Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Mastering Windows Vista
I've also watched 15+ hours of video using a CBT Nuggets product with James Conrad. This was quite the undertaking (3 hours the first day, then two 6 hour days), most of the content I was familiar with, but there were a few gems I may need for the exam or work in general. James is quite chatty, cracks himself up and sometimes makes some amusing metaphors and examples, one was (I'm paraphrasing), "Imagine having a three year old that just ate a box of Twinkies." I give this product a mild recommendation, as it was interesting most of the time and the presentation was definitely workable.
Additionally I've read free guides from ProProfs and took a couple of sample tests from MeasureUp. Both of which were worthwhile.
Now with all this time in, I'm feeling pretty good about passing the test, I'll know tomorrow afternoon for sure...
Monday, September 29, 2008
Google as IT
One of my favorite resources is Google's Special Searches which are narrowly defined for Microsoft, Linux, Apple and BSD (also for the U.S. Gov't, but they don't really help with computers). Being able to trim out a lot of the chaff saves time usually wasted scanning over irrelevant results.
So next time you're troubleshooting, give the special search a try.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
IM Chattin' Part Deux
The install and configuration was lackluster, it didn't really like to stay online and I had to click an "Allow" prompt for Miranda IM to interface with Skype (which had to be running), everytime the client started. The main reason for trying the new chat client was software unification, so not only did I have to run Skype, but I had to acknowledge access for the Skype plugin. This left me asking, "Why should I need to be involved in this?"; it should be seemless and happen without any input on my part.
So aside from the dull interface, I suppose Miranda IM is an okay multi-platform client (if you don't need the Skype plugin), but for the price Trillian Basic is still the way to go.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Microsoft Press E-books
This isn't to say other publishers like Sybex and O'Reilly don't do this, but it seems far more common with MS Press. Anyone who's lugged a 1310 page tome around with them can appreciate a searchable PDF.
For the last few months, my first search on a given tech subject is for a MS Press book with an eBook.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
VMware Server 2.0 Released
I've used this quite a lot at client sites, hosting a Windows workstation to add to a domain without having a GPO applied to my company laptop. This has also been invaluable in testing Linux and Windows configurations alike, without distubing a production environment.
If you haven't used it yet, give it a try, the price is unbeatable.
Network Card Unseen
After trying to get Windows XP to discover the device for a few minutes, I rebooted, went into the BIOS (use F1, not the blue ThinkVantage button) and reset the BIOS to defaults. Once it rebooted, Windows found and automatically installed the NIC driver. Problem solved.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
The template is in PDF form, but if there are requests for an editible format (Word), I'll post a that as well.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Free Exchange Presentations
This is an excellent free resource for anyone looking to expand their Exchange knowledge.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Vista Ready Boost
Curious as to what allocation unit size to choose when formatting for optimal Ready Boost, I read a number of blogs, The Vista Forums, Tom Archer's Blog, Notebook Review Forum and more. But as I browsed, I didn't seem to get the answer I was looking for, so I just experimented.
Most of the articles say to format the card as FAT, but I need encryption on the card to store backup data, so NTFS was needed. After the first formatting at the default size, 4096 bytes, it showed as unusable for Ready Boost. After a couple of tries, I found the winning size was the largest size, 64 kilobyte, which allowed Ready Boost to work and give me the encryption I require. If I get bored, maybe I'll try other allocation unit sizes and do a comparison; okay it'll never happen, I'm never bored.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Company Infrastructure Template
This "catch-all" document can be a central repository for network, system and vendor information, something to use to survey the environment for an audit, or when handing off to / indoctrinating a new IT person. Not all of the entries may be relevant and there will be some line items that need to be added, but hopefully this help you get started.
Here's an abridged overview I created for a client, much of it has been gutted and fictious information added to obfuscate the company.
The template is in PDF format, but if there's a request for something editable, I will make the Word format available as well.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Hand me my Sceptre
My new 24" Sceptre LCD monitor just arrived, in fact I'm looking using it now while writing this post. What I replaced was a very nice, but old and power hungry, 21" Dell Trinitron CRT which is now on Craigslist as I write.
I bought it from CompUSA for $329.41, with shipping and no tax (you'll have to pay tax if you live in Illinous I imagine). During my three month search, I examined numerous comparison shopping sites, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, a 24" LCD with reasonable specs at a decent price. Last week while drilling down through the selection of LCDs yet one more time on PriceGrabber I found the Sceptre LCD. I've seen Sceptre LCD televisions at Costco, but they were usually sub-par. This monitor had some pretty good reviews, so I took the plunge.
I'm happy to say this is a nice looking, quality monitor and of course at 1920x1200 there's a huge viewing area. All-in-all this product has my recommendation!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
You can take pictures anytime during the game, but I setup a custom race so it would be a location, track and weather of my choosing. Once I found the right spot, near Big Ben with the London Eye in the background, the Aston Martin DBS speeding through the rain soaked streets, I paused the race, found an esthetically pleasing angle and snapped my photo. Once it was uploaded I went to the PGR Nations web site, logged in and downloaded my picture.
Larger picture here.
It's now my current wallpaper, but I'm working on more. Time for some good Z06 pictures.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Oh no!!! It's 8-bit MIME
Diagnostic-Code: smtp;554 5.6.1 Body type not supported by Remote Host
Turns out that the Windows SMTP service (what Exchange 2000/2003 uses to transfer mail) advertises 8-bit MIME, which isn't compatible with some mail servers (they were using Postfix). In any case it was causing a lot of bounced mail and unhappy employees.
After a bit of searching, the answer turned up in a Knowledge Base article, 262168.
The fix was mostly straight forward and I was able to use their commands verbatim. But there was one hiccup, the utility that is used, mdutil.exe, is not on the Windows 2003 Server disk and not available for download. I dug through my ever handy pile of disks and found a Windows 2000 Server CD which held the compressed file.
Once the fix was applied, mail detente was achieved between the OS factions.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Being self-employed (and the only employee) it is very useful to be able to communicate, with clients and colleagues, realtime without spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone. Clients who need information or have an issue can contact me at a moment's notice and garner my immediate attention. With colleagues it is a great tool for us to use when needing quick advice regarding a script, command, confirmation regarding the best course of action or a myriad of other things.
Of course when you're talking a handful of customers and a couple dozen friends, colleagues plus family, they all use differing clients: AIM, MSN, Skype, Yahoo, etc. To that end, I currently use both Trillian and Skype. In my constant effort to save computer resources I recently found an excellent comparison site on Wiki which pointed me to a number of multi-protocol IM clients. The one which holds the most promise (for Windows, my main platform) is Miranda IM.
Miranda IM was an easy install and I added the Skype plugin. The interface isn't as nice as Trillian or Skype, but certainly functional.
I'll give it a try for a few weeks and post more then...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Vista Exam 70-620
With the exam approaching in two short weeks I hope to have this book finished along with my CBT from CBT Nuggets. I'll post when I finish the book and again when using the CBT. Now if I could just find the time to do all this (and play Project Gotham Racing).
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Perhaps others are getting more out of it, I know it was a font of information after a recent natural disaster. But I wonder if it was in the vein of "picking up my stuff" and "turning the coach back over and I found some loose change". Hopefully someone can post a few reasons why one would continue Twitting. I'll keep using it for a while, but if it doesn't start becoming useful in a few weeks, I'm done.
Friday, September 12, 2008
My view of LinkedIn was changed earlier this week when I actually got a prospective customer call based on their LinkedIn search. I met with them today and if all goes well it will be my truly useful use for the site.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Nokia Gets ActiveSync
To my last point, I am now searching for a phone to replace my aged Palm. I've been with Verizon now for over nine years and my contract is ending this December. After all this time, it's time to weigh my options and it's great to have another few dozen phones thrown into the mix...
The registration for AdSense and generation of the ad wasn't difficult, placing it in the template was a little agitating. It turns out the template is confused as to which side is right and left, which caused the AdSense Managerplugin to place it over the text on the wrong side. Maybe it's supposed to be from the prospective of sitting inside the monitor looking out, but I think that's a long shot. Anyway, I just edited the code using Vi on the server and I was off to the races. Hopefully I'll earn enough for a six-pack before the year is out...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'm going to use this to act as a backup for my wife's important directories so she (read: me) won't have to worry about losing her files.
I have to give credit to Paul Thurrott who mentioned how much he liked Mesh on his podcast.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Not This Theme
There seems to be an endless supply of choices at Free Wordpress Templates where I found the current one. The search continues...
A little about me... My name's Tom, I've been in IT for 11 or so years, mostly as a consultant, and have seen a few things, good, bad and lame. I'll try to share some of my experiences, plus maybe even something useful time to time like a new utility, blog or webpage. I imagine some posts will cover other tech items like cars, video games and my search for the right cell phone.
We'll see where it goes and how the site evolves. It took quite a while just to choose a theme (which may still change), hopefully the next updates will go a little faster (like fleshing out the About page).
So welcome and I'll try to make this worth everyone's time.