Black SEO: Referral Spam

by Dmitry Kirsanov 27. February 2012 11:19

Google bannerWhen writing articles about SEO, it’s easy to fall into one of two categories. Either you will write something, that everybody knows, or something that is perhaps shouldn’t be revealed, as it will loose it’s value very quickly because of misuse.

So you don’t see many articles about the Search Engine Optimization here, mainly because I am trying to be original. However, I can’t count on everyone to study the subject and avoid traps, so part of my articles are like “Achtung, minen” sign for those, who focus on other areas of life than Informational Technology.

So, this article will be about so called Black SEO discipline named “Referral Spam”. What it is, how it works and why you should avoid it. More...

SCCM For Poor - Windows Intune at Glance

by Dmitry Kirsanov 8. February 2012 13:00

imageHow many products of major brands float under your radar, unnoticed and unevaluated? Perhaps Windows Intune is one of them, but if you are Windows system administrator – that’s the one product you should know about, whether you’re using it or not. So this post is about Windows Intune.

More...

Introduction to PowerShell - part 2 - Pipeline, Scripts and Syntax

by Dmitry Kirsanov 25. January 2012 09:30

Introduction to PowerShellAll of a sudden I decided to spend one hour of this evening to make the second part of PowerShell introduction for Windows system administrators. I just noticed, that the previous part was made in… November, and having quite a few requests to continue I just couldn’t resist! So, this is pure improvisation, although I tried to make it as smooth as possible.

This time we’ll dig further into what system administrators do most – working with large arrays of data, such as files, ACL lists and finding objects by special parameters. You will learn about variables in PowerShell and how you can effectively use them. More...

Using Notebook As a Web Server

by Dmitry Kirsanov 16. January 2012 22:35

notebooksThere are many reasons why people decide to host their web projects on notebooks. Either way, the question is not why, but how. Like everywhere else, there are pros and cons in hosting of your web application on notebook hardware, so we are going to discuss here how to do it properly and get most out of it.

Possible reasons to host your web server on a notebook

Usually people think about hosting on notebook, for one or many of these reasons:

  • The price of hosting is higher than expected revenue, or no profit is expected.
  • There are less than 1000 users expected to use this web project.
  • The web application is not consuming much of resources.
  • Notebook is powerful enough.
  • You can’t sell this old notebook, but also don’t want to refurbish it, as it is still working as designed. And now you have this web project of yours that needs cheap hosting.
  • Your internet connection is fast and reliable and you see no reason or have no resources to acquire new hardware and data center (DC) allocation.
  • You want to host the web application on-site but want to keep your electricity bill at minimum.
  • You have to make your server mobile.

More...

And one ring to rule them all

by Dmitry Kirsanov 27. November 2011 13:08

As discussed previously, there is a noticeable trend in casual IT these days – cut spending on IT infrastructure management as much as possible. Companies are using all chances to eliminate the “human factor” from systems administration, and while it’s scary for incompetent administrators, it adds to the innovation factor of modern IT management offering.

So it’s quite controversial trend. But trends of that kind are very natural for innovation. Let’s see what it’s all about.

There are two questions, depending from who you are – either CEO or IT professional. If you manage the company, any company, then the question is – how much your IT infrastructure costs, and how much – the IT department?

By IT infrastructure I mean all the computer devices you are using in your business, your internet connection and costs of ownership. The IT department, on the other hands, are people and servers used to make the rest of the company operational.

Depending from your personal qualities, chances are that as CEO you dream about getting rid of all the IT guys, as usually keeping own system administrator looks like having own telecommunications specialist just because you own a bunch of phones.

The trend these days is to fulfil that dream. To create service which would substitute your entire IT department without your employees noticing any change. Imagine, that you give up all your expensive servers, all your expensive IT administrators and their rooms, by simply signing up for online service for a fraction of previous monthly expenses of your IT department.

If you are system administrator, on the other hands, then perhaps you think that it’s hard to replace you and your knowledge, so the question for you is simple – what do you know?

What if that service will care about antivirus, updates, backups, software deployment, license management, asset management, various policies and would provide users with answers to all their questions and arrange local company to fix hardware problems at the best price and speed? What would you do against the power of totally automated workflow system, backed up by top IT professionals somewhere in the middle of nowhere?

One of the first birds of the trend is system called Microsoft Intune. You probably know their Windows Small Business Server (SBS) – the Windows Server for poor, available since 2003 and now it’s Small Business Server 2008. The difference between normal Windows Server and SBS is that you don’t have to be a professional Windows System Administrator to operate it. Wizards replaced the command line tools (literally, replaced – some tools are simply not available), you can do anything using your mouse. Also, it comes together with Exchange, which is installed and managed automatically. If you have a decent server hardware – it will everything you need to power a company with up to 500 workstations. Still, you would need to have an IT guy who would take care about stuff.

Well, the reason why I mentioned SBS is that Microsoft Intune is a natural enhancement to SBS offer, but now you can go to the web page and manage your environment without all that Computer Science – everything through one nice looking Silverlight powered web page. And it allows you to do most of the stuff I mentioned before, allowing your CEO to fire half of your IT department.

But you know how it works – someone should provide a platform, and others will build their offers on it. That’s true for just about every product of Microsoft – the network of partners doesn’t fail. So expect Intune to become a platform to something more dramatic, as well as inspiration for copycats. Most likely we’ll see similar solutions from Citrix, VMWare or whoever else. And this will end the system administrator career as we know it.

So, CEOs should enjoy the new offering and take a waiting stance, while still employed system administrators should plan their training – if what you do can be covered by some cloud offering, your next and last assignment will be to implement it in your company.

I will publish video presentation of Windows Intune soon, so you will see what I am talking about.

Introduction to scripting for systems administrators - Windows Scripting Host, part 1

by Dmitry Kirsanov 20. November 2011 08:42

Some time ago, which seems like yesterday, I made an attempt to introduce Windows Systems Administrators to PowerShell. Even before doing that, I realized that professional Windows scripting is still impossible without using of VBScript, or Visual Basic Scripting Edition. And teaching someone PowerShell without at least showing the main concepts of VBScript is not right.

While I am trying to show the work with VBScript from more like practical point of view, I am also not trying to substitute the training course on the subject, so if VBScript or Windows Scripting in general is about to become your main responsibility at your company, please get yourself a reference on it, preferably something as good as VBScript bible.

However, we’ll get closer to VBScript during later sessions and cover even so exotic topics as using VBScript custom actions in Microsoft Installer packages (MSI).

Introduction to scripting for systems administrators - Windows Scripting Host, part 1

Introduction to scripting for Systems Administrators - PowerShell

by Dmitry Kirsanov 19. November 2011 21:28

There was a time, when IT specialists were mainly either systems administrators or developers. There was a time, when being Database Administrator would also mean having perfect knowledge of SQL. New generation of IT specialists don’t remember that time, and that only because technology evolved so greatly, it is considerably harder to possess the whole range of features offered by a monster product such as SQL Server 2008.

But this post is not about databases at all. It’s about how we can manage the growing complexities of enormous range of technologies that we have to use in business. More...

Changing base currency in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

by Dmitry Kirsanov 18. November 2011 01:18

DynamicsCRM2011_logoAccording to Microsoft, you are not able to change your base currency in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, the same as it wasn’t possible in version CRM 4.

However, that’s not true.

Imagine, that during the installation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 server, you’ve set your currency to EEK (Estonian Krona). However, then your country adopted Euro and there is no EEK anymore. According to Microsoft, you have to delete your organization and export it’s data to new one.

It is considered a big no-no to hack into the CRM database, yet in order to change the base currency you will have to do it. Here is how:
More...

Windows 8 Classic Start Menu

by Dmitry Kirsanov 14. November 2011 21:35

This one will be quite short.

Windows 8 comes with new tablet-oriented Metro graphical user interface. However, just like in previous versions of Windows, there is the possibility to revert to alternative start menu. In Vista and Windows 7 we had ability to switch back to Windows XP style of menu, now we have ability to switch back to Windows 7 style.

In order to do that, you need to switch one key in Windows registry, which is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RPEnabled . This video shows how to do that:

Windows 8 Classic Start Menu

Previously we’ve discussed how to run Windows 8 on VMWare and what are the most interesting changes in Windows GUI for end-users.

Deploying Windows 7 by Using Windows Deployment Services

by Dmitry Kirsanov 14. November 2011 09:10

In one of the previous topics, I was showing how  to deploy Windows 7 using Automated Installation Kit, or AIK. This time it’s more hardcore, and is about Windows Deployment Services.

Using Windows Deployment Services you can deploy your fine tuned Windows 7 image to hundreds of computers in a matter minutes. It’s not the most hardcore way of doing it, as I will show in SCCM course later, but still mind blowing if you are either haven’t heard about it before.

It’s not a rocket science though, so the whole lab is just 16 minutes. Very short indeed, but it contains even the installation phase.

Enjoy!

Deploying Windows 7 by Using Windows Deployment Services

Month List