random patching

I spent a bunch of time on Friday night bringing my various home machines up-to-date with patches and software updates. The impetus for that was largely this security hole in Windows, which seems to be the biggest vulnerability that’s cropped up with Windows in quite a while.

I was also interested in updating my VMWare Fusion install to 2.0. Ars Technica has a good review of Fusion 2 up on their site. I did the upgrade, and it was pretty smooth, but I haven’t had time to play around with it enough to tell if it will work any better on my old MacBook than the previous version.

I realized that I hadn’t turned my Dell Vista laptop on in about a month, so there were plenty of patches and updates to run on that. And I hadn’t started the virtual machine I have set up under Fusion in a while either, so there were a bunch of patches to install on that too.

On Saturday, I remotely applied a whole bunch of patches to our servers at work. The main goal was to get that Windows patch on all the servers, but I also had a bunch of other patching to do. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d never updated our main SQL 2005 server to SP2. That had been on my to-do list for about a year. And I had to apply a cumulative post-SP2 patch file to our HR/payroll SQL server, since our HR/payroll software vendor requires that I bring the server up to that level before I can apply their year-end update. It took about three hours to get all that done. Happily, nothing locked up at any point, so I didn’t have to drive into the office just to power cycle a server. (And, yes, I know there are devices that would allow me to power cycle a machine remotely. But we can’t buy any new equipment right now.)

I have one Windows 2000 server that’s hanging up on one of the updates. I’ll probably have to bring that one up to date in safe mode or something. I really don’t know what’s wrong with it, and I’d like to just get everything off it and moved to a WIndows 2003 machine, but I don’t have the time right now.

I got some interesting errors on the two machines to which I applied SQL updates. There’s a long thread on this problem here, at the Microsoft forum site. I haven’t figured out if this error is actually going to be a problem or not. There’s certainly a lot of confusing (and sometimes conflicting) advice out there on it.

I’ve been watching the Jets game today, and enjoying the newest Mac vs PC ads that Apple’s been airing. The theme is basically how Microsoft is spending a bunch of money on advertising instead of fixing Vista. I have to say that I agree with that. This new security hole apparently exists in every version of Windows from Win 2000 to Vista and Win 2008 Server. There’s an interesting blog entry about MS08-067 and the SDL, covering the failure of the SDL (Security Development Lifecycle) to catch this bug. To quote from the article: “I’ll be blunt; our fuzz tests did not catch this and they should have.” I can’t help but think that a little bit of that Seinfeld cash might have caught this one earlier. I’m probably over-simplifying. These things are really complex, and a lot of stuff can go wrong that no pile of cash can fix.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the Giants game this afternoon. It should be a good one. Well, this was a really long (and probably boring) blog entry, but I haven’t written anything in a few weeks, so I was due for a long one. I’ve got a bunch more random thoughts in my head, but I’m going to resist the temptation to make this entry any longer!

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