Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Now the hair has gone as well

I look more like the chap in my signature photo now  (OK: still quite a lot older but not that different),  the wookie look has gone.

Who knows if this will make me more employable or not,  but it does feel like I have taken another variable out of the way.

Also managed to pick up a suit jacket at a charity shop for £20 that was in perfect condition and fitted as well.  That plus the Marks and Spencers shoes (hardly worn,  my size) for £10 and I'm feeling up on the deal.

I just need to sort out my PlanetRecruit login sorted and I'll be satisfied that I'm still getting somewhere.  I changed from one mail address to another and that has confused their system somehow,  its now the last one that still has not had my "improved" CV and they do seem to bring up the most relevant jobs for myself: out of all the sites that I'm using.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The beard just had to go....

Sad to say I no longer look anything like "The Master" from Dr Who (for those of you with long memories).  The beard just did not feel interview friendly: so off it came.  Kinda freaked out the kids for a while.

Next on my list is to get rid of the hair: most of that will have to go as well.  It would have gone this afternoon but for some reason the barber's closed early today: so I'm still typing through a haze of hair: but perhaps tomorrow morning....

Stop disk checks on Ubuntu startup

Stop Disk Checks on Ubuntu Startup

There is a program called autofsck which provides a gui-based method of setting the time between disk checks.

Install it with:

sudo aptitude install autofsck
In the menus, it's located in System, Admin, Periodic Disk Checking.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Lotus Notes: fix single signon issue

Lotus Notes: fix single signon issue

The single signon service for Lotus Notes can fail. When it does the chances are that this registry issue is the cause.

Run Regedit and go to:
My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvide\Order

there is a value called "npnotes".

Move this value in front of the "WebClient" value.

Windows 7 and "network neighbourhood"

Windows 7 and "network neighbourhood"

1. Click Start menu and open Control Panel.
2. Open "Network and Sharing Center" and click "Change advanced sharing settings" option in the left panel.
3. In domain profile, please select "Turn on Network discovery" and save the settings.
4. Click Start menu
5. Click "Start", go to run, type "services.msc" (without quotation marks) in the open box and press Enter.
6. Click Continue button to verify the administrator permission.
7. Right click Computer Browser Service and choose Properties.
8. On General tab click Start.
9. Choose Automatic next to Startup type.
10. Click OK.

Further Changes:
  • Make sure that remote registry service is set to auto start
  • TCP/IP advanced properties: enable Netbios over TCP/IP

Windows 7 "interactive state" issue with McAfee Anti Virus

Windows 7 "interactive state" issue with McAfee Anti Virus

Having looked at the logs, Windows Server 2008 was not allowing NAI ePO Agent MSI to run, having looked the Framepkg.exe copies the content of the agent to Program Data and runs the package from Programs Data.

What I did was to Copy the content of EPO Agent to Program Data and run Framepkg.exe from the command line with the following parameters

Windows 7 auto-logon

 Windows 7 auto-logon

  • Click on Start and then enter the following command in the search box: netplwiz
  • Press the ENTER key.

Disable "old" physical NIC in machines that have been virtualized

Disable "old" physical NIC in machines that have been virtualized

 Follow these steps to sort it out:

How to upgrade the free version of ESXI

How to upgrade the firmware without the paid products

The primary way to manage an ESXi system is via Windows. To this end, you will need the VMware vSphere CLI package (available from the VMware website) installed as well as the vSphere GUI client. Both are available for Windows; however, only the first is also available for Linux. The GUI client will not allow you to upgrade the firmware of ESXi, which is why you need the CLI tools (but you do need the GUI client to manage/shutdown/suspend the virtual machines in order to do the upgrade). So, because the client only runs on Windows, you will either need a Windows system available, or a virtualized Windows install on another machine that is separate from the ESXi host.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Enable Jumbo Frames for VMware vSphere ESXi 4.x

Enable Jumbo Frames for VMware vSphere ESXi 4.x

Credit goes to Marc Kean:

1.    Logon to the vSphere client > Inventory > Configuration > Networking > You will most likely have one Virtual Switch already configured. The aim here is to add Jumbo Frames to a new VMkernel Port by adding a new VMkernel port with Jumbo Frames.

HyperV and Windows Backup

There's a registry hack that will also enable windows backup...

From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/958662:

To register the Hyper-V VSS writer with Windows Server Backup, follow these steps:

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

2.    Locate the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\
Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

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

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

When you add VMware workstation or viewer to a Windows 7 machine you will notice that this causes extra information to be carried in the "bubble" that appears when you over over the network icon.

You can make the extra virtual network cards part of an "identified network" to avoid this issue.

Using a Netgear ReadyNAS as a datastore for ESX/I

Using a Netgear ReadyNAS as a datastore for ESX/I

There are two methods of connecting the ReadyNAS via ESX to use as a datastore. First, we are going to show how-to using the NFS protocol. Then, will we show connecting via iSCSI as well.

Method 1 : ReadyNAS NFS share as a Datastore
Method 2 : ReadyNAS iSCSI target as a Datastore

Folder redirection and Group Policy for Server 2003

This article discusses the Folder Redirection feature and how it can be used, particularly by administrators.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server have a feature that can redirect specific user folders to server locations by using a Group Policy extension called Folder Redirection. By default, the Folder Redirection feature enables the user to have exclusive access to the redirected folder.

Many administrators want the Folder Redirection feature to enable a user's folders to be automatically redirected to a newly created folder for each user, but, at the same time, to have the Administrators group automatically added to the NTFS file system's access control list (ACL).

Use BIOS AHCI mode for Windows 7

Use BIOS AHCI mode for Windows 7

If your machines are running in ATA mode you could be missing out.  However,  changing over to this mode can cause some issues (a blue screen,  indeed) in Windows 7.

If you do want to do this you can make the change and avoid the blue screen:

Server 2008: get notificatons from tasks

Server 2008: get notificatons from tasks

Open Server Manager, expand Diagnotics | Event Viewer | Windows Logs | Microsoft | Backup | Operational

Right click the desired event, and Attach a Task......
in 2003 you will need a script.

For example: you may want to send yourself a mail when a standard backup has completed: and be warned of any errors!

Apply company desktop theme via Group Policy

Apply company desktop theme via Group Policy

You could create a custom Windows theme by modifying an existing "default" one by changing the background colour, then apply this by group policy under -

User configuration - administrative templates - control panel - display - desktop themes - load a specific visual style file or force windows classic

The default location for windows themes is %windir%\resources\themes

Copy the style file(s) to all machines or a network location and in conjunction with the above GPO specify the desktop background and job should be done...

Group policy to show "recent items" in Windows 7 menu

Group policy to show "recent items" in Windows 7 menu

There is a confirmed bug with Windows 7 / group policy around this setting.

The scenario is as follows:
  • Windows 7 disables Recent Items in the Start Menu by default
  • You want to enable Recent Items via group policy
  • You configure ‘User configuration\Policies\Administrative templates\Start menu and taskbar\Remove recent items menu from start menu’  and set this to ‘disabled’
Even though you have implemented the above setting, Recent Items still doesn’t show up
This is a bug and the workaround is to add a registry entry HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Start_ShowRecentDocs and set this REG_DWORD value to 1.

Its all about the CV

It was the last day of my monthly railcard today so I decided to make use of it and go down "to the smoke" to see an agent.

Here's my approach so far:

  • Don't just apply for all relevant jobs you see on the web: the world and his wife have already done that!
  • Develop a close relationship with selected recruitment agents and hopefully they can put you in the path of a few decent jobs before they are posted and everyone starts applying
  • Start going through each job I am applying for and look at the bullet points of what if required for the post: and then re edit my CV to address these points directly in the CV
With the above in mind I trotted into town to see an agent at Badenoch and Clark which is just on the north side of the river.

I only got to chat with the agent for 20 mins: however these were the most useful 20 mins of my job search so far.

When I chat to an agent I'm grateful for any time he/she has.  Time taken speaking to me is time that the agent is not using to place people at a profit: and its a high pressure business.

I've worked for a couple of recruitment agencies in the past (IT manager for one,  helpdesk manager for the other) and I've always had a health respect for agents.  Many people have a bad image of agents,  often because they don't let you know if you have failed to get an interview or that they bombard you with unsuitable roles,  but I've always held a positive view.  The thing I like about agents is that "what you see is what you get" : there seems to be little politics playing: and if you do have an issue with an agent: just move on: there are plenty more!

Anyway the agent was pretty brutal about my CV which was just what I was after.  He said that it would be one of the first in the bin and gave some pretty convincing reasons to back that up.

Basically I need to go into much greater detail (and probably bullet points) about my previous role: as its the last 5 years its what people will be most interested in and it should take up most of the front page of the CV.

With that in mind I will be contacting my colleague who is still working part time for my former employers and will draw up a list of all our projects before some of them begin to disappear into the mists of time.

I have been using LinkedIn to create my CVs and will do so again once I have all my projects and achievements listed properly.

Friday, 20 July 2012

I'm now officially out of work!

I came to an agreement with my former employers today: so financially all the details are now sorted.

Yikes: that means that at 5 today I officially stopped working for them.

Its nice that things were finished on an amicable basis: now I can look forward more clearly.

Onwards and upwards next week,  actually my diary is looking pretty full already.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012



My wife suggested to me that I organise my thoughts using a diagram.

This got me thinking about geeky ways to achieve the above.

I came up with FreeMind.  I suggested it at work for a few people as the commercial software available,  although excellent was a little pricey when too many people were using it and requiring licenses. 

Installation is a breeze: I just installed via the Ubuntu Software Centre: but its worth looking into the advanced details and selecting the additional components that you may require.  For example,  you can enable export or your mind maps to various formats.

Monday, 16 July 2012


A whole bunch of people have suggested I use LinkedIn as a job-seeking resource.

Several have done LinkedIn job searches for me and posted me links.

I have quite a few recruitment consultants who have added themselves to my LinkedIn connections.

So,  why am I underwhelmed so far?

A few days ago an ex colleague from many years ago was kind enough to send me a link to a job posted on LinkedIn.  I followed the link,  and indeed the job seemed ideal.  However,  on one corner of the posting was a link declaring that it was a "hot position" or "on fire" or some such.  I was not reassured by finding out that over 70 people had already applied via LinkedIn. 

Is everyone using this method?  Is there a way I can get ahead of those other 70 people?  I don't know but it certainly burst the bubble of self confidence for a moment. 

The fact that I had been mailed by my ex colleague was an example of the success of the method,  to be fair.  People certainly read the general feeds from their contacts on the site.

Are you someone who is reading this and has found something through LinkedIn?

Perhaps you feel that the 70:1 ratio compares well with the number of applications per vacancy that you would likely get from a job on one of the specialist job sites?

I'm an ex-IT Manager, but hopefully not for long

Well,  a pretty awful thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. My company (I'm still officially working for them as I type, but I am on "gardening leave") was bought out and sadly, I'm surplus to requirements.

I'm trying very hard to put aside any feelings of being hard done by: true or not it won't be helping me: so that stuff is all officially in the past.  I just need to keep repeating that to myself for a while....

I'm about to find out the real state of the IT job market in the London and Cambridge areas.

My initial feelings are that there are still posts to be had: but that its pretty tough competition out there to get an interview.  I've seen plenty of things I can apply to: but am I applying for the correct posts?  Do I need to do some extra study,  do I need more professional qualifications?

Over the next few weeks or months I will be blogging about the job hunting experience, and if anyone would like to make suggestions or comments please feel welcome.

Hopefully this may be of help to others who may find themselves in the same predicament.

Here are some of the topics I hope to be covering soon:

  • LinkedIn
  • CV preparation
  • Interviews
  • Freemind: "mind mapping software"
  • Agencies
  • JobSearch Websites
  • ITIL