Monday, May 19, 2008

Updates all around

Howdy everyone,

You might have noticed that my blog has lagged to a halt over the last month or two. My apologies.

I had a few distractions to contend with:

I was distracted by the preparations required to present at a conference in Toronto.

Then I was distracted by the pneumonia I came down with the day before, and suffered with during, the conference.

(I'd like to give a shout out to the wonderful, patient, and sympathetic folks who attended my sessions at the IT360 conference. Thank you for your kindness while I wheezed in a fever-induced daze through my four presentations. I promise that I will be building camtasia videocasts of my virtual server and data protection manager sessions just for you, so you can actually get that information sans delirium.)

Then I was distracted for about a month, recovering from the pneumonia that never wanted to leave.

Eventually though, I have gotten over those distractions enough to continue my work here, however haltingly. I'm, ironically, not entirely over the pneumonia, but I am getting better.

This catches me up to today, delay-wise. My worry is that, in two weeks time I will be in Orlando, Florida, working the MCT Community Lounge for the TechEd Developer's week and the IT Professionals week (yes, fourteen days of technical goodness, feel free to stop by if you're attending). So I really, really need to kick this lung infection thing before I get there. As it is, convalescence has really cut into my preparation time for the event-- not to mention all the things I wanted to do for this blog.

Meanwhile-- other news:

  • I got the Birds of a Feather gig! :: insert sound of crowd going wild here:: Thank all of you who voted for my session, I am truly grateful. Now I get a chance to really speak one on one with people who are interested in WSS in my native territory-- a technical conference . Please come visit my BOF table on Wednesday night of the IT Professionals week, at about 7:25 to 8:30p. There'll be food and other refreshments there as well, so don't worry about having to go get food then come back after the breakout sessions that day.
  • I am currently working on the second podcast in the Richard series, introducing WSS 3.0. The second session is going to touch on a little about WSS architecture, as in what web applications, site collections, top level sites, and subsites are; what you might want to consider when planning for them, and thoughts for backing them up in case of calamity.
  • I needed a good place to offer videocasts to my attendees from the IT360 conference, so I have decided to offer the 'casts both at my callahantech site and here, just in case the attendees had a preference. Another reason, frankly, for the placement of otherwise non-WSS material on this blog is my web host provider has become very flaky in the last few weeks, crashing entirely over the weekend, causing me to go off topic here in order to have my stuff available in more than one place (basic disaster preparedness...). What this means to you, gentle readers, is that, although you might not necessarily be interested in anything not pertaining to WSS, you will get access to my other stuff if you are so inclined.
  • And for those of you who have sent in comments, I haven't forgotten you. I will be responding soon (hopefully tomorrow, but at least by the week's end).
Because of my sudden need to find an alternative to my current host provider, I have been doing a lot of research into other hosts. In doing that I have been rather inundated with all the features they offer. Of those features, Joomla and Mambo seem to come up quite often.

Now, I'd heard of Joomla before (there was a Joomla booth at IT360), but I've been too busy to really check it out. I'd never even heard of Mambo, but both sounded interesting-- being open source content management products apparently similar to SharePoint. Because of this you might end up getting some insight into these products, and how they relate to WSS. I might even test a new host by implementing either joomla or mambo (or if I can, both) at an alternate domain. If I am allowed to let public users in, I'll post the address so you can check it out. Otherwise, I will at least screenshot it so you can see what they're all about.

Understand that I don't consider this being "unloyal" to SharePoint. I think, as a professional, I need to know what's out there. If something else is better, then it behooves me to learn it and offer it to my clients, peers, and friends as an alternative. Their success is my success. And if something else makes them more successful, well, I'd rather be the one that suggested it. Besides, knowing how it directly relates to WSS helps me better explain to people why they might want to stay with my focus product. See, I am not being blindly loyal or biased, just professionally interested. Yeah, that's it, interested...

Mind you, before messing with those other products, I need to first catch up on my 'casts here. Then I need to prep for TechEd, do TechEd, and then (inevitably) recover from TechEd. After that, expect more stuff about these SharePoint alternatives, as well as another thing I am interested in-- Search Server 2008 Express (especially as it relates to WSS, of course).

Thanks for being here so far, and stick around, more things are to come in the continued adventures of a servergrrl.

Holy moly this problem used to plague me-- or "Update conflict has occured..."

During the final chapters of the book, I occasionally would run into an error when making changes to AAM or adding a subsite; "An update conflict has occurred, and you must re-try this action." Nothing I did seemed to fix it. Because I was really, really desperate to meet my deadlines and didn't have time to deeply troubleshoot anything at that point, I just gave up on that action on that VM, shut it down, opened a different set, and continue work from there.

After the book I immediately started revising courseware for Microsoft, so I didn't get a chance to catch my breath and try to troubleshoot anything. Following that, I immediately needed to prep for a conference, at which I came down with pneumonia, and well, now here I am.

Meanwhile, MS has just come out with a revised version of KB article 939308, which finally mentions the problem and its solution.

Bottom line? "This issue occurs if the contents of the file system cache on the front-end servers are newer than the contents of the configuration database."

Mind you, MS is assuming this problem is occuring only when a configuration database has been recovered and that's why it's out of date. But, it has happened to me on slow networks as well.

So what is the fix? Clear the file system cache on all servers, of course. Yeah, it's a pain, but it at least gets everyone back on the same page.

For more details visit KB article 939308

So now I know (and you do too).