Fixed: Facebook update constantly downloading and google play not working afterwards.

Last week my mobile phone started to constantly download a Facebook update which was draining the battery due to the constant downloading attempts. Trying to stop the download, I somehow managed to disable the download manager – this did fix the problem but for some reason also stops the Google play store from working. Every time I opened Google Play the application would just disappear from the screen. There was no forced close error message.  This was a bit of a problem as I had removed the Facebook app from my phone trying to stop the download and then was unable to reinstall it as the store would not open.

To fix this issue, Open Settings, Application Manager, scroll to All applications and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen. It is necessary to scroll all the way down as the disabled applications are at the bottom of the alphabetical list. Click on Downloads and then enable the application.

The app store will then start working and hopefully you won’t get the facebook update pushed down to your phone (I didn’t at least)

BPOS active Directory Synchronization does not work on 64bit or domain controllers.

Thinking about BPOS to host the exchange mail for your small office? – I discovered a small gotcha this afternoon but first a couple of thoughts in our recent experiences between Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS.

We’ve had several requests from clients to host their email in the cloud using services like google apps or Microsoft Hosted Exchange. Our first deployments were with google apps due to the lower cost per year, but as we’ve found out the support from Google is severely lacking.  We had a peculiar issue where one users email sent through outlook would get marked as spam all the time, yet if they used the gmail web interface and sent exactly the same content the mail would get sent with no problems.  The service that marks the destination mail as spam is postini – now owned by Google so it should really be a simple matter of turning over the problem to Google to investigate. Unfortunately Google’s response so our request was basically “thanks – if we feel like getting back to you, we might do – in a couple of days”.   As it turned out, the issue was resolved by deleting the google sync profile and recreating it again.

Contrast this to a Microsoft issue which started off as a pre-sales technical call to get a user id setup and ended up with the gtlv owa issue I blogged about earlier. I had several calls from Microsoft within an hour to work on the issue. They worked really hard to ensure my problems were solved and it almost felt like they were harassing me as they kept following up for a status even though I’d told them a couple of times that I was happy for the case to be closed – I even got a call at 5pm on Saturday afternoon from support – something I’ve not experienced (at least from a end user experience!)

So, after singing Microsoft’s praises – the gotcha.  Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange service has a directory sync service that synchronises AD information to the cloud ready for newly created users and distribution lists to appear in the hosted exchange environment. Unfortunately, according to the Directory Synchronization prerequisites the server needs to be running 32bit AND not be a domain controller.   Unfortunately for small companies just starting out from a peer to peer network and getting their first server (but don’t want SBS2008 for some reason), this first server is very likely to be 64bit (crazy not to nowadays) and also a domain controller – possibly/probably even THE domain controller. Installing a 32bit member server is totally out of the question.   It’s not *that* big a deal as all the information can be created online, but it’s twice the amount of data entry along with the possibility of typos but also every AD change of membership and user creation/deletion now needs to be duplicated online.  For large organizations this is not going to be a problem as they’ll likely have extra servers lying around, but for small businesses this is very unlikely. For very large organizations (ie Universities hosting mail through it seems that the AD sync program actually requires extra software functionality with the Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) package (however I’m not too familiar with these details just yet)

This is the second flaw in Microsoft’s online feature list that extols the virtues of Microsoft vs Google that I’ve found – Active Directory synchronization is not always possible and the other is the benefit of not having to download an application to synchronize data from outlook to the cloud/google – fair enough a client doesn’t have to be downloaded for that application but instead a single signon client needs to be downloaded to prevent the various Microsoft apps asking for the password multiple times. I did think that was the whole point of the “save password” option is for in the outlook and browser applications!

I was also really surprised that the Exchange online is not running Exchange2010 – the Outlook Web App is so much nicer in 2010 compared to 2007 – as I run Outlook 2010 at home and Exchange2010 in the office I’m spoilt (but I still need Office 2010 on the work laptop – thats hopefully coming real soon)

Firefox slow, especially gmail? – remove skype extension.

Ever since I updated the home computer to run the RTM version of Windows7 my gmail and greader experience has been very frustrating in Firefox. GReader just had no idea what data to display in the right hand side of the screen and gmail would just stick in the “please wait”, “loading” or “still working” status after sending an email (but would actually send the email).

Rebooting firefox into safe mode, or running ie8 worked fine so I knew it was not the computer but had to be an extension. Fortunately this was 100% reproducible so I was able to do some diagnostic tests.

I disabled all the likely culprits – flashblock, adblock,greasemonkey, better gmail, web developer, noscript but I still had the same problem. It wasn’t until I disabled the skype extension that the performance of google reader was back to normal and I could now send mail again.  Seeing as though I only really use Skype to call my parents I don’t need the extension so it is now disabled. For some reason the uninstall button is disabled.

I did find a thread on the Google Help forums with the same solution which was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one with the problem and I came up with the same solution.

Hospital tech.

Kristen woke up in the middle of the night with chronic stomach pains and so at 5am I was searching through the United Health Website trying to find the nearest Hospital/ER to where we are staying. The strange thing is that the hospital 11 miles away was not listed. However this doesn’t seem to mean it is not “in-network” as other hospitals were listed ok. Their 24hr careline is only open from 8am to 8pm which is not much use when trying to find out whether your hospital costs are going to be less than $3600 or up to $10,000
So, we ended up going to the hospital anyway as by that point Kristen was in too much pain. The hospital was pretty good with not a lot of waiting to see someone – thankfully Kristen has been ill early in the morning both times we’ve had to go to ER so we’ve not had to wait for too long. Whilst Kristen was being looked at I was reading my book (when the needles came out) and looking at the technology during other waiting periods.
The triage area was computer driven using citrix to connect to their health system. This seemed to be a little slow, but still faster than the triage nurse could type. Extensive use of lookups ensured that data was entered correctly into the database, but meant that “daily” was not recognised and therefore a lookup was provided with options such as WEEKLY or DAILY. You’d have thought that the nurses would have realised to push the caps lock button OR a UCASE function made to ensure that the text typed in was correctly matched. I must admit I was impressed at the medicine lookup – it must be pretty tough keeping all the medicines in the db up to date.
GoogleShirtWhen we were moved into the ER Room itself, I was suprised to see a computer mounted high up on the wall with a flat screen monitor on a swing out arm. I was also surprised to see that they were running Novell for their network (and Mcafee antivirus). I wasn’t sure why the people would need icon’s on the desktop for “my computer” and network neighbourhood – with a locked down desktop I would have thought that the programs needed would already be on the start menu or the desktop.
One of the amusing conversations occurred when one of the nurses took a double take at the t-shirt I was wearing (shown in the picture) and then said that my t-shirt looked familiar. I really would hope that the Google logo is now familiar to most people!

The final analysis is that Kristen likely has a kidney stone on it’s way out, but as the CAT scan equipment is broken we won’t really know for sure (although all the signs are there that this is the case). For an amusing (PG rated) description of Kidney Stones, read this Blogography Kidney Stone metaphor posting.

Ipod reboot

My ipod locked up this morning – it would not respond to any buttons but it would detect the lock being slid across as the lock icon would appear or disappear on the screen. I got to work, mentioned it to my colleague who promptly started to google it. Much to our amusement the first result after typing in reboot and then a space was reboot ipod.
Top result in Google when searching for reboot followed by a space. (by absoblogginlutely)
After pressing the menu and center buttons twice, the ipod unfroze and I was able to listen to my podcasts in the car this morning.

mcpmag blocked.

I subscribe to redmond mag and mcpmag but pages from these sites in google results (see top result here) are being flagged as possibly malicious and clicking through the “go ahead show me the site anyway” then leads to a blocked page (in firefox beta 5) at stating that the site has been “reported bad”. Unfortunately there is no way to see *why* it’s reported as bad so I can’t make the decision myself and there is no continue button either. Instead my only other choice is to use internet explorer which is more likely to expose me to problems as there isn’t a flashblock/noscript plugin for ie like there is with firefox to provide basic protection straight away. sounds like a good idea but could actually expose someone to more dangerous content (and there really should be a “yes I know what I’m doing” button!)

Google Analytics

Web visitor map
I think it’s funny that in the first couple of days that I’ve been running Google Analytics, the number 1 page is How to remove Google Desktop.
I like the nice picture of where my visitors are coming from but I’m not sure about the rest of the stats – I get much better detail from using awstats and webalizer but they aren’t as pretty or suitable for management perusal.

Google Analytics

I’ve signed up and installed Google Analytics to get some more log/traffic analysis of visits to this site. This may give me an easier (read quicker) method of looking at the stats, search entries and stuff like that. I’m not quite sure what it gives me – I will find out when I get some data in the next couple of days. The one thing I’ve worked out, is that I wish I had a custom header or footer included on all my pages so that i’d only have to make the change to a couple of files and have it updated on all pages rather than edit the multiple templates and then rebuild all the files.