Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The best IT service call

I get a call from a client; Symptoms: The computer just turns off all by itself!!
OK, what where you doing?
"Just normal stuff, web browsing etc..."
Hmm, sounds strange I go over sit by the machine for half an hour, nothing. Computer is just humming along.
This goes on for few days.....other users use the computer, everything is fine. Computer keeps chugging.
I start to suspect the computer is overheating based on the applications that where in use by this specific client. But strange there is nothing in the event logs or anything.......

So I come by again bam! there it goes, I notice that this client has a habbit of putting her feet up on this big enormous exercise ball, that in turn hits the power cord and turns of the computer!!!

Problem solved.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This unread email is in the future

(-1 Unread) Yahoo Mail, xxxxxx

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The server must not have bunny batteries. "HTTP Error 404 — File or directory not found. Internet Information Services (IIS)"

The one time I clicked on an ad and this is what I get.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a thought.........

When the clueless are happy with your work, you may feel fine. Its when the cynic is thrilled that you have succeeded.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Google spam filters for google apps

I am not sure if the Google apps filter shares the same engine as the gmail spam filter but here are my stats.

I have an email address (using the google apps) that is not published anywhere, any email in there is spam.

In the inbox I had 52 emails
In the spam folder I have 1689 (including the 52, I just put in there)

So of all the emails I got there 52 slipped through that gives a "made it to the inbox" ratio of 3%
Not bad.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

That Was Then, This Is Now / School, 1967 vs. 2007

Quoted in its entirety from here

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1967 - Vice principal comes over to look at Jack’s shotgun. He goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2007 - School goes into lock down, and FBI is called. Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1967 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends.
2007 - Police called. SWAT team arrives. Johnny and Mark are arrested and charged with assault. Both are expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.
1967 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the principal. He returns to class, sits still, and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey is diagnosed with ADD and given huge doses of Ritalin; becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a learning disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1967 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is placed in foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist convinces Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself, and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1967 - Mark shares aspirin with principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 - Police called. Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. Car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
1967 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college, and graduates.
2007 - Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given a diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant bed.
1967 - Ants die.
2007 - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Homeland Security, and FBI called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates parents; siblings are removed from home; computers confiscated. Johnny’s dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Heather. Heather hugs him to comfort him.
1967 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 - Heather is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

Read the comments from the original post for the full experience.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

So how long till Congress gets involved with the writers strike?

A few things to note.
I am usually not in favor of unions (i.e UAW)
I am not involved directly or indirectly with writers or their strike.
I do not bother keeping up with the latest developments in this matter

But how long before congress deems this an "important matter" and gets involved.
They got there fingers in the baseball steroids mess, I still cannot figure out why.

Update: Found this on the steroid use

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poem: The freezer is calling!

Something calls from the freezer,
It goes Pop crackle pop!
the first time i ever heard it,
It almost made my pencil drop.
It's driving me crazy,
its driving me nuts!
Can't it ever stop?
(split, splatter, splut!)
Something calls from the freezer,
It goes pop crackle pop!
every 5-20 minutes I hear it,
Can't it ever stop?
Can it be the lemon juice?
can it be the frozen cake?
But it might not come from the food,
it might be a mistake.
Whoever knows what it might be
I can only hear it- the noises i can't see.
Whoops I'm running out of time,
To write this little freezer rhyme.
Who knows who knows I may find out,
What this frosty noise is all about.

-By C.L.R.
Age 9

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bookmark: Windows SteadyState

Brief Description
Windows® SteadyState™ is now available. (Windows SteadyState was formerly known as Microsoft® Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP.) Whether you manage computers in a school computer lab or an Internet cafĂ©, a library, or even in your home, Windows SteadyState helps make it easy for you to keep your computers running the way you want them to, no matter who uses them. Windows SteadyState is easier to download, set up, use, and maintain than Shared Computer Toolkit.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Update:New Verizon DNS Landing Page

Well, well.
It seems you can opt out of the Verizon Landing page. AKA Verizon DNS assistance, Just change your DNS to or see links below for detailed instructions.

Opting out of DNS assistance

When you enter a domain name into the address bar of your Web browser, DNS (Domain Name Service) translates the domain name into an IP address that your computer understands. Your computer then displays the Web site based on this IP address.

If you prefer that the DNS server display an error message when it can't match the domain you've entered with an IP address, you can change your DNS settings in your hardware device (router, gateway, or modem) or in your Operating System. Either method prevents DNS Assistance servers from displaying a page of links to sites that have similar domain names to the one you entered.

  1. Change the DNS settings in the Operating System
    • Note: If you change the DNS settings in your Operating System, you could encounter problems if you travel with this computer. You will probably have to change back to the original settings to connect to a hotel network, for example."

  2. Change the DNS settings in the hardware device
    • Note: Changing the DNS settings in the hardware device requires that you know the device user name and password.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

RDP / MSTSC usage switches (v6.0)

UPDATE For Vista SP1: "mstsc /console" is now "mstsc /admin."

MSTSC [] [/v:] [/console] [/f[ullscreen]]
[/w: /h:] [/public] | [/span] [/edit "connection file"] [/migrate]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Quote by Ayn Rand

We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.

USA Today is aware of the Deceptive fax blast

Note to readers: We at USA TODAY are aware of a fax blast of an unsolicited advertisement, designed to look like a story from our Aug. 7 Money section, that has been received in many homes and businesses. The story is a hoax and never was published in USA TODAY. While we cannot comment on the validity of the offer described in the fake article, promoting vacation packages to Cancun, Mexico, and often containing a handwritten note, we do want you to be aware that we have filed reports with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling to their attention the fraudulent nature of the fax. To those of you who have called this to our attention, thank you for taking the time to contact us to let us know that our name is being misused in this manner. Should you wish to file a complaint with the government, there are complaint forms available on the FTC website at$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01 and on the FCC website at

Advertising mind games Part 2

In continuation of the previous blog post this example, received as a fax, has the same elements of deceptive advertising, however it is worse. This one has the "friend" endorsement and USA Today, a neutral third party. I am not sure whether USA today actually posted this article (I doubt it) Its a fake, but the double endorsement is powerful.
Thankfuly I have no plans to go to Cancun, and I figured out the slimy trick.
Update see this post

Advertising mind games Part 1

Its a well known fact that the very best advertising is word of mouth. Nothing beats it. You get the endorsement and your company name passed on to a potential customer in one.

On the other hand radio, print and TV advertising is all about plastering your company name. The hope is that if you hear it enough you will believe that it is good. This generally works, however todays society is inoculated against this effect.

To counteract this inoculation you get all kinds of endorsements along with the broadcast of the company name. This is better but also suffers because people recognize that they are paid endorsements and the endorsement potential is diluted somewhat.

So then there is endorsement without the company name, by way of a fictional friend.
I'll explain.
My parents received a letter in the mail, no return address and a handwritten to address. The effect is a guaranteed opening of that letter. So it gets opened and inside is what appears to be a pull out of a newspaper praising a certain product. On the newspaper in the top corner is a hand written

"Xxxxx, Check it Out! -J"

Now, it took me a minute but I realized that this was endorsement without the company name (don't worry the contact info was there at the very end). There is no friend "J", it was an attempt to endorse a company by way of "word of mouth".

Unfortunately for them it also destroys all credibility and leaves no trust. I would never buy from such a company.

See for yourself.
(Due to the nature of the internet I had to obscure personal information)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Verizon DNS Landing Page

So it seems that at about 12:00pm today Verizon in my area started feeding a landing page for site that do not resolve in Verizon DNS. This kinda messes up my network for a number of reasons. This tactic BTW is also used by OpenDNS (its how they make money) and thats why it is free.

Now I need new DNS servers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bookmark:The Supernetting/CIDR Chart

Just how do you return an email

Confidentiality notices are all the rave at the bottom of all emails. But this one one left me puzzled.

If you are not the intended recipient please notify us immediately by returning the e-mail to the originator.

OK now, should I print it and put a stamp on it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No love for quickbooks.

Philip E. over at MPECS Inc. Blog, has an excellent write up on just one of the painful parts of Quickbooks. I cannot agree more, as I have seen a decline, no a cliff, in the effort companies are making to support Vista. has been months - no years - since Intuit has had an opportunity to get their QuickBooks product to work properly on Windows Vista RTM as well as the Beta 1 and 2 versions!...

I however recommend MS Accounting. But sometimes the customer insists on Quickbooks, grrrr.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

10 Immutable Laws of Security

Worth Repeating.

  • Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it's not your computer anymore
  • Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it's not your computer anymore
  • Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it's not your computer anymore
  • Law #4: If you allow a bad guy to upload programs to your website, it's not your website any more
  • Law #5: Weak passwords trump strong security
  • Law #6: A computer is only as secure as the administrator is trustworthy
  • Law #7: Encrypted data is only as secure as the decryption key
  • Law #8: An out of date virus scanner is only marginally better than no virus scanner at all
  • Law #9: Absolute anonymity isn't practical, in real life or on the Web
  • Law #10: Technology is not a panacea

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bookmark: Install Windows 2003 Recovery Console to HD

Once you have your clean install completed (*See Below), make sure the install CD is in the drive, and launch setup with this command line:

d:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

'd:' is the drive letter of your CD/DVD drive.

It will ask you a few simple questions and quickly it will be installed on your system. The next time you boot you will see a new option:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Very odd google maps directions (part 2)

Ever since I embedded that map, I can not go back and edit that post (sorry for the misspellings).
The blog Composer window just clears the entry....
So strange.

Very odd google maps directions

When you go from Pittsburgh to Scranton It takes one route. On the return it takes a different one. There does not seem to be an construction considerations.
I cannot figure this one out.

Very odd.

View Larger Map

Even weirder, the above leaveing pittsburgh goes though the city of altoona , yet a regular map serach (not embedded) does not.

Very "helpful" error message

I got this error while cleaning up on of my clients computers.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update was successfully uninstalled. To help maintain the security of your computer, uninstall Microsoft SQL server Desktop Engine (MSDE). To uninstall MSDE, click Microsoft SQL Server Desktop E...

Its a good thing I knew how anyway, as the error message left me with "E..." just as it was getting good.

Add "Remove Temporary Files" and "Run Disk Cleanup" to right-click menu


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Caution about GoDaddy Blog templates

Go Daddy used to have Quick Blog.
Now its called Quick Blogcast, and comes with all new templates. So if you change or edit your old template, poof its gone and migrated to one of the new 57 Blogcast templates.
So, if you have a legacy template don't touch it!
In any case they will all be migrated anyway, so it does not matter that much.
But now you know.

Exchange 2000: Don't forget the Badmail

Don't even bother with windows explorer to delete. Drop to Cmd, CD to the folder and del *.*.
One hour (or so) later, all clean.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Double Bad: How to really waste my time

I got this email below. At first I thought the whole thing was spam. Nearly deleted it.

A couple months ago, you submitted an evaluation for the class, M5131. We would appreciate it if you could provide additional feedback related to how this class has impacted your job. Please click the link below to complete the brief follow up evaluation.

Click here to begin the survey

After holding my breath I clicked....still not sure what M5131 is...
It is legit! but look at the survey. Do you think I will read all that. I did this once already. That was an exercise in verbal acuity. Someone over at Knowledge Advisors better get thier act together.
I did not complete it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

“While You Were Out” Outlook Addin

This is cool. Its old but new to me.
A guy totally replaces those pink message pads with a VB script
I will try this next time I can.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

MS updates error 8024402f

There seems to be an issue with some hardware firewalls and packet filtering.
D-link Router DI-524 does have this issue.
Needs more investigation

Monday, August 13, 2007

Exchange Backup

  1. Information Store (using NT backup)
  2. System State (NT Backup)
  3. Metabase
    1. IIS manger
    2. Right Click server
    3. All Talks
    4. Backup/Restore Configuration
    5. Create Backup
    6. copy folder C:\WINDOWS\system32\inetsrv\MetaBack\*
      1. A script is available: IIS 5 or IIS 6
  4. Make sure Circular logging is OFF
    1. Rick Click first Storage group
    2. Properties, etc...
  5. Set deleted items retention limits on the mailbox and public folder stores

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bookmark: Windows Directory Statistics

WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows (all current variants).


Friday, July 13, 2007

Bookmark: Using Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Groups

Using the recovery storage group feature in Exchange Server 2003, you can mount a second copy of an Exchange mailbox database on the same server as the original database, or on any other Exchange server in the same Exchange administrative group. You can do this while the original database is still running and serving clients. The recovery storage group can also be useful in disaster recovery scenarios. This book provides information on how to determine if a recovery storage group is useful in your deployment, how to set up a recovery storage group, and how to troubleshoot common problems.

Microsoft online hotfix request form.

Finally Microsoft realizes that most people who request hotfixes do not want to be spoken to as second graders. There is now the Hotfix Request Web Submission Form.

even though.....
you should expect to receive a download link via email from Microsoft within 8 business hours.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My mailman is a bit strange

I get get mail almost every single day. I never leave outgoing mail for pickup. I do however know that if I wanted to, I can raise that red flag on the mailbox signaling outgoing mail.
In my case however, the mailman delivers and raises the red flag. Not every time mind you, just every once in while. There is no pattern to it, just one of those odd mysteries of life.

The irony is that there is this little yellow flag that pops up anyway whenever mail is delivered.

Yahoo! Photos is closing

Dear Yahoo! Photos user,

For some time now, we've supported two great photo sharing services: Yahoo! Photos and Flickr. But even good things come to an end, and we've decided to close Yahoo! Photos to focus all our efforts on Flickr — the award-winning photo sharing community that TIME Magazine has called "completely addictive."

We will officially close Yahoo! Photos on Thursday, September 20, 2007, at 9 p.m. PDT. Until then, we are offering you the opportunity to move to another photo sharing service (Flickr, KODAK Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, or Photobucket), download your original-resolution photos back to your computer, or buy an archive CD from our featured partner (for users of the New Yahoo! Photos only). All you need to do is tell us what to do with your photos before we close, after which any photos remaining on Yahoo! Photos will be deleted and no longer accessible.

Of course, we hope you'll join us at Flickr (you can even use your Yahoo! ID), but we also realize that Flickr may not be for everyone. In the end, we want you to find the service that's right for you, and we hope you take some time to learn more about your options before making this important decision.

Please give us your decision by Thursday, September 20, 2007, at 9 p.m. PDT. After that time, any photos remaining in Yahoo! Photos will be deleted. Click here to make your decision, or review a list of our frequently asked questions.

Thanks for being a part of the Web's largest photo sharing service — we hope to see you over at Flickr!

The Yahoo! Photos team

Oh well, at least they are nice about it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Statistical Credibility

The next time someone starts quoting statistics at you, just remind them that 78% of people who quote statistics make them up.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Neato: Install Firefox extensions globally

  • Log in as administrator or as a user that has administrator priviledges.
  • Instead of installing the extension automatically, download it!
  • Right-click on the download link of the extension and choose “Save Link As…”.
  • Choose a path you can easily remember, for example “D:\Downloads”.
  • When the download has finished click on >Start >Run and type “cmd” into the little window.
  • When you hit enter or click “OK” a command window will open.
  • Type “firefox –install–global–extension [XPI]” into that window, replacing the word [XPI] with the direct path to the extension you wish to install, for example “D:\Downloads\extension.xpi”.
  • Finally hit enter and the extension will be installed into the main directory of Firefox, located under “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox”, rather than into the user profile.
  • Firefox itsself will not confirm the installation of a new extension.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New topic to be covered: Heavy metals and mold

I have three kids and nothing is more important than there well being. So i have decided to highlight the dangers of lead and mold. Stay tuned for news clips and article relating to these dangers.
Our sister blog is available here
Please spread the word.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity. From Steve Pavlina

  1. Nuke it! The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it. If it doesn’t need to be done, get it off your to do list.
  2. Daily goals. Without a clear focus, it’s too easy to succumb to distractions. Set targets for each day in advance. Decide what you’ll do; then do it.
  3. Worst first. To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day. This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.
  4. Peak times. Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
  5. No-comm zones. Allocate uninterruptible blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate. Schedule light, interruptible tasks for your open-comm periods and more challenging projects for your no-comm periods.
  6. Mini-milestones. When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working. For example, when working on a book, you could decide not to get up until you’ve written at least 1000 words. Hit your target no matter what.
  7. Timeboxing. Give yourself a fixed time period, like 30 minutes, to make a dent in a task. Don’t worry about how far you get. Just put in the time. See Timeboxing for more.
  8. Batching. Batch similar tasks like phone calls or errands into a single chunk, and knock them off in a single session.
  9. Early bird. Get up early in the morning, like at 5am, and go straight to work on your most important task. You can often get more done before 8am than most people do in a day.
  10. Cone of silence. Take a laptop with no network or WiFi access, and go to a place where you can work flat out without distractions, such as a library, park, coffee house, or your own backyard. Leave your comm gadgets behind.
  11. Tempo. Deliberately pick up the pace, and try to move a little faster than usual. Speak faster. Walk faster. Type faster. Read faster. Go home sooner.
  12. Relaxify. Reduce stress by cultivating a relaxing, clutter-free workspace. See 10 Ways to Relaxify Your Workspace.
  13. Agendas. Provide clear written agendas to meeting participants in advance. This greatly improves meeting focus and efficiency. You can use it for phone calls too.
  14. Pareto. The Pareto principle is the 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort. Focus your energy on that critical 20%, and don’t overengineer the non-critical 80%.
  15. Ready-fire-aim. Bust procrastination by taking action immediately after setting a goal, even if the action isn’t perfectly planned. You can always adjust course along the way.
  16. Minuteman. Once you have the information you need to make a decision, start a timer and give yourself just 60 seconds to make the actual decision. Take a whole minute to vacillate and second-guess yourself all you want, but come out the other end with a clear choice. Once your decision is made, take some kind of action to set it in motion.
  17. Deadline. Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.
  18. Promise. Tell others of your commitments, since they’ll help hold you accountable.
  19. Punctuality. Whatever it takes, show up on time. Arrive early.
  20. Gap reading. Use reading to fill in those odd periods like waiting for an appointment, standing in line, or while the coffee is brewing. If you’re a male, you can even read an article while shaving (preferably with an electric razor). That’s 365 articles a year.
  21. Resonance. Visualize your goal as already accomplished. Put yourself into a state of actually being there. Make it real in your mind, and you’ll soon see it in your reality.
  22. Glittering prizes. Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement. See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.
  23. Quad 2. Separate the truly important tasks from the merely urgent. Allocate blocks of time to work on the critical Quadrant 2 tasks, those which are important but rarely urgent, such as physical exercise, writing a book, and finding a relationship partner.
  24. Continuum. At the end of your workday, identify the first task you’ll work on the next day, and set out the materials in advance. The next day begin working on that task immediately.
  25. Slice and dice. Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one of those tasks.
  26. Single-handling. Once you begin a task, stick with it until it’s 100% complete. Don’t switch tasks in the middle. When distractions come up, jot them down to be dealt with later.
  27. Randomize. Pick a totally random piece of a larger project, and complete it. Pay one random bill. Make one phone call. Write page 42 of your book.
  28. Insanely bad. Defeat perfectionism by completing your task in an intentionally terrible fashion, knowing you need never share the results with anyone. Write a blog post about the taste of salt, design a hideously dysfunctional web site, or create a business plan that guarantees a first-year bankruptcy. With a truly horrendous first draft, there’s nowhere to go but up.
  29. 30 days. Identify a new habit you’d like to form, and commit to sticking with it for just 30 days. A temporary commitment is much easier to keep than a permanent one. See 30 Days to Success for details.
  30. Delegate. Convince someone else to do it for you.
  31. Cross-pollination. Sign up for martial arts, start a blog, or join an improv group. You’ll often encounter ideas in one field that can boost your performance in another.
  32. Intuition. Go with your gut instinct. It’s probably right.
  33. Optimization. Identify the processes you use most often, and write them down step-by-step. Refactor them on paper for greater efficiency. Then implement and test your improved processes. Sometimes we just can’t see what’s right in front of us until we examine it under a microscope.

Bookmark: Memory Management - Demystifying /3GB

Monday, April 30, 2007

Important activation changes to Windows Vista

To: Microsoft Partners

From: Allison Watson

Subject: Important activation changes to Windows Vista

Date: April 27, 2007

As a valued partner and trusted advisor to our customers, I wanted to re-iterate Microsoft’s commitment to helping protect consumers and software resellers from the risks associated with pirated software. Millions of PCs that ship each year end up with non-genuine Windows® software, which puts you at a competitive disadvantage, and your customers at risk of a sub-optimal experience.

The significant anti-piracy technologies built into Windows Vista™ software are designed to make the widespread pirating of Windows Vista more difficult. Now, all customers who deploy Windows Vista must successfully activate their product using a genuine product key. If a non-genuine product key is used in activation, customers will experience reduced functionality and lose certain features, such as Microsoft Aero and ReadyBoost.

To avoid potential business disruptions and maintain the highest level of satisfaction with Windows Vista deployments, the most important activation changes for you to be aware of and to inform your customers about are:

1. Activation: In the first 30 days of use, all new installations of Windows Vista must be activated by the OEM, through Windows Vista volume licensing technologies, or by the end customer. If Windows Vista is not activated in the first 30 days, the system will operate in a reduced functionality mode.
2. Validation: In order to protect users from being victimized by counterfeit software, and to protect Microsoft’s intellectual property, Windows Vista includes ongoing validation. Through validation, if non-genuine Windows Vista is detected (including non-genuine product keys, cracked or tampered code) the system enters a 30-day grace period. During this time Windows Aero and ReadyBoost features are disabled, and Windows Defender and Windows Update will have limited capabilities (optional updates will not be available through Windows Update, and Windows Defender will only remove critical and severe threats). In addition, during this grace period, a message will appear repeatedly, encouraging the user to take the steps necessary to activate with a genuine product key in order to regain the full value of Windows Vista and to prevent the system from going into a reduced functionality mode.
3. Reduced Functionality: After the repeated prompts above, and if Windows Vista is not activated in the 30-day grace period, the system will operate in a reduced functionality state until a genuine product key is used for activation. In this reduced state, the user will have access to their files and applications, and access to the Internet. However, the desktop will be simplified with only a browser (no Start Menu or Task Bar) and Windows Vista usage will be limited to one hour sessions, at which time the user is forced to log off. Additionally, users may boot the system in Safe Mode in order to access or back-up personal data and applications.

I encourage you to communicate early with customers about the activation changes. For customers that experience reduced functionality, you can help them resolve this by providing them information about how to activate their Windows Vista properly or enable them to purchase a genuine copy.

Learn more to help you discuss this with your customers.

If you serve customers in multiple ways, you may receive a similar communication from the Microsoft OEM team about these new anti-piracy changes. Together, we are working to deliver a great Windows Vista experience for you and for our customers.

Thank you for your business,

Allison Watson
Corporate Vice President
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

POP3 Email and vista

Got a call from a friend about POP3 and Vista, Apparently Vista handles POP3, um, differently.
In any case to correct timeout issues on receiving email run cmd as administrator (right click, run as) and then type

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disable

May require a restart...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Change Analysis Diagnostic tool for Windows XP

Do you ever deal with clients that say that suddenly the computer is acting weird. After pressing for more details they say "I didn't do anything", "Just all of a sudden"....

Well MS has come out with the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool for Windows XP.

Direct Download from here

After installing, reboot.
The go to start, Run , statechangediag.exe.

The program asks for a period date to analyze and generates an XML file your review (in IE).

Picture: Foggy Morning

Friday, March 23, 2007

MS wishes that Hotmail will just go away

As a Microsoft partner I get periodic emails regarding various Microsoft programs
its a little weird when at the bottom of an email they put this...

Subscribers with Hotmail or other "free" email accounts:

We recommend that you use your corporate email address for your subscription since email is our main communication tool.

If you choose to use a Hotmail account, please do the following:
1. Check your account every 29 days so that your Hotmail account is not closed.
2. Remove the Junk Mail feature.
3. Make sure your Inbox does not exceed the allotted space requirements.

I understand the point, and the reason behind it. But Hotmail is a Microsoft product??

and yes I got that email at my Hotmail account (from since before it was bought by Microsoft)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

W32 Time warning in event log

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: W32Time
Event Category: None
Event ID: 36
Date: 3/22/2007
Time: 12:00:42 PM
User: N/A
Computer: XXXXXXXX
The time service has not been able to synchronize the system time for 49152 seconds because none of the time providers has been able to provide a usable time stamp. The system clock is unsynchronized.

to fix run w32tm /resync /rediscover at the command line.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Backup Tapes: When do we say good bye

An article this morning emailed to me from a friend, highlights the danger of tape based backup systems.

A computer technician at the Alaska Department of Revenue deleted applicant information for an oil-funded sales account — one of state residents' biggest perks.

While reformatting the disk drive during a routine maintenance check, the technician mistakenly reformatted the backup drive as well and, suddenly, all the data disappeared.

A third line of defense — backup tapes that are updated nightly — were unreadable.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Merging many text files into one file

This one is so simple it hurts.
If you have many text (CSV, TXT, HTML, etc...) files that you need to combine into one file, follow these instructions

Merge all data from the csv files into a text file

1) Windows Start Button | Run
2) Type cmd and hit enter ("command" in Win 98)
3) Go to the folder with the CSV files (for help enter "help cd")

4) Type copy *.csv all.txt and hit enter to copy all data in the files into all.txt.

5) Type exit and hit enter to close the DOS window

Modify a bit depending on the file types.....From Ron de Bruin's excel page

Update: ' /b' is needed in some cases (ctrl-z)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Incredible stupid marketing: Capital One

I got an offer from Capital One for a business credit card. I get lots of them but this once beats them all.

They send me a dummy card that has imprinted on it
but the star burst
"Your business name appears on the card twice!"
O wow, that's exactly what i always wanted


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

SQL server (2005) data types

For those, like me, that do not use SQL everyday, a simple guide for data types is invaluable.
Thankfully Teratrax posted a perfect guide

Exact numerics

Type From To
bigint -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 9,223,372,036,854,775,807
int -2,147,483,648 2,147,483,647
smallint -32,768 32,767
tinyint 0 255
bit 0 1
decimal -10^38 +1 10^38 –1
numeric -10^38 +1 10^38 –1
money -922,337,203,685,477.5808 +922,337,203,685,477.5807
smallmoney -214,748.3648 +214,748.3647

numeric and decimal are Fixed precision and scale data types and are functionally equivalent.

Approximate numerics

Type From To
float -1.79E + 308 1.79E + 308
real -3.40E + 38 3.40E + 38

datetime and smalldatetime

Type From To
datetime (3.33 milliseconds accuracy) Jan 1, 1753 Dec 31, 9999
smalldatetime (1 minute accuracy) Jan 1, 1900 Jun 6, 2079

Character Strings

Type Description
char Fixed-length non-Unicode character data with a maximum length of 8,000 characters.
varchar Variable-length non-Unicode data with a maximum of 8,000 characters.
varchar(max) Variable-length non-Unicode data with a maximum length of 231 characters (SQL Server 2005 only).
text Variable-length non-Unicode data with a maximum length of 2,147,483,647 characters.

Unicode Character Strings

Type Description
nchar Fixed-length Unicode data with a maximum length of 4,000 characters.
nvarchar Variable-length Unicode data with a maximum length of 4,000 characters.
nvarchar(max) Variable-length Unicode data with a maximum length of 230 characters (SQL Server 2005 only).
ntext Variable-length Unicode data with a maximum length of 1,073,741,823 characters.

Binary Strings

Type Description
binary Fixed-length binary data with a maximum length of 8,000 bytes.
varbinary Variable-length binary data with a maximum length of 8,000 bytes.
varbinary(max) Variable-length binary data with a maximum length of 231 bytes (SQL Server 2005 only).
image Variable-length binary data with a maximum length of 2,147,483,647 bytes.

Other Data Types

  • sql_variant: Stores values of various SQL Server-supported data types, except text, ntext, and timestamp.
  • timestamp: Stores a database-wide unique number that gets updated every time a row gets updated.
  • uniqueidentifier: Stores a globally unique identifier (GUID).
  • xml: Stores XML data. You can store xml instances in a column or a variable (SQL Server 2005 only).
  • cursor: A reference to a cursor.
  • table: Stores a result set for later processing.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Site to Site VPN using Linksys RVS4000: BAD

I purchased two Linksys RVS4000 routers, all the right features are there but they do not work together in harmony.

I'll explain

I have a customer that has two offices, both with dynamic IP's. This router supports the feature. It also supports site to site VPN's (AKA gateway to gateway). However it does not support site to site using dynamic IP's. For that you need the next model (RV042).

The irony is if you are using the RV042 are more likely to have a static IP's anyway.

So bottom line; An OK router though not exactly a polished product.

Bye Bye Comcast; Hello Verizon

Well after six months of Comcast, they are no longer offering the 19.95/m rate and are bumping me up to the 57.95 package (I do not have any cable TV). I said no thanks and switched to verizon.
Even though I had an bad experience way back here, this time the price won out (34.99 vs. 57.95) So I prepared myself for an ugly setup and major headaches. Boy was I surprised.

When I first went to the online sign up, Verizon recognized that i did not have a normal POTS line in place and displayed pricing for a 'dry-loop' only. Good.
I finish all the forms, hit submit and sat back for the wait. Two days later UPS drops off a Westell modem. Good.
Service is not slated to begin till 02/20/07, but i figure ill plug it in, see what happens.
Supprise, the service is live 02/14/07. YAY
I do the dance to register for a username and password, not bad, it worked.
Then i do a speed test and compare with comcast. that was a shocker. Comcast was horrible
see for you self

Speed test statistics - Comcast
Download speed: 260720 bps
Upload speed: 350808 bps
Quality of service: 12 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 874 ms
Average download pause: 90 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 212 ms
Average round trip time to server: 243 ms

VoIP test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 16.0 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 17.8 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.1 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported VoIP lines: 4
Estimated MOS score: 3.7

Speed test statistics -
Download speed: 343360 bps
Upload speed: 361752 bps
Quality of service: 35 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 743 ms
Average download pause: 70 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 217 ms
Average round trip time to server: 262 ms

VoIP test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 17.2 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 30.9 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.1 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported VoIP lines: 5
Estimated MOS score: 3.6

Speed test statistics -
Download speed: 170632 bps
Upload speed: 363208 bps
Quality of service: 44 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 902 ms
Average download pause: 116 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 247 ms
Average round trip time to server: 254 ms

VoIP test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 12.4 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 17.1 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.0 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported VoIP lines: 2
Estimated MOS score: 3.8

Speed test statistics -
Download speed: 2678640 bps
Upload speed: 358032 bps
Quality of service: 1 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 737 ms
Average download pause: 9 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 55 ms
Average round trip time to server: 60 ms

VoIP test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 7.4 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 2.8 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.0 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported VoIP lines: 6
Estimated MOS score: 3.9

Verizon on the other hand...

Speed test statistics - Verizon
Download speed: 2841488 bps
Upload speed: 675160 bps
Quality of service: 98 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 20 ms
Average download pause: 3 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 58 ms
Average round trip time to server: 68 ms

VoIP test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 3.0 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 4.0 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.0 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported VoIP lines: 11
Estimated MOS score: 4.0

EDIT - The above result are from

Friday, February 09, 2007

Analyze MEMORY.dmp

from Vittorio Pavesi's blog...

Install and launch Windbg then:

  1. Load the dump file
  2. Type .symfix
  3. Type .reload
  4. Type !Analyze
  5. Read the Bugchek Analysis Report

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Math prodigy corrects museum exhibit error


A jelly bean has a volume of about 1 cubic cm.This container is half a pyramid.

Its base measures 46 cm by 23 cm and its height is 72 cm.

Here's the formula to find the volume: 1/3 x base area x height.

Now divide your answer by 2 since this is half a pyramid.

Now multiply your answer by 0.9 to account for spaces between the jelly beans.

The answer should be 22,853.


The base measurements given were already for half the pyramid, so there was no need to divide the answer by 2.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Silence a ringing blackberry (7100 series)

This is trivial I know, but I could not find this anywhere.

Using trial and error I figured out that in order to silence a blackberry you have to roll the trackwheel. Pressing the red "ignore" button while the phone is ringing sends the call right away to voice mail, and the caller no doubt feels snubbed. Whereas if you roll the trackwheel it quiets the phone but still "rings" for the caller.

EDIT- I called it a scroll wheel (sorry) its supposed to be called the Trackwheel. Fixed.

Web Admin Tool on SBS

Had to install the admin tools for active sync. Apparently for SBS you have to make sure to do the following
  1. Download the Mobile Admin pack here:
  2. Backup the metabase in IIS (right click the servername in IIS -> all tasks -> backup/restore -> create backup)
  3. TEMPORARILY set the default website to “all unassigned” (if it is not already)
  4. Run MobileAdmin.exe that you downloaded in step 1.
  5. Reset IIS back to the way it was before step 3, if applicable
  6. Open the properties for the ExAdmin virtual directory under the default website -> directory security -> Edit for Secure Communications and uncheck “Require SSL”
  7. Restart the IIS Admin service
thanks to official SBS blog

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Annoying Yahoo Email "feature"

I have had an account at yahoo, for a very very long time. My account name is only four charectars. Thats how long. However recently when i sent an email to two people (reply all) I get thisHonestly, what are the chances that I will be sending spam. Yahoo, is that really the best you can do?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Two Suggestions for Google

In any online directions, there is always that mileage in between steps, however you always keep track of the miles by using the odometer and do quick math (or rest the trip odometer) between step. How about putting the total miles accumulated as you go through the steps. Or to take it one further input your actual odometer reading online and then add the miles as you go along, to match the actual readings.
For mobile users that are using googles mobile apps: After you plot directions, there is no reverse directions, seems obvious as the regular google maps does have that.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Yep, windows 98 is still here

Had a weird request. User had Garbage garbled fonts like here. Fixed using the fix8x14 open source video driver here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Words to Live By - Mortimer B. Zuckerman

Just awesome......

Here are my fantasies about what was said over the New Year's holiday, with inadequate acknowledgments to various contributors, some of whose words I've adapted a bit:

Democrats on the Republican congressional defeat: "Just remember it is lonely at the top when there is no one at the bottom."

The press's attitude toward President George Bush: "People say satire is dead. It is not dead; it is alive and living in the White House."

The public's contempt for corruption in politics: "Politics are so corrupt even the dishonest people get screwed."

The press on the new Congress: "You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think."

The Democrats on their contempt for the Republican health plan: "Just say no to sickness."

A politician's assessment of TV commentary: "TV is the goose that lays the golden eggs. You can't blame it for not producing caviar."

The public's skepticism about bipartisanship: "The word bipartisan in politics usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out."

The public on politics in general: "Look up the word politics in the dictionary. It is the combination of two words: poli, which means many, and tics, which means bloodsuckers."

The Republicans on Democratic suburban liberals: "It is easy to be politically correct and liberal when you live in a gated community."

The press on the political attitudes of the different parties: "A Democrat sees the glass of water half full; a Republican looks at the same glass and wonders who the hell drank his glass of water."

The press on the press: "Asking a journalist what he thinks about a politician is like asking a dog what he thinks about a lamppost."

Al Gore on the war in Iraq: "If they want peace, nations should avoid the pinprick that precedes cannon shots."

The liberal Democrats on the Republican Party: "Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in urging people to volunteer in their communities? Because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time."

George Bush on his ambitions for transforming the world: "I would love to change the world, but I can't find a big enough diaper."

An economist on the disparity of incomes and the flow of income to higher income brackets: "A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place."

On Christmas gifts: "I have all these people to give Christmas gifts to, and you know what I find? There are some very nice things at the 99-cent store."

On personal finance: "I went to the bank and went over my savings. I found out I have all the money I will ever need if I die tomorrow." "At the ATM, they ask if you would like to conduct your business in English or Spanish. I suggest you try Spanish because your account balance would look much better in pesos." And "Money can't find happiness, but it helps you look for it in more places; and what's the use of happiness if it can't buy you money?"

Ministers on their support of birth control: "Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion."

A minister's view of evolution: "I don't understand evolution. If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? Why couldn't they make it over the hump?"

The public on the age of technology: "I shop at a computer store called 'Your Crap Is Already Obsolete.'"

The public on cynicism about the police: "We live in an age where pizza gets to your home before the police." And a recent police study found that "you are much more likely to get shot by a fat cop if you run."

Advice on life: "The definition of old is always 15 years from now." "You know you are getting old when you walk at the cemetery and two guys run after you with a shovel."

Middle age: "when your age is starting to show around the middle."

On dating: "Men always say the most important thing in a woman is her sense of humor. Do you know what that means? They are looking for someone to laugh at their jokes."

On life: "People who live in glass houses might as well answer the door."

On ethnic traditions: "My mother is a typical Jewish mother; they sent her home from jury duty when she insisted she was guilty."

On the work ethic: "Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough not to quit."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So called high security at email hosting company

This morning I dialed up company that will be providing email hosting to one of my clients.

The reason I called was that on the form for sign up there was an option for transferring my domain to them. Since this is not clear whether my domain ownership and management will be transferring to them or just email is transferring to them (MX records).

So I called. First lady who answered was clueless. She transfered me to IT. Fine.
IT guy was rude and would not answer any questions since I was not the actual owner of said domain.
Grrr.... OK. Fine Security is important.

So I complete the form anyway. One of the sections asks for my domain and the user name and password of the registrar. Hmm strange. OK keep going.

A few hours later I get an email with all the information that I submitted including the password to my domain.