Professional Geek
RSS icon Email icon Bullet (black)
  • Joining the majority

    Sometimes there are things i just dont get straight away

    Twitter, MySpace, Facebook are good examples

    I’m not saying i don’t see the point. I just don’t usually see the point for me!

    My other half and a couple of friends have been asking me when (not if!) i’ll be getting in on the act.

    I got an email today inviting me to join the Small Business Specialist Community group and i couldn’t say no could i?

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the SBSC group develops on there

    So there, i’ve done it and jumped onto the latest bandwagon….

    (profile is here if anyone is slightly interested)

  • SBS 2003 SP2 Best Practices

    Just a quick one

    The official SBS blog posted a link to a KB article with best practices for install the service pack

    There isn’t anything that hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere but it’s nice that it brings it all together in page you can easy bookmark (or even print out!)

    It also mentions the printer SNMP issue i mentioned last week. This is the first kb article i’ve seen on this so thats also good!

    Check it out!

  • Death of the tabloids?

    While i’m not expecting newspapers (tabloids or otherwise) to disappear anytime soon a post on the TelleBusillis blog backed up my own personal behaviour

    I can’t remember the last time i actually went to a shop to buy a newspaper.

    With the 24/7 access made available by the Internet why bother? It’s out of date before i even go into the shop and with hundreds of websites full of information why should i bother.

    The same goes for computer magazines. I have so many RSS feeds dedicated to computing and technology when i do buy PC Pro (or the like) i normally wonder why i’ve spent six quid for a disc i could have downloaded and news i heard weeks ago. It’s only the occasional interesting feature that explains why i probably only buy computing magazines three or four times a year

    I’m not saying that print is dying. My bookshelf is testament to that. I just found out that the Web Developer book i paid for last week is available online at MSDN but even if i’d known about it beforehand i’d probably still buy the book everytime

    With the constant updating of websites such as BBC News, Sky News, NewsNow, Reuters  (add your own favourite) plus the proliferation of RSS and the phenomenon that is blogging it’s going to be interesting to see how newspapers stay profitable in the longterm

  • Read at your own risk to productivity

    Desktop Tower Defense has been updated!!

    New features

    “What’s New: New Ink, Snap & Boost Towers, New Morph & Dark Creeps, New Trickle, Random, 15 Tower & Splash/No Splash modes, 10K mode is now 100 levels, Bash tower improved, Improved Interface, New Sounds – Enjoy!”

    Had a couple of goes and the new feature certainly change the game again. I’m still crap against the flying ones though!

  • Vista Sidebar Gadgets Location

    Mainly a reminder for myself but if your looking for the folder where the sidebar gadgets are installed

    C:\User\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets

    Each .gadget file is a compressed file that contains all the files that make up the gadget

    Currently i have the following gadgets on my sidebar

    Gmail Checker – Nice gadget that lets you know when you have new gmail

    Server Ping – Nice little gadget that gives me green lights when my servers are up!

    Outlook To-Do List – Does what it says on the tin

    Slideshow – Roates pictures of my little girl. Who needs photo sellotaped to the screen! (read my tip on that here)

    Notes – Little tear off style notes..currently holds my panda golf level password <blush>

    WordPress – Miniture dashboard for this blog. Gives me quick access to common functions such as Write, bookmark, dashboard

    I do think that the sidebar will eventually mature as more business style apps appear for it. I’ve got loads of ideas that i need to get round to planning out properly

  • Blind leading the blind

    I’m about two thirds of the way through the Visual Web Developer book i got this week

    I’ve just created a site map file, enabled security trimming in the web.config file but couldn’t get one of my menu entries to only appear when logged in

    Normally i read it first, then create it myself instead of just blindly copying the example

    I just wanted two entries. A general page for anyone and a members only page.

    Home
    |—Members Only
    |—General

    So this is node section of my web.sitemap file

     <siteMapNode url=”~/Default.aspx” title=”Home”  description=”Go to home page”>
      <siteMapNode url=”~/MemberPages/MembersOnly.aspx”
          title=”Members only”
          description=”Members only”
          roles=”SiteMembers” />
      <siteMapNode url=”~general.aspx”
          title=”General”
          description=”General Stuff” />
     </siteMapNode>
     

    When i previewed in the browser all the menu items appeared, even though i’d specified a role for it.

    So i went back and copied the example to the letter….still the same

    This is where i’m glad for having some experience reading Microsoft help files!

    What the section in the book neglets to mention is this little snippet i found on MSDN

    The security-trimming feature uses URL authorization on each request to determine whether a user has access to a URL that is associated with a siteMapNode element.

    So i removed the url attribute and volia! It worked as i was expecting it to

    But then i thought..”now i’ve removed that i have no link to click”

    and thats when the pieces fell into place (penny drop? more like a couple of grand!)

    The pages didn’t actually exist. I hadn’t created them as i was just playing with the concept and the book itself didn’t tell me to create the pages for the example it used

    I had already created a change password page that only members could access so changed it to point to that

     <siteMapNode url=”~/Default.aspx” title=”Home”  description=”Go to home page”>
      <siteMapNode url=”~/MemberPages/ChangePasswordaspx”
          title=”Change Password”
          description=”Change Password Here”
          roles=”SiteMembers” />
      <siteMapNode url=”~general.aspx”
          title=”General”
          description=”General Stuff” />
     </siteMapNode>

    Bingo!

    I went back and looked at the chapter again and it doesn’t actually tell you specifically to create the pages…so the example would never have worked

    I can’t believe i was worried though…i haven’t run into anything at the moment that i don’t get. Granted this is just a getting started book but i’m pretty pleased with myself so far!

  • Just a little tip for your mobile phone

    Don’t get Powerade on it   🙁

    I play five-a-side football and last night i picked up a drink from the vending machine as i always do

    My brother asked if he could have a sip so he popped open the sports cap, had a drink and handed it back. I put it straight into my bag without checking to see if the sports cap had been closed.

    It hadn’t

    I only realise after the game when i got my phone, wallet, keys, pass for the office, etc etc out and noticed they where all wet and red (i got the cherry flavour)

    Luckily i’d left the PDA in the car!

    The phone wouldn’t come on. The drink had collected in the bottle of the bag which meant my phone had been sitting in it for over an hour

    I took the battery and covers off hoping it would dry out overnight….nope

    So i got the toolkit out this morning and it was covered in sticky red bits. I cleaned it up as best as i could but it’s having none of it.

    I’m sending it off for repair but i’ve just realised that some of the numbers on the phone haven’t been recorded elsewhere

    It’s also been a bit weird not gettting text messages! 

    If it’s not worth paying for the repair i might lose the PDA as well and get a smartphone

    The HP iPAQ 514 looks pretty good for the price

  • Whose the dummy now?

    I’ve got a confession to make

    I’ve always looked “down my nose” at the for dummies series of books

    I judged the book by it’s cover and decided i wouldn’t learn anything from them without actually taking a proper look at the content

    How wrong was i……

    After my post last week that talked about giving up what was left in the developer part of me i went home and had a cry (not really but i’m going for dramatic effect) then remembered a post i’d seen called “How to learn any subject in seven days”

    The basic idea is that you buy two books

    The for dummies version and then something else that is a little more comprehensive

    The first book eases you into it and gives you enough knowledge to get going where you can then move onto the more detailed reference when your comfortable with the basics

    I’ve actually tried to get into Visual Basic .Net several times but struggled with some concepts that are probably quite simple but i’d got the whole VB6 thing going on in my head (what do mean Using System.Web ?)

    So I went to Amazon and got these two

    Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition for Dummies

    Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition for Dummies

    Last night i installed Visual Web Developer and hit the first five chapters and it all fell into place

    While i wont be coding the next ShockeyMonkey anytime soon i’ve made a start and i’ve got loads of ideas that i’m looking forward to trying out

    I do sometimes struggle to find books that are pitched at the right level but this experience has given me a broader view

    for dummies….i’m sorry, can we be friends?

  • More Service Pack 2 Issues

    I guess it was wishful thinking when I installed my first Windows 2003 SP2 hoping i’d only had the help and support issue to worry about

    The day after the installation i got a call from the client to say they were having problems with one particular printer (HP Colour Laser 3600) where it sometimes prints and somtimes doesn’t

    I logged onto the server and noticed a series of jobs in the queue. I purged the jobs and restarted the spooler and sent a couple of successful test pages. Job done (so i thought)

    Client called back again. It was now that they started to tell me they had been moving the printer and were getting messages on the status screen telling them the tray was empty when it wasn’t

    This clouded the issue somewhat but when i told them take the printer off the floor (!!!) that problem disappeared

    Eventually i rebooted the server thinking they were sending documents that had something strange in it.

    It was nagging in the back of my head that it seemed too much of a coincidence that this had happened the day after i’d done the update but it was only on one printer…surely if there was an issue with the spooler itself it would effect all printers

    I just checked my email and the clients office manager had emailed me to tell me they were still having problems so i decided too have another look.

    I looked to see if there was anything different between the printers that were working and the one that wasn’t…and i found it

    SNMP

    The other two had it disabled…the problematic one was enabled but left unconfigured

    When i install printers i disable everything not needed…including SNMP (this is only a small site where there are as many printers as there are people!) so there isn’t any management software to utilise it.

    I didn’t install the colour laser so i’ll be having a chat with someone tomorrow!

    • Goto the printer on the server, right click and select properties
    • Select the PORTS tab
    • Click CONFIGURE port
    • Take the tick out of the SNMP section
    • Click ok until your back at the printers folder

    As soon as i applied the changes the printer came back online and the jobs stuck in the queue disappeared

    I did a bit of digging afterwards and it turns out there were changes to how SNMP handles printers

    http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/12009443/m/752004225831

    This site gets the credit:

    http://www.hoyty.com/hoytyweblog/archives/2007/04/windows_2003_se.html

    it was down when i first checked but google cache is here

    I’ll be keeping a close eye on this site for next couple of weeks

  • Vlad The Mind Reader

    Move over Derren Brown, Vlad knows what your thinking!

    When i start Outlook in the morning there are a few feeds i always check first as i look forward to seeing what the author has to say and Vlad’s is one of those.

    After his post on the disappearance of free community resources (and my subsequent “what can i do?” post) he follows up with a post entitled “How can i contribute to the community?”, and what a post it is!
    He starts off quite simply, “start a blog” and has lots of solid advice on what to post and why you should do it and follows up by talking about attending users groups (or starting one!) before he lets us all in on the big secret

    “Bring a little bit”

    I looked up the definition of community on the Oxford Dictionary site

    noun (pl. communities) 1 a group of people living together in one place. 2 (the community) the people of an area or country considered collectively; society. 3 a group of people with a common religion, race, or profession: the scientific community. 4 the holding of certain attitudes and interests in common. 5 a group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together or occupying a specified habitat.

    There is one underling point in all those definitions

    GROUP

    The SBS community is all about groups of people bringing their knowledge, passion, time, effort and experiences together for the benefit of everyone.

    But if no-one brings anything no-one benefits.

    So try to make sure you bring your little bit. While you may think your contribution is only a small one it is still a contribution.

    It may insprire someone else to do more which makes your initial contribution more valuable