• Visual Studio 2012 thank you

    There I was about to enjoy a nice sleep-in on the first day of my holidays on Monday when the doorbell rang. It was a courier delivering a nice thankyou present from Microsoft for helping test out and provide feedback on Visual Studio 2012.

    Visual Studio Thank You box

    Opening up this large box revealed a smaller gift inside

    Visual Studio Thank You box opened

    It’s a shiny glass cube with writing etched in the middle of it..

    Visual Studio 2012 Crystal Cube

    And it turns out this is a nice match to a similar present I received a few years ago for testing Visual Studio 2008 (which means I must have missed out 2010). The 2012 version is an identical size, but has one corner bevelled off so it can sit on that corner. The new cube also has the latest rendition of the Visual Studio logo.

    Visual Studio 2008 and 2012 cubes side by side

    Putting them together, yes they are the same size!

    2012 cube on top of 2008 cube

  • I know that it's Christmas..

    Because people will even dance to some guy trying to play the ‘cello..

    David practising his 'cello

    Always nice to have enthusiasm when you’re doing a sound checkSmile

    This year we visited our friends across town who were organising a Christmas Eve service at Playford Uniting. I was also able to be part of their band playing a few Christmas carols.

    Because the Road to Christmas is on again..

    Actors being King Herod and his entourage

    And even made the Channel Seven news. Over the 3 evenings that this runs there’s probably a few thousand people from the local community (and beyond) that come and experience sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Bethlehem. It’s a great atmosphere and lots of fun too.

    Because the cactus that flowers at Christmas is in flower..

    Cactus flower

    and the flowers came out first in the morning on Christmas day this year too.

    Because the table is set for Christmas lunch..

    Table set for Christmas lunch

    Because Narelle cooked up a storm..

    Christmas lunch ready to eat

    Yummo

    Because the pudding is ready..

    Christmas pudding

    Extra yummo.

    Because Mum & Dad gave me a new Super Soaker!

    David unwrapping a super-soaker water pistol

    So it turns out that the CFS actually recommend having one of these around the house. If you did have a bushfire go through then then a key thing is to put out any spotfires in gutters or roof spaces once the main fire front has passed. They reckon a super soaker is good as you can pop your head up through the manhole into the ceiling and squirt any smouldering embers that might have found their way inside.

    The other benefit is that it means I can now compete with my son’s soaker he got as a LobsterPot Christmas present a couple of years ago (thanks Rob!)

    Because it is a chance to take a breath..

    Borrowing from the theme of Pete’s message at the Christmas Eve service. After a busy and in many ways difficult year this year it is good to have a couple of weeks off and take a breath (or two).

    Time to spend with family. Time to sleep in (maybe). Time to do a bit of riding in preparation for the Tour Down Under in a few weeks. Time to reflect on the year that was and the year that is to come. Time to appreciate the extraordinary gift that is the real reason for celebrating Christmas.

  • The Email dilemma

    Following on from my investigations into services that summarise DMARC reports, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason for the warnings about email from hotmail.com is because even though the account on hotmail is configured to send as @gardiner.net.au, it still is sending the email officially using the @hotmail.com sender address.

    While it passes the SPF rule (that permits the hotmail email servers to send @gardiner.net.au emails), this explains why DMARC warns that the email is “unaligned” – eg. the email says it’s from @hotmail.com instead of @gardiner.net.au.

    The problem is that while Hotmail does support adding additional email accounts, it only lets you configure ability to pull emails (via POP3) – you can’t enter a SMTP server to send emails. Sent emails always go out via the Hotmail SMTP servers.

    One solution might be to migrate the Hotmail user over to GMail and configure GMail to pull their @hotmail.com email instead (and unlike Hotmail, GMail can be configured to use a different SMTP server for addtional email accounts).

    But just as I was considering this option, I came across the news that Google is discontinuing support for Exchange ActiveSync! Why does this matter? Well as a Windows Phone user this has the potential to be a show stopper. ActiveSync is the protocol used to sync my GMail, Contacts and Calendar between my phone and Google. Whilst it does say that existing configured devices will continue to function, too bad if I change phones in the future.

    So another option might be to switch my domain’s email over to Hotmail instead of staying with GMail, unless Microsoft can release updates for Windows Phone that restore compatibility with GMail after January 31st.