Top Canadian Security Threats in 2010

The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report for 2010 was released not too long ago.  It is a report on the threat landscape seen across 600 million systems worldwide.

This report has a summary for quite a number of countries (170 and counting), and Canada is in the list.  Here are the stats they found:

Microsoft detected malware on 4.2 of every 1,000 computers scanned in Canada in 4Q10 (a CCM score of 4.2, compared to the 4Q10 average worldwide CCM of 8.7).


  • The most common category in Canada in 4Q10 was Adware, which affected 35.6 percent of all cleaned computers, down from 41.0 percent in 3Q10.
  • The second most common category in Canada in 4Q10 was Misc. Trojans, which affected 35.3 percent of all cleaned computers, up from 29.0 percent in 3Q10.
  • The third most common category in Canada in 4Q10 was Misc. Potentially Unwanted Software, which affected 26.3 percent of all cleaned computers, down from 26.1 percent in 3Q10.

Managing Identity in SharePoint

Yet another presentation on the docket!  I submitted an abstract to SharePoint Summit 2011 and they accepted!  I will be presenting on SharePoint and how it manages Identity.  More specifically, how SharePoint 2010 uses WIF to handle Claims based authentication and Federation.

Here are the details

Event: SharePoint Summit 2011, January 31st 2011 – February 2nd, 2011

When: 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. February 1st, 2011

Where: Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto

Abstract: Managing identities within an organization is relatively easy. However, as business changes, we need to be able to adapt quickly. Identity is something that often gets overlooked in adaptation. In this session we will discuss the Windows Identity Foundation and how SharePoint uses it to adapt easily to change.


Putting the I Back into Infrastructure

Tonight at the IT Pro Toronto we did a pre-launch of the Infrastructure 2010 project.  Have you ever been in a position where you just don’t have a clear grasp of a concept or design?  It’s not fun.  As a result, CIPS Toronto, IT Pro Toronto, and TorontoSQL banded together to create a massive event to help make things a little more clear.  To give you a clearer understanding of how corporate networks work.  Perhaps to explain why some decisions are made, and why in retrospect, some are bad decisions.

Infrastructure 2010 is about teaching you everything there is to know about a state-of-the-art, best practices compliant, corporate intranet.  We will build, from the ground up, an entire infrastructure.  We will teach you how to build, from the ground up, an entire infrastructure.

Sessions are minimum 300 level, and content-rich.  Therefore:


Well, maybe.  (P.S. if you work for Microsoft, pretend you didn’t see that picture)

October 15th Evening SQL Server DBA Event: Disaster Recovery – Edwin Sarmiento, MVP for SQL Server

October 15th Evening SQL Server DBA Event: Disaster Recovery – Edwin Sarmiento, MVP for SQL Server

Speaker: Edwin M. Sarmiento, MVP for SQL Server

Date: Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Time: 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Venue: Microsoft Ottawa Office


Session 1 (6:00 PM to 7:10 PM):  Understanding and communicating business-orientated disaster recovery  concepts and objectives

So you have a database maintenance plan that does a backup of your databases and you’re pretty sure that it works fine. But is that really enough? Are you sure that you will be able to meet your service level agreements if and when disaster strikes? This session will explain the need for understanding and communicating business-orientated disaster recovery concepts and objectives to the business stakeholders. This will include defining your RPO and RTO and how it affects your disaster recovery plan.

Session 2 (7:20 to 8:30 PM):  Disaster Recovery for the Paranoid DBA

In the first session, much have been said about disaster recovery in general. In this session, we will look at bringing the concepts down to SQL Server. This session will focus on dealing with a recovery situation for a SQL Server 2005/2008 database, an instance or an entire server. Topics covered will be backup schemes, partial backups and piecemeal restores, page-level recovery and a thorough understanding of how to troubleshoot a "Suspect" database.

Edwin M. Sarmiento

Speaker Bio:

Edwin M. Sarmiento (MVP for SQL Server) works as a Senior SQL Server DBA/Systems Engineer for The Pythian Group in Ottawa, Canada. He is very passionate about technology but has interests in music, professional and organizational development, leadership and management matters when not working with databases. He lives up to his primary mission statement – "To help people grow and develop their full potential as God has planned for them.".


Pizza and pop will be provided.

Note: No one will be admitted by building security after 5:55 PM, and the event will start promptly at 6:00 PM. is a community group of Ottawa area developers and IT professionals.  We share an interest in Microsoft’s data technologies especially:  SQL Server, SharePoint, PerformancePoint, Workflow Foundations, LINQ, ADO.NET and Entity Framework.

Pictures from Techdays and FailCamp in Toronto

After getting my camera back from Mitch Garvis after Techdays and FailCamp in Toronto, I decided to upload photos from the events, and to my surprise there were some pretty good shots.  Here is what I came back with:














Presenting at Techdays 2009!

Still working out session details, but it looks like I will be presenting in Ottawa and Montreal for Techdays 2009.  I will be loitering around at the Toronto event soaking up all the techie-goodness, so come find me at any of the three events.  We can talk shop, shoot the breeze, or just mill about having a good time.

I promise I won’t embarrass anyone.  Except maybe myself.  But that’s a warning for all occasions.

Here are the dates of the events across Canada.  Buy your tickets before the early-bird deal runs out!

City Date Venue
VANCOUVER SEPTEMBER 14-15 Vancouver Convention Centre
TORONTO SEPTEMBER 29-30 Metro Toronto Convention Centre
HALIFAX NOVEMBER 2-3 World Trade & Convention Centre
CALGARY NOVEMBER 17-18 Calgary Stampede
MONTREAL DECEMBER 2-3 Mont-Royal Centre
OTTAWA DECEMBER 9-10 Hampton Inn & Convention Centre
WINNIPEG DECEMBER 15-16 Winnipeg Convention Centre

The Early Bird price is $299.  The regular Price is $599.

I will post more on the sessions I will be presenting at a later date when I get the full details.

See you there!

Poor Quebec, This is Terrible


Microsoft certainly isn’t to blame here, it’s a law in Quebec that prevents contests from happening.  Better chance for me to win it though!

Techdays 2009 – VIP Pricing

As budgets get tighter, Tech·Days is the perfect way to get the Tech·Ed experience without the travel expense, with two days of skill-strengthening education to help you position yourself for success by:

  • Learning the technology—with a customizable agenda from over forty sessions across five technical tracks on both current technologies and new products, like Windows® 7 and Microsoft® Exchange 2010;
  • Connecting with Experts and Peers—with Birds-of-a-Feather lunches and the new Windows 7 Zone, you'll have lots of opportunities to share your ideas with those who know the products best; and
  • Apply what you learn—with a Learning Kit packed with products and resources so you can continue to grow your skills long after the event has finished.

Technologies discussed: Windows 7 Operating System, Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating system, Visual Studio® 2008 development system, Silverlight™ browser plug-in, Exchange 2010, Security/Management, and more.

If you want the VIP Discount use the promo code TD09Partner.

City Date Venue
SEPTEMBER 14-15 Vancouver Convention Centre
SEPTEMBER 29-30 Metro Toronto Convention Centre
NOVEMBER 2-3 World Trade & Convention Centre
NOVEMBER 17-18 Calgary Stampede
DECEMBER 2-3 Mont-Royal Centre
DECEMBER 9-10 Hampton Inn & Convention Centre
DECEMBER 15-16 Winnipeg Convention Centre

Early Bird: $299, Regular Price: $599

There is a good chance I will be presenting at one (or more) of these locations, so keep an eye out.  In the event that I don’t, I will definitely be enjoying the Toronto stop of the tour.  In either case, I will be there ready to learn, with a pocket-full of business cards.

Oh, and I’ll be leaving with a box/bag/shopping cart* of swag.

*Metaphorical shopping cart.  They are going to give away lots of awesome stuff.

What Makes us Want to Program? Part 2

In my previous post I started talking about part of my personal history with software development, and when QBasic got me hooked.  I ended the post talking about the move to Canada.  We arrived in Canada literally a week (7 days exactly) before Grade 9 started.  After getting enrolled in school, I tried to find something to keep my mind occupied.  It was either that or contemplate what Grade 9 would be like for someone who used to live 3000 miles away in another country.  And winter.  Still 4 months away, but definitely something I didn’t want to think about.  Being that we moved to a house in the country, I couldn’t just walk around town either.  Mental occupation was harder than I thought.

So what does a 14 year old boy, new to the country, living in the middle of nowhere, do to keep himself from going crazy?  Install Linux of course!  I needed something to keep my interest, as well as to keep the gears in my head moving.  If memory serves, I started out with a vanilla copy of Red Hat Linux.  It was pretty easy to install, but being new to the OS architecture, the device mapping was a little confusing.  After a couple months of studying the Linux architecture, I started writing shell scripts, and even delved into the source code.  After testing some minor modifications to different components I started to learn the basis for the C/C++ languages.  Imagine that, a 14 year old kid understanding the basis for C++.

While trying to keep my mind still occupied, I came across an interesting find: The National Security Agency’s Security Enhanced Linux Kernel.  If compiled and installed wrong, you will destroy the build.  Learned that the hard way…  And seeing as I couldn’t find a proper driver for my modem anyway, I gave up on Linux and moved back to XP.  Not that the internet was all that useful anyway; I was connecting at 28.8 half the time.

Going back to the image in Part 1, I met an interesting character in school.  He turned out to be one of my best friends, and fellow developers, Greg. We started working on some odd projects here and there in VB, until I was tasked with building a web store.  Since I had never actually brought HTML and Dev together, I was a little nervous about what I was getting myself into.  Going with what I knew well, I started in ASP with VB code.  This was not ASP.NET.  Earlier, I had said I never found VB all that intuitive as a language.  The syntax never really made sense to me.  So my friend suggested I take a look at PHP as an alternative.  I liked it.

PHP had the flow of C, and the usefulness of VB.  With PHP I got the store finished and launched.  The site worked great.  I was 15.

Once the first spring of my existence in Canada rolled around, a couple friends and I decided to start a band.  We sucked.  But seeing as one of the other members was Greg, we had an awesome website.  We had media streaming, custom modified forums, and full site statistics.  The statistics were built around the forum.  The site pulled data from recent posts, recent events, and recent user logins, and compared the data to the media streams.  We could see who was doing what.  Mind you, there was only about 50 people who loitered around the site, but the site was a great proof of concept for what we could do.

Following the demise of the band, Greg and I were invited to a Microsoft hosted event.  It was here that I fell in love with ASP.NET.  Which I will discuss in Part 3.

What Makes us Want to Program? Part 1

When I saw this comic a couple weeks ago, it hit a chord just right with me.

Except of course it was PHP, and grade 9.  The funny thing was, I started writing programs way back when I was in grade 5.  I tried to start learning development when I was in grade 3.  Let me tell you, there are certain subtleties to programming that don’t quite become apparent to a 9 year old.

10 PRINT “Steve is Awesome!”
20 GOTO 10

While QBasic was fun to play with, I gave up on that when I found a book on Visual Basic in Grade 5.  I vaguely remember it being Visual Basic 5 too.  I could be wrong.  It was a little more than 10 years ago – you do the math.  The problem I found with VB was that it didn’t feel all that intuitive from a language perspective to me.  I could never find it to flow properly.  But at the time, that’s all I had to go on.  So I gave up on development for a while and tried my hand at HTML.  Once again, certain things just aren’t apparent at certain ages.  When I first tried HTML, I started in notepad.  Shortly thereafter I ended in notepad.  Maybe sports would be more fun?  Nah… Enter FrontPage a few months later.

After finally getting the hang of FrontPage, I built some amazing (read: ugly) sites.  All-in-all they weren’t bad for an 11 year old.

Once middle school rolled around, I tried my hand at the other sciences and found out I really enjoyed biology.  Being the semi-OCD-like person I am, I put all my attention into biology and medicine, with a curiosity for chemistry.  I knew way too much for my own good.

Now I have to mention that all of this is taking place in beautiful Southern California.  I was born and raised there for 14 years.  At the end of Grade 8, my parents decided to move to Canada.  Don’t ask - long story.  And at that time, I was still into the life sciences.  In my next post, I’ll continue on with my story.