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Author: Created: Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:06:54 AM RssIcon
These blogs contain various of items of interest to me in the areas of server based computing, windows server administration, security, virtualization, and home theater PCs.
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 10:45:44 AM

Justin Zarb (MS) recently published a blog entry that Microsoft is now able to virtualize fonts on Terminal Server using the fairly new SoftGrid 4.1 SP1 Client.  This is great news as it use to be a PITA to need to push font installs to a base system before deploying virtualized apps that relied on those fonts being present.  That being said, I really wish that Microsoft would publish a full change log of things that are in each client/sequencer release.  It's unfortunate that these things have to be discovered through blogs instead of a nice readme.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:38:23 AM
The SoftGrid Team has put up a blog entry explaining a bug in the management console that causes it to crash when it processes icons that are non-symmetrical pixels (i.e. not square).  Here's a link to the KB article with the details.  Unfortunately, there's not a fix for the console.  You just need to make your icons symmetrical.  Then again, there shouldn't be all that many icons that are affected by this issue.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, October 04, 2007 6:55:54 AM
The SoftGrid Team blog published an entry today that describes the three methods for upgrading Softgrid applications.  The three types are:1) Active Upgrade - You open the existing package up in the sequencer, install your updates and add the package version to the Management Console.  New launch requests for the package will begin using the new version.2) Completely new sequence - You build a completely new sequence.  The new sequence will need to be streamed down to new clients, but a client can run both versions simultaneously.  The downside is the user preferences from the old version of the app are not carried into the new package.3) Branched package - You approach a branched package like an ActiveUpgrade, only you perform a Save As function which will create a separate package GUID and asset folder.  This operates like a completely new sequence in that both can operate at the same time, the difference is that you avoid having to recreate...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:21:41 AM
HD Moore's Metasploit is an invaluable free tool that's used by many to perform penetration testing of their systems.  Recently, HD blogged about buying an iPhone and beginning the process of porting pieces of the Metasploit platform to the iPhone.  What does this mean?  It means a portable handheld pentesting platform!  Perhaps HD should get a copyright on iSploit now

Read the entire blog entry here.  Good times ahead!
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:12:49 AM
Michael Burke has posted part 3 of 4 in his series on troubleshooting Terminal Server licensing.  This entire series is a great read and reference to hang on to.

This topic is on:
  • Corrupt license databases
  • Activation issues
  • Problems adding CALs
Read the full article here.
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:59:49 AM
Since server hangs is an often reported issue on Terminal Server environments due to high resource depletion, I thought it would be best to post this blog entry under the SBC blog even though it largely applies to all Windows Server environments.  The Windows Server Performance Team blogged about methods to troubleshoot server hangs today and it boils down to these steps:Is this a hard or soft hang?  If this is a hard hang, then the odds are that there is an underlying hardware issue, so contact your hardware vendor. Check the Event logs for any events in the System Log at the time of the hang.  In the case of Pool Depletion, you will see Event ID's 2019 or 2020 with the Event Source being SRV Launch Performance Monitor and check the starting value for Free System PTE's under the Memory object.  If a system is booting up with fewer Free System PTE's than is normal (around 15,000 or fewer), then that is not a good sign.  That means that...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:54:22 AM
Michel Roth has written a nice article about tuning file server performance.  The Windows Performance Team has recently blogged about settings that can be tuned for Windows Explorer to reduce the amount of SMB traffic generated.  These would be great settings to apply to a Terminal Server environment since you have a lot of instances of Windows Explorer or File Open/Save dialogs running that could create a lot of SMB traffic.Some of the suggested optimizations would disable the following Windows Explorer behaviors:Searches for Desktop.ini files used for folder customization Periodic refreshes of folder contents Searches for supporting library (.dll) files Individual file details and attributes pulled for each file Thumbnail extractionAnd the settings to accomplish these changes are as follows:Windows...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:25:12 AM
From an entry on John Howard's blog, I've learned that Server 2008 RC0 with Vridian just hit MSDN last night.  I'm off to download it now.  BTW, John also posted a nice entry on the steps required to install Vridian (no server core option just yet).
By Shawn Bass on Saturday, September 22, 2007 10:58:12 AM
I recently had a need to convert a few SoftGrid-related VMs from VMware Server 1.02 VMs to one of my ESX 3.x hosts.  I needed to do this because VMware Server only allows for a single snapshot/revert path.  While sequencing/testing applications in SoftGrid, it's ideal to have multiple VM snapshots to be able to revert back to a variety of timelines.  I have explained many different methods of converting VMs and have detailed a few of the processes (complete with screeshots).  I hope this helps someone out there who may need to do the same thing.  Read the full article here.

By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 11:08:15 PM
Microsoft has definitely embraced blogging as a means of providing feedback to their partners and customers alike.  It's often difficult to know whether or not a particular team within Microsoft has an official blog or not.  Brandon LeBlanc over at The Windows Experience Blog has created a list of the known official Microsoft team blogs.  Check out the list here.
By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 9:43:54 PM
Skywing's debugging/reverse engineering blog is one of many RSS feeds that I keep try to keep current on.  He posted an entry a few days ago titled "Never, ever, EVER wake a computer from suspend without user consent" regarding a situation where the Windows Update service woke his PC from standby at 3:00am on a Patch Tuesday.  While waking a PC to apply patches isn't a horrible situation, it definitely becomes one when your laptop is zipped up inside a backpack or laptop carrying case.  I personally have had this happen to me only once, but it wasn't related to Windows Updates.  It was related to a failed standby that I didn't notice for an hour or two (when I finally pulled it out of the bag, the laptop was ready for egg frying).  Anyway, the fact is this is a legitimate issue that should be handled by the operating system. ...
By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 9:47:46 AM
Charles Aunger pointed me to a recently published KB article on Citrix's website that relates to best practices in profiling and delivering applications using their Streaming Server technology.  While much of the info in this article is common sense, it's a nice refresher.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:38:54 PM
In a previous blog entry I linked to a blog entry from Helge Klein where he tested the bandwidth impact of enabling ClearType over RDP.  At the time, it appeared that ClearType was responsible for a double in bandwidth requirements.  In conducting further testing, it appears that 32-bit color depth with font smoothing enabled causes the greatest increase in bandwidth consumption (a factor of 6).  Read the updated article here.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:25:25 PM
While Citrix stated they were moving away from Feature Packs, they've released Feature Pack 1 for Presentation Server 4.5.  Michel Roth of Thincomputing.net has a nice review of the primary features included.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:22:28 PM
I came across a blog post from Dave Caddick referencing an article from Channel Register that seemed to indicate that Microsoft's Viridian hypervisor is under 1MB footprint???  There's been a lot of conversation around VMware's introduction of the ESX3i Embedded virtualization platform that boots off flash memory in less than 32 MB, but 1MB? that's pretty insane.  According to the article, it came from Mike Neil (Microsoft) who should be a trusted resource on the matter.  I'm a little unsure on Mike/Microsoft's lack of value seen in an embedded virtualization platform as their reasoning for not wanting to do it is that you still have to store your virtual images somewhere....duh! of course you do, but that's what SAN disk is for.  However, the question still remains as to whether it's more...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:06:59 PM
The Terminal Services Team Blog has a great blog entry published recently where they describe the support that has been added for dynamic virtual channel drivers within RDP.  Most of us are aware that virtual channels exist within Terminal Services and Citrix ICA to allow for the exchange of information between server and client such as clipboard contents, file transfer, etc.  Those virtual channels are statically defined by the protocol and are moderately difficult to implement.  The blog entry posted illustrates the process for creating a dynamic virtual channel driver that is implemented as a plugin server side that allows to a content menu to be added to send a file to the TS Client's Desktop.  Personally I think this feature would be HUGE as file transfer to the client network is one of the biggest complaints from a useability perspective.  Hopefully Citrix will get on the bandwagon and create similar functionality...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, September 03, 2007 12:12:42 PM
Wilco van Bragt has a fantastic whitepaper on his website that details the steps necessary to utilize Citrix Presentation Server within an Ardence OS Streaming environment.  I personally have not used Ardence at any customer sites, but it's definitely something in the queue of things to get up to speed on.  I highly recommend reading this whitepaper.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, September 03, 2007 9:52:57 AM
PowerShell 1.0 was released in November 2006 and has already received over a million downloads.  I recently came across an article published a few days ago where SearchWinIT.com interviewed Jeffrey Snover (creator/architect of PowerShell) where Jeffrey has confirmed that PowerShell 2.0 will have support for remoting.  One of the primary limitations with PowerShell...
By Shawn Bass on Sunday, September 02, 2007 10:51:32 PM
vonagelogo.gif        So, I'm a huge fan of Vonage VoIP service.  I'm also a huge home theater PC (HTPC) freak.  So I had an idea that much like peanut butter and chocolate, these two technologies must merge!  So a while back I created a plugin for Meedio that allows me to dial telephone numbers in my phone book from the comfort of my couch.  Ok, so it is completely the laziest thing in the world, but someone had to do it, eh?  Anyway, this update to the DialMee plugin was simply to fix a bug that was causing an error beep on exit of Meedio.  I described in my previous post what Meedio...
By Shawn Bass on Sunday, September 02, 2007 4:29:11 PM
Ok so I'm way behind on the home theater blog, but I uploaded a new stable release of my Meedio plugin for EvilLyrics integration a few weeks back.  The plugin update contains the fixes for the new release build from EvilLyrics as well as a fix that was causing an error beep when the plugin was shutdown.  What is this plugin?  It's a fulltime plugin for the HTPC frontend called Meedio (which I run on all of my HTPC systems connected to every TV in my house...yes my wife loves me dearly to tolerate this crap).  The EvilLyics plugin receives messages from the music player and passes the Artist/Song info to the EvilLyrics COM object, which then performs a web request...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 10:23:07 AM
Aaron Parker has two very interesting blog entries on automating the creation of Citrix Administrator accounts using VBScript.  The first part of the article focuses on using MFCOM to read the permissions of the admin accounts as well as walking the folder structure of the management console.  The second part of the article is the complete code for adding the new admin account and setting the necessary permissions at each folder within the management console.  I recommend  checking them out if you're into automating your Citrix management tasks.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 20, 2007 2:43:06 PM
In a blog post from the VMGuru site, I learned that the upcoming VI3 book from Ron Oglesby, Mike Laverick, and Scott Herold has three free chapters that were released on Friday.  The three free chapters can be obtained on the homepage of the book vi3book.com

Looks to be a good read...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 20, 2007 11:16:35 AM
Helge Klein (from sepago) has an interesting blog entry on the bandwidth usage of ClearType font smoothing and it's impact on RDP bandwidth consumed.  I'd recommend a read of the entire article, but to summarize it appears that enabling ClearType would impose upwards of a 300% increase in bandwidth utilization.  YUCK!
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 9:02:56 AM
Citrix announced today that they are acquiring XenSource for $500 million.  I don't personally understand such a high price for an acquisition where the existing company had less than $5 million in revenue last year.  Also, Citrix has stated that they expect this acquisition to result in $50 million in revenue for fiscal year 2008, but at an expense of $60-70 million in total cost of revenue and operating expenses.  Again, I don't get it, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...considering I actually own shares in Citrix

There's additional commentary over at Brian Madden's site here.

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, August 09, 2007 8:43:17 PM
DefCon 15 Day 1 review
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:52:49 PM
While I've still not caught up (READ: recovered) from the 3 day conference in Las Vegas, I can definitely say that I'm glad I went.  I don't have all of my thoughts organized yet on the sessions that I attended, but over the coming days I'll be blogging on a DefCon 15 wrap up where I'll cover my perspective on the sessions that I attended...and those that I walked out of   Stay tuned.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:49:32 PM
Jeff Muir has a blog entry on something that he's calling "Aggregate Computing" which is to say a merger of the client and server environment in such a way that the end user doesn't know the difference between them, but rather just has access to the resources to get their job done.  I agree with this thought process and I too think that server based computing really needs to improve the end-user seamless factor to increase the user acceptance factor.  To that end, Citrix is working on things to deal with some of these aspects, so it's certainly an exciting time to be in server-based computing.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:38:39 PM
The SoftGrid Team blog has two nice blog entries that illustrate the communications between a SoftGrid Client and a SoftGrid server during Desktop Config refresh as well during an application launch.  These articles are quite informative if you're not familiar with the networking protocols/ports that are used during these actions.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:33:05 PM
I'm sure everyone has experienced problems searching the Citrix support site at one time or another.  Citrix has recently introduced a new search tool to search the Knowledge Center.  I personally have mixed feeling about it since it has already let me down on a few searches (though that's what a feedback form is for, eh?)  Anyway, check it out here and make sure you send them feedback so it gets improved.  I'm off to do that myself.
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 9:33:30 AM
Tim Mangan directed me to an article from Mary Jo Foley where states that since the inception of the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) Microsoft has sold 2 million licenses.  Without argument, most of those sales were probably due to the SoftGrid acquisition (though I wouldn't complain about getting the fantastic SysInternals tools too).  While many people (including me) would like to see Microsoft separate SoftGrid from the SA requirement, it seems pretty clear that they are definitely driving value to the SA business through SoftGrid.  Therefore, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would separate SoftGrid.  In either case, this clearly demonstrates the demand for SoftGrid.  Interesting times ahead....
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, July 05, 2007 2:38:13 PM
While I'm not entirely sure why they call it brief at just over 70 pages, Citrix has released an update to their Brief Troubleshooting Guide which is IMHO one of the best docs that's come out of Citrix (ok, aside from Jay Tomlin's WI/CSG troubleshooting guides).  It's essentially a workflow guide that can be used when trying to troubleshoot problems in a Citrix environment.  There's also links to all of the admin/troubleshooting guides as well as important KB links for well known problems.  Yesterday's update to the guide adds in information on Netscaler, WANscaler, EdgeSight, and of course Presentation Server 4.5.

Get it here:  CTX106727

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, July 05, 2007 2:04:03 PM
Over at the SoftGrid Team Blog, Microsoft posted information that the new Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2007 has been released (which includes SoftGrid 4.2).  The VAS components have not been updated since SG 4.1 SP1, so no update is required on your servers (just the client and sequencer).

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 7:41:31 PM
Ok, so...It's not a joke and it doesn't involve a bar.But it is a burning question of mine.  What exactly consitutes a twitter versus a blog entry versus a full-fledged "article".  There are a variety of websites/blogs/article columns, etc. out there that have differing content.  When does a simple twitter become a blog entry?  When does a blog entry become an article?  And finally how does one avoid joining in on the throng of bloggers who do nothing more than aggreggate content that's found on thousands of other blogs?  While I find myself re-reporting some of the same content that may be available elsewhere, I should make it known that I only post information on about 1 out of every 20-30 things that I read elsewhere.  Why is that?  Simply because I feel that there's enough other people already reporting on a particular...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 7:37:23 PM
NetMon 3.1 is released and available on the Microsoft Connect site (the final release on the MS Download site will be posted in a few weeks).  Here's a rundown of the new features:Wireless (802.11) capturing and monitor mode on Vista – With supported hardware, (Native WIFI), you can now trace wireless management packets. You can scan all channels or a subset of the ones your wireless NIC supports. You can also focus in on one specific channel. We now show the wireless metadata for normal wireless frames. This is really cool for t-shooting wireless problems. See signal strength and transfer speed as you walk around your house! RAS tracing support on Vista – Now you can trace your RAS connections so you can see the traffic inside your VPN tunnel. Previously this was only available with XP. Right click add to filter – Now there's an easier way to discover how to create filters. Right click in the frame details data element or a column field in the frame...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 7:27:58 PM
So how many times have you plotted directions between two points and thought to yourself, I really wish these directions showed me taking this highway instead of that, etc.  While planning a trip to head down to Citrix's offices later this month, I noticed that Google had added a new option in Google Maps that allows you to do just this!  While viewing a resultant map, you can simply drag and drop the designated highways to choose an alternate route path.  How cool is that?

See the Google Maps help site for more info on this and other features (such as their traffic info that was recently added).

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 5:01:16 PM
The Spanish Flu (aka 1918 flu) was a worldwide pandemic virus killing between 50 to 100 million people worldwide within 18 months.  These numbers completely dwarfed that of World War I which was occuring during the same time.  Arguably, World War I contributed significantly to the spread of the 1918 flu due to the increased mass movement of people worldwide.  Mortality rates varied greatly between countries, but one thing is known for sure:  Those countries that limited their maritime travel had significantly less mortality than those that did nothing to control the travel of people.  For example, Japan had a 0.425% mortality rate from the flu due to restrictions in travel.  Many other countries had mortality rates in the 5-10% range or more.  With increased global travel is the world of today equipped to handle such a lockdown on travel?The 1918 flu is also known as the Spanish Flu, but recently developments suggest that it actually first appeared near Fort Riley, Kansas...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 10:27:01 AM
Wilco van Bragt has a nice article in a series of articles describing alternative products to Citrix Presentation Server.  It's definitely worth reading.

MSTerminalServices.org - Alternatives to Citrix Presentation Server (Part 1)

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:05:29 AM
In a recent blog entry titled "A brief architecture overview of VMware ESX, XEN and MS Viridian", Massimo does a great job explaining the architectural differences between the competing virtualization products from VMWare, Microsoft, and the open source Xen.  While it's clear that there's no true winner from an architectural perspective, my personal thoughts are that many people are going to adopt Viridian simply because it will be made available more easily and cost effectively.  Time will tell though.

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, June 07, 2007 8:21:36 AM
So those Mac user's out there that have been using the Coherence feature of Parallels virtualization product, you need to checkout this video posted on VMWare's VMTN blog.  It's pretty amazing!

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 7:50:41 AM
Michael Burke has a nice article up on MSTerminalServices.org on high availability and recovery strategies for TS Licensing Servers.  Hopefully most of you are aware that in the absense of a functional TS Licensing environment, your entire Citrix environment is useless.  To that end, Michael has some great info on how you should design your TS License servers for high availability.

Read the full MSTerminalServices.org article.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 1:44:14 PM
Tim and Kevin (both regulars on SoftGridGuru.com) have announced that they have built training courseware on SoftGrid and will be conducting independent training classes on the courseware.  While this is unofficial training, I'm extremely excited to see this type of thing available for the SoftGrid platform.  I think it's going to be a great opportunity once SoftGrid starts to gain more traction in the industry.  Besides, I'm already biased on supporting independent training.

Read the forum posting on SoftGridGuru.  Add read more about the training on the GridMasterTraining.com.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 12:49:21 PM
In a forum post on SoftGridGuru, smileyej posted links to download locations for SoftGrid 4.1 SP1.  The strange thing is that the download links are public?!?!  Mistake?  Get 'em while they're hot!

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 7:10:41 AM
Citrix has posted information that their acquisition of ThinGenius's load testing product has been productized as Citrix EdgeSight for Load Testing and will be available beginning June 24th, 2007.  This announcement came with the official launch of EdgeSight 4.5.  Pricing for the load testing product is $7500US for 100 virtual users (approximately 1k more than previous pricing under ThinGenius).  Frankly I'm surprised this was launched as quickly as it was.  It seems Citrix is really getting this M&A thing down pat now.

Read the official press release for full details.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Monday, June 04, 2007 3:49:39 PM
Microsoft has posted additional details on the SoftGrid Team Blog about the outstanding survey for participation in the SoftGrid 4.5 Technology Adoption Program (TAP).  Here are some of the interesting plans for SoftGrid 4.5 (bold emphasis is mine): ·         Enhanced client scalability: improvements to allow very large deployments and integration with ESD systems, such as System Center Configuration Manager

·         Availability and maintainability: the most stable and reliable version of SoftGrid to date

·         Security tightening: the first SoftGrid release to go through the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) and enhancements to support internet-facing scenarios

·         Globalization and localization: support for both virtualizing non-English language applications and running the SoftGrid user interface in certain non-English languages

And here are the requirements of the TAP:Requirements for participating in the SoftGrid 4.5 TAP:

·         Executive...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, June 04, 2007 8:51:49 AM
While it can't be used in a production environment, Microsoft has posted a Tech Preview release of SoftGrid 4.2.  SoftGrid 4.2 brings support for Windows Vista and Side-by-Side (SxS) support for things like Office 2007 and Visual Studio Express.  The release of 4.2 is slated for July 2007.  Read the full details at the SoftGrid Team blog entry.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Saturday, June 02, 2007 10:07:35 AM
From this forum thread on the official Citrix Support site, I found a link to a published KB article about the effects of WAN optimization technology on Citrix ICA traffic.  View the whitepaper from Citrix Consulting at the following link:

CTX113505 - FAQ - Truths and Myths of Presentation Server and WAN Optimization

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 31, 2007 8:41:25 AM
Via Scott Hanselman's blog I learned that Google has recently added Street View support to Google Maps (basically it's stitched together photos at street level view of major cities).  While this type of technology is going to take a while to provide this kind of detail for many of the major cities, I think it's a really cool concept.  Of course, the REAL value of something like this would be to have it available in a mobile form with good network bandwidth and a GPS unit.  You'd never get lost Here's a URL to part of Times Square in NYC to get the hang of it.  I really love how you can use the arrow keys to basically walk around the city.  Again,...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 1:25:21 PM
While much of the information is already well known, the SoftGrid Team Blog was updated a few days ago to include some SoftGrid sequencing best practices.  More importantly, the blog article points to a MS KB article that includes more best practices (again most of this is well known info).

Link to the SoftGrid Team blog entry
Link to the MS KB article on sequencing best practices

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:12:41 AM
Jason has done it again and released another tool that probably should have come from Citrix.  Project Mobius is a beta1 release that at the present time is capable of drag-n-drop of published applications from one farm to another.  (PS3 through PS4.5).  A future release will bring the same support for policy objects.  Read up on the Project Mobius Beta1 here.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Monday, May 21, 2007 2:18:54 PM
I thought I would share this issue with everyone as it's a pretty odd one.  At a client site of mine that is running Web Interface 3.0, the server group had deployed 2003 SP2 to the Web Interface servers over the weekend.  After this, two Web Interface servers hosting different sites both started displaying the typical "Error: An internal error occurred. Please contact your system administrator." messages.  After disabling the Custom Error handler messages per CTX111722 a more descriptive, but still largely useless error message appeared on these servers.  Here is the message that was displayed: Server Error in '/Citrix/MetaFrame/default' Application. Compilation Error Description: An error occurred during the compilation of a resource required to service this request. Please review the following specific error details and modify your source code appropriately. Compiler Error Message: CS0007: Unexpected common language runtime...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 17, 2007 6:00:03 AM
For those who have ever written an MFCOM script, you may find it's a daunting task once you start examining the MFCOM Class.  There's multiple different interfaces depending upon which platform and version of PS that's involved and it's generally confusing to know the relationships of all of the components.  Fred Liu (a.k.a. Dr. SDK) has posted a blog entry explaining why the MFCOM class is so complicated and what Citrix is doing with CPSCOM to make things better.  If you want to get a view at MFCOM, see this class diagram.  Otherwise, continue on here to Dr. SDK's blog entry on CitrixCommunity.com

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 10, 2007 8:42:38 AM
There are several threads on the official Citrix support forums of people who have noticed a variety of strange things in their environment (after migrating to PS 4.5) ranging from increased WAN utilization, to increased CPU utilization for the Winlogon process and XTE service.  The culprit is our old friend the Smart Card hook.  If anyone remembers the joys that smart card redirection caused for 2000 servers with the Update Rollup 1 Patch this will be a painful reminder.  Anyway, Citrix appears to be creating a private hotfix for this at the moment.  In the meanwhile you'll want to disable the smart card hook via the registry entry or via the Terminal Services group policy entry for smart card redirection.  See the following forum threads for more info:PS 4.5 and Wyse v30 winlogon.exe 3% - 8% CPU per connectionWAN usageShawn
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:07:38 AM
From a blog post from Mike Laverick's site, I was directed towards this VTMN forum post with a great collection of hyperlinks to various VMWare-related whitepapers, articles, etc.  It's definitely one you'll want to bookmark.  Here's the link to the VMTN posting.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 3:11:29 PM
While viewing a blog entry over at baeke.info, I was directed to this fantastic document from Microsoft that lists the functionality differences between 2003 Server and Longhorn server.  While this covers many things above and beyond the Terminal Services changes, it does have lots of info explaining the new features of Terminal Services that I'm sure you've read about in hundreds of other blog posts (Easy Print, RemoteApp, TS Gateway, etc.)  In addition to the terminal services stuff, there's a wealth of information on the changes to Active Directory, info on the inclusion of Windows Firewall in Longhorn, and good stuff about Server Core (which I personally think is going to be an awesome feature of Longhorn server).  Anyway, download the entire 272 page doc over here and make a pot of coffee before you start on this one ;)Shawn...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 03, 2007 10:27:32 AM
Around June of 2006 I created a video for Citrix that explains how the UPDv3 printing engine works in Presentation Server 4.0.  That video is available on the Presentation Server landing page under Technology Videos.  Brian Madden has also done several videos on farm design, Speedscreen technologies, etc.  I personally think that some of these videos are a great way at getting a better understanding of how these technologies work in a quick 30 minute view versus spending tons of time reading documentation and white papers.  I highly recommend that you check them out.Here's a link to the Citrix Technology Videos for Presentation ServerAlso, I'd love to hear feedback on what other topics that you'd like to see in a Citrix Technology Video?  Would you like to see more information on Streaming Server/Tarpon, Web Interface/Secure Gateway, Health Monitoring in PS4.5?  Please post your thoughts below.Shawn...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 03, 2007 10:22:02 AM
Al Solorzano has published an article that provides an overview on how to setup the Configuration Logging feature of Presentation Server 4.5.  Configuration Logging is the new feature that Citrix added that audits all farm changes made via MFCOM (i.e. it covers changes made via the CMC/PSC, ASC/AMC, as well as scripts that utilize MFCOM).  Anyway, Al's got a great article up that covers the step-by-step of how to set it up as well as the basics for creating a report of the Configuration Logging database.

Read the full article here.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:36:43 AM
The MS SoftGrid team has added a blog entry describing how to use scripts within .OSD files to modify the behavior of the application launch.  They've also provided some basic examples of how one would use them.

Read the entire article at their blog here.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 9:07:39 AM
Massimo has a great blog entry questioning whether or not Microsoft's Viridian hypervisor (coming slightly after Longhorn server) will have any effect of being able to knock vmware from it's dominence in the x86 virtualization market.  Also discussed is the impact of Xen in the x86 virtualization market.  I'm not going to attempt to summarize all of Massimo's points as I don't think I would do it the same justice.  It is a fantastic read though, and coming from a marketplace where everyone is always stating that Microsoft will bury Citrix, my personal .02 is that vmware will be in much the same boat (always staying one step ahead).

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:12:49 AM
Per the Terminal Service's team blog, Microsoft has enabled support for revokation of TS Device licensing in Longhorn Terminal Services.  This should come as great news for the 3 people who are actually running 2003 Terminal Services in Per Device mode

Read the complete blog entry here

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 05, 2007 3:33:07 PM
I've blogged previously about the release of the Idokorro Mobile Blackberry client, and at the time I mentioned that there were some instances where you would receive a Terminal Services error that you weren't part of the Remote Desktop users group.  I'm happy to say that Idokorro has released a beta client that fixes this issue.  I don't want to share the download URL that they sent me privately, but you can contact them for a beta URL link to test this.

I'm loving this new way of using Citrix.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 05, 2007 1:24:59 PM

I came across this blog post on Jungsonn Studio's blog the other day where they demonstrate how Google Adsense is vulnerable to a type of cross-site scripting attack that when the suspect javascript code is executed and you visit your Adsense account in another browser tab, they are able to switch your Adsense account over to them.  Pretty interesting find, and it really makes you think about all the times that you authenticate into a variety of different sites within different browser tabs all the while having done lots of surfing of other pages (of which you don't know that you can trust).  It's definitely something that all of the bloggers out there that use Google Adsense should be thinking about when they pop into their account from a browser tab

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 05, 2007 7:03:58 AM
The Terminal Services team at Microsoft have posted the first in a series of blog entries on what's happening with TS Licensing in the Longhorn timeframe.  Many people know that TS user licensing is not tracked in 2003 Server, and every is fully expecting that to change in Longhorn.  However, the startling piece of this article (for me anyway) was this line:

"Note that in Longhorn, per-user licenses are only tracked and not enforced."

I'm not sure if this is in reference only to the beta product, or if it's the plan for the actual product launch.  I'd be very surprised if per user licensing wasn't enforced, though I'd have to say I'd be very happy if that was the case.  Licensing enforcement sucks!

View the blog entry here.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 3:05:49 PM
Though I didn't find this weeks tips to be particularly interesting, they may be news to someone who is new to SoftGrid.  Hopefully the team will keep blogging new tips every week (that would be fantastic!)  Read this week's tips on their blog entry here.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 3:04:00 PM
If you haven't had a chance to test 2003 SP2 AND you're configured to automatic updates, you may be interested in knowing that Microsoft has a fix that will allow your servers to bypass the forced install of 2003 SP2 that will begin on June 12th, 2007.  If you're interested in using this opt-out, visit Microsoft's download site here for the download and instructions.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 2:29:56 PM
I've always known that you're not supposed to use PST files across the network (LAN or WAN), but up until recently I did not have the specific proof as to the magnitude of problems it can cause (outside of corruption in the PST).  I was recently looking for this information to pass to a client of mine, and I came across a great blog article from the Server Performance Team at Microsoft.  Turns out there's all sorts of issues from I/O deadlocking to paged pool depletion, etc.  Head over their blog and view the article.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 2:37:17 PM
MS07-017 is a re-release of an earlier patch against a vulnerability in Animated Cursors.  Apparently when the code was created for the first fix, the rest of the code wasn't audited and another vulnerability was recently found.  The patch can be found on Microsoft's website over here

This vulnerability affects all versions of Windows from 2000 through Vista, so you'll definitely want to patch this one.  Also, there's at least 4-5 public exploits available for this one.  You can be certain that it's being exploited in the wild.

Shawn
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 7:21:45 AM
Citrix has been working on a project called Timpanogos which is the feature set to bring some of the Advanced Access control features from the regular Citrix Access Gateway with AAC into the Netscaler product line (the Enterprise Edition).  Jay announced availability of the 8.0 firmware that enables this feature set on the Netscaler hardware.  NOTE:  You will need Netscaler hardware to run this firmware.

Read Jay's blog entry for detailed information.

Shawn


By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 10:50:37 AM

The Metasploit Project has just officially released version 3.0 of the framework on their website.  3.0 is a complete rewrite of the framwork and is written in Ruby.  It currently contains 177 exploits, 104 payloads, 17 encoders, and 3 nop modules.  It is a fantastic tool for penetration testing, and best of all -- it's completely free.

Read their blog entry on the new of the 3.0 release here

And get yourself a copy of Metasploit 3.0 over here

Enjoy!

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 8:35:14 AM
This is beyond cool!  Idokorro (makers of two other very cool products Mobile Admin and Mobile Desktop) have just launched the first public Citrix Client for the Blackberry platform.  One could argue that a Citrix client on a Blackberry is not the ideal platform for getting work done, but I've been using it as I used the Mobile Desktop product - for on the go deperate troubleshooting (i.e. I don't have a laptop near me, but need to get in a reboot a system, etc).  Anyway,  checkout their website for a download link (they even have an OTA download available from mobile.idokorro.com

On one of my Presentation Server 4.0 boxes, I'm receiving the typical TS error message that you're not a member of the Remote Desktop Users group.  This is weird since this system works perfectly fine locally as well as via WI/CSG.  I've exchange emailed with the Idokorro folks who mentioned that they've seen this on about 4-5% of the downloaded installs.  They are currently researching a fix and expect it to take no longer than 1-2 weeks (how's that for support!). 

UPDATE: Idokorro has released a beta client that fixes the TS error message.  Contact them down a download URL.

Anyway, one of the REALLY cool things about this product is that it supports either connecting directly via TCP/IP through your carrier (for externally facing Citrix connections) or more appropriately you can tunnel through your existing BES/MDS service (which is awesome if you're trying to fix a problem with your WI/CSG config).  I just can't speak enough about how cool this product is.

...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, March 26, 2007 7:49:10 AM

Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access includes a functionality called WebReady document viewing that functions much the same as the HTML Preview functionality in Citrix's Advanced Access Control.  Currently 2003 versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, as well as PDF document types are supported, but this this able to be customized/extended for additional document types as well.  I realize that AAC provides greater control over the documents than this feature within Exchange, however it's still a great feature to include out of the box in Exchange 2007.

Read more at the MS Exchange Team's blog entry about WebReady document viewing

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:02:14 AM

In a recent press announcement LanDesk (makers of systems management/electronic software distribution products) has noted that they are in partnership with Thinstall.  Apparently LanDesk is eager to not be the only one left out of the growing software virtualization market.  Either that or they just want to make clear to everyone that they've still got what it takes since being taken over by a company that makes KVMs.

Thanks to dabcc.com for the news.

Shawn

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:04:41 AM
MSDN has a great review up on IIS 7.0.Some of the highlights of the new IIS 7.0:Lean server core component (similar to server core in Longhorn).  Additional components can be enabled on an as-needed basis.  This of course helps to reduce the attack surface of the server.No more metabase (finally!).  All settings for IIS are now in an XML-based config file (much like the asp.net .config files)IIS Manager has been completely redone.  I personally think this is a huge improvement over the old admin tool.Improved diagnostics and tracing facilities for quickly locating problems in your web server or application pools.Improved performance through caching (ASP sites are dynamic which unfortunately leads to performance issues if the content has to be generated dynamically all the time.  IIS 7.0 has features that allow for output caching to reduce the amount of database calls, etc.Lots of other things...follow the link above for more info.Thanks...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, March 19, 2007 9:23:32 PM
Citrix has acquired a load testing technology from thinGenius Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Hopefully this is one of those products that will be made available to channel partners because I personally am always looking for a good efficient way of scale testing Citrix environments.

Read the press release from Citrix here

Shawn