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New additional blog (Added August 2011). Mickyj Mindspill at msmvps.com


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Monday 23 January 2006



Trucks, Trucks and more Trucks

wow, my little brother would be jealous. Today I am looking at the cabling of a Trucking company. Here I am surrounded by large Kenworth trucks. Some with one or two refrigerated trailers attached, some being repaired, some being washed. It was fantastic to see about 15 all lined up with the same cabs and paintwork. It was great to see into the pits they use for servicing and watch the Mobile tractor truck wash, wash the road grime off the trucks. It brings out one truth you will find anywhere. A Change is as good as a Holiday. Being an IT specialist it gives me the chance to do something different everyday. This is why I love IT.

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Friday 13 January 2006



Lucky escape

I have just been out to see a Novell 5.1 installation with Licensing issues. This was 130 kms away from my base of operation. Late that afternoon, on my return, I was overtaken by a car. I was doing the limit and this person passed me like I was stopped. The woman pulled off the road onto a side street further up.

As I neared Adelaide (about 50 kms ahead of where I saw this woman), Ambulances were going towards where I had been. Then the Rescue Helicopter flew over. I didn't think much of it until later on TV I saw the same car, head first into a tree and they were talking about the woman driver being Critical.

Talk about a lucky escape.

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Wednesday 11 January 2006



NMSN search ci page

Have you downloaded the new MSN Desktop Search facility ? I have two clients with unusable computers after doing so. The 3 Ghz laptop took 30 minutes to boot and just clicking the Start button meant a further 5 minutes wait. You could not do anything. The Content Indexer was switched on and the hard drive was being catalogues constantly. The hard drive activity was so heavy that we could do nothing. Uninstalling the tool bar and killing cideamon did the trick !

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Tuesday 10 January 2006



Recovering data from a PST or OST file

We have a client who has a corrupted PST file. We have used ScanPST and ScanOST from "C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\Mapi\1033" but this created a PST titled recovered and we could not more or import the files into the Exchange mailbox. We could not drag and drop items or folders. We could not import the PST and we could not change the view. If you had the subject view selected, we could read the emails and everything there. If we sorted by Size or date, everything vanished. Obviously, the PST is corrupted and we can only use it as a reference tool. Not so.

We made a new top level folder in the corrupt PST file. We could drag and drop folders and items within the Corrupt PST into this new folder. Once we had renamed all the recovered folders, we dragged this new top level folder out into the mailbox and we achieved a 100% recover of the data (1.7 Gb worth).

Now that is something worth remembering. I have since used this process 3 times and it has worked to a varying degree each time (but recovery of at least 90% was achievable each time).

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Friday 6 January 2006



I have just had an amazing experience and thought I would share it with you all. You might be able to use this if you need to recover lost data.

I am currently working on a network upgrade for a client. Part of this process is to wipe all desktops and create a standard operating environment. Whilst all care was taken to backup the users data, the boss's email PST files became corrupt on the backup (the Boss of all people). We lost all his email (5 years worth). He was using pop3 and never backed up his email. He was telling me he ran his whole business from his email. It had sales orders in it, invoices and contracts. It was crucial to the business. We had taken all steps in our Risk Analysis to make sure we had all the data but something obviously had gone wrong.

His machine had two partitions (C: and D:). The hard drive was fdisk'd, and made into 1 partition. Windows XP did a full format in NTFS. Windows XP Pro and then Office was reinstalled. Adobe acrobat writer, Drivers, MS Project and much more was reinstalled. Then we found out we needed the email PST's off the machine's previous file system (Which obviously no longer exist).

I found a tool that said it could recover data even if the drive had been partially overwritten (in this case a large chunk was overwritten). I ran it and would you believe, I found and recovered two PST files totaling almost 3 Gb. One was his archive and the other his main Outlook.pst. I opened them in Outlook and they worked. I looked all through the PST files and found no errors. I ran ScanPST and found no errors. I really have them back.

What are the chances ? 3 Gb of data from 5 years surely must have been fragmented it on the drive. No matter, this software got it back.

I fully recommend two programs for data recovery.

"File Scavenger" and "Recover My Files". You may already use these apps, you might not. Did you know it could recover this sort of thing ?

.... use wisely.

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Wednesday 4 January 2006



Ground Hog day
As I am a January MVP (Elected in Jan 03) and it is an Annual award, I am up for re-election (hopefully). This was to be announced 3rd Jan. Obviously I was very nervous come 3rd Jan. Then I found out, it needs to be 3rd Jan in the USA (One more day to wait) and then, we had to wait until January 4. I relived my anticipation and fears, three times. Talk about Ground hog day. Well I am happy to say I have been re-elected an MVP for Small Business Server. Time to open that Champaign :).

Well done to all the new MVP's and to all the returning MVP's, welcome back. You all deserve it.


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Monday 2 January 2006



It is time I practiced what I preach. I was running XP SP1 at home until today. I uninstalled my Antivirus, ran the appropriate Intel test (There is a patch for Intel CPU freezes under Windows XP SP2). I updated my Bios, removed all the automatically starting apps and stopped third party services. I ran all the Microsoft pre checks then installed XP SP2, which installed beautifully. Then I rebooted. My machine would just continually reboot. I tried to install the XP Recovery console, it would hang. I downloaded the XP SP2 boot disks and tried that recovery console. It also hung. I ran a Chkdsk on the drive whilst in another machine, found no errors. Retried the recovery console and it worked. I manually uninstalled XP SP2 from the recovery console and then rebooted fine. I went into Add/remove, removed XP SP2 and I am back to XP SP1. Looks like this is a challenge for another long weekend !

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Sunday 1 January 2006



Happy New Year!

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Sunday 25 December 2005



Merry Christmas!

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Friday 23 December 2005



To many SBS installs, not enough time.
Wow, SBS has been faithful to us. Copyworld have 5 network installs over the Christmas break. Wish us luck !


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Friday 16 December 2005



Dryzone
Now for something very different. I am the Executive Producer for a Short film called Dryzone. The Director worked on peaches with Baz Luhrmann. The film will go off to the Cannes festival and be sold throughout Australia. It is a community based film addressing Children's issues. I hope it is very successful.


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Monday 12 December 2005



When is SSL, not SSL ... When you have ISA.
So you have a router that uses https to access the configuration but does not use port 443 ? Maybe a secure website on the web you can access that does not use 443 ? Some other purpose ? It will not work from behind ISA. ISA assumes https = 443 unless you make some changes. All other ports for https will not work without the changes.

e.g. https://www.microsoft.com:5161/

- "Blank page or page cannot be displayed when you view SSL sites through ISA Server" refer KB 283284

Dim root
Dim tpRanges
Dim newRange
Set root = CreateObject("FPC.Root")
Set tpRanges = root.GetContainingArray.ArrayPolicy.WebProxy.TunnelPortRanges
set newRange = tpRanges.AddRange("SSL 10000", 10000, 10000)
tpRanges.Save


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Saturday 1 December 2005



Finally, chapter 12
Finally the book I am editing (SBS Essentials) has come to chapter 12. Wow, it has been a tough project. The book will be aimed at people wanting to build their first SBS servers (Business owners and the like). Look out for it from O'Riellys publishing. It will soon be available through Amazon.com and locally in Dymocks.

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Friday 2 December 2005



3 months - fist laugh
Wow, three months old and Sarah is laughing. She is almost crawling and starting to go from Baby to Toddler. She is even teething. They grow up quickly these days !

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Thursday 1 December 2005



Need a behemoth of a backup ?
Copyworld have just quoted on the biggest backup unit ever sold in Australia. This Sony unit should come with it's own limo. The tapes are over 1 TB and worth a few thousand each. This unit, called the fridge, is an amazing unit. It is interesting just how much you can backup on a single tape.

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Wednesday 30 November 2005



Sarah :)
Wow, our 12 week old Daughter, Sarah, has smiled for the first time. This is a great experience. One I never thought would mean so much. She is also trying to talk, all be it gibberish. Now if only I can interest her in SBS server ....

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Thursday 24 November 2005



If you watched "Today Tonight" on channel 7, yes that was me. The mobile phone scam story that Copyworld helped break went national. They tell me that TV makes you put on weight. I think I just need a better diet and exercise. http://seven.com.au/todaytonight/story/?id=25721

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Monday 21 November 2005



SBS users - awesome turnout
Today I presented on SharePoint Services. After the MFP, the turnout was huge. I had lots of great questions and was told my presentation was very well received. If you were there, thanks for your support. If you were not there, ... Why not ?

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Saturday 19 November 2005



Culminis newsletter
If you are a User group member and your group has joined Culminis, check out their latest newsletter. I have been quoted throughout and also have SBS testimonials.

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Friday 18 November 2005



Help me - see the Newsgroups
The newsgroups are flourishing with questions and answers. Do I see you in there ? If not, please consider joining the Microsoft public or Partner newsgroups. Download a client or use Outlook Express. Look us up and chuck in your questions.

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Thursday 17 November 2005



Copyworld Rocks
Yes, you heard it here. We have more network rollouts than we can handle. SBS is really working well for us. Over Christmas we are doing two or three network upgrades. We have extended our workforce and are looking at taking our I.T. to all our national locations. Myself and Mark got to hand out the freebies at the MFP, both of us are core members at the SBS users group and have seen phenomenal growth of our client base. Copyworld will be quoted on the next Microsoft Marketing CD's and will appear in some up and coming books in 2006.

Thank you SBS !

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Wednesday 16 November 2005



Brave but stupid
So lets assume you are stupid enough to brave a security alarm system. Wrestle an office window open with a piece of metal. Squeeze your arm in and wrench on the only visible LCD screen. Not only have you pulled the computer across the floor possibly damaging it, you pull the DVI video cable out of the back of the LCD screen rendering it useless (The cable soldered direct to the LCD board, not a plug). Lets see cash converters give you money for an LCD screen with no cable or connector.

- a note to the thieves of Adelaide who's most recent bargain will end up costing them.


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Tuesday 15 November 2005



VAIO, where for art thou my VAIO ?
Tonight we were invited along to see Sony's latest VAIO laptop machines. Everything from double layer Carbon fibre units with 4-5 mm think LCD screens to true wide screen, high def with Digital Tuners. The new bright white cold cathode tubes produce the best images I have ever seen and some units have 14 hr battery life. They have seen the light and are including SD card readers with their own Memory stick card readers. If you get the chance, check our the FJ and A series units. They are very cool and fast (And strong).


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Monday 14 November 2005



Laptop with 8 TV Tuners and 2 TB of space ?
A new Sony VAIO, not yet released and appearing only at trade shows, can record 8 TV channels at once. How much TV can you watch ? Apparently plenty. Look for these in the year to come !


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Saturday 12 November 2005



Today I helped my parents shift into their new home. A sea change as it were. It was sad to be going to my old home for the last time and trucking belongings 60 km away. It was easy to dwell in the sad thoughts of the day but I had a great reminder that life goes on. Whilst traveling the Pt Wakefield Highway, miles from anywhere, a fully laden semi trailer approached in the dark of night. It had red lights every 30 cm along it's side, front and back. It looked like a moving Christmas tree. I could not see the truck, just the lights. It was a fantastic view. I then crossed the plains towards Gawler (though the wheat fields) and I saw fireworks in the distance just over the city. I could just make out some of the city and the explosions overhead. Life does go on and has plenty yet for us to experience (I know - very philosophical)

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Thursday 10 November 2005



MFP
Wow, if I thought the leader event was good, I really can't tell you how cool the Microsoft for Partner event was. Being able to sign up over 50 people to the SBS users group and mingle with the Microsoft staff was excellent. Also handing out the prizes in the OEM section, for Microsoft, was excellent. For those of you who got one of the shirts, wear them with pride. I know the winner of the wireless keyboard and MCE software and remote has been enjoying them ! See you all next MFP.

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Tuesday 8 November 2005



The leader OEM Roadshow
Thank you to Jill at Microsoft and Theo and Paul at Leader. This event went really well. I managed to meet allot of people, answer allot of SBS questions and managed to hold the fort at the Microsoft stand. It was awesome to meet you all and I look forward to seeing you all at the next one. (Check out the photo !)


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Sunday 23 October 2005



75 hits, time to check

My website has had 75 hits over this current month. Time to do a little sprig cleaning and check the links etc. If you find a dead link or want something on my site, let me know.


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Saturday 22 October 2005



How do you calculate the correct UPS ?

Copyworld now resell UPS's. Now to the fine art of working out what UPS you need.
I have a list of all the computer items you are likely to add to a UPS and the VA (Wattage) of the items. This is a great help but only gives you the max load. You are not always using your floppy drive, Cdrom and more all at once. You need to be aware that your Power supply might be 500 watts but you likely don't push it this hard. Your motherboard, CPU and even ram, all contribute to what you use. You need to take the voltage (240) and times it by the AMPS a device will draw. Lets say it is 30 mA. 240 v x .03 Amps is 7.2 watts. Now lets allow for the Power Factor correction and Heat. Divide this figure buy .7. This gives us 10.2 Watts of draw. Add up all the components and you might get to say 600 watts total for a computer you are not using all the hardware at once so I take 2/3 of this figure. (400 watts). The ideal UPS needs to be 60% loaded (Maximum 90% load at any time). 400 divide by .6 gives us 666 VA. This means my closest match is a 700 or 1000 VA unit. The amount of time this will keep my equipment running is anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. Normally a UPS is designed to shut your PC down on power failure. Not enable you to keep working.

The time a UPS lasts depends on the Amp hour rating of the batteries, heat, number of batteries, efficiencies and other factors. There is no formula to work out the run time. Turning on appliances once there is a power outage could drain your battery quickly. A CRT monitor starting from cold will draw allot of current in a small amount of time and could make the UPS shutdown.


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Wednesday 12 October 2005



SP2 release for Exchange 2003
Yes, it is here. Yes, it unlocks the mailbox limits in the Standard version of Exchange 2003, yes, install it. It rocks !


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Tuesday 4 October 2005



Ode to my IRiver !


The Sounds, the Music, the lights, the Action
The Storage, The Screen, the dimensions, the Gratification
On Flights, Driving tours, waiting in line or more
To stop my becoming an absolute bore !


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Tuesday 27 September 2005



The Analogue King has passed away, long live the king

One of the saddest days for photocopiers in South Australia. The man who knew it all has passed away. RIP Greg S.

I recall the day a client came in with an old Thermal paper fax document. It was 12 years old and faded so badly, you could not read it. I tried my hardest to photocopy it and pick up the faint impressions. We could not do it. One of the draw backs to Digital is its lack of tolerance for faded objects. Greg grabbed the paper, trotted over to an Analogue unit, typed in some special numbers on the keypad and proceeded to make the photocopier sensitive to objects we can not see with our own eyes. He kept typing secret codes and bashing away until he had a copy of the thermal fax we could read. How he knew all the special servicing codes to do things (without referring to a book) I will never know. Sadly, this art has died with Greg. You will be missed !


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Thursday 1 September 2005



Things will be slow
I have left work for a while (due to the arrival of Sarah). My blog will be updated rarely until I return to work in a few weeks.


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Wednesday 31 August 2005



In time for fathers day !
It started at midnight, Sharon had a stomach ache. We then decided she was in labor. We rang the midwife who said "you have actually been in labor for hours". We rushed into the hospital and at 8:44 am, Sarah Jayne was born. She weighed 7 pounds 9 (3.45 kgs) and was 49.5 cm long. She is gorgeous. Sarah (Hebrew for princess) and Jayne (God is gracious).

I have a daughter !!


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Monday 29 August 2005



Honorable mention

Yes, Another book.
Honorable Mention for Who's Who 2005 Book
Advanced SMB Consulting Best Practices
SMB Nation Press. Check it out when it is published!


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Friday 26 August 2005



I am in a book !
Yes, I have been quotes on page 622 (11-90) in Harry Brelsford's "Advanced Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best practices" ! You can buy the book and download chapter 3 sample here
http://www.smbnation.com/downloads/AdvTopicsChap3.pdf

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Thursday 25 August 2005



RIP Jenkin, Michael J. 1948 1948
http://www.csuchico.edu/chem/rcooke/mvcem.html
Yes, I have Googled and found another Michael J Jenkin. This is getting scary !


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Wednesday 24 August 2005



Google is scary
Ever Googled yourself ? Yes, I had heaps if real hits that were me. I am on Microsoft's website and I have been blogged in various places but then there is this Michael Jenkin at York Uni (Canada). I have since made contact. We can trace our roots back to Cornwall. Our families lived 30 miles apart. We are both into computers and both had quotes from bill gates on our websites. Is this weird ?
Try blogging yourself !


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Tuesday 23 August 2005



May the farce be with you

Try this out, it is freaky (Broadband is must!)
http://sithsense.com/flash.htm

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Monday 15 August 2005



Training the trained ?

I had to run an introductory course for installers of connected peripherals today. Not really a challenge except the guys could not spell TCP/IP. Well, looks like it is a hard track ahead. I guess that is the fun of what I do. Take the challenges and run with them.


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Friday 12 August 2005



Paid the piper ?

Ever paid for something you did not need ? I had a home user with Windows messaging service running. The popup read "Your registry is corrupt. Please download the following Critical update from Microsoft to fix http://.........." The client went to some obscure website (not Microsoft's) and downloaded the patch. It then asked for $49 AUS before it would fix the problem. The client then handed over his Visa card number. Ouch. Don't do this. Microsoft do not alert and then ask for Money. All patches I know of are usually free (except if it needs shipping is an upgrade). All patches that you can download come from a Microsoft site. I just hope he only gets the $49 taken from his card.

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Thursday 11 August 2005



Other blogs

Hey I got a mention.
http://msmvps.com/calvert/archive/2005/04/19/43505.aspx
http://msmvps.com/calvert/


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Wednesday 10 August 2005



150 peers helps the party to rock along ....

If you had 150 like minded peers, all on your side, all with the same ideas and trying to build you up, where could you go wrong ... 150 members of a peer - peer network. Use the ISP's DNS server for all PC's, break the group into 10 user workgroups, install IPX/SPX, TCP/IP and Netbeui and hope all is well when you try and print, access a file share or even remember when you put the files you need... Disaster. Yes this network exists and I happened across it. Thank goodness we can fix all this. The ping times (by name) alone were embarrassing.



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Monday 1 August 2005



Grub and i2o

I have installed Red Hat ES4 onto an Adaptec i2o Raid (actually 2 mirrors, 4 drives). All worked well until the reboot. On the reboot I get a Grub 17 error. Yes I know I should have used Lilo (Something I understand) but grub was there and I wanted to play. After many hours of Googling I finally got it to work. Essentially between the fstab file, bios and boot sector, nothing knew where to boot from. The ES 4 installation did not warn me that this could happen and gave me nowhere to configure to avoid this issue. It just landed me in the middle of the mess. After running up the ES4 disk and choosing rescue, I got into my mounted file system and all looked fine. I then rebooted, at the grub prompt types "Root (hd0,0)" followed by "Setup (hd0)" and finally "grub-install". Give me Fdisk and Windows 2000 any day.

Moral of the story, stick with what you know.

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Friday 29 July 2005



QOTD ??

What the heck? Qotd? What were the early developers of TCP/IP thinking ? The QOTD service runs for testing TCP/IP. It simply throws a quote on port 17 when queried. We had a rogue print server on our network. I ran a tcpdump and spotted Charles Dickens running wild on the network. Quotes were coming from every angle. It appeared One of the old print controllers was running NT 4 and the QOTD service was installed. Nothing weirder than a Photocopier flooding the network with Quotes !

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Thursday 28 July 2005



Add/remove removed.

Ever been in the situation where Add/remove in Windows 2000 would not open under Control panel ? Even running Control.exe appwiz.cpl does not raise a murmur ? Here is the fix.

regsvr32 %windir%\system32\appwiz.cpl
and
regsvr32 %windir%\system32\webvw.dll
and
regsvr32 %windir%\system32\mshtml.dll


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Wednesday 27 July 2005



APC Java issue

In order for Power Chute Business Edition to remain functional, users must upgrade to any version of 7.x. Due to expiration of the Sun Java Runtime Environment certificate, versions 6.x of Power Chute Business Edition will cease to operate normally as of July 27, 2005. Failure to upgrade will result in Power Chute Business Edition no longer providing monitoring and graceful shutdown of your system.

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Friday 22 July 2005



Microsoft 4 times the measure

I have a backed up file in UNIX. Lets say it is 16,291,424 bytes in the Linux file system, I copy this to Windows. It now reads as 15,910 kb in the file system. Did I get all the data across ? Is there a problem ? What the ? The first clue is the measurement. One is in Bytes, the other Kilobytes. Divide 16,291,424 by 1024 and you get 15909 kb or as close as you can to 15,910. Suddenly you feel safe but duped by different file systems. Now you right click on the file and select properties. It insists this is really 15.5 Mb (15,909 divide by 1024 is 15.53 MB). So far Windows has not lied but it is sure confusing. Now we also have to account for slack space. This is now a size of 16,291,840. If is using 1024 bytes for slack space.

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Thursday 21 July 2005



Linux Free software, not.

Ok, I paid for 12 hours for a local Linux group to setup Redhat ES4 for me, with Samba, logging, Send mail and Firebird database server. I then needed to Pay $40 for a disk set for Linux. I then had to pay for a support pack and finally a contract with Red hat. I think all up I have paid $2500 on top of the server for the Red hat setup. Linux is not free. It is far from Free. Now I have an issue with the server. I contact Red hat under my support contract. They tell me my support question is highly technical in nature and I need to upgrade to a support pack that will cover it. Linux has become a hole in my pocket and I am loosing allot of money.

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Wednesday 20 July 2005



Samba lock ups and the past is now

I have a backup file of a Sourceforge Firebird database. It is just under 1 Gb in size. I need to copy it from Linux to Windows 2003 server. I have Samba running and run an SMBmount. I can see the windows server. I can copy files to/from without issue. This works for 3 weeks and suddenly, the file will not copy. The copy starts, gets to just over 950 MB and then the Linux server freezes. I reboot the server and the date and time is yesterday. I have resorted to Sch but I would love to know if anyone has any input on this one!

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Tuesday 19 July 2005



Cron or cron ?

What is the difference between Cron ? (You are thinking I mean between Cron and something else ?) No, I mean between Cron and any other cron. My old Redhat server running since 2000 has a completely different looking Cron file to my new Redhat ES 4 server. I run a Crontab -e -U root and am greeted by something alien. Maybe I am behind the times and need to catch up a little. Maybe I need to relearn this stuff but what change it when it worked ?

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Monday 18 July 2005



Happy Birthday Adelaide SBS users group (second year !)

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Tuesday 13 July 2005



Hard drive manufacturers are all liars

Ever felt that your 186 Gb drive (Advertised as 200 Gb) was to small and someone was ripping you off ? It all comes down to Gibibytes and Gigabytes. Depending who the manufacturer is, they use the wrong measurement with the wrong tem at the end. They advertise GB and it should be GiB. GiB is the actual SI unit.

The SI Units (System International) are used throughout the world, and mean exactly the same thing in every country. For instance one kilometre/hour means exactly one thousand meters per hour in every language. A meter is a precise distance which can be checked against precise standards held by most countries.

  • There are exactly 1000 litres in a kilolitre.
  • There are exactly 1000 meters in a kilometre.
  • There are exactly 1000 grams in a kilogram.


  • So why do we see "kilobyte" being used with a value of 1024 bytes and not 1000 ?

    Unfortunately, the computer industry (not us hard working IT professionals, the manufacturers etc)has chosen to ignore International Standards and redefined the SI prefixes "kilo" to equal 1024, "mega" to equal 1024 * 1024 = 1,048,576 and "giga" to equal 1024 * 1024 * 1024 = 1,073,741,824

    The result is that many computer users feel cheated because their hard disks are smaller than they expected, or they have to pay more for downloads, etc.

    New prefixes were introduced in 1998 to sort out this mess. kibi-, mebi- and gibi- and their letter symbols Ki, Mi and Gi are used when referring to numbers which are powers of "2".

  • kilobyte = 1000 bytes.
  • megabyte = 1,000,000 bytes.
  • gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes
  • Kibytes = 1024 bytes.
  • Mebytes = 1,048,576 bytes
  • Gibytes = 1,073,741,824 bytes.


  • Now that you know why you feel cheated, what can we do, nothing.

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    Monday 12 July 2005



    Google my earth

    Greetings Aliens, log onto the internet, download google earth and plan your strategy to attack us. Wow, what a great tool. I have finished looking at the Taj mahal, Eiffel tower, tower of London and much more. You have to play with this tool. It is a 10 MB download. Broadband is a must. When you get bored with it you can always check out Google Video !

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    Saturday 9 July 2005



    Fine brushes achieve more than tape, a steady hand and edging tools

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    Friday 8 July 2005



    Painters tape ....

    Painters tape sux. You pull it up to quick and it rips paint off. You push it down to lightly and paint gets in behind. Agggghhhh.

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    Monday 4 July 2005



    Time to take the IT out of the Geek I have to prepare for the pending baby. This means, strip all furniture out of a room, remove the old built in wardrobes, fill cracks, reseat cornices, paint the roof, paint the walls, clean up the windows, paint the windows, paint the skirting boards, lay new carpet and finally new built in robes. Looks like I am about to get some real calluses (and not from typing)

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    Sunday 3 July 2005



    My final day in Perth I went to the Rich and Famous play area. Hillarie's boat Marina. I shared a fantastic lunch with friends as we watched the storms start to roll in.

    Alice Cooper and the art of dodging

    I am in the Perth Quanta's terminal. I have 2 hours until my flight on a Sunday evening. Suddenly rock and roll groupies start appearing. They have thick makeup on, leather jackets and look like they came out of a Kiss album. Then I hear that Alice Cooper is flying into town. The crowd of reporters and fans has grown to a huge level. I am worried I will not make it to my plane as I can not longer see the gate. The I hear someone yell, he's down there. He is not coming through the gate like everyone else. It seemed like an earthquake as all the fans bolted to the car park. Alice got away :) Look like they will have to catch him at the Burswood Theatre in Perth.

    What was really weird, all the fans carrying vinyl records hoping he would sign them. Vinyl ???

    I land at about 6. I drive into work to upload some data and get ready to leave there at 10 pm. Then I decide to check my phone messages. It turns out Sharon, My Wife is ion hospital with expected early Labor. I fly off to see her. Thankfully all is ok. What a Trip (Whew!)



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    Thursday 30 June 2005



    Taxi drivers Part 2

    Ok, three days later. 6 cab rides later. I get stuck with another cabbie who heads the wrong way and does not speak English. This is a similar experience on each of the taxi rides I had. Do these guys get cab licenses out of Wheatbix boxes ?

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    Wednesday 29 June 2005



    The meaning of life and Taxi drivers

    Here I am in Perth staying at the famous Scarborough beach. I hop a taxi and give directions to Osmond Park. She (The Taxi driver) looks at me like I am brain dead. She then tries in broken English to tell me she does not speak English. I hunted through her cab (whilst she was taking me who knows where), found a street directory. I finally had her understand, I want Osmond park. She started looking in the street index for Walters Drive (My destination) in the section with the Heading "A". I was praying she was not going to look through the whole A section. She then moved to "B". I grabbed the street directory, located the street and directed her. This is a bad omen for my working trip to Perth.

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    Tuesday 28 June 2005



    Perth bound
    Happy days, I am off to Perth again. It seems I am not in one place longer than a few weeks. This is a particularly bad time to be off on a trip. My wife is pregnant and we were meant to have our first hospital "baby" night where they tell us what to do, when to do it etc. I was also meant to be meeting with the Mayor of Salisbury (Tony Zappier) about an upcoming scout technology weekend.

    It was a bit of a chance to razzle and dazzle them and big note ourselves.

    In particular I wanted to impress on Tony Zappier that we are supplying 20-30 computers, servers, internet and staff all free. We all volunteer and some have never actually been in scouts to participate or as a leader. I wanted to tell him about the hours of work we donate, every year, the personal battles we fight to be there and the joy after it has been another success. It is a real community effort and does no more than bring people together over a short period and show them that there is more to life than the hum drum of work or school.
    Oh well. Perth will be great as usual.


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    Monday 27 June 2005



    skin cancer
    Ok, so I have it. I go to the Doctor. He says .. "No problem". He whips out a canister of Nitrogen (-196 degrees C) and sprays my face in two places. He tells me it will not hurt a bit. Liar. It stings. I have this huge lump keeping an eye closed and now I have all this dead skin and puss leaking out. My face is still numb. The moral of the story is this. Don't believe Doctors. (Or maybe it is don't play with Nitrogen). Either way it really hurts !


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    Sunday 26 June 2005



    Do you want to Cron, Fstab or maybe grep for a while ?
    Why can't Linux be like everything else ? Why can’t there be a translator somewhere ? I am like an English geek talking to Japanese software. We don't communicate. I have a box running our firebird database. I need to use Gbak to back it up and resize the data pages. This is the easy bit. Now I want to use a script to run it all at a specific time. Cron is not my friend. I have run crontab -e and read many sites on the subject. I just can't seem to get the required information into cron to do the backup on a Wednesday at 10 pm !!! Give me Windows, give me task scheduler and then watch me automate !


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    Saturday 25 June 2005



    Smb mount
    Heres a nice trick. Ever seen a Linux box hang ? Try getting in all the Linux guru's in your street and tell them you want to mount a NTFS file system to an SMB mount on a Windows 2003 machine. He he !!! Watch and laugh. The new SMB signaling and privileges in Windows 2003 server do not play nicely with the Linux SMB service. We finally got it to work but only after allot of embarrassed Linux guru's saw their fabled software crash.

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    Friday 24 June 2005



    Cheap VOIP !
    $99 RRP netcomm handset with MYNETPHONE services ! These suckers rock. Plug the phone into the USB port, install a driver and start calling other my net phone friends for free. Use their Sip server and local calls are 10 cents and overseas calls are heaps cheap. The sound was a little scratchy on my 256/64 DSL but it worked well. I will be off to Perth in a few days. I will leave one with the server and use it for tech support ! I will let you know how I go.


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    Thursday 23 June 2005



    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHARON

    Stuck pixels
    Stuck pixels are pixels that are not dead, but yet only show one colour, hence the name stuck pixel, it is stuck on one colour. These will come in one of 4 colours. Red, Green, Blue or White. This is a normal occurrence within LCD screens and can happen at any stage of a screens life. Some pixels can become stuck for a second while others can last weeks on end. Usually through usage of the screen they come right after a period of time.

    If you discover you have a stuck/dead pixel (see yesterdays post). There are a few things you can do to fix a stuck pixel. First of all, you can leave it and it will run its due coarse and may come back to you after a period of time. Although you may want to note that this could mean anywhere from a few hours to weeks.

    Secondly, you could try running the Stuck Pixel Fix movie. This is a simple movie that flashes all the colours in the Dead Pixel Checker at an extremely fast rate.

    Thirdly, and lastly, the best way to fix an LCD screen is to 'massage' the screen. In case you don't know, when you push on an LCD screen it has a 'ripple' effect. Like pushing into water. Doing this for a few seconds every couple of seconds can 'massage' the pixel to life.



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    Wednesday 22 June 2005



    dead pixel buddy
    Wow ! Check this out. Dead pixel buddy will help you find any dead pixels on your LCD screens. It is limited to the primary screen but it still rocks.

    Before trying to grasp the meaning of a dead pixel, first you need to understand the technology behind LCD displays. An LCD display is essentially made up of pixels. Each pixel is made up of red, blue and green valves. The valves in each colour either block or pass the light source. By manipulating the amount of light passed through, each pixel displays a distinctive colour on screen. Pixels consisting of these valves are what make up the image that is ultimately displayed on the screen. A typical monitor has millions of pixels. A dead pixel refers to a pixel with a defect in its ability to display the correct colour output. It may look like a tiny black spot on your screen, or any other colour that does not correspond to what the actual image should look like.

    A typical 17 inch monitor contains up to 4 million pixels. Even a tiny dust particle on one of the pixels during the manufacturing process can create a dead pixel. Or a slight bump during shipping can break one of the highly sensitive pixels.

    If you've scoured every inch of your screen but can't find a single dead pixel, you are in luck. Because of the complexity of the design, it is generally regarded dead pixels appearing in some products are inevitable. If you need to absolutely make sure whether you have purchased a defective display, you can use this program. It simply paints your entire screen with one of the colours that make up a pixel to make the dead pixel more conspicuous to the naked eye. Run through the red, green and blue colours in turn and check for pixels that do not match.

    Then, return your LCD if it falls under their return policy or for a stuck pixel, massage the screen in a counter clockwise motion through a towel. It might come good.



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    Tuesday 21 June 2005



    Another freebie
    I now have an Acer AL1715b 17" LCD Monitor. Thanks to the same supplier as the iRiver and Belkin ADSL 2 router with Wireless G (Which is installed and working well). The monitor has a 12 ms refresh time but it is still respectable. In the earlier days of LCDs, users faced many problems including poor response time which causes "ghosting", poor viewing angles, and pre-mature pixel failure; just to name a few. Luckily, over time, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology has been fine-tuned. All though LCDs aren't yet perfect, they have definitely improved over the years, and have some amiable advantages over traditional CRT (Cathode Ray Tubes) monitors. Some of these amenities include their weight, space, and power usage. Up in our testing labs today we have two of Acer's economically priced LCD displays, the AL1715b. The Acer AL1715b has a stated viewing angle of 150°/135° (Horizontal/Vertical) but what is truly impressive is the 12 ms response time.

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    Monday 20 June 2005



    Rootkits
    For those who attended tonight's SBS rootkit user groups meeting.... I hope you have recovered. Yes it is scary. For those that did not make it ... Why not ?

    For those who want to now play with root kits, I have advice. Don't. If you still do it, do it on a Virtual server and turn off all Network cards before you play with the rootkit. Please be careful. The slides are available from www.sbsusers.net

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    Sunday 19 June 2005



    Snow ? Adelaide ? There is talk of snow in our Mt Lofty region. I live in the driest state of the Driest continent on Earth. We have had a dry hot year and now snow ? Tell me again about the weird weather pattern effects of global warming ?

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    Saturday 18 June 2005



    Parking a car in the car park.
    I snapped. I drooled uncontrollably, had the shakes and needed admittance into an insane asylum. Why ? I spent over 1 hour cruising the car park at my local shopping centre waiting for a park. I had my wife with me and she to went insane. We cruised the lanes, we waited for people to leave, we all rushed for the parks but either there were not to be had or I was beaten to the punch. I actually ended up parking in the car park lane (with hazard lights on) just to duck into the shopping centre to use the toilet and then back into the car to find a park. What the ? Internet online shopping for me from now on ! I guess now the net will be crowded with shoppers and will slow to a grind. Maybe I should get my fat behind out of the chair and walk to the shops ? Ahhh the internet age has ruined us all.

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    Friday 17 June 2005



    Graffiti
    after all the years I have lived here, it has been peaceful. Why in the back streets of little old Adelaide do I need to get my fence graffitied ? I thought Viruses and Spyware were bad. They re tough to remove. They pop up again and annoy you to death. Well, try using turpentine on a vertical metal surface scrubbing out the words "Go F#$%k yourself" . It is tough. I have a new respect for the council workers who clean park benches and public walls. I will stick to the Spyware and virus removal. it is less work and easier to get a result. I will stick to what I know and be thankful for my lot in life. Bring it on :)

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    Thursday 16 June 2005



    iPod or iRiver ?
    I have been working damn hard. I have been working weekends, late at night and my phone rings all through the night when I am trying to sleep. I have been taking long boring flights and often found myself with nothing to read. Finally, my reward is to be had. I have sold so much hardware that a particular supplier has given me access to about $1000 RRP in stock. I could choose an 17" LCD screen. I could choose an iRiver or even an ADSL 2 Wireless G router. I want all these things. When I was in Singapore I lusted after the Cheap 6 Gb iPod's. The warranties would not hold up in Australia and I would need a power adaptor. For their cost (Sub $200 Australian) the iPod was a steal. I held off. Maybe the Zen is better ? Maybe an iRiver ? All I want is something to take on long Virgin Blue flights and listen to Comedy, maybe some Microsoft Press Audio books and music.

    I got the iRiver. Wow, what a beast. It can take 1200 songs. Approx 85 hours of music. Photos, Fm radio, Fm recording, Voice recording, MP3, WMA, fantastic colour screen, rubber protection sheath, equalizer, iRiver Plus library software, reads text files and a 12 hr battery. (And the finger glide pad is pretty funky).

    Long live MP3 music !

    .... Oh and I also got the ADSL 2 WiFi unit :)

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    Wednesday 15 June 2005



    Space Junk
    This is not about orbiting things in space. This is the universal truth.

    If you need more space, throw out your junk. This is the part of having a baby that can be a real pain. How do we convert the spare room into a babies room of fun ? Lets throw out all the old servers I don't use. Lets throw out those drives I was keeping for a rainy day. Did I really need that motherboard ? Ram stick ? Keyboard ? Wha..... To late. all gone.

    They say life changes when you have a baby. It does. I hate to think what it will be like when my son or Daughter wants a room upgrade at Puberty !




    New additional blog (Added August 2011). Mickyj Mindspill at msmvps.com


     

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