Ring Solar Pathlight Batteries

If you happened to have bought a Ring Solar Pathlight over the past couple of years since they were released, you’ve probably gotten to a point where the original Ring batteries no longer charge. They’re not your every day AA rechargeable, but rather 18650 Lithium Ion batteries.

If you reached out to support like I did two years ago, the service desk didn’t have a KB on what to do and questions and inquiries would quickly devolve. They’ve gotten a little bit better about being straight about how to replace the battery, and oddly it’s not to try to sell you a high priced replacement from Ring. Rather they tell you to buy them from Amazon.

I did that, buying a brand that seemed “reputable.” Unfortunately it was not and after a couple of charges they too stopped really working.

Enter my finding of the NiteCore brand – you may look for them on Amazon, but really you’re only going to find their headlamps but not their batteries. For the batteries, head on over to BandHPhoto.

The NiteCore NL189 battery works great in the Ring Solar Pathlights. Note that battery costs $18 before shipping. Note the Solar Pathlight is $34. So… you can do the math…

All in all, the NiteCore batteries have been fairly reliable and keep their charge. If you live somewhere that gets fairly dark for the Winter months, you can do what I do and cycle batteries through the path lights by having a few extra batteries on hand to swap.


QNAP Friends… Update your firmware…

Unless you’re running your servers, devices and other items that connect to a network of some sort in a pile of concrete at the bottom of a lake (perhaps a Great Lake) disconnected from the world, it may be time to go and start checking your firmware. I know that it’s one of the most fun activities to do over a Memorial Day weekend – right?

In this case I noticed a post about something called VPNFilter over on Ars Technica – sounds nasty right? It makes mention of what software systems and devices are affected –  in a particular set of QNAP devices as well as the software platform that operates QNAP devices, QTS.

For me, I quickly checked my firmware and noticed that I was not in the impacted group, but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t check your QNAP device if you’ve got one. Obviously check to make certain that you’ve got a backup of your QNAP sitting somewhere that you’re able to roll back to if you need to (I’ve never had a problem with their firmware personally).

More details are available here:


Hardware Technology

Intel NUCs…

For the past five years or so, Intel Corporation has been building what they term the Next Unit of Computing or NUC for short. What is a NUC? It’s effectively a stripped down ultrabook computer that is housed within a small cube like box – think back to when Apple had their cube like tissue box computer but a little bit smaller If you’ve got an Amazon Fire TV unit, it’s similar dimensions though taller (stack 2.5 of them and you’ve got a NUC).

The NUC’s internals consist of a small form factor motherboard with processor, wireless card, bluetooth and video chip (in this case making use of Intel’s HD graphics chip that’s a part of the processor). As this is a “barebones” PC, you add in your memory and hard drive. In recent years there have been two options for NUC devices – one that provides for an m.2 SATA interface and one that provides for an m.2 SATA interface in addition to a standard SATA3 interface that we’ve all become accustomed to with 2.5″ SSD laptop harddrives.

For me, I went the way of picking up an i5 5th generation NUC a year ago. It works well with the m.2 SATA storage and memory. Caveat, I’ve got an additional m.2 external USB3 drive attached to it for additional storage space which for the most part works pretty well.

Recently Intel released what effectively is a stripped down workstation i7 sixth generation / Skylake device. Ars has a pretty nice write up about it over here –

All in all, the NUC works great as a desktop that doesn’t require intense gaming or rendering resources and its low profile means that it doesn’t require me to have a tower below my desk (though I do in the form factor a of 4 bay QNAP NAS).



The Document is going to be around for a while…

So I figured I’d throw my two cents in on the topic of documents and whether or not we’re going to see them sail off into the sunset.  So far the gauntlets have been thrown down by SharePoint Welterweights Joel Oleson and Spence Harbar.

I’d have to disagree with the original thesis, I don’t think that documents are on their way out.  I do however think that the way that information is generated is changing – documents however will still be around for portability and as a storage container for the objects for which they consist of.

I’m pretty certain that we’re going  to continue to have separate, partitioned documents stored as files that consist of images, information and other forms of media on a particular topic.  This container will be saved as a document with a particular format dependent on what the file’s purpose is (presentation, image, technical specification, memorandum, etc.) primarily for portability and to separate the content (perhaps as a  matter of record).  

While it might seem that Office Online will eventually open up an online Word editor and Google Docs continues to bolster their online editor, both of these systems require an account within the identity management store (either Microsoft or Google) to access the documents.

Lack of  identity federation alone will be part of the reason that documents continue to persist.  Many large organizations are struggling to collapse their domains and identity stores to a single system, federation is probably the last thing on their mind.  Why is Federation of identity important?  Merely for the reason that if you are not able to access the data the you seek in a Wiki page on someone else’s system, more than likely you’ll request the information be sent in a document through a means such as e-mail.

Furthermore without a specified document type, how will different applications be able to differentiate their files from any other?  Perhaps the applications will be intelligent enough to read through definition files and figure out which files are editable by their schema.  This in itself would be quite processor intensive for the document browser to read through all definition files – it becomes even more difficult in a client server environment over a WAN.

Additionally, as Spence mentions over in his blog entry, you’re going to have to have some way of versions maintained – Wiki’s can’t really do that for something like a Visio diagram or a mindmap, can they? Not quite – or at least not yet.  Last I checked each version of a Word document, even in the new DOCX format on SharePoint requried a complete copy be stored in the version history, not just the delta.

I agree that it would be more helpful to have Wiki’s for document collaboration, but this information eventually needs to be published to some format that can be sent to another party. However for Wiki’s to be useful for that document collaboration, hopefully they’ll become more flexible and have greater support for things such as MindMaps, Technical Diagrams and Specifications, and images.

Additionally, consider this – without a document to pass along to another party, how am I going to open up my portal and Wiki system to the world? How am I going to maintain a source as authoritative? If I publish my document out in a format that can have an iFilter reach into it, then it can be parsed by a search engine. Additionally, it can have some sense of non-repudiation and authenticity if it’s signed with a digital certificate.

Bottom line of my rambling, I don’t think it’s the end of documents anytime soon. I do think that they’re going to be re-engineered a bit more to be more flexible. Pretty cool what happens when you open up a docx or pptx using WinZip to see it’s text based innards. 🙂


TechNet iCalendar Reminders…

The other evening, I discovered that my esteemed colleague, Spencer Harbar, will be presenting a MSDN webcast on the topic of “SharePoint Products and Technologies for Internet Site Development: Content Deployment”.  Upon registering, I realized that I didn’t have Outlook setup to connect to my work e-mail (rather it’s set up for my test servers on the home network) so there wasn’t an easy way to add the iCalendar reminder to my Outlook calendar that I use for work that alerts me on my BlackBerry.

Perhaps it would work on my Google Apps domain that I have setup for personal e-mail, right?  Unfortunately the iCalendar file (ics format) was not readable by the Google Calendar on my first attempt.  Doing a little Googling, I came across several articles that stated compatibility issues between Microsoft iCalendar reminders and other non-Microsoft iCalendar systems.

So that led me to download the iCalendar object, open it in Outlook and then save it to yet another iCalendar object, slightly reformatted which then apparently could be imported into my Google Calendar.  “Huh?”

Reading through the IETF RFC 2445, I pondered whether or not Microsoft is following the proper format to provide a well formed iCalendar object.  From the looks of it they are, however I’m perplexed as to why the Google Calendar is incapable of importing the object without having it reformatted through Outlook first.  Is it due to the fact that it’s looking for the PRODID field which looks to be missing?

The initial iCalendar reminder form Microsoft:

DESCRIPTION:Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Events. We w
ould like to remind you of the following event: TechNet Webcast:
How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deploying Share
Point Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300). nnPlease revi
ew the information below.nnEvent Code: 1032396521nEvent Name:
TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, an
d Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300)
nStart Date: 1/27/2009nStart Time: 9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pacific
Time (US & Canada)nEnd Date: 1/27/2009nEnd Time: 10:30 AM (GMT-
08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)nnPlease click on the followin
g link for more information regarding this Event https://msevents We look forwa
rd to seeing you at the Event!
SUMMARY:Live Webcast - TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: De
signing, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publish
ing Portals (Level 300)

What I received upon exporting from Microsoft Outlook 2007:

PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Outlook 12.0 MIMEDIR//EN
DESCRIPTION:Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Events. We would like
    to remind you of the following event: TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does
    IT: Designing, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishi
    ng Portals (Level 300). nnPlease review the information below.nnEvent
    Code: 1032396521nEvent Name: TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Desi
    gning, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Porta
    ls (Level 300)nStart Date: 1/27/2009nStart Time: 9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pac
    ific Time (US & Canada)nEnd Date: 1/27/2009nEnd Time: 10:30 AM (GMT-08:0
    0) Pacific Time (US & Canada)nnPlease click on the following link for mo
    re information regarding this Event
    spx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4. We look forward to seeing you at the Event!
SUMMARY:Live Webcast - TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing,
    Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Leve
    l 300)
    N">n<HTML>n<HEAD>n<META NAME="Generator" CONTENT="MS Exchange Server ve
    rsion 08.00.0681.000">n<TITLE></TITLE>n</HEAD>n<BODY>n<!-- Converted f
    rom text/plain format -->nn<P><FONT SIZE=2>Thank you for your interest i
    n Microsoft Events. We would like to remind you of the following event: Te
    chNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deployi
    ng SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300). </FONT></P>nn<
    P><FONT SIZE=2>Please review the information below.</FONT>n</P>nn<P><FO
    NT SIZE=2>Event Code: 1032396521</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>Event Name: Te
    chNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deployi
    ng SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300)</FONT></P>nn<P>
    <FONT SIZE=2>Start Date: 1/27/2009</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>Start Time:
    9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US &amp; Canada)</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SI
    ZE=2>End Date: 1/27/2009</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>End Time: 10:30 AM (GM
    T-08:00) Pacific Time (US &amp; Canada)</FONT>n</P>nn<P><FONT SIZE=2>P
    lease click on the following link for more information regarding this Even
    t <A HREF="
    >. We look forward to seeing you at the Event!</FONT></P>nn</BODY>n</HT

Is it just me or is there some variance between the two iCalendar objects?  The Google iCalendar specification for formatting of an iCalendar object merely requires:

PRODID:< [enter ID information here] >
(other header information goes here)
(event details for individual event)
(event details for individual event)

Any thoughts on why the variance of the objects would cause an issue for the first ICS to not be importable, but the second could be after being processed by Outlook 2007?

At a minimum, remember to signup for the event to hear Spence on SharePoint 🙂

MSDN Webcast ICS
Outlook 2007 MSDN Webcast iCalendar ICS file

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What’s in your Website?

This afternoon while scaling through Google Reader, attempting to catch up on what’s going on in the SharePoint Community, I came across Mike Gannotti’s “Websites as Graphs” post.  I remember coming across a similar generator several years ago but thought, why not see what my current site looks like – besides everyone likes visualizations and spider charts right?  There are some other nifty displays of “popular” websites such as CNN, Yahoo, etc. over at Websites as graphs.

So without further adieu, SharePoint Dan in its infancy (maybe a year from now I’ll do an update to show how it’s changed…)

Web Site Graph of

But what do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

What’s in your Website?  Websites as graphs

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Q6600 Upgrade and RAM… lots of RAM…

A few weeks ago I happened upon Dell’s support manual for the Dell Dimension E510.  I was doing a little investigative research to check out how much RAM they supported and scratched my head when I saw that they supported 8 GB of RAM.  How could this be?  My Dell Dimension E520 only supports 4 GB, or at least that’s what the Dell manual states.

After a little more investigation, and looking at Intel’s G965 Express Chipset tech documents, it appears that Dell’s documentation is lacking as the chipset will support 8 GB of RAM and will support various quad core processors as well.

So what did I do?  I upgraded from my Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo Dual Core 2.13 GHz Processor to an Intel Q6600 Core 2 Duo Quad Core 2.4 GHz Processor.  Oh, and for kicks, I upgraded from 4 GB of RAM to 8 GB of RAM and installed Windows Server 2008 x64 Standard Edition as the core operating system.  Needless to say, it’s screaming.

What’s next on the shopping list?  Samsung SpinPoint F1 750 GB 32 MB Cache SATA II hard drives… it’s time to ramp up the space that’s available to work with Virtual Machines.

Where does these lead me?  Basically it provides a decent platform to be able to actual do some real testing and code development for a few different things that have been mulling around in the back of my head for the past few months.

We’ll see how this ends up working out… I think I might prolong procurement of any Mac products for the foreseeable future.

Infrastructure Technology

Sun xVM VirtualBox – Small Footprint, Speedy

So I came across an article earlier today making mention of Sun’s xVM standards compliant Virtual Sandbox software and I figured, "It’s free and it looks halfway decent, plus it’s standards compliant."

So a quick visit over to Virtual Boxes web site ( and a little download magic and I was off and running setting up my first Virtual Machine using Sun’s software.

win2k8-sunVirtualBox Needless to say, my first impression is that while it may not have all the fancy features that VMWare Workstation has or Microsoft Virtual PC, its small footprint makes up for it as it blazes ahead.

Additionally, it’s cross platform nature allows you to quickly and easily take a virtual machine from one platform (Mac OS-X) over to another quickly (Windows XP) without the need for exporting a machine or going through a laborious process to bring it across.

I’m sure that I’ll find some bugs in it over the next few days, but I thought it would be interesting nonetheless to try it out for the sake of being vendor neutral in the realm of virtualization.


Skype Finally Supports Skype Out Numbers in the US!

Alright, so this is completely devoid of anything to do with SharePoint, but I was pleasantly surprised this evening when placing a call to a colleague over Skype and having him tell me that a local number in his exchange was showing on caller ID.  Sure enough, not only can my SkypeOut number show up, my mobile number can show up when using Skype.


Needless to say, "like whoa!" as Keanu would say…

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