Month: April 2008

Archives are now working too!

It looks like several things were missing after the MT upgrade and now I have fixed the archives. Basically the archive templates were missing for some reason, but fortunately I had archive templates in a test blog. So I switched to the test blog, went to Design then templates then archive templates. I then selected the code for the category archive, went to the same location in the live blog and pasted the code into it. After saving the code I created an archive mapping that pointed to category/sub-category/index.php and then rebuilt all of the category archives – it then worked. Unfortunately I’ve just realised that the template links back to the atom.xml file and not feedburner so I have to republish again – I’ll be doing that tonight 🙁

RSS Feeds working again.

Thanks to a tip off in the comments, I’ve fixed my RSS feed. When I moved from the old version of MovableType the index.rdf file didn’t get regenerated as before but instead the atom and rss feed got generated instead – unfortunately my feed at feedburner didn’t know that! I’ve since changed the feed at feedburner to use the atom feed AND updated the meta tags in the template to point to the feedburner site.

Triple boot management

5 if you include the couple of Dell partitions! The Dell pc comes with two hidden partitions – one is the diagnostics partition and the other is the system restore partition so you can get back to factory image if you ever need to. After I had installed Vista on the machine I then attempted to install Windows2008 but the installation process wouldn’t let me proceed as it couldn’t make a new partition due to the limit of 4 primary partitions on a hard disk. I therefore booted back into XP, blew away the Vista partition, created a new extended partition and within that created two drives – one for Vista and one for 2008. A quick reboot off the dvd and Vista was soon installed, then a repeat of the process, this time with Windows2008 and that was installed quickly too – I think Windows 2008 took about 20 minutes.

This evening I was preparing for an adminstrator password change that I need to do tomorrow on a Windows 2000 box so to check everything worked ok I created a new virtual machine in 2008, loaded the Windows 2000 cd and 26 minutes later I had installed Windows 2000 in a vm, rebooted, changed the password using the Offline NT Password cd and rebooted back into Windows 2000 and was able to log back in again. I suspect on old hardware it will take that long just to boot the machine up and change the password and log back in again!

I also really wanted the ability to select the Operating System that the machine would boot into after it was rebooted. The default installation of any OS is going to prompt you for the installation but that isn’t much use when the reboot is happening remotely.  I remember some software I used back in the NT4/2000 days that would do this but couldn’t remember what it was called. That wouldn’t actually help though as the boot structure in Vista and Windows2008 is radically different requiring the use of BCDEdit……  Alternatively EasyBCD could be used to edit the boot configuration. This is well worth downloading as it makes editing the boot configuration much nicer. I was able to use this utility to remove the extra Vista configuration as a result of the dual installations of Vista. What is even better is their iReboot software. Install this on all the OS’s and then you can select which OS to boot with from a Task Notifier icon and restart the machine – just what I needed. (Note this does require .net framework so I had to install this on the new xp installation as it didn’t have it already! Also note that the first result for .net framework 2 comes up with a page can’t be found on Microsoft’s site and the second hit is for the beta version! Use this link instead and don’t forget to check Windows Updates afterwards)

Inspiron has arrived.

My new Dell Inspiron arrived this afternoon at work so I spent a few minutes unpacking the machine. I’m still undecided as to use Windows2008, Vista or XP on the machine – I have licence’s for all three OS’s but because of the nature of this machine being a virtual/test server I’ll be rebuilding it several times in virtual and physical modes so I’m still debating this decision.

Out of the box it looks pretty nice – the case has white sides and a silver front top – I’m used to the dell machines being black boxes so this is a pleasant change.  On boot up I’ve confirmed that my Norwood Micro monitor IS weird – it doesn’t like to stay switched on when a machine is booted up and switches itself off either at POST or at the actual reboot stage which means that I rarely get to see the POST screen and the F1 to continue buttons. This happened on the previous machine but I had never really had a chance to try it on another machine to see if it was the monitor or the computer – it’s definitely the monitor!

Anyway, the machine booted up into XP (at a poor 800*600 default) and it was time to remove America Online, AOL Coach, AOL Connectivity Services, Browser Address Error Redirector, Earthlink Setup Files, Google Desktop, Google Toolbar, Internet Service Offers Launcher, MusicMatch, NetZeroInstallers, Realplayer Basic, SearchAssist and finally Viewpoint Media Player. Note that I wasn’t given the option to optout of this preinstall – I’d already declined Works and trial versions of Symantec Antivirus. First stop was PCDecrapifier to remove most of these and the rest were manually removed. Then it was time to run Windows Updates – all 39 of them. Come on Dell – you really should have a machine that is patched *reasonably* up to date before it shipping it to customers.

Update Interestingly the “500gb” drive ends up as 453 usable by the time you take the Mb marketing rounding, 39mb FAT partition for the Diagnostics tools and 3.3gb for the system image partition.

After two reboots the Dell support center software came up and asked me if I wanted to periodically sendmy data to Dell – I don’t think so! However this led to a page to download various drivers and updates etc. I was pleased to see that the BIOS didn’t need updating – mine was shipped with 1.0.12 (that came out on 3/17/2008). At a quick glance it doesn’t look like anything else needs updating – however about 20 minutes later the Dell alerts gave me tips about turning on the firewall (already was), deleting the temp files etc etc. One of the links was the Vista Readiness test. This machine failed due to the graphics – it only has the built in graphics card so no surprises there really.

At this point I installed synergy so I only had to use one mouse and keyboard to update the computer and post this blog entry

The Flash player was next to be updated, again this was prompted in the Dell alerts, but no alerts about the old version of Quicktime or Adobe Reader that was preinstalled.

Dreamhost one click installs.

I don’t know if they’ve already had it but I noticed that Dreamhost now has an option in their one click installation routines that has a setting to email you whenever a new version comes out – this is great to ensure that you are aware of any new security patches. As they are one click installations it is very easy to upgrade the software but you do have to bear in mind that they may not have a new version as soon as it is released (although apparently their WordPress 2.5 came out hours after the official release).

Virtual Server for home use.

Thanks to a tip off from Ed Bott, I have ordered a nice Dell Dimension 2.4 GHz quad-core CPU (Intel Q6600), 3GB of RAM, and a 500GB drive, for $499 although I paid an extra $20 to get Windows XP Pro. I wanted to get the 64 bit version but Dell won’t sell it to me so I’d have buy the media which is going to be expensive or put my Vista or Windows2008 server software on to host my vm’s. Hopefully this machine will have enough processor and memory to allow me to run at least a couple of vm’s at the same time so I can get more experience in W2k8. At this price it was very tempting to buy a few of these machines but I restrained myself to just one. This is going to be used purely for work and training purposes so I should be able to deduct it in my taxes next year too which is an added bonus.