Some weekend relaxation

Alrighty! The weekend has arrived. After a hectic week where we lost a technician, I now get to relax just a little bit! Which is good because we have another busy week coming up in just a few hours. Hope you enjoy your weekend.


Microsoft Server 2008 R2 & Exchange 2010 Deployment Fun

Deploying a Microsoft Server 2008 R2 with Microsoft Exchange 2010 into an existing MS Server 2003 / Exchange 2003 environment has some challenges, but when you add in a Blackberry it takes a little foresight.

When a client has an old version of BES or is using Blackberry Professional Server, they should know in advance that it will NOT work with Exchange 2010 – unless they keep the BES account on the legacy (2003) server and the mailboxes of each of the users who will be using a BB.

BIS is also sketchy with Exchange 2010 and OWA. Be well aware that you can’t decide to just dump the BES or Blackberry Professional Server and use BIS & the OWA on your Exchange 2010 server, as it probably won’t work.

What WILL work?

As mentioned, keeping the mailboxes of BB users and the BES mailbox itself on the legacy server…

Upgrading to the latest version of Blackberry Enterprise Server.

Optionally you could just sit back and wait until the recently announced Blackberry Enterprise Server Express is released before moving to Exchange 2010

Other things to consider might be your Anti-Virus / Exchange Anti-Virus/Spam solutions. In our case, Trend Micro Worry Free Security Advanced 5.0 had to be upgraded to WF 6.0, then patched with the service pack. And the messaging protection would not work either, so Trend gives you a free version of their ScanMail to use until WF 7.0 is released. That will be a phone call to Trend to obtain.

Backup Exec 12.5 and below does not fully support Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010. So you will need another solution for this.

Other than those few issues, we are very pleased with the Microsoft Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 combination. This is our first experience with a production environment and we are looking forward to the next one!

Now we offer Digium / Switchvox IP PBX systems

I just want to say… THANK GOD for new and exciting opportunities!

We just became a Digium Switchvox dealer and that will allow us to provide a great alternative to the open source IP PBX systems and the Cisco systems we already offer!

Who knows what is just around the corner for us!

Forgotten Technologies – BBSes, Amigas, IRC, etc

Today I spent about an hour or more showing Scott what an Amiga A-4000T is all about. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any disks with me to show him the awesome 80s & 90s graphics. Nor did I get it online to show him what that machine was used for.

What was it used for?  I’m glad you asked! It was used to run Amiga Connection (AmiCon.Net) BBS for years and years. At the time that I pulled the plug on it about 2005, it was likely the oldest CNet Amiga BBS still online. I hope to be bringing it online again in the coming weeks, and let it live out its life serving up those wonderful ascii/ansi graphics via a telnet connection. Don’t worry, I will announce the grand re-opening because I know you want to see messages and uploads that posted 10 years ago.

AmiCon has over 800 registered members still that have not been weeded out (I turned off the “weed” for inactive users to preserve the database). Some awesome people used this board over the years, maybe they are still alive?

While I’m on the subject of forgotten technology, what about IRC? It’s around still, in fact, there are thousands of IRC servers and if you log onto some of the larger networks, you will find thousands of people online, however, if you ask 100 people if they know what it is, a dozen will have heard of it, one might still use it. I still run an IRC server at irc.SuperHosts.Net, which was part of the irc.ExodusIRC.Net network until we lost all the other people. Want to join in the fun? No problem, shoot me an email, I’ll tell you all about it… IRC is actually pretty fun. You can find live discussions going on just about any time of the day, in any language, and on any subject.

Maybe I should leave out my OTHER forgotten technology…. Ham Radio…   Uhmm yeah, I still use that too!

Wireless Security – When using an open access point is a very bad idea

So you are a student and on a budget,  and you decide that you don’t need to get your own internet connection since some stupid person in your complex has a very strong signal, and fortunately for you the connection is open! Sounds super? Well not so fast… How do you know that the access point you are connecting to has not be specifically setup to harvest information that is transmitted over it?

The AP could be collecting every keystroke you type, on every website you visit. Imagine all your banking information, logins and passwords to your favorite sites. Given enough time, all the key elements needed to steal your identity could be obtained easily.

What about checking email while on the road? Sure, find an open access point and go crazy, but keeping in mind that anything sent through the air may just be intercepted is a good idea. Save the online banking for your secure connection only.

Here is an example of what some people think about open access points…

Please vote for our Cisco Contest entry!

Please vote for us today! Click link, hit VOTE, etc…  Rinse, wash and repeat daily!

Even if you have voted via the Twitter, Facebook, etc links, I think it counts for the visit….  This could win 10,000 dollars in Cisco equipment for us to use at Homeland Secure IT, LLC and would be a wonderful thing for us to be able to get some of the technology we can’t normally afford for ourselves!  Thank you in advance for supporting us!

Example of Supercooling & Snap Freezing

I have been a fan of Mr. Wizard, or for those of you who are too young to know who that is, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” type experiments that you can do at home for as long as I can remember. One simple experiment that I first learned about only a couple years ago was that of supercooling water and where the water is below freezing, but still in a liquid state… Then, causing it to freeze instantly.  I know, sounds goofy, but simple people are easily amused I guess!

I originally posted a link on YouTube and had people tell me that it was some kind of optical illusion, or that I used a powder available in magic stores that accomplishes the same thing with non-freezing water… Go figure, the world is full of skeptics, and with good reason!

Here’s a link to a description of the actual process for those who really care…

I use Mac or Linux because it never gets exploited like Windows… Right? Uhmmm no.

While some may feel safe and secure in their little Mac or Linux world, it is becoming painfully apparent that the walls are crashing down around those with who feel that false sense of security. Of course Apple did everything they could to convince you that their computers were impervious to malware in a whole slew of television and online advertisements, so don’t feel bad if you bought into it.

Even those who are tech savvy enough to dump Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X for an alternative operating system based on the Linux kernel are finding themselves victim to an ever increasing deluge of malware. Obviously, this is not happening at the same rate due to many factors, such as the simple fact that malware authors are going to focus their attention on the mainstream MS Windows offering to ensure they impact more people.

Don’t risk becoming a statistic, we don’t want you to be included in articles like this one from CNet, dated 2/17/2010:

The bottom line is, don’t get caught with your pants down so to speak. Use current and high quality Anti-Virus no matter what operating system you use. Here at Homeland Secure IT, we recommend and offer Trend Micro’s entire suite of products that can protect a single desktop to corporate AV that will protect thousands of computers on your corporate network. The flagship for small businesses who have a server is the Trend Worry Free Security product. And for those who have their own Microsoft Exchange Mail Server, then we would suggest Trend Micro’s Worry Free Advanced Security, which will run on your servers, protect you from spam, and malware coming in through email, as well as being centrally in control of all desktops in your organization for easy auditing and reporting.

Call or Email today and let us know how we can help you protect your system/s!