Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to Import your Facebook Events Calendar into your Personal Calendar

Facebook has really taken off these days, especially for keeping in touch with friends, family and things you Like.  I’ve been invited to Halloween parties, Soccer matches, Work events, pretty much any invite these days comes in through Facebook.  It’s taken over as the new social scheduling calendar.

Unfortunately for many of us, that means copying the details out of the Facebook calendar and into the one we use most primarily.  As you probably guess, I use Outlook/Exchange for my work functions, but for my home and personal events, I use Windows Live Calendar..

Recently I stumbled across a post from Sean Bonner on how to import your Facebook events into Google Calendar, discovered through one of my favorite blogs, LifeHacker.  All Sean is using is the iCal format, and not only Google Calendar supports this format.  In fact, most things do!  So I’m going to expand on his instructions, and provide you the same instructions for Outlook 2007/2010 and Windows Live.  Additionally I copied his steps for Google to have them all in one place.

Here’s how I did it.  First we need to get the iCAL internet link from Facebook:

  1. In Facebook, Go to your Events page
  2. At the top of this page, click Export Events, Facebook will give you a URL for the iCAL of your private events function.
  3. Don’t click and save the ICAL file, simply copy the link to your clipboard

 Facebook iCAL export

At this point you’re ready to import this link into a number of different calendar programs, choose the one that you use:

Windows Live Calendar

Windows Live Calendar is where I keep all my personal events, so I’m going to show this one first.

  1. Open your Live Calendar
  2. Click the Subscribe button at the very top of the page

Windows Live Calendar

  1. Paste the Facebook iCAL link from above into the Calendar URL
  2. Give it a calendar name, I called it “Facebook Calendar”
  3. Click subscribe, and then Done on the next page

The Windows Live Calendar will refresh every 24-hours from the Facebook feed.  Mine refreshed around midnight PST and then took another day to update.

Outlook 2007

  1. Flip to the Calendar mode and choose File and Import and Export…
  2. Select to Import an iCalendar (.ics) or vCalendar file (.vcs) and click Next.
  3. A familiar dialog will open asking you for a file name.  Paste in the Facebook iCAL URL from above and click Open
  4. The next dialog offers you a choice to import as a new or into your current calendar.  If you import into your current calendar, you can’t quickly remove it.  So I choose as Open as New.
  5. Outlook then names your calendar in the “Other Calendars” section based on the URL, To fix that, I right-clicked on this and choose Properties.
  6. I just chose a name and typed that in, such as “Facebook” Outlook 2007 Properties
  7. Chose OK

Now you’ll see your Facebook calendar next to your other calendar and you can drag and drop the ones you want into your actual calendar (if you want it on your Windows Mobile phone for example).  You can also turn this calendar on and off.

The challenge here is I don’t think that Outlook 2007 will auto-refresh this one, at least I can’t figure out why mine won’t refresh.  Seems to me like an area the Office team has improved on (given the Beta of 2010).

Outlook 2010

Outlook 2010 is still in Beta, so these steps might change slightly.  This is much simpler than Outlook 2007

  1. Change to the Calendar mode and select the down arrow next to Open Calendar, then select From the Internet


  1. Paste in the Facebook iCAL URL from above and choose OK.
  2. Click the Advanced… button, given the folder name the name of the calendar like “Facebook” and click OK.
  3. Click Yes to subscribe to updates

I’ve noticed that Outlook 2010 takes about 30 mins to 1 hour to obtain any new items that appear in the Facebook calendar, this is the fastest of the lot.  I guess I’d suspect this since you’re doing it for yourself, where the other hosted services are doing it for millions of people.

Google Mail

As I mentioned earlier, this section is courtesy of Sean Bonner.

  1. In Google Calendar, you’ll see Other Calendars on the left, click the Add link and choose Add by URL


  1. Paste in the Facebook iCAL link you copied earlier

The Google Calendar will refresh every 12-24-hours from the Facebook iCal feed.  Everything I can find online says it’s 24-hours, but from my experience it’s twice/day

Once you set this up, Facebook becomes just a little bit more powerful, and you become just a little bit more in the know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet Jonas Svensson – Community Program Manager for Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Home Server


Many of the products that you use everyday are faceless and may be hard to identify with. We thought it would be interesting to put a face behind Windows Home Server and give you a chance meet some of the people that work on Windows Home Server day in and day out. I will be introducing you to different areas of the team, but we will start with our Community Program Manager, Jonas Svensson.

Jonas is someone that you may have already met. As our Community Program Manager, he participates in multiple events event throughout the year that you have possibly attended including SMB Nation and PDC. In this interview, you will find out how he contributes to the team and how Windows Home Server is a part of his daily life. Enjoy!

Trackback to The Windows Home Server Blog

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to make a USB Thumb-drive bootable

Windows 7

With the impending general availability of Windows 7 tomorrow.  I thought I’d share a Windows 7 trick (although I have heard it works on Vista too, I have not done it.

One of the handy tricks I have used for installing Windows 7 on all my machines in my house is to boot off a USB Thumb-drive (also known as flashdisk).  Not only is the Thumb-drive faster than the DVD drives in many of my computer, it helps me load Win7 on my Netbook as well!

The requirement on the target computer is that the BIOS is new enough to support booting from USB devices, usually there is a specific option for flash disk.

Just a warning that this procedure will wipe all the data on the thumb-drive to setup the bootable partition.

So here is how you do it:

  1. Insert your USB thumb-drive into your machine, preferably a Windows 7 machine
  2. Open the command prompt (Start, then run, then cmd.exe if you need that)
  3. type in diskpart
  4. Inside diskpart you’ll want to do the following
    1. list disk (remember the disk number for they key, we’ll call this X)
    2. select disk X
    3. clean (WARNING: this will erase the whole thumb-drive)
    4. create part pri (this creates a new primary partition)
    5. select part 1
    6. format fs=ntfs quick
    7. active
    8. exit
  5. Close the command prompt window

At this point you can copy over ANY bootable DVD into the root of the thumb-drive, insert it into the target machine and then select to boot from the USB key (note, this requires the BIOS to support it).  Also, do not set your BIOS to boot from the thumb-drive first, otherwise you’ll get into an endless loop.  It’s best to use that “F12” ontime boot menu.

I use this not only to install Windows 7 on all my clients, but I also use it to install builds of Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Builds of Windows Home Server for testing.  It cuts down on wasted DVDs, being a little greener.

A visual guide is also over on – How to boot/install Vista from a USB flash drive

UPDATE: If you own a Netbook, Microsoft will help you create a USB flash-drive to make it Windows 7.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Top Mac OS (OS X) Security Myths

CRN, a pretty active magazine in the small business space has a great article on what to watch out for when installing MACs into your business, or that connect to your business.  Most of it boils down to protecting the end-user from themselves.  I’m copying the article below, but here is the original article.

Mac OS X = Security?

Mac OS X = Security?
You've heard the rumors: Macs are safer than PCs. Macs don't need separate antivirus software. Snow Leopard is the safest OS in existence. The list goes on and on. But how many of those claims are the truth and how many are just, well, myths? We explored fact vs. fiction, and here is what we came up with.


Myth 1: Macs Are Safer Than PCs

Myth 1: Macs Are Safer Than PCs
Thanks to aggressive marketing from Apple, Mac users often think they are impervious to the viruses, Trojans and numerous other assaults that have plagued Windows users for decades. Security experts say that if Mac users are less susceptible to attack, it's simply due to the fact that there are fewer viruses written for Macs than for Windows. That is rapidly changing, however, as Macs gain market share. Meanwhile, users who have the unfortunate experience of being attacked by information-stealing Trojans will likely have their systems compromised and their data stolen ... just like every other PC user out there.

Myth 2: Macs Have Fewer Vulnerabilities Than Windows

Myth 2: Macs Have Fewer Vulnerabilities Than Windows
Not true. In fact, studies have shown that Macs actually have MORE vulnerabilities than their Windows counterparts, experts say. The reason? Constituting a "seek and ye shall find" phenomenon, it was simply a matter of attention, experts say. Some maintain that Apple's credibility in the security community increased as it gained traction in the marketplace. Others contend that a disproportionate amount of researchers in the field prefer Apple, and subsequently put their efforts into finding Windows' vulnerabilities instead. But once security experts began to seriously research Apple, the number of vulnerabilities increased exponentially, experts say. However, whether exploits target those vulnerabilities is another question.

"We can compare it to the situation with Internet Explorer and Firefox. Lots of people were saying that [Firefox] was so much more secure than IE," said Roel Schouwenberg, senior antivirus researcher for Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab. "It actually gained in popularity. Now all of a sudden a lot of vulnerabilities were being found in Firefox. I don't think you can underestimate the importance of market share."

Myth 3: Mac OS X Users Don't Need A Separate Antivirus Solution

Myth 3: Mac OS X Users Don't Need A Separate Antivirus Solution
Not so. Not even Apple says that anymore, even if it has downplayed the fact that users also should equip themselves with third-party antivirus software. There are just too many Mac Trojans and viruses out there that can evade Mac's built-in security systems -- and the numbers are growing.

"If you look at the Apple consumer base, and how they generally tend to think about security, the vast majority of Apple users will assume this is all they need," Schouwenberg said. "It's really nothing fancy and it can be easily bypassed."

Fortunately, there also are a number of antivirus offerings specifically designed for the Mac OS X platform.

Myth 4: The Antivirus Feature In Snow Leopard Is Enough To Protect Users

Myth 4: The Antivirus Feature In Snow Leopard Is Enough To Protect Users
Or not. If anything, experts say, the antivirus feature lulls users into a false sense of security -- that is to say, even more than the one they already had. Apple turned heads earlier this month with the release of its Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard, which touted that it came equipped with antivirus and additional security features. However, upon closer inspection, security experts said that the built-in antivirus feature was designed to block a whopping total of two -- yes, two -- Mac Trojans, despite the fact that researchers have detected dozens of malicious threats that target the Mac OS X platform. According to researchers at Intego, the built-in antivirus only scans files on a handful of applications, including Safari, Mail, iChat, Firefox, Entourage and a few other browsers, but fails to scan from other sources, such as BitTorrent or FTP files.

Myth 5: Most Mac Exploits Target The Operating System

Myth 5: Most Mac Exploits Target The Operating System
No. Actually, experts maintain that most of the attacks targeting Mac OS X will exploit the Web browser, and ultimately, the user's behavior. As in any PC, the biggest threat typically starts with the user and quite often via e-mail -- falling for phishing sites, clicking on malicious links, surfing infected Web sites, etc.

And as with their PC counterparts, Mac Trojans are becoming more sophisticated and stealthy, frequently designed to steal information and evade antivirus software. This means that as Mac's market share further grows well into the double digits, users can only expect to see more Trojans, worms and other Web-based threats taking over their favorite machines.

"The main danger for Mac comes not from the operating system but it comes from the behavior of the user," said David Perry, director of global education for Trend Micro. "Falling for bad phishing Web sites, responding to ads on Craigslist -- that is enough so that the end user requires additional protection."

Myth 6: Apple Is Just Like Microsoft And Has An Army Of Security Henchmen

Myth 6: Apple Is Just Like Microsoft And Has An Army Of Security Henchmen
Er, no. In fact, the company's historic lack of emphasis on security issues has left Apple vastly underprepared to deal with the barrage of anticipated Mac malware coming down the pike. Experts contend that Apple lacks the necessary manpower to create and test patches on a monthly basis and still needs the extensive specialized team needed to develop significant changes to Mac OS X internals that would make the platform more resilient to sophisticated malware attacks. And security experts also emphasize that Cupertino needs to stay on top of security issues in its open source projects and third-party components.

However, Apple appears to be trying. In light of a groundswell of Mac OS X malware, Apple recently hired its first security guru, the former head of security architecture at One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Ivan Krstic, to oversee the security division at Apple.

Myth 7: Apple Needs To Implement A Monthly Update Cycle Like Microsoft

Myth 7: Apple Needs To Implement A Monthly Update Cycle Like Microsoft
Not necessarily, security experts say. This is simply due to the fact that there still isn't the necessary volume of vulnerabilities to warrant a monthly update cycle. However, experts agree that Apple could definitely stand to address security bugs in a more timely manner. After all, there are more efficient ways to repair vulnerabilities than with a patch that averages 70 to 80 fixes every few months.

Meanwhile, Apple scrambled to repair a six-month-old critical Java vulnerability this spring after -- but only after -- researcher Landon Fuller published a proof of concept exploit exposing the flaw six months after it was first detected. Yowza.

However, Apple will likely consider a more frequent patch cycle as malware authors more frequently find ways to launch attacks that exploit its vulnerabilities.

Myth 8: Unlike Windows Viruses, Mac Malware Is A Recent Phenomenon

Myth 8: Unlike Windows Viruses, Mac Malware Is A Recent Phenomenon
Actually, some of the first and most destructive viruses were initially written for Mac, experts say -- back in the 1980s when Mac still had sizable market share. Viruses for Macs dropped significantly in the mid 90s, along with Mac's market share and credibility in the marketplace. But the viruses have since experienced a resurgence as Mac gained popularity after 2001 with its Tiger, Leopard and now Snow Leopard operating systems.

Myth 9: There Is Only A Handful Of Mac Malware, And It's Pretty Benign

Myth 9: There Is Only A Handful Of Mac Malware, And It's Pretty Benign
Granted, the number of Trojans and worms targeting the Mac platform does not even come close to the number for Windows platforms. That said, some of the current malware is pretty destructive. Last year a Mac Trojan swept from machine to machine, forcing users to download bogus antivirus software. Earlier this year, Mac users were pummeled with two variants of a Mac-only iServices Trojan distributed via pirated versions of Apple's productivity suite iWorks and cracked Adobe Photoshop CS4 applications. The Trojans later developed into a full-fledged global botnet that infected more than 40,000 Macs. And experts say that Mac users can expect to see more drive-by and browser attacks.

Myth 10: Mac Users Will Surely Complain When Security Issues Become A Problem

Myth 10: Mac Users Will Surely Complain When Security Issues Become A Problem
Here's the thing -- experience is always the best teacher. Unlike PC owners, Mac users are simply not used to dealing with rampant malware, experts say. As a result, Mac users are much more likely than their Windows counterparts to underprotect their machines, or not protect them at all. PC owners acknowledge, in fact expect, that their machines will be riddled with security flaws, which leaves them susceptible to all kinds of malicious code. If their PCs are a little slow or erratic, most will simply download that antivirus upgrade they had been meaning to install and go about their day. Not so Mac owners, who often assume that they're perfectly safe, even when they're not. So the upshot is, Mac owners don't know what they don't know. And that could likely be the biggest mistake of all.