Month: January 2006

MORE windows patches

Microsoft released 2 more patches yesterday – the day after I manage to schedule a lot of reboots for my customers for the wmf patch. Thankfully it looks like the machines may not need rebooting judging on my xp desktop experience. Hopefully the same will hold true for the server.
I had one customer box not reboot overnight because the boot.ini had been mysteriously changed to boot to a (non-existent) windows 2000 installation. Fortunately the customer mentioned (when I rang them early this morning) that the problem of not finding ntkernel.exe is solved by selecting the other option in the boot sequence….I’m glad they told me this but it would have been better if they had mentioned the problem before so I wouldn’t have had to get up early this morning in case I needed to make an emergency stop at their site… instead I’m catching up on some blogging.

I must be the only person in the world who wasn’t pleased that Microsoft released the wmf patch early on Thursday last week. Everyone else seems to be so grateful that this happened but it was a nightmare for me. Thursday night I was doing a software audit on a lan and I left it scanning the machines overnight. I came in the next morning expecting to sit down and start analyzing only to find that the machine had downloaded the new patch and automatically rebooted – loosing all the scanning results so I had to start again – not so happy. Before you tell me that you can set automatic updates to not do the reboot – I know – this was on a machine outside of my control AND Microsoft had also previously announced that the patch would not be ready until Tuesday.

Windows Live mail signup.

In my second email post for today – it looks like you can sign up for the Windows live mail beta – they say you have to wait a couple of weeks to get the invite. Neil had posted a way to get this earlier by hacking some urls in hotmail but that never worked for me so this is probably the next best thing. It will be interesting to see how it compares to gmail which is getting to be my mail client of choice now. It is certainly a lot better than Lotus Notes 6.5 which we have to use for work – that is the worst mail client ever – so many features just don’t work right (sorry Notes readers but it’s true!)

thunderbird rc2 upgrade

I upgraded thunderbird to rc2 last night – It wiped out the couple of extensions that I had installed. One (and the one I use most) was virtual identity that allows me to hack the from address in the email easily. Useful when you reply to emails sent to the catchall address and Mailing list Headers which gives better links for handling the header information. Both the above links allow you to download newer versions which don’t get picked up by the “automatic update”

Verizon bill

We got our first (and last at this rate!) phone from Verizon this afternoon for the calls for this month. We’ve not bothered with a home phone number as we don’t make that many calls….unfortunately we’ve received a lot of calls – most of them during the day and after the 500 minutes we get with our monthly allowance, each minute is charged at 45cents. We’ve had a bill for $282 of calls for Kristen’s phone this month!
That is totally unacceptable so we’re now quickly looking for an alternative. I’m looking at possibly using timewarner’s voip or vonage – both of which I’ve heard nasty things about. So any recommendations?

Wooohoooo! IE is fixed.

I’ve finally solved the problem for good, with internet explorer hanging and not working properly (with every page being loaded into firefox) and what I want to know is how come most of you have not read the post on Download squadwhich points to the article and registry fix that explains why you can’t run ie7 and ie6 on the same machine anymore without getting the exact symptoms I have been having????
I have spent so long on trying to fix this! If I used IE more often it would have been easier to have pinned it down to a windows update – we only started getting it a couple of days before christmas – about 10 days after the patch was released.

Google Pack

I’m sure loads of people have blogged about Google pack which is a bundle of google software and third party software for free. One of the cool things is Norton Antivirus 2005 with 6 months subscription – great for people who don’t have antivirus on their machine. It would be good if they included a free firewall package AND had the ability to download the lot as a cd image (or one big install file) so I could download it and make it available for friends on a cd when I go to fix their pc.
This weekend I have a project of getting together some software for a (shudder) 98 machine including antivirus and a firewall for a new broadband user. Not sure which firewall I’m going to use just yet……

In other software updates I’m still struggling with Internet Explorer – i’ve fixed the problem when new windows would only open in firefox by downloading Setbrowser which allows you to force the computer to use a particular browser. This solved the direct problem and now I can open new windows in ie but……The problem is that now the browser seems to download part of the webpage and then hangs. The browser title will change to the title text within the webpage so I know its downloading something but then it just completely hangs. After 2 or 3 minutes (if I’ve not loaded the page in firefox) I may be lucky enough to find the whole page has downloaded successfully.
I downloaded AvantBrowser, a tabbed version of ie to see if this would have the same problem and it does (as does ie7 to a lesser degree). Unfortunately it is not possible to repair an ie installation apart from reinstalling sp2 (which I’ve done twice) but it doesn’t help matters.

On other software related issues I’ve also switched my mail server across to Surgemail, a free mail server which includes pop3,imap,smtp,webmail, spamfiltering and blogging software. It’s pretty powerful but the user interface is done through a webbrowser and is incredibly complicated and confusing. I can never find a setting that I was using just a minute ago and it doesn’t help that all the webpages are titled “Surgemail” so the back function in the web browser history is useless. It is not as good as vpop3 for downloading pop mail and sorting mail into the relevant mailboxes as it is really geared to be a proper mailserver with incoming smtp traffic for mail delivery – but it works. I’d recommend downloading a copy if you want a free local mail server and have some time to play with the settings.

anyone got Hamachi vpn working behind a nat router?

I’ve installed Hamachi vpn on both the home pc and another with the idea that I’d have remote access whilst away from home. Unfortunately I can’t connect through to the home pc. Apparently I need to activate the “magic number” (aka port forwarding via udp) but this doesn’t seem to work. Unfortunately this “zero config” is not quite as it seems. However if it does work then it would be really handy.