Windows Live Writer

After I spent some hours yesterday night to get some information from the Net, I downloaded the latest version of the blogging software from Microsoft.  Currently I post in this personal weblog only by using the web interface provided by the WordPress engine, while I use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to write down the articles I publish on my corporate blog.

Whereas I’ve already tested some blogging tools like the Zoundry Blog Writer, I choose to use Microsoft Word because of the need to send all posts to a person who checks the language before publishing.  Moreover, I’ve told that the Microsoft tool for blogging, almost in its beta release, was something ugly to use and badly integrated with the most of blogging engines.

Yesterday night I read a good review of the latest revision of Windows Live Writer, so I decided to have a try with it, and I realized it is the best blog writer I’ve ever tested since I began to writing and publishing articles in that way! Despite of its beta revision status, it looks like a fully functional and perfectly integrated tool, both with the WordPress and the Community Server engines. Saving local drafts in the user’s personal documents folder is a great feature for persons like me that have it redirected on a server share, since I can start writing a post on a PC and complete it on another.

The only thing I wish, and I think Microsoft will do so, is to get the blogging feature of Live Writer integrated with other writing tools (maybe in the Office System), to make even more simple to edit, print, save and share blog posts, as we do with any other Office document.

New home page

Yesterday I finally published a first page for the Phoibos blog hosting web site. Since I moved the hosting platform from WordPress µ to a collection of WordPress 2.0.4 sites, the first page has been publishing only a poor list of the active weblogs. By copying some elements of the wp-admin subsite I was able to create in a few minutes a good-looking page referencing all the hosted web spaces. I preferred to use skin elements of WordPress to gain the advantages this brand can bring to impress fist time users.

DNS Server publishing troubles

Yesterday I realized that my primary public DNS server was not reachable from the Internet. Suddenly I thought it was a firewall rule problem, since I recently had migrated the single ISA Server 2004 virtual machine to a new ISA 2006 high-available array, but I was wrong: nothing about the ISA configuration, neither about the ifconfig on the published BIND server.

It has took me almost one day to realize that the randomly behavior of the publishing service was due probably to the NLB driver running in multicast mode. When it process UDP requests as common DNS lookups, it creates an association between the client and the NLB node: this is called “client affinity”. When the affinity is established between a resolver and the GE1FW02 node, it seems there are problems related with a timeout serving the request.

I have temporary workarounded this problem by publishing the BIND server with a reverse DNS proxy rule, so by making ISA Server change the header of IP packet to show this internal IP as the source address for all the lookups coming from the External network, but that’s not all… I want to know if the problem really show up only with DNS lookups are served by the second NLB node, by stopping the first node but, obviously, without creating any disruption to external Internet clients. I’ll post the results later…