Coupla Things – PowerShell and MD5 sums for MS’s MOSS 2007 VPC files

1) PowerShell

If you are involved in Systems Maintenance and the systems are Windows-based (pref. OS: Windows Server 2003+), you owe it to yourself to check out Microsoft Windows PowerShell. This is a .NET 2.0 shell, yes, but architected from the ground up to enable automation, and it enables all sorts of WMI-interfaces and reflection and so on. Very neat stuff. Go look, go play, go have fun. It’s free, as long as you don’t mind installing .NET 2.0. Also, if you like what you can do at the command line, but are more comfortable with GUI, check out the free project/software PowerGUI, which uses PowerShell’s objects’ reflection to provide a very flexible, extensible PowerShell GUI. You can even easily extend the interface with plugins and tied actions (written in PowerShell) and can easily share those with the import/export functionality.

2) Microsoft’s Office SharePoint Server 2007 VHD

I have finally made time to download this thing (over a couple of hours). It comes in 6 rar parts of 700 MB (the last part is more like 516 MB). I have said before that MS is great at providing downloads and crap at providing things that UNIXers and Crypto nuts have provided for years: Checksums. Why are these helpful? a) You can tell whether anyone’s fiddled with the bits since the original provider uploaded them or b) You can tell whether the bits you were intended to download are the ones you got. This kind of thing is helpful in determining, as in this case, whether you need to re-download the whole 6 part 2 hour festival or just one part. I have downloaded the parts. I am about to uncompress them, and when I do, if successful, I will post the checksums here for each part:

WIN03_MOSS_V1.part01.exe – Size: 734,003,200 bytes – MD5 Sum: 68b5470c605320228f588abe13af4e62
WIN03_MOSS_V1.part02.rar – Size: 734,003,200 bytes – MD5 Sum: 5a309da7ab473921a808298ff293b7fe
WIN03_MOSS_V1.part03.rar – Size: 734,003,200 bytes – MD5 Sum: ddd98c59425b704c37fc43bacacdc418
WIN03_MOSS_V1.part04.rar – Size: 734,003,200 bytes – MD5 Sum: 5549c847e02481ff3eebab2a43f9df3e
WIN03_MOSS_V1.part05.rar – Size: 734,003,200 bytes – MD5 Sum: e423cddc6064aa95624b398ecfeebcfb
WIN03_MOSS_V1.part06.rar – Size: 624,600,967 bytes – MD5 Sum: 64c0d290a32e8f445a3f8992d64198a0

Running the exe and answering the EULA in the affirmative yielded the following four files (unpacking took about 30 minutes on my 2.0 GHz non-hyper threaded Centrino with 2 GB of RAM):

Distributable VHD Image EULA.doc – 101,376 bytes – MD5 Sum: 9a5d93625bd1b42a9e7b65c7e52c8bea
ReadMe.htm – 37,435 bytes – MD5 Sum: 44196d20e67c174cd809734aa79eefe4
WIN03_MOSS.vhd – 10,968,818,688 bytes – MD5 Sum: 6ec5e3d177b1682c28815fd6a2f0e401
WIN03_MOSS.vmc – 14,516 bytes – MD5 Sum: c15ba5b037ceec9d1a4efdce44a99193

Now, these MD5 sums are only what I’m calculating on my end. I can’t guarantee to you that the files are not messed with. I can only tell you that it’s a reasonable certainty that if your MD5 sums match mine, you and I are looking at the same sets of files.

Anyhow, with all that, the files seem to be working properly with Virtual Server (though I must admit I’m new to Virtual Server 2005).

A good MD5 summing utility for Windows GUI (that lets you set a Send To target) is Nullriver’s winmd5sum. It takes a lot less time to sum a small file than a big one. The 10 GB vhd took about 5 minutes.

Internet Literacy 301: NAVTEQ and you

I decided that since I’m not solely a SharePoint Guy anymore, I’d add other geeky articles I write (usually for private audiences) here as well.

Here’s one about the mapping data source that provides most of the mapping data you see on Google Maps and GPSes and so on:

NAVTEQ is the mapping data company that supplies most of the major mapping companies and utilities with that data. They provide the address resolution (geocoding), the squiggly lines that map to our real world roads and highways and a lot of Point of Interest data like gas stations, hotels, hospitals, police stations, etc. Anything that later ends up on your view of Google or Yahoo Maps or your GPS in your car or that you walk around with, whatever.

So if you notice a mapping error (not necessarily a directions error), but something like a missing street or the wrong way one way or a missing hotel from the Points of Interest, or that the address you just typed in is on the wrong end of the street, or whatever, NAVTEQ is the folks you need to notify.

Last time i did this (when NAVTEQ was showing a schoolyard as a street and thus GPS devices were directing presumably lost motorists to drive through it), NAVTEQ’s form was clunky and difficult to use, no tracking information or updates were available to you when you submitted a change request, and it kinda sucked. Still, they did eventually get the update out to Google Maps, and I presume to many of the GPS software/devices folks use (they issue updates as frequently as quarterly, but it depends on the vendors who use their data).

Anyhow, now they have a newfangled form that’s integrated into their mapping data and if you enter changes, it provides you a tracking number, and you can tie an e-mail address to the report so you can get updates.

So here’s where to go if you want to enter any updates (don’t fret, it’s mostly a form, and you can attach a document or picture to help with the issue)

Laptop/Notebook Hotfixes for MS Virtual PC 2004 SP1

So as you may know, Microsoft and many SharePoint dev houses swear by doing development on Virtual PCs/Virtual Servers. The reason for this boils down to the fact that when you are debugging a SharePoint Web Part with Visual Studio 2003, you have to connect to the active w3wp.exe process that IIS is using and have your debugger work with that. This single-threads that process and halts/pauses it as you explore the reflected data structure states/etc.

I.e. SharePoint development doesn’t share well. I.e. Two developers trying to share the same server, while one is debugging, is ugly and crass and doesn’t belong in Kindergarten.

So the fix is to give each developer her/his own VPC to do with as he/she likes.

Anyhow, if you are doing this via Microsoft VPC 2004 SP1 (free for download these days, by the way), and you happen to be using it on a laptop/notebook, you need a hotfix (Microsoft KB 889677). If you happen to be using a laptop/notebook that’s using Intel’s 915 Chipset (i.e. some forms of Centrino chipsets), you need an additional hotfix (Microsoft KB 899525). I hear that Tablet PC owners may need a different one.

Add to this pain that you have to either find some place to download the patches that’s illicit or ask Microsoft support for the patches (i.e. risk some idiot deciding to charge you for it). I managed to find a non-Microsoft source for the hotfixes, but if you do the same, do what you can to be paranoid and cautious about the hotfixes you didn’t get from Microsoft – the reason it’s a good idea to get it from Microsoft directly is that you’re reasonably sure someone isn’t slipping you a trojan horse or something worse instead of the actual patch.

Anyhow, after installing the additional patches, VPC is flying compared to previously.

What is wrong with you Microsoft Only people? – Checksum utilities for verifying large files

So today I am downloading the 2007 Office Beta 2 installs (and whoever heard of paying $1.50 for 5 download tries? I sort of understand, but if it were really just covering bandwidth fees, I should think it would be a lot lower). I note that the download listings/product key e-mails do not come with checksums for these large files.

The files are all in the 75 MiB – 250 MiB range. In UNIX-land, people would as part of the normal posting process just provide checksums. But in Windows-land apparently this is not done. Why not?

Checksums are extremely useful for making sure that the bits you expected to transfer over the network are the ones you got. You can see that this would be useful for both file content verification in the sense of “did I lose any bits along the way that would corrupt my install and can I know it before trying to install and have it fail?” But it’s also useful in the sense of making sure that the bits you want me to download are the same ones I want to get, and assuring that no 3rd party attackers did a man-in-the-middle attack, substituting trojan horses and other nasty things into the install instead. Okay, granted, private key encryption technology would be better than a simple checksum, but a checksum would still be better than nothing, which is what I get when I pay $1.50 to download the damned things.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to NullRiver’s winMd5Sum. This is a free and easy to use utility that allows you to create MD5 checksums on files and also to compare pre-generated checksums to the ones you generate on your end to check the download. Go use it. You’ll like it. While you’re at it, tell your download hosts (Microsoft too, please) that you’d like it if they’d start using it or some similar process to help you verify your large file downloads.

For posterity, I’m going to post the MD5 checksums I’ve got so far for my Office 2007 Beta 2 downloads (from Microsoft via the License Technology Group) [This assumes that each binary isn’t especially constructed for each product key – I guess we’ll see]:

  • Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 – OFS32-EN.IMG – 14,796,544 bytes – MD5: 4ba65c890b6c86158666b41c3652d2bb
  • Microsoft Office Groove 2007 – OG-EN.EXE – 220,111,048 bytes – MD5: ba497c8610ae774b4f3af92755e83bf7 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 – OON-EN.EXE – 231,814,328 bytes – MD5: 95750f6b8c48c602b39c4b1271913398 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager – BCM-EN.EXE – 252,769,672 bytes – MD5: 9cb44475cfbbbebb7c84eced9ef6e437 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 – OPPLUS-EN.EXE – 461,881,224 bytes – MD5: 7fc65a38b6bd9dce0563afea2c5b9a93 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 – OPP-EN.EXE – 210,237,736 bytes – MD5: 50c1f917637de95c9aa72114e6385acb [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 – SPD-EN.EXE – 236,994,544 bytes – MD5: 94fe6551b52ef1d38556d76677966073 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Enterprise – SPS32-EN.IMG – 308,555,776 bytes – MD5: 0db4750dd73faca499fc5df95c7f63b3
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search – OSS-EN.IMG – 231,387,136 bytes – MD5: c1c2b5ed9c0a31c48fb59afe3fb29919
  • Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007 – OVP-EN.EXE – 293,966,312 bytes – MD5: 4259e1f323509e8392143e20416490f5 [Works fine]
  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services [v3] – SharePoint_setup.exe – 78,849,224 bytes – MD5: 51cd9f824bb5b6bfc90b96f0de956a1b

This is the complete list of the downloads I paid for.

Also, FYI, here is the link for the Beta 2 Technical Refresh download.

Here’s the file info for that download:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 Beta Two Technical Refresh – office2007b2tr-kb000000-fullfile-en-us.exe – 518,733,856 bytes – MD5: 9ad077c27fb279516b8636e43c3e0463 [Works fine]

I haven’t verified that all of these files work, but I have verified that the total file size is the same as was originally reported when I initiated the download, which is as close as you can get without MD5 or other checksum tools. I’ll note by striking the item out if for some reason the download is corrupt. Also, when I say [Works fine], I mean that it installed fine with all options installed to run on the drive. I won’t say that the actual programs installed worked fine, as they are in Beta.