Monday, 13 December 2010

Certificates from GoDaddy

Certificates from GoDaddy

We have been using free certificates from StartSSL for a little while. As these have to be renewed every month: and that renewal is tied to a certificate installed on one web browser it seemed sensible to move to a more permanent arrangement.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Extending a wireless access point with DD-WRT

Extending a wireless access point with DD-WRT

I have had some Netgear WG602 -v4 access points at work for a while.

They seemed to struggle a bit with some XP clients but have been good as gold with Windows 7 clients.

However, I wanted to extend their functionality a little and I used DD-WRT for this. This is a downloadable open source ROM to replace the OS on the access point. I used the V24 SP2 micro build.

Installation can be a little tricky and differs for every device so I will not cover this here.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010



Spiceworks is something that every IT manager should investigate.

Its a free (paid for by advertising) service which will provide: network mapping, inventory, alerting, etc network wide: without pushing out any agents.

It has a vibrant community attached and a great set of forums which are a tremendous reference tool.

Sametime 8.5

Sametime 8.5

We have deployed the latest version of sametime (in its basic form) at work.

I have to say: from a support point of view its a bit of a nightmare. It has taken around a month to get it anywhere near working properly: via a host of undocumented ini file switches. Getting it working on our iNotes site (lotus notes web interaface) has been even more time consuming. Even now: because our sametime server does not have its own certificate it still causes errors in Internet Explorer.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Lotus Notes Client Version 8.52

Lotus Notes Client Version 8.52

So far I've been very pleased with the small improvements in reliability on this version of the client. I had patch 4 on the 8.51 version and that had helped a bit but this new version seems very good.

Friday, 3 September 2010

EPolicy Orchestrator and Agent Ver 4.5

EPolicy Orchestrator and Agent Ver 4.5

In an idle moment I saw that McAfee's deployment agent for anti virus and spyware products had been updated from version 4 to version 4.5.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Fix missing PCs in WSUS Console

Fix missing PCs in WSUS Console

I (like most admins) use ghost to prep new or repaired workstations. I don't do a sysprep after the image is built.

This can lead to these new machines not showing up in the WSUS console even after a "wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow" : although they do pick up the updates anyway.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Make VMware Virtual NICs part of an "identified network" to avoid firewall issues on running VMs

When you install VMware Workstation or Player on a Windows 7 machine you will notice that if you hover your mouse over the network icon in the system tray your network is mentioned in the popup: plus "unidentified network". This can cause you serious bother if you are running virtual machines and want to connect them to the internet as the virtual network cards (NIC) for the NAT or bridged networks are no longer within the parameters set by the operating system's firewall.

To get round this:

Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

Click the follwoing subkey:HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

Browse through the 00xx subkeys until you find the REG_SZ VMNet subkey with a value of either “\DosDevices\VMnet8” or “\DosDevices\VMnet1” (default values) (13 & 15?)

On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
Type *NdisDeviceType, and then press Enter.

On the Edit menu, click Modify.

Type 1, and then click OK.

Exit Registry Editor.

Disable & re-enable the VMWare NICs

DoneNote: In case simply disabling and re-enabling the virtual NICs doesn’t fix the problem immediately reboot your computer.

God Mode

God Mode

 Here is how you get access to it:

Banish UAC

Banish UAC

For Windows 7 Ultimate, Business or Enterprise edition which has Local Group Policy, or computer joined to domain and has Active Directory-based GPO, the group policy can be used to disable UAC for local computer or many computer across large networks at once.

A better view of Explorer

When you click on your Windows explorer link in your taskbar Windows 7 will default to showing you the "libraries" view.

This may not be what you want: especially since many do not use the libraries feature much as yet.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Issues with the Lotus Notes Client

I've always tried to stay up to date with the many updates to the Lotus Notes client. We are now running 8.5.1 fixpack 4, but I have found some shortcomings that are annoying.

On 64 bit windows 7 machines the notes single logon does not work, we can move to their new "preferred" method (shared login) via a policy file, but this does not update the password for web access, and the shared login feature has to be manually removed first.

Also on 64 bit: when you try to drag the notes icon from the desktop onto the task bar: it does not stick. A minor point granted: but how come it always seems to be this client that is the last to conform to accepted standards?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

My new toy

I'm now the owner of a chumby: a sort of web enabled alarm clock.

Here's my virtual chumby:

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Open Source Chat Server

Openfire Chat Server

We currently use IBM's Sametime Chat server. We have quite an old version and the chances are that another solution will be needed in future.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Converting VMware Images to Hyper V ones

I found this in a newsgroup posting: have not tried it yet but it seems an elegant solution. The excerpt below is from a posting by Steen Kirkby.

Running VMware Images and Hyper V Images on the same box

I was asked to do this the other day and it can cause you a lot of headaches. So hats off to Steve Graegert who has a nice solution in his blog, see link for details

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lotus Notes and McAffee Anti Virus

If you are running notes clients and McAffee anti virus on workstations you will need to ensure that you make exclusions in scanning and on access policies to make sure that notes files are not scanned.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Useful site for free applications

Have a look at Ninite : its a great one stop shop for getting those useful free apps. It may not be relevant for work laptops but for home machines it can be a great time saver if you are setting up a new system or looking for useful stuff.

There are quite a few links in there: you only have to select the ones you are interested in and it will do all the work for you: installing them all at once.

Of the stuff there here is what I would recommend:

Firefox: more stable and secure than internet explorer
Songbird: a good alternative for those worried about the "bloat" associated with Itunes. My personal favourite is MediaMonkey which is not on this site: but if you have a big media collection its well worth looking at ( it even works with iPods.
VLC: a great application which can play just about any video file: much easier than installing all those codecs for Media Player and faster too really nice graphics app: does not have all the features of photoshop of course but then the chances are that you'll never use them anyway....
InfranView: great viewer for pictures: fed up with the slow load times when opening pictures sent as mail attachments: this will do it much faster
Microsoft Security Essentials: many people scoffed when this came out but it actually does very well in finding spyware
Spybot: a more complete any spyware product: it does not run in memory which means that it does not slow down your system: but you do need to remember to run a clean occasionally
CCleaner: takes care of all those temporary files that build up in your profile: which can sometimes run to many gigabytes of data, it could save you having to shell out for a new hard drive
Revo Uninstaller: windows does a poor job of uninstalling applications often leaving bits and pieces behind: this does it much better and faster
CD Burner XP: no need to shell out for Nero if you want to burn CDs: this does the job for free. Bear in mind: not required if you have Windows 7.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Nokia E71 handsets and Lotus Traveler

Being a domino house we use Lotus Traveler for push mail onto our mobiles. To this end we have Nokia E71s which support this.

I found that the latest version of traveler which comes with Domino 8.5.1 (there's a fixpack out for this too) seems more reliable than the first version.

The phones themselves work OK with it although there's an issue whereby after a few days the push eliment seems to drop. Firmware updates on the phones seem to help but there is a frustration here. Nokia make new firmware versions available dependant on the "code" of the phone. On their site they say that version 300.21.012 is available for the E71s (I think there is also a newer version 400.21.013 available but this may be US only) but our phone codes prevent us from using this. Orange say there is nothing they can do about this and there's little chance of getting any change out of Nokia.

Even more frustratingly we cannot order new E71s that can be updated to the latest version: you have to take what you are sent. Perhaps a chat with our orange customer manager is in order.

How to disable IPv6 via Group Policy

How to disable IPv6 via Group Policy

Just a quick one: I used this link to set up a group policy to disable IPv6 for my Windows 7 machines.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Business Objects Enterprise under Red Hat 4

I've spent the past 4 days preparing a Red Hat 4 virtual machine for installation of Business Objects Enterprise 3.1. It was a pretty thankless task.

I like to play around with Linux now and then but the lack of available documentation on this had me stumped a few times.

I'll be posting a howto in a few days when the documentation is done but if anyone at SAP is listening: a little more information would do down well.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Swyx 7

Over the next few weeks I'll be implementing an upgrade to our telephony software. We currently use Swyx which I've found to be a very reliable and cost effective solution. We use version 5 on some quite old hardware but the move over to Windows 7 means its upgrade time.

I'll be posting on the upgrade process and what it means technically and practically to our organisation.

I've decided to take a quite cautious approach to the implementation. We will set up a new server with its own ISDN card and run both in parallel for a while for testing. Swyx offer a bundle of their products which seems very cost effective: among the most interesting options here is the one for mobile telephony. There is currently a disconnect between the office phones and the mobile phones. We have a lot of people who are consulting "on the road" : for these people the office fixed lines are almost irrelevant. I want to bring these people back into the mix if I can : but I'm not looking forward to pushing out the Sywx mobile software onto a diverse mix of mobile phones: more as it happens!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Hello World

To start off with a few words about what I'm trying to do here. I thought I would like to share some information and tales of my work exploits to see if I can help any other people out there: or perhaps get a few tips myself.

I'm not going to publish details of who I work for : for obvious reasons but its a London based company who deal with business intelligence solutions. I've been there for around 3 years now and hopefully have my feet reasonably well under the table now.

I have several projects on the go at present and I'll be posting about them and about any tips and tricks I find on the way.