Blog posts written during January 2011

SQL 2008 R2 upgrade licencing costs

Sunday Sunday, January 9, 2011 by Ian Pettman

I was asked by a customer what the upgrade costs were when going from SQL2008 to SQL2008R2?

Clearly on the express edition as each edition is freely downloadable, the answer was trivial - no cost. Previously a subsequent release was also a free upgrade if the "version" or "year number" was the same. Well MS marketing have clearly got their hot sticky little hands on this because (unless you have SLA) there is an upgrade cost. The pdf details are downloadable here:

Scam support calls

Saturday Saturday, January 8, 2011 by Ian Pettman

We received a scam PC support call this week. Here are some details.

Normally we would answer incoming calls as Ava. However for some reason we did not. The caller said in a broken accent "Hello Mr Peetman" (sic) and began to tell me my PC was running slow and was infected with a virus and his companies' technicians could help me out. Now it is true to say that my PC was running slow: however this was because it was finishing doing its antivirus check (which as usual returned zero infections).

I decided to string this guy along. A sort of good deed for the day: whilst he was talking to me he was not calling some poor soul who would be taken in by his spiel.

The pattern included:

We know that in the area of Henley on Thames there are "huge amount of infections" (possibly true but doesn't mean my computers are infected).

"Your ip address is blinking in red" (If so where and under what circumstances?)

"On the main server" (Ok what main server? No answer here, so he reverted to his script- to be honest I did not hear him actually turning the pages, but there was a long pause and a change of gears.)

"We are the people who look after all the computers in USA and Canada and UK" (Well there is simply no such organisation.)

"We are authorised multinational company" (Presumably means that the boss told him (authorised) him to do the scam and his boss is one nationality and he is another?)

"This infection the red errors are boneaires, yellow warnings are virus infections" (Oh well try as i might there is no such word "boneaires" he spelt it out.) It is in the same category as "contrafibularities" from Black Adder 3 - simply made up to annoy Samuel Johnson when he delivered his first dictionary to the Prince Regent.

I was guided to a thing called the application log: this is (if you don't know) a diary that the computer keeps. If there is a real problem, then a well written program will report issues either back to the developers, record them in the transaction log, or both. On the other hand Viruses work by stealth and will not usually record anything in this log if they can avoid it.

We often use information and warning entries when developing service applications to note the status of the application under test.

"Yellow warning are viruses" in the transaction log (just not true, neither are the red.)

(when in application log viewer) "don't click on any of the information entries: it will cause your machine to crash" (news to me and every other developer)
(when in performance monitor) "tell me what CPU usage is reading over the next 30 seconds: what was the last reading? That's the important one." (news to me and every other developer.)

The company said they were "ClickToFix" and gave their phone number as 02088199744 more here

Happy New Year

Automatic scheduling and self scheduling

Tuesday Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by Ian Pettman

Automatic Scheduling and self scheduling is becoming a greater part of running staff banks. Adding to the employees own web pages where they may see their own bookings and update their availability to work. Added value applications' Ava Pa recruitment software has the facility to automatically bulk text employees with job descriptions and short codes to allow them to respond to request for additional staff.

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