Friday, February 29, 2008

Team Foundation Server 2008 RTM and 64-bit

Bad news - Microsoft is pushing 64-bit (as they should), but one of their newest enterprise products does not yet support it.  Team Foundation Server 2008 only supports 32-bit.  They have said that 64-bit support will be in the next version of TFS, "Rosario".

At least they support 64-bit SQL and SSAS, but definitely not MOSS 64-bit.  We have deployed 64-bit MOSS 2007 and it turns out that it doesn't even support 64-bit SharePoint when SharePoint is running on a different server from TFS, it doesn't even recognize that MOSS is installed:


Thursday, February 28, 2008

SQL Server Default Ports

It seems like it is always hard to track down the ports that SQL Server uses, so thought that I would post them here for when I need them.  These are the SQL Server default ports.

SQL Component TCP Port
SQL Service 1433
SQL Browser Service 1434
SQL Monitoring 1444
SQL Server Analysis Services Redirector 2382
SQL Server Analysis Service 2383
SQL Server Reporting Services 80

Excel 2003 Add-in for Analysis Services

If your company (like most companies) is still using Excel 2003 and you are implementing a data warehouse which contains SSAS cubes, you might be interested in the Microsoft Excel 2003 Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services.  I have not used this tool extensively, but it does bring Excel 2003 closer to Excel 2007 in terms of OLAP capabilities.  Here is the blurb from the download page, I will post more as I spend time with the tool.  This is not a new find, nor is it likely news to anybody, but worth noting so I am putting it here.

Overview and Benefits

The Excel Add-in for Analysis Services enables users to access and analyze data from multiple Analysis Services Cubes, and to create rich, customized reports directly in Microsoft Office Excel 2003 or Microsoft Excel 2002. This download can improve data analysis, shorten reporting cycles, and enhance your company's ability to respond to customers.
This download not only reduces the time and resources required to train users, but it also eliminates the need for organization’s to support specialized reporting systems and tools. The key business benefits of Excel Add-in for Analysis Services include:

  • Visibility in Excel into business trends
  • Increased speed and quality of decision-making
  • Streamlined data analysis that shortens reporting cycles and saves resources
  • Increased reporting flexibility through rich, highly customized, and refreshable reports
  • Access to relevant information from multiple data sources

About the Excel Add-in for Analysis Services
With the Excel Add-in for Analysis Services, individual users can manage the reporting cycle from beginning to end and eliminate the need to cut and paste data from multiple systems.
  • Access: Easily create and maintain live data connections to multiple Analysis Services cubes, ensuring data consistency and integrity, and combine data from multiple sources into a single report.
  • Analyze: Conduct detailed analysis using native Excel capabilities. Extend the richness of analysis through “what if” and drill through capabilities.
  • Author: Easily personalize and refresh report layouts. Minimize end user training and reduce reliance on IT due to Excel’s popularity and ease of use.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit 2nd Edition is now available

The first one is a great reference, but was published in 1998.  Since then the art and science of building the data warehouse has matured significantly.  I don't think that the word BI really existed in 1998. . . Actually I don't know since Iimage didn't start working in the DW/BI world until 1999 with Brio, then Business Objects.

The original had a lot of great material for organizing the pro cess around preparing for, implementing and maintaining the data warehouse, including a nice set of documents.  Here is a link to the new book on Amazon.

Installing Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 (aka UAC is a pain)

Over the last couple of days I have been setting up Exchange 2007 SP1 on Windows Server 2008 RTM.  No matter what I tried, I was stuck in a Catch-22: If I logged in as Local Admin on the box, I didn't have permisimagesion to make the necessary changes to the domain; if I logged in as Domain Admin, I didn't have permission to write to the local log file on the C:\ drive of the Exchange server.  I kept getting errors like the one at right from the GUI, or this one from the command line:

Failed to initialize the log file: Access to the path 'C:ExchangeSetupLogs\ExchangeSetup.log' is denied.

Setup will not continue.

Those are NOT the most descriptive errors.  If I logged in as local admin, those errors went away, but instead I received errors that the local admin account didn't have the rights to make massive changes to the domain (shocker).

I posted on the Microsoft Technet Exchange forums, and hardly anyone read my post, much less answered it.  One person responded that they had the same problem, so I knew it wasn't just me.  I noticed that I couldn't run the basic commands that install Windows 2008 components, like PowerShell without getting similar errors.  It didn't matter if it was on a Hyper-V VM, or a physical server, I could not resolve the problem.

Then I had an idea.  I knew that Windows 2008 and Vista are the same underneath, and I remember that the first thing I did when I installed Vista was to disable UAC. . . hmm. . . yep, that was the problem.  Here is where you do it on Windows 2008, just like in Vista:


Then go here:


I hope that anyone else that is about to go crazy from Installing Exchange 2007 on Exchange 2008 finds this blog entry and simply disables UAC.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is the Nintendo Wii just a gimmick?

I was reading a post on Kotaku about the new Wii 3.2 system software update, and I noticed that about 40% of the comments say something along the lines of "I haven't turned my Wii on since the last system update", or "I only play my 360 or PS3".

I have a 360, PS3 and Wii, and that is the order that I would rate them right now.  The Wii is cool, and Wii Sports is the best game ever for when you have friends over. . . but I haven't really seen anything else that is impressive enough to hold the attention of anyone over the age of 25.

I know that they are selling many more Wii's than they are 360's or PS3's, but I bet 80% of them are collecting dust after the first couple of weeks.  Microsoft has a crazy high attach rate, something like 8 games for every system sold.  I'm guessing the Wii has about 2 games for every system sold.  I hope that they come out with a killer app, or at least Wii Sports 2 in the near future.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Bluetooth Headset - BlueAnt Z9

My old bluetooth headset died (Plantronics Voyager 510, best basic bluetooth headset you can get for $45).  This seems to happen every year in February.  I am very picky about my bluetooth headset, so always try a couple until I get the perfect one.  This year I tried 2: the Aliph Jawbone and the BlueAnt Z9

They both claim to have excellent noise cancellation, but the Jawbone is very dramatic about this claim.  Back before I blew the engine on my Land Rover, noise was a real problem since that is probably the noisiest car on the road.  Since I don't have that car anymore, noise is less of an issue.

The bottom line is that for the money ($75), the Jawbone would have to be the best thing ever.  It turns out that it is not the best thing ever.  It is awkward  to put over your earBlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth Headset with Voice Isolation Technology and too big to put in your pocket.  The BlueAnt is easy to put over your ear and fits in your pocket no problem, plus its only $60.  I've had it for a 2 weeks and it is great.  They seem to upgrade the firmware frequently, and I have already updated it to v3.4, it seems to be better than it was on v3.2 but it might be my imagination.  At any rate, it is a nice headset and I recommend it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Connecting Excel Services to an External Data Source

I will be setting up a proper connection from Excel Services to an Analysis Services 2005 cube over the next couple of days and found this article that describes the necessary steps in detail.  The article is titled Plan external data connections for Excel Services, just what I was looking for.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Undoing Checkout for Another User in TFS 2005

It is not as easy as it should be to undo someone else's checkout in Team Foundation Server 2005.  In 2008, you can do it through a GUI, but only if you have the Power Tools installed.

Here is how to do it in TFS 2005, from the command line:

tf undo [/workspace:workspacename[;workspaceowner]] 
[/server:servername] [/recursive] itemspec [/noprompt]

I was also faced with having to add my login info, so the exact command I used was as follows:

tf undo /workspace:WORKSPACE-NAME;User $/myProject/CheckedOutFile.cs /login:myusername,mypassword

I also found out that you can delete an entire workspace for a developer who is no longer on your project and maybe had some files checked out.  That command is even easier, and will automatically undo any checkouts:

tf workspace /delete Workspace  (add "/login:name,password" to end of command if not using AD)