Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tweaking Vista

I recently made the jump to Vista. I feel like I now have it tweaked and performing reasonably well.  I can sit here and type to the sound of my keyboard keys and not to the grinding of my hard drive.  Vista spent a lot of recourses just being vista and not doing anything useful. 


I like to pull up task manager and see that CPU usage dance between 0% and 2% as I type this.  I have a little blog authoring tool open and IE displaying my last search behind me.  I also trimmed the memory usage down, but I cant get it anyplace close to XP or server 2003. 



Most of my tweaking was done by disabling services to features that don't add any value.  I have disabled everything possible that does not impact my use of Vista.  I have some things enabled that I would remove if I did not VPN regularly.  Here is my list of running services that I felt are required for a stable functioning computer.



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

get Outlook 2007 work with Lotus Domino server using DAMO

At my place of work the email system is lotus notes. The lotus domino server was set up with fairly open access for the longest time. We could use any client we wanted if we knew how to configure it. A while ago they took steps to secure it and closed off POP3 and IMAPI access.

That left us with having to use only Lotus Notes. For Outlook 2003 I was able to use Outlook 2003/2002 Add-in: Notes Connector from Microsoft. When Outlook 2007 was released, Microsoft never updated that addon. IBM also did the exact same thing. The IBM addon is called Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook . After some digging, I was able to get the IBM DAMO connector to work with Outlook 2007.

The first question is where do I find or download the DAMO? The simple answer is that you get it from your server administrator. You cannot download it as an individual component. You have to install a copy of the Lotus Domino server to get the DAMO installer. I have no clue why IBM does not provide it as a standalone download. I also do not see it hosted anyplace else. I am reluctant to host it myself because of that.

So to get your hands on it yourself you will have to download a trial copy of Lotus Domino 8 (or whatever the current trial is) from the Lotus downloads page. This does require registration, but its fairly painless. When you do the install, you can deselect everything except DAMO. I somehow lost the DAMO installer when I tried it, but was able to do a computer search to find it.

Once you do the install, you must add the install location (%ProgramFiles%\DominoForOutlook) to your Path variable in environmental variables. Make sure that all other lotus locations in that path variable are after the one you just added. I did see a registry key to check. Mine was set to the correct value by default.
Change LoadBehavior to 3.

The next issue you will run into is missing emails or messages that don't replicate into outlook. By default, you will only see the last 90 days of messages and will be limited to 200M of email. In the Outlook tools -> options -> Domino Preferences you will find a replication section. Bump it up to 365 days and 1600M. Then close out of Outlook and reopen it. Once it finishes replication, go back in and lower the number of days in those options. If you leave the number at 1 year replication will be slower day to day.

So far it has worked very well. I am still looking into an issue where a message with a corrupt message body does not show up in Outlook but does in Lotus.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MySims load times are killing me

I recently got a Wii and now have MySims.  I kind of like how I can use the blueprints and just crank out things, but have the option of freedom. 

I like being able to make some very creative items.

At the same time, the amount of time spent loading everything is killing the game for me.  I can understand some loading.  Every time I enter a building or leave a building it has to load something.  I expect that loading.

The place where it gets under my skin is the loading in the menu screens.  Every time you check your back pack, or tasks, or friends, or blue prints it has to load them.  These are simple heads up display items that you would expect to be very responsive. 

Not only does everything have to load every time the display changes, extra steps are added that cause more loading time.

Here is an example.  If I want to build something, I have to go to my shop.  Before the shop loads, I am asked what I want to work on.  I make a choice and then have to wait for my shop to load.  Lets say I am done with that item and want to work on a second.  I have to leave the shop, wait for the world to load, enter the same shop I was just in, make my choice, and wait for the shop to load again.

Several of the menu items force you back to the main menu requiring you to load the submenu again if you want to look at a different option.

This is a good game.  But when I am working fast, I spend 1/3 of my game time looking at the loading screen.  I wish that was an exaggeration.

I get the feeling the framework is too bloated and overused.  It sounds like other recent Sims games suffer in the same way.  I would hope they clean up there code base before reusing it in another project.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Why does windows live take so long to install?

I saw Microsoft released a blog writing tool as a windows live app. I decided to try it at work and at home. The installer has one step where it checks for existing windows live apps.  It bothers me that Microsoft has a dozen or so apps, yet it spends a lot of time looking for them.

It takes longer for the installer to look for those 12 apps than to do the rest of the install.

I can only guess what they are looking for, but I suspect that step is just mislabeled.  Sometimes its the small details that give you uneasy feelings.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

RDX Testing

I am calling my custom RDP program CODTSC and using RDX as the file association.

Initial development is complete and I have finished my personal testing.  I put together a deployment package for my coworkers.  We set up a sample RDX file with a special config tool that I also built for them.

At the end of the day we deployed it to a single user that uses RDP to connect to 5 different sessions.  That user has RDP files provided for them.  In the morning I will see how seamless the deployment went once the user gets a chance to use it.

Ideally this will work at least as good as mstsc and not introduce any new problems.  The user does not know we made the switch.  They will see it look a little different when connecting, but after that it should not change any thing for them.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Custom RDP Solution Part 2

I am looking to add single sign on type functionality to a custom RDP client that I am working on.

The bigest issue with this is the fact that single sign on is not supported. So I have to get creative to work around that limitation. I think with the use of web services and a little social engeneering on the part of app, I can recreate the effect.

At some point I will have to collect the password from the user and store it in a save place. Its not that hard to create a login screen that looks like the one they currently see. If the username matches the username they currently logged in with, Its save to save the password to the account. I would prabably encrypt it to a personal network share that every user has. This allows it to roam with them.

The bigest issue is when the wrong password gets entered or its changed after its saved. I will need a process to verify the account information. When authentication fails when making a rdp connection, they user is prompted on the remote end for the correct information. My application can not tell from the conneciton if the details are correct or not.

I am thinking about using a webservice that will serve as my authentication check. I know I can load my webservice request with login information I get from my user. So if it authenticates, the information is good.

In the end, I think it will work. I might find a simpler solution than using a webservice. I might use it to create a central connection log of all rdp trafic.