Fixed the site CAPTCHA

July 24, 2008 – 01:40

Had to disable all the comment field ealier due to spam bots finding my site. Today I signed up with reCAPTCHA and I’m liking it so far.

Try it! Comment on this post!



Moving Exchange away from Sherweb, to ItSolutionsNow

July 19, 2008 – 03:07

I’ve had it with Sherweb. If you didn’t know, I had my 3GB hosted Exchange account hosted at http://www.sherweb.com for about 5 to 6 months now and overall the overall experience was great. However … there was one thing that was bothing me… I didn’t get all my email.

Let me explain.. I set up my account (…@martijnbrant.net) and made sure the DNS settings for my domain were properly set. They were and in no time the account was up and running using Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Windows Mobile 6.0 (Push email). All was great and all my email was being delivered to my inbox.

Half a day later .. I got a (what the server thought to be) spam message and I didn’t recieve it. At the end of the day, the server had send me a anti-spam reporting showing I had one message waiting for me at the webinterface for anti-spam. Turns out .. Sherweb was using a product called Barracuda Spam Firewall. It sat between my email and my inbox.. filtering emails and quarantining them in the webinterface. I found this annoying and I quickly turned it off (making it tag spam instead..).

All was fine again .. untill I was planning my trip to Florida. I had the hotel I was going to be staying in (which was great, Choicehotels are awesome value) on the phone and manager who booked my stay said he sended the confirmation of my hotel reservation to my mb.net email account. One hour later, I still hadn’t recieved it. I rang them up and had them send it to my Hotmail Windows Live Mail account. Sure .. 2 secs later I had recieved the email. “That’s strange huh?”

I dismissed the problem and went on my trip to Florida. After I got back .. I was curious as to how this could have happened. I tried to forward the stored email from my WLM account to my Sherweb account. Never recieved it. Surprised by this, I rang Sherweb. After going trough the usual Level-1-support stuff, I got through to Level 2. The guy was friendly enough and tracked down the email. “Ah I see .. blocked”. Ok sure, I replied .. why is it blocked and why can’t I see that?

“Well sir the Barracuda filtering system uses 3rd party blacklists in order to tag spam. Messages containing keywords from that list will be deleted”. Wait what? You deleted my email?!?! “Yes sir, for your protection”. Erhmm Ok .. On what word was it blocked? “Lemme just see here … ah .. choicehotels.com sir”. Wait what? As for as I understand it, Choicehotels is a pretty large organisation with 1000s of hotels all over the USA. “Yeah the word is blocked sir”.

It turned out I couldn’t see what emails were being blocked or for what reason. I had no idea on how much emails (read: business) I had lost over this. I asked Sherweb “What should I do with my important email? Just use my Windows Live Mail for all the important bits?”. He replied “Err yeah you could do that…”. “- Why am I paying you then?” … “Well sir, you could still use your Sherweb account for all personal stuff”. What?!?! Sure buddy .. I’ll just use my 100$ email account for personal stuff… I have WLM for that..

So .. as of today I’m migrating over to http://www.exchangemailhosting.com. I rang them up and told them/asked them about my Sherweb problems and if they had similar systems. They chuckled and replied “No sir, we believe in NOT trowing email away”. Hehe.

I hope exchangemailhosting.com will be better. We’ll see. Just about done with the DNS. Wait a couple of more days and then cancel my Sherweb service. They told me they’ll refund my pre-paid 3 month period. So have to hand it to them .. that’s great. Overall Sherweb is great if it wasn’t for their email-eating practice.



Sorry

July 4, 2008 – 02:16

Hey guys,

Sorry for not posting more TechEd stories .. I heard a lot of people liked them. I’ve been very busy and the trip for TechEd, tough very awesome, was also very tiresome.

Will update more once I have the time.



Photos from day 2!

June 11, 2008 – 21:46

Again .. internet in hotel is too slow to upload photos. I had to upload onsite at the center.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27467900@N05/sets/72157605557437194/



TechEd 2008 for IT Pro – travel blog – day 3

June 11, 2008 – 21:31

Woke up at 6:30AM. Met colleague Sumeeth Evans at breakfast. Sumeeth and I will be working together to write up on articles for Bink.nu. We left for the center by half past 7 and walked all the way over. It was a bit warm but doable.

Upon arrival we quickly regged up Sumeeth, and we headed over to the special press room. DAMN! I’m loving my presscard! A nice large room with nice leather seats, couches and special workdesktops for pressmembers to work at. In this special area we got nearly everything we need including a 5-star buffet for breakfast and lunch. It is a shame tough tomorrow will be last day it’s available.

After a quick break and logging on the press room wireless, we left to attend the keynote. We had special seats on the front row reserved just for us, the press. We also got to bypass the main waiting line at the entrance which was nice.

The keynote itself was really interesting and it covered a lot of ground. I’m not going to repeat myself with all the quite boring IT blah again. If you want to read, head on over to Bink.Nu: http://bink.nu/news/microsoft-teched-2008-it-pro-usa-keynote.aspx

After the keynote we left again to  freshen up at the press room and write up the keynote summary that’s online on Bink.nu right now. Had to fight with the admin system to upload all the photos and insert them in the article. Ultimately it worked and we finished it up.

After that I headed on out in the center booths on the conference. Saw a lot of interesting booths out there on Windows server, Windows client, security.

After that I headed on over to the  “Tricks of the Windows Vista masters” session. The session itself .. the content .. was a bit basic. Nearly every tip they demoed I already knew. However the presenter himself was great. Very funny and good jokes to lighten up the mood. Halfway through I made a couple of pictures of the session (as I do with all) and he stopped presenting. Told me to give him a headsup next time as he wants to pose for every photo. Later on I took a couple more and he ahw’ed I didn’t notified him J Good laugh.

After the Vista session, I met up with fellow Dutch reporter Raymond Comvalius. Had a good laugh with him and hit up the System Center Ess. Session. (which was .. boring). Here we also met up with (another Dutchy) Marco Timmermans. Both are Microsoft Certified Trainers and we walked around talking to a lot of people from the MCT world. We walked through the booths again, talking on IT in general, specific products and problems in de modern IT.

To end the working day we headed on out to the Partner Expo partner. Every expo exhibitor had some nice stuff at their stand and we had great fun at multiple stands. Had a good time with Marco and Raymond.

Around 2PM it started to storm outside. There were big thunderclouds out and it rained like hell. Luckily when I started to go to the hotel it stopped storming. On my way to the hotel, I met a fellow TechEddy (of who I just forgot his name).

Wrote some more, slept some more…  



More photos of the keynote

June 11, 2008 – 16:59

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27467900@N05/sets/72157605553414874/



Sorry about the photos

June 11, 2008 – 15:51

Sorry guys about the photos. The internet at the hotel is very slow and Flickr don’t like slow connections. Got good connection at the convention so I’ll be sure to upload more there. Stay tuned for keynote photos.



TechEd 2008 for IT Pro – travel blog – day 2

June 11, 2008 – 15:49

Woke up this morning around 8:30AM after sleeping very sound for over 9 hours straight. Felt great just to lie down and get off your feet. Checked out my room.. it’s a very nice hotel. Room is OK .. it’s clean and large enough. 4 people could sleep here but I wouldn’t recommend it. Bathroom is good and all services provided are great. Grabbed breakfast real quick here in the hotel. It’s ok .. 100% American (read: fat and large).

Later on around 10 I left the hotel to check in at the convention center. It was HOT. Hot as hell. Had to walk for about 15 to 20 minutes in the smoking hot sun to get there. On-site they have great air conditioning tough so that’s great. Checked in real quick.. got my press pass and my goodie bag.

All looked good .. walked around .. asked some quick questions and took some photos of everything getting set up. Sorry for not having more photos. The internet at the hotel is real slow.

Later in the afternoon I went back to the hotel to check out the Apple keynote (which totally sucked in hindsight) and took a quick swim in the pool. After that I went around an shopped a little bit. Ate lunch at Subway which was real nice but a bit overpriced.

Ended the day by prepping for next day and eating out the Village Inn again … hmmm American steak goooood 🙂



TechEd 2008 for IT Pro – travel blog – Photos day 1

June 9, 2008 – 14:43

Check out this Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27467900@N05/sets/72157605519841897/



TechEd 2008 for IT Pro – travel blog – day 1

June 9, 2008 – 03:41

I left home today at 04:00AM after not sleeping. Shortly after my friend Rick drove me to Schiphol Amsterdam airport where we arrived at around 6AM, checking in wasn’t starting until 06:30AM so we stopped for a drink.

Shortly after 06:30AM, I checked my bag and I was ready to go. Well .. ready to wait to go that is. My flight didn’t go until 09:30AM. Ultimately I was on my way with a 757-200 plane. It was a nice flight, staff was friendly, food wasn’t bad, service was great. Had a Dutch couple next to me which were real friendly and nice to talk to.

I was up for about 30 hours straight before I finally could get some rest. Slept for a few hours, seats were OK I guess.

Later on I arrived at Newark, New York a tad early. I was lucky with the security and customs, very short line and lines were often cut open for me and few others. Guess that tip from Klaas really helped after all.

However I didn’t like the staff and cleanliness of the Newark airport. The restrooms were a mess, staff weren’t very nice/friendly, food there was a mess. Not sure if it’s just bad luck or it’s because New Yorkers are less friendly by nature?

Also .. since when does one have to take of their shoes when going through security. What the … Really guys .. you can take it too far..

Had to wait another 3 hours for my flights to connect. I’m writing this as I’m watching the CSI-LV episode for the second time today on the inflight entertainment system. The system on the second flight (Newark -> Orlandlo) just simply sucked howver the system of the first one was great! It had a large touch screen with a large library with on-demand media. Tv episodes, movies, music etc. Real nice system! Enjoyed Austin Powers 1 yet again! Also .. inflight entertainment system + touch screen + soduko (and other games) = total win 😀

Overall I’m liking the service of Continental Airlines. Looking back at the online checkin system, I could easily reduce my layover time. But that could also be luck as all my flights were on time, and arrived early at destinations. I’m hoping the rest of this last flight in won’t be too shabby. Can’t wait to hit up my hotel in a couple of hours. Ugh.

Update: Ok finally in my room now. It’s 09:26PM now and I’m really tired now. Got some more sleep on the second flight which was nice. Staff could have been nicer on the second flight tough. Waiting for the shuttle took FOREVER. On top of that, there were like 10 people in the mini-van, each with different hotels all across Orlando. There is a small family-diner next to the hotel, Village Inn, great stuff! Cheap and great food. Really helped after such a long journey. Staff was great. If you’re ever in Orlando à Village Inn Restaurant.

Ps. Took a bunch of photos and made a mini video of the flight thingy. Upload them tomorrow.

pps. Rick, your camera rocks 😀 Thanks for all your help!