Thursday, January 29, 2015

Apple Releases Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 Update


Earlier this week, Apple slipped out the latest security and enhancement update for OS X Yosemite.

OS X 10.10.2 includes the following enhancements and fixes:

General content
Resolves an issue that might cause Wi-Fi to disconnect
Resolves an issue that might cause web pages to load slowly
Fixes an issue that could cause Spotlight to load remote email content when this preference is disabled in Mail
Improves audio and video sync when using Bluetooth headphones
Adds the ability to browse iCloud Drive in Time Machine
Improves VoiceOver speech performance
Resolves an issue that could cause VoiceOver to echo characters when entering text on a web page
Addresses an issue that could cause the input method to switch languages unexpectedly
Improves stability and security in Safari

For enterprise customers
Improves performance for browsing DFS shares in the Finder
Fixes an issue where certain Calendar invitations could be displayed at the incorrect time
Fixes an issue for Microsoft Exchange accounts where the organizer of a meeting might not be notified when someone accepts an invitation using Calendar
Addresses an issue where Safari could continually prompt for credentials when accessing a site protected by NTLM authentication
Adds the ability to set "Out of Office" reply dates for Microsoft Exchange accounts in Mail

Security Content
For detailed information about the security content of this update, see Apple security updates.

I've been testing a prerelease version of this update for about two weeks now and it is looking pretty good.  The Wi-Fi disconnects had been driving me a little more nuts than usual which was masking the slow web page load issue.  (Huh, why aren't these pages loading faster?  I've rebooted all my networking gear...eye roll.)

This update is available now from the Updates tab in the Mac App Store app.  

It's always a good idea to plug in your MacBook and backup your Mac before installing any new software like OS upgrades and patches with Apple's Time Machine or with a third-party solution like the fantastic BackBlaze service.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Apple Releases iOS 8.1.3 Maintenance Update


Yesterday afternoon, Apple released iOS 8.1.3 a minor maintenance release to iOS 8.

Yes, this update is safe to install.  Since this is a maintenance release, there are no major new features or interface changes.  The areas that received updates include a new installer that requires less free space on the device to perform upgrades, an Apple ID login fix for Messages and FaceTime, a Spotlight app search fix, fixes for multitasking gestures on the iPad and a new configuration option for test taking in school applications.



I'm glad to see Apple working to fix these nagging issues.  I've seen a lot of iPhones and iPads belonging to family members and co-workers who don't have the latest version of iOS 8 installed because there is not enough free space to download, unpack, and install the update.  I'm also gald to see the fix for the Spotlight search feature.  I very often use that feature as an app launcher and it was super annoying to have to restart my iPhone 6 to restore app search.

The next update for iOS is 8.2 which is currently in developer beta testings.  iOS 8.2 is expected to bring new features, including support of the Apple Watch in the near future.  While no release date has been set for iOS 8.2, it is currently up to beta release 4 and is expected to be completed right around the time Apple Watch launches in April 2015.

iOS 8.1.3 is available for all current model iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Incident at RetentionUpdateOrder [UPDATED]

During an upgrade of a quality assurance (QA) instance of OpenText Content Server 10.0.0 SP2 Update 12 to Content Server 10.5.0 Update 2014-06 I ran into an incident at the RetentionUpdateOrder table.

[01/14/2015 04:25:31 PM] : Applying the database schema upgrade
[01/14/2015 04:25:31 PM] : Error executing statement
[01/14/2015 04:25:31 PM] : create table RetentionUpdateOrder ( ... )
[01/14/2015 04:25:31 PM] : Error: Error executing an Sql statement.
[01/14/2015 04:25:31 PM] : Error: Error executing an Sql statement.
[01/14/2015 04:25:31 PM] : The Module Upgrade Failed Due To Errors


The error, as it turns out, was caused because my database already had a table called "RetentionUpdateOrder" in it.  Great, now what?

A quick look at my QA and production Content Server 10.0 databases revealed that the table in question existed in both.  This was not a table that I added, altered, or otherwise modified, so it had to come from the core installation of Content Server or one of the modules that my employer has elected to install.

I needed to know how big the scope of this problem was.  As it turned out, RetentionUpdateOrder was not alone.  Three of it's friends were also giving me a little bit of heartburn during the upgrade; they are: RetentionUpdateOrder, RetentionUpdateRetry, RetentionUpdateFailed, and RetentionUpdateLog.

WARNING: This post talks about modifications to your Content Server database.  You should only directly alter your Content Server database under the supervision of a trained OpenText engineer.

Once I knew which tables involved in the upgrade, I used the following SQL to figure that out how much data was going to have to deal with.  Thankfully, using the following SQL command, the results all came back as zero rows.

use [yourContentServerDBName]
go
select COUNT(*) from RetentionUpdateOrder
go
select COUNT(*) from RetentionUpdateRetry
go
select COUNT(*) from RetentionUpdateFailed
go
select COUNT(*) from RetentionUpdateLog
go

To workaround this issue, wrote a short little SQL script to backup the tables in my database, and then drop the original so I could restart the Content Server database schema upgrade process and have it finish successfully.  Here's the rough utility SQL script that I wrote to clean up the table situation.

use [yourContenServerDBName]
go
select * into RetentionUpdateOrder_CS10_5_Backup
    from RetentionUpdateOrder
go
if OBJECT_ID('livelink..RetentionUpdateOrder','U') is not null
    drop table RetentionUpdateOrder
go
select * into RetentionUpdateRetry_CS10_5_Backup
    from RetentionUpdateRetry
go
if OBJECT_ID('livelink..RetentionUpdateRetry','U') is not null
    drop table RetentionUpdateRetry
go
select * into RetentionUpdateFailed_CS10_5_Backup
    from RetentionUpdateFailed
go
if OBJECT_ID('livelink..RetentionUpdateFailed','U') is not null
    drop table RetentionUpdateFailed
go
select * into RetentionUpdateLog_CS10_5_Backup
    from RetentionUpdateLog
go
if OBJECT_ID('livelink..RetentionUpdateLog','U') is not null
    drop table RetentionUpdateLog
go

To jump start the database schema upgrade again, in my browser, I navigated back to the admin home page at ?func=admin.index and then jumped over to the database upgrade page at ?func=admin.dbupgrade.  (You may be prompted to log back in as 'admin'.)

Once I restarted the database schema upgrade, it was a few short minutes until I got the following message back from my Content Server 10.5 instance:

[01/16/2015 05:45:03 PM] : Applying the database schema upgrade
[01/16/2015 05:45:03 PM] : Applying the data upgrade
[01/16/2015 05:45:03 PM] : The database upgrade completed with no errors.

Outstanding!  Your results may vary from mine. It is always to have a good set of backups, rollback plans and we should always test upgrades in test instances before moving on to QA, DR, and production.  If you get into trouble, or have questions, don't forget to contact the OpenText Support Team.

UPDATE:

After talking to OpenText support, two important bits of information have surfaced about this issue.  They are:

1. The four RetentionUpdate tables discussed here are for the Archive Storage Provider module and NOT the Records Manager module.

2. If you have an aversion to writing SQL, you can avoid all of this by installing the Archive Storage Provider 10.0.2 module update before attempting to upgrade to Content Server 10.5.0.  Naturally, this is the method preferred by the OpenText Support team and I agree with them.  If you chose to use the backup/drop table method I described here, that is a viable workaround.  Any updates or alterations of a Content Server/Livelink database should be done only with guidance from Support.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Microsoft's ANS Alerts Are No Longer Free


Tomorrow's Microsoft "Patch Tuesday" is going to seem a little bit more confusing than past patch days for the majority of Microsoft's customers.

"They've gone from free to fee, and for really no particular reason," said Andrew Storms, vice president of security services at New Context, a San Francisco-based security consultancy, in an interview."
Microsoft Windows administrators have been familiar with the ANS, or Advanced Notification Service emails that were sent out a head of Microsoft's scheduled patch release date with information regarding what software was to be patched, their classification of the patch, and associated knowledge base articles.  Starting with tomorrow's patch Tuesday, Microsoft will not provide advanced notice of patches.
"Customer feedback indicates that many of our large customers no longer use ANS in the same way they did in the past due to optimized testing and deployment methodologies," said Chris Betz, senior director at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC). "While some customers still rely on ANS, the vast majority wait for Update Tuesday, or take no action, allowing updates to occur automatically."

"Microsoft prefers to call its monthly security release "Update Tuesday," apparently believing "Patch Tuesday" carries negative connotations."

So, unless your organization pays for premiere support or is otherwise involved in sharing security information with Microsoft, you will no longer be receiving these email updates.

Personally, I've never participated in the online briefings, but I would skim the list of patches, sorry, "updates" that Microsoft would be pushing out to Microsoft Windows Update Servers (WUS) running on private networks.  While I'm sad to see the email notices and blog postings go away, for small to mid-sized organizations, I'm not sure that there will be a meaningful impact on day-to-day operations.  What will likely become of this is that Windows client and Windows Server administrators will need to pay more attention when testing the latest updates before deploying them on production servers.

[Via ComputerWorld.com...]

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Palm OS - Throw Back Thursday


In honor of "Throw Back Thursdays", here's a Palm OS device family photo I took recently.

In that top row, we have the original Palm Pre, an H/Palm TouchPad, and the elusive Palm Foleo.  The second row includes an early USRobotics Pilot and a 3Com Palm Pilot (both running Palm OS 2.0).  You'll also notice that a Fossil smartwatch on the far left of the fourth row.  Lastly, you'll notice that I do have a Palm Treo 750 (Windows Mobile 6.0).

Happy Throw Back Thursday!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

OpenText Announces the Acquisition of Informative Graphics Corp.


Yesterday, OpenText announced that they have entered into a deal to acquire Informative Graphics Corporation.
Waterloo, ON – 2015-1-5 – OpenText™ (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC), a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), today announced that it has acquired Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), a leading developer of viewing, annotation, redaction and publishing commercial software. As a valued OpenText partner for more than a decade, IGC technologies will be further integrated into the ECM product portfolio and extended into other OpenText Suites.  
With the acquisition of IGC, OpenText strengthens its capabilities for secure access to any content, on any device, on premises and in the cloud. Having already deployed more than 250 joint customers and more than 300,000 seats of Brava!® for OpenText Content Server, OpenText can now extend the reach of IGC offerings to more OpenText customers globally. 
“With a proven record of success as an OpenText partner, we are excited to welcome the IGC team into our company,” said Mark J. Barrenechea, president and chief executive officer of OpenText. “As customers make the shift to the digital workplace and the cloud, document viewing and mark-up on any device will enable organizations to leverage their information and drive growth and success in their organizations.”
Content Server administrators should be pretty excited about this acquisition.  Brava! is a well known mark-up module for CAD documents stored in Content Server.  I've seen and talked to the folks from IGC at past Enterprise World conferences and have always been impressed with their software.  With OpenText's acquisition, the software should become even more tightly integrated into the Content Suite of software.

You can read the full press release on the OpenText website. CEO Mark Barrenechea also a blog post up about the acquisition.

Mophie Announces Juice Pack Cases for Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus


Today, on the second day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Mophie has announced the new Juice Pack Air and Juice Pack Plus.
Orange County, Calif., (January 6, 2015) – mophie—the #1 selling mobile battery case in North America(1), and innovator of power and storage solutions for mobile devices—announced today its lineup of protective battery cases for iPhone® 6 and iPhone® 6 Plus. Introducing the juice pack air® for iPhone® 6 (more than 100% extra battery), juice pack plus® for iPhone® 6 (more than 120% extra battery), and juice pack® for iPhone® 6 Plus (more than 60% extra battery).

Users get up to 17 more hours of talk time, up to 12 more hours of web browsing, up to 13 more hours of video playback, and up to 60 more hours of music playback.

“Our journey to bring the juice pack to consumers for every generation of iPhone continues with our latest solutions for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” said Daniel Huang, mophie CEO and Co-Founder. “Since release of the original juice pack for the first iPhone, mophie battery cases have become a necessity to legions of smartphone users. Because we understand how vital these solutions are, our team remains intensely focused on quality and the level of innovative design needed to drive the direction of this industry.”
I've been a fan of the Mophie Juice Pack series of batteries since I picked up an iPhone 4S.  The Mophie cases add a lot of utility to your iPhone by adding a spare battery and doing double duty as a durable, handsome looking iPhone case that doesn't add a lot of bulk.  I've been on many an overnight and long weekend trips with my kids and the Juice Pack has kept me charged up and connected to family back home and other team leaders on the trip.

Any serious iPhone user really needs to have one of these cases.  If you have more than one iDevice that you need to keep charged - say an iPhone 6 and an iPad Air, then I would highly recommend one of Mophie's PowerStation "universal" batteries.

The new Juice Pack cases for the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are expected to begin shipping in about three to four weeks.  You can pre-order your Juice Pack now with prices starting at $99.95 for the iPhone 6 and for the iPhone 6 Plus.

The full press release is available on the Mophie website.