Friday, February 24, 2006

Drinking from the Firehose

Here's the best starting point I've found so far for reading up on TFS:

I can already see some issues: I wasn't happy to have to configure security in TFS, Sharepoint, and SQL Reporting using three different UIs. I'm definitely going to have to download the Administration tool:

File Under: Technology,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I put in my official resignation with work today. While googling about for what a letter of resignation is supposed to contain, I was amused to discover that Richard Nixon's resignation is considered to be a shining example:

Wikimedia: Richard_Nixon_letter_of_resignation_1974.png

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


A little light reading . . . .

Team Foundation Server: At Work

Team Foundation Server Fundamentals: A Look at the Capabilities and Architecture

MSDN2 Visual Studio Team System

Visual Studio Team System Developer Center

. . . and a little more fun . . .

Visual Studio 2005 Team System Multimedia Content

Teamsystem Rocks Tutorials.

File Under: Technology,

Team Foundation Server . . .

Shiny new TFS RC installed smoothly on my server, and I've got VS 2005 Team Explorer on my desktop and connected . . . . now what? . . . . time to break down and RTFM I guess. ;-)

Monday, February 20, 2006

AR Trek Event

Looking for CP5Once again, lack of snow turned a snowshoe/ski event into a winter orienteering run. The course was 11 control points, which took us about 90 minutes to finish. We nailed all but one checkpoint. On that one we stopped running to search about 200m from where we eventually found the checkpoint. I need to be more careful about tracking distance when I'm not feeling dialed in on the terrain association.

Temperature was chilly, but nothing like Friday and Saturday. It was about 4° F when we started. That was plenty warm for running but my hydration pack froze solid by the fourth checkpoint.

Hopefully we'll get a pile of snow this week. Last weeks storm totally missed us, maybe this one (which is supposed to miss us) will drop more than they expect.

File Under: Adventure Racing,

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wind Chill Advisory

Won't be seeing these again after March!
Wouldn't be so bad if our snow had shown up.

The Wind Chill Advisory Is Now In Effect Until 5 PM CST Friday.

Northwest Winds Of 15 To 25 Mph Will Combine With Bitter Arctic Air To Create Wind Chill Readings Of Minus 25 To Minus 38 Late Tonight Through Friday Afternoon.

A Wind Chill Advisory Means That Very Cold Air And Strong Winds Will Combine To Generate Low Wind Chills. This Will Result In Frost Bite And Lead To Hypothermia If Precautions Are Not Taken.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

AR Trek/Snowshoe Event

There's another winter adventure race this weekend. This time around there may even be some snow.

It's supposed to be 3° this Saturday, but back up into the balmy double digits on Sunday . . . good times.

Moving the Calendar

Over the years that I've been at my current job, I've entered a lot of crap into the corporate Exchange server. Now that I'm moving, I've got to port all that stuff out to some more appropriate system. Personal email has gone to GMail. Task lists and projects over to Backpack (

Calendar and contacts have been a tough decision. After looking around a bit, I'm pretty sold on setting up HipCal ( as my source of truth. I've got Mozilla Sunbird configured on my new Laptop, and that's pulling feeds from HipCal nicely. When HipCal implements CalDAV/WebDav functionality, those two should be able to synch nicely.

The trick now is the portable calendar. I've been using my phone (Nokia 6600) for that for a while now. Unfortunately, the Nokia PC Suite for synching with a computer only supports Outlook and Lotus Notes.

That said, I have found a site from Nokia that allows you to send a data item to a Nokia phone from a web form. It arrives as a specially formatted text message which you can then install into your calendar or contacts.

The format looks pretty simple.

POST /clients/nokia/americas/vCal/send_single_vCal.asp HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: en-us
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;
SV1; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Content-Length: 597
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache


It can't be too hard to slip a Greasemonkey script into HipCal, or to write a little ripper that would go through the HipCal RSS feed and push new items to my phone. Assuming of course that Nokia allows posts to that URL that didn't come from their form. Worst case scenario, I should be able to find some way to send similar vCal formatted messages to my phone.

Something to play with when I get some free time again. Assuming the Hipcal or Sunbird teams don't come up with a feature that makes this moot first. If HipCal accepts new appointments via email or sms (like backpack and many blogs do) then the phone becomes the source of truth.

Hmmm . . . I'm not sure which is lazier: writing a complicated set of feeds and scripts to avoid double keying a few hundred bytes of data, or rekeying hundreds of bytes of data to avoid working out a few dozen lines of Javascript.

File Under: Technology,

Monday, February 13, 2006

Backing up Bookmarks



Save the resulting XML file.

File Under: Technology,

Friday, February 10, 2006

This will teach me to read the fine print on Security Bulletins . . . .

So I'm going to install Team Foundation Server and the chatter I've heard is that I'd better read the installation guide. So I pop open the copy on the Beta 3 CD. The first page of that tells me to download the latest CHM file. So I go ahead and grab that. When I open it up, all I see is the old Internet Explorer error "The page cannot be displayed".

Hmmm . . . . first thing I think is security problem. So I move the copy from the CD to sit side by side with the one I just downloaded. That works just fine. So I copy and paste the internal URL and compare it to the blocked one. They're exactly the same but for the file name. Ok, I give up, what did they do to my machine?

A quick search on Microsoft turns up a new little button that you have to press before you can open certain sorts of files downloaded from the Internet Zone. Turns out that as of Security Update 896358, the Attachment Manager (new with XP SP2) marks CHM files as Untrusted.

Right-click to unblock file . . . . of course. . . . .obviously it's going to be as easy as clicking the button that's never been there before in any of the hundred thousand times I've looked at this dialog box. ;-)

As an added usability bonus, after you unblock the file, the button and it's helpful message vanish as mysteriously as they appeared.

You cannot open HTML Help files from Internet Explorer after you install security update 896358 or Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

File Under: Technology,

Enabling Test Forms

If you see this message on the ASMX page:

"The test form is only available for requests from the local machine"

Add these two lines to the web.config:
<add name="HttpGet">
<add name="HttpPost">


File Under: Technology,

Thursday, February 09, 2006


This arrived in the mail today!

My New Zealand Visitors Visa

Another box checked off in the project plan. I also picked up my move-out guidelines from the rental office detailing all the things they expect to be scrubbed and sparkling . . . . I think I'll be outsourcing all that. ;-)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

SPN Hell

Ran across an interesting problem today.

It started with the classic symptoms of an IIS App Pool running under a domain identity. The one where you get the HTTP 401.1 errors and have to have a Domain Administrator log in and set the SPN for the app pool [1].

But there was a bit of extra weirdness in there. Turns out that it failed (with above symptoms) for all but one person. We spent some time working on that, but were unable to figure out what magic properties he had that allowed him in.

After rebooting the server, no one could get in. So the mystery of the magic privileges was solved.

So then we looked to verify the credentials that had been entered into the app pool. Sure enough, there was a typo in there. Reenter the password, reboot.

Now it works for everyone EXCEPT the person who had previously been the only one who could access it. Curiouser and curiouser. . . .

Chipping away at that for a while. We discover that he can access it by IP address no problem, and he can access it by name from other boxes. So it's not his credentials, and since he can ping the box by name, it's not DNS or connectivity. I'm guessing something that smells like Kerberos on his machine.

Using the fabulous tool ieHTTPHeaders [2], we can see that he is definitely passing a Kerberos ticket. It's not falling back to NTLM or anything like that.

We grab some stuff from Microsoft and take a look at his tickets. Then in a fit of rage, just purge them with KList. Suddenly it all starts working. Hmmmm . . . .

My current theory:
1. Jim had a good ticket from sometime when the App Pool had valid credentials.
2. During some subsequent tinkering, the App Pool credentials got hosed.
3. No new users were able to get tickets because the App Pool was unable to talk to the KDC. Jim however, was still able to access it with his cached good ticket (until the server reboot).
4. When we fixed the credentials of the App Pool, new connections got valid tickets.
5. Jim had some sort of bad ticket cached from his previous requests.

Anyway, good fun with SPNs, App Pools and Kerberos.

[1] KB Article 871179 -

[2] ieHTTPHeaders -

[3] Troubleshooting Kerberos Errors -

Friday, February 03, 2006

FBI Clearance

These need to go to the FBI. A New Zealand Work Visa requires a police clearance from your home country. I'm curious to see what comes back.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ski Races

It's not looking so good for the City of Lakes Loppet this weekend. It's still on, but they're talking about having to shovel snow onto the course. :-(

On the other hand, the Vasaloppet is looking OK. Hopefully some snow this weekend will help things out a bit.

"Vasaloppet Trail Condition
Wednesday 02-01-06

We received anywhere from 3 - 5 inches of new snow yesterday.
The trails around the Nordic Center will be groomed
tomorrow. The north practice loops will be groomed
on Friday so they will be ready for skiing this weekend.
The snow looks great and I am assuming that skiing
conditions will be very good to excellent. Have fun!!! "