Hohm is where the heart is…

If you’re green you will probably be interested in Microsoft’s Hohm. It lets people with participating energy providers track their energy usage online via a website. The end goal being to have the site give you tips on how to save energy and thus money.

The first participants are Pugent Sound Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light and Xcel energy. Not a huge amount of partners, but it’s a start. You can ask for access to the project by going to the page and following the instructions… Hohm

Enabling the PDF iFilter in WSS

To install the Adobe PDF IFilter and to configure the Windows SharePoint Services Search service, follow these steps:

  1. Download and then install the Adobe PDF IFilter from the following Adobe Web site:
    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=2611 (http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=2611)

    Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

  2. Add the following registry entry, and then set the registry entry value to pdf:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftShared ToolsWeb Server Extensions12.0SearchApplicationsGatherSearchExtensionsExtensionList38

    To do this, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftShared ToolsWeb Server Extensions12.0SearchApplicationsGUIDGatherSearchExtensionsExtensionList
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click String Value.
    4. Type 38, and then press ENTER.
    5. Right-click the registry entry that you created, and then click Modify.
    6. In the Value data box, type pdf, and then click OK.
  3. Verify that the following two registry subkeys are present and that they contain the appropriate values.

    Note These registry subkeys and the values that they contain are created when you installed the Adobe PDF IFilter on the server.

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftShared ToolsWeb Server Extensions12.0SearchSetupContentIndexCommonFiltersExtension.pdf

      This registry subkey must contain the following registry entry:

      • Name: Default
        Type: REG_MULTI_SZ
        Data: {4C904448-74A9-11D0-AF6E-00C04FD8DC02}
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftShared ToolsWeb Server Extensions12.0SearchSetupFilters.pdf

      This registry subkey must contain the following registry entries:

      • Name: Default
        Type: REG_SZ
        Data: (value not set)
      • Name: Extension
        Type: REG_SZ
        Data: pdf
      • Name: FileTypeBucket
        Type: REG_DWORD
        Data: 0x00000001 (1)
      • Name: MimeTypes
        Type: REG_SZ
        Data: application/pdf
  4. Upload the PDF documents to the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web site.
  5. Stop and then start the Windows SharePoint Services Search service. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
    2. Stop the Windows SharePoint Services Search service. To do this, type net stop spsearch at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
    3. Start the Windows SharePoint Services Search service. To do this, type net start spsearch at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
    4. Type exit to exit the command prompt.

Note If the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web site already had PDF documents before you installed the Adobe PDF IFilter on the server, you may have to perform an additional step. After you install and configure the Adobe PDF IFilter on the server, modify a property of the existing PDF documents on the server. For example, modify a metadata property such as the title, or upload the PDF documents to the Windows SharePoint Services Web site again. When you do this, the Windows SharePoint Services Search service crawls the existing PDF documents again.

SharePoint Disaster Recovery: A moment

Disk space is cheap. We all hear and see it but plenty of you out there seem to ignore this fact. Yes, there can be a cost associated with maintaining the extra volumes in your data plan, but does there rally have to be?

Let’s face it, the average hard disk has a stated MTBF that is just ridiculous. Oft misinterpreted, and more generally misunderstood the numbers range upward of 50+ years. They are sourced roughly with the following logic. If a drive has a MTBF rating for 300,000 hours and the service life is 5 years a group of these drives should provide 300,000 hours of service before one fails. Needless to say, the unknown unknowns can interfere… The key point here is that they as a standalone device are supposed to be, and typically are, rock solid and reliable. Paired with a drive of equal properties from a different manufacturer, or if the same, from a different production batch, your odds of failure are even more reduced. Right now an external 1TB drive with USB or Firewire will run you less than $150. Buy two and you’re still under $300. Total costs for electricity ~$50 a year? That’s cheap.

Now why don’t people just hook one of these to a server, networked would be a bonuus, and add it in as an additional backup location? Some do, but they are the exception, not the norm. More than once, though sometimes it took some “cajoling”, clients of mine have seen the merits of extra, cheap, storage that STSADM can dump data securely onto and be retrieved quickly and easily. I’m a firm believer in the more baskets you have, the fewer broken eggs you have.

Needless to say you can secure these drives with something like this…

F#

I strongly believe that learning a new style of programming will make you a better programmer. F# has been on my radar for a while and I am contemplating a dive, shallow or deep I have yet to determine.

Yes, F# can possibly help a lot for certain classes of applications, but I do not know how much, if any at all, for line-of-business apps. My understanding is that F# is well suited for math and science applications and its functional nature can help write more reliable concurrent programs. Given the increasing number of multi-core processors, this might be prove valuable.

Opera Unite – a perspective change from the centralized model used by SharePoint?

Opera Unite, a web browser melded with a web server. Now there’s a novel concept.

Opera Unite allows you to share your files, stream music, host sites, and communicate real time with people. The suite of services, that’s what they literally are, are comprehensive.

  • File Sharing
  • Photo Sharing
  • The Lounge
  • Fridge
  • Media Player
  • Web Server
  • and more…

But there’s a problem with it. A very big problem that I suspect Opera Marketing are all too aware of. Although Opera Unite claims to “directly link people’s personal computers together,” to use it you must have an account on Opera’s servers. Once you have that all of your exchanges pass through Opera’s servers first. Sure, that’s an effective way to get around technical difficulties such as NAT, firewalls, etc, but the big issue is that it makes Opera the intermediary in your social interactions — not Facebook, not MySpace, but Opera. Think it through. Stepping past all the hype, the benchmarks*, etc. you have just another lockin scenario. Opera is up you’re up. Sure your stuff is on your machine but it can only be accessed via Opera the domain.

Is there a way around this? Do we need a way around this? Yes, it would be possible to create a swarm and find your friends, but what happens when your computer is down and somebody wants to access your content. Nothing.

*Benchmarks

Excerpt from http://unitehowto.com/Performance below. Take them in context.

Opera Unite uses very smart file I/O! Even if you save data to file each request (simplest, but stupidest way to do it) – it still can push out very impressive 744 requests/second! (It probably means that this data is saved to memory and dumped only sometimes, smart move!)

It seems like Opera uses 13 threads (seems like a soft limit, but unchangeable). 13 concurrent connections max out @ 810req/s, 1.23ms processing time.

For comparison:

PHP+Apache(+MySQL) is almost 2 times faster than peak Unite performance.

Compiled C++ web server (MadFish WebToolkit ) is only 6 times faster than Opera Unite, but that is compiled raw C++.

nginx (one of the fastest Web Servers available) is only 5 times faster than Opera Unite (clocked at 4900 req/s in raw C++) “Welcome to nginx” cycle (no I/O or scripting).