Sunday, December 13, 2015

All hail @jennylandreth.

The author of these creative and brilliant (and correct) lyrics to The Bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

And through the wire

2nd in what might be a short series!

In the distance what may be the only major UK story I've not used.


That was odd

Today (well yesterday) I met someone I never thought I'd meet.  Someone else who died.

Both of us have had stopped hearts, his through a conventional heart attack, mine a less conventional stage based electrical accident.  Both of us were restarted.

I never imagined I'd meet someone else who'd had the same experience.  And it was interesting to discover we'd both had similar post event experiences too.

Blimey.  That hasn't half made me thoughtful tonight.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

#Windows10 Modern apps start and then shutdown without any feedback.

Today I wanted to remote into a couple of machines to complete some work at the office without leaving the comfort of the house (essentially I’m lazy, like all good system admins!).
But on firing up the surface pro the modern Remote Desktop app came up with the red splash screen and then disappeared.  And again. And again.  I tried a reboot and windows update to no avail.  And a reboot didn’t fix it either.
It was also apparent that Tweetium and NextGen Reader had the same issue.  But “old fashioned” apps like Outlook were fine.  I checked out the store for updates, and that wasn’t playing ball either.  Just an error with a hex code.
But then I spotted the Action Centre on the taskbar was filled in with white (unlike this image which is empty)
It was probably an idea to check that out, and indeed there was a Network Firewall message which when when tapped took me to control panel, firewall.  Where there was a message about an error, and that I needed to re-validate my Microsoft Account for the machine
And, sure enough there was a verify link under my photo.  A quick click and the verification happened under the covers (although at one point it seemed as if I might need my credentials).
So, all was good there, and testing the modern apps played ball.  To add to things, the store updates began to run too.
Without any further work I guess the verification enabled these apps to talk to the store again to check licencing or similar and that’s why the started and then shutdown.
For completeness it should be noted that this machine is a domain joined Surface, but connected to a Microsoft Account for OneDrive, Apps, and synchronised configuration.  Your mileage might vary.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Oh no. Not too big at all...

A somewhat oppressive addition to the Eastcheap landscape.

Monday, November 02, 2015

One of my favourite shops in London

Since the early 70's, although they go back to 1853.
Anyone remember 1:63360 OS maps? Better still, buying them as flat sheets to fold to your hiking plans?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

King of the castle playtime

In silhouette...

And through the wire...

Several carefully crafted retail opportunities. And a rugby match.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Back inside, Argentina expects.

Having never seen these turn

I have to conclude they were designed for show, and not work.

Still a case of

Yeah, but why?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

And finally, a tower of pebbles

Seven, this won the competition!

Almost high tide

Lying back on the beach

And surprisingly comfy


North Norfolk coast towards the end of a great "hang spring cleaning" day.  More importantly, first day without going into the office for months!! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Install Windows Server 2016 Nano in a VM - on my to do list!

You shouldn’t have missed the new minute windows SKU – Nano Server.  Here’s an article from the ever reliable Petri site on how to set up a Nano VHD for running as a VM.
Have fun!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Even when you fully test, something still bites... #MailEnabled #PublicFolders can NDR after an #Office365 cutover migration

The office 365 “big bang” cutover migration took place over the weekend.  Testing had proven everything we wanted to see, and - apart from the logistics of transferring GB’s email up a 3Mb down/710Kb up ADSL connection (it’s measured in days if you want to know!) - all went as planned.

And then we noticed incoming emails to some mail enabled public folders were not working.  Some desperate testing (including borrowed external accounts) proved that internally all email to Mail Enabled public folders worked; but that some of these public folders were receving external email, some not.

At which point the tech support incident was created.  Thankfully, within 90 minutes the problem was solved and the incident closed.  Again, nice one Office 365 support.

The lesson though.  It seems Microsoft have a bit of a bug in the system for newly migrated domains in a cutover migration; in that email addresses may not function for externally sent email and cause the sender to get a 5.4.1 NDR:

But didn’t I test this?  Yes, I did.  However the testing was done on a spare domain that was handed over to the Office 365 over a month ago.  So by the time I was testing the Mail Enabled Public Folder function, they all worked.  It seems the sequence that can create the problem is to add and authenticate the domain during the cutover (but that’s how you have to do it).

The explanation.
It seems that in a cutover migration when you add further SMTP domain aliases to Office 365, it is possible for the data not to propagate around the entire O365 world quickly enough.  The net effect is that when an external party emails that public folder, the address goes unrecognised and the message NDR’s.
But, there is a fix, whizz over to the office 365 portal and take the following steps
1. Go to the admin page
2. At the bottom, go to Exchange admin
3. Click on Mail Flow down the left hand side and select accepted domains across the top to get to here (domain names hidden to protect the innocent!)
4. Now double click on the domain in question and change it from Authoritative to Internal Relay, and accept the prompt that comes up and save this (see below).

5. The net effect is that when your sender’s email hits the office 365 setup, it will (instead of NDR’ing as an unknown alias) pass on the email through the environment until it reaches your public folder.  Internal Relay forces the server accepting the incoming email to assume that if it does not know the addressee, another server will, so it works it way through.  In authoritative mode it will just NDR the email immediately.
The advice Microsoft support gave was that this setup could be left on internal relay indefinitely, but if you give it a few days (well, a week), then you could move it back to authoritative, but feel free to leave it on internal relay.

Although it wasn’t stated, I suspect the propogation issue is one related to mail enabled public folders and not mailbox or shared mailbox aliases, but I have no evidence for htat.

In hindsight I might have been able to create all the aliases on the new domains in the Office 365 setup but that would have hampered testing in that during testing we could send and receive email between the live setup and office 365 testing world.  I don’t think I would want to have given that up.

But, my recommendation?  Unless there is a good reason for not doing so, setup up your domains as internal relay before, during and for a few weeks after your cutover migration.