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Securing the Borderless Network

July 19, 2011 Comments off

Read my review of “Securing the Borderless Network” by Tom Gillis, now available exclusively on the IT Knowledge Exchange.

Categories: Books, Reviews >

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

March 27, 2011 Comments off

Recently featured by both eWeek and PC Pro, Microsoft’s WebMatrix is a free web development tool to speed and ease deployment of projects based around proprietary or open source platforms including (but not limited to) blogs, CMS’s and Wiki’s. The accompanying Web Platform Installer (PI) simplifies the process of downloading these platforms and as you might expect is primarily based around the Microsoft Web Platform comprised of Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework and Visual Web Developer.

In my case I needed to get a new dedicated WordPress environment up and running quickly and having previously completed this manually and finding it somewhat time consuming and fiddly, any way to achieve this in a more structured, reliable manner would be welcome.

After downloading the Web PI and installing it on my Windows Server 2008 virtual machine I was presented with the Web Gallery which lists the applications available – it was then a simple matter of selecting WordPress, following the on screen prompts and in minutes my new WordPress instance was up and running.

Unlike the authors of the above reviews however I did not encounter any problems with the download and installation of MySQL and as the required components are downloaded dynamically the WordPress version was current. The Web PI does not remove the need for an understanding at least at a high level of the technologies involved and if it is to be used for serious development/staging purposes knowledge of how to backup the MySQL databases created etc. is still required.

More information is available at the Web Platform website or via the associated twitter feed – @mswebplatform.

Qualys BrowserCheck

February 23, 2011 Comments off

Recently featured on the Internet Storm Center’s podcast, Qualys’s BrowerCheck tool can be used to complete a very simple but highly important task – to ensure that your web browser and all of plug-ins are up to date. Compatible with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome it will scan a machine and the browser being used (i.e. multiple browsers installed will require individual scans) to detect what browser/plug-ins are installed and whether a new version is available; if so – a “Fix It” button is displayed to the right of the plug-in concerned which upon being clicked will direct the user to the vendor’s associated installation page. After an update(s) have been applied re-run the scan to update the compliancy status.

Whilst Qualys does use the results of scans conducted to produce reports of the findings it states on the tool’s FAQ page that use of the tool “..does NOT use or track your personal information and browser history”.

So simple, effective and essentially freeĀ  – make it part of your personal computer hygiene routine today!

Categories: Reviews >, Security, Tools

Microsoft Virtualization with Hyper-V

January 19, 2011 Comments off

This book deals with Microsoft’s server virtualization solution and is for those who want to implement Hyper-V “the right way”.

As the author’s quote in the book’s Introduction, the Gartner research group believes that “IT infrastructure and operations <will> be deeply impacted by virtualization by 2012”. If you are new to virtualization as a whole or Microsoft’s offering this book provides a solid foundation to both.

Using a comprehensive and logical approach in response to established business requirements the book covers the topics of planning, installation, configuration, management, backing up, restoring, disaster recovery, monitoring and securing of a Hyper-V environment.

Read the rest of my Amazon.com review.

Microsoft Virtualization with Hyper-V
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 1 edition (July 30, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0071614036

My Take On The New MacBook Air..

October 22, 2010 Comments off

Having both used and supported the original MacBook Air in an enterprise environment I, like many, was keen to see what changes Apple had up its sleeves when it announced its most recent incarnation. Like others, I was disappointed to hear that it would continue to use at its heart an Intel Core 2 Duo processor but intrigued to hear that it would use flash based memory for primary storage purposes.

Given the fact that Apple is the primary NAND flash based memory buyer in the world and that such is its demand to support products such as the iPhone and iPad that it has repeatedly caused worldwide market shortages in the past, when coupled with the supplier agreements it has in place and taking into account the discounts such purchasing power enable it to demand is it naive to not think that one reason the company is and will continue to expand its market share is by the monopolistic holding of such components? Apple has always had a history of being innovative but given that Steve Jobs heralded the MacBook AirĀ  “the next generation of MacBooks” it will be interesting to see how and if its competitors can respond.

Initial Thoughts: Flipboard

July 25, 2010 Comments off

Flipboard iconReleased earlier this week following much hype (especially by Robert Scoble), Flipboard aims to personalize your news according to your tastes as well as those of your Facebook friends and those you follow on Twitter. However, due to what it’s CEO Mike McCue described as “an explosive rush of new users”, in its current form access to these key differentiators is by invitation only and as a result it has been dismissed by some as little more than just another news aggregator with what could be regarded as a gimmick for a means of navigation.

For the brief time I have been using it “as is”, I have found it to be an extremely responsive application based around a simple premise which utilizes a novel, genuinely useful presentation style.

In a world which seems to have an increasingly low tolerance for anything less than instant gratification, whilst I can understand people’s frustration I believe we should acknowledge the doubtless many late nights/early mornings the team of 10(!) have and at least for the immediate future continue to endure and look forward to the fulfillment of their initial vision.

Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution

May 3, 2010 Comments off

Drawing on his extensive experience in the IT world and his position as “editor-at-large” of the well respected InformationWeek, author Charles Babcock aims to offer “..the first book to provide practical cloud computing understanding and strategy for business”.

So does the book meet/exceed the promise made? ..

Read the rest of my Amazon.com review based upon a pre-release edition of the manuscript.

Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (April 16, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0071740759

Categories: Books, Reviews >