Monthly Archives: January 2011

Email startup times

Gmail vs ThunderbirdA quick timing test on my main home workhorse computer, which isn’t the fastest in the world, but isn’t the slowest either. (Windows 7, Athlon 64 X2 dual core 4400+ 2300 Mhz, 3 Gb RAM, on a fast ADSL2+ net connection.)

Having started Windows and logged onto a clean desktop:

  • Start Chrome with GMail set as the home page: 8.5 seconds to ready
  • Start Thunderbird: 11.6 seconds to ready

No wonder people are heading into the cloud.

Subsequent timings (without a reboot, so some things may be cached, eg later in a session when you’ve closed your email and you want to go back in):

  • Chrome with GMail: 3.4 seconds
  • Thunderbird: 3.1 seconds

Interesting.

Connecting to a Windows shared drive: Domain user works, local user fails

(Apologies for the long title. I’m hoping Google indexes this well so some poor sod who gets this problem will easily find it the solution.)

Many problems the other day trying to connect a shared drive on a server (Windows 2008) on a domain, but with a local user.

It would work from some hosts, but not others — returning enigmatic errors hinting that the username/password combo was wrong.

C:\>net use z: \\servername\testdir /user:servername\test Password!
System error 1326 has occurred.

Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password.

The weird thing was, using a domain logon would work every time.

We thought it might be dependant on whether the hosts were in the same domain, but it looks like it’s related to the version of Windows being used… with later versions able to connect okay.

I did wonder at the time if it might be due to a weird security policy setting, and that turned out to be right. It seems later versions of Windows Server have stricter security settings.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, then some Googling, I eventually found the solution here:

  • On the server, go to Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Local Security Policy
  • Local policies / Security options
  • Check out the Network Security LAN Manager Authentication Level option
  • If it’s set to “NTLMv2 response only” or similar, then change it to “Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated”

Voila.

This MSKB article has some material on it: Q823659 — it’s helpfully buried with lots of other security policy settings. Look about two-thirds of the way down for “Network security: Lan Manager authentication level”.

If the policy is set to (5) Send NTLMv2 response only\refuse LM & NTLM on the target computer that you want to connect to, you must either lower the setting on that computer or set the security to the same setting that is on the source computer that you are connecting from.

Yes, I suppose I could work out how to change the client host to use NTLM V2. But I really don’t want to break anything else.

Oh, and the KB article almost gleefully notes something we saw when wrestling with this:

One effect of incompatible settings is that if the server requires NTLMv2 (value 5), but the client is configured to use LM and NTLMv1 only (value 0), the user who tries authentication experiences a logon failure that has a bad password and that increments the bad password count. If account lock-out is configured, the user may eventually be locked out.

Beautiful.

Microsoft’s open-source CMS

Interesting — Microsoft has launched its WebMatrix open-source web development bundle, as well as the first version of its open-source “Orchard” content management system.

Wonder if these means MS has WordPress, Joomla and Drupal as its targets? Perhaps it’s realised that having some kind of open-source CMS is vital to winning the hearts and minds of web programmers, and weaning them off PHP and MySQL back to ASP.Net and SQL Server.

(via Mary-Jo Foley)

LEGO nerds: Brickvention 2011 is coming!

If you’ve got nothing planned for Sunday, January 16th head on down to Melbourne town hall to have a look at the largest collection of LEGO models ever seen in Australia. For example, The Love Boat

Entry is $6/adult, $3/child, or $15/family – details at Brickventures

Open 10am-5pm

Facebook: Download your information

Facebook downloadI had a quick look at Facebook’s Download Your Information feature — evidently added a few months ago due to criticism about the accessibility of people’s data once it’s dumped into the Facebook bottomless pit.

You can find it via the My Account screen, by clicking Download Your Information.

It asks for some time to compile all the information — in my case this took about half an hour — then emails you to say it’s ready to download, and provides a link and re-checks your password.

It comes as a single zip file, with HTML and pictures inside it.

Opening the index.html file, you’ll find a version of your Profile page, with links to all the other information in the archive, including Wall, Photos, Friends, Events, Messages.

The Wall in my case was 1.5 Mb of HTML, going back to 2007, and I suspect is every Wall post (and replies from friends) I’ve ever made. Friends is just an unlinked list of all your friends (name only). Messages has all your message threads, and replies.

You can browse the photos via the directory of the same name; subdirectories reflect the folders. It looks like all the photo files are at the size that Facebook shrunk them down to when they were uploaded.

To actually get this information into another service, you’d need to do some trickery with munging the HTML. The code they’ve used seems relatively clean and easy to parse.

So all in all, quite a handy feature, and goes a long way towards dispelling fears that information pumped into Facebook was lost forever behind a zillion clicks of to show “Older Posts”.

(It doesn’t appear that Twitter has a comparable feature.)