The Cloud

The idea of ‘cloud’ computing has been around since the first web based email services but only in the past few years has the term become mainstream.
Here I look into software that runs somewhere other than on your PC.

Its been a day or so since buying a Microsoft Band 2 (took a while to find a high street shop that had one to try on in the first place!) and its proving rather useful to me as a person who rarely has his phone turned on loud and really never notices the little vibrations from it. My most recent application of Band 2 has been using it to receive push notifications from PRTG via my Windows Phone.

In all truth if you already have push notifications setup then you are probably already getting the notifications however if you are not keep reading to find out where to check for the right settings…

On the Microsoft Health App/Band Tiles

On the PRTG App

On your PRTG Console

On your Notification Settings

In recent testing with iOS8 (specifically 8.0.2) we’ve discovered that any web application (in particular we’ve got a number of in house applications that were built using Visual Studio Lightswitch 2013) that relies on Windows Authentication (on Microsoft Internet Information Services) simply does not work.

In particular users get to the login prompt screen to enter their username and password and on attempting to login are just presented with the login window again with no apparent error message.

The work around for now is to use an alternative browser (Chrome works good for us), hopefully Apple will fix this annoyance soon.

A few days ago I saw something on a social networking site about what Pizza would be like if it was a ‘Cloud Service’ – afraid I don’t know who to credit for it so I won’t post it here but I did give into temptation and make my own about Coffee!

So you now have your WebDAV server setup and its time to get this out to your users. To help you along you feel free to edit the guides below to your particular requirements.

  Using Cloud - iOS (225.4 KiB, 2,055 hits)

  Using Cloud - Windows Phone (196.8 KiB, 1,743 hits)

  Using Cloud - Windows XP (157.4 KiB, 1,696 hits)

  Using Cloud - OSX (193.4 KiB, 1,807 hits)

  Using Cloud - Windows 7 (149.3 KiB, 2,143 hits)

  Using Cloud - Windows Vista (166.2 KiB, 1,669 hits)

  Using Cloud - Windows 8 (327.6 KiB, 1,992 hits)

  Using Cloud with iWorks - iOS (5.1 MiB, 1,779 hits)

For further reading take a look at the links below-

In the previous article in this series we looked at the topology needed to setup a WebDAV infrastructure.

I’ll assume that

  • You have a public DNS record which points to a IP address on your firewall which is in turn port forwarding 443 (HTTPS) to your IIS server (this also works through Web Application Proxys like the ones built into Smoothwall firewalls)
  • You have a internal DNS record which points to the network adapter on your IIS server
  • Your IIS server has your paid (and signed) SSL certificate imported

You will also need a few server roles installed on your IIS server (you can do this through Server Manager), these are

  • Web Server (IIS)
  • WebDAV Publishing
  • Basic Authentication
  • Request Filtering
  • HTTP Logging and Logging Tools
  • IIS Management Console (unless you feel like doing everything remotely)
Server setup

So now to the fun bit! Which is all in the screen shot sequence below…


So you now have your server setup with the basics…so its time to do some testing. The screen shot sequence below shows how to connect to the WebDAV share on a Windows 8 PC.

Things you really need to test include
  • Users only have permissions to access the folders you want them to
  • You can upload/download files up to the maxium size you defined earlier
  • That you can access the share from both inside and outside your network
Next time

In the next part you can get some example user guides that I have made for my own implementation as well as some links to further reading.

Every once in a while a magical bit of software comes along that makes life so very good; today that software is WebDAV and its been around so long that some people might have forgotten how good it is.

The premise goes
  • You have one or more internal Windows Server(s) which hosts users personal documents and shared drives
  • You would like your users to access these files on any device ranging from their home PC (running say Windows 7) to their personal mobile devices (iPad)
  • You would like your users to access these files both inside and outside the firewall
  • You would like your users to access these files natively (like a mapped drive) so they don’t have to muck around with web based applications
  • You would like your users to be able to use this service with as little configuration on their part as possible
  • All while maintaining a secure and auditable system
To accomplish this you will need a few things
  • A valid paid for SSL certificate (don’t ever think you can get away with a self signed one) – personally I use a GoDaddy wildcard certificate
  • A spare Internet Information Services (IIS) Server to host the WebDAV service on
  • Depending on how things go 20 minutes

The basic topology is your clients point their WebDAV client at a DNS address which is mapped against a IP address which is port forwarded through your firewall to your IIS server which then serves requests to your file servers (clients don’t get to talk to the file servers direct). Don’t forget to setup your internal DNS to point to the internal network adapter of your IIS server as well.

Next time

In the next article I’ll run through the setup of a WebDAV server.

A press release today from AMD (AMD Launches New Platform for Dedicated Web Hosting Providers) seems all too convenient after AMDs recent purchase of SeaMicro.

The basics of it all goes that AMD now has a server class processor with a low power consumption, high core count that fits in a desktop class motherboard all of which is perfect for so called ‘cloud’ computing – specifically in the area of web hosting which requires ultra high density processing (fitting as many processors in a small amount of space).
For a little while now one of the key players in this arena has been SeaMicro with its Intel Atom powered (yes the same kind of processor that you might find it a netbook).
Of course now that SeaMicro is part of AMD it wouldn’t be seemly for them to continue to use Intel processors (AMDs rival) – thus AMD steps in with the 3200 series.

Its all just a little observation but I wouldn’t mind betting AMD has pushed this processor through the RnD guys fast to get it on the shelves and used in their new SeaMicro servers.

From a different perspective with its desktop style AM3+ socket I could certainly see this CPU coming in use with projects such as my recent storage server construction where a high volume of storage (and not processing power) is required but not that it wouldn’t be nice to have a decent low power server class CPU ticking the whole thing over.

Little help guide for anyone setting up Live@Edu using Forefront Identity Manager 2010!

When trying to install the OLSync (Outlook Live Management Agent) component you get the error

Forefront Identity Manager 2010 FP1 Sync Engine Configuration PowerShell Commandlets version (4.0.3555.2) must be installed.

The easiest way to solve this problem is by downloading the required components from Microsoft Support the direct link is –

You will note that you have to click on the well hidden link to get a hold of the hotfix to solve this problem but once you punch in your email address (make sure its a valid one because that is where Microsoft will send the hotfix) the download will be with you in just a few minutes.

The file that arrives is a zip archive, just extract the contents into a folder of your choice and run the file FIMSyncService_x64_KB2272389 and you will be good to go!

As promised here is my article on the Fitbit mobile website!

First of all I’m a strong believer that the future of the mobile ‘app’ world isn’t in making applications just for particular devices but instead making well designed mobile websites.
Although the Fitbit team do have a iOS app they also have seen this light and also have gone ahead and made a very functional mobile friendly website (big buttons and designed for small screen sizes).

So for the full overview of the mobile websites click through the images in the rest of the post.

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FitbitI’m a strong believer that if you can monitor something well then you can make big leaps and bounds forwards. This especially applies to the world of IT; where for example, if you can monitor how fast a file server is running you can see if it needs a disk upgrade.

Even more so this applies to the human body and that’s where the Fitbit comes in use.

The basic idea is you have a small tracker that monitors your daily activity and reports back to a website through a wireless base station hooked up to your PC. The handy mobile website (no need for a silly ‘app’) also lets you log Food intake (there is a search option with most common options), add activity’s and record your daily weight.

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