Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PromptSQL Review

I had the opportunity recently to take a look at PromptSQL and offer a
review on it. That review hit's front page today. If you're
interested in an inexpensive IntelliSense tool for Query Analyzer,
Visual Studio, or SQL Server Management Studio, take a look at the
review to get some information on this product.

PromptSQL Review

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Awesome Interview on Windows Vista Kernel Architecture

This actually premiered on Channel 9 right before Christmas. It is an interview with Rob Short, a Microsoft VP in charge of the team working on Vista's kernel architecture. With him are Darryl Havens, Richard Ward, and Rich Neves, all architects who work under him. The interview is quite candid about issues that have been experienced in the Windows kernel to date and how they are going about trying to fix the issues by laying out a roadmap of where they want to be and attacking the problems in small chunks. Listening to the compartmentalizing of the operating system and segmenting state better makes one appreciate the work that goes into making a robust operating system work. It's just short of 50 minutes long but well worth the time.

Going deep into Windows Vista's kernel architecture

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Guidance on .WMF patch from Mike Nash, Microsoft Corporate VP

There is a new posting from Mike Nash on the Microsoft Security Response Center blog:

Relevant quote:

So the thing that I know you are all wondering is what should I do? So here is my advice. If you are a consumer or a small business, you should use either Windows Update (or ideally Microsoft Update) to automatically install the update. If you are running Windows XP SP2, you are likely already at least using Windows Update or Automatic Update. If you are an enterprise customer, you should deploy the update as soon as is feasible. Put it through your testing process and get it deployed. With the update available today, you certainly have the choice of deploying now or waiting until your normal release process. If it were my decision, I would move up the schedule. That is what we are doing in our IT operation here at Microsoft.

Microsoft WMF Patch Releasing Today (out-of-cycle)

Microsoft has announced they will release a security hotfix at 2 PM PST for the WMF design flaw. More details here:

Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification

The number of exploits taking advantage of this design flaw are continuing to grow. Consider testing this patch immediately on non-production systems.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Basic Philosophy on Soldiering

This is taken from the book About Face:The Odyssey of an American Warrior. The author is Col. David "Hack" Hackworth, one of the most decorated soldiers in the history of the United States. He served in post-WWII Europe in Trieste, spent two tours in Korea during the Korean War, was on the line in Germany during the Cold War, and fought in Viet Nam. He was described by many as a "soldier's soldier." Unfortunately, Hack passed away in May of 2005 due to cancer, possibly caused by Agent Blue, one of the defoilants like Agent Orange used in Viet Nam.

This basic philosophy of soldiering comes from one of Hack's commanders, Col. Glover S. Johns, whom Hack described as the finest senior infantry commander Hack had ever seen. Hack took these bullets from Col Johns' farewell speech. These are taken verbatim from Hack's book because I doubt I could write them any better.

  • Strive to be small things well.
  • Be a doer and a self-starter - aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader - but you must also put your feet up and think.
  • Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.
  • Never be satisfied. Ask of any project, How can it be done better?
  • Don't overinspect or oversupervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit from the errors and not make them in combat.
  • Keep the troops informed; telling them "what, how, and why" builds their confidence.
  • The harder the training, the more troops will brag.
  • Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage - four of the most important aspects of leadership.
  • Showmanship - a vital technique of leadership.
  • The ability to speak and write well - two essential tools of leadership.
  • There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.
  • Have consideration for others.
  • Yelling detracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them.
  • Understand and use judgment; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discuss and argue your point of view until a decision is made, and then support the decision wholeheartedly.
  • Stay ahead of your boss.
Most of these fit in with my own views of leadership from my four years at The Citadel and from my four years of active duty with the US Air Force. They also fit with many of the tenets my father taught me as I was growing up. He is a retired Marine GySgt and spent most of his career leading others in the NCO and staff NCO ranks. The profanity one I'd toss aside, but the rest definitely make up a great philosophy. This philosophy doesn't just apply to the military. It applies to leadership in any arena.