Month: November 2007

70-291 exam scheduled.

I’ve scheduled my 291 exam for 7th December just to give me a deadline. As usual with prometric, scheduling this was horrendous. The website refused to acknowledge the email that it used to send me the exam confirmation last time and I had to call Prometric. After listening to the awful “Did you know you can use our website” automated recording (Yes I do know and I really would do so if the system recognised my user id!) I eventually got to a customer service rep. Prometric still have my email address, phone number and address from the UK. They wanted to clarify my phone number for identity purposes and none of my US ones worked. She read out the first 3 digits and after a couple of seconds I realised they were referring to my old UK employer! This was meant to have been changed when I first took my US exams in 2005 and they still hadn’t updated the system!
Anyway, the exams booked – now I just hope I get the chance to study for it – this week has been really busy and I’ve not felt like studying – a 15 hour work day on Monday did not start the week off well…. Meanwhile my colleague is trying to find out what his MCP ID number is so he can register for the 2nd chance promotion and *then* go through the prometric hurdles. He is doing the same exam so there is nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry to persuade us to study.

I need some more coffee – reading the Paypal fob.

I was using my paypal fob to sign into my MovableType 4 test installation and I entered the 6 digit code. I was surprised to see that Verisign rejected it. “That’s odd” I thought until I realised I was holding the fob upside down and the numbers just happened to be readable that way up too! It is obviously too early in the morning to be debugging css code – so sorry Neil!

Dell Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) alert setup

Update – this post is slightly out of date – please see my updated Configuring Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) page.

As mentioned in a previous post, we have several Dell servers that have Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) setup and one of the features of this software is the ability to setup alerts whenever an issue is detected by the built in monitoring system.  In the new version, 5.3, even more alerts have been enabled – mainly in the area of storage management.  To edit this setup you typically go to the website hosting the Server Administrator, log in and then set up all the alerts. Each alert is setup individually and takes several mouse clicks. One to open up the alert, one to select the alert process’s, another to click apply and then another to click the Go Back to Alert Settings.  This is really inefficient and obviously takes a very long time to set this up on multiple servers. The process described in the extended entry below describes how you can set this up, quickly and efficiently by importing the same settings to your servers each time they are set up. Little customization needs to be done on each server but full instructions are provided.

Note- this post is slightly out of date – please see my updated Configuring Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) page.

Dell Firmware and software update DVD

If you have several Dell servers (or even just one server) then I would highly recommend downloading the Systems Management Dell DVD. Inserting this DVD in the server drive will then show you a list of all the firmware, drivers and software that needs to be updated on the server. This is a great tool for ensuring that your Dell server is up to date and you don’t need to download all the patches each time on the server or even worry about where they are located on the Dell website. I find it really difficult to work out which files are needed and this DVD is really helpful. Included on the DVD is the OpenManage 5.3 suite of software that came out fairly recently. Note that if you install it then you will want to go back to the alerts page as there maybe new alert categories.

I know IBM do a similar service as I used to use it when installing Netfinity servers and I assume HP does too.

Incidentally I found out about this by subscribing to the Dell Technical Update Subscriptions

Electronic Discovery for Dummies review

I just finished the free Electronic Discovery for Dummies booklet that Mike McBride blogged about. It didn’t take long to read as it was 42 pages but it was quite interesting. Like Mike’s review I found the book easy to read and a good start for IT Managers or someone who may need to talk to a CEO to explain implications of IT practises. In my case it will be useful to explain the implications of mail (and data) archiving policies. Several questions have arisen lately about archiving and deleting mail to reduce the load on the mail servers. Some of the reasons for doing this is cost, but then recovering all the data from all of the backup tapes could prove far more costly. However, having a short retention time for backups seems to be acceptable as long as the company has a strict policy for this and that it is adhered to.
I’m not sure what happens or if it is possible to have different retention schemes for different users (or management levels) but I do know that whatever solution is used, the ability to stop deleting things according to the policy must be possible in the case of an ediscovery request.
I passed the book along to one of our sales people as it is a good, quick primer and should really be required minimum reading for any tech dealing with backups, restoration and deletion of software.

Fixing a Blackberry hanging on enterprise activation

I had a blackberry today that would not receive mail from the BES server but could send. It could also send and receive PIN messages but not mail. To get the mail working I deleted the phone from the system and sent an activation request. I then obtained the password from outlook’s email and entered it into the enterprise activation window on the blackberry – this hung and never completed. I then followed the Cingular instructions on how how to complete Enterprise Activation on a RIM BlackBerry. Details in the extended entry in case the Cingular site goes offline.

Windows error when opening a web page from start run

I’ve been getting an annoying dialog box that pops up whenever I tried to open a web page from the start/run or my address bar in windows. The dialog box would say “Windows cannot find . Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.”
I’ve just kept clicking ok (or ignoring the dialog box) and the page would load anyway. Today I found out from the mozilla bug database that this is normally caused by AdBlockPlus, an extension to assist in hiding adverts but in my case it turned out to be AdBlock – the original version. I removed adblock, installed the latest version of adblockplus and everything is working again.

Comment searching disabled.

Unfortunately I’ve had to disable the ability to search the comments on this blog as apparently the script was using up too much memory. I ran a search this afternoon and ended up with the generic 500 Server error page. Looking through the error log (which can be found in ~/logs/errors/domain name/http/error.log for dreamhost users) I found that mt search page was being killed before completing but only if I used the SearchElement=both on the absoblogginlutely blog (the other blogs are fine). I must admit I am a bit surprised at that as I only have 3103 posts and 1446 comments so I wouldn’t have thought this would put *that* much strain on a server. Dreamhost just said that I was “using too much memory” and to check the MovableType forums for support 🙁 I did a quick search and that recommended fastsearch, but this doesn’t support searching comments either, so for the time being the search will only do the content (although interestingly I can search with no errors from the admin interface).

Hopefully this won’t be the same in MovableType4 which I might get around to upgrading too one day.

Update The feature is back – after clearing out the junk comments the feature started working again.

More camera purchases.

What do you mean there is no chocolate cake left?I’m very pleased with the new camera purchase so far. Unfortunately the picture quality may go down a bit whilst I work out how to use all the new settings on the camera.  The first couple of shots I took outside the house I couldn’t understand why the camera was bleeping at me and then the photo was taken.  It turns out that the self timer was turned on and it was giving me 10 seconds to get into the picture!

I’ve also ordered a couple of extras to go with the camera, the rc1 remote control which enables you to take instant photos and 2 second delay photos with the remote. This will be useful for group shots and also for taking photos while reducing camera shake. I’m also getting a replacement  lens cap as the one that comes with the camera does not have a loop for attaching to a strap so I know it won’t be long until I lose the original cap. I’ve already purchased a 2GB Compact flash card from Bestbuy for $35 with the camera as they had a good deal on the card and was even cheaper than Amazon.  I went for the extreme version of the card as it twice as quick as the ultra cards at reading and writing, with quoted speeds of 20mb/s and speed is important when writing many pictures to the card in quick succession when using the multi shot mode.

I’m also hoping that the tripod quick release mount arrives in the post this afternoon – I ordered it on Sunday and it arrived in Dublin this morning according to USPS. This is slightly longer than I hoped for, one of the books I ordered from Amazon at the same time arrived on Wednesday (although as usual with amazon, the other books have not arrived including the one that really needs to be here.)

The picture of Kate is a reduced and cropped version after she ate some of Katie’s birthday cake. She’s looking a bit sad as all the cake is gone and she is suffering from a cold/fever/virus infection (but she did cheer up when eating the chocolate and icecream cake)

Canon Rebel XT Kit – worth getting up for?

BestBuy have a pretty good deal (or it looks like it to me) of a Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP camera, 18-55mm lens, 75-300mm zoom lens, bag, battery and uv filter for $700 with a minimum of 8 per store, but you’ll probably have to get there at 3am to get the vouchers they hand out – OR you could just order it online for the same price. I am sorely tempted by this one as the camera is normally 550-600 alone. I’ll let you know what we decide!
Update You can actually get approximately $25+ off this price (on a subsequent order) by signing up for their rewards card. They are doing a holiday promotion gift package where you get $15 extra reward points (750) if you spend over $500 AND you get the original $10 reward for the first $500 and an extra 200 points for the next $200 – thats one less camera available for purchase 😉
Update 2 I went to the store Friday morning and purchased this camera. Then I had a horrendous time trying to get hold of someone to cancel the web order but I eventually managed to. Fortunately Bestbuy’s website have a feature where you can use the computer to call them so you don’t have to waste minutes on your phone plan.