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Updated: 2014-05-14T20:39:21Z

 



Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Review

2014-05-14T20:34:45Z

I received the new Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga last week, and after spending the entire week using it as my main machine, I’m ready to let you know how it went. In the review, I use T420/T430 generically to denote references to previous generations also including X and W series. The ThinkPad Yoga is the 12.5″ business-class... Read more » No related posts. I received the new Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga last week, and after spending the entire week using it as my main machine, I’m ready to let you know how it went. In the review, I use T420/T430 generically to denote references to previous generations also including X and W series. The ThinkPad Yoga is the 12.5″ business-class brother of the Lenovo Yoga 11 and 13 models introduced last year. It fits into the ThinkPad lineup replacing the X220t/X230t series of tablets. The X230t will be Lenovo’s last X series tablet. This particular model is the i7-4500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, FHD 400nit (1920x1080) screen, without the digitizer/pen. Click on the photos for larger versions!   Case Thinkpad Yoga (Tent Mode) Thinkpad Yoga Thinkpad Yoga Bottom Cover Thinkpad Yoga Thinkpad Yoga (Folded) The first thing you’ll notice about the case is the colour. It is no longer ThinkPad Black, it’s more of a Gunmetal Grey. It is comprised of Magnesium, Aluminum and Polyphenylene Sulfide (a plastic polymer that makes a metallic sound when struck). Overall the case feels metallic (cold to the touch when off), but flexes like plastic. If you like the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic cases of other ThinkPads, you’ll appreciate the feeling of this case as well. The “ThinkPad” logo on the outside of the LCD is now oriented right-side up when the LCD is open. The dot in the “i” also acts as a status light, noting when the laptop is charging, on, and sleeping. The ThinkPad logo on the palm rest still faces the user and has the same status light functionality. Thinkpad Yoga “i” light (red) used to denote laptop sleep and charging status. WiFi, hard drive and bluetooth status indicator lights are no longer on the LCD bezel…they are completely gone! The power button is also on the right side of the case, and does not glow green to denote power as in previous ThinkPad models. The ThinkLight on the bezel and the physical wireless radio switch on the side of the case have also been removed from this generation. Not a case issue, but the Caps Lock key no longer has an indicator light on the key. The hinges on the case are metal, and, feel just as solid as any other T, X, and W series hinge. They are actually heftier than the other’s hinges, and rightly so, due to the use and abuse they will be taking. This is all part of Lenovo’s quest to reduce clutter and maximize keyboard, trackpad and bezel area. Many users have already noted their disappointment with Lenovo’s choices…not so affectionately calling the new ThinkPads “ThinkBook Pros”…   Size and Weight After removing it from the box, my initial reaction was “Wow, this is thin!”. It is the thinnest ThinkPad other than the X1 Carbon. It is 0.74″-0.76″ thin, which is just a touch thinner than the X240 at 0.79″ and T440s at 0.80″. The X230t by comparison is 1.23″ thick. The Yoga is 3.52 lb, which is heavier than the new X240 series (2.96 lb) and a touch lighter than the T440s without the touchscreen option. The T440s with touch is closer to 4 lb. Full dimensions are: 12.46″ (l) x 8.70″ (w) x 0.74-0.76″ (h) and 3.52 lb. With the power supply (45W) it is almost 4 lb. It is almost the exact size and weight as the MacBook Pro Retina 13″. I’ve attached some photos to show. Thinkpad Yoga vs 2012 MacBook Pro Retina (13″). Although the Macbook looks thinner, it is tapered in areas. They are almost the exact dimensions and weight. Thinkpad Yoga vs 2012 MacBook Pro Retina (13″). Although the Macbook looks thinner, it is tapered in areas. They are almost [...]



Exchange 2003 and Authenticated User Relay Spam

2014-05-14T20:36:18Z

Exchange 2003 is a good target for spammers since it is very widely used (still) and has a history of installations with less than ideal security. In addition to the typical email-turned-spam server scenarios (open relay, security holes, NDRs), authenticated relays are next on the list. This happens when the security credentials of a user... Read more » Related posts: Exchange Server 2003 Spam Filtering Exchange server reported error 0x8004010F Configure Exchange 2010 to send external emails Exchange 2003 is a good target for spammers since it is very widely used (still) and has a history of installations with less than ideal security. In addition to the typical email-turned-spam server scenarios (open relay, security holes, NDRs), authenticated relays are next on the list. This happens when the security credentials of a user are compromised on his or her computer or phone and the credentials are then sent back “home” (to the bot, person, wherever). What happens next? A bunch of drone authenticated users start sending spam. You may find out after your ISP sends you an email, or your users complain their email isn’t getting through because you’ve been placed on a spam blacklist. The “users” listed below are computer names, not the name of the authenticated user, taken from an actual compromised email server. Enabling Diagnostic Logging Exchange and Windows do not log authenticated sessions by default. In order to see what user has been compromised, you need to modify the logging in Exchange. Open the “Exchange System Manager“. Expand the “Servers” folder. Right-click on the server name and select “Properties“. Go to the “Diagnostic Logging” tab and under Services select “MSExchange Transport“. Under Categories select “Authentication” and set the logging level to “Maximum”. Click OK. Restart the MS Exchange Transport service.     Checking Logs for Authenticated Users Open the Windows Event Viewer (in Administrative Tools). Select the Application log. Look for Event 1708. This is the MS Exchange Transport/SMTP Authentication Event. In each event’s properties, you’ll notice the client (computer name) and username used are logged. In the case of the above ‘gibberish’ names, you’ll see something along the lines of: SMTP Authentication was performed successfully with the client “gtsrzam”. The authentication method was “LOGIN” and the username was “domain\Username”. Once you know the username used for sending out spam, change the user’s password!     How to Prevent Compromised User Attacks in the Future Change your password policy by introducing complexity and password age requirements. This is useful is your credentials were compromised because of weak security. See the following post for instructions: http://www.iishacks.com/2007/09/24/windows-server-2003-password-policy-changes/ (for Windows Server 2003, but similar steps for 2008/2012). Enable outgoing spam detection on your server. If you use a spam filter on your server (and you should), many have the ability to filter outgoing email and to notify you when your server starts sending out spam-like content. Disable relaying for authenticated users by white-listing sending IP addresses. I would only recommend this if you only send email from within your organization’s network. If you have users outside the network with non-vpn enabled phones, tablets and computers sending email, white-listing will not be effective. Ensure your internal and external computers, phones and tablets are protected from viruses and malware. Chances are the credentials were compromised by a piece of malware on the user’s work computer or personal device. When purchasing site licenses for anti-virus software, many vendors will include free home licenses for users…take advantage of that and make sure your employees know about i[...]



Configure Exchange 2013 to send external email

2014-05-14T20:36:46Z

So you’ve just installed Exchange 2013 and you can’t send emails to other domains? No problem. Similar to Exchange 2010 (instructions found here), Exchange 2013 is installed without a default send connector enabled. In order to send emails to other Exchange servers or external domains, you’ll need to set it up. Follow the steps below to setup... Read more » Related posts: How to View Email Headers in Common Email Programs Exchange server reported error 0x8004010F Large Exchange Server Performance Tip So you’ve just installed Exchange 2013 and you can’t send emails to other domains? No problem. Similar to Exchange 2010 (instructions found here), Exchange 2013 is installed without a default send connector enabled. In order to send emails to other Exchange servers or external domains, you’ll need to set it up. Follow the steps below to setup a send connector that will enable email to be sent to all external domains. 1. Login to the Exchange Control Panel: https://FQDN/ecp (or localhost, or IP address) internally or using the external IP or Domain externally. (Security tip: don’t use the default “administrator” account in production…I only did this for testing)   2. Go to Mail Flow and Send Connectors. Click the + (plus) button to add a new external send connector.   3.  Give it a name, such as “External Email Connector” and select Type: Internet. Click Next.   4. Select “MX record associated with recipient domain” for sending email, unless your ISP or Host requires the use of Smart Hosts. Click Next.   5. Press the + (plus) button to add a new Address Space.   6. Under Type enter SMTP and under Cost enter 1. Under FQDN enter *. This ensures you can send email to all Internet domains. If you want to restrict which domains you can send email to, create a new Address Space for each domain, putting the domain name in the FQDN field. This is a useful feature for companies that require high security and control of emails being sent out (Government, Financial, Insurance). Click Next.   7.  Click Next.   8. Press the + (plus) button to add a new Source Server (if you are running only one exchange server, this will be the current/transport server).   9. All exchange servers in the organization will be listed. Highlight the one you wish to use for transport, and click Add. Click OK.   10. Click Finish.   11. Now we need to set the FQDN for the server sending external emails. Highlight the External Email Connector you just created. Click the Edit button above.   12. Click on Scoping, scroll to the bottom and enter the FQDN of your server. This will likely be domainname.com or match your MX record (email.domainname.com). Click Save. This is an important step as it will decrease the likelihood your organization’s email being flagged as spam, by properly identifying your server to others. Exchange 2013 is now setup to send external emails properly.   Related posts: How to View Email Headers in Common Email Programs Exchange server reported error 0x8004010F Large Exchange Server Performance Tip [...]



MySQL Connection Response Slow on Windows 2008 / 2012

2013-04-22T03:49:38Z

One of the reasons why a PHP / MySQL combo seems so “slow” with regards to response times when moving from Windows 2003 (IIS6) to Windows 7/2008 (IIS7) / 2012 (IIS8), is the way many scripts connect to MySQL and having IPv6 enabled by default. Many server installations leave WordPress or other PHP script installs to default to “localhost”... Read more »

One of the reasons why a PHP / MySQL combo seems so “slow” with regards to response times when moving from Windows 2003 (IIS6) to Windows 7/2008 (IIS7) / 2012 (IIS8), is the way many scripts connect to MySQL and having IPv6 enabled by default.

Many server installations leave WordPress or other PHP script installs to default to “localhost” when connecting to MySQL. Windows 7, 2008, 2012 have an issue with resolving localhost when IPv6 is enabled. With iishacks.com, the initial response time from MySQL goes from 600ms (using localhost) down to 70ms (using 127.0.0.1).

If your issue is initial response time, but MySQL seems to function well otherwise, your connection string may be at fault. Instead of disabling IPv6, try changing “localhost” to “127.0.0.1″  in your scripts and see if the response times improve.

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Fixing an SSD Freezing on Windows 7

2014-05-14T20:37:54Z

I recently installed a new Intel 520 series SSD in my Thinkpad W520. I didn’t notice any issues for the first few weeks until I started running 2 virtual machines at once. There was a stuttering (or freezing) every 60-90 seconds for about 10 seconds. Taking a look at Perfmon, I found the Disk Queue... Read more » Related posts: CHM / HTML Help feature cannot be displayed in some programs Windows TCP/IP Service Worm and Uninstalling TCP/IP on a Domain Controller Windows XP shuts down after login – PC-OFF.BAT I recently installed a new Intel 520 series SSD in my Thinkpad W520. I didn’t notice any issues for the first few weeks until I started running 2 virtual machines at once. There was a stuttering (or freezing) every 60-90 seconds for about 10 seconds. Taking a look at Perfmon, I found the Disk Queue to be very high – during the freezing the Max Queue was up over 3500. There is a relationship between current and average queue explained here, but a good rule of thumb is that a length of 2 per disk is reasonable. Any more than that for an extended period and there is a disk bottleneck.   How to stop the solid state drive from Freezing Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) is the culprit, specifically LPM (Link Power Management) and DIPM (Device Initiated Power Management). Both are recommended to be enabled as they lower power consumption on SATA devices that support it, but in certain circumstances they may cause freezing, stuttering and other undesirable performance degradation. In order to turn off LPM and DIPM, insert the text below into notepad and save the file as LPM.reg and run it or download the file and unzip. The following disables LPM/DIPM for all SATA ports on a machine. If you only want to disable for a specific port, delete the other keys below. This will work for any SSD experiencing stuttering or freezing while using Intel RST drivers only (MS Default AHCI not included). Make sure you restart after you’ve run the registry file. Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor\Parameters\Port0] “LPM”=dword:00000000 “LPMDSTATE”=dword:00000000 “DIPM”=dword:00000000 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor\Parameters\Port1] “LPM”=dword:00000000 “LPMDSTATE”=dword:00000000 “DIPM”=dword:00000000 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor\Parameters\Port2] “LPM”=dword:00000000 “LPMDSTATE”=dword:00000000 “DIPM”=dword:00000000 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor\Parameters\Port3] “LPM”=dword:00000000 “LPMDSTATE”=dword:00000000 “DIPM”=dword:00000000 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor\Parameters\Port4] “LPM”=dword:00000000 “LPMDSTATE”=dword:00000000 “DIPM”=dword:00000000 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor\Parameters\Port5] “LPM”=dword:00000000 “LPMDSTATE”=dword:00000000 “DIPM”=dword:00000000   After you’re done, the Intel SSD Toolbox will show a warning in the system tuner (screenshot below), this is normal. You have intentionally disabled LPM/DIPM, do not click “Tune!”.     Related posts: CHM / HTML Help feature cannot be displayed in some programs Windows TCP/IP Service Worm and Uninstalling TCP/IP on a Domain Controller Windows XP shuts down after login – PC-OFF.BAT [...]