Friday, November 17, 2006

Parked Domain, Reserved Domain...

You may have heard those terms before, but what do they mean? Let's see some terms:

  • Reserved Domain - is a domain that was purchased but was not set up. Those type of domains do not exist practically, but nobody can buy them any more.
  • Parked Domain - is a domain that exists only to be out on top of another one. Basically, when such domain is requested, the underlying hosting domain is returned. Parked domains usually do not have subdomains (except for the standard WWW one)
  • Active Domain - is a fully functional domain, it can have subdomains, mail servers etc.
  • Expired Domain - is a previously reserved, parked or active domain that has its registration expired and the registrar has locked it out until the owner pays again or until it will be erased. Usually the expired domains are used to give the owner a grace period to renew it.
  • Domain Lock - is a setting in the registrar database that prevents unauthorised changes to it. Only unlocked domains can be transferred from one registrar to another.

Hope some terms are not more clear...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Robots and Blogs

I just cannot pass this post... You know already that I have a profile on Technorati. Well... following the link to see who is linking to my blog, I've found this one: that is actually a collection of posts from other users. Somehow they crawl automatically for all posts containing the word "AdSense" in it.
I bet that after few hours this post is published, it will be shown in that blog. Good think is that they link to the original post, so giving this I cannot tell if this is a good or a bad thing. I actually don't mind yet about this because: (1) they link to my original posts and (2) they generate links to my blog and therefore traffic. And I didn't do anything for that, they found it on their own. I will keep monitoring the links and see if things go another way...

MSDN Briefing and SIAB in Brasov

Yesterday I've posted about day one in the article TechNet Briefing Brasov. Today was the second day from the Microsoft Days here in Brasov. This day was focusing on developers, so lots of code was shown. I will not reproduce it here, but I will go a little bit through the ideas there.
Basically it focused on .NET framework version 3.0. It should be called 2.1 or 2.5, but for marketing reasons at Microsoft it is called 3.0. Why? because we have this simple equation:
.NET 3.0 = .NET 2.0 (CLR 2.0) + WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) + WS (Windows Workflow Foundation) + WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) + InfoCard.
So as you can see 3.0 is just 2.0 on steroids.
In short, WCF is a powerful communication layer which can use SOAP, web services, TCP/IP, .NET Remoting etc. to communicate between 2 endpoints (client and server usually). However, the big news is that you can change the underlying communication provider and hoster just by changing the config file. Neat, isn't it? It can also self-host the services, deploy over IIS etc. So, Microsoft took the best (or let's say major) standards and put them all together under one roof.
WS is an engine to work with and execute workflows. It supports both sequential and state-based workflows.
WPF is actually the known XAML.
InfoCard is something similar to the Microsoft Passport, but much, much evolved and quite different. The idea is that it is much more secured and easy to use, and it does not require (though it can use) a centralized provider like the Passport does.

Another discussion was about the new Office file formats, which are basically a ZIP archive containing XML files and any binary-format objects that are embedded (like pictures). It is also very extensible and pragmatically you have the sky as the limit.

Also some examples of how to develop Vista-friendly applications were shown, but I cannot reproduce the demos here.

The second part of the day focused on the same subjects but from an architect level...

Playing With AdSense Spam

First of all... this is not spam from Google or the official AdSense team. I went to one of those "Get rich with AdSense" sites I was talking about in my post "AdSense Heaven?" and put in my "name" and e-mail address. Actually instead of the name I put in "Ivebeenspamed" (that's "I've been spamed" if you missed it, I took the idea from The Noob Commic). Now of course... I receive spam from that site. Whatever they say it was free, with big text and lots of fuss, was actually a "sub product" of another big one. As I said... tricks to get your money.
Now that spam tries to sell me stuff and it is providing me with rubbish information that can, if I take it for granted, get me in trouble with AdSense. However, some of the "tips" got my attention because parts of them are quite true (I bolded the "true" part of then). However, do not take those for granted as tips! They are snippets from a junk mail! Here is the one that has the most truth in it:

2. Junk Sites Get Junk Income
Your site must have good content that can
attract users on its own merit. There are a lot of different strategies
available for producing good content for your site. You'll need to use them
if you want to create the sort of site that makes real money. Don't build junky sites, because they'll just bring you junky (meaning, "not very much")

Well... this is it. See how a spamer tricks users? They present to you half truth and whole lies...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Technet Briefing Brasov

As promised I write about Microsoft Days in my town. I attended today the TechNet Briefing, but since I didn't have an available Internet connection I could not blog live. So, let's take it step by step.

First it started with a quick intro and then a local partner (no advertising here but they are called 2Net) had a speaker telling about his company. Direct advertising if you ask me. They offered keyboards to "key partners" as "presents". Go figure... but the list was 22 companies long.

Then the local communities were presented. I am a member of one of them, and they are quite legit, so I am glad that they were presented. I admit that Microsoft is still helping them with sponsorships and logistics, but what the heck, those are the local communities that use and promote their products. Without any other fuss, here they are: Ronua, ITBoard, SQLServer and ProFox.

The first TechNet presentation was about SBS 2003 R2 (Small Business Server 2003 R2). I'll
highlight what I think is interesting: it is based on Windows 2003 SP1 and not 2003 R2, it incorporates Exchange 2003 and Web Share Services. It comes in 2 flavours: Standard and Premium. The Premium version has as extra SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition, Internet and Security Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 and Office FrontPage 2003. The rest is the same. The recommended prices are 606 USD and 1315 USD respectively.

The second presentation was about the security in Windows Vista. That was by far the most interesting presentation for me. They introduced with Vista the "Improved Security Development Cycle". This is a defensive programming technique that by design gets rid of the "standard" attack vectors like buffer overflow. It also means that the Microsoft Security Team has veto rights over it. In other words any security flaw will stop the product from being released. I am truly impressed about this.
Another security improvement is that services run with far less security privileges. This means that if a service is compromised by an attacker or a virus, it is restricted big time to what the service is allowed to do... mainly nothing. This comes handy with the next improvement: all windows services are profiled for allowed actions. In other words each service must declare upfront what they need to be allowed to do, like the list of files they need to write or computers they need to connect to. So? So considering the previous improvement, those two combined will constrain the malicious code as much as possible and the damage will be minimal.
They also introduced several run levels (0, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500) where level 0 is fully restricted and level 500 is absolute power. Each level can write down and read up. They are not allowed to write data to an upper level. So if a process is running at level 300 (user context and user desktop) it will not affect anything on level 400 (services level) or 500 (admin level). This means that any user application cannot change the services and cannot change the system. Worst it can do is mess up the user documents.
Big deal is also that not even the administrators run with administrative privileges. What? Yup! you read right, and it is logical when you think about it. Most users are administrators on their machines which means that they can mess up the entire system by mistake or by means of a malicious program. When an administrative task needs to be done, the user is asked for explicit user permissions. This is done by a window that runs in level 500, which means that it can be interacted with only from the keyboard and/or the mouse. No application or service can access it since it is in an upper level (remember that the desktop is on level 300 and the services are on level 400). Of course that this behaviour can be disabled, but I don't recommend it. Actually the administrators have a split security token, one with regular user privileges and one with the admin ones but which is granted only after that "pesky level 500 window" (namely the user at the keyboard) is giving the OK. Also, if an application is known as malware, that level 500 window will have only... the Cancel button. Handy, isn't it?
The firewall got bidirectional in Vista. That means that rules can be defined for outgoing connections too, not only for the inbound ones. It also has direct, built-in, IPSEC supports.
There are many improvements too. I will mention just one more: The GINA is... gone!

The 3rd one was about deployment of Vista. Here I will not get in details at all.

The 4th presentation was about Exchange 2007. The bad news is that it works on 64-bit processors only. However it can be evaluated on 32-bits ones too.
It comes with 5 possible roles: Edge Transport, Hub Transport, Mailbox, Client Access and Unified messaging. The last 4 roles can be hosted by the same server. There are also 4 mailbox types: users, rooms, equipments and linked. I will not get in the details of those.
A big improvement is that users and groups can be created directly from the Exchange Management Console. Also the new Exchange Server Shell (a command line management console) can do everything the GUI can do (including deleting all mailboxes...)
Also, when Outlook Web Access (OWA) is used, all links to the local servers are identified and the documents they point to are accessible for the user from where ever he/she is, all this over Internet. OWA is implemented with the AJAX technology and it features auto complete and fast searches.

The day ended with an Q&A session. Now let's see the two events from tomorrow...