Archive for May, 2010

Undo changes to SQL database? Well, sort of….

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Not too far back, a client who spends all day (and sometimes all night) creating and running SQL queries and commands in a secure database posed an interesting question:  When working late at night, he’s concerned that he will accidentally botch a SQL command and cause irreparable harm to the database – is there such a thing as an undo button in SQL?

 

Sorry, the short answer is no, there is no CTRL + Z keystroke equivalent that will magically undo a potentially disastrous command once committed to the database, and most query tools run in autocommit mode.  If you find this post during a panic-induced hunt for options to repair error(s) you realize you made a few hours ago, your options are few and far between:

 

  • You can restore all or part of the database from a backup (you do have a backup, don’t you?), which is the start of a whole new problem that possibly now involves your boss
  • You can rollback transactions, assuming they haven’t been committed
  • You can rollback to a given point in time using a savepoint name

 

Randomly undoing transactions in a SQL database can leave it in an inconsistent state.  It is therefore not only advisable but necessary to examine each operation relationally prior to altering database structure.  Transaction logs contain changes only, and it can be difficult to piece together the relationship of individual changes to the big picture.  Third-part software such as this SQL transaction log tool can assist in this regard by providing an operation-by-operation breakdown of each change to give you greater perspective.  This SQL Server transaction log restore tutorial may assist you in the event you’re forced to restore prior versions of database or file groups, as well as points in time.

 

Another tip when working on something extremely sensitive (or late at night when normal people are sleeping) is to disable autocommit using set implicit_transactions {ON/OFF}, which will give you the option to rollback or commit manually.  The setting is also available in Microsoft SQL Query Analyzer under TOOLS>OPTIONS>CONNECTION PROPERTIES.

 

Of course, you could go to bed at a decent hour instead of executing SQL commands after midnight like some kind of crazy nocturnal code monkey.  Or just be more careful, whatever works for you….

Office 2010: New Quick Steps feature in Microsoft Outlook

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

 

Microsoft Office 2010 drops in early summer 2010, but the beta is publicly available at the time of this posting for those interested in playing with it.  A pretty cool feature in Microsoft Outlook is the new Quick Steps option for customizing the e-mail management toolbar and saving time – and it’s configurable with minimal hassle.

 

If your mornings are anything like mine, you spend the first half hour of your day in Outlook, poring through e-mail reports on network health, server and SQL backups, and other scintillating A.M. reading apparently designed for the sole purpose of putting you back to sleep.  Once reading is completed, these e-mails have to be filed in the appropriate client folder, forwarded to the relevant person or department, or replied to and deleted like the junk they are.  These options can now appear all in one place to assist you in keeping things organized and streamlining the disposition of mass amounts of e-mail while you still have sleep in your eyes.

 

Outlook 2010 Quick Steps
Microsoft Office 2010: Outlook Quick Steps

 

To configure your Quick Steps:

  • Click on the button on the lower right-hand side of the Quick Steps window, just below the slide bar
  • Select “New Quick Step” to choose from a slew of customizable handling options
  • Select “Manage Quick Steps” to configure your existing settings
  • Enjoy increased productivity along with your morning coffee!

 

Gyver Networks can help your staff increase productivity with both beginner and advanced software training and configuration.  As Microsoft preferred partners, we specialize in Microsoft Office products and have a number of training videos available for purchase that focus on Office and other industry leading products.  Contact us today for more information on the productivity-enhancing products and services we provide.

 

 

 

Scareware and rogue antivirus infections reach epidemic proportions

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Every week it’s the same complaint:  I got a pop-up saying my PC was infected, so I clicked on the link to remove the infection – and now the pop-ups won’t stop, my browser is hijacked, and I can’t reach any site but the one prompting me for my credit card information!

 

The fake antivirus, or “scareware,” trend that began several years ago was apparently not publicized sufficiently, because it continues to affect an alarming number of novice web surfers.  Preying on the uninitiated and the careless internet user alike, these malware are generating unprecedented sums of money for their creators as they steal credit card, bank account, social security, and other personal information, in addition to the money literally handed to them by those who are frightened enough to actually enter their credit card number.

 

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fake antivirus software

Just because it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn't always mean it's a duck...

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In addition, many people expect that their anti-virus program will stop this type of thing – and that is a reasonable expectation.  However, many anti-virus companies such as McAfee, Norton Antivirus, and AVG have different programs to provide different levels of protection.   For instance, if you use the free edition of AVG software, which is a great antivirus program, it will not be able to stop “scareware.”   So when choosing protection software, reading and understanding the fine print is important!

 

Another issue is that the rate of these attacks, compared to other types of online attacks, is growing exponentially.  It’s very hard for the makers of security software to keep up with the constantly escalating exploitation of operating system and software vulnerabilities; therefore, some users may be exposed for a time while antivirus companies try to catch up.  What can you do?  Here are few common sense tips for the novice that will help prevent infection from fake antivirus and malware in general:

  • Don’t open e-mail attachments if you are unsure of the sender’s identity
  • Don’t haphazardly click on every link presented to you while surfing (this is how the majority of viruses are contracted)
  • Keep operating systems and software updated to preempt exploitation of vulnerabilities
  • Some pop-ups discuss the “X” to close the window as something malicious.  Learn to use the keystrokes “Alt-F4” if you are on a Microsoft Windows-based computer to close the window instead
  • Use Google to identify unrecognized software running on your computer
  • Once you think your PC is infected, disconnect it from the internet and don’t use it until the virus has been removed
  • Contact Gyver Networks

Of course, Gyver Networks can assist you after an attack, but our first choice is to provide you with protection  before something catastrophic happens.  We do this by educating our clients in the dangers lurking just on the other side of their firewall, and by implementing the optimal network and PC security software for their environment.

 

 

Reliability Chart

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
  Seconds Minute Hour Day Week Year
How many seconds in: 1 in a Second 60 in a Minute 3,600 in an Hour 86,400 in a Day 25,200 in a Week 31,556,926 in a Year
99% 315569.26 Sec/yr 5259.49 Min/yr 87.66 Hr/yr 3.65 Days/yr 0.52 Weeks/yr 1% Weeks/yr
99.50% 157784.63 Sec/yr 2629.74 Min/yr 43.83 Hr/yr 1.83 Days/yr 0.26 Weeks/yr 0.5% Weeks/yr
99.90% 31556.93 Sec/yr 525.95 Min/yr 8.77 Hr/yr 0.37 Days/yr 0.05 Weeks/yr 0.1% Weeks/yr
99.95% 15778.46 Sec/yr 262.97 Min/yr 4.38 Hr/yr 0.18 Days/yr 0.03 Weeks/yr 0.05% Weeks/yr
99.99% 3155.69 Sec/yr 52.59 Min/yr 0.88 Hr/yr 0.04 Days/yr 0.01 Weeks/yr 0.01% Weeks/yr
100.00% 1577.85 Sec/yr 26.3 Min/yr 0.44 Hr/yr 0.02 Days/yr 0 Weeks/yr 0.005% Weeks/yr
100.00% 315.57 Sec/yr 5.26 Min/yr 0.09 Hr/yr 0 Days/yr 0 Weeks/yr 0.001% Weeks/yr
100.00% 157.78 Sec/yr 2.63 Min/yr 0.04 Hr/yr 0 Days/yr 0 Weeks/yr 0.0005% Weeks/yr
100.00% 31.56 Sec/yr 0.53 Min/yr 0.01 Hr/yr 0 Days/yr 0 Weeks/yr 0.0001% Weeks/yr
100.00% 15.78 Sec/yr 0.26 Min/yr 0 Hr/yr 0 Days/yr 0 Weeks/yr 0.00005% Weeks/yr
100.00% 3.16 Sec/yr 0.05 Min/yr 0 Hr/yr 0 Days/yr 0 Weeks/yr 0.00001% Weeks/yr

Outlook 2007 Extensions

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Available switches
Switch Description
/a Creates an item with the specified file as an attachment.
Example:
“c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\outlook.exe” /a “c:\my documents\labels.doc”
If no item type is specified, IPM.Note is assumed. Cannot be used with message classes that are not based on Outlook.
/altvba otmfilename Opens the VBA program specified in otmfilename, rather than %appdata%\microsoft\outlook\vbaproject.otm.
/c messageclass Creates a new item of the specified message class (Outlook forms or any other valid MAPI form).
Examples:
/c ipm.activity creates a Journal entry
/c ipm.appointment creates an appointment
/c ipm.contact creates a contact
/c ipm.note creates an e-mail message
/c ipm.stickynote creates a note
/c ipm.task creates a task
/checkclient Prompts for the default manager of e-mail, news, and contacts.
/cleancategories Deletes any custom category names that you have created. Restores categories to the default names.
/cleanclientrules Starts Outlook and deletes client-based rules.
/cleandmrecords Deletes the logging records saved when a manager or a delegate declines a meeting.
/cleanfinders Resets all Search Folders in the Microsoft Exchange mailbox for only the first profile opened.
/cleanfreebusy Clears and regenerates free/busy information. This switch can be used only when you are able to connect to the server running Exchange.
/cleanprofile Removes invalid profile keys and re-creates default registry keys where applicable.
/cleanreminders Clears and regenerates reminders.
/cleanroamedprefs All previous roamed preferences are deleted and copied again from the local settings on the computer where this switch is used. This includes the roaming settings for reminders, free/busy grid, working hours, calendar publishing, and RSS rules.
/cleanrules Starts Outlook and deletes client-based and server-based rules.
/cleanserverrules Starts Outlook and deletes server-based rules.
/cleansharing Removes all RSS, Internet Calendar, and SharePoint subscriptions from Account Settings, but leaves all the previously downloaded content on your computer. This is useful if you are unable to delete one of these subscriptions within Office Outlook 2007.
/cleansniff Overrides the programmatic lockout that determines which of your computers (when running Outlook simultaneously) processes meeting items. The lockout process helps prevent duplicate reminder messages. This switch clears the lockout on the computer it is used, enabling Outlook to process meeting items.
/cleansubscriptions Deletes the subscription messages and properties for subscription features.
/cleanviews Restores default views. All custom views that you created are lost.
/embedding Used without command-line parameters for standard OLE co-create.
/f msgfilename Opens the specified message file (.msg) or Microsoft Office saved search (.oss).
/finder Opens the Advanced Find dialog box.
/firstrun Starts Outlook as if it were run for the first time.
/hol holfilename Opens the specified .hol file.
/ical icsfilename Opens the specified .ics file.
/importprf prffilename Starts Outlook and opens/imports the defined MAPI profile (*.prf). If Outlook is already open, queues the profile to be imported on the next clean start.
/launchtraininghelp assetid Opens a Help window with the Help topic specified in assetid displayed.
/m emailname Provides a way for the user to add an e-mail name to the item. Only works in conjunction with the /c command-line parameter.
Example:
Outlook.exe /c ipm.note /m emailname
/nocustomize Starts Outlook without loading outcmd.dat (customized toolbars).
/noextensions Starts Outlook with extensions turned off, but listed in the Add-In Manager.
/nopreview Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off.
/p msgfilename Prints the specified message (.msg).
/profile profilename Loads the specified profile. If your profile name contains a space, enclose the profile name in quotation marks (” “).
/profiles Opens the Choose Profile dialog box regardless of the Options setting on the Tools menu.
/recycle Starts Outlook by using an existing Outlook window, if one exists. Used in combination with /explorer or /folder.
/remigratecategories Starts Outlook and and initiates the following commands on the default mailbox:
Upgrades colored For Follow Up flags to Office Outlook 2007 color categories.
Upgrades calendar labels to Office Outlook 2007 color categories.
Adds all categories used on non-mail items into the Master Category List.
Note  This is the same command as Upgrade to Color Categories in each Outlook mailbox properties dialog box.
/resetfolders Restores missing folders at the default delivery location.
/resetfoldernames Resets default folder names (such as Inbox or Sent Items) to default names in the current Office user interface language.
For example, if you first connect to your mailbox in Outlook by using a Russian user interface, the Russian default folder names cannot be renamed. To change the default folder names to another language, such as Japanese or English, you can use this switch to reset the default folder names after you change the user interface language or install a different language version of Outlook.
/resetformregions Empties the form regions cache and reloads the form region definitions from the Windows registry.
/resetnavpane Clears and regenerates the Navigation Pane for the current profile.
/resetsearchcriteria Resets all Instant Search criteria so that the default set of criteria is shown in each module.
/resetsharedfolders Removes all shared folders from the Navigation Pane.
/resettodobar Clears and regenerates the To-Do Bar task list for the current profile. The To-Do Bar search folder is deleted and re-created.
/rpcdiag Opens Outlook and displays the remote procedure call (RPC) connection status dialog box.
/safe Starts Outlook without Microsoft Exchange Client Extensions (ECE), the Reading Pane, or toolbar customizations. Component Object Model (COM) add-ins are turned off.
/safe:1 Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off.
/safe:3 Starts Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Client Extensions (ECE) turned off, but listed in the Add-In Manager. Component Object Model (COM) add-ins are turned off.
/safe:4 Starts Outlook without loading outcmd.dat (customized toolbars).
/select foldername Starts Outlook and opens the specified folder in a new window. For example, to open Outlook and display the default calendar, use: “c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\outlook.exe” /select outlook:calendar.
/share feed://URL/filename Specifies a sharing URL to connect to Outlook. For example, use stssync://URL to connect a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 list to Outlook.
/share stssync://URL
/share web://URL/filename
/sniff Starts Outlook, forces a detection of new meeting requests in the Inbox, and then adds them to the calendar.
/t oftfilename Opens the specified .oft file.
/v vcffilename Opens the specified .vcf file.
/vcal vcsfilename Opens the specified .vcs file.
/x xnkfilename Opens the specified .xnk file.