Office 365 Activation Wont Accept Password

So today I signed up for Office 365, since it seemed to be the easiest way to get hold of Office; although I have a license and subscription, I also have more machines.

To say I was frustrated when I tried to activate Office 365 was an understatement. Each time I went through the process, it would reject the password saying there was a problem with my account.

I could login with my email and password online, but through the activation, no dice. Some internet searches, including with the ludicrously bad Windows support search didn’t elicit anything useful.

Then it hit me. Office 2011 for Mac through an Office 365 subscription probably doesn’t know about secondary authentication.

Sure enough, I created and application specific password, logged in with that, and yay, I now have a running Office 365 subscription.

If you are experiencing the same problem, using a application specific password might just help you out.

Using HTTP Compression

I have a new article up at ServerWatch which looks at the benefits and configuration of HTTP compression within Apache and IIS. Here’s an excerpt from the intro:

There’s a finite amount of bandwidth on most Internet connections, and anything administrators can do to speed up the process is worthwhile. One way to do this is via HTTP compression, a capability built into both browsers and servers that can dramatically improve site performance by reducing the amount of time required to transfer data between the server and the client. The principles are nothing new — the data is simply compressed. What is unique is that compression is done on the fly, straight from the server to the client, and often without users knowing.HTTP compression is easy to enable and requires no client-side configuration to obtain benefits, making it a very easy way to get extra performance. This article discusses how it works, its advantages, and how to configure Apache and IIS to compress data on the fly.

Read on for the full article.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Coming

Windows Server 2003 R2 (the official name of the next ‘update’ of the server operating system). It’s currently at the R2 Beta 2 level, and only available to a private testing group, but according to this post (Julius Sinkevicius, Senior Product Manager in the Windows Server Group)it’ll be coming out on the main Windows Server page soon for everybody else to test soon. Some of the key features in R2:

  • Active Directory Federation Services
  • Rights Management Server
  • SharePoint Portal Services Version 2
  • File Server Migration Toolkit
  • Network File System (NFS) support
  • Services for Unix
  • Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM)
  • ‘Corral’ Storage Resource Management

There’s lot’s to look forward to there, but my favourite is the built-in SFU support which marks yet another noticeable change in the way Microsoft are approaching the Unix masses. First SFU was an expensive component, then it was a freee downloadable edition, and now it looks like it’s going to be a standard part of the server OS; a useful addition for an OS that wants to be used within, rather than instead of, alternatives.

Microsoft Virtual Server to Support Linux

If you subscribe to same sort of news sites I do you will have seen stories like Linux: coming soon to a Microsoft VM near you (Ars Technica), the original source piece at Techworld and the original Microsoft Press Release. Virtual Server 2005 already supports other operating systems. I’ve been running RHEL and FreeBSD on Virtual Server for almost two years (I had access to an early V1.0, before it was even official a beta product). But Microsoft has never supported these other operating systemsSo what does ‘support’ actually mean – it surely doesn’t mean that Microsoft will help you install the operating system, but it might help you create and tune the virtual server in which it can be installed. And when you have a problem with the virtual side of the operating system execution, you should be able to ask Microsoft to help. Most important of all, I suspect, is that if you are a big company using Microsoft Virtual Server for virtualization, then I suspect Microsoft will be more than happy to help you sort out your virtualization problems. Continue reading Microsoft Virtual Server to Support Linux

Peer-Reviewed Microsoft Certification

With the first new certification class in a number of years, Microsoft is choosing a slightly different path. The Microsoft Certified Architect Program is designed to provide certification for top-level IT professionals who have experience to designing and deploying solutions that use both Microsoft and non-Microsoft products. Not only is the approach different, in that it’s not designed to test your experience in MS products, but the path to achieving certification is different. Rather than a series of exams there is a whole range of tests, interviews and examples of past work. The process is expected to take 12 months and will involve the person getting certified will be assigned a mentor who will guide – and guage – the candidates progress through the process. This also means that the individuals will be peer-reviewed. The reliance on exams along has – in many certification exams – created a situation whereby candidates can cheat simply by knowing the answers to the multiple choice questions. Have a good memory and you can pass the exams, whether or not you actually have the experience. I’ve met many people with a Microsoft certification who I simply wouldn’t trust to install a piece of software correctly, and I know many managers who completely ignore certifications from Microsoft and others because of similar experiences. This is not a reflection on the test itself, which I can assure you is highly complex, but relying purely on the answers to questions, rather than actual applied knowledge is always going to lead to problems. Thinking about our cars for example I wouldn’t expect to be given a driving licence simply by answering the questions in the theory test. Microsoft have done a lot to improve the situation in recent years, and hopefully this new certification process is an indication of further improvements in the way certifications are distributed.