Archive for the ‘Tech’ category

Just Fix It

February 5, 2009

A new addition to the Microsoft support documents, the Fix It button.

Fix it

Rather than having to go down and do a list of 15 steps, the Fix It button will run a script to do the steps for you. It’s not on everything yet but it’s starting to show up on more pages.

Online Ringtone creator

January 25, 2009

Came across this site that makes it really easy to convert your own audio files into ringtones. Conveniently called www.makeownringtone.com

Boot Windows 7 from VHD

January 13, 2009

Just read this from The Lazy Admin about booting Windows 7 from a VHD and thought this was pretty cool for testing. I like the idea…currently running Windows 7 as a virtual system but may give this a try to really put it through the paces.

Ideal Home Network

January 12, 2009

I was watching some video from CES earlier and started thinking about the amount of electricity we use with idle devices around the house…especially the computers. Usually there are 2 computers, 1 server, and a Tivo on every night (not including the little night lights from the TV. coffee pot, and every other electronic device that sucks energy when off.)

I was thinking how nice it would be to just be able to have one GOOD system with a small touchscreen display that could be in the living room and serve multiple functions. It would need to be a decent system with multiple-redundant hard drives to function as a home server for backups and file storage, media server to record & playback TV, and a Virtual Server so we could have little dumb terminals with instant on to use for desktops. Heck even a blade server for home would be cool. Somehow I don’t think I could get away with putting even the smallest of the blade servers in the living room currently…one day maybe they’ll come out with a Home Blade Server!

Emailing with PHP

January 12, 2009

While adding some more features to the recent Intranet Portal, one thing that came up was to have an email sent with a copy of the order for a quick check. I originally did this sending it as plain text however it was a little difficult to read. I wanted to set it up to have both text and HTML emails so it was nicely formatted for reading on the desktop but still useable when viewing on a mobile phone.

Enter PHPMailer. This is a great PHP class that makes the whole process of dealing with MIME headers and all the other crap painless. Using PHPMailer I was able to get the email sent with both a text and HTML version (including inline images) and it’s working great.

Windows 7 Beta…first impressions

January 12, 2009

Just installed the Windows 7 Beta. I should point out that I’m one of the few out there that seem to actually like Vista and have had great success with it….could it be better, sure, was it as bad as everyone makes it out to be, no way.

So, first thoughts of the new beta:

Install went well, no issues there. I like how the requirements seem a little better and am looking forward to seeing how it performs on netbooks. I think people will have less issues as they most likely already have newer hardware from upgrading to Vista or if they are still on really old hardware, they’re due for a new system anyway.

Look & feel is nice…I like the built in desktop slide show feature. It’s trivial but a cool touch (and I know someone who’s been asking for this feature for a while now.)  Gadgets are no longer tied to the gadget bar but rather can be dropped anywhere on the desktop.

Powershell is built-in of course as is PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment which is a nice looking application that allows you to write, test, and debug scripts with all the syntax formatting and all.

UAC has a new settings adjustment. Honestly haven’t looked at this much as I don’t have too many complains about the one in Vista.

A new feature called HomeGroup is now available…not too familiar with this one yet but seems like it is from an old Longhorn feature called Castle.

Looking forward to playing around with it some more but so far it’s looking good.

Feature request for Windows Home Server

January 11, 2009

So far I’m really enjoying the little MediaSmart WHS that my wife got me for Christmas. I’ve been playing around with the various add-ins (there are some great ones!) and am still tweaking the IIS setup so I can have my photo sharing just the way I want (I don’t like the HP app as it’s too much of a pain to have to import the photos over the web to share them.)

So one thing that I think could use some improvement is oddly enough one of the great features of WHS…the backups. The one way I would like to see the backup improved on is to use VHD’s or at least have an easy way to create them from the backup. The reason this came up is my laptop started having issues with the fan…I wasn’t worried about losing data as I have it replicated via Live Mesh for some things, backed up to a removable drive, and now my new WHS. But the one thing I realized is that if my laptop were to fry itself, how would I access that data from the backup on another system?

The best thing I could come up with is that I could create a new Virtual system (using your choice of Virtual PC or VMWare) and use the WHS recovery CD to “restore” the backup of the now dead system. I’m sure it’s not going to boot up but at least you would then have a VHD image of the drive that you could mount and access the data.

What I’d love to see, either natively in WHS or via an add-on, is the ability to mount a backup image as a drive/folder in WHS so it is accessible over the network.

Oh well, maybe one day.


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