Thursday, December 06, 2007

The trial period for this product has expired

If you ever get this message in SharePoint 2007:

The trial period for this product has expired

You may not actually have an expired license. Especially if you have a RTM Standard or Enterprise license for MOSS.

Instead, it could be one of SharePoint's extra-special error messages that really mean this and this. Or something else. Or it's just feeling saucy that day...

...or maybe it's just an expired license.

Update: It ended up being an antivirus program update that caused the issue. The update was uninstalled and the problem disappeared.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If you haven't already

If you haven't considered it already, consider giving a laptop. You can donate one for $200 anytime, or until December 31st you can spend $400 for two: one to give and one to keep for yourself.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SharePoint Skinner

Via Mark Harrison:

A neat little application that can help create themes/CSS for SharePoint or just about any website:
SharePoint Skinner by eLumenotion

Check it out on CodePlex.

I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks like it’s worth a trial. And it’s free!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Verizon update on the Fios fiasco

So today on the Verizon Policy blog was a nice post in response to the feedback they received about the FioS IMG upgrade.

There are links to a blogger who discusses some of the new features coming in 2008 as well as the bug fixes coming before the end of the year. (Not soon enough!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Verizon Policy Blog gets lots of feedback about FiOS

I love the Verizon Policy blog. Not only can you read the thoughts of some execs at Verizon, you can read the feedback from all of the happy Verizon customers.

There has been a lot about FiOS on the blog recently, including this. Notice my comment.

Then check this out, an interesting take on why they haven't been adding more HD channels.

There was an earlier post on the FiOS Interactive Media Guide (IMG) that got over 100 comments about the bugs in the upgrade.

They rolled out a beautiful new guide interface, but added at least two dozen bugs into the system including shows not being recorded, auto-restarting DVRs, and sluggish performance. It really is a nice looking guide and I give them kudos for the graphic design, but I’d prefer the old guide because it was at least 95% reliable as opposed to the new guide interface which is maybe 50-75% reliable.

So, we are still happy enough with FiOS, but the buggy guide upgrade and lack of an easy online support option (e.g. a real customer support email address, not a support bot) have soured our happiness just a little.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sweet Vista Goodness

I finally reformatted the old desktop (Athlon64 3200+, 1GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 6600, 320GB hard drive) with a fresh install of Windows Vista Ultimate. I had almost given up on the damn thing because of all the problems I've had with the hardware. It had been sitting idle in the basement for months.

After replacing the power supply and video card last year and getting new SATA hard drive this year, we may have at least a temporary success. Besides the DVD drives (and case), the only original hardware is now the motherboard and RAM. We know what to blame if we still have problems.

Now it has a fresh, clean install of Windows Vista, with no programs except Windows and Skype. I hooked it up to our new Sony 50" SXRD via DVI-to-HDMI and SPDIF to the receiver. It runs the Windows Media Center interface at full 1080p resolution (59Hz) and plays DVDs with full Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound. Sweet.

Oddly, the regular desktop interface overflows the screen if I set the resolution to 1920x1080, so I'm running it slightly under that which allows the whole desktop to show but puts a black border around it. When switching to Media Center it goes to full 1080p, which is nice.

Sony says to use the VGA input on the back of the SXRD for connecting PCs, but I'm using the HDMI input because it allows up to 1920x1080 resolution which fills the screen. The VGA input, for some reason, plops a small window in the middle of the screen with huge black borders and no way to stretch it. There's no way to even get close to 1080p using the VGA input.

Besides the desire to use Media Center as it was intended, on a TV, the other reason I did this was so we could actually use our Netflix video streaming hours. We get so many hours per month but we never use them because, let's face it, who wants to watch movies on a small laptop screen?

Let me tell you, the Netflix streaming works very well if you have a decent internet connection. We have the basic Verizon FiOS service (5Mbps), and we get the highest quality video. Watching videos via is almost DVD quality. No Dolby Digital surround via Netflix though, at least not yet. But this is very, very usable. I'm hoping that Netflix makes a plug in for Media Center and/or releases a cool Avalon/Windows Presentation Foundation-based video browser that can be controlled via remote. And maybe Mac-support too. :-)

Man, this is more awesome than even I expected.

Friday, August 10, 2007

E-mail a link emails a bad link

It appears that we've stumbled upon our first SharePoint 2007 bug. The Send To > E-mail a link feature in document libraries is acting weird.

This feature creates a link like this one:

Notice how the server name is URL encoded too. The %2E's should be periods, e.g.

This seems to be a known bug, and some options for fixing it are listed here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On a Safari

I am writing this blog entry using the Apple Safari browser. On a Lenovo ThinkPad running Windows XP. Are pigs flying? Has hell frozen over?

Nope! Apple has released a beta of the Safari 3 browser for Windows.

I am intrigued by this development.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft against Open Source (again?)

Microsoft is crying foul about Open Source software again, claiming that OSS violates 253 Microsoft patents. Whether this is true or not is an open question. I'm not sure how I feel about it if it is true. It smells too much like the SCO lawsuit against IBM that's been simmering for a few years.

I don't think Microsoft needs to do this. I have a feeling that many at Microsoft don't want to do this and that this campaign is being pushed by the lawyers not the techies. Microsoft makes plenty of good software, but also has plenty of buggy software, and does well in commercial and personal settings. Much like Open Source has good software, buggy software, and does well in commercial and personal settings (it's in more places that you may realize). Sounds like a good competition to me.

In any case, Jim Rapoza has an interesting take about Microsoft's tactic over on eWeek's site.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cannot delete forms directory

How do you delete a directory called "Forms" in a SharePoint 2007 document library? This is not the reserved, hidden "Forms" directory where the templates go. I know that shouldn't be deleted. This is a user-added directory called "Forms" a few levels below the document library root, e.g. /sitename/documentlibrary/subject1/subject2/forms/

In the web interface, the site throws an error:

In SharePoint designer, it gives this error:

I can't figure out how to delete these custom "Forms" directories. Google has been no help. If you have a solution, please let me know. I will post any solutions I find.

Should we really not ever have any document library folders called "Forms"?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Vista law soot

Check out this cute story about the lawsuit over low-end Vista.

I generally agree. Microsoft screwed themselves with these numerous versions. While I, as a technically minded individual, can understand the differences in the varying versions, most people won't. My favorite quote:

"Because we here at CG are Microsoft shills, it's hard for us to badmouth the mother ship but this was our complaint from the start. All these ridiculous versions--Basic, Ultimate, Penultimate, Super Duper--just frustrate the bored and litigious. Make everything Ultimate, make everyone buy a new PC, and suck up the loss in low-end sales."

I am really buying a Mac as my next computer. Really. Or maybe I will go with Linux. Or a pad of paper. I'm a little confused in the head.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My call to a popular satellite radio provider's customer service line

This is not an exact transcript of my animated call with a famous satellite radio provider's customer service line today, but you'll get the idea. Enjoy!

Dial 1-800-555-SATELLITE

Automated Phone Lady: Welcome to ** Radio customer service line. Please select from the following choices. You can interrupt me at any...

Me: Account Management.

Automated Phone Lady: Did you say "Account Management"

Me: Yes

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, here are your options. Change profile, change billing, radios...

Me: Radios.

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, did you say "change profile"?

Me: No.

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, here are your options. Change profile, change billing, radios...

Me: Radios.

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, did you say "change billing"?

Me: No.

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, here are your options. Change profile, change billing, radios...


Automated Phone Lady: Ok, did you say "change billing"?

Me: NO.

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, here are your options. Change profile, change billing, radios...

Me: Holy <expletive deleted>!

Automated Phone Lady: Ok, it sounds like you need some assistance. Let me transfer you to a customer service representative.

Me: Great!

20 minutes later...

Real Phone Lady: Hello, this is "Roxanne," how can I help you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

VMware saved!

Thank god for Google.

I had this problem with a VMware Workstation instance today:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: Service Control Manager
Event Category: None
Event ID: 7000
Date: 3/14/2007
Time: 3:42:15 PM
User: N/A
The VMware server memory controller service failed to start due to the following error:
The system cannot find the path specified.

After growling for a little while, I found the answer here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Get a Mac?

Ok, so I admit that I like the Mac ads on TV that have been appearing over the last year or so, you know the ones with John Hodgeman and that other guy. They're funny, sometimes pretentious, but generally amusing. I am a Windows user, but I'd love to have a Mac too. I am not wedded to one computing lifestyle.

But as much as this one is really, really funny, it annoys me just a little:

Yes, it's true that Windows Vista asks for permission to do a lot of things, something that Windows XP never did. However, Mac OS X does the same thing, but maybe not as often. It's not unique to Windows Vista or even Mac OS X. It all began with UNIX many years ago: the Principal Of Least Privilege.

User Access Control (UAC), which uses this principal, is one of the most important features of Vista. It allows you to run your personal account as a standard user and only use administrator privileges when necessary. This is when the pop up occurs. If you didn't instigate the process that make the pop up occur, you should cancel the action and investigate why your system is acting weird.

Windows has been open for way to long without this principal ingrained in the security of the system. Now it's there, at least more fully than in earlier Windows. Is it annoying? Yes, especially to seasoned Windows users as we have not had it before. But is it so bad? Not at all. As Martha says, "It's a good thing."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I've been Tagged - five things you might not know about me

I was recently tagged by my old MCMS buddy Stefan Go├čner. So now here are five things you probably don't know about me.

  1. I spent an entire month living in Japan when I was ten years old. My mom, brother and I stayed with our Japanese friends in Osaka while my dad, a veterinary pathologist, traveled around the country for seminars and other meetings. We also traveled to places like Tokyo, Nara, and the mountains. It was the first time I was exposed to a culture other than my own, and it influenced my world view more than anything up to that point in my life.

  2. After returning from Japan right before fifth grade, I spent much of my life through high school building a city out of Lego bricks. This was the inspiration for my choice of attending architecture school in college.

  3. I attended Penn State University and made it two-and-a-half years through the architecture program and two internships with architecture firms before I decided I didn't want to be an architect. It just wasn't for me.

  4. Instead, I created a website for Metrolegoland and fell in love with web development. I finished Penn State with a degree in Integrative Arts with a focus on web design and programming.

  5. I met my wife, Ann-Marie, during a web design internship between junior and senior years of college. If I hadn't changed majors I might not have ever fallen in love!

I now tag Warren, Josh, Arno, Lorah, and my son Benjamin, who has a secret blog.