SkyDrive Limits Update

Today, Microsoft released its latest revision to the Windows Live SkyDrive file hosting and sharing platform. As a result of the change, the user storage limits have been reduced from 25GB to 7GB. If you have an existing Windows Live ID, then as a loyalty reward, you can get a free upgrade to 25GB, allowing you to keep your existing storage limit.

To do this, simply login to SkyDrive at http://skydrive.live.com, login as normal and select the Upgrade banner near the top of page. Hurry though as this is being reported as a limited time offer.

What Does the Windows Live SkyDrive App Do For You?

Personally, not a lot in a nutshell.

This post comes off the back of the announcement today from Microsoft of the release of a Windows Live SkyDrive app for Windows Phone 7 and Apple iOS devices. You can read the post for yourself in full from http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_live/b/windowslive/archive/2011/12/13/introducing-skydrive-for-iphone-and-windows-phone.aspx.

For Windows Phone 7, I don’t see the application providing a whole lot that isn’t already available through the Pictures and Office Hubs integrated into Windows Phone. Sure, it does have a few new features that aren’t previously available like the ability to share links to your documents or pictures and gives you the ability to create new folders within your SkyDrive account, but that’s it for the new stuff.

iOS device users get more because they currently have zero SkyDrive integration, but that still doesn’t give you integration, just functionality. For iOS device users, you could say that it does actually give them a lot more than a nothing nutshell, but obviously what I write is focused on Microsoft technologies (in case you didn’t guess from all my previous posts).

For me what would be a serious leap in the usability and resourcefulness of Windows Live SkyDrive would be the consolidation of Windows Live Mesh (previously Windows Live Sync and Microsoft Live Mesh as two separate projects) and SkyDrive, or the release of a SkyDrive desktop client. DropBox and many other online file repository sites have desktop clients allowing you download, upload, sync and use all of your content across your desktops, laptops and mobile devices, however SkyDrive and Mesh are currently flawed.

Windows Live Mesh allows you to sync files to your desktop with a desktop client, and allows you to sync that content across multiple devices including the ability to sync between Windows PC and Mac, however it is limited to 5GB and although the application and the Windows Live Mesh web interface state that the storage is based on Windows Live SkyDrive, the folders and content are isolated and not interoperable.

Consolidating the storage pools in Windows Live Mesh and Windows Live SkyDrive would allow you to sync content between iOS devices, Mac, Windows PC and Windows Phone which would be utterly living the dream. All of this of course is overlooking the additional features of Windows Live Mesh already available today including the ability to sync Internet Explorer favourites and Office Outlook signatures, Office styles and templates and custom dictionaries.

Just imagine for one moment: The ability to sync all of your documents and pictures to all of your devices both desktop, portable and pocket, and have changes to those documents automatically replicated to all your other devices, have your standard email signature available on all your devices to provide you with a truly unified front when sending and responding to email communiqué, all whilst having your own shorthand, TLAs and words available in the dictionary saving you countless autocorrect issues on your mobile device?

Certificate Store Permissions and Windows Live Block App-V RTSPS Protocol

Last week, when converting our existing ICT internal dogfood trial of App-V to a highly available production capable App-V solution, we came to a decision to utilize the RTSPS (Real Time Streaming Protocol Secure) protocol for streaming our applications.

Using some my own and another colleagues laptops for testing the RTSPS protocol, we ran into an issue whereby the client received the following error:

The specified Application Virtualization Server has shut down the connection. Try again in a few minutes. If the problem persists, report the following error code to your System Administrator.

Error Code: xxxxxx-xxxxxx0A-10000009

We initially discovered from an App-V blog article (http://blogs.technet.com/b/appv/archive/2010/03/09/troubleshooting-common-rtsps-issues-with-app-v.aspx) that this issue occurs when the server lacks permissions for the NETWORK SERVICE account to access the certificate store machine keys.

Following the advise of the article for Windows Server 2008 R2 systems, this was quickly resolved by using a Certificate Management based Microsoft Management Console to grant Read permission for the NETWORK SERVICE account to the certificate which is being used to sign the RTSPS protocol in App-V.

Thinking the issue was resolved, we proceeded to initiate a Refresh on the App-V client and tried to stream an application that we had previously sequenced, however we now received a new error:

The Application Virtualization Client could not update publishing information from the server App-V Server. The server will not allow a connection without valid NTLM credentials. Report the following error code to your System Administrator.

Error code: 4615186-1690900A-00002002

Leaving us puzzled. We were unable to find a solution initially, so we turned to Bing for some assistance, unearthing an interesting but niche blog post.

According to the source of our findings (http://blogs.ethz.ch/jlaville/2011/08/25/app-v-error-00002002/) machines with components from the Windows Live Essentials suite of applications cannot run the RTSPS protocol due to a registry key added to the LSA Security Packages key.

AppV Regedit LSA No LIVESSP

After removing the livessp value from the multi-value string in the registry and restarting the system we were successfully able to refresh the server and also stream the applications.

Outlook 2010 Social Connector ProgID for Facebook

Today, I was investigating the management and control of the Outlook Social Connector via Group Policy, using the Office 2010 ADM/ADMX files from Microsoft.

Two of the settings of interest for the Outlook Social Connector are the ability to control which social connectors are displayed, and which are automatically loaded without user interaction. Whilst looking online, a Microsoft Forum thread appeared in my results with the ProgID for some of the available connectors, however they were missing a big one – Facebook.

Looking in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry hive on my machine, where I have the Facebook connector installed, I found it, so here is a list of the currently available Outlook Social Connector ProgIDs which can be used (semi-colon seperated) in the Group Policy Management Console to configure the behaviour.

SharePoint – OscAddin.SharePointProvider
SharePoint –
OscAddin.SharePointProvider.1
LinkedIn –
LinkedInSocialConnector.LinkedInSocialProvider
MySpace –
MySpace.OSC
Windows Live Messenger – OscAddin.WindowsLiveProvider
Facebook – OscAddin.FacebookProvider
Facebook – OscAddin.FacebookProvider.1

I hope this helps you all.

Windows Live Domains Migration

Over the last two years, Baby-Green and the other domains that I host have been using the email service provided by the hosting provider. This worked fine because it allowed for inbox access via POP3 using Outlook or any other client, allowed us to connect via mobile devices using POP3 and allowed us web access using a rudimentary web access client which I don’t really think any of us used.

WindowsLiveHotmailNew[1]About six months ago, I discovered a service from Microsoft called Windows Live Domains.
This service allows you to use Hotmail and associated Windows Live services under your own domain branding, so in my case, allowing me to use the functionality of Hotmail but with a Baby-Green email address.

The setup of this is fairly simple. First off, you need to register at http://domains.live.com. Once you are registered, you can associate your domain names and begin configuring the DNS records.

The configuration is simple – You need to as a minimum add a CNAME record and an MX record, however you can optionally create a TXT record and some additional CNAME records for other services. In my implementation, I produced a total of seven records per domain, however the whole process took no more to complete than five minutes.

Read the Full Post

Hotmail Adds Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) Support

It’s been on the cards for a long time, however Microsoft on Friday last week, US time enable the global rollout of Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail accounts on mobile devices.

For users of Outlook you will still need to use the Outlook Connector as Exchange via Outlook will not connect.
EAS for Hotmail allows Hotmail users to have over the air syncing of emails, calendar and contacts from your Hotmail account to your phone.

This is great because this gives you all the features of a corporate Exchange server with your own personal email.

When using the Outlook Connector for Hotmail in Outlook which does real-time syncing and updating of the inbox, calendar and contacts and the EAS features on Windows Mobile you can now fully live the two screens and the cloud mantra of Microsoft, with your notebook or desktop, your mobile device such as a Windows Mobile or iPhone device and the Hotmail web experience all fully synced with none of this IMAP or POP3 rubbish.

Android is not being officially supported by Microsoft due to on-going testing, although some users are reporting successes with it.

If there is a flaw to this momentous occasion for Hotmail users it is that as a Windows Mobile 6.5 user, I can still only sync one Exchange account which means I’m stuck using the existing Windows Live application until Windows Phone 7 is out allowing multiple Exchange accounts as I need to sync my corporate email via EAS already – For me its ok though because I find the email syncing of the Windows Live application acceptable.

Connecting to Hotmail EAS is simple:

Server Address: m.hotmail.com
Username: Your Windows Live ID (Email Address)
Password: Your Windows Live Password
Domain: Blank

For more detailed instructions and the gotchas on some devices follow the link to the Windows Live page for configuring Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail: http://windowslivehelp.com/solution.aspx?solutionid=46bd910c-ed99-497d-80d7-ab8b11237ed0

Windows Live Sync Beta to Become Window Live Mesh

10db07c0-f90a-4a0f-9f4b-936303ed18ef[1]About two and a half years ago, maybe even three, I started using a free and beta service called Windows Live Mesh. At the time it was totally unrelated to any Windows Live services, and was in fact an incubation product and vision of Ray Ozzie, Chief Architect at Microsoft.

Live Mesh was a beautiful thing. You installed the client application on your Windows PC, Mac computer or Windows Mobile device and configured synchronised folders on each device. Live Mesh would then replicate the files from point to point using a peer-to-peer technology, but whilst also transferring copies of the first 5GB of data to the cloud in a page called the Live Mesh Desktop and the desktop was available from any internet enabled PC.

About three months ago, Microsoft as part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 Beta 1 announced the closure of Windows Live Mesh and that a service which had been around but extremely under-used, Windows Live Sync was taking it’s place with new features. The primarily benefit of the Live Sync service instead was it included the syncing options for Internet Explorer favourites and also Outlook settings such as Signatures and Quick Steps.

Within a day or two I was used the Live Sync service and syncing all of the available applications and it was working great, however it was limited – The web based portion of storage which although I rarely use, it a great feature was limited to 2GB although the SkyDrive account which powers it has a capacity of 25GB.

Read the Full Post

Windows Home Server Vail Public Beta Review

Earlier in the year, I got my hands on a leaked build of Home Server Vail. I didn’t bother to upload or post any of my findings because it was a very early build and a lot of the features didn’t work, and in addition because a lot of other people posted the stuff too.

This week Microsoft released the Public Beta of Windows Home Server Codename Vail which is to be the second release of Windows Home Server, this time based on Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition. I went through the installation process and then tried to get a few things configured in Vail so here is what I found.

I’m adding the break early on this post to stop the screenshots spoiling the view, but jump to the full post for all the screenshots and information so far on Vail.

Read the Full Post

The Pain I Go Through

So in case reading my recent blogs you hadn’t noticed, I’m posting a lot of my blogs with Polaroid style images which hasn’t appeared before.

Well it’s all part of the all new Baby-Green. Last weekend I was up until 3:30am migrating the site to a new web host to give us some more functionality. The new host lets me use Silverlight and ASP.NET code which I’m going to be taking advantage of soon starting with the wedding subdomain (http://wedding.baby-green.co.uk).

The problem previously was that TextDrive did not permit FTP access to the server where as the new host does which allows me to directly add content via Windows Live Writer.

On the cards are a recode of the PHP scripts for the wedding site into ASP.NET and using Silverlight Adaptive Streaming and Silverlight Slideshows to show off the media from the wedding.

Over time I’m going to be redesigning the Baby-Green site in this way also which will be version 3 of the website. My plan is to make it not only better looking and give a much better user experience for the users of the site but to make it easier for me to manage and generate content. That way you get a better looking, better working and more current website for viewing.

The forum and the blog will also get updates to the latest code base and the same redesign. The blog is already running the latest code base with the latest updates to the add-on’s in use which I did as part of the migration.

The Danger of Social Networking: Facebook in this Case

So I use social networking sites like Facebook, and hell – I spend quite a lot of time lurking around the Microsoft sites and Windows Live sites which is loosely social networking, but this example just goes to prove two things:

– How dangerous Facebook can be without proper thought
– How stupid this person is.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/7914415.stm

The article is about a girl who got sacked three weeks after starting a job because she wrote on Facebook about how boring the job is. Now fine the job may have been boring and if you want to tell people on Facebook about it to share your life then great: But if your going to do that make sure first nobody in your friends works for said company or set your permissions properly so that lurkers (like your boss for example) can’t see that message.

If you don’t know how to set your permissions properly this article at AllFacebook will help you: http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-privacy/