Month: March 2007

Combining a Windows 2003 server – the hidden pitfalls

I needed to migrate some data from an old server onto a new server and after moving the data (thanks robocopy) I needed to ensure that the clients would be able to find the new location. Creating the shares with the same name and then changing the login scripts should make everything work ok, but just in case something has the unc path encoded I did the following (see the extended entry). Read the extended entry for the surprise ending that I had to do!

Using CNAME for server alias’s may not work as expected

If you are decomissioning an old server and moving the data to a new server, an easy way to let all the hosts still connect to the old server is to create a cname alias in dns such that oldserver points to newserver.domain This way, any software coded to use unc names will still find the share but on the new server.
Unfortunately, by default the new server does not expect to get requests for the oldname so it ignores them and the client receives an error message. This is apparently fixed by following the instructions in KB281308.

Gigafast resolution

I heard back from the Better Business Bureau yesterday and it seems like Gigafast’s response to all the complaints is to ignore them – Gigafast have an F rating with them (which is not good!) with 67 ignored complaints. Fortunately on the same day, I received a cheque from OnRebate as Microcenter paid the rebate instead. So it’s a thumbs up for Microcenter – now all they have to do is respond to me about my upgrade to Vista that I was promised.

Call another Vonage customer or toll free via a local access number

If you go to Vonage V Access website you can get a local number that you can call for free via vonage that then lets you enter in another vonage number or 800 number (seems to work for 877 too) which you can then call. Our standard vonage plan only has 500 minutes and doesn’t have unlimited access (we’re on the $15/month plan rather than $25 which is unlimited) so this trick is useful when calling people like Sprint and sitting on hold for ages and not using up any minutes in the plan (Our local number is 614 334 9472)
I could have used my Verizon cell (which is unlimited at weekends) but that doesn’t have a very good speakerphone, whereas the landline has a good speakerphone to listen to hold music with.

Blackberry rant

These blackberrys are a piece of junk. We’ve had the 8703e now for about 4 weeks and the service from the device has been getting worse and worse. Several times I’ve lost the ability to get any data access – attempting to use the internet just gives me a lack of service access. What I have found is that removing the battery for about 30 seconds usually gives me data access back again.
Text messages have been delayed 12 or more hours, which is not acceptable for business use as that is how we get paged about urgent or high priority tickets.
Thursday the phone was not accepting most incoming calls, with calls going to voicemail and I’d then get an sms message telling me that a message had been left even though the phone was not actually ringing. However, I know the phone did ring at least once as I asked one of the callers to ring me back to verify whether it had got switched to silent mode (but the phone rang as expected).
Yesterday I was getting data service refused when trying to access the internet from the laptop using the blackberry as a tethered modem the fact that it says refused almost sounds like I *could* have data access but Sprint have decided not to let me have it.
Twice the phone has switched off the radio overnight – the first time it happened I realised when I picked the phone up in the morning and assumed it had happened because the battery had warned me it was running out of power the previous night – I thought it had turned the radio off to save battery life. However the second time it happened the battery warning had not occurred and the phone was on charge overnight. I didn’t check that the radio was on in the morning so I had about 5 hours of blissful quietness when it didn’t ring or send me text messages in the morning….but when I realised and turned the radio back on – that all changed!

As far as the phone is concerned, the lack of a voice recorder and voice dialing makes it almost impossible to use whilst on the road as it is not possible to call any of my clients whilst driving. The previous Motorola phone had voice activated dialing so I would only have to press the bluetooth earpiece and then state who I wanted to call. With the blackberry I first have to punch in the security code, scroll to access the address book and then scroll through the address book to select the person I want to call, this is just not practical whilst driving.
I miss the voice recorder on the previous phone as I used to use that to leave memo’s for myself or time stamps of arriving and leaving at customers so that I could easily fill in my timesheet at a later date by retrieving the messages.
To sum it all up, this device was meant to make my business life easier, instead it has just been unreliable and is a piece of junk.

Yesterday a replacement blackberry was given to us by Sprint to use instead as they think mine was faulty. Funny thing is that the new one can’t even get provisioned to join the Sprint data network. It also doesn’t have the dst patch on (and I can’t install it until I get data access). Apparently I have to wait one more hour until the voodoo they did at Sprint Customer Service (877-654-9111) takes affect and then I have to try and provision the phone again.

Bestbuy’s so called privacy policy

Today I got a spam mail from netgear which annoys me as they should know better, but unfortunately for Best Buy it went to an email address given only to Best Buy. Nowhere in the email does it mention Best Buy at all and I have never agreed to let Best Buy share my email address with third parties (and ensure this box is always ticked appropriately when conducting business with a company).
The annoying thing is that BestBuy’ s privacy policy states –

  • Best Buy does not sell or rent your personal information to third parties.
  • In limited circumstances, Best Buy may need to share your information with certain third parties.

I’ve sent an email to [email protected] to complain – will be interesting to see what they have to say.

Windows 2003 sp2 is now out

This is really weird – the news on this Windows 2003 service pack 2 has been really quiet – there has been very little coverage of the beta for this and then boom – it’s available on Windows Updates the day that Microsoft say they are not releasing any security patches! Hopefully your servers are not set to auto update and WSUS is not set to automatically approve (and download) service packs. However, if you have ie7 on the server then you won’t be able to install service pack 2 which is a really stupid requirement. I know there is the argument that you shouldn’t be surfing on a server, but you need a web browser for a lot of server based monitoring apps like Dell System monitor, Hp monitor, WSUS, Symantec antivirus etc so it would make sense to have the latest version on the server (especially as you can use tabs)
From the What’s new, it is interesting to see that there is a replacement tool for cacls, now icacls and also RIS has been replaced by Windows Deployment Services