Tech.Ed Live Austalia

Storagecraft – Committed to the IT Community

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Yesterday evening, August 25th, was the 2nd SMBiT Professionals Tech.Ed Dinner held at Sage Restaurant on the Gold Coast.

Attended well by members of the SMBiT Professional Association from all parts of Australia, it certainly shows the power of a nation wide IT Professional Association that has committed Members who are dedicated to furthering the IT Community.

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A last minute generous offer from Steve West at Storagecraft saw the 2nd annual Community Event being sponsored by an extremely Community Focused company, Storagecraft – who on Wednesday evening sponsored the AuTecheds Party and last night, made a contribution to the SMBiT Professionals Networking Dinner.

Companies such as Storagecraft recognise the importance of supporting the IT Community though the sponsorship of events and empowering the IT Community though in depth, true technical events that focus on their product to empower the technical workforce who deploy their product, to do so confidently, competently and most of all giving the Client the best deployment of a brilliant Disaster Recovery solution.

Using technologies such as their 15 minute incrementals, 5 Minute Server Restore using Virtual Box and Head Start Technology sets Storagecraft far apart and well ahead of competitors offering a Drive Imaging Solution.

Again Storagecraft recognise the IT Community through their Storagecraft IT Edition allowing IT Technicians an inexpensive way to Image Systems before working on them and completing P2P, P2V and V2P.

Support the companies that support the community – If you’re at Tech.Ed go and see the Storagecraft team in the Expo Hall, if you’re not, make sure you contact Storagecraft today to sign up for a demo in your capital city and to become a reseller.

Again, I would like to extend my personal thanks to Steve West and the Storagecraft team for their generous support of the SMBiT Professionals Association.

Tech.Greg

SMBiT Professionals Dinner – Wednesday 25th 2010

The SMBiT Professionals dinner is happening again this year at Tech.Ed after the great success of the event last year.

If you’re yet to RSVP, please email me ASAP so that we can extend the booking should we need to.

Details

Where: Sage Restaurant
Time: From 7pm to when we get kicked out
Address: 5/20 Queensland Avenue, Broadbeach

Please bring cash as splitting the bill on cards can get messy.

Hope to see you tonight!

Tech.Greg

When Level 400 is Level 150ish… SEC404 & Malware

Last year I did a post titled “When Level 300 is Level 100…” all about mis-titled and mis-represented sessions.

This afternoon I did a session titled “SEC404 – Look@me and Pay” with speaker Jakub Kaminski.

For those who don’t understand the rating systems applied to sessions:

  • Level 100 – Sales Fluff
  • Level 200 – Information / Minor Tech / Technical Sales Fluff
  • Level 300 – Medium Technical
  • Level 400 – Make your brain ache with overload technical.

With a SEC404, I thought beauty, just what I need, something to make my brain ache and walk out with some cold  hard information.

Just like my previous post, this was nothing more than a Level 200 Session about the different types of Malware / Fake Antivirus software that is available on the internet and really not one iota of technical info.

One core principal of this session that was missed was Microsoft Best Practice of Running Users with Least User Access – ie. Don’t give user Local Admin rights on their PC!!!

So, why is this a problem, the client has current up to date Antivirus…WRONG!

These new streams of Malware are so unbelievably sneaky that they stay ahead of the patch cycles of the AV Vendors and have many variants of the same virus out in the wild.

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Pictured Above – Screenshots of fake antivirus Malware.

These malware streams spread through email with Attachments and Links to .exe files, Rogue or Hijacked Websites and ActiveX Controls, P2P and Chat such as MSN and Skype.

If a user were to be running as Admin, these applications will launch, execute and voila, one successfully infected PC.

Now, if the user were running with LUA, the application would launch, prompt for elevation privileges and all being well the user cannot continue (if they don’t have the Local Admin or Domain Admin Password to elevate.)

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So with one small step, you can very easily avoid an infection.

The next thing to look at with these streams of viruses is the removal. They imbed themselves in such a way that even with booting to Safe Mode and theoretically “removing the files”, actually, the root of the virus or payload is actually sitting there waiting for the signal to re-spawn.

So, you’ve “removed” it, you boot up, log on not being on the network – everything looks good. Now lets plug the Ethernet cable back in and see what happens…

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Congratulations – the payload has just phoned home, downloaded the same virus or a new one and successfully re-spawned.

So, how do I remove it?

In my business we have a simple policy. Infected machine = flatten and rebuild.

It is just not worth the risk of putting a potentially infected machine back in to a clean environment and having the rest of the environment at risk.

So, back the the start of this post… When a Level 400 session isn’t…

As a Tech.Ed delegate, It’s vitally important that you give feedback. Not just 5 for everything because it’s easy, rank thing correctly and leave proper feedback that’s relevant.

“Session was advertised as level 400 but lacked in depth technical content.”

This info gets back to the right people and yes, it does actually get read and makes for a better Tech.Ed moving forward.

Tech.Greg :)

Support A Charity – Fill Out Your Session Feedback!

This year Microsoft are giving $1 per Session Feedback form submitted to IT Farm For Kids.

This is a great way to make sure your voice is heard about the sessions that you attended and do something for a good cause at the same time.

To fill out your feedback just log in to CommNet (australia.msteched.com) and in the Session Builder to the right of the session is a Green Icon.

Remember, it’s your feedback that makes for a better Tech.Ed so be honest with your feedback. If you really liked something, say so, and if you thought something was complete and utter sh1t, then, by all means let them know too.

Tech.Greg

TechEd 2010 Australia – Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1 Dynamic Memory Allocation

The second session for today is the Hyper-V 2006 R2 SP1 Dynamic Memory Allocation session by Ben Armstrong.  This is actually really cool technology that will allow Hyper-V to allocate RAM dynamically to virtual machines as it’s needed.  What this means to us is that we can configure a VM to use say 2GB of RAM, but it will only use that 2GB of RAM when it really needs it.  Similar to the CPU allocation that we have now, this feature really gives us the chance to add more virtualisation instances to a given host than ever before.  Very cool technology indeed.  Most of the time, this technology is only available in the Enterprise versions of Windows Server, the good news is that this will be available on ALL versions of Windows Server 2008 R2 and HyperV Server 2008 R2 once Service Pack 1 is released and applied to those systems.

TechEd 2010 Australia – Keynote – XBox360 Kinnect Demo

Yesterday at teh Keynote for TechEd 2010 Australia, one of the coolest things was the Kinnect demo on the Xbox360.  Now this has nothing to do with IT infrastructure what so ever – but you’ve got to admit it is pretty darn cool.  Check out the videos below.  The first one shows how it works under the covers and the second one shows it in use in a game… I can just see the household furniture being broken as people jump around the house to try play the game.

 

TechEd 2010 Australia – 1st Session – Exchange 2007 SP1

I’d love to report just how great Exchange 2007 SP1 is after attending the first session today, but unfortunately I can’t… you see despite having people register as to which sessions they attended, the rooms are overflowing with people outside the door.  Now event organisers will tell you just how much of a success this is, but honestly – it’s a result of bad planning.  Microsoft knew in advance how many people would be attending and which sessions they were going to, so they had the chance to change rooms to accommodate – unfortunately as you can see – it’s not happening.  I sure hope they sort this out for other sessions or else TechEd will be a waste of money for me and many others.

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Rosemary Stark has the unfortunate job of turning people away.

TechEd 2010 Essentials

TechEd Australia is off an running now.  One of the things I’ve learnt over time is that when you are in a place for any length of time, the way to make it feel like home is to get a few things that help make it easier for you… and they can save a few bucks too.  I’m up here for both TechEd, some client work and some rest and relaxation and I’m here for 8 days in total.  Here’s a photo of a few supplies I picked up… Note the chocolate… and fresh fruit… oh – there were apples and Milk too to but they are missing as I forgot to put them on the table.

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In all seriousness though – staying at a serviced apartment instead of a hotel means the cost is kept down.  Shopping at the local supermarket for things like breakfast cereal, and some late evening snacks will save you a heap of cash and having a few drinks in the fridge means you can avoid the crush at the bar if you want a drink before bed. 

TechEd 2010 – Next week!!!

Woohoo – it’s nearly here… the annual pilgrimage to the mecca of all things geek in Microsoft land… yes thats right ladies n gentlemen, it’s TechEd 2010 Australia and it’s on next week in the beautiful Gold Coast.  TechEdLive.com owner Greg Lipschitz has blackmailed me once more into being a guest blogger for the event, so I figured I’d start it off nice n early.

We’re organising a dinner for those SMB focused folks that are interested – we’ll post more details here next week.

That’s enough for now – work to do :-)   See you next week at TechEd 2010 Australia!!!

When Level 300 is Level 100…

It’s been disappointing over the last few days to walk in to a number of sessions to find that it was a level 300 session, only to be delivered level 100 – 200 content.

We’re here for good rich technical information and that is what we should be delivered 100% of the time. No sales pitches, just good rich technical content.

This is Year 6 for me at TechEd, and I have found that over the years we’ve gone from Level 400 sessions that you walk out of with a numb brain to today where you walk out with a clean inbox of email.

So, what can YOU the delegate do about this?

  1. Fill Out Eval Forms – It doesn’t take that long to log in to CommNet and fill out the eval form. Don’t just select the 1-5, put some comments in to the field at the bottom and give real feedback. If you think it was a sales pitch, say so. If you think the presenter was not great or the content wasn’t great, say so! If you say nothing, then nothing will be done.
  2. Speak to the Presenters - The presenters at Tech.Ed are generally really forthcoming and want the direct feedback. Go discuss your concerns about the session with them and help them develop professionally.
  3. Speak to the Event Organisers – There are people at Microsoft that put a lot of effort in to making sure that what you get at Tech.Ed is the best content possible. If you don’t like it, make your voice heard and let them know.
  4. Discuss in here – Yes, that’s right, we encourage your comments to posts, and please rest assured that concerns will be passed up the lines on your behalf. We’re here to help you help all of us too!

We’re not here to shame anyone, or lay blame, we want good feedback, so please, take the time to do the above and comment here so that the Tech.Ed experience can be improved upon for years to come.

Tech.Greg