Categories
Best Practices General

Introduction to LaTeX – A Type Setting System

LaTeX is not a wordprocessor but a typesetting system that achieves beautifully typeset documents without any deeper typographic knowledge. LaTeX is most widely used by mathematicians, scientists, engineers, philosophers, economists and other scholars in academia and the commercial world, and other professionals as a primary or an intermediate format (e.g. translating DocBook and other XML-based formats to PDF).

lateX logoLaTeX is used because of the high quality of typesetting achievable by TeX. The typesetting system offers programmable desktop publishing features and extensive facilities for automating most aspects of typesetting and desktop publishing, including numbering and cross-referencing, tables and figures, page layout and bibliographies.

Key Features of LaTeX

  • Typesetting journal articles, technical reports, books, and slide presentations.
  • Control over large documents containing sectioning, cross-references, tables and figures.
  • Typesetting of complex mathematical formulas.
  • Advanced typesetting of mathematics with AMS-LaTeX.
  • Automatic generation of bibliographies and indexes.
  • Multi-lingual typesetting.
  • Inclusion of artwork, and process or spot colour.
  • Using PostScript or Metafont fonts.

Download this software to create effective documents and work with LaTeX – Powerful Open Source LaTeX editor for Windows – TeXnic Center.

Advantages of Using LaTeX:

LaTeX gives you several advantages over regular wordprocessors, depending on what you plan to do with it. The most important of them all shall be mentioned here.

  • Free availability – For almost any operating system a LaTeX distribution is available to download for free on the internet. This leads us to
  • LaTeX plattform-independent – Documents created by LaTeX can be opened, edited and printed on almost any available computersystem
  • LaTeX produces brilliant typographic output – Other than regular wordprocessors LaTeX produces beautifully typeset documents without requiring the user to know anything about typography
  • Typesetting mathmatical equations – Especially engineers, mathmaticians and other users who need to include formulas or equations in their documents can create these very same in a good-looking and rather easy way.
  • Logical instead of physical formatting – This means that all formatting is done by LaTeX, the user only defines the structure of a document.
  • Stability – LaTeX is one of the most stable software packages, which is proven by the fact, that it has been around in its current version. There is no such thing as data loss.

References – LaTeX Features extracted from latex-project.orgWikipedia, Yauh.de,

Categories
Best Practices General Microsoft

Download Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 Videos from the SPC 2009

While Microsoft can’t publish all the conference content from SPC (Share Point Conference 2009), they have cherry picked the most popular sessions and publish a selection of most popular Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 develop SPC videos and slide decks! Here’s the selection of most popular sessions:

Office 2010 Videos | SharePoint Conference 2009

Office 2010 has many new developer oriented features. As a Microsoft Office developer, you can create highly refined user experiences that reduce complexity for users and make them instantly more productive. The following five videos represent a selection of most popular Office developer track sessions from the SharePoint Conference 2009.

SharePoint 2010 Videos | SharePoint Conference 2009

SharePoint 2010 has many new developer oriented features. Developers can build collaboration applications on the platform features of Microsoft SharePoint 2010, the new tools for SharePoint 2010 make developers more productive, and new hosting options for SharePoint solutions provide more flexibility in deployment. The following five videos represent a selection of most popular SharePoint developer track sessions from the SharePoint Conference 2009.

You will be also interested in reading this – Fixing Code Compatibility Issues with Office 2010 Compatibility Inspector

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

What version of the .NET Framework is included in which version of the OS?

Its been quite sometime that, we have recieved questions on what version of the .NET Framework is included in which version of the OS? The main reason for this question is that, when the .NET Framework is installed as a part of the OS, it does not appear in the Programs and Features (or Add/Remove Programs) control panel. Peter Marcu has documented this in a nice pictoric representation. This is gonna be helpful to many!

What version of the .NET Framework is included in what version of the OS?

Update : 6th August 2010 – Microsoft has posted an updated knowledge base article today with a unified list of install state and service pack level detection information for each of the currently released versions of the .NET Framework (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and 4).  You can find the knowledge base article at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/318785

Aaron Stebner had also answered this in one of his mailbag questions, here is the answer which he gave!

The following is a complete list of which version of the .NET Framework is included in which version of the OS:

  • Windows XP Media Center Edition (Windows XP SP1) includes the .NET Framework 1.0 + SP2 as an OS component
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition (Windows XP SP2 and higher) includes the .NET Framework 1.0 + SP3 as an OS component.  On Windows XP Media Center Edition, the only way to get the .NET Framework 1.0 SP3 is to install Windows XP SP2 or higher.  There is not a standalone 1.0 SP3 installer for this edition of Windows XP.
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (Windows XP SP1) includes the .NET Framework 1.0 + SP2 as an OS component
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (Windows XP SP2 and higher) includes the .NET Framework 1.0 + SP3 as an OS component.  On Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, the only way to get the .NET Framework 1.0 SP3 is to install Windows XP SP2 or higher.  There is not a standalone 1.0 SP3 installer for this edition of Windows XP.
  • Windows Server 2003 (all x86 editions) includes the .NET Framework 1.1 as an OS component; 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 do not include a version of the .NET Framework as an OS component
  • Windows Vista (all editions) includes the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 as OS components  3.0 can be added or removed via the Programs and Fatures control panel.
  • Windows Vista SP1 (all editions) includes the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and 3.0 SP1 as OS components.  3.0 SP1 can be added or removed via the Programs and Features control panel.
  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 SP1 (all editions) includes the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and 3.0 SP1 as OS components.  The .NET Framework 3.0 SP1 is not installed by default and must be added via the Programs and Features control panel though.
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2 (all editions) includes the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 and 3.0 SP2 as OS components.  The .NET Framework 3.0 SP2 is not installed by default and must be added via the Programs and Features control panel though.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (all editions) includes the .NET Framework 3.5.1 as an OS component.  This means you will get the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2, 3.0 SP2 and 3.5 SP1 plus a few post 3.5 SP1 bug fixes.  3.0 SP2 and 3.5 SP1 can be added or removed via the Programs and Features control panel.
  • Windows 7 (all editions) includes the .NET Framework 3.5.1 as an OS component.  This means you will get the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2, 3.0 SP2 and 3.5 SP1 plus a few post 3.5 SP1 bug fixes.  3.0 SP2 and 3.5 SP1 can be added or removed via the Programs and Features control panel

In addition, the .NET Framework shipped with the following versions of Windows but not as truly integrated OS components:

  • Windows XP Home and Professional SP1 includes the MSI-based .NET Framework 1.0 + SP2 in the Additional Components folder on the installation CD.  It is not an OS component on this OS.
  • Windows XP Home and Professional SP2 includes the MSI-based .NET Framework 1.1 + SP1 in the Additional Components folder on the installation CD.  It is not an OS component on this OS.
  • Windows XP Home and Professional SP3 includes the MSI-based .NET Framework 1.1 + SP1 in the Additional Components folder on the installation CD.  It is not an OS component on this OS.
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 includes the MSI-based .NET Framework 2.0.  It appears in Add/Remove Windows Components as an OS component, but selecting it simply invokes the MSI-based installer.  The MSI can be repaired and removed using Add/Remove Programs regardless of whether it is installed via the standalone MSI or via the Add/Remove Windows Components UI.

Courtesy: This is just a information post, the credit for this information goes completely to Aaron Stebner and Peter Marcu. Thank you folks!

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft

Download eBook – The Shortcut Guide to Data Center Energy Efficiency

Virtualization and commitments to green IT initiatives are changing the way that data centers operate. By utilizing new technologies, repurposing existing equipment, and matching power and cooling supply to actual data center demand, IT will receive maximum benefit in the form of greater data center energy efficiency and decreased power and cooling costs.

The Shortcut Guide to Data Center Energy Efficiency offers insight on building a data center infrastructure that matches data center power and cooling demands in a way that optimizes operational efficiency while meeting the IT business and computing needs. This eBook will show you methods for minimizing the cost of your operating data center, and lays out a set of specific best practices and considerations for upgrading a production data center.

Chapters in this complete eBook include:
Chapter 1: Impact of Virtualization on Data Center Power & Cooling
Chapter 2: Best Practices for Data Center Design
Chapter 3: Free, or Nearly Free, Things to Do in an Operating Data Center
Chapter 4: Strategies for Upgrading a Production Data Center

Download this Complete eBook here!!!

Note: You will need to create a profile in Realtime Nexus (The Digital Library for IT Pros) when you click the above link.

More from the Author….“With the current trends in IT, improving the energy efficiency of your data centers seems like low-hanging fruit; something that will happen in the course of bringing virtualization and consolidation to your data centers, along with the improved energy efficiency of new-generation IT hardware. But it’s easy to overlook the opportunity that these changes present in building data center infrastructures,” explains author David Chernicoff. ” This guide will offer insight on building a data center infrastructure to match IT power and cooling demands in a way that optimizes operational efficiency while meeting the IT business and computing needs of agile and effective business organizations.”

Courtesy: Realtime Nexus IT Management Alerts

You would also be interested in downloading these ebooks:

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft

Build more secure applications using Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL)

The Microsoft SDL – Developer Starter Kit offers content, labs, and training to help you establish a standardized approach to rolling out the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) in your organization—or enrich your existing development practices.

This Kit provides a compliation of baseline developer security training materials on the following core Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) topics:
a) secure design principles;
b) secure implementation principles;
c) secure verification principles;
d) SQL injection;
e) cross-site scripting;
f) code analysis;
g)banned application programming interfaces (APIs);
h) buffer overflows;
i) source code annotation language;
j) security code review;
k) compiler defenses;
l) fuzz testing;
m) Microsoft SDL threat modeling principles; and
n) the Microsoft SDL threat modeling tool. Each set of guidance contains Microsoft Office PowerPoint slides, speaker notes, train-the-trainer audio files, and sample comprehension questions.

All materials have limited formatting so that you can leverage the content to achieve broader, enhanced adoption of Microsoft SDL principles in your development organization.

Download the Starter Kit Here

Other References

Categories
Best Practices Google Tools

Website Optimization – Want to know what readers are seeing in your website?

Browser Size is a tool from Google Labs, which provides you visualization of browser window sizes for people who visit your website. This is useful for ensuring that important parts of a page’s user interface are visible by a wide audience. Knowing this fact would encourage the designer to move the most important information much higher in the page so it can be seen without scrolling. For example, the “90%” contour means that 90% of people visiting the website have their browser window open to at least this size or larger.

The sizes represented in this contour are client area sizes, not browser window sizes. This means they represent the size of the browser without the title bar, toolbars, status bars, etc., and thus give a true representation of how much content can be seen by a particular segment of the Web-using population.

Check the Browser Size Tool here!!! – http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/

To view your own Web site with this same visualization overlaid on it, simply type its URL into the “Enter URL here” textbox at the top of the window and click Go. As you move the mouse around the window, you will see a transparent rectangle following the mouse pointer. This feature allows you to interact normally with the page you’re examining even though it has a graphical overlay atop it.

You could choose either a Opaque layout map or even set the translucent effect!

Check the Browser Size Tool here!!! – http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/

If you’re interested in learning more about the technical descriptions of Browser Size Tool, check out this post on the Google Code Blog.

Categories
Best Practices General Microsoft

An excellent ebook on Applications for Developers and Solution Architects

Microsoft Application Architecture Guide, 2nd Edition is intended to help developers and solution architects design and build effective, high quality applications.

The guide will helps you to:

  • Understand the underlying architecture and design principles and patterns for developing successful solutions on the Microsoft platform and the .NET Framework.
  • Identify appropriate strategies and design patterns that will help you design your solution’s layers, components, and services.
  • Identify and address the key engineering decision points for your solution.
  • Identify and address the key quality attributes and crosscutting concerns for your solution.
  • Create a candidate baseline architecture for your solution.
  • Choose the right technologies for your solution.
  • Identify patterns & practices solution assets and further guidance that will help you to implement your solution.

Download the Ebook here!!!

Brief Contents

  • What is Software Architecture?
  • Key Principles of Software Architecture
  • Architectural Patterns and Styles
  • A technique for Architecture and Design
  • Layered Application Guidelines – Presentation, Business, Data layer and Service layer Guidelines
  • Component Guidelines – Presentation, Business, Workflow and Data Components
  • Communication and Messaging
  • Physical Tiers and Deployment
  • Choosing an Application Type
  • Designing Web Applications, Rich Client Apps, Rich Internet, Mobile and Service Applications
  • Designing Hosted and Cloud Services
  • Designing Office Business Apps and SharePoint LOB Applications

Download the Ebook here!!!

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft

Manage OS Triggered Services effectively in Windows 7 using sc.exe

We all work with Windows applications which have interactive system services to handle.  Sometimes we tend to mend the registry keys to configure the service settings, which is never a Best Practice!!.

Sc.exe is a Service Management Utility which solves this purpose. It is a command line program which is primarily used for communicating with the Service Control Manager (SCM) and the services.  With this utility, you can do the below operations with ease.

  1. Query the status of a service
  2. Create a service using a command line
  3. Start, pause, continue and stop a service
  4. Interrogate control requests to a service
  5. Change the configuration of a service
  6. Change the actions taken by the service upon failure
  7. Query the service SID type of a service
  8. Queries the triggered parameters of a services (Triggered Services is a model implemented in Windows 7)
  9. Enumerates service dependencies
  10. You can also lock the SCM database

The general usage of this command would be.,

sc <server> [command] [service name] <option1> <option2>..

Developers and administrators should never edit the registry to configure service settings. Instead, they should use sc.exe, the services MMC snap-in, or the SCM client API.

Few Examples Usages:

By using a triggerinfo switch we can get the status of a trigger service “browser” and its status, along with the port configurations

triggerinfo

In this example, we just use the query switch which displays the type, state, exit code, checkpoint and the wait_hint for the “bits” service.
query

Windows also includes an MMC snap-in—services.msc—that provides basic SCM functionality through a graphical user interface.

Categories
Best Practices General How-to

What is Email Phishing and How can you avoid email hacks?

secureYou may have heard of the news of some Live Hotmail and Gmail credentials were phished recently. 

Phishing is an industry-wide problem and Microsoft is committed to helping consumers have a safe, secure and positive online experience. Our guidance to customers is to exercise extreme caution when opening unsolicited attachments and links from both known and unknown sources, and that they install and regularly update their anti-virus software.”

Here is the response form the Windows Live team on the same.

Over the weekend Microsoft learned that several thousand Windows Live Hotmail customers’ credentials were exposed on a third-party site due to a likely phishing scheme. Upon learning of the issue, we immediately requested that the credentials be removed and launched an investigation to determine the impact to customers. As part of that investigation, we determined that this was not a breach of internal Microsoft data and initiated our standard process of working to help customers regain control of their accounts. If you believe you’ve been a victim of a phishing scheme, it’s very important that you update your account information and change your password as soon as possible. More information on what to do is available on this page at our support community.

Microsoft recommends customers use the following protective security measures:

Renew their passwords for Windows Live IDs every 90 days
For administrators, make sure you approve and authenticate only users that you know and can verify credentials
As phishing sites can also pose additional threats, please install and keep anti-virus software up to date
 Answers to a few general questions about phishing scams

Q: What should you do if you fall victim to a phishing scam? How should you respond? What steps should you take?
A: If you think that you may have responded to a phishing scam with personal or financial information or entered this information into a fake website, you should take four key steps:

  1. Report the incident to the proper authorities
  2. Change the passwords on all your online accounts,
  3. Review your credit reports and your bank and credit card statements, 
  4. Make sure you are using the latest technologies to help protect yourself from future scams.

For the first step: If you have given out your credit card information, contact your credit company right away. The sooner a company knows your account may have been compromised, the easier it will be for them to help protect you.  Next, contact the company that you believe was forged. Remember to contact the organization directly, not through the e-mail message you received. Or call the organization’s toll-free number and speak to a customer service representative. For Microsoft, call the PC Safety hotline at: 1-866-PCSAFETY.  Then, report the incident to the proper authorities. Send an e-mail to spam@uce.gov to report it to the Federal Trade Commission and to reportphishing@antiphishing.org to report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

The second step is to change the passwords on all your online accounts. The reason for this is that a lot of people use the same password for multiple accounts. Start with passwords that are related to financial institutions or personal information. If you think someone has accessed your e-mail account, change your password immediately. If you’re using Hotmail, go to: http://account.live.com.

The third step is to review your bank and credit card statements and your credit report monthly for unexplained charges, inquiries or activity that you didn’t initiate.
Finally, make sure you use the latest products, such as anti-spam and anti-phishing capabilities in e-mail services, phishing filters in Web browsers and other services to help warn and protect you from online scams.

Q: How can I recognize an e-mail scam?
A: There are several signs you should look for to identify a phishing e-mail:

  1. Does it ask you to send your personal information?
  2. Is it poorly worded or does it have typos?
  3. Does it contain convincing details about your personal information?
  4. Does it use phrases like “verify your account” or “you’ve won the lottery?”

Any e-mail asking for your name, birth date, social security number, e-mail username, e-mail password, or any other type of personal information, no matter who the e-mail appears to be from, is almost certainly a scam.  Microsoft and most other businesses do not send unsolicited e-mail requesting personal or financial information.
E-mails that are poorly worded, have typos, or have phrases such as “this is not a joke” or “forward this message to your friends” are generally scam e-mails.
Phishing mail often includes official-looking logos and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate Web sites, and it may include convincing details about your personal information that scammers found on your social networking pages.

A few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam are:
“Verify your account.”
“If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed.”
“You have won the lottery.”

Q: What should people do if they think they have received a phishing e-mail?
A: If you think you may have received a phishing e-mail, you should take three steps: (1) take some time to check up on it and do not click on a link or give out your personal information, (2) make sure you have created a strong password for your account and (3) report the phishing scam.
The most important thing to remember is do not click on the link or give out your personal information.  It is possible for your computer to become infected with malicious software simply by visiting a phishing site – without you even realizing it. If you receive a questionable e-mail, take some time and check up on the information. Often sites like snopes.com list common e-mail scams.  Go to that website of the company you received the e-mail from and contact their customer service reps via phone or online to verify the validity of the e-mail.

Another thing you should do is create a strong password for your e-mail account by using more than 7 characters and having a combination of upper and lower case characters, numbers, and special characters, like the @ or # symbols. It’s also a good idea to change your password on a regular basis. The next time you change your Hotmail password, you can check “make my password expire every 72 days” to remind you to change it.

Finally, help us identify new scams. If you use Hotmail and received a phishing e-mail, you can select the dropdown next to “Junk,” and select “Report phishing scam.” Whatever you do, do not reply back to the sender. You should also report phishing scams to the Anti-Phishing Working Group by e-mailing them at reportphishing@antiphishing.org.

Q: How common is this scam?
A: The most recent version of Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report (Volume 6) shows that more than 97 percent of e-mail messages sent over the Internet are unwanted: They have malicious attachments, are phishing attacks, or are spam.

Q: Is Microsoft taking any proactive steps to prevent this from happening?
A: To help protect people from phishing attacks, Microsoft is providing education and guidance to customers, collaborating with other technology leaders, businesses and governments and supporting law enforcement actions against phishers. We provide guidance and information to customers about how to stay safe online at www.microsoft.com/protect and work with others in the industry and governments to educate people on online threats and safety tips.

From a technology perspective, because so much phishing comes from spammers, our Hotmail spam filter, called SmartScreen, blocks over 4.5 billion unwanted e-mails per day by distinguishing between legitimate e-mail and spam. The Microsoft Phishing Filter, which is free as part of Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Windows Vista and as an add-on for the Windows Live Search Toolbar, also helps protect people from phishing attacks by identifying suspicious or confirmed phishing sites and warning customers before they reach them.

Law enforcement also plays a big role here. Microsoft has supported 191 enforcement actions against phishers worldwide.  These include civil lawsuits filed by Microsoft, as well as civil and criminal actions by international government and law enforcement agencies for which Microsoft made referrals and subsequently provided support. 
Microsoft is a founding member of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a cross-industry association focused on preventing phishing. Microsoft also actively participates in DigitalPhishNet, an alliance between law enforcement and industry leaders in a variety of sectors, including technology, banking, financial services, and online auctioneering.  The group is focused on assisting law enforcement in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible for committing crimes against consumers through phishing. 

Q: Shouldn’t Microsoft be doing more to protect people from phishing?
A:  Combating phishing requires involvement from technology leaders, businesses operating online, law enforcement and governments. Microsoft plays a leading role in the Anti-Phishing Working Group, provides technologies to protect people from phishing and assists law enforcement to bring prosecutions against online criminals.

The Official Gmail Blog also has an article which explains on how to choose a smart password – You can read it here : http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/choosing-smart-password.html

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Importance of a RunOnce Key in Device Driver Installation

Well, The Run and RunOnce registry entries help programs to be run automatically. In device driver installations,  A RunOnce entry is executed immediately after the driver is installed; These entries are not executed until the user logs on.

For a Client-side installation, all RunOnce entries are executed. No Run, RunEx, or RunOnceEx entries are executed.
For a Server-side installation, Setup looks for RunOnce entries in the INF in the format described on the DDK. The DLLs specified are run in the system context with no UI. Any RunOnce entries that do not follow this format are deferred to a client-side installation and are run in administrator context with UI.

This is the primary reason for special requirements on RunOnce entries.

Addition Information: Run, RunEx, or RunOnceEx entries are executed only in the context of a logged-on user, and are not executed immediately after device is installed. A Service entry can immediately provide functionality for multiple logged-on users, whereas Run entries provide service to them only when the user next logs on, and also run one instance for each user.

For more information on RunOnce and Run Keys, Check these links –
http://www.dewassoc.com/support/useful/registry/reg_run_keys.htm
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/179365