MAC vs. PC? Put this in your MAC and smoke it! My first experience with a MAC.

 

 

Just recently my wife’s step mother purchased a brand new mac book pro.It ended up in my hands because she wanted me to “boot camp” it or basically have me set up the computer to run Windows 7 on a separate partition so he can run his games and follow his Counter-Strike: Global Offensive boost guide.The “Boot Camp” software is pre-installed on the Mac’s operating system so all that is really needed was a Windows 7 license/media, and a bit of time.Since I had never used a Mac before, I figured this was as good a time as any to test out all the claims that I have heard from my “Apple Loving Friends” about what a superior product MAC was both in hardware and software.

After doing some Google searches and finding an article on “Life Hacker” I set out to complete the task at hand.The instructions seemed simple enough.Find the little “magnifying glass” in the upper right hand corner and type “Boot Camp Assistant” then run the program following the prompts until completion.So that’s what I set about doing.

The first screen came up and told me to download Windows Support Files that would be needed after the setup had finished.I clicked yes, and the next thing I get is a retarded barber pole.

barber_pole

Hmmmm, I thought.What a completely useless graphic.It doesn’t give me any idea of the progress of the file download, and it didn’t even ask me what location on the hard drive I wanted to download the support files to.After about 5 minutes the bar went away and the next screen came up asking me to either;

A. Insert a CD or DVD to burn the support files to disk OR

B. Insert removable media (like a usb drive) that is formatted in DOS Fat to store the files on.

I select A and grab a blank DVD+R and insert it into the slot on the side of the computer.  After a few moments I can hear the disc spinning and a menu pops up saying the disc is ready to be burnt.  I hit Continue and…… nothing happens.  It just takes me back to the previous menu.  OK, I think, maybe it just doesn’t like the brand of media.  I try a different brand…same thing.  I try a DVD-R…same thing.  I try a CD-R still no luck.

Hmmmm, not really liking this MAC so far.Alright, lets try the second option.  I grab a couple of usb drives.  I have heard of “fat32” before but not “dos fat” so I stick the drives into my wonderful windows box and sure enough there is the option to format in fat.  I format one drive in fat and the other in fat32 and stick the first drive into the MAC’s usb port.  I select option B and wait.  A box pops up telling me that there was an error coping the files to disk.  I try the other drive…same thing.  Now I’m getting irritated.  “MAC’s are a superior product”, my mind hears an annoying voice say.  Alright, maybe there is just something I’m missing.  I grab my Droid Based phone and call the only two people I know that are MAC experts.  Neither of them answer.  I wait an hour and try again…same thing.  Finally the phone rings… It’s Ashley.  She runs an IT Service Business and is considered an Apple Expert.  (We have had many a heated discussion about Apple / MAC products in the past so I figure if anyone can set me straight it would be her.)  After fiddling around with ichat she is able to remote in the MAC (which also proves that the internet connection was working fine, so the Windows Support files should have been able to downloaded without a problem) and goes through the same process that I did.  The only thing she did different was to have me format the usb drives directly from the MAC rather than from my wonderful windows machine.  She went through all the same troubleshooting steps that I did, and low and behold… got the same results.  Perplexed, she told me to give Apple support a call.  (I was rather relieved that it wasn’t just me!)  We said goodbye and off to Apple support I go.

Apple support was relatively painless and all the support agents spoke English as their native language (a real plus in my book), but the end result was that even the Apple Support Engineers couldn’t figure out what the issue was either.  They asked me if I bought the computer through a third party, to which I told them, “No, it was ordered directly off the Apple website.”  They told me that I could skip the Windows Support files, as all the drivers for Windows 7 would be on the Apple OS disk.  I told them, “Fine, but you do realize that the first menu specifically says, not to use the disk that came with your computer or one from another MAC…right???”  I skipped over the section that I had just spend 6 hours trouble shooting and eventually was successful in getting a dual boot with both the MAC OS and Windows 7.

The reason I am writing about this experience is to debunk the myth that MAC’s and the MAC OS is a superior product to Windows, and PC’s in general.  In fact, given the closed nature of the OS and the software written for it I shouldn’t have had a single issue period.  Ever.  Especially for the amount of money this hunk cost.  If anything this experience has proven to me that MAC’s are no better than PC’s.  They BOTH have issues with hardware and software, and can both cause you to want to take a hammer to them.

Oh wait, there is a difference…….My wife’s step mother paid $3256.00 for her MAC book pro and a Window’s Based PC with the EXACT same specs would have cost around $1200.00.

So to all you Apple Fan Boys out there it’s time to come clean.  Just admit you bought it to be trendy and because you think it’s cool.  I promise I won’t hold it against you. NOT!

Archive dissappears in file menu of OUTLOOK 2007. Office update KB2412171 damages OUTLOOK 2007!

Microsoft made a major boo boo when it released OFFICE UPDATE KB2412171 through Windows Update on December 14th, 2010.

The office update originally designed to fix some issues between Outlook and Exchange ended up BREAKING Outlook 2007 across the board!

Some of the issues it caused included:

  • Loss of the Archive and AutoArchive feature.
    They are missing the option File-> Archive… and the AutoArchive section under Tools-> Options…-> tab Other as well as the AutoArchive tab in the Properties dialog of a folder.
  • Outlook is slow to respond when switching folders.
  • Accounts requiring Secure Password Authentication (SPA) may have issues to connect.
  • Exchange Accounts that have been configured to connect via Outlook Anywhere with NTLM authentication may be reset to Basic Authentication and now requests for the password.
  • IMAP accounts and accounts connecting via SSL may give send/receive errors. Gmail is for instance reporting error 0x800CCC78 and cannot send the message. Another common error is 0x800CCC1A.

I first experienced it when clients called in complaining of “extreme slowness” when working in Outlook 2007.  The first end user I checked had over 1400 unread messages in her mailbox so I immediately went to archive the messages to another .pst file thinking this was the main reason for her slowness.  However, when I went to manually archive I couldn’t find the “ARCHIVE” command.  At first I thought I was loosing my mind, but after consulting office help and finding that the “AUTO ARCHIVE” command set was also completely missing I knew something was up.  This user wasn’t on a domain, so no global policy could be effecting her, and I checked the customization settings to make sure she hadn’t somehow deleted or removed the menu item…. so then it was off to Google where I ran into this article.

Bottom line is that the only way to fix the problem is to REMOVE the update.  So just follow the pics below for the quick and easy!

Navigate to your control panel and hit the add/remove programs and select “view installed updates”.

01

If you are running (GASP!) XP or earlier versions of Windows then yours would look something like this:

xp

Then select the CORRECT KB2412171 UPDATE and uninstall!

02

Additional Info can be found HERE, and HERE.

Note: The update has been pulled from Microsoft Update; there is no need to disable Microsoft Update anymore to prevent the update from being reapplied.

Free Test Vouchers and Certicifations for taking Beta Exams!

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http://blogs.technet.com/betaexams/

This site above allows you to get access to Beta Tests on various Microsoft Certifications.

You sign up, then get a coupon code to enter into any of the popular test taking places to take the test for FREE as a Beta tester.

The beta tests are usually longer, and some are just virtual labs, but the kicker is that taking the beta tests will do one of two things for you.

1. In some cases passing a beta test actually COUNTS as the actual cert. Taking the beta test will give you a better chance at passing as you will be given more questions, and again the test itself is completely FREE OF CHARGE.

2. In some cases just SHOWING UP to take the test (regardless of the outcome or score) will give you FREE FUTURE TEST VOUCHERS for other exams or to use when the real test comes out later. (Test vouchers are worth around $125 dollars each!)

Here is the website, you have to have a passport account, or windows live/hotmail account to use it (Also Free!)

Exam topics cover pretty much everything from programming to infrastructure and anything in between.  If you don’t see anything you are familiar with be sure to scroll down the page or at the very least subscribe to the RRS feed in the upper right hand corner of the site.  Seating is limited so depending on the topic, you may need to register sooner rather than later.

Robert Shofkom’s “A New Reality: Ten Steps to Transforming Your Life!” Book, Site, & Project!

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What’s this non-technical post doing on a technical blog?!?!?

Well, I just wanted to let the technical community that follows this blog be aware of one of my other projects called A NEW REALITY.ORG.  It’s a blog site that focuses primarily on the way we think, and in particular on “paradigms”, or controlling thought processes.

What are Paradigms?

Paradigms are the building blocks of your belief system.  They are the rules and regulations you impose on yourself.   They are created by the outside stimuli you have processed since the time you were born.  Your upbringing and family values, your county and place of origin, your religious and spiritual beliefs, the rules and laws were you live, your interactions with friends and mentors, everything that you have experienced from the moment of your creation has established these paradigms.

Paradigms provide the framework for defining who you are, how you live your life, and how you view reality.

The bad news: not all paradigms are positive.  In many cases negative and destructive paradigms have placed limits and can hold you back from achieving your highest potential.

The good news: all paradigms can be changed!

A NEW REALITY.ORG is all about exploring, creating, and modifying Paradigms.

The project is supported by a blog site, book, lecture series, public speaking engagements, and life coaching classes.

All of which center on the book: “A New Reality: Ten Steps to Transforming Your Life!” written by yours truly.

You can follow the project, and be part of the movement by checking out the following:

A NEW REALITY . ORG

FACEBOOK FANSITE

TWITTER ACCOUNT

LINKS TO THE BOOK.

Crash Course in Social Media for Business Owners!

social-networking-icons280x280

STOP what you are doing!  This will be the most important blog post you read about on the net. Why?  Because it has the potential to increase your business revenue, visibility, and website traffic exponentially! This is a very “big secret” in the world of advertising, and works better than all forms of traditional marketing.  The best thing about it is all of the resources in this blog post are free, or can be had for very little money.  Yes, the new way of marketing is via social media, and the success rates are through the roof.  So much so that many fortune 500 companies have moved ENTIRELY to social media to expand and grow their business.  It’s all based on a little know fact.  People are much more likely to purchase a product that has been “recommended’ or “liked” by a friend or acquaintance, than those same products advertised in traditional methods, recommended by strangers, or endorsed by celebs.  I should also point out that Google, the number ONE search engine in the world has recently changed their search algorithms to include and in many cases actually PUT AHEAD any social media links before those of traditional business websites.  You can read more about it here.

In this post I’m going to give you the simple tools and even simpler strategies to employ social media to create interest in your product, website, business, or what ever you want people to take notice of.

Lets start with the basics.

What is social media?

(From Wikipedia): Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies  to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”[1] Businesses also refer to social media as consumer-generated media (CGM).

There are 10 top social networking sites, but I’m only going to focus on the top 4.  Why? because these four combined with your blog and business website will make up over 90% of the traffic you need to bring your product, service, idea, etc.  into the spotlight, and get people talking, and more importantly recommending your business.

Here’s what you need to get started.

1. A blog.  This is your home base or place where everything will converge.  You can get a free blog with any number of providers, or if you want a little more freedom, register a domain name and host your own blog using WordPress.  (Note: if you want me to do this for you, just use the contact me page and I can set you up, and customize your blog for a modest fee.)  Note, you must add a plugin or simple code at the bottom of all posts that link to the OTHER pages and accounts below.  In fact, it is recommended that all your accounts should link to all your other accounts to really get the full effect and increase traffic to it’s max!

2. A FaceBook page.  (Create a personal one, then add a page for your business.)  You will use your existing friend network to generate the initial interest, then purchase ad space from facebook to target your specific customer market.

3. A Linkedin page.  (Create a personal one, then create a “group” or just create one for your business website.)  You will use your existing friend network to generate the initial interest.  ALSO be sure to use the “APPS” section to add in a slideshow with power point for a free POP-UP message of you’re choosing!

4. A YouTube channel.  (To post videos.)

5. A Twitter account, with “follow me” links at the end of every tweet.

Next, here is what you need to know about the recommended activity you should put into each of the five listed above.  Obviously MORE is better, but any less and you shouldn’t even bother.

1. Blog: 4 to 6 new posts per month.

2. Facebook: 3 to 5 new posts A WEEK.

3. Linked in: 3 to 5 new posts A WEEK.  (These could be the same as the ones you put on Facebook if your Linked in connections are different than those on FB.)

4. YouTube: 1 to 3 new videos per month.  (Again, more is better.)

5. Twitter:  tweet or retweet  3-7 times PER WEEK.

Here is a simple way to move content around all your sites;  Post video to Youtube then use this tool to extract the audio from your video to be added as a podcast to your blog or other social account.  Then take a transcript of that audio and use it as a blog post!

What type of content should you post?

Here are the recommended most popular that get people reading, and make for the best return visitors:

1. Success Stories
2. Product Comparisons
3. Top 10 Lists
4. Anything With Controversy.  (Be careful with this one!)

It’s always best if you can make original content but if you can’t think of anything then use Google Alerts and SocialMention to find articles written by others to regurgitate (always remember to give credit.)  You can also fill up an RSS Reader like igoogle with similar blogs or websites and re-post articles or stories from them.  Social News sites are great for this kind of thing.

Once you get them recommending and “liking” your business website, make sure it is “sticky” by adding the following items:

1. Catalogues
2. Free Consulting
3. Resource Areas (BtoB) or Knowledge Bases
4. Promotional Products
5. Webinar/Workshops

Additional Resources Below!

And here are some great tools!

  1. Tweetdeck
  2. Twitpic

Lastly; Use HootSuite to manage all the sites and Google Analytics to measure traffic to see what types of posts work best for you!

Choices for Syncing Public Folders with (BES) Blackberry Enterprise Server 5.0

Recently I was tasked with syncing a public folder with “contacts” in it to Blackberry handheld users.  After a ton of google searches and a call to Blackberry Technical support I have compiled my results and give you the following options:

Three choices for syncing of public folders.

1. If you have BES ver 5.0 or above AND all Blackberry phones ALSO have ver 5.0 software it will do it.  This might mean buying new phones for all employees with old ones. 

Public folder synchronization can be enabled in the BlackBerry Administration Service using the following steps:

Open the BlackBerry Administration Service.
Under Servers and Components menu, expand BlackBerry Solution Topology.
Expand BlackBerry Domain.
Expand Component View.
Select Email.
Click Edit Component.
In the Published public contact folders section, select the public contact folders to synchronize to the BlackBerry smartphone.
Click Save All.

bbcontacts

Additional Information:

The BlackBerry service account requires Owner permission for any public contact folder configured for wireless synchronization in the BlackBerry Administration Service.  If the folder exists within another folder, the BlackBerry service account requires Owner permissions for the entire directory structure.

The BlackBerry smartphone user requires Read and Visible permissions for any public contact folder to be enabled for synchronization with their account. Alternatively, default can be listed as Reviewer.

To verify the permissions for a Public Folder, complete the following steps:

In Microsoft Outlook, locate the public contact folder to be configured for synchronization.
Right-click the folder and select Properties.
Click the Permissions tab.

IF THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU, then you have the following options available:

1. An add in is available from a third party vendor called ADD2Exchange.  There is an additional cost for buying this software.  More information can be found here:

http://www.diditbetter.com/

(Scroll down to the bottom for a long post on using this software and the potential time and issues involved.)
http://supportforums.blackberry.com/t5/BlackBerry-Enterprise-Server/Public-Folder-Sync/m-p/231015

2.  You would have to install the Blackberry Desktop software on EACH individual machine you want to have the ability to sync.  More info can be found here: http://www.blackberryforums.com.au/forums/microsoft-exchange/16-outlook-public-folders-blackberry.html

Moving the Pagefile to another drive in Windows Server 2008

Running out of drive space on your root drive?  Check to see if your Pagefile.sys is eating up all space!  First grab this handy utility : Space Monger.  I prefer the old version because it’s free, but if you want to pay $25 buck grab the new version.   Both of them do essentially the same thing… tell you what is taking up space and where on your hard drives.  In many cases the Pagefile.sys (a file windows write memory to) will be the culprut in eating up a substancial amount of space.  You can move it to another drive in the following manner:

Got to system properties:

1-sys-prop

Then select performance options:

2-perf-opt

Then select “Change” in the virtual memory section.

3-virt-mem

From here you can re-allocate your Pagefile off the root drive to any number of secondary drives.  Here are some tips to follow since everyones system memory will be different.

•Have the initial size be at least 1.5 times bigger than the amount of physical RAM. Do NOT make the Pagefile smaller than the amount of physical RAM you’ve got installed on your system. 

•Make its initial size as big as the maximum size. Although this will cause the Pagefile to occupy more HD space, we do not want it to start off small, then having to constantly grow on the HD. Writing large files (and the Pagefile is indeed large) to the HD will cause a lot of disk activity that will cause performance degradation. Also, since the Pagefile only grows in increments, you will probably cause Pagefile fragmentation, adding more overhead to the already stressed HD.

•Do not place multiple paging files on different partitions on the same physical disk drive.

•If you have a RAID-0 (Stripe Set) array, use it to store the Pagefile.

•Avoid putting a paging file on a fault-tolerant drive, such as a mirrored volume (RAID-1) or a RAID-5 volume. Paging files do not need fault-tolerance, and some fault-tolerant systems suffer from slow data writes because they write data to multiple locations.

I also leave a small portion on the root drive in case of HD failure. recovery, and to speed up performance.

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 Error V-79-57344-4611 fix.

I’ve been spending a ton of time at my new job trouble shooting Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 errors.  Here is one of the more odd errors that sometimes shows up as: ”an error occurred while creating or accessing the directory specified for this operation”.  For more information refer to link V-79-57344-4611

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The problem is a glitch in Backup Exec 12.5 and the only way to fix it is to uncheck the GRT box under the Microsoft Exchange Tab.

backup-exec-error-fix5

Obviously this will not allow you to use GTR, but then again it wouldn’t have worked anyway, so what’s to loose by eliminating this annoying error message.

Folder permissions can block network installed applications!

This one is pretty basic, but it happens alot so I wanted to post it here.  Recently we had a customer running an application in a networked environment.  The program was installed into the programs x86 folder on a windows 2008 server  standard and was being accessed via a terminal server session.  When the user logged in and launched the application they got the following error message:

to-be-blogged-about

When I logged into the Terminal Server as an administrator the program would launch fine.   I changed the user I was troubleshooting with into an admin by dropping her into the administrators group.  She was able to run the program with no error message.  This confirmed my diagnosis that it was a permissions issue.  Not wanting to leave her as an admin, I removed her from the administrators group, then logged in as the user and tried to launch the program using the right click “run as administrator” command.  No luck, but I knew I was getting close!  Hhhhmmmmmmm.  What next?  I logged back in as admin, and drilled down into the folder where the program resided.  I selected properties, then security, and found the user group.  Finally, I changed the users group to have “full control” to the folder.  Problem solved!

Fun with Domain Controllers Part 1 – Using the set spn command after a Double-Take failback.

From Microsoft:

In Active Directory, the servicePrincipalName (SPN) attribute is a multivalued, nonlinked attribute that is built from the DNS host name. The SPN is used in the process of mutual authentication between the client and the server hosting a particular service. The client finds a computer account based on the SPN of the service to which it is trying to connect.

Setspn.exe: Manipulate Service Principal Names for Accounts

This command-line tool allows you to read, modify, and delete the Service Principal Names (SPN) directory property for an Active Directory service account. SPNs are used to locate a target principal name for running a service. You can use Setspn to view the current SPNs, reset the account’s default SPNs, and add or delete supplemental SPNs.

This post details when you have to use this command following a Double-Take fail back.  Last week I was testing Double Take fail over software for virtual systems.  In the test senario, we had configured two sites across a WAN link to use seperate domain controllers.  Failover worked without a hitch, but when we attempted to fail back the virtual machine (in this case a SQL64 box) on the primary site refused to authenticate on the domain controller of the same site.  Double-Take technical support indicated the issue was one of replication, and since the sites were separated by a few thousand miles, that replication might take some time.  I had already been on the job for over 12 hours and was ready to go home, so this is what I did to speed up the process:

Screen Shot from Remote Desktop Console

Screen Shot from Remote Desktop Console