DNS Security Basics.

February 28, 2007

Your DNS is a sweet spot for hackers who want to compromise your network; learn to protect it.


Active Directory Podcasts.

February 27, 2007

Download audio of of webcasts…

Active Directory Component Jigsaw Poster.

February 27, 2007

This poster, provides a strong visual tool to aide in the understanding of Active Directory components and technologies. From Site Component Topology, to Security, to Group Policy and more, this poster distills all of the must-have information about Active Directory into one easy reference. Please note, though, that due to the very detailed nature of the content, this poster was designed for viewing at very high resolution – ideally printed on 26 x 30 inch poster paper. While we provide this electronic version as an additional tool, the optimal experience remains to view this poster in its original printed form.


February 26, 2007

Most long printed documents such as books have an index. An index is a list of terms or topics that can be found within the document. Each index entry has an associated page number or page range within the document that allows readers to find specific pieces of information with a minimum amount of effort.

Unfortunately, creating an index in Microsoft Word can be difficult and time-consuming to do on a large scale. This isn’t a slight against Word whose features are more than adequate, but rather a testament to a conceptually difficult process.

Hence this two-part series in Office for Mere Mortals, starting this week with the basics; setting up a document to be indexed and then making a simple index.

Before jumping in at the deep end, we recommend that you first create a copy of your document (or another smaller document) to practice upon without having to worry about messing up the real thing. A file with a large index can get extremely complicated and confusing if you’re not certain about what you’re doing.

When you have grasped both the fundamental and, perhaps, more complex indexing techniques, come up with a method that suits your needs, then you can transfer your knowledge onto the real document without any problems.

Creating an index for an existing document involves two distinct steps:
* marking index entries
* generating the index

An index entry is a Microsoft Word “field code” that marks specific text for inclusion in an index. When you mark text as an index entry, Word inserts an { XE “Index Entry” } field formatted as hidden text.

To use existing document text as an index entry, you must first select a word that you wish to include in your index. To enter your own text as an index entry instead, simply click where you want to insert it.

Next, go to “Insert | Reference | Index and Tables” and select the “Index” tab. Ignore the options for the moment and click the “Mark Entry” button to bring up the “Mark Index Entry” dialog box. We recommend that you learn to use the ALT+SHIFT+X keyboard shortcut to save time.

The Mark Index Entry dialog box provides “Main entry” and “Subentry” boxes. Most terms will fall under the “Main entry” category – a single term with its corresponding page number(s). You can however use the “Main entry” as a general heading or category for a collection of other terms otherwise known as subentries. For example, the main index entry “Animals” could have subentries “Birds” and “Mammals” – each which would be entered separately.

While the “Mark Index Entry” dialog box only has two boxes for entry levels, it actually allows for indexes to be up to seven layers deep if you want to get a little tricky. To do this, type the entries (in either of the entry boxes) in hierarchical order separated by colons. For example, you could enter “Animals:Birds:Lorikeets” to create a triple-tiered index entry.

If you have selected a word and opened up the “Mark Index Entry” dialog box, the text will appear in the “Main entry” box. The “Mark” and “Mark All” buttons are both available to you by default. The “Current page” option is also selected by default.

By clicking the “Mark” button, you are simply adding an index entry for the currently selected word into your index on the current page.

By clicking the “Mark All” button you are searching your document for every instance of the selected word and marking each occurrence as a separate page number (separated by commas) in the same index entry. For example “Lorikeets, 1, 7, 12” would mean that the term “Lorikeets” was marked on pages 1, 7 and 12.

You can also choose to “Cross-reference” one index entry with another. For example, “Lorikeets” could be cross-referenced with “Rainbow Lorikeets”. This would appear as “Lorikeets. See Rainbow Lorikeets” without a page number.

We will look at the “Page range” option later on.

If you have opened up the dialog box without first selecting any text, then you can only use the “Mark” button to place an index entry at the current cursor location.

Other options include checkboxes to make the page numbers bold or italic for a specific entry, while the entry itself can be formatted by right-clicking in the “Main entry” or “Subentry” box, clicking on “Font” and choosing the desired options.

After marking one index entry, it is possible to select another piece of text in your document without closing the “Mark Index Entry” dialog box. You can then repeat the index entry process without having to constantly open and close the dialog box.

After marking an index entry, you will notice that the show hidden text and show all character options have both been enabled by Word. We’ll explain this later so just ignore it for the moment and focus on creating your index.

Click the cursor at the end of your document (or wherever you want your index to appear), then navigate to “Insert | Reference | Index and Tables” and select the “Index” tab of the “Index and Tables” dialog box.

The Index dialog gives you a number of formatting options. The current formatting settings are displayed in example form in the “Print Preview” pane.

The “Type” radio-button allows you to specify either an “Indented” or “Run-in” type of hierarchical display. The “Columns” box allows you to specify the number of columns that the index will be displayed on per page. The “Right align page numbers” checkbox gives more of a “Table of Contents” look to the index.

The “Formats” drop down box gives you a number of pre-defined styles to choose from that can be seen in the preview pane. The available styles in Word 2003 are:
* From template
* Classic
* Distinctive
* Fancy
* Modern
* Formal
* Simple

To design a custom style click the “Modify” button, choose a style and customize as you see fit.

When you are happy with your index layout as it appears in the preview pane, click the “OK” button and your index will be displayed in all its glory.

Please note that it is always possible to add new entries, modify existing entries and delete unnecessary entries. So if you’re not happy with your index, keep molding it until you are!

If you have made any changes to your index entries, always remember to click anywhere on your index and press F9 for those changes to appear in the index itself.

In the next issue we’ll look at some of the tricks and additional features of Word’s indexing feature.

Making an Index in Word – Part 2

8 Great International Getaways That Won’t Break the Bank.

February 22, 2007

What makes for a great vacation? Magic, thrills, and adventure, yes. But for the budget-conscious globetrotter, what’s equally important is to find places where your dollars will stretch a long, long way. All eight of the following destinations fill the bill. As a travel writer, I’m lucky enough to have experienced them all – but I’d love to revisit every single one as a vacationer.


Vietnam packs a lot into its borders. Highlights include misty Halong Bay with its fairytale seascapes of limestone outcrops and islands; the Mekong delta with its floating markets; the old Vietcong tunnels at Cu-Chi near Saigon – now officially known as Ho Chi Minh City. Backpacker beds are exceptionally cheap, but decent hotels often cost less than $40. A filling bowl of pho bo beef noodle soup or six seafood spring rolls is less than a dollar. In local hangouts, Saigon Export beer costs 40 cents a bottle.

For the ultimate traffic tale to tell the folks back home, head for Hanoi’s old quarter. Any attempt to cross the road turns into a heart-racing adventure. Not only are you contending with psycho-cyclos (rickshaw bicycles), there are thousands of motorbikes and scooters with riders that regard a red traffic signal as a suggestion rather than an instruction. The best place to experience the utter chaos is from within a cyclo rickshaw.

Lithuania, Eastern Europe

Visitors usually combine Lithuania, the southernmost of the Baltic States, with Latvia and Estonia. However, you can easily spend a week in Lithuania alone. Quirky cities like Vilnius and Kaunas are steeped in art, music, and historical curiosities. Then there are the windswept sands of the Curonian Spit, where you can beachcomb for amber … mushroom-scented woods and farmers riding on haycarts … mysterious sites steeped in pagan traditions.

Mid-June would be a great time to go. A national holiday in Lithuania, the old pagan festival of Rasos marks the summer solstice. It’s an all-night affair, with singing, dancing, bonfire-leaping, hunting for “magic” ferns, and floating garlands down rivers. Despite some serious alcoholic partying, most people manage to stay awake to greet the sunrise. As for prices, how about $2.54 for three potato pancakes with smoked salmon and sour cream, and $1 for a glass of Svyturnys beer?

Granada, Nicaragua

From the laidback colonial city of Granada, you can do a lot in a week in Nicaragua: Tackle volcanoes … take Spanish lessons … visit the Masaya craft market and the villages where rocking chairs, hammocks, and pottery are made … explore the Selva Negra’s cloud forests and coffee plantations … chat with expats in the beach surfing town of San Juan del Sur … go to colonial Leon, where you might get to meet indigenous Indians.

Settling into a rocking chair with a cold Victoria beer is a pleasure that generally costs under $1, and spending more than $7 on a meal is difficult. The Alhambra Hotel on Granada’s main square costs a mere $30 a night.

Goa, Southern India

India is beyond fascinating, beyond anything you’ll ever experience elsewhere. The easiest introduction to this teeming country is the seaside state of Goa. Baking below a tropical canopy of banana, coconut, and mango trees, this drowsy world of Arabian Sea beaches, backwaters, and spice-laden breezes is stamped with more than a few reminders of Old Portugal. You’ll find sunrise yoga on the beach, full massages for $8, dolphin trips for about $6, and colorful hippie markets.

Including four beers, two people can eat in a beach shack for under $10. And if you want to cut your expenses to the bone, there are accommodations in simple beach chalets for as little as $8 a night.

Porto & Northern Portugal

Famed for its port wine lodges (yes, they do offer free samples), Porto is Portugal’s second city. A historic Atlantic trading port, its warren of laundry-hung alleys plunges down to a waterfront of boats, nets, and fish restaurants. Sheets of cod (bacalhau) hang outside grocery stores with original Art Nouveau tiled facades, and the church of Sao Francisco has a gold leaf interior that would make King Midas salivate. Don’t miss the Bolhau food market or the Torre dos Clerigos, Portugal’s highest belfry tower. From the top, you’ll get great views over the jumbled cityscape of churches, bridges, and red-roofed houses.

By EU standards, the price of dining, accommodations, and public transport throughout the region is astounding. Trains and buses are an affordable way to make exploratory day trips along the coast and into the interior of terraced vineyards and green river valleys. Don’t miss Braga and the thousand-stepped stairway of Bom Jesus church. On holy days, some pilgrims tackle these steps on their knees.


Since its split from Serbia, Montenegro has been Europe’s latest holiday hotspot – and also the world’s newest independent nation. Along with three-course meals for $7 and rooms in private homes for $10, you’ll find a land of craggy mountains with a switch-backed Adriatic coastline of bays, beaches, and villages of pale gray stone. The sea sparkles like blue topaz, and medieval walled towns with crumbling fortresses and palaces are often emblazoned with the winged lion emblem of the Venetian Republic.

Now paint in monasteries slotted into mountain crevices, and fishing villages of red-tiled roofs and deep-green shutters. Roman mosaics … olive groves … water-lilied lakes … deep canyons and the mighty Boka Kotorska, Europe’s southernmost fjord … the border town of Ulcinj with its minarets and tales of pirate slave-trading.


There’s no denying that Switzerland is one of the most scenically gorgeous countries on earth. But unless you’re armed with an expense account, I can promise you that exploring its mountains, lakes, and medieval towns will wreak havoc on your finances.

Winter or summer, neighboring Austria has just as much of the alpine wow factor … plus the city splendors of Vienna and Salzburg. And it’s a lot less expensive than you may think. For example, in the Tyrolean village of Fendels, you could rent a furnished apartment for two in a chalet next spring for about $225 per week. Surrounded by hiking trails, Fendels village makes an excellent base. The Tyrolean Oberland is close to the borders of Switzerland and Italy.

Chania, Crete

On the Greek island of Crete, Chania is one town that it would be criminal to miss. As Crete’s former capital, Chania’s history goes back 5,000 years. In the Old Town’s skinny alleyways, you’ll find icon workshops … lyres hanging in dusty musical instrument repair shops … bursts of white jasmine cascading from archways … cats snoozing on balconies … the unlikely sights of a pencil-thin minaret above church towers and a mosque squatting on the waterfront.

Strung with garlands of colored light bulbs, Chania’s old Venetian harbor at dusk truly is the stuff of romance. The water shimmers in waves of crimson, sapphire, and emerald; the Venetian lighthouse sends out its beady wink; and stalls do a steady trade in pistachio nuts. Alleys that were afternoon-silent become thronged with locals taking the volta – the evening stroll. Even in July and August, you’ll find studio apartments here for under $40 a night … plus, you can eat well for $10.

By Steenie Harvey, who makes a living by exploring the planet as a freelance travel writer, and now she’s added photography to her bag of profitable tricks.

ISO Virtual Drive.

February 22, 2007

You have a nifty ISO image that you can use as a backup. So, how about mounting it into a “virtual CD player?”

After creating an ISO image – details – you can burn a copy to media, which is the right solution for long-term archiving and offsite storage. However, you have an additional option. The ISO image is a virtual CD (or DVD if over 650MB or so), so why not “play” it in a virtual CD/DVD player? A virtual CD drive is a small piece of software that can mount the ISO just as if you had popped a CD into a physical CD-ROM drive. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money. For the longest time I used a free (but unsupported) virtual CDROM tool from Microsoft called VCDControlTool http://tinyurl.com/tyxx . Recently I’ve been trying out another free tool, MagicDisk http://tinyurl.com/b3295 , from the makers of MagicISO.

Author: Jeffery Hicks


February 22, 2007

The size of a profile can be a serious issue in some environments. In fact, in some cases it can take up to seven or eight minutes for the users to log on when using Terminal Services. A typical profile on your local computer may be only 5MB to 6MB, but I’ve seen profiles over 150MB in size. As you may have noticed, a lot of applications (Office, Internet Explorer, etc.) cache files within the user’s profile. You may want to consider turning off the caching of Internet Explorer files to minimize the size of a user’s profile.

You can limit the size of a user’s profile through group policies on your Windows 2003 domain. Open the group policy object (e.g., Domain Security Policy) and go to User Configuration, Administrative Templates, System, User Profiles, Limit Profile Size. Set the value to something like 30MB or so for starters. Keep in mind that the size you specify is in KB, so for 30MB you will specify a size of 30,720KB. You can optionally check the box “Notify user when profile storage space is exceeded” so the user is reminded every 15 minutes (by default).

If you want to limit user profile size on a Windows XP computer in a standalone workgroup environment, you’ll find the option under a slightly different location. Go to Start, All Programs, Administrative Tools, Local Security Policy, User Configuration, Administrative Templates, System, User Profiles, Limit Profile Size.

Source: Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP