Month: February 2006

PrintConductor for printing

PrintConductor looks like a useful tool for printing multiple docs automatically – like all the manuals for Live Communication Server which incidentally I went live with some real users this afternoon. It’s taken this long to get the software, user documentation written and the time to install it myself. Work has been incredibly busy with a couple of clients and this week seems to be no better even though we had a new guy start today.

This morning started off badly with all the remote sites complaining that they were getting a message saying that Windows Updates had finished installing and the computer needed restarting but the restart now, reboot later buttons were greyed out. I should have realised they were talking about the screen appearing in their terminal server window and they don’t have permission to reboot the server! Instead I spent a while poking around in their event viewer trying to find out what the problem was. I’m not sure if the problem is me not being clear enough when I ask if they are using terminal services or whether its just too complicated a question…. Maybe I’ll rename the TS icon on their main desktop to “IF YOU CLICK THIS YOU ARE USING TERMINAL SERVICES” and put a default background saying the same thing.

fix for installing windows updates

Had a brand new client pc unable to install the first set of windows updates this morning – the Windows Installer 3.1 and the Package Installer to allow smaller downloads.
The fix was to delete the c:\windows\softwaredistribution folder – not something I’d normally recommend but seeing as though this was the first set of windows updates to be installed I wasn’t going to loose any preinstalled data.

Social Bookmarking alternative

Magnolia is a new social bookmarking site that is similar to delicious but has the option of making bookmarks private too. It looks really nice and seems to have good integration through the use of bookmarklets. My Magnolia homepage is available and I’ve also started a geocaching group.
I’ve yet to import my bookmarks into the site (that will be a long job!) and the only downside I’ve had so far is the fact that adding bookmarks to a group is a pretty painful process – first you add the bookmark to your page, then you have to go back and add each one to the group, with a “choose the group” followed by “edit details” page – which takes a long time when populating a lot of links (which I guess will slow down the spammers!)

Windows Defender

Just downloaded the new Windows Defender – Microsoft’s AntiSpyware software which was released a couple of days ago. It does make you wonder why the definitions are 22 days old if the product was only released a couple of days ago though.
The interface is pretty spartan but clean – I think it is meant to be the Vista look but to me it looks more along the tellytubby path that XP started out with.
One thing I did like, but that wasn’t made clear in the download pages is that you don’t need to uninstall the previous AntiSpyware software first – Windows Defender will remove it for you.

SBS training

Had a good days training at the Small Business Exam Cram today. Today was mainly focussed on the Sales & Marketing aspect of the system but we also went through the initial install and configuration of the server. Everyone had a laptop with SBS running in a virtual pc and it was soooooo slow. It was comforting to find that it was slow on these laptops though as I was wondering if I had something wrong on my install of sbs on my own laptop which was also incredibly slow (although once the system is up and running it’s not too bad).

During lunch, most of the attendees got out their work laptops and surfed to get email, messages from work, did some work or in some cases just watched the IT Crowd from Channel 4 which you can’t get in america now 🙁
Anyway – the funny thing was that the couple of guys behind me were complaining about how bad the network was after everyone had fired their laptops up – and blaming it on the bandwidth hogs of vpn, remote desktop and other such tools (that I was using). Mind you – you’d be crazy to not use vpn or rdp in a room of techies as there were quite a few copies of ethereal and network sniffers running. What I did find amazing was that the people using outlook2003 all complained that they weren’t able to contact their servers back at the office due to the bandwidth requirements, but I had the once in a lifetime opportunity of saying “If you were using Lotus Notes you wouldn’t have that problem” and actually meaning it. Normally I’m *blaming* Lotus Notes for causing me problems.

We were given homework to do tonight – to complete the Sales and Marketing assessment which was actually fairly easy – especially as you can keep retaking it (for free) until you achieve a passing score – it took me 2 attempts! The scary thing about this is that you are then halfway to becoming a Small Business Specialist, and so is the company that you work for. Some discussion this morning took place about Best Buy and the Geek Squad going for Small Business Training and how they were trying to get the Small Business Specialist certification – this was a worrying prospect for a lot of the consultants as they can’t compete on price (which a lot of small businesses will focus on) and they are nervous about the fact that it is unlikely that the Geek Squad are going to do a very good job. It was even more disconcerning when I pointed out that in theory the GeekSquad only needs *1 person* to get the qualification and then the whole company, countrywide, can claim Small Business Specialist accreditation. To me that is just wrong (although it was pointed out that it is more likely that each branch is going to go for accreditation individually) but it does make you think……..

Rogue Spyware list.

I often go to a clients pc that “has anti-spyware installed” only to find they’ve clicked and installed on a popup that appeared whilst they were browsing. This list of rogue antispyware software is a good quick reference as to which spyware solutions are valid. Personally I only recommend search and destroy, adaware, microsoft’s AntiSpyware or Counterspy (although i’ve not actually used the latter one I know it has been getting good reviews and it is made by a reputable company)