Microsoft Paint is dead

Microsoft will be killing off “Microsoft Paint” in the next release of Windows 10 (the so-called “Fall Creator’s Update”).

This article on the Verge points out the various things that are being shed. Microsoft Paint seems to be the most significant user-facing thing, but I can imagine some enterprises will have difficulty with other changes.

iCloud for Windows 5.1 Update Problem

If you’re plagued by the Apple Software Update popping up every day to remind you that iCloud for Windows 5.1 is available to install… even when you already have it installed… you need to go registry-diving.

This community post on the Apple site worked for me. Whew. Finally. That was super annoying.

Hope you’re all well. Reach out to me and let me know how your life is going.

Microsoft is doing better

It looks like Satya Nadella’s strategies are paying off. Microsoft reported some gains in Windows 10 and its cloud business.

That’s good news for overall competition. I’ve also witnessed Microsoft become more and more “Internet friendly,” by way of embracing multi-platform applications and developers. This is what needed to happen.

Just think if Ballmer was still around… maybe Microsoft would be folding by now.

They do need to do something about the Windows handset business, but I’m betting that Satya has a plan for that.

Still, I’m firmly entrenched in my Apple camp because with this hardware, I can have the best of all of the OS worlds. If Microsoft could arrange licensing for OS X to run on their hardware, they would really have my attention.

Microsoft (and Paul Thurrott) says Windows 8 sucks

Last week, Hell froze over in one of the deepest freezes in the history of the United States.

This week, Paul Thurrott finally speaks the truth about Windows 8/8.1. It’s not pretty.

“Threshold” to be Called Windows 9, Ship in April 2015 | Windows 8 content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows

It’s going to be a very interesting 2014 in the tech world.

Speaking of which, I hope you’re having a fantastic start to this new year. I need to get back to blogging and updating my websites.

Metro on a server?

Here’s a gem.

The overall point of this blog post is:

  • Metro UI is not intuitive and it’s so bad that they have to blog about how to use it.


  • Why the hell do we have a touch interface on a server product? Are data centers planning to replace all of those KVMs with touch screens?

12 Routines of Windows Server 2012 Using a Non-Touch Device (1 of 3) – Yung Chou on Hybrid Cloud – Site Home – TechNet Blogs

Lion L2TP VPN Service With Windows 7

If you have a Lion server behind a NAT router (for example, an Airport Extreme or Time Capsule) that is running a VPN service you may have difficulties connecting to it with Windows 7 using L2TP despite the correct setup.

I won’t go into the deep dive on this now, but just a total quick tip. You need to change the encapsulation parameters on Windows 7. Do that by setting a registry key:


…add a new DWORD value:


Exchange Server 2007 SP3 RU4

Description of Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3

It looks like Exchange 2007 SP3 RU4 has a lot of goodies in it. At least 5 of the items in this list are impacting the environment at my day job.

While it’s good to see progress, I’m always wary of these updates because of the regression bugs they often introduce. Test and patch carefully, gang.

Fixing Mangled Contact Labels on iPhone

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

A coworker sent this along.  I’ve had this issue on a few contacts and didn’t really have time to delve into it.

Name removed to protect the innocent and good intentions.  Be very careful with this and make sure you have a backup of all data that you plan to manipulate.


After serially using every calendar/address book interface under the sun and transitioning to Snow Leopard with Exchange syncing, I ended up with a bunch of munged Address Book extension labels in my iPhone Contacts like:


The extra long labels forces the text to be tiny, and rarely displays even then to say whether this is the work/home number.

If you encounter this problem and you’re a Mac user with a Unix background, I’m sure you can think of a dozen ways to fix this … else see some rudimentary Address Book/iTunes/command line steps below to handle large numbers of Contacts at once.

Caveat emptor.

The munged contacts had labels like:


… the bracketing parts are the problem. I can live with “HomePhone” versus “Home Phone”. YMMV.

Correcting this involves a few steps and a tiny bit of command line stuff:

– Attach your iPhone to your computer. Let it sync. Leave iTunes open.

– Open Address Book, select all your contacts, then File->Export to your Desktop, call it “backup.vcf” — don’t touch this file — if something goes wrong you’ll restore this.

– Do a second export of all the contacts to another file “munged.vcf”, or some name equally meaningful to you.

– Open a Terminal window, and cd to your Desktop (“cd ~/Desktop”). Just for paranoia’s sake, type “more *.vcf” and use the space bar to step through the files, making sure they contain all your contacts. Type “ls *.vcf” to confirm the files are the same size. Yeah — sheer paranoia, but who wants to reenter all their contacts? 🙁

– In the previously opened Terminal window paste this command and press return:

cat munged.vcf | sed -e 's/EX-//' | sed -e 's/_$!<//' | sed -e 's/>!$_//' > fixed.vcf

– in the Terminal window type “more fixed.vcf” — confirm the ABLabel fields are corrected before going onto the next step. If the fixed.vcf file doesn’t look right, stop and consult a local Unix person. You did something wrong or your problem wasn’t the one I had. Bail out or get help.

– Go back to Address Book, select all the contacts (if not still selected), then Edit-> Delete Cards. Delete all your contacts. Paranoia now seems appropriate.

– Go back to the iTunes window. Select the iPhone in the Devices list on the left (if not selected), then select the Info tab at the top of the main window and scroll to the very bottom to the Advanced items, select Contacts under “Replace information on this iPhone:”. Click Apply and let the phone sync. Check the Contacts on the iPhone to see they are gone.

– Go back to the Address Book window and File->Import, selecting (you guessed it) “fixed.vcf” from your Desktop. Check the reloaded vcards/Contacts.

– Go back to the iTunes window, and again select the option to Replace the Contacts info, Apply, and let the iPhone sync.

– Try the Contacts on the iPhone, and the labels should be corrected. Delete all the ancillary files on your Desktop.

– Avoid whatever odd combination of things you did that caused the problem in the first place. 😉

In case you want to mess with any other fields/changes, vcard format is described here:

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Where Powershell Fails

I’m all about negativity today. Sorry.

Anyway, I’ve had something nagging at me for a while now and I think I’ve just figured it out. Powershell is Microsoft‘s answer to having a dumb command line through the Win95 – Win2003 years and it’s quite powerful, as the name implies. Microsoft likes it so much that they makes most of the Exchange 2007 administration efforts in the Exchange Management Shell, a derivative of Powershell that contains Exchange-specific cmdlets.

I’ve long bemoaned to our internal support personnel… and… well, probably my Microsoft contacts too… about how discombobulated Powershell actually is. It’s like it was designed with no standard in mind for the commands – each developer wrote their own cmdlet with their own switches and methods to do things the way they saw fit.

But it’s actually worse than that. Now I’ve come to realize that the problem with managing Exchange from the shell is not only because of the lack of standardization, but because a great deal of this SHOULDN’T be done in a shell command. I’ve heard that Powershell was designed to attract Linux admins who prefer the command line and that’s fine. But I do not know of a Linux admin who would type a command to set a disclaimer on the entire Exchange organization, but rather he/she would edit a config file of some kind. That way, not only would the disclaimer setting be readily apparent and visible, but it wouldn’t take some obscure command to be executed to show me the meat of the option.

What tripped this realization was this “power tip” when I just went into the Exchange shell on one of our servers:

Tip of the day #58:

Do you want to add a disclaimer to all outbound e-mail messages? Type:

$Condition = Get-TransportRulePredicate FromScope
$Condition.Scope = "InOrganization"
$Condition2 = Get-TransportRulePredicate SentToScope
$Condition2.Scope = "NotInOrganization"
$Action = Get-TransportRuleAction ApplyDisclaimer
$Action.Text = "Sample disclaimer text"
New-TransportRule -Name "Sample disclaimer" -Condition @($Condition, $Condition2) -Action @($Action)

Why am I not looking in a config file for this information? Fail.

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