Fun With Exmerge and Exchange 2003

I’ll make this post short and sweet.
Two days ago, I attempted to back up several user mailboxes for a client by using Exmerge. I attempted to run Exmerge using the Administrator account which, by design, did not work. The process would start, then fail with an error saying that the necessary rights weren’t in place, etc., etc.
So I followed the steps in an MS knowledgebase article to create a separate account, in a newly-created separate group, and granted said group the necessary permissions to run Exmerge. It didn’t work, and failed with a different error than when I ran Exmerge as Administrator. So I read up on that error, and followed more steps to resolve it. They too, did not work. So I fiddled with permissions a bit myself, all the while trying to avoid just granting EVERYTHING to the group ALL OVER the server (and I even did try that – still didn’t work).
Finally, I settled on a Technet article which walked through the errors I got, and indicated that the mailbox store was not mounted. Just to appeal to my own sanity, I verified that it was indeed mounted, because I could run Exmerge as Administrator and see mailboxes. While I was looking at Exmerge, again, as Administrator, I accidentally clicked the “next” button instead of cancel and, to my surprise, it worked.
And it’s not supposed to.

"New Version of Windows in 2009?" or "My Bet With Jason"

Inspired by a recent article which follows up on prior speculation that the successor to Windows Vista may be released as early as 2009 (furthering its marketing and user perception as “Windows Me Professional”), I decided to wager the whopping sum of $5 that it will happen! Jason Watkins has taken the bet, so here are the terms:
Microsoft will release a new major desktop OS upgrade named something other than “Vista” by Dec 31, 2009. If this does not happen, I’ll pay Jason the sum of $5. If it does happen, he’ll pay me $5. By “release,” I mean an RTM of the OS will be in the hands of any major pc manufacturer, on store shelves, or available to the public for purchase – any or all of these happening by Dec. 31 ’09 constitute a win for me. I could try to sneak a beta in here, but I won’t, even though I feel that if MS has gotten to the point of releasing a beta of Windows 7, they’ll have given up on Vista by that time, and I’ll have won in spirit.
I’ll take my payment in the form of PayPal or an gift certificate. Jason, how would you like yours?

How to Install NTBackup on Windows XP Home

“I want to back up my home PC,” you say.
“Use ntbackup,” I respond.
“It doesn’t come with XP Home,” you reply.
Ah, but it does… sort of. True, NTBackup, the backup utility for Windows, is not installed by default on XP Home systems, but it is included on your installation CD. Installing it is as simple as:

  1. Inserting the XP Home CD-ROM.
  2. Navigating to the VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP folder.
  3. Double-clicking the ntbackup.msi file to install NTBackup.

Alternately, download it from Microsoft’s web site.
Now, remember to use it!

DRM Protection and Netflix Instant Downloads

While taking breaks from World of Warcraft this weekend, I decided to try out Netflix’s new “instant” download service to watch a movie or TV show. Not surprisingly, it requires Internet Explorer to function. Since I happened to be on a Windows machine at that moment, I switched over to? IE to try it. Also not surprisingly, I needed to install the proprietary Netflix Movie Viewer software to play it. While I was reading through the terms of service and license I was agreeing to, I came across this gem:
Security Upgrade
Owners of secure content may also require you to upgrade some of the DRM components on your computer before accessing their content. When you attempt to play such content, Windows Media Player will notify you that a DRM Upgrade is required and then ask for your consent before the DRM Upgrade is downloaded (third party playback software may do the same). If you decline the upgrade, you will not be able to access content that requires the DRM Upgrade; however, you will still be able to access unprotected content and secure content that does not require the upgrade. If you accept the upgrade, Windows Media Player will connect to an Internet site operated by Microsoft and will send a unique identifier along with a Windows Media Player security file. This unique identifier does not contain any personal identifiable information. Microsoft will then replace the security file with a customized version of the file that contains your unique identifier. This increases the level of protection provided by DRM.

Blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah increases the level of protection provided by DRM.
That’s the part I like. Is it just me, or does this statement sound like DRM is some kind of benefit to me, you know, “for your protection?” Maybe it’s just me, but this kind of protection is right up there with the “advantage” that I get by running Windows Genuine Advantage.

Unix Time Hits 1200000000 Today! Watch it happen!

Today, Unix and derivative operating systems all over the world will have their clocks reach 1200000000. This is the number of seconds which have elapsed since the “dawn of time” (in Unix terms, anyway), or 1970.
If you want to watch your clock flip, just issue this command
watch -n1 date +”%s”