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Alastair Revell is the Managing Consultant of Revell Research Systems, a Management and Technology Consulting Practice based at Exeter in the United Kingdom.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Thursday, July 13, 2006
I believe that a really useful administrative facility that should be built into Microsoft Windows is the ability to login as a user by using an administrator's credentials.
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Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:50:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Security | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Register recently reported that Bexley Care Trust had lost a considerable amount of Microsoft Exchange Data. One of the Register's sources asserts that this was due to "primitive backup procedures". Another anonymous source interviewed by them suggested the server was six years old and that the tape heads were badly worn. They also suggested that the trust had been warned over six months ago that the UPS battery needed replacing.

I doubt Bexley Care Trust will be the only organisation to suffer such problems.

I think many organisations have come to assume that their systems will run and run. They have done so for years, so why assume they won't continue to do so? The reality is that sooner or later disaster will strike. Many organisations are loathed to properly fund their information technology (IT) infrastructure, simply increasing the risk of a disaster occurring. Indeed, some organisations seem to feel so immune from disaster that they fail in the most basic areas of disaster recovery, namely in backing up properly.

If reported accurately, it is clear that the warning signs were there at Bexley Care Trust: UPS battery on the blink and an old server.

Sloppy backup procedures are far too common. Very few organisations test and in many SME firms the attitude towards this important procedure is completely blasé. Did no one check the backup logs on a regular basis at Bexley Care Trust? I fear not otherwise someone would have noticed that backups were failing (assuming they were being done!)

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006 10:16:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] General | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Sunday, June 18, 2006

I note from Somasegar's blog that Microsoft are to rebrand their forthcoming WinFX technologies as .NET Framework 3.0. (S Somasegar is Microsoft's Corporate Vice-President of the Developer Division.)

This is essentially the existing .NET 2.0 Framework combined with the new WinFX technologies. The new technologies are Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and Windows Card Space (WCS), together with some supporting new base class libraries.

It is apparent that this name change has not met with universal approval from the developer community.

However, it is equally clear that many people were finding it difficult to understand exactly how WinFX fitted in with Microsoft's overall strategy. In particular, a number of people seem to believe that WinFX was to replace the .NET Framework. In technical terms, WinFX has only ever been an extension of the existing .NET Framework 2.0.

I actually think that in some respects WinFX is a better name for the .NET Framework, since it is clear that the .NET Framework is destined to be the new way of programming Windows. WinFX is really the next step in the Win16 and Win32 series...

Ultimately, I'm happy with Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 (WinFX).

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Sunday, June 18, 2006 12:01:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] .NET | Coding | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Thursday, June 15, 2006

I understand that Bill Gates is to step down from his day-to-day work at Microsoft, while retaining the chairmanship and providing input on major developments.

I wonder what effect this might have on Microsoft's future direction...

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Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:38:31 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Monday, June 12, 2006
Are Menus Passe as far as Microsoft is concerned?
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Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:09:45 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Saturday, June 10, 2006
I believe that bannering, along with other coding standards, makes code more approachable and therefore more valuable. It especially helps with maintenance and re-use, where the current programmer may not be the original developer. Making code more approachable is important to commercial organisations looking to maximise their return-on-investment (ROI). However, such standards tend to be derided by developers who predominantly work on their own because they cannot see the value.
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Saturday, June 10, 2006 12:07:15 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [2] Coding | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, June 05, 2006
I remain concerned about the possibility of "taking out" a Microsoft Exchange server, especially one installed as part of Small Business Server.
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Monday, June 05, 2006 2:07:51 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Security | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Friday, June 02, 2006

According to a news article being carried by the BBC (, a group of hacker have hit a web site operated by the Swedish police.

It seems that this was simply a denial of service attack, which swamped the machine with requests.

Unfortunately, denial of service (DoS) attacks seem to be becoming more prominent and I suspect we will soon need to be helping smaller clients ensure that their boundary devices are capable of withstanding such attacks.

I suspect it will also come as something of a shock to people when they learn how expensive some of these security devices are in comparison to "bog standard" equipment.

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Friday, June 02, 2006 5:08:46 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Well, we finally published our new web site (which can be viewed at at 4:30pm today!

It's been hard work, but hopefully worthwhile!

Although this is "billed" as an interim before we publish the larger .NET site, it still clocks in at 302 files spread over just under 70 pages.

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Friday, June 02, 2006 4:57:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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