Category Archives: Uncategorized

DacEasy is Dead

It took longer than it should have to confirm this since Sage has cleverly replaced the now discontinued DacEasy links with Sage 50 links (aka Peachtree).  More here:

http://sagecity.na.sage.com/support_communities/sage_daceasy/f/64/t/78486.aspx?pi4916=2

There seems to be lots of hate for Sage over this, but I guess there wasn’t much of a market for an inferior point-of-sale product that tied into an inferior accounting package (not that I’ve ever heard good things said about Sage 50 which seems to survive based on inertia).

AD RMS Upgrade along with the CA

I had a server running with the 32 version of Server 2008 that I needed to migrate over to the 64 bit version of Windows Server.  The server hosted both our Active Directory Rights Management Server (AD RMS) along with our Microsoft Certificate Server (CA).  I had tried porting it years ago but was unable to get the certificate services to start.  As part of the process I had already ported the RMS DB to SQL.  I decided to give it another try and have some tips in no particular order:

  • First I needed to get certificate services running.  I started by turning off the old server, installing a new Windows Server 2008 64 bit version with the same name.  I then installed certificate services role using the instructions here.  However when I tried to follow the instructions for migrating the database I was getting errors like ‘jet_errmissinglogfile’ or sector size mismatch.  The fix was to copy over a ‘clean’ version of the database from the old server (a copy taken while Certificate Services is stopped), deleting all the files but the database (edb) and starting the service.  (I had also previously imported the original ‘config’ registry entries per the earlier referenced instructions).
  • AD RMS proved a bit more tricky.  First I installed 64 bit version of SQL Express which matched the instance name of the old server.  HOWEVER, the better move would have been to uninstall AD RMS from the old server first.  In this case I had to use ASDI edit to remove the ‘SCP’ section from AD (under Configruation->Services->RightsManagementServices).  I was then able to install and restore my settings (DB and registry).  Be sure to check the functionality of documents secured with RMS and the admin console though.  Of special note is that after upgrading to Server 2012 I needed to run the ‘Update-ADRMS’ utility; it will NOT work right without doing this!

Migrating from SharePoint 2010 Foundation to SharePoint 2013 Foundation/Services/etc.

I followed the well illustrated instructions here, but several key points were missing.  Perhaps a lot of the grief was caused by the fact that I didn’t want the SharePoint application pool to be run by Local System/Network Service/Administrator.

  • First the security in 2013 uses ‘Claims Based’ security (the exact details of which I am not completely clear on, but anyway) while 2010 security is referred to as ‘Classic’.  On this page (step 6) they detail how to setup a site with classic security within 2013, though my impression is that there is no benefit to ‘upgrading’ when doing this (you would just make the new site that you want and attach your content database that was brought over using the steps from the first article and it could be left there I suppose).
  • In order to upgrade your restored content to the new security model I followed the proper steps in the same article that has the tip on how to make a ‘classic security’ site.  After that the plot thickens.  It will be necessary to modify the web.config files for the site, the admin site, and the security tokens “site”.  I used this article as a reference (step #3), but it is missing pieces as well.  Be sure to make backups of the originals as a mistake can render the entire installation inaccessible!  An important note is that although I basically copied the tags from the source website over to the admin and security tokens site, it’s important not to put any switches in the ‘<roleManager>’ in either of those.  Within that article are also steps on adding ‘SPN’s so that the application pool account can run authentications (otherwise watch out for KDC_ERR_S_PRINCIPAL_UNKNOWN/0xc0000035 errors); as well, this article points out the delegation steps required in setting up the SPNs.
  • I believe at this point the site was working enough that I was getting the “Sorry, this site hasn’t been shared with you.” error when accessing the site (though from somewhere it noted that you should be able to pull up the local settings under “domain.com/_layouts/15/settings.aspx”.  Just a few final things needed to be done.  First forms authentication had to be disabled within the central administrator and IIS.  As well I needed to follow the steps here in order to make sure that the application uses the …SPN, or something.  Lastly I was getting an error where my application pool account did not have ‘local activation’ rights over an app (the CLSID is for the IIS WAMREG admin Service).  In order to remedy this I had to follow the instructions here so that I could change the permissions for IIS WAMREG admin Service.
  • Extra credit: I used this page to mock up a forms authentication, but further study is needed.

Unrecommendations

I had been a mild advocate of HP hardware for a brief time (best of the worst you might say), but I’ll have to withdrawal even that mild support.  First, two people that I’ve recommended HP to have had their systems die (dead laptop display on one, dead desktop with the other).  Secondly, I liked their thin clients from several years ago and for some reason I keep ordering the things even though the software therein has treated me horribly.  The terminal I got last year was a t5570 with Windows Embedded 2009.  This travesty came with a stripped out version of Windows XP that required a secret handshake to boot to admin mode, and then required several attempts to install a certificate onto it for RDP Network Layer Authentication (NLA) since the decrepit OS only has certificates from 2004, or something, I don’t now.  HP was ZERO help in getting this thing to behave.  Not to be outdone I later ordered some of t510 models.  These time sinks feature a butchered version of Ubuntu that cannot hook into NLA*.  Why HP thinks that it’s a-okay to ship new hardware with such a basic functionality missing is beyond me.

To go with the terminals are a batch of WCS9000 CCD Wasp scanners: absolute crap.  If the barcode is huge, shiny, and very close, there is no problem, otherwise expect to be keying in the info.  They would probably suggest one of their ‘up’ models; but this piece of junk is already closing in on $200 and it doesn’t work.  If they have no scruples about shipping something that doesn’t work, why would I buy something else from them? (We ended up getting a Honeywell 3800g scanner which is an amazing device for a handheld scanner; they may be hard to come by though).

Ah that brings us to Microsoft’s latest offerings.  By now we all know about the horrible Windows 8 interface, but why did they chose to curse the server version with it.  Rare are the cases anymore where someone is physically at a server (if there even is a server to be physically at).  Who at MS thought that it was excessively clever to use those floating corner cursor moves on a remote control interface?  It barely works when you’re at the system itself, but due to inevitable lag on even the fastest remote connections, it’s hard to tell if the menu will ever pop up.  As well, Server 2012 has ZERO metro apps, so every app that’s opened just boots you back to the desktop, and if you haven’t pinned everything to the taskbar you’ll be forced to remote float in the corner again to bring up the useless start screen.  I also need to add that they’ve removed various management tools as well, especially those related to Remote Desktop Services.

And then there’s Microsoft Exchange 2013.  Here MS has completely removed the management app, replacing it with a buggy, stunted web interface.  They’ve also taken the time to remove some functionality from the package as well (have fun trying to get the certificates and names to behave).

*With NO help from HP, I was able to get the t510 thin client to hook into Terminal Servers running NLA.  It turns out that the issue is somehow related to NLA terminal servers that are using commercially signed SSL certificates.  If you use a self signed certificate it works fine (after a warning).  Note that the terminal will still not work (by default) if NLA is optional on the server if the server still uses a commercially signed certificate as the t510 RDP client will automatically try to upscale the encryption and fail with an error like “RDP CLIENT ERROR: Critical RDP client error” (GUI) or “segmentation fault” (terminal shell).  Anyway, I created a custom app on the terminal that executes the RDP client as a shell command  ‘xfreerdp -u userName –ignore-certificate serverName’.

Lack of Laptop Focus

I’m in the hunt for a new spare/traveling laptop at work after our old Dell Latitude D820 finally died.  I loved that Dell but it had it’s faults, primarily it’s desktop worthy weight which my boss hated (she actually preferred to use a lighter nine year old Thinkpad because the D820 was so heavy).

Typically for work I’ve been buying HP laptops, but the giant (heavy) model of Elitebook that I prefer can be hard to come by (with a flash drive), but since my boss is concerned with weight I was eyeballing the MacBook Air as well.  I figured I’d check out both sites and I have to say that I don’t get the sales strategies for Windows resellers.  It’s enough if you just look at the URLs for HP and Apple:

HP’s Laptop and Tablet page: http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewStandardCatalog-Browse?CatalogCategoryID=kWIQ7EN5dVcAAAEtGpgoSe36&hiderightpanel=true

Apple’s: http://www.apple.com/mac/

But a screenshot tells the tale as well, Apple:

applescreen

HP: hpscreen

If you open up the gaudy HP page you’ll see that they list 157 different models of Tablets/Laptops and in order to keep consumer confusion at it’s peak, no effort is made by HP to relate the differences of the models in a form that makes sense (one wonders if it’s even possible though, to be fair).  Does this product-diareha strategy work?