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BizTalk 'unknown system exception'Wednesday 6th May 2009
I've been getting "unknown system exception" on a new bit of work I've been tinkering with in BizTalk 2006 R2.

There are a number of mentions to this on forums, with a lot of links to Eliasen's blog.

This refers to a Call Orchestration shape in an unreachable branch of a Decision shape.

Another theme is using generics in a serialisable class object.

Mine though, is nothing to do with any of these, so it looks like it's just a generic error that is thrown with no especially useful information.

I was referencing a promoted context property within a message assignment shape. Although I had forgotten to put in the property name in the parenthesis. So, it was just msgInput(). I put in the property I wanted to access and hey-presto. Everything builds!

PringlesTuesday 5th May 2009
Why is it, there is a clear inch of space between the top of the Pringles tube and where the crisps start?

I can sort of see how they can argue the lack of crisps in a packet - "They've just fallen to the bottom". But in a pack of Pringles, where they are all stacked??

Protecting your server from kiddiesMonday 4th May 2009
Running Linux is great, most the viruses and hacks out there won't work against you as they are largely designed for Windows.

This though presents a false sense of security. And with always-on bot-nets it won't be long until somebody comes past your address with a port scanner and find you're running a FTP or SSH daemon.

I've been noticing an increasing number of hackers just plodding through dictionary attacks against my server. Hitting it time after time to see if they can brute force their way in.

A good policy on usernames and passwords will prevent them from ever succeeding, but why give them the benefit?

There is a great tool for Linux called Fail2Ban. What this does is check your security logs for signs of a brute force attack (e.g. multiple failures) and blocks any communication from that IP address for a period of time.

In a day it's already blocked 8 such attacks. Although these I would hazard a guess are done by bored teenagers as activity during the week is next to nothing - it's only at the weekend they seem to crop up.

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