Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Common Blackberry and BES Issues

We have several clients using Blackberry devices and Blackberry Enterprise Servers (BES), which allow the Blackberry devices to integrate with Exchange mailboxes. I should also note that there is a version of BES called Professional edition (or something similar to that). The Professional edition is the same as BES, but is free and limited to 25 users. Where I live (Winnipeg, Canada) you get a free Professional licence with each Blackberry device.

The two most common issues we see:
  • Device suddenly unable to send or receive email. We are seeing this on newer devices and seems to be a weird hardware/OS issue in the device. The only fix we have found for it is removing and replacing the battery. This forces a full reboot (no data lost). We have not been able to determine any specific circumstances that cause the issue.
  • Device able to receive new messages, but not send. This occurs when the service account for the BES server does not have the correct permissions to the mailbox of the user. The fix for this one is to give the BES service account Send As permissions to the user. Again, this seems to be a somewhat random error. It happens to individual users sometimes and we've never found a source.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Windows Server 2008 Foundation

I thought I knew all the editions of Windows Server 2008. Apparently I missed the Foundation edition. I think it's relatively new. It is also available only through OEMs.

Here is the basic rundown of the Foundation edition features that make it different from Standard edition:
  • Does not include Hyper-V
  • Does not include server core
  • Limited to 15 simultaneous user connections
  • Separate licencing from CALs (may be cheaper)
  • Lower cost
  • Only available through OEMs

The Foundation edition can still be used for:

  • Domain Controller
  • Terminal Services (need the TS CALs, limited to 15 users still)
  • Remote access
  • Application server
  • File and Print server

Looks like an interesting option for smaller environments that need a basic server and don't want to kick out the $ for a full server or SBS. I can think of one client right now who could use this.

Free AV Software

There have always been a few free anti-virus products out there. They lure you in with a base product and then try to upsell you to a more configurable product. AVG antivirus is probably the best known.

Well, Microsoft is about to become one of the biggest AV software providers out there. Microsoft Security Essentials is now in beta. This replaces the One Care product that I don't think was overly successful in the market place. However, MS Security Essentials is free, and that's an important distiction.

Only 75,000 downloads of the beta are allowed here:

I'm in Canada. So, I can't try it out. Only for the US, China, and Brazil.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Increase simultaneous downloads in IE

By default IE allows only 2 downloads at a time (IE7 and previous). To increase this, you need to modify a registry key. Everytime I get a new computer I end up modifying this.

So, this post is as much for me at anyone else. This like has the key to modify and even a nifty automated process for increasing the simultaneous downloads to 10.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Create Your Own E-Learning

Microsoft has publicly released a tool for creating e-learning courses. This is the same tool we use when we create the official Microsoft E-learning courses. It is called the Learning Content Development System (LCDS).

Version 2.3 has just been released which includes a spell checker. In general it is a good tool for its defined task. You create a variety of Web pages including quizes and adventure activities through the included templates.

There are templates for providing demonstrations and animations. However, those must be created outside of LCDS using third-party tools such as Camtasia (from Techsmith).

Check out LCDS here: