Cloud Camp Scotland

I attended Cloud Camp last night in Edinburgh at The Appleton Tower @ Edinburgh University and it certainly delivered a few insights.

As you probably are aware if you read my blog, I work fairly heavily with the Microsoft Azure cloud at present, although this isn’t to say that I have not investigated the other possibilities such as the Amazon Elastic Compute (EC2) offering.

Why did we choose Azure? Quite simply it is a good way to ensure that we are using the same tech stack from top to bottom, which for us allows us to greatly improves our maintainability of our toolset.

There were a couple of product vendors there that did spark my interest: aicache and rightscale. It’s a pity that the management vendors do not support Private Clouds based around the Microsoft Hyper-V arrangement, or we would have seriously taken a look – as it is, they only support VMWare. Shame. Seems a hole in the market!

Another thing mentioned is that it is time to nominate for the Scottish Open Source Developers Award! It’s actually the first time I’ve heard of the award, but it seems a good idea. Unfortunately it seems that their website is down.

You can get an idea of the action by having a look at the #CCScotland tweets from last night:


There is one thing that I realised while sitting outside watching the world go by … I need to go back to University :)

Some more Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 gotchas

Hit another Gotcha with CRM 4.0 today when enabling the Outlook integration – when you install it under 64-bit, the odds on it will insist that you do not have Outlook installed, or it is not your default mail client.

To get round this, you need to tweak the registry a little:

Change the default value in both these keys to “Microsoft Outlook”


And restart setup.

Problem solved :)

Installing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Gotcha

I wish installers patched round things like this, especially when they interface with standard mechanisms.

We have decided to have a look at Microsoft Dynamics CRM at work, and carrying out the installation seems fairly painless – until right at the end of the wizard I got an error.

“Action Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Server.MsiInstallServerAction failed. This update package could not be opened. Verify that the update package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Install update package”

It seems that the installer uses the Internet Explorer cache, which defaults to 50Mb. And guess what – the update is more than this, so it happily deletes it after downloading.

Fail! Simple increase the cache size and start again.

More Annoying Errors - MS Azure Related (again)

Argh – trying to debug an application locally with the Azure Dev Framework, and got this:


Yet another really helpful error message guys. Surely in dev stuff (and CTP’s) it’s worth actually giving lots of error data – at least we might understand it and be able to submit more detailed reports back :)

First steps to personal e-security

So you are wanting to be more secure in your day to day activities on the web …

Well, the first thing you need to learn is checking up on where you have BEEN (yes that right, not where you are going, but where you have been!).

Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but let me give you an example.

You, like most people, probably use an online (free) webmail service, or perhaps the webmail service that your Internet Service Provider gives you when you sign up.

Have you had a look to see if it actually tells you something simple such as when you last logged in? Or even where (as in the IP Address)? This simple piece of information is usually enough of a red light should someone gain access to your account from a location that you do not normally use – or a time that you are usually at work, in bed, whatever.

But hold up. Who actually understands what an IP Address is, let alone read one (ok, outside of this circle eh?)?

Maybe we need to come up with a good way of identifying the “norm” for a particular user from a list of previous addresses, and flagging anything unexpected up for them. Maybe at that point you could  carry out additional authentication before allowing access to data.

Either way, I can not help but feel that in this digital age, something has to happen to improve digital identity security.