ongoing improvement: EMET is a living tool designed to be updated as new mitigation technologies become available. This provides a chance for users to try out and benefit from cutting edge mitigations. The release cycle for EMET is also not tied to any product. EMET updates can be made dynamically as soon as new mitigations are ready

The toolkit includes several pseudo mitigation technologies aimed at disrupting current exploit techniques. These pseudo mitigations are not robust enough to stop future exploit techniques, but can help prevent users from being compromised by many of the exploits currently in use. The mitigations are also designed so that they can be easily updated as attackers start using new exploit techniques.

Instant email: how we made Hotmail 10x faster

If you work with Hotmail, you’ll be very very happy. If you haven’t tried it yet, now it’s the best time to be really impressed. And don’t forget that you get an UNLIMITED mailbox for your messages (for normal email usage) with its “ever-growing storage” feature and you can set up your mailbox as an Exchange account in most mobile devices for the best experience (just use Everything about the speed upgrade here: Instant email: how we made Hotmail 10x faster.

To get an idea… The data speaks for itself:

Dec ‘10
June ‘11
Open message 3.3 seconds 0.18 seconds
Delete message 3.1 seconds 0.14 seconds
Compose new message 4.3 seconds 0.20 seconds

Data represents 75th percentile measurements from hundreds of runs of an automated test against a production server. Bandwidth is 300kb down/75 kb up/150ms latency, and browser is IE9.

Mobility: More patents than in pharmaceuticals?

Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Ericsson, RIM and EMC grabbed 6,000 (yes six thousand) patents on wireless technology from Nortel for $4.5 billion! Google was planning to spend just $900 million to get them. The enemy of my enemy… you got it. A blog post has a lot of details on this acquisition:

Some consortium members get patents, some get royalties, and some just get freedom from having to pay royalties.

At the end of the day this deal isn’t about royalties. It is about trying to kill Android.

At the same time Microsoft is getting $5 for each Android device from HTC, Wistron, General Dynamics and is heading for Samsung, Motorola and others. The patent strategy proves to be worthy, too.

A very good reading on smartphone strategy written by one of the best analysts in the industry: One cuckoo, two turkeys and three horses; how the mobile race has changed | VisionMobile :: blog. This article is five months old but I remembered it while reading about the fight over Nortel’s patents.

There will be an increase in the use of patents to fight the cuckoo club and the almighty Apple.

And he continues:

Microsoft + Nokia: running with four legs

In the past few months Nokia realised that in order to halt its slide towards irrelevance, it had to take its head out of the sand and instead take a leap of faith. The brave gamble that Nokia has now chosen is perhaps not the ideal one, but it was the only strategy available for long-term survival and is a bold rejection of the short-termism demanded by short-sighted investors in accepting the call of the cuckoo. In tying Nokia and Microsoft together they have created a rather old-fashioned type of partnership but it will be a partnership of bones not a collection of feathers.

We’ll see…

What’s behind and iCloud? Try Azure for free

Did you know that and its 350,000 blogs is running on Windows Azure cloud infrastructure? And there are hints that even Apple’s new iCloud solution is using part of it… Get a 30-day Windows Azure Platform Pass and try by yourself the Azure platform.

And if you want to know how much it will cost you to deploy your IT stuff on the cloud, use the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator.

My notebook battery is dying. Why?

Most of us have suffered the loss of power of a battery after some months or if we are lucky (or select hardware wisely) after some years. There are a lot of misconceptions and a lot of myths around this problem. But there are experts that can tell us what’s going on and what we can do about it.

One of the worst things you can do to a Li-ion battery is to run it out completely all the time. Full discharges put a lot of strain on the battery, and it’s much better practice to do shallow discharges to no lower than 20 percent.

And for us leaving in Greece especially during Summer temperatures:

Another thing that Li-ion batteries hate is heat. This somewhat less of a problem for cell phones, but a big problem for notebooks. Even using a battery at room temperature for a year can bring its capacity down by as much as 20 percent, and the interior of most computers is a mite cozier than than that. So in a unfortunate twist of fate, laptop batteries usually spend the most time in the worst possible state: plugged in at 100 percent charge, running at an elevated temperature.

Read what you can do to take care of your Li-ion batteries here: Ask Ars: What is the best way to use a Li-ion battery?.

For more information on extending your batteries’ life:  Proper Care Extends Li-Ion Battery Life and everything about batteries here in the Battery University.