Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rhianne eating a muffin

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
is a pic I shot yesterday with my new D50. Since I got it I've been reading and posting in various photography forums. What amazes me is how easily amateur photographers discuss getting this 700eur or that 1100 euro lens.
OK, granted, there's some very nice optics on the market these days but why the **** does a hobby photographer need a 70-200/2.8 G AF-S VR IF ED (1800 euros) or a NIKON 17-55/2.8 G AF-S DX IF ED (1400 euros)???

OK, granted, perhaps I am a bit envious that I can't afford to spent that much money on my hobby. Since I can't I find that I'm more and more discovering and enjoying the challenge of doing nice work with inexpensive gear. Take this picture for example, it was shot with my current favourite, a 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D which is a sub-100 euro lens.

I'm considering getting myself a 50mm 1.8 because of the 1.8 aperture. A 1,8 does allow for very extreme playing with out of focus areas.
Funny, 20 years ago you'd shoot with an f/8 or f/11 even and you'd be pleased to get your target properly focused. These days it's all about bokeh. Anyway, that 50mm is just sub-100 at 99 euros new. But perhaps the best thing to do is save my money untill I've had a few lessons of the photography course I signed up for. Then I may have a better idea of what lens would be the best investment.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Logparser comes in handy once again!

I got a call this morning to have a look at a client's application server that has been misbehaving for the last few days. A quick glance learned me that from saturday until tuesday morning the application had sent out way too many emails. For the 4 period I had 1.3gb of IIS smtp logs.

Curious how many mails had been sent out exactly I copied the logs to my workstation and started logparser.

logparser "SELECT c-ip, COUNT(c-ip) FROM *.log WHERE cs-username =
'OutboundConnectionCommand' GROUP BY c-ip" -i:iisw3c -o:csv

Gave me a result which I'm still doubting. According to the query the server had sent out 4.3 million emails. During this time the server's cpu never spiked higher than 40%.

The recieving party wasn't totally ignorant either and took their own precautions so I'm now getting NDRs in a rate of about 60000/hour. Since this tends to eat up diskspace rather quickly I scheduled a script that cleans out the badmail every 10 minutes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

70-294 passed!

Yep, this morning I sat and passed 70-294 with a very reasonable 795 points. Not bad, especially considering the fact that I spent most of saturday night at the office sorting out an exchange problem, had my birthday party on sunday and we were too shorthanded at the office on monday to let me take my customary afternoon off to prep for the exam.

Anyway, the exam itself. First of all the title, Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure, is somewhat misleading. A better title would have been "Group policies in Windows 2003 and some other Active Directory subjects". No questions were very difficult or ambiguous. Out of the 39 questions, 5 of those were simulations by the way, 25 were about group policies quite a few of those were drag & drop type questions. Up until a month or two ago a lot of people would tell you that the simulations didn't count. You'd only get two or three of them at an exam. The fact that I got 5 on a 39 question exam leads me to believe they definitely count towards your score.

A lot of the other questions were about structuring your AD in a way that it allows a specific delegation of control scenario. Only a few were about AD replication issues, troubleshooting (answers involving AD restore mode are usually right). I've also seen three questions on the "your company bought another company and you need to setup trusts between the forests to accomplish XYZ".

I prepared for the exam with the official microsoft self paced kit:
and a Transcender Cd. So, things to study
GPO concepts
Difference between computer and user policy
Software deployment with GPO
Troubleshooting GPOs
How to apply a GPO to a user or computer depending on OU, group membership or site.
How to delegate GPO administration
Everything else GPO related you can get your hands on
OU structures and delegation of control
Domain replication between site
Schema administration
Domain trusts (know what incomming and outgoing means, the term is used often on the exam and not much in the book)
AD disaster and fuck-up recovery.

That's pretty much it. Not one of the hardest exams. When you do them in sequence about 80% of what this exam covers should at the very least be vaguely familiar to you. If you want to setup a home lab for this you'd need at least two machines to experiment with GPOs. More if you want to try your hand at AD intersite operations.

That's it for this month, on the 23rd I'll finalize the purchase of my new house, the weeks after that will be full with moving and redecorating. My 70-297 exam is planned for the second of october. Until that time you can probably expect a lot of pics from my new Nikon D50.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Enumerate the list of installed Hotfixes using WMI
Shows a very simple way to display all hotfixes installed on a machine.
Just do a wmic qfe list full /format:htable>c:\somefile.htm and you'll end up with a nicely formatted list of hotfixes.