Blog posts written during 2010

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Service Pack 4

Monday Monday, December 20, 2010 by Ian Pettman

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Service Pack 4 is available and you can download it here:

AIMS Buying solutions supplier pre audit worker information request

Tuesday Tuesday, December 14, 2010 by Ian Pettman

The latest addition to the comprehensive range of reports is the AIMS Buying solutions pre audit worker information request. This report is available in the reports module on the date to date tab. It is available in two forms (as described in the report description). Any date range may be selected. The reports are numbers 10539 and 10540.

AIMS Buying solutions supplier pre audit worker information request


This report compliments the AIMS Buying solutions single file upload reports on the reconciliations reports tab.

Related Links:

Phone service providers

Monday Monday, December 6, 2010 by Ian Pettman

There are a number of Companies that I would try to dissuade you from doing business with. BT is the currently to top of my list.

There are a number of Companies that I would urge you to think about doing business with. O2 is top of this list.


Some months ago we moved to larger Offices. This Office was also neared the local telephone exchange giving us the option of better broadband connectivity. As a BT customer of long standing: (20 years?) I get regular nuisance calls from BT offering me the best broadband service. I ask if this is the top speed available they always say yes 5MB is the top speed for £15 per month (figures may change from time to time). I then ask: are you sure 5MB is the top speed. They always say "yes". So I then ask how come I get a Measured 8MB for my O2 broadband at two thirds the price? Now I know what I am talking about when it comes to broadband connections. I am sure that there are many users who would fall for BT's sales miss-selling hook line and sinker.


Last week our O2 router went down (it was Friday about 3 o'clock). We phoned O2 support and got almost straight through. (Maybe we waited 1 minute, but almost instant). From somewhere in the UK the response came "We need to replace the router, there is a fault with it." Within an hour we received an email to say the router was dispatched and we could trace its progress. The following working day the link in the emails said the router was in the despatch centre of the courier 8 miles away. A few hours later we had a new and working router. My O2 rating: 10 out of 10.


Two and a half months ago I asked BT to swap our numbers to our new offices. Out of 6 calls (to India), twice I was told it was not possible, twice I was told it would take 3 weeks, twice I was told it would take 3 days. On each occasion I would wait on the line for 5-15 minutes before a human responded, or the offer of a call back did not materialise. Average call duration was over half an hour. The reason I called six times was the first time I was promised 3 days and the promised transfer did not happen. The rest follows. I then took to the course of just phoning to report a fault (as the promised service had not materialised). The calls became every 4 days. (3 day promise then no change or reduced service.) BT have variously, removed Anytime call charges, killed redirect service, rendered the line unusable with redirect operating, randomly renumbered the phones lines, texted me to say everything was working now. When the 0800800151 number was called I was informed the numbers I was paying for were not in use, and when I asked about the account numbers, I was told they had been closed.

As I said, I've been a BT customer for 20 years. its not widely known thatO2 do land lines. I don't think I'm going to manage 21 years as a BT customer...

Heathcare Southern Cross buyout

Monday Monday, November 29, 2010 by Ian Pettman

With the pound low and the dollar relatively strong, acquisitions of UK companies continue. Blackstone investment is in the news again, this time they are once again linked to Southern Cross inthis Telegraph article.

Why you should use longer passwords

Tuesday Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by Ian Pettman

Not very long ago, Amazon launched hosted computers in the cloud. There are some things that the cloud is good for and there are some things that it's not. It would appear that cracking short (six letters) passwords can now be done with a little know how at a cost of around a couple of Pounds / Euros/ Dollars per password.
This relies on just three things:

  • The password is short, six letters.
  • The computing power that is now available to everyone (including the bad guys) at a couple of bucks an hour.
  • Freely available code to perform the (cracking) task.

The time (and cost) taken for this approach increases exponentially as the length of the password increases. In laymans terms if cracking a five letter password takes 10 minutes, a six letter password may take 100 minutes, in round terms a couple of hours, and an seven letter password might take 1000 minutes or best part of a day and an eight letter password would take a week or more.

Here is please use longer passwords, with numbers and punctuation.

(This webpage only exists as a standard insecure webpage however you may navigate to it by pasting the following url in your address bar:

Blackstone acquires Pulse where to Pulse software now

Monday Monday, November 15, 2010 by Ian Pettman

US Company Blackstone has acquired Pulse. This further consolidates the industry. With Baum-Heart and Key IT being bought out last year: Ava is one of the few remaining sole based UK providers of temporary staffing solutions. More

Free SEO tools and getting started with SEO

Monday Monday, November 1, 2010 by Ian Pettman

There is another article on SEO tools. Good free SEO tools, what you get, what you see and how to get them. It dispells a few myths about the information that is and is not available.

Additions to free software and services

Sunday Sunday, October 31, 2010 by Ian Pettman

We partake in a number of forums. One is the UK business forum. It's quite an active forum.

There was a question on how to measure visitors to a site. One member of the forum suggested a paid for service. We were curious about this recommendation, why recommend a paid for service when there are perfectly good free ones? So we took a look. Well there was nothing there as far as we could see that was not freely available in the various Google and Yahoo tools.

Providing paid for services which are freely available elsewhere is not illegal. Possibly in the same manner, there are quite a few official looking sites that make a business out of charging (premium) for free or low cost government information (Birth certificate sites come to mind). So we posted a comment with links to the free tools.

Then it occurred to us that it would be worthwhile to show the sort of free reports you can get.

Its been a while... SQL 2008 SP2

Sunday Sunday, October 3, 2010 by Ian Pettman

It has certainly been a while and the clamour for a roll up of those hot fixes and cumulative updates otherwise known as a service pack has been loud and long. Just like buses not one but three at once.

Please note: these do not apply to SQL 2008 R2!

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 2

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP2 Express Edition Service Pack 2

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Feature Pack

ASP NET Security hole patch

Wednesday Wednesday, September 29, 2010 by Ian Pettman

A severe security hole discovered in the NET framework recently now has a patch available. It affects versions of the net framework from 1.1 to 4.0. It affects current versions of windows from XP onward. The patch is discussed in Scott Guthrie's (aka Scott Gu) blog here:

The patch its self is available here:

Please apply to all public facing web servers immediately.

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