Why iPad Is the ‘Children’s Toy of the Year’

11 03 2010

Why iPad Is the ‘Children’s Toy of the Year’

Which means it should be easy enough for most users….

Update: I pre-ordered my iPad yesterday!


Looks like a good free vmware tool

11 03 2010

I am always interested in finding free or low cost tools that look like they could be useful. VKernel Capacity View is a “tool that provides VMware performance and capacity diagnostics.”

That reminds me – I need to study for my VCP…

Recommended article on Exchange 2010 Disaster Recovery

11 03 2010

This article was recommended to us by the instructor at the Exchange 2010 class I took recently….

“To demonstrate the scalability of the DAG feature, I will use only two servers in my example – one in the production site and one in the Disaster Recovery site. This represents the smallest installation that can be done for DAG, but remember this is a flexible solution so at any point if you need to scale out with multiple DAG members the steps you would perform are nearly identical.”

from  http://anewmessagehasarrived.blogspot.com/2010/02/exchange-2010-site-disaster-recovery-on.html

System Administration tips

9 10 2009

I found these while going through stuff in my documents, I think that they are good general guidelines

  • Carefully research and document problems before making changes.
  • Don’t make changes for the sake of change.
  • Have others sanity check your proposal before implementation, then test and retest the changes.
  • Explain the risks to management and IT colleagues before deployment.
  • Maintain good backups, and develop sound restore procedures.
  • Keep detailed configuration information for all systems.
  • Have a tested local Administrator username and password for all systems in case you lose any network connectivity.
  • Distribute a step-by-step procedure before rolling out significant changes.
  • Develop a what-if list of things that could go wrong and the appropriate fallback procedures. This list should include plans to address potential problems that might occur days later (e.g., a server failure).
  • Notify users well in advance of when a project will begin and end and of any planned outages.
  • Keep a written log of activities during the changes.
  • Carefully review logs to monitor system operation before and after implementing changes.
  • Test the results from a user’s point of view. Use a non-privileged user account from a typical workstation.
  • Coordinate with support staff and try to anticipate any user education needs that might arise.
  • Document the procedures and save these files for future use.

Here are two related sysadmin books that I find helpful…

iPhones Without AT&T – Reviews by PC Magazine

9 10 2009

iPhones Without AT&T

Very interesting idea. Basically buy an iPod touch and a MiFi from Verizon and run skype

Why installing a bunch of stuff on a Windows computer is a bad idea

9 10 2009

So I get an email from someone with XP and Office 2007 that both Excel and Outlook are unable to work properly (links are messed up, unable to move email around, etc) with the error “this operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer”.

After verifying that they indeed had local admin privileges, I went to my best friend ‘Google’… Google didn’t help me much, so I asked the person if they had installed anything – and of course they had. When in doubt, blame the last thing you messed with.

What had they installed? Google Chrome – and not only had they installed it, they reinstalled it. When will people learn? Anyway with this new information, they changed the default browser and it works – for now anyway. Of course after that happened I found an article talking about how a corrupt registry entry at HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Classes \htmlfile\shell\open\command can cause this problem and that Chrome can break Outlook.

Moral of the story? Quit installing junk on your computer!

Regular Windows Computer maintenance

6 10 2009

The second Tuesday of each month is Microsoft Patch Tuesday – this is a good time to plan for other maintenance since you probably will already need to reboot. The updates usually don’t show up until the afternoon, so you may want this maintenance to occur on the Wednesday after the second Tuesday of every month – as odd as that sounds.

Preliminaries – Has the machine had any issues with extreme slowness or other erratic behavior? Other than running a backup, I wouldn’t do the other maintenance issues below until I was sure that I knew the backup was good, and had an idea of what was going on.

Backup – this of course assumes that you have a backup plan and sufficient disk space. I would run the backup manually just to make sure it is working even if it is scheduled to happen automagically.

Disk cleanup / registry scan/cleanup – I run a free tool called ccleaner. When you install it pick the minimal options to prevent it from putting a bunch of other stuff on your computer. Keep an eye on free disk space, it is easy for that to creep up on you, this tool, carefully used can manage some of that.

Microsoft Update – not just Windows update – make sure the updates are installing, even if they are scheduled to happen automatically.

Antivirus update – I’ve used a number of difference AV products throughout the years, and all have their pluses and minuses. The key is to pick *one* to use per machine and to only have one installed. Uninstall other products and convert to “Microsoft security essentials” for most situations a free tool is good enough.

Other software updates – it is easy to forget about other updates, but now that Microsoft patches regularly this is where the malware can sneak in and mess up your computer. Review the applications in your add/remove programs control panel (if you don’t need some and you know what you are doing – remove what you aren’t using) and check to see if any updates are available.

Antivirus / Malware scan – presumably your built-in tool is updating and doing this automatically. If you aren’t noticing any issues, doing a manual scan after updating is probably sufficient.
I’ve probably forgotten a few things but this is a good start.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Or you can just buy a Mac…